November 16, 2017

Affordable Energy News Service for November 16, 2017

Affordable Energy News Service for November 16, 2017

Energy market is shifting, but not because of UN climate conferences — Fr. Raymond J. De Souza

As the UN Climate Conference comes to a close, the International Energy Agency, independent from the meeting in Bonn, released its World Energy Outlook, revealing much more on the future of carbon dioxide emissions than any climate agreements. The energy outlook reveals two things. First, that global energy demand will climb as populations rise and China and India grow into middle class countries. Second, that the U.S. has become the world’s largest oil and gas producer, something unexpected before the emergence of shale gas. Now Americans need less Canadian energy. The global energy market has changed dramatically, completely independent of policies favouring renewable sources. - National Post  

If Canada has so much oil why is our gasoline so expensive? — Tristan Hopper

There are a variety of reasons why gas and oil are so expensive in Canada, despite the fact that we are one of the world’s biggest producers. First, Canada sells oil and gas at the highest price offered – that means Canadians have to pay this price as well. Secondly, refining gasoline is a pricey process. Third, taxes on gas are much higher in Canada than in the United States. -National Post  

McKenna should troll Canada, not U.S., on climate — Lorrie Goldstein

Despite Minister McKenna’s criticism of the United States, Canada is the one who has fallen behind on the climate issue, with emissions actually falling under President Donald Trump. According to the 2017 Global Carbon Budget, the U.S. has dramatically outperformed Canada in reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change for almost 30 years. Since 1990, the U.S. has outperformed Canada on the climate scale, despite their rejection of the Kyoto climate accord, and then withdrawing from the Paris accord. They have also outperformed us while still constructing more natural gas and oil pipelines. The U.S. treats energy security as an economic issue, not an opportunity to engage in empty rhetoric and virtue-signalling. - Toronto Sun  

Expert says N.B. could afford to offset carbon tax to some households — Adam Huras

McGill University economist Chris Ragan says that while a carbon tax will effect everything along the supply chain, giving revenue back to households could offset its impact. Alternatively, as is being suggested in New Brunswick, revenue could go towards assisting the province. “If you wanted to completely restore the purchasing power of the bottom 20% of households to what it was before carbon price implementation, it will only cost about 4% of your carbon pricing revenues with a $30 per tonne carbon price,” Ragan said in an interview. In New Brunswick, what will be done with the revenue of a carbon tax is still unclear. - The Telegraph Journal  

Politicians must know basic energy facts — Bill Whitelaw

What if, similarly to the university admissions SAT, there was an EAT (Energy Assessment Test) for new politicians. There seems to be a continued problem of polarity in the political energy debate. Many are equipped with ideologies instead of facts. The lack of basic energy knowledge is crippling the country. Canada’s energy landscape and narratives that are shaping it might look much different had politicians been re-assessed by taking the “EAT”. - The Telegraph Journal  

Better soil could trap as much carbon as transport industry produces: study — Thin Lei Win

Soil, a natural carbon absorber, could, with improvements, capture extra carbon equivalent to the planet-warming emissions generated by the transport sector, says a new study published in the Nature’s Scientific Reports journal. Investing in better soil management could lead to better carbon storage and more food-producing soil. The extra carbon that could be stored from rejuvenated soil is equivalent to 3 to 7 billion tonnes of planet-warming carbon dioxide. - The Globe and Mail  

What if Ontario scrapped cap-and-trade for a carbon tax? — Mark Cameron

There are two ways to implement the federal government’s required provincial carbon pricing – either through a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax. With an Ontario election coming up, it is worth looking at what would happen if Ontario’s cap-and-trade system with Quebec and California was replaced by a carbon tax. Research has shown that implementing a straight carbon tax in Ontario, following the federal benchmark, would result in both a higher carbon price and more carbon revenues than under cap-and-trade – but it would also achieve significantly more emissions reductions. High carbon prices could however be offset by returning all revenue to taxpayers. A rising carbon tax that follows the federal benchmark rules and is fully revenue-neutral is the best option for Ontario, and Canada, to get on track to meet our emissions goals. - Macleans  

