Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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Thomas Gunton, the director of the Resource and Environmental Planning Program at Simon Fraser University and a former B.C. deputy environment minister discusses below how our failure to prepare for a pandemic acts as a warning against continuing to fail to deal with climate change. 

Students hold placards as they take part in the Fridays for Future climate change action protest in Paris, France, September 20, 2019.Charles Platiau / REUTERS

While the lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic await an in-depth review, one of them is painfully obvious: Humans are very poor at anticipating and avoiding catastrophic events, even if they know they are coming.

Warnings from scientists about an impending pandemic have been circulating for decades. A series of publications in the 1990s by scientists such as Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg highlighted the threat. In 2015, Bill Gates urged the world to prepare for a pandemic and just last year the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services said fears of a pandemic are what keeps him awake at night. ...

It was not until the pandemic spread globally that most countries implemented mitigation measures to "flatten the curve," only to find out they did not have the equipment or capacity to manage the outbreak because they had not prepared. What all this shows is that humans appear to be unable to respond to a threat until they are attacked.  ...

The reason for this seeming inability to respond to threats until we are overwhelmed is unfortunately wired into the human DNA. Psychologists refer to this as our propensity for using intuitive thinking that relies on short-term memory and "gut feeling" as a guide to making decisions.

This strategy works well in many aspects of life involving routine decisions. But it gets us into serious trouble when we face atypical, complex crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.  The problem is that by the time we understand and respond to a new crisis, much of the damage is done and it is difficult to solve. In the case of COVID-19, this has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. ...

The next crisis on the horizon is climate change.

Again, the warnings from science are clear. If we do not dramatically reduce emissions, we risk increasingly severe to catastrophic warming of the globe that will ultimately threaten our survival.  

In B.C., we are already experiencing the early impacts, such as more severe flooding and forest fires, and the threats will only intensify over the next several decades. ...

With climate change, flattening the curve is not as easy. Once climate change reaches critical thresholds and accelerates by a series of reinforcing events, such as the release of emissions from the melting of the permafrostthere is no simple equivalent to physical distancing or a vaccine to solve the problem. ...

And the long-term trends of climate change remain worrying. Despite the proliferation of government commitments and continued warnings from scientists, the world is on course to exceed the climate change target set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. According to the United Nations' most recent report on emissions gaps, the Earth will warm by 3.2 C by the end of the century, more than double the Paris accord's target of 1.5 C. 

The warming trend could be even higher than 3.2 C because countries like Canada are not expected to meet their committed reductions unless new measures are implemented.  According to the UN, Canada will exceed its targets by over 15 per cent. Data recently released by the Canadian government shows our emissions actually increased in 2018. ...

The similarities between COVID-19 and climate change are striking. In both cases, scientists have given ample warning.  And in both cases, governments have taken mitigative but inadequate actions while the threats have been downplayed by skepticism about the likelihood and severity of the crisis, along with concerns about the economic costs of preparation and mitigation.  

But there are also fundamental differences between the two. We have seen the impact of measures to reduce COVID-19 within a few weeks, which reinforces our motivation to mitigate. With climate change, the impact of mitigation are longer term and less transparent. ...

The bad news is we are not doing enough and some of our actions, such as increasing oil production and expanding the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, are actually making things worse.

Ultimately, the choice is ours. Are we going to learn the hard lessons from this pandemic and aggressively tackle climate change, or are we going to delay until it is too late?


A study released on Monday warns that  a third of the world's population could become climate change refugees or forced to live in extreme conditions within 50 years because their region has become so hot that it is inhospitable to human life. This is separate from the more than a billion that could have to move because of rising sea levels. 

The map below shows the regions at greatest risk. While Canada may not suffer directly from these extreme high temperatures, the disruption caused by enormous numbers of climate change refugees and economic dislocation elsewhere would still hit Canada hard.

Of course, many of the places that would be hardest hit are poor and would therefore face catastrophic conditions never before faced by such large numbers of people. 

SHIFTING COMFORT ZONES Under a scenario in which carbon emissions continue unchecked for the next half century, some parts of the globe (red) will increasingly diverge from the climate that humans are best suited to while others (green) will become more suitable than they are today.


A third of the global population — 3.5 billion people — could be living in temperatures inhospitable to human life in the next 50 years because of climate change, a study released Monday found.

The study, conducted by a team of five scientists and published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that most humans have lived in places with an average annual temperature between 51 and 59 degrees F (about 11 C and 15 C). By 2070, billions could be living in a climate currently found only in a select few places, like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the average temperature is 86 F (30 C).

If current trends continue, more than 1 billion people in India, 500 million in Nigeria, and 100 million in the Niger and Sudan region will be living with an average annual temperature of 84 F (29 C), according to study co-author Tim Lenton, a professor of climate change and earth systems science at the University of Exeter. That is a temperature range currently rarely seen outside of the Sahara Desert, but could cover 19 percent of the planet in 2070. ...

The new study does not estimate how many people will leave their homes in search of cooler climates, but rather how many could be forced to live in an increasingly inhospitable world. However, in 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had stated that human migration could be the greatest impact of climate change.

Human migration is notoriously difficult to predict and responds to many factors other than heat alone, Lenton said. People might not have the money to make a journey, or not be allowed to cross borders. Still, he said his findings show that billions of people will be facing conditions that could push them to leave their homes.

And Lenton’s model only considers heat, one of many effects of the climate crisis. Maxine Burkett, a scholar and professor of climate law at the University of Hawaii who was not involved in the study, says the effects of climate change have a tendency to compound. By 2070, a community living in extreme and constant heat could also be dealing with other climate-related stressors such as natural disasters and sea level rise. ...

Nathan Sayre, a geographer studying climate change at University of California, Berkeley, said projections have become increasingly dire as meaningful climate action fails to emerge.

“The idea of a mean annual temperature of 29 degrees celsius (84 F) in significant parts of the world is terrifying,” he said. “Those places are more or less uninhabitable, let alone arable.”

The places facing the most devastating increase in temperatures are also some of the least equipped to adapt to the changing climate with new infrastructure, and whose people rarely have the resources to relocate or afford air conditioning.

“The very people who are in the crosshairs of this extended no-go zone are the same people who bear the least responsibility for the climate crisis,” Burkett said. “It underscores the importance of aggressive mitigation and increasing adaptive capacity, but also what it means to think more compassionately about people crossing borders.”

