How Canada ranks on global clean stimulus measures, why a powerful force is 'reshaping' the world's top mining companies, and the latest on Canadian EV sales


The transit transition

Last week saw a busload of dollars destined for transit after Prime Minister Trudeau announced $15 billion for public transit projects over the next eight years. As I said in a statement, investing in transit perfectly reflects the sort of recovery we need: one that rebuilds our economy, supports Canadian companies, and aligns with our climate efforts.

After all, Canada is home to at least six electric bus manufacturers, five of which are Canadian-owned. Buying locally helps scale these companies to better compete in a world that’s moving quickly. B.C.-headquartered GreenPower Motors is already making “stock market magic” after its share price tripled since the U.S. election.

Transit itself is a climate solution, and electric transit even more so. As this new Bloomberg piece puts it, “Enhancing transit, biking and walking—as well as building more housing closer to jobs, schools, groceries and other necessities—will reduce car dependency and make decarbonization far easier.”

Paths to net-zero

Whether we achieve our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 depends on the decisions we make today, the technologies we bet on, and the policies we implement. According to a new report that maps Canada’s possible paths to net-zero, the key is to strike a balance between investments in “safe bets” (like electric cars) and “wildcards” (like hydrogen fuel cells). 

Canada ranks high on clean stimulus

The latest data from Vivid Economics, which tracks stimulus investment around the world, ranks Canada’s efforts third in terms of positive environmental impact behind Denmark and the EU. While Canada still banks a sizable negative contribution, it is largely outweighed by the impact of its clean stimulus spending. 

Mining’s makeover

Mounting pressure from environmental, social, and governance investing is proving a powerful force in the mining industry, one that is “reshaping the world’s top companies.” As the energy transition drives up demand for certain metals and minerals, Canadian companies stand to benefit (Canada Nickel recently held talks with the U.S. government about supplying nickel for EV batteries) provided they source the products in a sustainable way.

Indigenous leadership

Indigenous businesses are leading in the energy transition. As this Globe and Mail op-ed puts it, “The time has come for Indigenous business to take a leadership role in establishing Canada’s new critical minerals supply chains.” And the opportunities extend beyond mining. Indigenous renewable energy projects already produce enough power to supply 1,200 homes, writes Indigenous Clean Energy's Terri Lynn Morrison. “Indigenous peoples are ready to lead Canada’s transition to a zero-carbon, more resilient, and more sustainable economy in full partnership with governments, corporations and allies.”

A wave of IPOs

The demand for sustainable assets is providing a boost to some Canadian companies, driving a wave of initial public offerings across Canada’s clean energy sector. B.C.-based fuel cell producer Loop Energy and Newfoundland and Labrador’s Altius Minerals (which is spinning out its renewable energy arm through an IPO in a bid to move away from coal power) are just two that are going public.

EVs and the oilpatch

As more automakers reveal plans to go electric, the need to understand the implications for the oil and gas sector has become increasingly urgent. As one policy expert told CBC, GM’s plans to only sell EVs after 2035 could have “long-term implications for the (oil and gas) industry.” But there are opportunities too, from batteries to hydrogen, as long as we “beat some others to the punch.”

Sales statistics

As Will Ferrell told us emphatically in his advert for GM, North America is losing to Norway on EV sales (which made up more than half of all vehicles sold in the Nordic country last year). Canada’s latest EV sales numbers revealed that EVs made up 3.7% of cars sold in the third quarter of 2020. But despite sales remaining low by Norwegian standards, Canada’s EV policies are proving popular, with an internal government poll finding strong support for EV rebates in every region of the country. 

Bank boss lives up to climate reputation

Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem’s climate credentials preceded his appointment last June. And his actions in first few months in the job, which include examining how climate change will impact banks and insurers, indicate he intends to maintain his climate conscious reputation. As my colleague Joanna Kyriazis told the Globe and Mail, “(Mr. Macklem) has very clearly declared that climate change… (is a) risk to Canada’s financial system. Looking at his record, I think he’s off to a pretty strong start.”

The world’s biggest wind farm

South Korea will soon be home to the world’s largest wind farm. The offshore project, which is slated to be completed by 2030, is part of the country’s “Green New Deal” set to boost its clean economy in the wake of the pandemic—while putting South Korea on course to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Only a day to go

Only a day to go until our latest webinar on how Canada’s auto sector can carve out a space for itself in the growing EV market. Sign up here to find out how we can fix Canada’s car conundrum.

Our new private Facebook group is now live! Join and share the group to connect with and support fellow Canadians powering our sustainable future.
IMAGE & MEDIA CREDITS: TransLink, Vivid Economics
Clean Energy Review is a weekly digest of climate and clean energy news and insight from across Canada and around the world.

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