LNG Production Powered by Renewables would Create More Jobs, Less Pollution, without Sacrificing Competitiveness

lock in jobsOn January 15, CleanEnergy Canada released the latest in its reports regarding the production of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in British Columbia. Lock in Jobs, Not Pollution urges the government of British Columbia to use renewable electricity to power the LNG facilities. The report explains that the heart of LNG facilities are their compressors, which can be powered by the traditional technology of gas turbine drives (also called direct drives or D-drives), or by the more innovative electric motor drives (E-drives), now in use in Norway. The report contends that, in comparison to the use of fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy to power e-drives would “increase regional permanent employment by 45 percent, decrease carbon pollution by 33 percent, reduce smog, and build the foundations of a renewable energy economy in Northwestern British Columbia.” The report contains detailed appendices of the methodology by which job projections and estimates of cost and competitiveness were calculated.

The report quotes numerous government statements that claim that the LNG initiatives will be the “cleanest in the world”; notably, Premier Clark stated at the World Economic Forum in China in 2012, “We want our LNG plants to be principally fuelled by renewables.” Yet in a radio interview in response to the report’s release, the B.C. Minister of Energy stated, “If we were to introduce a brand new condition, at this stage of our discussions with these LNG proponents, it would first of all be foolhardy, it would be unprofessional.” Two government-industry agreements for LNG development were announced in January, one for Kitimat and one for Prince Rupert.

For a broader discussion of the many potential sources of carbon emissions from LNG production (including the extraction of shale oil gas and transportation to the LNG processing facilities), see a recent OpEd by Alison Bailie. According to Pembina Institute estimates, if LNG development is to achieve the revenue claims made by the B.C. government, B.C.’s LNG sector would produce three-quarters as much carbon pollution as the oil sands, by 2020. The author contends that the government could reduce the carbon footprint by limiting the growth of the LNG sector, prioritizing low-carbon job creation, and setting high standards for emissions reductions technology for any projects that are allowed to proceed.

LINKS:

Lock in Jobs, Not Pollution is at CleanEnergy Canada at: http://cleanenergycanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Lock-in-Jobs-Not-Pollution.pdf, with links to previous CleanEnergy Canada reports about LNG at: http://cleanenergycanada.org/category/news-coverage/

Carbon Footprint of B.C. LNG Boom Could Rival Alberta’s Oilsands, OpEd by Alison Bailie, from Pembina Institute, originally posted at The Tyee, (Jan. 13), at: http://www.pembina.org/op-ed/2515

B.C. Government press releases re industry agreements for LNG facilities are at: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/01/major-lng-contract-awarded.html (Jan. 13, Kitimat) and http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/2014/01/second-lng-agreement-reached-for-grassy-point-with-woodside.html (Jan. 16, Grassy Narrows, Prince Rupert).

Radio interview with Energy Minister Bennett in response to the CleanEnergy report is at: http://www.cknw.com/2014/01/16/energy-minister-says-no-to-electricity-powered-lng-plants/, with response from CleanEnergy Canada at: http://cleanenergycanada.org/2014/01/16/media-statement-re-minister-bennett-remarks-powering-lng-plants/

Unifor Condemns Northern Gateway & Keystone XL, Supports Line 9, and Establishes a New Energy Council within the Union