A third of the global population — 3.5 billion people — could be living in temperatures inhospitable to human life in the next 50 years because of climate change, a study released Monday found.

The study, conducted by a team of five scientists and published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that most humans have lived in places with an average annual temperature between 51 and 59 degrees F (about 11 C and 15 C). By 2070, billions could be living in a climate currently found only in a select few places, like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the average temperature is 86 F (30 C).

If current trends continue, more than 1 billion people in India, 500 million in Nigeria, and 100 million in the Niger and Sudan region will be living with an average annual temperature of 84 F (29 C), according to study co-author Tim Lenton, a professor of climate change and earth systems science at the University of Exeter. That is a temperature range currently rarely seen outside of the Sahara Desert, but could cover 19 percent of the planet in 2070.


Although Elizabeth May's statement that "Oil is dead" is not literally true, the reality in Canada is that it has been on a cash ventilator forcing hundreds of billions of dollars down its ravenous throat that has kept it alive for years thanks to both Conservative and Liberal governments. 

The rapid oil price drop due to Saudi Arabia and Russia's announcement of increased oil production when combined with the economic shock hitting the global economy because of the Coronavirus sends an economic signal for Canada to shift away from fossil fuels especially when financial resources are already starting to shift away from this sector to renewable energy.

This industry could not survive in Canada without the direct and hidden subsidies that it receives from federal and provincial governments. 

Trudeau announced $1.7 billion "to clean up orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia". ( with $1 billion going to Alberta where it is expected to create 5,200 jobs. It is good that these oil wells are getting cleaned up and created 5,000 jobs for out-of-work fossil fuel workers. However, in November 2018, Vice President Rob Wadsworth of Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) , which is responsible for collecting the cleanup fees, told a private audience that it could cost $260 billion to clean up 94,000 inactive wells and 3,400 abandoned wells. ( The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), who is paid by the industry and therefore its captive, also warned "It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up some of the decommissioned oil and gas wells currently dotting Alberta’s landscape" (

Therefore, Trudeau's cleanup subsidy is only a token down payement on what Canadian taxpayers will end up paying for this financial and environmental total screwup. 

Of course this is only a small fraction of Canada's subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. "According to a International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, which is the furthest thing imaginable from an environmental organization considering its history of cutbacks forced on governments and that help the corporations reduce their taxes,  Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015 — approximately $1,650 per Canadian." ( and that money just keeps flowing year after year. 

The Kenney government, through a spokesperson for the Alberta energy person (see below) vows to push ahead with Keystone anyway despite the price of its oil dropping below $5 a barrel and even fell into negative territory for a couple of days where producers had to pay to take the oil when costs of production are estimated to average $85 a barrel (( and "Sending it to the Gulf of Mexico by rail and pipeline adds about $8-10 dollars to the cost" ( For example, West Canada Select from Alberta sold in late April for minus US$62.57 per barrel. In other words you had to pay someone US$62.57 to take the oil. (

As the costs of global warming escalate for both the climate and the environment, so do the costs of the Trans Mountain pipeline purchased by the Trudeau Liberal government. The Trans Mountain pipeline purchase for $4.5 billion was initially estimated to need $7.4 billion more for the extension, a cost estimate that had risen by another $1.9 billion in just two months for a total estimated cost of $13.8 by September 2018 and now has risen to $12.6 billion in construction costs for a total  estimated cost of $17.1 billion in February.  (

Sadly, there is also strong evidence that the pipeline is not needed and that Asian market waiting to buy the oil at a high price is a mirage. According to energy scientist David Hughes, the Liberal and Alberta governments' claim that a pipeline to tidewater is needed to provide higher paying markets and windfall revenue, aren't based in reality. Hughes says oil prices internationally and in North America are now nearly identical, meaning Canadian producers most likely will receive lower prices overseas, especially when the higher transportation costs involved in transporting bitumen by pipeline then  by tanker are factored in.  He also found that Kinder Morgan has overestimated oil supply by 43 per cent over the next 20 years. ( Furthermore, "there are no refineries in Asia that can currently handle Canadian bitumen, which needs to be processed first into synthetic crude." ( So the line that we will be able to sell it for higher prices in Asia is a myth. 

The Liberal government claim that the pipeline will create 15,000 jobs lies in the face of the fact that Kinder Morgan itself predicted it will create 2,500 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs in BC and 40 more in Alberta.(

The misleading numbers for job creation also left out job losses that could occur because of the expansion of the pipeline. (

Besides the environmental dangers created by the proposed Northern Ontario to Saguenay Quebec LNG pipeline, that was supported by the Trudeau and Legault goverments and aimed at carrying LNG to the Saguenay for export to Europe, South America and Asia, there are major questions about the job numbers offered by the pipeline supporters - numbers that are even questioned by economists. Furthermore, those jobs will be temporary and gone was construction is finished relatively leaving few jobs in their wake. In fact, in an open letter 40 economists have they do see how the project makes economic or environmental sense. As the picture below shows, there are relatively few jobs created for the many billions that goes into such a megaproject. ( Quebec scientists have demanded that the pipeline proposal be rejected, noting we need to have less fossil fuel infrastracture, not more. These scientists also point out that total emissions from the project would have cancelled all the emission reductions Quebec has achieved since 1990, without taking into account leakages, which would further greatly increase emissions. ( The  Northern Ontario to Saguenay Quebec LNG pipeline ended up being cancelled when the opposition from economists and environmentalists combined with indigenous opposition ( to the project to finish what would have been another heavily subsidized project off. 

Even when Teck Resources Inc.'s withdrew its application for the Frontier Mine will provide them, the Trudeau government allowed it a  C$1.13 billion writedown and subsidy in the form of tax relief. ( It's nice to get money without doing anything.


The Trudeau Liberals are also at work redefining away some of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, as if they are a mere nuisance to his real goals. This is done by ignoring forest greenhouse gas emissions created by wildfires, insect destruction and extreme weather, which have grown enormously in recent years. Previously these were counted in greenhouse gas emissions totals. They have also changed from reporting emissions in the year wood was cut to when the wood was no longer useful to humans at some future vague date. This still left the Liberals with a major problem because as our forests rapidly disappear from logging, wildfires etc, their greenhouse gas emissions grow. So the Liberals weakened the rules governing what could be used as a carbon offset. All of this was done to try to help get Canada to reach its 2030 greenhouse emissions targets, while at the same continuing to cut Canada's forest and grow its fossil fuel industry. The sad thing climate change doesn't care whether the Trudeau Liberals play with the definitions of emissions and offsets, it simply grows ever larger in the great damage that it produces as the federal government tries to pretend it away. (

Typifying the Trudeau Liberal government approach was what it did last June in saying doing one thing while doing another in handing out massive subsidies in the purchase of  Trans Mountain: it declared a national climate emergency and immediately announce more pipeline and fossil fuel production.

