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This week: Canadian fund managers get a mediocre grade on carbon-risk disclosure, rooftop solar panels spread through U.S. neighborhoods like crabgrass, and the Fort McMurray conflagration inspires a moment of self-reflection.

When the Impacts of Climate Change Hit too Close to Home

As displaced residents of Fort McMurray resolve to return and rebuild, communities across Canada are coming to terms with our collective vulnerability to the forces of nature. Some observers have pointed to the fires raging across B.C. and Alberta as devastating consequences of a climate in turmoil—consequences that science says will become more frequent and severe as the atmosphere warms. While many have denounced such statements as insensitive or opportunistic, New Yorker journalist Elizabeth Kolbert argues that not acknowledging how climate change contributes to natural disasters obscures the accountability we all bear. “We are all consumers of oil, not to mention coal and natural gas, which means that we’ve all contributed to the latest inferno,” she writes. “We need to own up to our responsibility and then we need to do something about it. The fire next time is one that we’ve been warned about, and that we’ve all had a hand in starting.”

What you can do to help:
If you have not done so already, please consider contributing today to help meet the needs of those affected by the Alberta fires. The federal government will match all contributions to the Canadian Red Cross.


2. A Small Community Becomes America’s First Climate Refugees

“We will have climate refugees,” warned Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in Ottawa last week. Case in point, the U.S. federal government has earmarked $48 million to relocate members of the community of Isle de Jean Charles, in one of the first programs of its kind.

3. Rooftop Solar is Having its “Keeping Up with the Joneses” Moment

Every industry wants to go viral, but rooftop-solar leasing companies such as SolarCity are documenting an interesting “contagion effect.” Evidently, it just takes one household to install panels to kick off a neighborhood trend. Academics have confirmed the phenomenon, too.

4. Alas, Solar-Powered Airliners May Never Fly—But This Could

Solar Impulse 2 is now skipping across the United States, which is cool—but sunshine is unlikely to ever challenge jet fuel in the friendly skies. That said, a new Vox piece details various efforts to address airline emissions. (Side Note: WestJet is working on biofuels.)

5. Canadian Fund Managers Neglecting Carbon Risk

Many of Canada’s largest fund managers are doing a poor job of managing and disclosing climate risk in their portfolios. A new Asset Owners Disclosure Project report ranks our nation at 11, behind United States, Britain, France, China, Brazil, Australia, and others.

6. In the Renewables Revolution, Saskatoon is Thinking Small

While provincial utility SaskPower wants to ramp up utility-scale wind and solar, the City of Saskatoon, which has its own electrical utility, wants to expand its small-scale distributed renewable power assets. It could emerge as a global leader in distributed energy generation.

7. A Peek Inside Elon Musk’s Business Ecosystem

Daniel Gross outlined how Elon Musk has connected the companies he effectively controls—Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX—in a business ecosystem the reporter calls the Muskonomy. Symbiotic relationships like this one work well in Japan. (Most of the time.)

8. Solar Developers Place Bargain-Basement Bid in Dubai

A coalition of power developers bid a record-low 2.99 cents a kilowatt-hour to develop 800 MW worth of solar projects in Dubai. Analysis suggested that the bid teeters on the the edge of business viability; bragging rights might well be motivating the proponents.

9. Setting The Record Straight on Ontario's Green Energy Agenda

Keith Brooks fact-checked a recent editorial attacking Ontario’s Green Energy Act and associated policies, and found a bevy of inaccuracies and half-truths. Ontario is leading Canada’s clean energy revolution without incurring significant penalties, he notes.

10. Texas Largely Missing Out on Sunny Opportunity

Texas may be one of the sunniest states in the union, but all of its solar panels put together currently contribute just 0.7 per cent of total generation capacity to the state’s grid. That oughta change, argues the Center for Biological Diversity in a new report.

Clean Energy Review is sponsored in part by Genus Capital Management, a leading provider of fossil-fuel-free investments. 
Coming Attractions

FRONT BURNER: On May 10 the Vancouver Public Library hosts This Changes Everything movie screening and panel discussion featuring Clean Energy Canada’s Senior Analyst Jeremy Moorhouse, in Vancouver, B.C.

May 16-17: Solar Ontario & Game Changer Award Gala, hosted by CANSIA in Niagara Falls, ON.

May 17: Silence in the Streets: The Future of Transport in B.C., hosted by the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association.

May 25: I’m Right and You’re An Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up, hosted by Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, B.C.

May 27: Climate Action & The Opportunity for Clean Energy in BC, with Keynote Luncheon Address by The Honorable Mary Polak, Minister of Environment. Hosted by Clean Energy B.C. in Vancouver, B.C.

May 31: Intelligent energy design: Canada’s path to prosperity in a carbon-constrained world, hosted by The Energy Roundtable in Toronto, ON.

June 1: MaRS Cleantech 2016 Canada Demo Day, hosted by MaRS in San Francisco, CA.

June 1-2: Clean Energy Ministerial 7, hosted by United States Department of Energy in San Francisco, CA.

June 2-3: Alberta and Saskatchewan Renewable Energy Finance Summit, hosted by Canadian Clean Energy Conferences in Calgary, AB.

June 3: Energy Connections Summit, hosted by the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association in Vancouver, B.C.

June 19-22: Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition, hosted by the Electric Drive Transportation Association in Montreal, QC.

 

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