Our Changing Seasons: There’s hope for the climate in Peterborough and around the world

Students are adding their voices to the global call for change.

This article was written by Guy Hanchet and was published in the Peterborough Examiner on March 24, 2023.

My eldest granddaughter will turn 13 in May. The day after she was born, her parents brought her to visit and she fell asleep on my belly. Her helplessness and comfort woke me up to take whatever actions I could to protect her from the climate crisis that I had been reading about. My reasons for hope for the future — the subject of this article — all stem from that moment.

I have found, since that day, many reasons to be hopeful about the future — not by denying or tuning out the massive climate mess we’re in, but by facing it and taking action alongside many other people. I want to share my five main reasons for hope with you, and I invite you to share yours too!


The week after my granddaughter was born, I joined a climate action group in Toronto that seemed perfect — For Our Grandchildren. In addition to organizing information meetings, protesting on Parliament Hill, and writing letters to government representatives, our main activity was to seek out climate change stories in the press and bring them to the attention of people reading our blog.

At first, it was hard to find anything. And, most of what we did find was either news about how bad it was somewhere else, or else outrageous news about our own governments’ inaction. There were also lots of opinion pieces claiming that climate change was a hoax. I found it all very frustrating. The headlines did not come close to reflecting my impatience or the need I felt for urgent action. I wanted to march in the streets — surely if people really understood the urgency and what was at stake, they would want to take action?

I moved to Peterborough a few years later and brought 4RG with me. We held a march down George Street and I still remember my elation when the headline in the Examiner (to its credit), on the front page, above the fold, in the biggest font they have, used the words Climate Change. My ecstasy was an indication of just how rarely the topic was mentioned in the press.


Now, 13 years after my granddaughter’s birth, climate news is reported all the time. There’s so much it’s overwhelming: in the papers, on the radio, on the TV news. Coverage is still mostly about how bad it is, but it’s about now, not some hypothetical future, and it’s closer to home, with forest fires and floods and heat domes in Canada and Ontario, so people are paying closer attention.

Another difference in 13 years? You’ll only rarely see articles that deny reality. Now, finally, the discussion is mostly about what to do about it. Regulations? Carbon Price? Subsidies? All of the above?

Public perception about climate has changed. People are more aware, and the conversation has mainly shifted from a debate about what’s happening to a debate about how to respond to what’s happening.

Solutions awareness

Some of the new media attention centres on the concept of solutions journalism, a focus on what is being done to combat the problem. The CBC show “What on Earth” is a good example of this. In addition, the specialty news outlet Energy Mix includes lots of examples of positive hopeful actions. And the examples aren’t all from far away places like Denmark — some of them are from right here in Canada, even in Ontario.

If you ever need a dose of hope, the For Our Grandchildren website (4RG.CA) is kept up to date with hopeful news stories.

Solutions are real

My next reason for hope is the biggest. The world is nearing the point where renewable energy is less expensive than burning fossil fuels. In some corners, we are already there.

What this means is that we can ask individuals to make changes that are good for their own pocket book, that will save them money, and that are also good for their health and for the environment. People and politicians acting in their own self-interest are now motivated to do the right thing for the world.

For example, you can buy an electric vehicle that will save you money over its total useful lifetime. School buses are available that will not only save money over their lifetime, but also avoid exposing our children to hours of breathing diesel fumes every day. City buses are available that have similar benefits. All these cost more up front, but they have total savings over their lifetimes, as well as benefits to the environment and health.

Another example is air source heat pumps that run on electricity. Many homes can install an ASHP that will cost more initially than a gas furnace, but that will save homeowners money over the total lifetime of operating it. You can replace your gas stove with an electric induction one and, while you might not necessarily save money on it, your family won’t be incurring the health damages caused by burning methane in your home.

Youth involvement

Since 2018, students have graduated from Peterborough’s Youth Leadership in Sustainability program, which allows high school students to learn the facts and to get experience engaging in ways that are needed to change the world.

A couple of years ago, they painted a parachute that was part of a presentation on Parliament Hill demanding the Canadian Government take action. Last year, they presented at the COP15 Biodiversity Conference in Montreal. Our young citizens are not going to let us fail. It’s up to us to take hope from their passion and to stand with them.

Is it too late?

