An Albertan goldmine that's not what you think, why Canada is 'vulnerable' to wildfire, and a phrase you really should google


A new year, a new all-Canadian electric car


The Consumer Electronics Show might not seem like the first place you’d look for the latest high performance vehicles. But as we enter a new electrified age, once niche and novel cleantech is now the new, well, just tech. Welcome to 2020, where your next vehicle could have made its debut alongside bendy computers and impossible pork.

The show exhibited some exciting Canadian innovation. Like Project Arrow—a plan to create the first wholly-Canadian-made electric car. Or a new electric superbike, by Vancouver-based company Damon, with up to 480 kilometres of range and a top speed of 320 km/h. 


The rise of the electric car is opening doors to companies not normally associated with the auto industry. Also at CES, tech giant Sony—usually known for headphones, speakers, and smartphones—introduced a new concept electric car, which is definitely channeling some Tesla vibes. 

‘An enormous opportunity’

We need to talk about hydrogen. As this Globe and Mail op-ed reads, “The world is going to need a lot of emission-free hydrogen. This presents an enormous opportunity for Canada.” Hydrogen’s role in a low-carbon world is vast, and Canada has everything it needs to produce a lot of it. One need only look to the U.K. for evidence of its potential—a 20% renewable hydrogen, 80% natural gas mix is being piloted in the existing gas network where it is heating homes, businesses and even a university.

An Albertan goldmine (that’s actually lithium)

From hydrogen to lithium, the oil patch has a mini periodic table of oil-free options. Lithium demand for use in smartphone and electric vehicle batteries is forecast to outstrip supply as early as 2025. Battery manufacturers, like South Korea’s SK, are expanding operations globally. So if you’re sitting on a lithium mine—as much of Alberta is—now is the perfect time to act. As the president of Calgary-based E3 metals said, “if Alberta really wants to be smart about looking to the future, and not just doing what we’ve always done, we need to start building this industry up.”

An emissions decision

When President Trump announced further rollbacks of environmental legislation last week—in addition to rolling back vehicle emissions standards—even scientists appointed by his own administration said it conflicted with the latest science. But now Canada is faced with a choice: join with Trump or remain with California in upholding the existing emissions standards. If it chooses the former, it will make meeting climate commitments much harder, as this editorial explains. After all, Canada is already home to the least efficient cars in the world.

‘This isn’t politics, it’s business’

Such were the words of the chief executive of Equinor, Norway’s state-controlled petroleum producer. The company has bold plans to reinvent itself—including making oil and gas installations emissions-free by 2050—in order to stay relevant in a market increasingly chilly toward big polluters. But, critics say, even this doesn’t go far enough.

‘Very vulnerable’

The costs of climate change are racking up, with extreme weather events over the last two years landing Ottawa with a half-a-billion-dollar bill for disaster assistance. And there’s no sign of a letup, with experts saying Canada is “very vulnerable” to the type of wildfires currently raging through Australia. Of course, the price of these events isn’t just paid in dollars. The CBC series “In our Backyard” explores the toll climate change is taking on communities across Canada.

The perils of ignoring climate change

The jarring scenes of devastation from Australia will remind many Canadians of our own recent record-breaking wildfire seasons. But as this Globe and Mail editorial describes, these wildfires demonstrate the perils of ignoring climate change. As one Australian researcher put it, “This is what climate change looks like.” It’s not too late to act—but the consequences only get worse the longer we wait.

BlackRock investing in climate action

The world’s largest investment fund, BlackRock, has become the latest to sign up to the Climate Action 100+, a group of influential investors putting pressure on large emitters to clean up their act. Yet another not-so-subtle hint of the direction global markets are headed.

It’s called clean energy, google it

Well, actually google “largest corporate solar power-purchase agreement.” Assuming Google is up to its usual standards, you’ll find this piece, on how the tech giant plans to power its new data centre with a huge solar and battery power system in partnership with NV energy. Your google search could soon be powered by sunlight and backed up by batteries.

Cities take action with pension funds

The mayors of London and New York have come up with a toolkit to help other cities divest their pension funds in a bid to encourage more municipalities to follow in their footsteps, freezing out investment in big polluters. The City of Toronto, meanwhile, scrutinized its own pension fund’s investment portfolio last week. At the same time, Canada’s largest city is also considering how it can cut carbon from vehicles as well as its pensions, as Toronto’s first-ever electric vehicle strategy goes up for approval. 

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