With this project, South Korea To Build World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm. We are accelerating the eco-friendly energy transition and moving more vigorously toward carbon neutrality,President Moon Jae-in South Korea
— Volans (@VolansHQ) February 3, 2021
What does a 100% clean, renewable energy future look like?
And how does black carbon affect clouds, the Arctic, and climate?
— Mark Z. Jacobson (@mzjacobson) February 4, 2021
Across the U.S., many states are offering incentives for electric vehicles, adding charging stations, and setting lower electric rates at preferred charging times—but we have a long way to go, says new @ACEEEdc #EVscorecard: https://t.co/IpM3kSbboH pic.twitter.com/9yVxUhIeiB
— USGBC (@USGBC) February 6, 2021
As the oil-producing province recasts a vision for the future where transportation is electrified, Nathan Lemphers highlights the need for new, widely understood regional narratives across the country that coalitions can use to advocate for stronger electric vehicle policy.
Last June, the CEO of Canada’s largest fossil fuel company, Suncor’s Mark Little, turned many heads in Alberta. He publicly confided that oil demand may be disrupted by a transformation of our energy system and that there may be an opportunity for the oilsands to provide the carbon fibre needed for electric vehicles.
While talk about disruptions to the energy system may be self-evident in other regions in Canada, it is a novel and rather unsettling proposition for many public and private sector leaders in Alberta. For evidence, we need look no farther than Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s reaction to U.S. President Biden revoking the crucial permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.
Looking for a new story
The fairy tale of infinite growth in oil extraction has come crashing down and many Albertans are looking for a new story to anchor their visions of the future. More than two thirds (68 per cent) of Albertans support a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, according to recent polling by Calgary-based Janet Brown Opinion Research commissioned by the Pembina Institute. In the same poll, 63 per cent of Albertans rated as “ineffective” the efforts of the provincial government to improve the reputation of Alberta’s oil and gas industry outside the province.
What will it take to make EVs, as Little has mused, part of Alberta’s story for tomorrow? The same thing that’s needed to build momentum for electric vehicles anywhere in Canada: new storytellers grounded in regional contexts.
Well-intended opposition to oil and gas pipelines in the U.S. and Canada may slow the very transition to renewable energy it seeks to support. As Canada explores low carbon strategies for its energy future, it should take some lessons from its last energy transition, when the local fossil fuel market was developed thanks to revenue generated from another incumbent transportation energy source: Horsepower.
The visionary behind the Turner Valley oil fields, Canada’s largest oil-producing region between 1914 and 1946, was William Stewart Herron. He and his sometime collaborator, and sometime rival, Albert Henry Mayland, were two of the most important independent developers of the field.
Before becoming oil men, they both had been in the transportation business, which at that time meant horses. Herron had built a business using horsepower to transport lumber out of the forests of Ontario. When he came to Alberta in 1904, he brought that business with him. Mayland arrived the same year, driving a herd of horses up from Montana. He sold them in Cardston and then bought the Wingate and Johnson livery stable in Nanton.
We want to limit consumption of the world’s natural resources – Véronique Riotton
According to a study by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, only 40% of electronics breakdowns in France are repaired. But surveys have found nearly two-thirds of Europeans would rather repair their products than buy new ones. French officials believe the current system is broken and needs to be fixed.
In an effort to defuse this vast amount of avoidable waste, France’s National Assembly last year voted to introduce an index of “repairability” ratings for appliances such as washing machines, lawnmowers, televisions and smartphones. In doing so, the French government hopes to increase the electronics repair rate to 60% within five years.
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