Trudeau’s Department of Industry has admitted in an internal memo that the promotion of electric cars is impractical, according to Blacklock’s Reporter. Officials within the department said that in spite of climate goals, it would be entirely unrealistic to make all their vehicles electric. “While an accelerated plan to shift entirely to green energy net-zero emissions is appealing, it is not realistic at this time,” wrote the memo. The memo then listed why it was impossible. “Advancement in the automotive technology is not readily available for all operational requirements.” On top of this, the department noted that there is a “restrictive range capabilities and lack of access to public charging infrastructure in most of Canada remains a challenge; and lack of access to repair networks.” This memo directly contradicts a government plan to make 80 percent of federal vehicles emit zero emissions by 2030. As the report noted, “to implement net-zero emissions in fleet operations the department must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by forty percent by 2025.” During the recent election, climate change was a top priority for a significant number of voting Canadians. On top of this, Trudeau has recently vowed to cut coal exports at the historic Glasgow climate conference.
Energy & Environment
Scott Moe is so unhappy with the policies Justin Trudeau is bringing in to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions that he declared in November that Saskatchewan “needs to be a nation within a nation.” The Saskatchewan premier had called into a talk radio station to propose building “provincial autonomy” after Trudeau said he would put a cap on emissions from the oil and gas industry. The Prime Minister made the announcement at a climate summit in Glasgow, without consulting Moe or Alberta’s Jason Kenney, the premiers of the two provinces most affected by the cap. Moe denounced Trudeau and said Saskatchewan will consider seeking Quebec-style deals to give it greater control over immigration and childcare. “We’re going to flex our autonomy, flex our provincial muscle, if you will, within the nation of Canada.” The inspiration for this play may be generations of Quebec nationalists, but it’s not clear that there is a consensus around the need for greater provincial autonomy in Saskatchewan, as there is in Quebec. Still, in taking up the nationalist cause, Moe is following in Kenney’s footsteps. In October, Albertans voted in favour of a referendum to demand changes in the federal equalization program, which Kenney promised would give him a mandate to stand up to Ottawa.
A pair of sleek, winged machines are “flying” — or at least swimming — beneath the dark waters of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic. Known as “sea dragons” or “tidal kites”, they look like aircraft, but these are in fact high-tech tidal turbines, generating electricity from the power of the ocean. The two kites — with a five-metre (16ft) wingspan — move underwater in a figure-of-eight pattern, absorbing energy from the running tide. They are tethered to the fjord seabed by 40-metre metal cables. Their movement is generated by the lift exerted by the water flow — just as a plane flies by the force of air flowing over its wings. Other forms of tidal power use technology similar to terrestrial wind turbines but the kites are something different. The moving “flight path” allows the kite to sweep a larger area at a speed several times greater than that of the underwater current. This, in turn, enables the machines to amplify the amount of energy generated by the water alone. An on-board computer steers the kite into the prevailing current, then idles it at slack tide, maintaining a constant depth in the water column. If there were several kites working at once, the machines would be spaced far enough apart to avoid collisions.
Only a couple of days ago, there was talk about oil’s inevitable drive to $100 US a barrel. Even U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan to use his country’s reserves to ease the pain at the pumps for Americans appeared to some analysts to be little more than a speed bump. And then… Oil prices ran headlong into pandemic fears yet again, tumbling to levels not seen since September. The North American benchmark oil price, West Texas Intermediate, lost more than $10 US on Friday, or 13 per cent, to trade below $69 US a barrel. The drop came amid concerns about a new variant of the COVID-19 virus that could dampen both economic growth and fuel demand. The news demonstrated once again how volatile markets still are. “The market, I think, forgot about COVID,” said Al Salazar, vice-president of the intelligence division at Enverus, an energy data analytics firm. The pandemic, of course, never really went away. But many people could see better days ahead. The bullish sentiment for oil was supported by big price gains over the last year, lifted by surging energy demand as economies emerged from pandemic lockdowns and health restrictions. Friday, however, was a reminder of the trouble the pandemic can still stir up, and how jittery markets remain.
At the end of the climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, Alok Sharma, president of the United Nations’ 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), fought tears as he announced that 197 countries had only been able to agree to “phasing down” the use of coal, rather than “phasing out” one of the main sources of global warming. “May I say to all delegates I apologize for the way this process has unfolded and I am deeply sorry,” Sharma, a minister in British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet, said at the culmination of the two-week summit on Nov. 13. China and India, each a big polluter with populations that exceed one billion people, refused at the last minute to commit to quitting coal. Sharma’s failure to secure a consensus to end coal’s reign wouldn’t have surprised anyone watching commodity markets. The pandemic has stirred up multiple economic forces that undermine the prevailing narrative that the dirtiest fuel source is on its way out. “Is this the final market run for coal? I would say probably not,” Andrew Blumenfeld, who analyzes North American coal markets at IHS Markit, said in an interview. Commodity markets show coal remains very much in demand.
Canada’s official environment watchdog on Thursday rapped the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for incoherent and poorly designed efforts to slow climate change. Canada has never met a target to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. Trudeau’s government, in power since 2015, says it will slash emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels, and to make Canada carbon-neutral by 2050. “Over the past 30 years, Canada has gone from being a climate leader to falling behind other developed countries despite recent efforts,” said Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Jerry DeMarco. Severe floods in British Columbia this month, which some experts have linked to climate change, killed at least four people and washed away railways and roads. The government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline in 2018, in an attempt to complete an expansion that faced stiff opposition, “is an example of policy incoherence with progress toward climate commitments,” DeMarco wrote in a report. The proposed expansion of the pipeline, nearly tripling its capacity, is still under construction. Trudeau says Canada will still need fossil fuel for decades to come, adding that the purchase would help the energy-producing province of Alberta.