In December, Unifor released a “primer” explaining its opposition to the Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines, and support for the smaller Line 9 pipeline. The national union condemns all recent major export pipelines on both economic and environmental grounds, asserting that export pipelines do not prioritize Canadian consumers or maximize Canadian jobs. It also fears massive exports will harm other sectors, such as manufacturing, as the Canadian dollar rises.
ANY_ITEM_HERE
Unifor asserts that the smaller Line 9 pipeline does not suffer from the same problems as the enormous export pipelines. Provided Line 9 oil is not shipped to Maine, and pending strict environmental and safety measures and First Nations approval, the union backs the Line 9 promise of energy independence and value-added manufacturing jobs, especially in Quebec. Unifor’s position echoes a statement issued by the Alberta Federation of Labour in October, which also contraposed Line 9 and major export pipelines.
ANY_ITEM_HERE
In contrast to the Unifor and AFL positions, some labour activists continue to dismiss Line 9 benefits as “myths”, instead emphasizing the magnitude of safety, environmental, and economic threats. January revelations regarding an influx of Enbridge maintenance notices filed with the NEB has reinforced concerns regarding the age and fragility of the pipeline.
ANY_ITEM_HERE
Delegates to Unifor’s Ontario Regional Council meeting in December approved recommendations for a long-term national energy strategy, including emissions targets and a climate action plan, energy independence, and a national energy grid. They also endorsed the National Executive Board’s call for a moratorium on unconventional fracking, until environmental and First Nations concerns have been addressed. Arriving at a national energy and environmental strategy for Unifor will be the task of its new Energy Council, soon to be constituted by delegates from all energy-related locals in the union.
ANY_ITEM_HERE
LINKS: 
ANY_ITEM_HERE
Debating Pipelines: A Primer is available at the Unifor website at: http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/documents/document/pipeline_primer_dec_2013.pdf
ANY_ITEM_HERE

Press release regarding Unifor Ontario Council Recommendation for a National Energy and Environmental Policy is at: http://www.unifor.org/en/whats-new/news/unifor-ontario-council-calls-national-energy-and-environmental-strategy.

ANY_ITEM_HERE

The official statement of Recommendations is available at: http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/attachments/ont_council_energy_recommendation.pdf

ANY_ITEM_HERE

The Alberta Federation of Labour statement is available at: http://www.afl.org/index.php/Press-Release/afl-makes-final-argument-in-favour-of-enbridge-line-9-pipeline.html.

“Six reasons why some labour is rallying against Line 9”, a Rabble.ca blog (Nov. 2013) is available at: http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/jesse/2013/11/six-reasons-why-some-labour-rallying-against-line-9

Enbridge launches hundreds of digs for cracks in Line 9 (Jan. 21, 2013) at CBC Hamilton website at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/news/enbridge-launches-hundreds-of-digs-for-cracks-in-line-9-1.2504175

Coalition for Infrastructure Investment Adopts Framework with Community Labour Standards

The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX) is a partnership between Oregon, California, Washington state, and British Columbia. It’s goal is “to promote near-term job creation and long-term economic competitiveness by improving and accelerating infrastructure development, as we look to make $1 trillion in infrastructure investments along the West Coast in the next 30 years in a time of fiscal uncertainty and climate change.” On January 2nd, WCX released the final version of its Framework document to define the types of public infrastructure projects they will seek and how they will structure investments. WCX states that it has chosen to use the terms “Infrastructure Investment Partnership (IIPS)” and “Performance-Based Infrastructure Solution (PBIS)”, on the grounds that the traditional term, Public Private Partnership (P3), is misunderstood and misinterpreted. The Framework document uses these terms in Section 1.6.7 relating to Community Labor Standards: “Projects executed through IIPs or PBISs should adopt labor standards as would be afforded under the traditional public procurement and operations model, providing comparable wages, benefits, and worker protections, including the right to organize and collectively bargain, as well as ensuring that contractors have a history of compliance with community health and safety, wage and working hour standards. All projects should follow the relevant labor requirements of the sponsoring jurisdiction, including working with labor representatives to provide continued employment opportunities for the existing workforce and to maintain wages and benefits where relevant.”

LINKS:

West Coast Infrastructure Exchange website is at: http://westcoastx.com/Infrastructure Project Certification – Principles and Framework is at:http://westcoastx.com/home/discussion-forum.html

An explanatory press release is at: http://westcoastx.com/news/wcx-releases-final-project-standards.html

Disputing Oil and Gas Industry Claims for Job Creation in the U.S. and in California

The Center for American Progress has taken issue with the claims made by the American Petroleum Institute (API) in its 2013 testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The API stated that the natural gas and oil industry supports 9.2 million U.S. jobs and accounts for 7.7 % of the U.S. economy, based on two studies which estimated direct, indirect, and induced job effects in the oil and gas industry. The studies were conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and commissioned by API. The Center for American Progress disputes these claims, basing their own analysis on Bureau of Labor Statistics data for employment in upstream activities (oil and gas extraction, well drilling, and operation support), and downstream activities (petroleum refining, product sales through dealers and gas stations, and pipeline construction and transportation). CAP did not include indirect jobs. CAP estimates that there are less than 2 million direct jobs in the oil and gas industry, and nearly 50% of those jobs occur in gas stations. Their analysis also shows that BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and Shell have shed a net total of nearly 12,000 U.S. jobs since 2007.

