Canadian government unveils plans to slash oil and gas emissions

The Canadian government has this week unveiled a new blueprint setting out how it intends to slash emissions this decade and put the country on track to meet its long term net zero goals.

The document was presented to parliament on Tuesday by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, setting out a new interim target to cut emissions by more than 40 per cent against 2005 levels by 2030. 

Significantly, the plan includes a specific target for the country’s giant oil and gas sector, setting out a goal to cut emissions from the industry by 42 per cent by the end of the decade.

The plan is also backed by an additional C$9.1bn ($7.3bn) of new investment, as well as proposals for a new tax credit to help support the development of carbon capture and storage projects. Further details on how the government hopes to mobilise investment in new low carbon infrastructure is expected in next week’s federal budget.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the new sector-specific target for oil and gas would send a clear signal to the industry as to what was expected of it over the coming decade. “If there’s any oil and gas sector in the world that can do it, it’s Canada’s,” he said.


Maiden voyage completed by world’s largest electric ferry on China’s Yangtze River

The world’s largest electric cruise ship has this week completed its maiden voyage along the Yangtze River ahead of it coming into commercial operation this month.

The round trip from Yichang in China’s central Hubei province was completed without a hitch, with one passenger telling China Daily the voyage “felt almost like sliding on flat ground”.

The vessel is 100 metres long, around 16 metres wide, and can carry up to 1,300 passengers, while travelling around 100 kilometers on a single charge, saving an estimated 530 metric tons of fuel.

It has been delivered by China Yangtze Power Co, a subsidiary of Three Gorges Corp and Hubei Three Gorges Tourism Group, which plans to use the ship for sightseeing cruises. The hope is that it can act as a forerunner for the fledgling electric maritime market across China.


Swiss Re Institute: Global flooding costs hit $82bn last year

Flooding costs across the global economy reached more than $82bn last year, accounting for nearly a third of all losses from natural catastrophes, according to the latest report from the Swiss Re Institute.

“Floods affect nearly a third of the world population, more than any other peril,” said Martin Bertogg, head of catastrophe perils at Swiss Re. The reinsurance giant said that in 2021 there were more than 50 severe flood events across the world.

The update came in the same week as Nature published a new study detailing how storm surges across northern England and Scotland have increased in recent decades, over and above the increased level of flood risk expected from higher sea levels.


Spanish oil firm Cespa spanish unveils €8bn green energy investment plan

Spain’s Cepsa has become the latest oil and gas giant to unveil ambitious climate plans, unveiling a net zero target for 2050 and vowing to invest €7-8bn in low-carbon energy sources by 2030.

Announcing the plan, recently apppointed chief executive Maarten Wetselaar, who joined the firm this year after 25 years at Shell, said he wanted sustainable businesses, including low-carbon jet fuel and green hydrogen, to generate more than half the group’s core earnings from by 2030 up from around 14 per cent currently in 2022.


German Minister calls on public to curb energy use

Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck has become one of the first front line politicians in Europe to call on citizens and businesses to take steps to curb their energy use in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting threat to Europe’s energy security.

“You are helping Germany, you are helping Ukraine, when you reduce your use of gas, or energy in general,” he said in televised comments this week.

“We are in a situation where I have to say clearly that every kilowatt hour of energy saved helps, and that is why I would like to combine the triggering of the early warning levels for gas supplies with an appeal to help to companies and private consumers,” he said.


Australian government accused of cutting climate spending

Climate policy looks set to once again provide a major dividing line in this year’s Australian election, after the government this week published a Budget that would reduce annual climate spending year-on-year if it is returned to power in the upcoming election.

The Guardian reported that the 2022-23 budget papers show that based on current commitments climate-related spending is forecast to fall from $2bn next financial year to $1.9bn, $1.5bn, and $1.3bn in the three years that follow, resulting in a 35 per cent reduction in annual spending by 2025-26.

The government said there had been no reduction in spending on the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Arena), and that overall it has committed $22bn for low-emissions technology by 2030. But the Budget cuts, which relate in part to changes to contracts that previously saw the government purchase carbon credits from companies, are likely to be seized upon by the Opposition, which has repeatedly accused the government of failing to prioritise climate action.

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