Climate scientists have been talking about a time when we will cross tipping points where reinforcing feedbacks will make further change unstoppable. Recent climate models show that when we reduce emissions to near zero, the climate system will stabilize within 3 to 5 years. It’s not the physics of climate change that is baked in, it’s the politics and economics. And these can change because they’re up to us!

This week’s IPCC report combines the urgency of the climate crisis with the message that humanity has all the knowledge and tools it needs to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deliver the financing to help affected regions, countries, and communities respond.

When I was talking to the YLS class in December, I told them that it is too late to get back to the world I knew when I was a boy, but it’s not too late to make a difference, to make the changes needed to have a livable world. But we’ve got to push the people who can make the change.

I believe that by sharing our hope and acting together, we can find the will — and the energy! — to shift our economy from fossil fuel dependence to an economy and society worthy of our grandchildren and the generations to follow.

As the days get longer and spring begins for us, my hope for you is that you will join me in taking heart … and taking action! I’m offering copies of “Saving Us,” a recent book by Katharine Hayhoe, to the first three people who email me at guy@hanchet.ca in the hope that it will inspire you to take whatever actions feel right to you.

Guy Hanchet, president of For Our Grandchildren, is filling in for Drew Monkman this week. For 13 years he has been a passionate advocate for action to limit the damage of the climate crisis.

Climate crisis update

Hopeful News: It’s Not Too Late: There is mounting evidence showing that the alarming news about climate feedback loops and climate tipping points that is causing us to fear that it’s too late to act is not accurate. In fact, recent models show that once we stop emitting greenhouse gasses and destroying ecosystems, the climate will stabilize within 3 to 5 years. Read the complete story at: https://tinyurl.com/ycdshvsc

Carbon Dioxide: CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to hover above 420 PPM. For the week ending March 18, they reached 420.10, up by 23 from 397.16 ten years earlier. The 2015 Paris agreement to keep temperature rise below 1.5C is equivalent to about 450 PPM. You can find CO2 levels on any date in the last thousand years at: https://tinyurl.com/4scv5aky

Local Action: Many Climate champions say that talking to others is the best thing that you can do to combat climate change. Last Monday’s 4RG Meet gave some ideas about how to engage with people. View the recording and the slide deck at: https://tinyurl.com/y9sys89z.

Wind industry predicts bounceback and rapid growth in 2023

This article was written by Jennifer McDermott of the Associated Press and was published in the Toronto Star on March 27, 2023.

The wind power industry on Monday projected growth to rapidly accelerate this year, with incentives and policy changes in key nations helping to overcome factors that led to a slowdown in 2022.

The Global Wind Energy Council in Brussels also cited concern about climate change, as well as secure energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, for a fast-growth outlook in its annual Global Wind Report. The international trade association projected 680 gigawatts of new onshore and offshore wind will be installed by 2027 – enough to power about 657 million homes annually.

“The twin challenges of secure energy supplies and climate targets will propel wind power into a new phase of extraordinary growth,” the council said in its report.

The wind power market stalled in 2022 because of government policies that encouraged “race to the bottom” pricing, and because of inflation, higher logistics costs and inefficient permitting and licensing rules, the council said. The industry added about 78 gigawatts of wind capacity globally in 2022 — down 17% from 2021, but still the third-best year ever for new capacity.

This year, the industry will reach a historic milestone — 1 terawatt, or 1,000 gigawatts, of wind energy installed worldwide, the council said. The 2-terawatt milestone should come in 2030 if policymakers strengthen supply chains to meet demand and address permitting and other bottlenecks, the council added.

“2023 will mark the start of a decisive turnaround,” Council CEO Ben Backwell wrote in the report. “Governments of all the major industrialized nations have enacted policies that will result in a significant acceleration of deployment.”

The council pointed to incentives for renewable energy development in the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, and policies in Europe and China that further expand the role of renewables. Vietnam and the Philippines are enacting new plans for wind, India seems set to pick up the pace, and Brazil will continue to establish itself as a wind energy powerhouse, the report said.

China led the world in both onshore and offshore wind development last year, and is expected to continue to lead in 2023. The Asia-Pacific region surpassed Europe in 2022 as the world’s largest offshore wind market, according to the report. Europe continues to build the most floating offshore wind farms.