But this has been the history of Liberal and Conservative government over the last quarter century. The Liberal 25 year history of promising to deal with global warming has been one long series of promises followed by actions that always fail to meet their greenhouse emissions reduction targets and often result in an increase in emissions.

“Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.” (

In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand in her last report concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (

The fossil fuel industry only continues to exist in Canada, despite all its financial and environmental costs, because of the massive regulatory and financial subsidies that it receives. 

. “The lesson of the COVID crisis is that biology is real,” environmentalist Bill McKibben says. “Trump can’t intimidate the COVID microbe. The fact that he calls it a hoax doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything.” This makes the coronavirus crisis, like the climate emergency, “different from other political issues,” says McKibben.

Another lesson of the pandemic, McKibben says, is this: “Delay is fatal. Countries like the U.S. that didn’t flatten the COVID curve early on are paying a huge price compared to ones that did, like South Korea. This is exactly the same comparison — just played out over weeks instead of decades — with the carbon curve." ... Trying to restore the global economy as it was would be like “setting up pins in the bowling alley so they get knocked down again,” said McKibben. (


As global warming increases temperatures in Canada, there are a growing number of diseases, such as Lyme disease, arriving and spreading in Canada with increasing regularity. More are expected with further temperature increases.

0:28How ticks have spread across Ontario

 How ticks have spread across Ontario

Tick season has begun across much of Canada, bringing with it the threat of Lyme disease.

Just a few decades ago, Lyme disease was pretty well unheard-of in Canada. But climate change and other factors have facilitated a growing number of cases in the last few years.

“It’s spreading geographically, so there’s more of Canada affected,” said Nick Ogden, a research scientist and director of the public health risk sciences division with the National Microbiology Laboratory. “But behind that, the seasons are longer, the numbers of ticks are increasing and the proportion that are infected is increasing.”

There were 2,025 Lyme disease cases in Canada in 2017 – the latest year for which public data is available. This is a huge jump from the mere 144 cases reported in 2009. ...

According to Health Canada, black-legged ticks are found in many parts of the country now, from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg, to southern Quebec, to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.


Having just described how the Trudeau government has subsidized the fossil fuel industry and is redefining away much of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions so that it can claim to be lowering them while these emissions continue to rise in posts #354 and #355 yesterday, the federal Liberal government today has offered more subsidies to the fossil fuel sector because of the large drop in fossil fuel prices.

Needless to say the industry is very happy that it will receive funding to help it keep emitting during a time when Covid-19 and the Russia-Saudi Arabia gas war have driven oil prices to zero and below, thereby enabling these corporations to keep on emitting greenhouse gases. 


A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Federal financing relief for large Canadian companies announced Monday was welcomed by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government despite conditions that linked the aid to climate change goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A federal financing relief package for large Canadian companies was applauded by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government on Monday despite conditions that could link the aid to an individual company's climate change goals.

In Edmonton, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews welcomed the announcement, saying that the province's large companies, particularly in oil and gas and aviation, need relief quickly. ...

Oilsands producer Cenovus Energy Inc. is pleased that Ottawa recognizes large corporations need help as well as the small and medium-sized ones, said spokeswoman Sonja Franklin.

"Today's announcement is an important signal for the markets that the government will stand behind viable businesses in this country," she said in an email.

"The federal government recognizes which sectors contribute most significantly to its revenues and needs to ensure these sectors — like oil and gas — will be there to help it pay off the massive debt it's accumulating as part of the COVID-19 relief."

The company is in a strong financial position with access to more than $6 billion in liquidity, she added, but government support is important because there's no way to know when low oil prices will recover.

Cenovus has set targets of 30 per cent greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction and flat overall emissions by 2030, as well as achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050, and therefore should have no problem meeting federal climate change requirements, she said.

The federal program goes a long way to addressing the industry's request for short-term financial liquidity help and will likely be well used as long as there are no issues with accessing the funds, said Tim McMillan, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.


While post #353 discussed an study examining the creation of extensive inhospitable regions around the world by 2070, another study warns that "potentially fatal combinations of heat and humidity are emerging across the globe" right now. 

Emerging Worldwide Hot Spots

A new study shows that extreme, sometimes potentially fatal, mixtures of heat and humidity are emerging across the globe. This map shows documented instances, with hotter colors from yellow to red signifying the worst combinations as measured on the Centigrade “wet bulb” scale. An interactive version of this map is available. Credit: Map by Jeremy Hinsdale; adapted from Raymond et al., Science Advances, 2020

Most everyone knows that humid heat is harder to handle than the “dry” kind. And recently, some scientists have projected that later in the century, in parts of the tropics and subtropics, warming climate could cause combined heat and humidity to reach levels rarely if ever experienced before by humans. Such conditions would ravage economies, and possibly even surpass the physiological limits of human survival.

According to a new study, the projections are wrong: such conditions are already appearing. The study identifies thousands of previously rare or unprecedented bouts of extreme heat and humidity in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America, including in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. Along the Persian Gulf, researchers spotted more than a dozen recent brief outbreaks surpassing the theoretical human survivability limit. The outbreaks have so far been confined to localized areas and lasted just hours, but they are increasing in frequency and intensity, say the authors. The study appears this week in the journal Science Advances.

“Previous studies projected that this would happen several decades from now, but this shows it’s happening right now,” said lead author Colin Raymond, who did the research as a PhD. student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The times these events last will increase, and the areas they affect will grow in direct correlation with global warming.” ...

Analyzing data from weather stations from 1979 to 2017, the authors found that extreme heat/humidity combinations doubled over the study period. Repeated incidents appeared in much of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan; northwestern Australia; and along the coasts of the Red Sea and Mexico’s Gulf of California. The highest, potentially fatal, readings, were spotted 14 times in the cities of Dhahran/Damman, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; and Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, which have combined populations of over 3 million. Parts of southeast Asia, southern China, subtropical Africa and the Caribbean were also hit.

The southeastern United States saw extreme conditions dozens of times, mainly near the Gulf Coast in east Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The worst spots: New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss. Such conditions also reached inland into Arkansas and along the southeastern coastal plain.

