A symbolic victory in the fight against climate change, Canada's EVs sales are 'booming', and U.S. renewables leave coal in the dust


Planning for a plan

As we wait for the federal Conservatives’ climate plan, there have been a few teasers that hint at what might be on the horizon. Last week, it was reported that the party is undecided about committing to the Paris Agreement targets, while there was some anti-EV link-sharing by one Conservative MP, purporting to show German EVs as more polluting than diesel cars in a study that was widely discredited, even by Germany’s biggest automaker (more on that below).

The thing is, as I said in an op-ed in the Toronto Star, denying electric vehicles isn’t just denying solutions like pricing carbon pollution—it’s denying what’s seemingly inevitable. It’s denying the future and, potentially, our ability to plan for and thrive through it. It’s denying the early years of Netflix. Of iPhones. Of computers.

And I’m not alone in pointing out the holes in this kind of thinking. German carmaker Volkswagen (which, let’s remember, makes diesel cars itself) has come out and said that, yes, EVs do have a lower carbon footprint than diesel. That’s true in heavily coal-powered Germany, and it is definitely true in Canada, where over 80% of our power is non-polluting.

Pricing pollution wins symbolic court battle

Last week saw a big win in Canada’s fight against climate change. Saskatchewan's Court of Appeal ruled that a federally imposed carbon price is “constitutionally sound.” To quote Clean Energy Canada executive director Merran Smith, “Today’s verdict sends a clear message to Canadians and their political leaders: let’s stop fighting each other and start fighting climate change.”

EVs are incoming. Big time

With the rebates kicking in last week for EVs under $55,000, it's now cheaper than ever to get your hands on a pollution-free, fuel-bill-slashing EV (probably why EV sales are “booming” across Canada). The EV rebates are especially good news for provinces without their own pre-existing rebate schemes, like Nova Scotia.

The job-boosting carbon tax

I can’t resist throwing in a few more truths about the omnipresent carbon price debate. Here, an exploration of how B.C.’s carbon price has helped keep emissions down from what they would otherwise be (clue: it’s to do with B.C.’s booming economy), while here, a new report suggests carbon pricing could create an extra 19,000 construction jobs. 

U.S. renewables set to outpace coal

America's clean energy revolution is on the verge of a tipping point.” Need I say more? Renewables are set to generate more electricity than coal in April. Despite extensive political endeavours to prop up the coal sector, those white spinning wings just cannot be clipped. 

L.A. to get its own Green New Deal

Here’s a quick preview of the deal: 80% zero-emission cars by 2030, 80% of electricity from renewable sources, 2,000 fewer driving miles per person per year. The plan was launched by L.A.’s mayor, who said, “Los Angeles needs to lead, but the whole world needs to act. This plan gives us a fighting chance.”

The climate elections

It’s not just L.A. betting on a clean future—several U.S. politicians are playing the clean card in the run up to the 2020 elections. Beto O’Rourke released a $5-trillion climate change plan, while Governor Jay Inslee of Washington is taking a three-pronged approach to reshape the auto market, building code, and power grid. It’s looking like climate change will be an election issue across the whole of North America.

Let’s hear it for Vancouver

Vancouver City Council took its climate leadership to a whole new level last week by approving six “big moves” to tackle climate change in the wake of declaring a climate emergency in January. Solutions to pollution are cropping up across the city, with new bus charging and Tesla charging facilities unveiled the same week.

Climate emergencies are catching on

The U.K. parliament has become the first national parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency after weeks of protests and a visit from everyone’s favourite 16-year-old Nobel Prize nominee. The U.K.’s Committee on Climate Change has also recommended the U.K. legislate to become zero-emissions by 2030.

One for the foodies

We talk a lot about EVs and clean power, but it’s worth remembering that what we eat has a huge impact on emissions too, and so does how we cook it. And speaking of food, fans of maple syrup on their morning pancakes might want to read this when deciding whether to cut back on those burgers.

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