The industry’s year-over-year growth, forecast to be 15%, is enormous compared to most other industries, the council said. But even that rapid growth will fall short of what experts say wind needs to contribute to renewables growth by 2030 to stay within the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming threshold that scientists have said is imperative to prevent the worst effects of climate change.

“The message for policymakers from this year’s Global Wind Report is clear: it is time to double down on your ambition and deliver the support that will secure the clean energy future dawning in front of us,“ Backwell said in a statement.

Australia steps toward making big polluters reduce emissions

This article was written by Rod McGuirk of the Associated Press and was published in the Toronto Star on March 27, 2023.

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government took a major step toward implementing a key climate policy that would force chief greenhouse gas polluters to reduce emissions, with the minor Greens party pledging their support Monday.

The center-left Labor Party administration said the so-called Safeguard Mechanism reforms are essential to Australia reaching its target of reducing its emissions by 43% below 2005 levels by the end of the decade. The reforms would create a ceiling on the nation’s emissions and force Australia’s 215 biggest polluting facilities to reduce their emissions over time.

The Climate Council, a leading climate communicator, described the reforms as the first Australian legislation in a decade that would regulate greenhouse gas pollution.

With the support of the Greens’ 11 senators, the government only needs the backing of two unaligned or minor party senators to get the reforms through the upper chamber. Greens leader Adam Bandt said a “hard cap” on emissions would mean that half of the 116 new coal and gas projects proposed in Australia would not go ahead.

The amount of greenhouse gas emissions allowed under the cap has not been made public. The cap would be reduced over time as polluters scaled back their emissions.

“The Greens, through the negotiations, has secured a big hit on oil and gas,” Bandt told reporters as he confirmed his party’s support for the reforms.

The legislation was passed Monday by the House of Representatives, where Labor holds a majority of seats.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the Safeguard Mechanism “is the vehicle to achieve our commitment for 43% reduction by 2030.”

Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen said that without the mechanism, Australia would only reduce its emissions by 35% by the end of the decade.

“Today we’re a big step closer to passing the Safeguard Mechanism reforms through Parliament,” Bowen said.

The reforms would reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 205 million metric tons (226 million U.S. tons) by 2030, equivalent to taking two-thirds of Australia’s cars off the road in the same time, Bowen said.

Big polluters would be able to buy carbon credits to help achieve their emission reduction targets. But polluters that use carbon credits to achieve more than 30% of their abatement would have to explain why they were not doing more to reduce their own emissions.

Opposition climate change and energy spokesperson Ted O’Brien rejected the reforms, saying capping emissions would drive Australian industrial investment offshore to China and India.

“This is not a plan to decarbonize the Australian economy but rather a plan to deindustrialize it,” O’Brien said.

The conservative opposition created the Safeguard Mechanism when it was in power in 2016. But the emission limits were so high that the 215 major polluters, which account for 30% of Australia’s emissions, were able to increase their emissions by 4%.

The previous government had set a less ambitious target of reducing Australia’s emissions by only 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Climate Council welcomed the Greens’ deal with the government as a historic agreement.

“This will be the Federal Parliament’s first reform to genuinely cut pollution in a decade,” Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie said in a statement.

The Australia Institute, a left-wing policy think tank, was critical that the reforms would allow some new fossil fuel projects to proceed, though fewer than under the current mechanism.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific spokesperson Glenn Walker said the most important task for the Australian Parliament was to rule out new fossil fuel mines in favor of clean, future-proof industries.

Canada must now build on EV investments

We need to define what success looks like for the future Canadian EV sector.

This article was written by Matthew Fortier and Bentley Allan, and was published in the Toronto Star on March 27, 2023.


The past two years will be remembered as the moment when the global electric vehicle market achieved hockey-stick growth, with year-over-year sales tripling from 2020 to 2022. Capital investment in the global EV supply chain has similarly surged as governments around the world offer a range of incentives in the scramble to secure vehicle production mandates, new battery plants and critical minerals.

Canadian governments, to their credit, have not been left on the sidelines in this global race. In the past year, Ottawa and Ontario, have deployed incentives to attract multibillion-dollar investments from Stellantis/LGES, Honda, Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Umicore. Governments across Canada, meanwhile, are building charging infrastructure and supporting EV-focused innovation in both university labs and accelerators.

