Last month I wrote about Canadian efforts to address climate change and work towards Net Zero. This month I am going to look at some of the efforts our American and European compatriots are making. But first, I want to acknowledge what is happening in Western Canada as another terrible season of wildfires begins.
Western Canadian Wildfires are running wild – literally
This spring, news about wildfires in Western Canada has reminded us of the severity of the issue and the need to address it. Last week American environmental officials described conditions in both Alberta and BC.
Alberta has been hit hardest by the wildfires, and as of today, May 11, there are 82 actively burning in the province, 23 of which are out of control. In total, Alberta alone has seen 426 wildfires so far this year. In neighboring British Columbia, there have been
179 fires so far this year. Of those, 46 are actively burning, 8 of which are out of control.
And even earlier than that, record high temperatures in communities across Northern Alberta were being recorded - 34 records in a single day.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible conditions and especially those being driven from their homes.
Biden’s Anti-Inflation Bill is having a huge impact on American environmental efforts
Last summer, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, and the headline from an article published last month says it all - The US has seen 5 years’ worth of clean energy investments in just 9 months. The article opens by stating that “The US utility-scale clean energy sector has announced more than $150 billion in capital investment since the Inflation Reduction Act was signed into law last August.”
This is an exciting piece of news, and although there has been pushback from Biden’s opponents, the US is taking a serious crack at addressing the need to move forward with clean energy initiatives.
The recent announcement by the federal Canadian government is a similar effort.
It also fits well with the Canadian announcement of a battery manufacturing plant in St Thomas. The Volkswagen plant will be a significant piece in the move to electric vehicles in the future. The Stellantis announcement that they are stopping construction of a battery plant in Windsor shows how significant these investment changes are. Let’s hope they can sort things out soon and get that plant back on track.
Besides, I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but notice the number of ads on TV for all the latest EVs.
Europe moves forward as well
One of the most significant environmental stories of the last year has been Europe’s efforts to handle the removal of Russian oil and gas from its energy portfolio. It is generally accepted that Putin assumed that his threat to cut off energy supplies to Western Europe would blackmail them into accepting his move into Ukraine. But quite the opposite has happened.
Western Europe was able to get oil and liquid natural gas from around the world – including North America – in the short term. And they have drastically increased their efforts to convert to clean, renewable energy. Ironically, there are stories about solar and wind farms being temporarily shut down because of oversupply. Improved distribution and storage will address this overabundance soon enough. Another sign that these changes are moving forward and need to be encouraged.
Local renewable energy can make society more stable
One of the benefits of renewable energy is its localized nature. Wind, solar and thermal energy are available everywhere and can be accessed anywhere. This gives each of us much more control over our energy needs in the future.
Some of us will remember the OPEC crisis of the early 1970s. Or maybe you heard your parents and grandparents tell you stories about those distant times. (Go ahead, ask them again now. We’ll wait until you get back)
That was a powerful example of international events having a significant impact on energy supplies. It was also one of the first times that discussions about renewable energy entered the public conversation. By getting our energy from nearby sources, we can all feel more secure about meeting our energy needs. And if we can store that naturally available energy (read batteries) for ourselves, then we are that much safer - environmentally and politically. One more reason to keep on pursuing renewable energy.
Let’s keep up the conversation
Let me close this post by offering you my best as spring moves into summer. I hope you have a chance to plant all the plants and vegetables you could possibly want and enjoy as much time at the cottage and around the barbecue as possible.
And remember, if you want to continue the conversation (financial or otherwise), call me at (519) 279-0186 or email me at [email protected].
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