Another U.S. research centre, NextGeneration, has waded into California’s political discussion about the Monterey Shale development by publishing a series of six articles. In one of these articles, Too Big to Believe, five prominent economists from California universities critique the methodology and results of an influential study published in March 2013, Powering California. Powering California, conducted at the University of Southern California and sponsored by Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), included optimistic and widely publicized estimates of an increase of 512,000 net new jobs by 2015 and 2.8 million net new jobs by 2020. Yet Too Big to Believe states: “Each of the economists said the study’s findings were unreliable and inflated. They cast doubt on its methodology, which did not base its estimates on any projections for oil production or capital investment in California oil; instead, the study’s authors said they extrapolated from the effects of economic growth in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming.”

In Keeping the Story Straight, the final article in the NextGeneration series, the results of Powering California are contrasted with two other economic impact studies done by industry-related organizations: one by IHS Consultants, and another commissioned by the Western States Petroleum Association and conducted by California State University at Fresno. In both cases, estimated job impacts were “negligible” or modest.

LINKS:

Big Oil, Small Jobs: A Look at the Oil Industry’s Dubious Job Claims is at the Center for American Progress at: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2014/01/22/82571/big-oil-small-jobs-a-look-at-the-oil-industrys-dubious-job-claims/
ANY_ITEM_HERE

Too Big to Believe: Top Economists Doubt California Oil Industry’s Jobs Figures at: http://thenextgeneration.org/blog/post/top-economists-doubt-california-oil-industrys-jobs-figures, and Keeping the Story Straight: Industry Reports at Odds in California Oil at: http://thenextgeneration.org/blog/post/industry-reports-at-odds-on-california-oil

Powering California: The Monterey Shale and California’s Economic Future is at: http://wms.communicationsinstitute.org/energy/powering-california-project/powering-california-the-monterey-shale-californias-economic-future/ 

The Business Case for a Circular Economy: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle as a Solution to Coming Shortages of Raw Materials

On January 24 at the the World Economic Forum, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched Project Mainstream, a collaborative project involving large enterprises capable of bringing the circular economy from small-scale pilot projects to the mainstream of business. The press release states: “With commodity prices almost tripling in the last 10 years, businesses and governments are now recognizing this as an opportunity to manage input cost volatility, as this approach decouples economic growth from finite supplies of primary resources.” Towards the Circular Economy, the report which accompanied the launch, finds that “over US$1 trillion a year could be generated by 2025 for the global economy and 100,000 new jobs created for the next five years if companies focused on encouraging the build-up of circular supply chains to increase the rate of recycling, reuse and remcircular economy v 3anufacture.” As an article in The Guardian points out, this initiative intends to tackle the scale and complexity of global supply chains-as well as a crucial stumbling block in recycling – the toxic contents of some products. Canadian readers will be familiar with these concepts from the 2013 report, Closing the Loop: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Zero Waste in BC, which focused on the benefits to consumers and the environment. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has published reports on the Circular Economy since 2010.

LINKS:

Towards the Circular Economy Vol.3: Accelerating the Scale-up Across Global Supply Chains is available from a link at: http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/business/reports/ce2014, and previous reports are available at: http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/business/reports

“Circular Economy offers Business Transformation and $1tn of Savings” (Jan. 24) in The Guardian at: http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/circular-economy-business-transformation-one-trillion-savings

Closing the Loop: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Through Zero Waste in BC, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Climate Justice Project (March 2013) is available at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/closing-loop

Canada Reports Climate Progress: 2020 Targets Further out of Reach as Oil Sands Emissions Rise

In late December, Canada quietly submitted its sixth report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), opting not to accompany the submission with an announcement or press release. The government reported a trend of increasing greenhouse gas emissions, largely attributable to the rapidly expanding oil sands, and admits that Canada is on track to miss the 2020 emissions reduction targets committed to in Copenhagen. The report emphasizes the “sector-by-sector” approach to emissions reduction programs, but also indicates that a lack of policy intervention in the oil and gas industry could mean Canada’s emissions will exceed the 2020 target by 20%, and continue to grow another 33% by 2030. Canada has not indicated how it plans to address its difficulties with meeting its targets, and in December, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the long-awaited release of oil and gas regulations could be delayed for another two years. The issue may be a factor in President Obama’s Keystone XL pipeline decision, which he has said would be influenced by Canada’s climate plan.