The Volkswagen announcement this month is a testament to that work. And to do it in the face of the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which would provide a battery factory approximately $2 billion per year of support, is all the more impressive and demonstrates a commitment to securing Canada’s place in global automotive value chains.

Yet, Canada can’t just now sit back and assume its place in the global EV industry is secure. Just the opposite. In order to justify a public outlay on subsidies to offset IRA incentives, Canada now must strategically build value chains from mining to cathode active battery materials and transition parts manufacturers to ensure they are making the equipment needed for next generation vehicles.

The planning required to achieve these ends begins with a clear vision of what Canada brings to the table: transparent government, abundant clean electricity, a skilled and educated labour force, extensive mineral resources and expertise in mining finance.

But we also need to define what success looks like for the future Canadian EV sector. This includes an assessment of the investments needed to incentivize global mining companies to commit to Canada; a plan to ensure that this emerging industry creates clear pathways for Indigenous participation; and incentives to foster R&D into next generation batteries and manufacturing. All of this must be co-ordinated in a transparent manner so stakeholders can align their work with public production targets and investment timelines.

Perhaps most importantly, we need to pay close attention to international best practices for developing cohesive and effective industrial strategies. Transparent communications — between governments, stakeholders and industry — is paramount.

Canadian policymakers can look for inspiration to independent public-private partnership models, such as the EU’s InnoEnergy, which fosters the development of European battery and hydrogen value chains.

For Canada, an independent public-private model would mean systematic co-ordination between the private sector, governments and civil society to define ambitious but achievable targets and specific, time-bound actions for achieving those targets.

It would also mean identifying challenges holding back investment into the Canadian minerals and battery materials ecosystem and prioritizing solutions; and it would mean developing institutional relationships with counterparts in allied jurisdictions, such as InnoEnergy, the European Battery Alliance, Li-Bridge in the U.S. and the Korean Battery Alliance.

This is how Canada can achieve a broad consensus on strategy — an answer, in short, to the question of what we’re going to be good at — and enable the public sector to design policy and align resources to deliver on the goals we’ve collectively identified.

Driven by technology and a global imperative to dramatically reduce emissions, the world of mobility is reinventing itself. After almost 60 years of cross-border free trade that transformed Canada into the world’s 11th largest vehicle manufacturer, we know how the development of an integrated and globally competitive industrial ecosystem becomes a sort of magnet, capable of attracting investment, talent, and innovation, and ultimately building an inclusive form of prosperity.

Repeating this formidable achievement is a national project for Canada’s 21st century.

Matthew Fortier is president and CEO of Accelerate and Bentley Allan is research director for Net-Zero Industrial Strategy at the Transition Accelerator.

Mississauga youth lead advocacy for green development standards

City needs to position itself as a climate leader, writes Malkeet Sandhu

This article was written by Malkeet Sandhu and was published in the Mississauga News on March 26, 2023.

credit logo

By Malkeet Sandhu

Malkeet Sandhu is a Brampton resident and community organizer with the David Suzuki Foundation.
Malkeet Sandhu is a Brampton resident and community organizer with the David Suzuki Foundation.

On March 22, Mississauga youth showed up in record numbers at city hall to demand that city council act on its 2019 climate commitments by strengthening green development standards. 

Forty young people packed the council chambers to support Future Majority’s Mississauga team in presenting a deputation advocating for a sustainable, affordable and healthy city. Over the past year, the team has collected more than 1,200 petition signatures and 300 letters to city council to share their vision for Mississauga’s future.

Mississauga’s greenhouse gas emissions are on the rise and over half come from buildings. To meet the city’s 2050 climate targets, Mississauga must strengthen its outdated green development standards and make them mandatory.

Cities such as Toronto, Whitby, Ajax and Pickering have already implemented mandatory green development standards. Future Majority Mississauga volunteers are advocating that the city catch up and even position itself as a climate leader by setting a goal of net-zero emissions from all new buildings.

It is far easier and more cost-effective to build correctly from the start than to retrofit later.

Mandatory green development standards would make life for residents more affordable, through significant savings on energy bills and avoiding home retrofits down the road. They would also help improve the city’s air quality. Mississauga is one of the top worst 10 Canadian cities in terms of air quality.

