Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
The Group of Seven (G7) nations announced on Sunday they will stop new government support for coal generation by the end of 2021, according to Reuters.
“Coal power generation is the single biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions,” the seven nations — the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan — said in a communique, adding “continued global investment in unabated coal power generation is incompatible with keeping 1.5 C within reach.”
The G7 also pledged to raise US$100 billion a year to help poor countries slash greenhouse gas emissions, BBC News reports. However, activists criticized the announcement as the value is identical to the one previously pledged in 2009.
“The G7’s reaffirmation of the previous US$100 billion a year target doesn’t come close to addressing the urgency and scale of the crisis,” said Teresa Anderson of Action Aid. Meanwhile, Canada said it would double its climate finance pledge to $5.3 billion (US$4.4 billion) over the next five years.
The G7 commitments come just after Ottawa announced on Friday it would discontinue the approval of new thermal coal mining projects, citing “unacceptable environment effects.”
“Phasing out thermal coal is the most critical climate change issue right now,” Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said. The Canadian Press has more.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration announced on Friday that it would scrap a rule that permitted the construction of roads “in more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest.” The move allows for the renewal of “20-year-old protections” that were removed by former president Donald Trump.
“The Trump-era decision to exempt the Tongass National Forest from the roadless rule is one of the very worst pieces of forest policy we’ve seen in decades, and the sooner the Biden administration gets rid of the exemption and restores the national roadless rule, the better,” said Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Executive Director, Meredith Trainor. The Washington Post has more.
Still with the U.S., environmentalists are calling on Biden to rescind permits for more oil and gas pipelines, following TC Energy Corp.’s official cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline project.
“If you need and want us — as I know the Biden team does — to come out in stronger numbers for 2022, then you have to do right by our community,” Jane Kleeb, the president of Bold Alliance, who spent more than a decade battling TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone XL, said in a call with reporters Friday. “You have to stand up to these big oil and fracked-gas pipelines and say ‘no more.’” Bloomberg News has this story.
In other news, a Swiss referendum saw 51 per cent of voters “reject the government’s plans for a car fuel levy and a tax on air tickets,” citing worries about the economy as the country continues to recover from COVID-19.
The policies were part of Switzerland’s latest efforts to meet its commitments under the Paris climate agreement, writes BBC News.
Finally, Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, TotalEnergies, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, and Eni have all placed bids for Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) expansion project.
Qatar hopes to grow its LNG output by 40 per cent to 110 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2026, writes Reuters.
On Monday morning at 9:34 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$71.53 and Brent Crude was going for US$73.28.
Thousands of abandoned oil and natural gas wells across southwestern Ontario are posing a health threat due to methane being emitted following eruptions.
Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp said she has been lobbying the province to deal with the issue “for years”, arguing that “municipalities don’t have the money or technical expertise to cap and remediate the wells.”
“Our general manager of public health was dealing with this issue before I got elected, I mean, this has been going on for years. It’s past the point of being kind of absurd,” Chopp said.
“You have so many different bodies (involved) … and nobody wants to sort of take charge of the situation,” she added. The Canadian Press has this story.
Meanwhile, members of Unifor, a union that represents offshore workers, have gathered outside the Confederation Building in St. John’s, N.L., to show their support for the Terra Nova oilfield. An emergency debate over the future of the oilfield was underway in the House of Assembly Monday morning, CBC News reports.
Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan is expected to join Unifor union representatives at the demonstration.
Suncor Energy Inc., the lead operator of the project, is expected to announce on Tuesday whether “the production vessel and subsea infrastructure,” which is located off the coast of Newfoundland, will go through a “refit” or whether it will be shutdown altogether.
“Premier Andrew Furey’s proposal to simply walk away is a slap in the face to the province’s energy sector and the thousands of families it helps support,” said Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor.
Moving to the West Coast, the protests against the logging of old-growth forests in B.C. continue. 60 protesters from the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion marched on Saturday in support of activists on southern Vancouver Island, who have been challenging a court injunction that forbids blocking “logging activities at forested sites between Port Renfrew and Cowichan Lake.”
“The government has broken the social contract by failing to protect the country, ” said Zain Haq, an organizer with Extinction Rebellion. “Even a four-year-old child realizes that it is completely ridiculous to cut down a 1,000 year-old tree.” CBC News also has this story.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$56.01 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$56.86 this morning at 9:35 a.m.