By contrast, the US submission to the UNFCC contains specific goals associated with the Climate Action Plan implemented by President Obama last summer. The submission was further substantiated by the January 16th release of a progress report on the Plan, outlining US federal initiatives to reduce carbon pollution and increase energy efficiency.

LINKS:

Canada’s Sixth National Communication and First Biennial Report on Climate Change (January 2014): The Executive Summary is available at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/default.asp?lang=En&xml=109109A8-6636-418C-B743-94CD3459FB6B, and the full report is available at: http://www.unfccc.int/files/national_reports/non-annex_i_natcom/submitted_natcom/application/pdf/final_nc_br_dec20,_2013%5B1%5D.pdf.

“Emissions will Soar after 2020 without Oil-sector Regulation, Federal Report Says” in the Globe and Mail (Jan. 8, 2014) at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/emissions-will-soar-after-2020-without-oil-sands-regulation-federal-report-says/article16250220/.

“Canada’s New Emission Rules on Hold Again, Harper Says” in the Globe and Mail (Dec. 19, 2013) is at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadas-new-emissions-rules-on-hold-again-harper-says/article16065033/.

2014 U.S. Climate Action Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is available at: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/rls/rpts/car6/index.htm.

January 2014 Progress Report: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/fact_sheet_-_cap_progress_report_2014-01-16.pdf.

Was the Oil and Gas Lobby Behind Bill C-38?

A report released in December 2013 by ForestEthics alleges that recent changes to Canada’s Environmental Assessment Act under Bill C-38 were drawn from a report from the Energy Policy Institute (EPIC), an organization whose members include all the major oil and gas companies. EPIC’s recommendations, written in August 2012 but only recently uncovered, included eliminating external costs including climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and upstream and downstream effects from energy project analysis, completing assessments early and only asking for details later, and excluding effects that are common to other projects. Who Writes the Rules? A Report on Oil Industry Influence, Government Laws and the Corrosion of Public Process asserts that Bill C-38 violates the public right to voice opinions during project review processes. The bill granted the National Energy Board (NEB) the authority to select hearing participants from those who submitted a newly-required nine-page application. Further, all concerns regarding external costs, such as downstream health effects, can no longer be included in project analysis.

Similar concerns were voiced in a December 2012 report from the Polaris Institute, which said federal cabinet ministers met six major oil industry players 53 times during the year Bill-38 was being developed. During the same period, a minister met an environmental group only once.

Read the backgrounder for Who Writes the Rules? A Report on Oil Industry Influence, Government Laws and the Corrosion of Public Process at:  http://www.forestethics.org//sites/forestethics.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/ForestEthicsAdvocacy_Who-Writes-The-Rules-BACKGROUNDER.pdf, and the full report at: http://forestethics.org/sites/forestethics.huang.radicaldesigns.org/files/Who_writes_the_rules.pdf.

Big Oil’s Oily Grasp (2012) by the Polaris Institute is available at: http://polarisinstitute.org/bigoilsoilygrasp.

