Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.
The U.S.’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Monday a new proposal to slash “the production and importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)” by 85 per cent over the next 15 years, according to the New York Times. HFCs represent a category of harmful greenhouse gases that are used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
Between 2022 and 2050, the EPA projects that their regulation will eliminate 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to approximately three years of emissions from the U.S.’s power sector.
Scientists say reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons will slow the pace of the planet’s warming by 0.6 degrees Celsius by 2050.
Although initially developed as a substitute to other chemicals that depleted the Earth’s ozone layer, HFCs have ultimately helped “fuel rising temperatures,” because they trap heat, the Washington Post reports.
“EPA’s action will help create the certainty necessary for U.S. companies to maintain their natural technological advantage in the global HFC marketplace,” said Stephen Yurek, head of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, which represents makers of heating and cooling equipment.
U.S.’s Ford Motor Co. and Germany’s BMW AG have announced a joint venture of US$130 million in Solid Power, a battery maker start-up, as part of the Series B investment round.
The funding will allow Solid Power to expand in-house manufacturing and bring the battery maker one step closer to eventually supplying electric vehicles (EVs) by the end of the decade, according to BMW battery cell technology chief Peter Lamp.
“The partnerships and the capital that comes along with it are really going to put us on a good footing to execute on our road map, which simply speaking is qualifying this technology for vehicle use and getting them into vehicles in the not-too-distant future,” Solid Power Chief Executive and co-founder Doug Campbell said in an interview. Reuters has this story.
In other news, Wyoming has created a US$1.2 million fund aimed at bolstering their coal industry. The initiative involves suing other states that restrict Wyoming’s coal exports and ultimately cause Wyoming coal power plants to close. Coal production in Wyoming accounts for 40 per cent of total production in the U.S..
“We’re supportive of all the efforts of the state right now to protect and defend the industry,” said Travis Deti, Wyoming Mining Association executive director. The Associated Press has more.
On Monday morning at 9:18 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$63.77 and Brent Crude was going for US$66.80.
The federal government is expected to respond by Tuesday to a request made by a coalition of environmental groups on whether it will take over the environmental assessments of Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass. The two controversial highways “would loop around the outer reaches of the Greater Toronto Area.”
In February, the environmental groups wrote a letter asking Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson to take the lead on the two proposed projects’ environmental assessments. The letter argued the highways would have damaging environmental impacts on “the ecologically sensitive Greenbelt.”
The federal regime is more rigorous than the provincial one, according to Laura Bowman of Ecojustice, one of the environmental groups who wrote to Wilkinson. “It really is a more transparent process that ensures issues can’t simply be glossed over,” she added. “I think the question is really whether these projects could withstand the scrutiny of a federal (assessment) and whether the province is willing to do the work to get them to a place where they could withstand that scrutiny.” The National Observer has the latest.
Finally, lumber companies in New Brunswick have been “shattering income records,” CBC News reports.
“There is no stockpile of lumber in my yard,” said Randy MacNichol, who runs an independent sawmill in Salisbury, N.B.. “It hasn’t slowed. I’ve had six beeps since you called me”
New Brunswick ranks fifth among provinces as Canada’s biggest wood products manufacturer. On a per capita basis however, New Brunswick and British Columbia switch between being the biggest and second biggest from one month to another.
Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$51.92 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$50.73 this morning at 9:19 a.m.