Not surprisingly, incidents tended to cluster on coastlines along confined seas, gulfs and straits, where evaporating seawater provides abundant moisture to be sucked up by hot air. In some areas further inland, moisture-laden monsoon winds or wide areas of crop irrigation appear to play the same role. ...

Prior climate studies failed to recognize most past incidents because climate researchers usually look at averages of heat and humidity measured over large areas and over several hours at a time. Raymond and his colleagues instead drilled directly into hourly data from 7,877 individual weather stations, allowing them to pinpoint shorter-lived bouts affecting smaller areas.

Humidity worsens the effects of heat because humans cool their bodies by sweating; water expelled through the skin removes excess body heat, and when it evaporates, it carries that heat away. ...

The study found that worldwide, wet-bulb readings approaching or exceeding 30C on the wet bulb have doubled since 1979. The number of readings of 31 — previously believed to occur only rarely — totaled around 1,000. Readings of 33 — previously thought to be almost nonexistent — totaled around 80.

A heat wave that struck much of the United States last July maxed out at about 30C on the wet bulb, translating into heat indexes approaching 115 F in places; the highest was 122 F, in Baltimore, Md., and a similar wave hit in August. The waves paralyzed communities and led to at least a half-dozen deaths, including those of an air-conditioning technician in Phoenix, Az., and former National Football League lineman Mitch Petrus, who died in Arkansas while working outside.

It was a modest toll; heat-related illnesses already kill more U.S. residents than any other weather-related hazard including cold, hurricanes or floods. An investigation last year by the website InsideClimate News revealed that cases of heat stroke or heat exhaustion among U.S. troops on domestic bases grew 60 percent from 2008 to 2018. ...

“We may be closer to a real tipping point on this than we think,” said Radley Horton, a Lamont-Doherty research scientist and coauthor of the paper. Horton coauthored a 2017 paper projecting that such conditions would not take hold until later in the century.

While air conditioning may blunt the effects in the United States and some other wealthy countries, there are limits. ...

But Horton points out that if people are increasingly forced indoors for longer periods, farming, commerce and other activities could potentially grind to a halt, even in rich nations-a lesson already brought home by the collapse of economies in the face of the novel coronavirus.

In any case, many people in the poorer countries most at risk do not have electricity, never mind air conditioning. There, many rely on subsistence farming requiring daily outdoor heavy labor. These facts could make some of the most affected areas basically uninhabitable, says Horton.

Kristina Dahl, a climatologist at the Union of Concerned Scientists who led a study last year warning of increasing future heat and humidity in the United States, said the new paper shows “how close communities around the world are to the limits.” She added that some localities may already be seeing conditions worse than the study suggests, because weather stations do not necessarily pick up hot spots in dense city neighborhoods built with heat-trapping concrete and pavement.

Steven Sherwood, a climatologist at the Australia’s University of New South Wales, said, “These measurements imply that some areas of Earth are much closer than expected to attaining sustained intolerable heat. It was previously believed we had a much larger margin of safety.”


After Elizabeth May said the "Oil is dead" comment, John Ivision argued in an article argued that "The Canadian oil industry is not dead yet — in fact, it may be getting better.", noting that afterwards Barclays PLC in London voted down a proposal by activist group Share Action, to quit the Canadian oilpatch. Ivision did admit that, "Financial institutions around the globe have been buckling before the might of such activist groups", but Barclays was willing to continue to invest in the Canadian sector because "the industry here is supported by the Canadian government". (

This is exactly what the problem is with Canadian oil beyond its greenhouse gase emissions - it doesn't make economic sense, as May details below in her respons to Ivison's article below. 

Despite all the evidence that fossil fuels are a declining industry that now survives in Canada only through the gargantun government subsidies outlined in post #354, the Trudeau Liberal government on Monday provided a new federal financing relief package for large Canadian companies that was applauded by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government, proving oil in Canada can only survive on life support through massive infusions of government money.

A stack belches smoke and a flare burns off gas at the Syncrude upgrader plant near Fort McMurray, Alta.

National Post columnist John Ivison contends that when I said that “oil is dead,” it was “wishful thinking,” yet the very same thing could be said of oilsands true-believers.

The difficulty in approaching the current state of the global oil market, and particularly of the lack of a future for the oilsands, is that the conversation starts with a huge number of assumptions. It is a tribute to the communications, lobbying and propaganda power of the fossil-fuel sector that wild exaggerations are made so frequently that they are accepted as true.

For example, the contribution fossil fuels makes to Canada’s gross domestic product is nowhere near what is routinely claimed. Ivison writes that the oil and gas industry is “responsible for 10 per cent of GDP; employs more than half a million people; and, contributes around $8 billion in tax revenues.” According to Natural Resources Canada, however, the oil and gas sectors combined make up 5.6 per cent of GDP (the oilsands alone have never hit three per cent of GDP), employs 169,000 people and generate $2.13 billion in tax and other revenue (federal and provincial.) ...

 Tourism, for example, contributes roughly the same amount to GDP as the oilsands and sustains far more jobs (1.8 million), right across the country. Yet the tourism sector does not have as large a megaphone as the energy sector. ...

It is also true, as Ivison writes, that, “The price of Western Canadian Select has stabilized, trading at around $22 on Thursday, but that’s still below break-even for many producers.” But it is worth knowing what “break-even” is for new oilsands bitumen. According to the Alberta government, that price is in the US$75-$85 ($105-$119) range. ...

In declaring that the oilsands lacks investors, I was relying on a great deal of evidence. The exodus of large multinational firms from Alberta’s oilpatch began long before COVID-19 or Saudi Arabia and Russia colluding to drive down prices to historic lows. Royal Dutch Shell, Total SA, Statoil (now Equinor), Conoco Philips, Imperial Oil, Marathon Oil, Exxon Mobil and even Koch Industries pulled out long ago. ...

Teck’s decision to shelve its huge proposed oilsands project, the Frontier mine, had a great deal to do with its lack of any realistic prospect of breaking even. As CEO Don Lindsay admitted when still pressing for approval, the company was uncertain it would make sense to proceed, even with government approval.We absolutely must invest in Alberta. Public funds must assist in the diversification of the Alberta economy. We need to be prepared to support the workers and communities that are impacted. Yet the reports that have been released in the last week alone make a compelling case that no federal bailout funds should go to trying to keep the existing oilsands sector afloat. One from the International Energy Agency noted that all fossil fuels were facing unprecedented drops in demand. ...

