Energy & Resource Protection

Canadian ambassador summoned in Ukraine

Canada’s decision to permit the return to Germany of six turbines needed to import Russian natural gas has resulted in Ukraine calling in Canada’s ambassador to protest what President Volodymyr Zelenskyy calls an “absolutely unacceptable exception to the sanctions regime against Russia.” He also said July 11 that the unprecedented decision in Ottawa “will be perceived in Moscow exclusively as a manifestation of weakness.” [node:read-more:link]

Politics and Russian natural gas

As concern grows in some European markets about the security of supplies of natural gas from Russia, Canada has agreed, despite protests from Ukraine, to return a turbine to Germany which is essential to pipeline operations. Gas supplies to Germany via a submarine line across the Baltic Sea have been shut down for 10 days for annual maintenance but German Economy Minister Robert Habeck says EU countries must prepare in case shipments do not resume. [node:read-more:link]

Constitutionality of environmental law at stake

The Supreme Court of Canada has been asked by the federal government to resolve a dispute with Alberta about the legality of 2019 legislation empowering federal regulators to consider the environmental and social effects of major construction. Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the Impact Assessment Act, calling it a “breathtaking pre-emption of provincial authority.” [node:read-more:link]

Gas and nuclear “green” options in EU

Despite objections from some members of its environment and economy committees, the European Parliament has backed an EU move to label investments in natural gas and nuclear power generation as climate-friendly. This sets the stage for legislative approval by gthe parliament unless 20 of the 27 member states oppose it. [node:read-more:link]

Brazil loses record rainforest area

New satellite imagery from Brazil’s space research institute shows that a record area of the country’s rainforests, some 3,750 km2, was lost in the first half of 2022, the worst deforestation since the institute began its monitoring program. Destruction of the world’s largest rainforest has surged since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 and weakened environmental protections. [node:read-more:link]

Russia consolidates energy holding

Russian President Vladimir Putin has authorized the takeover a major oil and gas project in which London-based Shell and two Japanese companies have major stakes. Shell, which has a 27.5 per cent stake in the Sakhalin-2 project, which is 50 per cent owned by Russia’s Gazprom and accounts for four per cent of the global liquefied natural gas production, said in February that it was prepared to pull out and take a take a £3.8-billion hit. [node:read-more:link]

Atlantic premiers excited by energy plan

The prospect of a $5-billion Atlantic Loop to transmit Quebec hydroelectricity to the four Atlantic provinces is putting pressure on the federal government to approve it quickly due to the construction time frame. “We need to make sure we have clarity from the federal government on their timelines and, of course, their financial commitment,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said after talks with his New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, and Prince Edward Island counterparts. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. emissions agenda undermined

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has lost some of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as the Supreme Court upheld a challenge by 19 mostly Republican-governed states, led by major coal producer West Virginia, which said the EPA lacked authority to limit emissions state-wide. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian oil and gas for Europe?

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said today that Canada is discussing with European allies the potential for exporting oil and natural gas from Atlantic terminals as alternative to Russian imports. “It is important for Canada to be able to step up and to help our European friends that are dealing with very difficult energy realities,” she said. “We need to do it in a way that we’re also dealing with the climate change issue, and And this is exactly the conversations we’re having, particularly with the Germans and also with the Spanish.” [node:read-more:link]

Chinese “agents” target mining projects

Individuals described as pro-Chinese agents have been using social media to pose as local residents and environmental activists unhappy with rare earth mining projects in the U.S. and Canada, according to a Virginia-based threat intelligence consultancy. The misrepresentation is designed to give China, the largest producer of rare earth minerals, a competitive advantage. [node:read-more:link]

N.B. power reactor relicensed

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has renewed the operating licence for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick for 10 years only days before its current licence was set to expire. NB Power had requested a 25-year renewal for the reactor, which began generating power in 1983, but the regulator said June 22 that 10 years was “appropriate” due to “strong public interest” in a series of hearings. [node:read-more:link]

Renewed emissions challenge in EU

The European Commission and non-government organizations are concerned about several states’ reversion to coal-fired power generation to compensate for reduced natural gas availability from Russia. “We have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. [node:read-more:link]

Trans Mountain costs balloon

The cost of twinning the federally-owned Trans Mountain pipeline to B.C. from Alberta has tripled, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported June 21, topping $21 billion compared with an initial $7.4-billion estimate. Natural disasters along the right-of-way, coupled with environmental measures and increasing financing costs are cited but an aide to Finance Ministers said the project “is in the national interest and will make Canada and the Canadian economy more sovereign and more resilient,” [node:read-more:link]

More federal support for pipeline company

The Finance Department has approved a $10-billion loan guarantee for Trans Mountain to help the pipeline company finish its expansion work. Responding to suggestions that this was tantamount to a fossil fuel subsidy, the department pointed out that “it does not reflect any new public spending” and that guarantees are “a common practice which puts in place an insurance policy for the institutions that have invested in the project.” [node:read-more:link]


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