Rail Transport of Oil and Gas is an Issue for Worker Safety as well as Public Safety

In a communique released on January 23, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) jointly issued recommendations to improve the safe transportation of crude oil by rail. The recommendations – described as strong, urgent, and unprecedented – spring from their investigations into the Lac-Mégantic disaster, which identified critical weaknesses in the North American rail system. “Today we are making three recommendations calling for tougher standards for Class 111 tank cars; route planning and analysis; and emergency response assistance plans.” Transport Minister Raitt committed only to review the recommendations, and highlighted the steps already taken, including to hire more rail inspectors and “to set the groundwork for creating whistleblower protection for employees who raise safety concerns.” Transport Canada already issued new regulations for Class 111 tank cars on January 10th and appointed a Railway Safety Advisory Committee, composed of railway companies, Transport Canada, the Railway Association of Canada, provinces, shippers, suppliers and municipalities. The Advisory Committee is tasked to look at issues including operator fatigue and crew sizes, yet there is no inclusion of labour unions, even though the Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC) and their Maintenance of Way Employees Division (TCRC-MWED) represent 12,000 workers who operate the trains and repair the tracks, and Unifor Rail Division represents another 9,000 rail workers in Canada. The Teamsters have launched their own rail safety campaign, Things are Falling off the Rails, at: http://teamstersrail.ca/background.htm.

Read the Canadian Transportation Safety Board communique at: http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/medias-media/communiques/rail/2014/r13d0054-20140123.asp. The response by Transport Canada Minister Lisa Raitt to the CTSB communique is at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?nid=811029. See also the January 10 press release re:rail car regulations at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=advSrch&crtr.page=2&crtr.dpt1D=6695&nid=808769 and the appointment of the Rail Safety Advisory Committee (Oct. 2013) at: http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?crtr.sj1D=&crtr.mnthndVl=1&mthd=advSrch&crtr.dpt1D=&nid=783579

WikiLeaks Releases Environmental Chapter in the Transpacific Trade Talks, Labelling it a “Public Relations Exercise”

On January 15th, Wikileaks released the draft Environmental Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. The Chapter was written on Nov. 24, 2013, in advance of the December 10th Singapore meetings of the participant countries: Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. Wikileaks had this to say about the proposed environmental provisions of the trade deal: “The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.” (see  http://wikileaks.org/tpp-enviro/pressrelease.html). Wikileaks also posted an analysis of the Environment Chapter from a New Zealand perspective, by Professor Jane Kelsey, at: http://wikileaks.org/tppa-environment-chapter.html.

In a blog by Stuart Trew of the Council of Canadians, the provisions in the TPP draft chapter are likened to the current environmental protections under NAFTA (see  http://www.canadians.org/blog/climate-change-safeguarded-tpp-environment-chapter). This is a point of view also expressed in a 2013 report by the Sierra Club, which reviewed all chapters of the TPP (see Raw Deal:How the Trans-Pacific Partnership threatens our Climate at: http://sc.org/RawDealReport).

The more recent response to the leaked Environment chapter from the Sierra Club, in conjunction with Natural Resources Defence Council and the WWF, describes the dispute resolution process as a “vastly insufficient process” “…an unacceptable rollback of previous commitments and renders the obligations in this chapter virtually meaningless.” (see http://sc.org/TPPEnvironment). Even before the Wikileaks revelations, BlueGreen Alliance, like many others in the U.S., was protesting the attempt to “fast-track” the TPP approval process through the U.S. Congress; see http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/latest/bluegreen-alliance-statement-fast-track-bill-strips-transparency-restricts-democratic-process. The Council of Canadians is one of more than 30 organizations participating in a January 31 Intercontinental Day of Action against the TPP and Corporate Globalization. (see http://www.flushthetpp.org/inter-continental-day-of-action-against-the-tpp-corporate-globalization/).

EU Proposes New Emissions Targets for 2030, Weak Regulation of Fracking, and No Extension to the European Fuel Quality Directive

After hard-fought negotiations, the members of the European Union finally agreed on January 22 to a compromise Framework proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and a goal of producing 27% of all energy from renewable sources by 2030. The European carbon emissions trading system (EUTS) will be reformed, and the goal of improving energy efficiency by 25% by 2030 will be an “indicative target”, not legally binding. Fracking will also be governed by non-binding recommendations rather than regulation. Most significantly for Canada, the Fuel Quality Directive will not be renewed after its expiry in 2020 – a move away from the support of biofuels, and which might allow for Alberta oil to enter the European fuel supply chain. The Canadian government has lobbied actively for such a change.  