That is no surprise given the pandemic. The chief financial officer of Royal Dutch Shell told shareholders that demand might never return. Smart investors will recognize this and move their money to renewable energy, which is expected to grow by five per cent in 2020.

Still, the most authoritative study, which involved interviews with hundreds of G20 central bankers and energy analysts, was authored by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Sir Nicholas Stern, the former chancellor of the exchequer in the United Kingdom. It concluded that to support economic recovery, governments should invest in energy efficiency and renewables — not fossil fuels.

Oil’s not yet dead, but it’s on life support. It’s time to move it to palliative care.


A just released study  the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), an investor-led group which investigates how companies are preparing for the move to a low-carbon economy, concludes that, surprise, none of the six reviewed large oil and gas companies' "ambitious plans to be at net zero for operational emissions by 2050" would achieve this goal although the review did admit that the plans of the European companies, which were dependent on nature-based solutions such as planting trees and yet to be developed carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, were better than the non-existent plans of any American company. 

TPI, being an investor based organization, is extremely diplomatic in its comments on the prospects of oil and gas companies reaching zero net emissions by 2050, but behind the careful words the meaning is clear. 

John Gapper illustration - web - Efi Chalikopoulou

Claims by oil and gas companies that they are curbing their carbon emissions in line with net zero targets are overstated, according to a new review. ...

In April, Shell became the latest to announce ambitious plans to be at net zero for operational emissions by 2050. But the authors say none of the [six European] companies are yet aligned with the 1.5C temperature goal. ...

Going net zero means removing as many emissions as are produced.

TPI found that the relationship between the oil and gas industry and climate change has evolved rapidly over the last three years. 

In Europe, in 2017, no European company had set targets to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy it supplied. ...

However, despite Shell's stated commitment to having a net-zero energy business by 2050, TPI says that "the claim that it will be aligned with a 1.5C climate scenario is not consistent with our analysis." The authors say that they have not been able to assess Shell's plan to sell only its energy products to companies that are committed to net zero. ...

According to the authors, a genuine net zero strategy for the average European oil and gas company would require 100% emissions cuts between now and 2050. 

TPI point out that all of the plans they have assessed are, to some degree, dependent on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and nature-based solutions such as planting trees. "There are very significant assumptions that need further probing," said Adam Matthews, co-chair of TPI. ......

However, the authors draw a sharp contrast between the actions of these European companies and oil and gas producers in the US.

None of the dozens of American fossil fuel corporations have public disclosures on climate change comparable to Europe, which TPI says is a concern.

"We simply don't know what their intentions are on this issue, that poses a greater financial risk to us," said Adam Matthews.  "We're continuing to engage, but engagements are finite, there comes a point at which you have to draw very clear conclusions."

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Virtual Discussion: What’s next for climate law after COVID-19?

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced Canadians to rethink the ways we’re taking action to combat climate change – including the legal strategies and tools used by climate activists.

Join West Coast’s Climate Lawyer Andrew Gage for a virtual dialogue about the future of climate change law and litigation, and how we need to adapt in the context of COVID-19. In this interactive discussion, we want to hear YOUR perspectives on West Coast’s climate law initiatives and how legal strategies may evolve after the COVID-19 crisis. 

Register here.

Event Start Date: 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 12:00pm

Event End Date: 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 1:00pm


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Tsilhqot’in Finally Win Long Fight against Open Pit Mine

The planned open pit copper and gold mine that at one point included turning a lake sacred to the Tsilhqot’in Nation into a sludge pond appears finally stopped for good. The Supreme Court of Canada yesterday dismissed an appeal by Taseko Mines Ltd., after its proposed New Prosperity mine southwest of Williams Lake was previously rejected.

“We are celebrating the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision today, and taking the time to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by our communities and members to finally have their voices heard and respected,” Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse said in a statement Thursday....


ETA: Presidential candidate Joe Biden says he will cancel the Keystone pipeline if elected.

Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland has said the Liberal government will continue to push for the completion of the Keystone pipeline.

How many more billions are Kenney's funding (already $7.5 billion for TC's Energy's Keystone pipeline construction project- and Trudeau's support (total  estimated spending of $17.1 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline in February 2020 ( going to throw away pursuing pipelines that many never be finished, and if they are will lose many more billions for oil that costs $85 a barrel to produce and $10-$12 to ship on average, to say nothing of the untold damage each barrel does because of greenhouse gas emissions?


 Keystone XL has been stalled for years. Seen here, stacks of pipe from the unbuilt pipeline, piled up in a yard in Gascoyne, North Dakota, in 2015.

© Alexander Panetta The Canadian PressKeystone XL has been stalled for years. Seen here, stacks of pipe from the unbuilt pipeline, piled up in a yard in Gascoyne, North Dakota, in 2015.

Joe Biden will cancel the Keystone XL pipeline if he's elected president of the United States, his campaign said Monday in a potential death blow for the delay-plagued Canada-U.S. oil project. His staff said he would withdraw the permit issued by President Donald Trump. The emphatic statement from Biden's campaign ends months of ambiguity, as Biden had not joined other Democratic candidates in pledging to revoke the permit. ...

"It's still the right decision now. In fact, it's even more important today," said Stef Feldman in response to a query from CBC News after the U.S. site Politico reported on Biden's decision. Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room [of the White House] again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit." ...

Environmental groups targeted Keystone XL as a way of slowing down Canadian oilsands emissions, and successfully pressed Obama to reject it. Numerous court challenges also slowed efforts to start construction. Now, with building still not yet underway, there is no way the estimated two-year project can get completed until after the U.S. election in November.


We also have to face a serious backlash from the climate-negationist right wing, who say that the solution is a return to suburban sprawl and more "safer" individual motor vehicles. They are pushing their shit on many discussion boards (such as CBC and Radio-Canada).


Re #364

"Chrystia Freeland responded by saying the Canadian government supports Keystone XL: 'It is a good project that will create jobs for Canadians and it fits within our climate plan." - CBC-


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Dam Disaster in Michigan Threatens to Flood Toxic Sites

Michigan is facing a potential environmental disaster as floodwaters from two breached dams threaten the headquarters of Dow Chemical and nearby Superfund toxic cleanup sites. Dow has used the Midland, Michigan, complex for decades to produce Saran Wrap, Styrofoam, Agent Orange, mustard gas and other products. On Wednesday, Dow acknowledged there were floodwaters commingling with on-site toxic containment ponds at its facility. Dow’s complex also houses a small nuclear reactor used for research. The New York Times reports Dow filed an “unusual event” report with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission overnight citing the heavy flooding. The crisis in Michigan began on Tuesday when a pair of dams breached after two days of heavy rain.