In response to the deputation, Mississauga council affirmed their support for strengthened GDS, reflecting the city’s climate targets and giving young people a glimmer of hope.

Youth are demanding to be included in the consultation process and given a seat at the table to ensure the standards are as strong as possible, because their futures are at stake. The city will also consult with residents in the coming months.

Residents can show support for robust green development standards by signing the petition to council available through actionnetwork.org. Residents can stay updated on the first round of community consultations via yoursay.mississauga.ca/green-standards-2023.

Malkeet Sandhu is a community organizer with the David Suzuki Foundation.

Clutching at straws on climate

We have all the technology, wealth and knowledge we would need to cut emissions fast now and stay below 1.5 C, but the political will is not there, Gwynne Dyer writes.

This opinion was written by Gwynne Dyer and was published in the Toronto Star on March 25, 2023.

Gwynne Dyer

The final report of the United Nation’s climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has come out at last. The desperate optimism that characterized the last few volumes (this is Part 4 of four) has frayed away to almost nothing. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres bluntly called it a “survival guide.” But it’s not even that, really.

It lists all the things that the world’s countries could and should be doing, but so did every previous report and most countries are still falling far short of the minimum requirement.

The report’s authors even admit that the “aspirational” goal of never letting the average global temperature exceed 1.5 C higher than the pre-industrial level will definitely be missed. It was formally adopted by the IPCC only five years ago, but it’s already too late to stop the warming short of 1.5 C.

“It has always been clear in the IPCC and in climate science that it’s not very likely that we will always stay below 1.5 C,” said Dr. Oliver Geden, who was on the report’s core writing group.

The new buzzword is “overshoot,” as in “Yes, we’re going to overshoot 1.5 C for a while, but don’t despair. We’ll get back down below that level as fast as we can.” Good luck with that.

They’re clutching at straws. The scientists pull their punches and sound positive because they have to keep the governments committed. The governments can’t afford to get too far ahead of public opinion in their own home countries.

We already have all the technology, wealth and knowledge we would need to cut emissions fast now and stay below 1.5 C, but the political will is not there and even the IPCC now implicitly recognizes that. People aren’t yet suffering enough to give the issue their full attention.

By the mid-2030s, when we’re in “overshoot,” the political will and the sense of urgency will certainly be available, because wild weather of every sort will be hitting people hard. However, by then we will have left it so late that we will urgently need a technology that delivers results very fast.

“Carbon dioxide removal” (CDR), also confusingly known as “negative emissions,” is the IPPC’s preferred “saviour” technology at the moment. It can theoretically pull huge amounts of greenhouse gases back out of the atmosphere and it may be a big part of the solution in the long run, but it cannot save us in the short run.

CDR is slow-acting and expensive; the very opposite of a quick fix. By all means build some full-scale facilities to work the bugs out of the various proposed CDR processes, but unless there is a miraculous fall in emissions, the amount of CO2 in the air will commit us to breaking through the “never exceed” 1.5 C level by 2030.

If we are really expecting the heating to rise past 1.5 C so soon, there is only thing that can temporarily hold the heat down, avoid crossing “tipping points” and enable us to keep on with the essential work of cutting emissions is geoengineering. It is “solar radiation management” (SRM).

Reflecting one or two per cent of incoming sunlight sounds dangerous and expensive, but it would actually be quite cheap, at least compared to the cost of CDR. Any intervention into the workings of the Earth System is bound to have some undesirable side-effects, but so far no major showstoppers have been identified.

A large number of big, well-funded research projects should be underway right now to confirm SRM’s potential and identify any risks, so that it is available to deploy by the mid-2030s if we need it (and it looks like we will). Yet any open-air research on it, even at the smallest scale, is still effectively banned.

CPPIB, Enbridge part of winning tender for wind farm in France

This article was written by Francois De Beaupuy and was published in the Toronto Star on March 28, 2023.

A group of companies led by Electricite de France SA won a government tender to build the country’s largest offshore wind farm, edging out rival bids led by companies such as Engie SA and TotalEnergies SE.

The state-controlled utility, together with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Enbridge Inc., has been awarded the right to build a one-gigawatt wind farm off the coast of Normandy, enough to power about 800,000 homes, the Energy Transition Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The commissioning of the facility is expected in 2031.

