Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
According to a UN report released on Thursday, cutting methane emissions is critical to tackling climate change and curbing the extreme weather already affecting people globally. The report, published by the Climate and Clear Coalition and the U.N. Environment Programme, reflects a shift on how best to tackle the climate crisis, which has largely been focused on longer-term carbon reduction.
Methane, which is produced when living things decompose, is a key component of natural gas and has caused about 30 per cent of global heating to date. The chemical compound is also 84 times more powerful in trapping heat than carbon dioxide.
“It’s vital to reduce methane for the sake of near-term climate change,” said Drew Shindell, the report’s lead author. “But it’s also vital to reduce CO2 for the sake of long-term climate change. The good news is that most of the required actions (to cut methane) also bring health and financial benefits.”
More than half of global methane emissions are caused by oil and gas extraction, landfills, and livestock emissions from manure and enteric fermentation. However, the report found that emissions could be cut in half using existing technology and at a reasonable cost by 2030.
“We desperately need a win on climate change and methane abatement provides an opportunity for a real near-term win,” said Jonathan Banks from the U.S. Clean Air Task Force. The Guardian has more details.
Two heirs to the Rockefeller family’s oil fortune have pledged $30 million to support programs that aim to combat new fossil fuel development. Rebecca Rockefeller Lambert and Peter Gill Case created the “Equation Campaign” to expedite the transition toward renewable energy and support local activists working against oil extraction.
“The industry has said that the number-one challenge to building new pipelines is local opposition,” Lambert said. “These groups have amazing results, but they are seriously under-resourced.” The Hill has more.
Staying in the U.S., Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked the state’s Supreme Court to accept an Exxon Mobil petition seeking to reverse a state court decision in a climate change case.
In 2017, California officials sued Exxon seeking damages for rising sea levels they blamed on fossil fuel emissions, which prompted a countersuit from the energy giant in Texas. A Texas appeals court rejected Exxon’s effort to depose California officials, leading to the oil company’s state Supreme court petition.
In a friend of the court filing, Abbott urged state justices to accept Exxon’s petition in a case with “major implications for the energy industry in Texas.”
Elsewhere, Chile’s lower house of Congress approved a bill that would implement a progressive royalty on sales of copper as prices rise. The tax hike will be used to pay for social programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, however the bill is being criticized by those in the mining industry. Reuters has that story.
On Friday morning at 10:06 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$64.93 and Brent Crude was going for US$68.37.
Kristen Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the United States said on Thursday that the potential shutdown of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline is a serious issue, but that it is not considered a threat to Canada’s national energy security. Hillman claimed that finding a compromise between Enbridge and Michigan, whose governor ordered the line to shutdown by May 12, is the sole way to resolve the dispute.
“We understand from the advice that we have received that there’s a good chance that the pipeline … will continue operating during the course of the litigation and mediation,” Hillman told CBC News.
Meanwhile, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ordered shutdown is receiving support from Indigenous groups who argue a potential Line 5 spill poses a threat to their right to hunt, fish and gather in northern Michigan and the Great Lakes. The National Observer has that story.
Alberta is easing security payments for oilsands companies to ensure the industry pays for its own cleanup when mines close.
Companies make annual payments into a fund held by the province, which were premised on companies maintaining three times as many assets as environmental liabilities. Failure to meet that target would force them to make extra payments, but the province is altering the payment formula to exclude the overall value of corporate assets. However, the new payment program is a temporary provision and will undergo an overall review this summer.
Finally, B.C.’s first fleet of electric school buses will hit the streets this week. Thirteen school districts have purchased a total of 18 electric school buses that will service about 1,300 students per day to and from school, according to the provincial government. The Vancouver Sun has more.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$50.61 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$51.06 this morning at 10:06 a.m.