University of California Says It Has Divested Completely from Fossil Fuels

The University of California announced Tuesday it has completely divested its $126 billion portfolio from all fossil fuel companies. The move makes UC the largest university system in the United States to meet a core demand of activists fighting the climate crisis.

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Icarus in Flight


Icarus in Flight is an original chamber work by composer Richard Festinger in collaboration with The ClimateMusic Project. 

The award-winning Telegraph Quartet performed this new work at its premiere at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco in June, 2018. 

Icarus in Flight models three human drivers of climate change–population growth, fossil fuel use, and land-use change–over two centuries, from 1880-2080. 

The work is comprised of three large sections played without pause: the first representing the years 1880 to 1945, when the data are growing slowly; the second from 1945 to 2015 when growth accelerates exponentially; and the third from 2015 to 2080.

-Population growth controls the average density of musical events over time. In this context, density means the number of musical events in a given time period. 

-Carbon emissions control the frequency range of the music, from lowest to highest pitch, increasing gradually from a perfect fifth in the middle register to a span of 6.25 octaves, before collapsing to almost nothing.

-Land-use is represented by the increasing proportion of music that is played with specialized timbres (tone colors), including mainly rapid tremolo bowing, and bowing close to the bridge

In the last section, our future, the controlling data alternate between two greenhouse gas concentration scenarios developed by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations. These two scenarios represent our current path (RCP 8.5) and a path with mitigation action (RCP 2.6). They are named after the amount of extra solar radiation that is retained by the Earth (8.5 and 2.6 Watts/m2, respectively). The path with mitigation action would limit the temperature increase from pre-industrial levels to below 2 degrees C, while on our current path, average temperatures could rise over 5 degrees C by 2100.


The title of my new quartet offers a metaphor for the trajectory of climate change. Imprisoned by King Minos on the isle of Crete, the brilliant Athenian craftsman Daedalus fashioned wings of feathers fixed with wax for himself and his son Icarus, so to escape from the isle by flight. Daedalus warned his son against flight too low or too high, to avoid both the ladening dampness of the sea and the wax-melting heat of the sun. Elated by the thrill of flight, Icarus ignored his father’s admonitions, venturing high into an environment too warm to sustain him.


Thanks to climate change Canada is getting a lot less snow as temperatures rise than it used to although overall preciptation is unchanged, which has negative consequences for flood management and water supply, especially for large Canadian cities. 

Temperature departures from the 1961–1990 average – winter 2015/2016

A map reprenting the temperature departures (see long description below)


Working with Finnish colleagues, the federal researchers combined satellite data and on-the-ground measurements. ...

Over the last 39 years, snowfall in the two countries has dropped by about 4.6 billion tonnes a year. The paper is silent on how many shovelfuls that is, but Derksen said it's about enough to fill almost two million Olympic-sized swimming pools with snowmelt. ...

The steepest drops are in the eastern part of the continent. Parts of the west have actually seen slight increases.

Derksen said regions with less snow aren't necessarily drying out. Climate change has been shortening the season for a while, and some of what used to fall as snow now comes down as rain.

"The amount of precipitation is not decreasing."

But snow is a lot easier to manage, he said.

"When (snow) melts, we can manage our reservoir levels and trap that meltwater. As soon as it rains, it runs off in streams."

That difference has important consequences for big-city water supplies as well as flood threat management. The 2013 Calgary flood is an example of what can happen when unexpected heavy rains come early in the season, said Derksen.


The following article discusses why rural people living in oil producing regions in Saskatchewan and Alberta cling to the oil industry dogma on climate change: governments have offered them no viable alternative source of income and way of living. 

The Saskatchewan government says there is a growing problem with oil wells in the province releasing levels of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), or sour gas, many times higher than what would kill a person.

6 calves were found dead on a farm near Manor, Sask., in early 2013, which a vet linked to gas poisoning

We propose that environmentalists and people living in rural oil-producing communities might find common ground by highlighting the real grievances (including environmental) that people have about oil’s impacts in their communities. Previous research conducted by Eaton and colleagues (Zink and Eaton, 2016; Eaton and Kinchy, 2016; Carter and Eaton, 2016) has documented these grievances. They include concerns about the health impacts associated with living beside oil infrastructure, impacts on farm operations and animals, the degradation of native prairie that many ranchers rely on for quality grazing, the contamination of well water, nuisances associated with increased traffic, noise, and dust and many more. If environmental and political groups began to foreground the concerns of those living amid oil they would begin to earn the trust of local people and break down the culture of silence. ...

The importance of highlighting local grievances is consistent with the role that local concerns have played in driving the resistance and opposition to fossil fuel and pipeline expansion in British Colombia and Alberta where tanker traffic, pipeline spills, First Nations sovereignty, community democracy, and local health impacts have been front and centre.

But simply amplifying the voices and grievances of rural oil-producing people will not be enough. The strident defence of the oil industry, despite its impacts, is fuelled by insecurity about the possibility of viable alternatives that can support people to stay in the communities that they call home. So far, politicians have offered no plausible alternatives for rural development in Saskatchewan. Instead, since the 1980s, governments (both ‘right’ and ‘left’, provincial and federal) have introduced policies that make rural areas more vulnerable to large capital and the vagaries of international markets while undermining social safety nets.

We have seen the destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board, the Crow Rate, incursions by large capital through intellectual property into the seed industry, the decline of farm support programmes and much more (National Farmers Union, 2009). These policies and trajectories have made farming virtually impossible for all but the largest corporate farmers. Seeing few alternatives to the oil economy, people defend what they have.  ...

These insights are crucial for both environmental organizations/activists and politicians. If we are to navigate our way through the climate impasse and have any hope of rescuing a liveable world, climate change activists and policymakers will need to speak not only to those who already agree with them. Instead, they will need to engage the communities whose livelihoods are on the line and offer them a plan for a transition they can believe in.

Generalized talk about alternatives will remain threatening for oil-producing communities. Instead, detailed, local-level work identifying specific ways forward and assessing economic and jobs implications is needed. There are certainly opportunities for good jobs in the renewable energy sectors, and those need to be developed at the community level and supported through government subsidies with the recognition that Saskatchewan boasts some of the best solar profiles and wind speeds in the country.