“Construction should start toward 2026-2027” once the consortium completes permitting processes, Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said in an interview with newspaper La Presse de La Manche. It should represent an investment of two billion euros ($2.95 billion), she said, adding that the winners have offered to supply power from the facility at less than 45 euros ($66) per megawatt-hours.

The award tightens EDF’s grip on the French market for offshore wind. The utility, together with various partners, won four out the previous seven tenders organized by the French government since 2012, including the last one in 2019. President Emmanuel Macron has said the country should have about 50 wind farms at sea representing an overall production capacity of 40 gigawatts by 2050 as part of the nation’s plan to become carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

France is lagging neighbours such as the U.K., Germany, Denmark and Belgium in that area. Because of long permitting processes, just one commercial wind park has been commissioned so far in French waters, while three others are under construction. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Macron’s government has passed a law aimed at reducing red tape and accelerating administrative approval of renewable energy projects to reduce the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels.

For the Normandy offshore wind tender, the French government had shortlisted five other bidders or groups of bidders including Shell Plc, Iberdrola SA, a joint venture of Engie and EDP Renovaveis SA, and two separate consortiums led TotalEnergies and Vattenfall AB.

These companies are all among the 10 bidders — or groups of bidders — that have been picked by the government to take part in a tender to build the country’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm, which will be located off the southern shores of Brittany. The winner should be announced by the end of the year, according to the government.

Most of them have also been shortlisted to participate in auctions to build a one-gigawatt wind farm at sea near the Oleron island on the Atlantic Coast, and another wind farm with 1.5 gigawatts of capacity off the Normandy coast.

CIB invests $277M in biofuels facility

Quebec plant to be biggest in Canada

This article was written by Amanda Stephenson and was published in the Toronto Star on March 28, 2023.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank is making its first investment in low-carbon fuels, committing $277 million to a biofuels facility under construction in Varennes, Que.

The facility, known as Varennes Carbon Recycling, has a total price tag of $1.2 billion and is a jointventure project between Shell, Suncor Energy Inc., Swiss natural gas company Proman and the government of Quebec.

It is being built by Montreal-based Enerkem, whose proprietary technology will be used to produce biofuels and renewable chemicals out of landfill waste and wood waste. The plant will also incorporate one of the world’s largest electrolyzers, which will split water molecules into oxygen and green hydrogen for use in its biofuel-making process.

The project, which was first announced in 2020, will be the largest biofuels facility in the country once completed in 2025, said Canada Infrastructure Bank CEO Ehren Cory.

“What attracted us to the project was the scale and ambition of it, first of all,” Cory said. “For us at the CIB, this is our first investment in an area that I believe has a ton of potential for our country.”

There has been a recent explosion of interest in biofuels — these are fuels derived from renewable biomass such as agriculture waste, food waste, even algae — as companies seek to lower their greenhouse gas emissions.

Other projects in the works in this country include Imperial Oil’s plans to build a renewable diesel complex at its Strathcona refinery near Edmonton, and Atco Energy’s plans to operate a renewable natural gas facility near Vegreville, Alta.

In last year’s federal budget, the Canada Infrastructure Bank, a federal Crown corporation, was given the mandate to include clean fuel production, carbon capture utilization and storage, and hydrogen production under its existing clean power and green infrastructure investment areas.

“I don’t think the private sector is lagging or reticent. We’ve actually seen a ton of interest from private sector players, big and small, across the country,” Cory said. “The challenge that we see, and I think this is why the Canada Infrastructure Bank plays such an important role, is the level of risk and uncertainty these projects still bear.”

Recently, Parkland Fuel Corp. announced it would not go ahead with its plan to build a stand-alone renewable diesel complex at its refinery in Burnaby, B.C., arguing the company cannot compete with the financial incentives being offered in the U.S. for renewable fuel construction.

Cory said there is also market risk and uncertainty around what kind of premium customers will pay for low-carbon fuels, and how carbon pricing systems and carbon credits in different jurisdictions will influence that market.

“We all know what 2050 looks like, but getting there has a lot of uncertainty,” Cory said. “That’s where we can help.”

He said the CIB is seeking to finance up to $5 billion in green infrastructure projects, which should accelerate deployment of these technologies by helping private sector proponents reduce their risk.