ANY_ITEM_HERE

See “EU May Scrap Green Fuel Law in Boon for Tar Sands Industry” at Inside Climate News http://insideclimatenews.org/content/eu-may-scrap-green-fuel-law-boon-tar-sands-industry, and for background, the Natural Resources Defense Council blog, Canadian Tar Sands Exports to Europe could Grow from a Trickle to a Flood Undermining Europe’s Climate Goals (Jan. 2014) at: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/aswift/canadian_tar_sands_exports_to.html

The European Council will consider the framework proposals at its spring meeting in March.

From the EU Commissioner on Climate Action: “…The details of the framework will now have to be agreed, but the direction for Europe has been set. If all other regions were equally ambitious about tackling climate change, the world would be in significantly better shape.” Read the analysis from The Guardian (U.K.)(Jan.22) at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/22/eu-carbon-emissions-climate-deal-2030 and the New York Times (Jan. 22) at: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/23/business/international/european-union-lowers-ambitions-on-renewable-energy.html?hp. The press release, with links to official documents, is at the European Commission website at: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-14-54_en.htm.

Environmental groups disagree with the positive spin: according to the Friends of the Earth Europe, the negotiators “…seem to have fallen for the old-think industry spin that there must be a trade-off between climate action and economic recovery. This position completely ignores the huge financial cost of dealing with the impacts of climate change and the €500 billion the EU is spending every year on oil and gas imports”. (at: https://www.foeeurope.org/2030_climate_energy_plan_220114). About fracking, the FOE had this to say: “… attempts to regulate the fracking industry have been undermined by heavy corporate lobbying and pressure from certain member states intent on fracking their lands.” … “With the heavy support from José Manuel Barroso, the United Kingdom, Poland, and Romania have all played a leading role in undermining shale gas legislation, with allies Hungary, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Slovakia.” See https://www.foeeurope.org/shale_gas_framework_220114. An article in The Guardian (Jan. 14) offers a detailed analysis of the significant role played by the U.K. to weaken the fracking regulations (see at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/14/uk-defeats-european-bid-fracking-regulations).

UN Climate Chief Urges Institutional Investors to Move to Low-Carbon Assets

According to CERES, a non-profit advocacy coalition, “Since 2003, the biennial Investor Summit on Climate Risk at the United Nations has been the pre-eminent forum for leading institutional investors in North America, Europe and the rest of the world to discuss the implications of climate change for capital markets and their portfolios.” At this year’s summit on January 15, Christine Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told the audience of 500 global leaders: “The pensions, life insurances and nest eggs of billions of ordinary people depend on the long-term security and stability of institutional investment funds. Climate change increasingly poses one of the biggest long-term threats to those investments and the wealth of the global economy.” She urged investors to move out of high-carbon assets and into assets built on renewable energy, energy efficiency and more sustainable ways of business that green global supply chains.

A related report by CERES, Investing in the Clean Trillion: Closing the Clean Energy Investment Gap, was released at the Summit. It provides recommendations for investors, companies and policymakers to increase annual global investment in clean energy to at least $1 trillion by 2030- up from a current investment level of approximately $300 billion. A related report by Cleantech Group pegs the level of worldwide global investment in cleantech venture companies at $6.8 billion in 2013.

LINKS:

2014 Investor Summit on Climate Risk website is at http://www.ceres.org/investor-network/investor-summit

UNFCC press release regarding Christine Figueres’ statement is at: http://unfccc.int/files/press/press_releases_advisories/application/pdf/pr20140115_ceres_final1.pdf. Watch a 2-minute video of an interview with Ms. Figueres’ at: http://climatedesk.org/2014/01/un-climate-chief-calls-for-tripling-of-clean-energy-investment/

To download the CERES Report: Investing in the Clean Trillion: Closing the Clean Energy Investment Gap, or the Executive Summary go to: http://www.ceres.org/resources/reports/investing-in-the-clean-trillion-closing-the-clean-energy-investment-gap/view – registration required.