There 14,958 oil and gas spills across Saskatchewan between 2000 and 2018 as the following map shows,, with, of course, many more occurring since then, further increasing the risks associated with fossil fuel production for people living in the region beyond those created by greenhouse gas emissions. 


oil spills

This map shows every oil and gas spill in Sask. between 2000 and 2018

Information about thousands of oil and gas spills across Saskatchewan has been put into one convenient location by a group of researchers at the University of Regina.

Viewers can click on the map for information about spills in their communities, dating back to the year 2000. The data presented shows 18.9 billion litres of oil and other substances spilled in the province from 2000 to 2018.

“The spills map is all based on publicly available data. So anybody can see this data, it’s not secret, but the problem is people don’t know where to find it,” Patricia Elliott, one of the researchers involved in the project said.

She said it took around two years to finish analyzing and compiling the data.

The points on the map show the 14,958 spills that have occurred over the 18 year period. Spills involved bodies of water 578 times. Seventy-one per cent of the spilled substances were reported as recovered, which leaves 77 million litres behind in Saskatchewan soil and water.

"Energy and resources needs a little bit of time to look over the data, how it was interpreted, and just review that. Certainly the majority of the spills on that are seen on that map would be classified as minor or very minor. Just in terms of that data,” Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre said.

Elliott says she recognizes the importance of the oil and gas sector in Saskatchewan, but says this map visually shows the challenges the province is dealing with.

“Hopefully that awareness will lead to better control, out in the field of spills,” Elliott said. “Better monitoring more inspectors, I know the province really struggles with that.”


Below is a map of Alberta's pipeline spills totalling 29,229 between 1975 and 2013.


Leslie Young, Anna Mehler Paperny, Francis Silvaggio, and a production team from have just compiled and published the most comprehensive chronology of Alberta oil spills, spanning a period from 1975 to 2013. Following an eleven-month investigation, the reporters acquired a nearly complete set of records regarding spills of crude oil, crude bitumen, and synthetic crude in the province of Alberta for the past thirty-seven years. The data came from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), revealing the spill volume, location, cause of spill, and facility operator for each spill incident.

Here are some of the highlights from this ground-breaking report:

  • Since 1975, Alberta has averaged two oil spills every day
  • Between 1975-2013, Alberta’s oil pipeline transportation network (which now totals more than 400,000 kilometres) has suffered 28,666 crude oil spills
  • The largest oil spill in Alberta since 1975 occurred in December 1980 on a pipeline operated by Pembina that released more than 6.5 million litres of crude oil (41,500 barrels) into an area east of Valleyview
  • The province does not keep records of oil spills under 2,000 litres that originate from somewhere other than a pipeline (wells, pump stations, etc…)

In spite of the inability to analyze this data with more detail, this report is outstanding. It comprehensively uncovers the chronology of oil spills in Alberta history in staggering detail and provides excellent context and analysis of the contemporary regulations that govern the industry. This work now calls for historians to chart the findings on a timeline, analyze the data, and explain the context for this important period of Canadian economic and environmental history.


According to documents obtained by the CBC in 2013, BC had more pipeline spills than any other province between 2000 and 2012, with spills increasing sharply over time. These numbers are much lower than those given above for Alberta and Saskatchewan. I therefore I supect they represent only major spills as the data came from the Harper government, which of course wanted to minimize the number of oil spills. 

  • An interactive graphic produced by CBC News lets users explore oil and gas accidents at pipelines across Canada.

  • An interactive graphic produced by CBC News lets users explore oil and gas accidents at pipelines across Canada.


Over the course of the last decade, British Columbia has suffered more pipeline incidents than any other province in Canada.

According to documents obtained by CBC News, there were 279 “incidents” involving pipelines in B.C. between 2000 and 2012. A graphic accompanying that article indicates that most of those events and the most severe oil and gas spills occurred around Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Metro Vancouver. ...

The data also shows that the number of incidents at pipelines in B.C. and across Canada increased significantly over the period analyzed.

“By 2011, safety-related incidents—covering everything from unintentional fires to spills—rose from one to two for every 1,000 kilometres of federally-regulated pipeline,” the CBC News report states. “That reflects an increase from 45 total incidents in 2000 to 142 in 2011.”

The article then presents a quote attributed to Patrick Smyth, a spokesperson with the National Energy Board, wherein he claims that there has not been a significant increase in pipeline incidents, but that better reporting practices explain the apparent rise in spills and other accidents.

CBC News obtained the information from the National Energy Board through an access to information request. In addition to oil and natural gas leaks, it covers gas ruptures, equipment failures, and other types of incidents such as worker injuries. Not included are accidents at smaller pipelines monitored by the provinces.

CBC News also recently published an interactive graphic that lets users explore incidents at federally regulated oil pipelines across the country.

On August 26, 2013, the Straight reported on the publication of B.C. Ministry of Environment internal memos warning that the province is poorly equipped to deal with oil spills. Using frank language, the documents express a range of concerns about B.C.’s capacity to manage an oil spill given the level of existing tanker traffic off B.C.’s coast.

“Even a moderately-sized spill would overwhelm the province's ability to respond and could result in a significant liability for government,” one memo states. “The industry requirements, established by Transport Canada, are perceived as being insufficient in both scope and scale.”

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Two thirds of citizens around the world agree climate change is as serious a crisis as Coronavirus

A new Ipsos poll conducted in 14 countries finds that 71% of adults globally agree that, in the long term, climate change is as serious a crisis as Covid-19 is. The survey shows widespread support for government actions to prioritise climate change in the economic recovery after Covid-19 with 65% globally agreeing that this is important. The survey was conducted online among more than 28,000 adults between April 16th and April 19th 2020.

Another Ipsos survey, carried out online among more than 20,000 adults across 29 countries between Friday, February 21st and March 6th 2020, finds that while climate change remains the most important environmental issue for citizens globally, citizens are no more likely to say they plan to make changes to their own environmental behaviours than they were six years ago.

The top findings include:

  • Climate change remains the most important environmental issue globally, with 37% citing it as one of their three top environmental issues. Other environmental issues that are important to citizens are air pollution (33%) and dealing with the amount of waste we generate (32%), followed by deforestation (26%) and water pollution (25%). Concern for the top four issues has increased since two years ago.
  • A majority of the public globally (68%) agree that if their governments do not act now to combat climate change, they will be failing their citizens. Nearly six in ten (57%) say they would be put off from voting for a political party whose policies do not take climate change seriously.
  • Across a range of environmental behaviours, as many as two fifths globally feel they are already doing as much as they possibly can on specific behaviours. Areas where some feel they have no room to improve include recycling (40% state ‘I am already doing this as much as I possibly can’), saving energy at home (37%), and saving water at home (33%).

