Why climate policy is a 'matter of life and death', some exciting news from Toronto, and how climate change can be good for business


The amazing, unstoppable electric car

As another week goes by, the momentum for cleaner cars looks even more unstoppable. But it’s not just because of climate-conscious governments or NGOs, but the automakers themselves. In fact, 17 of the world’s biggest manufacturers have signed a letter actually asking President Trump to stop slashing the Obama-era tailpipe emissions standards. 

Meanwhile, manufacturers from all over the world are putting pedal to the metal with their EV ambitions, with Toyota accelerating plans to get its new electric cars on the road by joining forces with companies like Chinese EV maker BYD. Toyota, which was the largest car manufacturer by sales in the world in 2016, is also teaming up with Japanese carmaker Subaru to create a new electric SUV—watch this space.

In other EV news, the state of Colorado is following in B.C.’s tire tracks by introducing a zero-emission vehicle rule that will require automakers to sell a minimum mix of 7% to 9% electric vehicles by 2022. It’s time for others to follow their lead.

The politics of doing enough

Action on climate is something Canadians will take with them to the ballot box in October (more on this below). But with Quebec youth making headlines by mounting a legal challenge against the current government's climate action, which they say isn’t enough, politicians should take note. Indeed, the Liberal Party may have to strengthen its climate intentions if it’s to win votes in Quebec. The NDP’s new “serious but not radical” climate plan builds on many of the policies introduced by the current government—it’s an opportunity for the latter to give its own plan a pre-election facelift. 

A matter of ‘life and death’

Inuit leaders released a strategy last week that outlines a plan to deal with climate change. The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of Canada—and four times faster than the global average—putting the Inuit on the frontlines of climate change. The head of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami said that the strategy is beyond just policy, it is a “life-and-death situation.”

Coal goals

Canada is far from alone in the carbon pricing club. In fact, it’s one of 46 national jurisdictions to implement a price. The latest member? South Africa. Africa’s biggest polluter has introduced the price in an effort to wean itself off coal. And speaking of coal phaseouts, Michael Bloomberg has announced he will donate $500 million to a plan to slash coal power in the U.S.

Exciting news from Toronto

Okay, so it might not be on the level of last week’s Raptors wins, but it’s still a reason to celebrate: Toronto’s first ever electric bus hit the road last week. The bus is the first of 60 that will make their way onto the city’s streets by 2020. 

The cost of scrapping the tax

According to a new report, “Ontario’s climate plan would cost taxpayers twice as much as the federal Liberal carbon price.” To give you a flavour of the costs, in 2022 it’s estimated to be $334 million, as opposed to $214 million for the same emissions reductions under the federal plan. The new report is just the latest in a long line of evidence that shows carbon pricing makes good economic sense.

A sticking point

The government of New Brunswick has become the latest to engage in the carbon pricing sticker war, sending out 500 stickers to gas stations. The stickers, which criticize the carbon price for increasing gas prices, have been described as taxpayer-funded “propaganda.”

Climate change can be good for business

While a changing climate will have serious economic consequences, new analysis has found that it can also provide huge economic potential to businesses—US$1 trillion, to be precise. While there are some risks wrapped up in there too, the opportunities outweigh the negatives, provided good business decisions are made. 

Women more likely to vote on climate

A recent survey, which asked voters to score election issues based on importance, found that women gave climate change a score of 7.8 out of 10 (with 10 being the most important) while male voters gave it a score of 6.7. It’s clear Canadians consider climate action a priority going into the election. Leadership take note. 

‘Thousands of heat deaths’

New research has found that thousands of deaths across major U.S. cities could be avoided if global warming is limited to 1.5 C. As one scientist put it, “the strongest climate policies, both for mitigation and adaptation, will save lives and help us to avoid never-before-seen human suffering from extreme heat.”

Clean Energy Review is sponsored in part by Genus Capital Management, a leading provider of fossil-fuel-free investments. 
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