If present trends continue, transportation will be the Canadian largest source of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Canada’s objective for a legislated 2035 zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) target for all new light duty models is too little, too late. Canada can adopt incremental legislative objectives between now and 2035, much like what the European Union and China have done. The latter jurisdictions may reach 50% ZEVs, mostly electric vehicles, by 2025. Just as automakers can adjust to safety regulations while offering vast lineups of trendy vehicles, they can do the same with Canadian ZEV regulatory mandates.
Cargo and cruise ships represent 2.6 percent of global emissions and could reach 17 percent by 2050. Nearly all these ships use cheap dirty heavy oil with high sulphur content. International regulations aren’t helpful as they are lax and difficult to enforce. Fortunately, Maersk, the largest container shipping company in the world, has created the conditions for an industry-wide sectoral revolution by setting 2040 as a target to achieve net-zero emissions, requiring all new vessel acquisitions be carbon-neutral and has already ordered 12 green methanol powered ships. Concurrently, many new technological solutions are under development including ones associated with electric, wind and biofuel energy sources. Stringent territorial waters and docking standards, Maersk technological catalysts, financing of emerging remedies, could advance clean technologies quickly. Finally, open-loop scrubbers are widely used as a band-aid to remove sulphur from the exhausts to transfer the pollutants into the sea.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies are the darling of the fossil fuel industry since CCS offers the opportunity to continue business-as-usual, with the support of foraminous government subsidies, while appearing to be green and gaining carbon price credits. But ALL projects to-date have failed to live up to emissions reduction expectations and are energy intensive. As such, CCS is a greenwashing narrative.
Reliable standards for environmentally sound investments do not exist and very few Canadian clean tech firms are listed on a stock exchange. Too often, Canadian clean tech firms must go outside Canada for financial support and/or to enter the stock market. This article presents solutions for investors and clean tech companies alike, but these solutions require government action.
BlackRock, the world’s largest investment firm, has indicated that those that don’t tackle climate change will lose money in 5 years. Some financial institutions have made multi-trillion commitments from now to 2030 to invest in the green economy while still focusing the majority of investments in fossil fuels. Canadian banks are among the global top fossil fuel investors.
Not all Big Oil firms are alike. Some are engaged in a rapid green migration, many are sitting on the fence and others are still in climate denial. Meanwhile, the value of fossil fuel assets are declining but the industry is camouflaging this by selling assets and debt financing to keep shareholders happy.