Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
A new study from the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) reveals that rich nations have strayed from their climate commitments “by funding a new dash for gas in the global south.”
The U.S., China, and Japan provided 48 per cent of the funding between 2017 and 2019, in which low and middle-income countries received almost US$16 billion during that period to fund gas projects. The report also found that the investment was “nearly four times more than international public finance for wind or solar projects.”
“As countries like Australia and the U.S. massively expand their liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, the public money supporting new gas infrastructure looks more geared to serving powerful interests than helping southern countries meet their needs,” the lead author, Greg Muttitt, said.
IISD experts say that calling gas a “bridge fuel” is no longer valid as there is “growing evidence of the damage caused by methane leaks, the urgency of curbing emissions, and the falling price of renewables.”
Last month, the International Energy Agency (IEA) put out a call for the world to no longer invest in new oil and gas projects. In response, Russia and Saudi Arabia rejected the IEA’s plea, while Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil major Rosneft, said “long-term stability of oil supply (was) at risk due to underinvestment,” and subsidies and tax breaks designed to encourage the renewable energy shift would further “burden” state budgets, Reuters reports.
However, Muttitt expressed different sentiments.
“At this stage, we should no longer be putting public money into the problem, only into the solution,” Muttitt added. “Governments have to stop pushing the market in the wrong direction.” The Guardian has more.
European Union (EU) countries have approved a fund which will allow members to receive cash as they divest from fossil fuels.
The US$21.27 billion Just Transition Fund (JTF) will be sourced from the EU’s budget and its COVID-19 recovery fund, Reuters reports. Its main purpose is “to support communities most affected by plans to shut down coal, peat, and oil shale sectors or other emissions-intensive industries.”
“The Just Transition Fund will provide much needed support to companies and workers at (the) local level,” said Portugal’s Minister of Planning Nelson de Souza.
Still with the EU, competition regulators are toying with changing state aid laws to allow its members to completely subsidize its renewable energy projects.
“Europe will need a considerable amount of sustainable investments. Although a significant share will come from the private sector, public support will play a role in ensuring that the green transition happens fast,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. Reuters also has this story.
Meanwhile, another Canada-U.S. pipeline battle is brewing as environmental and Indigenous groups plan to protest against Enbridge, as the company prepares its “final construction push” to replace its Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota, which is 60 per cent complete.
Line 3 carries oil from Alberta, where it crosses through North Dakota and northern Minnesota to reach Enbridge’s terminal in Wisconsin. The Associated Press has this story.
On Monday morning at 9:20 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$69.44 and Brent Crude was going for US$71.71.
As part of her remarks made at the Alberta NDP 2021 convention, New Democratic leader Rachel Notley said if she is elected in 2023, her party will transition the province’s power grid to net-zero emissions by 2035. She added that the NDP would also focus on developing other renewable energy sources, such as geothermal energy and hydrogen fuel. The Canadian Press has more.
In other news, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan announced Friday that 30 million trees will be planted this year. The announcement represents the latest development in the government’s 2019 campaign commitment to plant two billion trees over the next 10 years.
In order to reach this goal, “around 33 million would have to be planted each month during each tree-planting season.” Accordingly, 500 million trees will be planted by 2026, and more one billion trees will be in the ground by 2028.
“There’ll be significant ramp-up,” O’Regan said. “It takes time to get those seeds in place. This is a long-term play for us though, so it is well worth the wait.” The Canadian Press has this story.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$54.53 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$55.37 this morning at 9:21 a.m.