The Varennes carbon recycling facility is expected to convert more than 200,000 tonnes of non-recyclable waste into biofuels annually, with a capacity of up to 130 million litres.

Project proponents say the facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 170,000 tonnes annually, the equivalent to taking 50,000 passenger vehicles off the road.

Lettuce prices likely to rise into summer

This article was written by Rosa Saba and was published in the Toronto Star on March 28, 2023.

Farmers in California are deploying every tool they have to mitigate the effects of the rain, one expert says, but there will still be less production in the coming months, which usually sends prices higher.

Lettuce prices are likely to rise next month and could stay high into the summer, agriculture experts say, as flooding in a key California farming area becomes the latest example of extreme weather’s effect on the food chain.

The Salinas Valley, where a vast amount of lettuce and other produce eaten in North America is grown every year, has seen severe rain and storms since the beginning of the year, said John Bishop, national buyer for produce distributor Fresh Start Foods.

All that extra water has flooded fields and delayed planting, Bishop said, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in crop damage.

“It’s been very concerning,” he said.

Tens of thousands of acres of farmland have flooded in Salinas since the beginning of the year, Mark Shaw, vice-president of operations for California-based Markon Cooperative said in an email. Below-average temperatures are adding to farmers’ struggles, he added.

Salinas is the same region where disease struck lettuce crops last fall, creating severe shortages and persistently high prices in iceberg and Romaine lettuce that caught the attention of Canadian consumers at grocery stores. It was a situation Bishop said he’s never experienced in his many years in the produce business.

Every November, production of lettuce and some other vegetables shifts to warmer desert areas, notably in Yuma, Ariz. as well as California’s Imperial Valley. But the second week of April is when most production moves back to Salinas, said Bishop — and this spring, the region won’t be ready.

Tens of thousands of acres of farmland have flooded in a key California farming area since the beginning of the year

“Basically, we are setting up for another demand-exceeds-supply market driving up prices as we experienced last October, November and December,” said Shaw, who anticipates four to six weeks of limited supply.

But Bishop anticipates a “significant gap” could even last until July.

The agriculture industry is used to getting creative in order to deal with wild weather, said Ron Lemaire, president of the Canadian Produce Marketing Association. Right now, farmers in California are deploying every tool they have to mitigate the effects of the rain, he said, but there will still be less production in the coming months, which usually sends prices higher.

Weather is the biggest factor affecting produce prices, followed by transportation costs, said Rich Donsky, co-owner of Ontariobased distributor Mister Produce.

So it’s no surprise the farming industry is investing more in controlled-environment agriculture, such as greenhouses and vertical farms, said Bishop.

For example, Fresh Start’s parent company Gordon Food Service has partnered with indoor farming company Square Roots, building indoor farms in locations across the U.S. including at GFS distribution centres.

“We believe that it is the future of agriculture, and it’s the future of our food supply,” said Bishop.

The industry has recently seen more interest in year-round production in Canada, too, as climate change makes issues like extreme weather and drought more prevalent, said Sylvain Charlebois, a Dalhousie University professor and director of the school’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab.

Bishop anticipates the push to grow more produce in Canada will continue.

“Where we get our food from, and how it gets to us, all contributes to the cost of what we’re buying. So it only makes sense to find ways to be able to produce products on a local basis,” he said.

The greenhouse industry won’t ever replace outdoor growing, said Lemaire, but he believes it can fill in gaps in the supply chain.

Major food companies are making investments in Canadian-grown produce, said Charlebois, such as McCain Foods, which has invested millions in vertical farming company GoodLeaf Farms.

California-based berry giant Driscoll’s has recently partnered with Canadian farmers to grow some berries north of the border, he said.

And in 2020, Wendy’s announced it would use Alberta greenhousegrown lettuce in all its salads and sandwiches.

Pieridae cancels plan to transport Western gas to East Coast

This article was written by Brent Jang and was published in the Globe & Mail on March 28, 2023.

Pieridae Energy Ltd. has abandoned plans to transport natural gas from Western Canada to Nova Scotia, citing the lack of sufficient pipeline capacity.

Calgary-based Pieridae’s decision marks the latest setback to the company’s ambition of exporting liquefied natural gas from the East Coast.