No carbon pricing announcement for P.E.I. this year — Kevin Yarr

Premier Wade MacLauchlan announced Tuesday that a carbon pricing plan will not be released until 2018, as discussions are still being had with the federal and other provincial governments. Ottawa had originally set a deadline for all provinces of this coming January 1st to bring in either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, or else Ottawa would impose a carbon tax of its own. But MacLauchlan said P.E.I. currently doesn’t have a deadline from Ottawa in terms of when it must implement a plan. - CBC News  

Longtime New Democrats say Site C past point of no return — Vaughn Palmer

With the fate of Site C hanging in the balance, some longtime NDP supporters and advisers made the case Wednesday that the controversial hydro dam has indeed gone past the point of no return. Speaking first at the midday press conference in Vancouver was Wayne Peppard of the Allied Hydro Council. The council has been the umbrella vehicle for the building trades since the W.A.C. Bennett era, when union jobs and no strike agreements went hand in hand on hydro construction projects. - Edmonton Journal

Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix's tough task ahead: Cut costs, reduce debt and turn big reserves into cash — Claudia Cattaneo

It’s been barely a week since Alex Pourbaix started his new job as the president and CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. and he’s already eagerly immersed in realizing his priorities – reducing costs, getting debt to a manageable level and improving shareholder value. “What I can commit to is that this company is going to be a cost leader going forward,” Pourbaix said in an interview in Calgary’s grand Bow tower, where Cenovus is a lead tenant. “All you have to do is look out the window in Calgary’s downtown to see that Cenovus’s competitors have had to be very aggressive in terms of streamlining their organizations,” he said. “The company has already done a significant amount of cost cutting. And I am going to spend a lot of time here in the early part of my tenure understanding what represents really top notch cost performance in this company.” - Calgary Herald

United States 

Trump to tap nuclear industry lobbyist for U.S. Energy Department job — Reuters

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Melissa Burnison, a nuclear energy industry lobbyist, to serve as assistant secretary in charge of congressional and intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Energy Department, the White House said on Wednesday. Burnison is currently director of federal programs for the Nuclear Energy Institute, “where she plans, directs and executes legislative strategies for nuclear energy programs and policies on behalf of the nuclear energy industry,” the White House said in a statement. Previously, she was a senior adviser at the Energy Department and at the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources, where she advanced legislation to expand U.S. energy production and jobs, the statement said. - Reuters  


BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie blasts lobbyists to 'back off' energy debate — Peter Ker

BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie wants lobby groups and politicians to "back off" from the Australian energy debate and allow market forces to solve the sector's problems. Speaking to shareholders in Melbourne on Thursday, Mr. Mackenzie warned against those taking a dogmatic approach to Australia's energy supply, saying many of those claiming to know how to deliver a reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly energy supply did not have robust science behind their views. - Australian Financial Review  


Other International

Coal-fuelled China looks to lead in climate change response despite environment agenda laden with contradictions — Somini Sengupta

Despite China being the world’s largest carbon polluter and its heavy reliance on coal, the country is close to reaching its Paris climate accord agreements. However, it is proving very difficult for a country of such size and with such industry to ween itself off coal. “In terms of what the government has done to set direction, set targets, set policies, I think they are doing the right thing,” said Alvin Lin, the Beijing-based climate and energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defence Council. However, China is still the world’s largest coal consumer, and they continue to build coal plants abroad. - The Toronto Star  

Pope rebukes climate change deniers — AP

In a message issued Thursday to leaders at the climate change meeting in Bonn, Germany, Pope Francis called climate change “one of the most worrisome phenomena that humanity is facing,” and urged negotiators to ignore special interests and political or economic pressures and instead engage in an honest dialogue about the future of the planet. He called people who deny climate change those with “perverse attitudes.” - Financial Post