How steel is cleaning up its act, why new battery technology may change your coffee habits, and an allegiance of inefficiency


Is Big Oil plugged in?

We focus a lot (rightly so) on how great electric cars are. They reduce emissions, they’re fun to drive, they save money, they improve air quality, and, well, I could go on. But we talk less about what it means for oil. Because as electric car sales in Canada continue to climb, thousands of new EV owners will be foregoing their gas station visits.

A new report by EY found that if electric vehicles make up 30% of vehicle stock by 2030, demand for oil would drop by 252,000 barrels per day. In short, oil suppliers need to prepare for considerably lower demand.

As EY’s Canada oil and gas leader Lance Mortlock said, “Diversifying portfolios will be crucial for oil and gas companies in a rapid-adoption future." The rise of electric vehicles over the next decade is well-documented and widely predicted. It shouldn’t come as a shock to petroleum producers. The time to adapt is now.

A fork in the road

EY isn’t the only organization talking about the rise of electrification and the decline of oil. In the words of this Bloomberg piece, “the oil age is coming to a close.” And perhaps with the news that Canadian energy firm Encana is moving its headquarters to the U.S., Canadian oil is at an important fork in the road: continue to tread the path of boom and bust oil cycles, or embrace a cleaner future. But that’s not to say that the second path won’t contain any bumps. As this Calgary Herald article (which is definitely worth a read, by the way) puts it, “retraining oil and gas workers sounds like an easy solution, but the reality is incredibly complex.” 

Cuts needed

But what does “the cleaner path” look like for the biggest of Big Oil? According to a new report, the top seven oil producers must cut their production by more than a third by 2040 in order to meet the Paris targets, while governments would need to stop issuing more oil and gas permits. As the report’s author put it, “if companies and governments attempt to develop all their oil and gas reserves, either the world will miss its climate targets or assets will become ‘stranded’ in the energy transition, or both.”

B.C. takes a step in the right direction

Although the dust has settled on “the climate election,” the cross-Canada conversation around climate action and fossil fuels still savours of bitterness. So when we have government climate victories, as we did in B.C. last week, it tastes particularly sweet. At Clean Energy Canada, we are proud to have been involved in the development of a new climate accountability framework, which will see B.C.’s climate targets enshrined into law. I hope this demonstrates to any who are feeling deflated in the face of seemingly insurmountable climate policy challenges, that political cooperation is possible and can lead to even better, more durable action.


While “greensteel” sounds like a low-budget comic book superhero (who I imagine, just FYI, would have superstrength combined with some kind of carbon capture and storage capabilities), it’s actually the name of a new sustainable steel initiative. The initiative is part of the newly merged Liberty Steel Group’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2030—a sign that even heavy industry is eyeing up a low-carbon future. The British group would, no doubt, be aided by a proposed EU carbon border tax, which will keep greener European steel initiatives cost competitive. 

200 in 10

In other news, electric cars just keep getting better, which could mean changing your road trip coffee habits. While today’s electric car drivers might enjoy sipping a large latte while charging on the go, the future of electric cars is looking more suited to espresso lovers. Researchers have developed a new battery technology that can charge 200 miles (320 kilometres) of range in less than 10 mins. You can always get that latte to-go

Pollution is poisonous

And if that wasn’t incentive enough to make the EV switch, this could be. A massive study, spanning two years, has found that Canadians living within 250 metres of roadways are exposed to excess levels of air pollutants—particularly those linked to diesel trucks and SUVs—resulting in an assortment of negative health impacts. And in case you missed it, this is especially bad news given the IEA found sales of SUVs are on the rise

An allegiance of inefficiency

Meanwhile, some of the world’s largest automakers have opted to intervene on behalf of the Trump administration in the fight with California over vehicle efficiency standards following pressure from the Whitehouse. A counterproductive move on many levels, of which air quality and public health are just two.

But don’t despair (too much)

There is still plenty of hope for reducing transportation emissions. Daimler, the world’s biggest truck maker, announced it is “is quitting development of natural-gas powered trucks to pool resources for electric and hydrogen.” The company hopes to offer a carbon-neutral fleet by 2039. 

Cross-Canada shifts

Across Canada, things are starting to change, from a new fast-charger networker in Newfoundland and Labrador to better access to charge points for condo-dwellers in B.C. I think the number of electric vehicles stories in this week’s Clean Energy Review is a telltale sign that the shift is gathering serious momentum. Let’s keep it up.

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