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Let’s build BC back better


recent global poll fielded by Ipsos found that 61% of Canadians believe that governments should “prioritize climate change” in the economic recovery after COVID-19, while a Google survey* fielded by West Coast found that 55% of British Columbians want provincial recovery efforts to build more sustainable and equitable businesses, rather than just reopening the exact same economy.

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Coronavirus: Governments’ recovery plans should take ‘green route,’ study says

The most cost-effective way for governments to jumpstart their pandemic-battered economies would be to invest in “green” stimulus policies that also serve to achieve long-term climate change goals, according to a new study published Tuesday by economists in the U.S. and the U.K.

For Canada, whose government has made a number of climate-friendly promises and set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one expert says the COVID-19 recovery will provide a chance for decision-makers to “pivot” to meet long-term environmental goals.

“It’s a wake-up call that as governments invest in the economic recovery, they need to be thinking about the level of systemic change that we’re aiming for it,” said Kathryn Harrison, professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, who has read the report by authors Cameron Hepburn, Brian O’Callaghan, Nicholas Stern, Joseph Stiglitz and Dimitri Zenghelis.....


One industry that has taken a major hit globally is the automotive manufacturing industry. Because of Covid-19 France's car industry, "Like in other countries,  has ground to a halt - with an 80% fall in sales and a backlog of nearly half a million new vehicles waiting for owners." So President Macron has announced an 8 billion euro plan to use the pandemic period to convert the industry to electric cars, raising further questions about how many other nations will follow suit. France was already Europe's top electric carmaker in 2019, but Germany was set to overtake it this year until the pandemic hit.

Meanwhile the Trudeau and Kenney governments continue to pursue expansion of the tarsands and pipelines in the hopes of a comeback by an industry that already is facing enormous decrease in demand for its product.  A recipe for economic disaster. 

The French government has announced an €8bn (£7.1bn) rescue plan for its car industry, which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Emmanuel Macron's proposal includes €1bn to provide grants of up to €7,000 to encourage citizens to purchase electric vehicles.

It also puts money toward investments to make France a centre for electric vehicle output. ...

"We need a motivational goal - make France Europe's top producer of clean vehicles by bringing output to more than one million electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years," President Macron told reporters at a press conference at the Valeo car factory in Etaples, northern France on Tuesday. ...

To help sell the 400,000 vehicles languishing in car dealerships due to the coronavirus lockdown measures, President Macron said the government would also give people upgrading to a less polluting car a €3,000 bonus, as part of a scheme open to 75% of French households. ...

Like in other countries, France's car industry has ground to a halt - with an 80% fall in sales and a backlog of nearly half a million new vehicles waiting for owners. 

President Macron - in his new post-virus spend-and-invest mode - wants to act now not just to rescue the industry from the immediate crisis, but also to prepare it for a future that will be both electric and he hopes much less dependent on foreign and in particular Chinese suppliers. 

To boost demand now, the grants for households or companies that buy new electric cars are increased, as is the so-called conversion bonus for trading in a polluting car for a cleaner one. 

The number of battery charge-points will be tripled to 100,000 by the end of next year.

The aim, Mr Macron said, is to have one million electric cars being made in France every year by 2025. 

According to IHS Markit, France was Europe's top producer of electric and hybrid cars in 2019, with almost 240,000 vehicles, but Germany is set to overtake it by the end of this year.


While other countries such as China, India Italy, Germany, and even the US under Obama, have started to move towards an electric car industry, Canada still lags behind under the Trudeau government. As the previous post describes, other countries, such as France, are using the Covid-19 pandemic economic slowdown, which has hit the auto manufacturing industry particularly hard, as a time to shift their car industries towards electric cars.  

According to the International Monetary Fund, Canada poured $60 billion ($1,650 per capita) in subsidies ( into the fossil fuel sector in 2015, and we are now spending even more with the addition of the Trans Mountain and Keystone and other new pipelines, thereby adding to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

In Canada, Quebec governments have led the way in starting an electric car industry as the url below details, but the Trudeau federal government needs to "shed its addictions to fossil fuel industry subsidies and pipelines", and start building an electric car industry, as the article below notes.

Post COVID-19 could be a time for Canada to develop a national electric vehicle strategy. Shutterstock photo. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the globe will be massively investing in, and defining policies for, economic recovery. With all fossil fuel sectors in decline, what better time to make the transition to a green economy?

And what better time for the federal government to develop an electric vehicle (EV) national strategy?

Canada does have a significant electric vehicle sector, primarily lin Quebec, and the beginnings of an EV segment in the Ontario auto industry. The current Canadian EV sector covers the entire ecosystem, such as EV school buses, trucks, urban transit buses, powertrains, batteries and raw materials, and charging infrastructure. This is backed up by world-class research capabilities. ...

But the piecemeal, one project at-a-time approach doesn’t make any sense when we are up against400 electric vehicle technology manufacturers in China. In Quebec, there are 147 EV firms, which collectively employ 6,000 people.

Among the opportunities for Canada are legislative measures taken by China and the European Union, the largest and third- largest vehicle markets, requiring a transition to electric vehicles within a few years. And once global automakers bite the bullet, despite the years to amortize their investments for the most radical change in the industry in a century, the EV technologies wrapped in newly designed vehicle platforms will be available anywhere in the world.

Traditionally, Canada has cloned U.S. initiatives to address vehicle fuel consumption. The rationale for this has been Canada is part of an integrated North American market. Yet, if there is anything we have learned from the COVID-19 crisis, it is that Canada must become more self-reliant.

To be a part of this global EV transition, Canada must look east and west, rather than habitually south. The Canadian EV sector already has ties with China and Europe. ....

With road transportation representing approximately 60 per cent of petroleum consumption, it is clear a Canadian national holistic vision is required. This entails the federal government shedding its addictions to fossil fuel industry subsidies and pipelines to serve dead-end markets and focusing on the electrification of transport, in collaboration with both the Quebec and Ontario governments plus the EU and China public and private sectors.

On developing the local EV market, one could start with either the quota concept of China or the strict emission standards of the EU. But the former is probably easier to implement.

From there, there is a whole host of prospects to explore. ....