Summary of the Cleantech Groups Investment report is at http://www.cleantech.com/2014/01/08/i3-quarterly-investment-monitor-reports-6-8-billion-cleantech-venture-investment-2013/

Davos World Economic Forum has Leaders Talking Climate Investment

Climate change and the green economy represented major issues at the 2014 World Economic Forum at Davos, from January 22nd to 25th. UNFCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim called for strong climate action, and Figueres warned that failure to establish a binding international agreement on climate change by 2015 would place the global economy at risk. Talks that addressed global finance and the green economy noted the potential of green bonds to fund adaptive and mitigative efforts while stimulating the economy. Kim suggested doubling the size of the green bond market to $20 billion before the next Climate Summit, and doubling it again before the following summit in December 2015.

ANY_ITEM_HERE

In early January, WEF released Climate Adaptation: Seizing the Challenge that similarly emphasized the role of investment and the private sector in addressing climate change. According to the report, investing in adaptation measures could help avert up to 65% of the projected increase in losses due to climate change. The report presents a framework developed by Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) to assist the public and private sector to quantify possible losses and the cost of adaptation projects, as well as attract private investors to fund those projects. The final day of Davos focussed on discussion of the circular economy – the use of circular supply chains, and increased re-use, recycling, and remanufacture. (See the feature item above for more).

For highlights of speeches, blogs and press releases related to climate change and sustainability at the WEF, see: http://forumblog.org/topic/sustainability/

 

Climate Adaptation: Seizing the Challenge is available at: http://www.weforum.org/reports/climate-adaptation-seizing-challenge

For coverage by the Globe and Mail, see “Davos summit Aims to Press Reset Button” (Jan 20) at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/davos-summit-aims-to-press-reset-button/article16419504/; “Davos summit calls for cleaner energy, focus on climate change” (Jan. 22) at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/davos-summit-calls-for-cleaner-energy-focus-on-climate-change/article16457713/; “Sovereignty is Canada’s top priority in the North, Baird tells Davos forum” (Jan. 23) at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/sovereignty-is-canadas-top-priority-in-the-north-baird-tells-davis-forum/article16470142/.

Live Coverage by The Guardian (U.K.) is at:

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/jan/24/davos-2014-climate-change-resource-security-sustainability-day-three-live?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487 and http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2014/jan/25/davos-2014-climate-change-resource-scarcity-sustainability-day-four-live.

Northern Gateway Headed to Court as NEB Approval Provokes Criticism of Review Process

On December 19th, the National Energy Board granted conditional approval to the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, citing 209 conditions.The federal NDP and Green parties criticized the decision, while some opponents of the pipeline allege the joint review panel itself has been “undemocratic” and has undermined the integrity of the environmental review process in general, echoing an August 2013 lawsuit in which NGO ForestEthics claimed NEB public participation rules were unconstitutional. A series of at least 10 lawsuits has been launched in response to the NEB approval, notably one by B.C. Nature and one by a coalition of NGOs including EcoJustice, ForestEthics, Living Oceans Society, and Rainforest Conservation Foundation. The environmental groups allege the Joint Review Panel (JRP) final report contains serious legal and scientific gaps, such as uncertainty regarding geohazards along the pipeline route and the behaviour of spilled bitumen in marine environments. They claim the JRP also failed to address legal obligations to the humpback whale and caribou populations whose habitats lie in the pipeline path, both of which are protected under the Species at Risk Act.

Three First Nations, Gitxaala, Git’gat, and Haisla, have launched lawsuits of their own calling for federal review of the NEB decision. They claim their unique constitutional rights regarding development on their lands were also neglected during the review process.

Read the press release from EcoJustice on their lawsuit at: http://www.ecojustice.ca/media-centre/press-releases/environmental-groups-launch-lawsuit-over-flawed-northern-gateway-report. CBC coverage of lawsuits from environmental groups is available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/northern-gateway-pipeline-report-draws-lawsuit-1.2501051; coverage of First Nations lawsuits is available at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/gitga-at-northern-gateway-lawsuit-joins-9-other-challenges-1.2507155.

According to West Coast Environmental Law, Enbridge may be experiencing difficulty attracting investment to the project in light of persistent opposition. See: NEB’s Thumbs Up Ignores Wall of Opposition that will Stop Enbridge (Jan. 16) is at: http://wcel.org/resources/environmental-law-alert/neb%E2%80%99s-thumbs-ignores-wall-opposition-will-stop-enbridge.