Multibillion-dollar pipeline upgrades by TC Energy Corp. in Ontario and Quebec would have been required to transport Western natural gas to Pieridae’s Goldboro LNG site. Without pipeline access to supplies of natural gas in the West, Pieridae has shelved its proposal to export 10 million tonnes a year of LNG from Goldboro.

Pieridae chief executive officer Alfred Sorensen said he is keeping hopes alive for a scaled-down version of the project that would export three million tonnes a year of LNG from a proposed land-based terminal in Nova Scotia. “We have no interest in taking Western Canadian gas any longer, and that is why the project has shrunk in size,” Mr. Sorensen said in an interview.

The revised proposal hinges on whether the New Brunswick government would be willing to eventually lift a moratorium on multistage hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of natural gas in that province next door to Nova Scotia.

“We have been spending some time to try and figure out whether there’s an option to go back to Atlantic Canada as the source of natural gas. It’s not quite dead yet,” Mr. Sorensen said.

“So it’s a bit of a long shot, but it’s the only shot.”

He acknowledges opposition from climate activists in New Brunswick, where then-premier Brian Gallant introduced a fracking ban in 2014. Except for a small exemption, the moratorium has stayed in place under Premier Blaine Higgs, who took office in 2018.

With Europe experiencing an energy crunch after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, 2022, Mr. Higgs has reiterated his position that the fracking ban in New Brunswick should be re-examined.

In any case, Pieridae’s Goldboro and Repsol SA’S Saint John LNG had placed their bets on obtaining natural gas from Western Canada.

Earlier this month, Madrid-based Repsol scrapped the idea of LNG exports under a potentially reconfigured Saint John terminal, which currently operates as an import facility in New Brunswick.

The pipeline tolls that would have been charged to producers for transporting natural gas from west to east proved to be too expensive. “Following a study carried out by the company, it was determined to not continue with the Saint John liquefaction project as the tolls associated to it made it uneconomical,” Repsol spokesman Michael Blackier said in a recent statement.

The Conservation Council of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Anti-shale Gas Alliance issued a joint statement earlier this month to emphasize their opposition to fracking. Their statement criticized “the unrealistic idea from Premier Higgs that the province would lift the shale gas moratorium.”

Mr. Sorensen said the main obstacles facing Saint John LNG and Goldboro turned out to be TC Energy and the Canadian government not being willing to step up with pipeline improvements in Ontario and Quebec.

“The issue is pipelines have been a bit of a problem in this country, with that potential for cost overrun risk,” he said. “The problem is one of risk-taking and TC Energy wasn’t willing to take any, and the government wasn’t willing to do anything to cover that risk. So there is no way for the Western Canadian gas to play a major role in an East Coast LNG project.”

Keean Nembhard, press secretary for Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, said it’s up to LNG proponents to ensure the economic viability of their proposals. “In consultations with industry, the government of Canada has heard that the cost of transporting gas from Western Canada to Atlantic Canada is too high to make projects of this scale economical,” Mr. Nembhard said in an e-mail on Monday.

Pieridae previously considered operating a floating LNG facility for exporting 2.5 million tonnes a year, but now believes the best way forward would be to order large modules from overseas for assembly onshore at the Goldboro site.

Mr. Sorensen said it would be realistic for a small-scale terminal to be built in Nova Scotia, given that Venture Global LNG Inc. opened its much-larger Calcasieu Pass LNG project in Louisiana in early 2022, after three years of modular construction. But he emphasized that there won’t be any shipments within three years to Goldboro’s target market in Germany. “It’s not anywhere close to a final investment decision,” he said.

TC Energy has an extensive pipeline network for natural gas that includes serving LNG export terminals on the U.S. Gulf Coast. “We are continually looking to support our customers as they explore options to serve growing and new market demand, including LNG,” TC Energy said in a statement on Monday.

TC Energy’s pipeline system in Ontario would have required significant upgrades, as would the Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline (TQM) system in Quebec. Calgary-based TC Energy and Montreal-based Énergir each own a 50-percent stake in TQM.

There is also a circuitous pipeline route through the U.S. Northeast before arriving on Canada’s East Coast.

TQM connects with Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), a pipeline route in New England that is majority owned by TC Energy. PNGTS in turn connects with Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline, which runs from New England to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. is the majority owner of Maritimes & Northeast.