Views from the Edge

Seismic Change in Global Energy

The global energy landscape is changing dramatically as evidenced by the following five trends.

  1. Last year, coal production fell by a record number. A higher number of producers than ever before are switching to natural gas, wind, and solar energy.

  2. The world’s largest economies are among those who are turning away from coal. China and the U.S. are the world’s largest two economies, so their reduced use of coal has the most impact.

The Companies Running Circles Around the Traditional Business Model

The Conference Board released a report showing what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to big companies and the circular economy. The traditional linear model of ‘take, make, waste’ results in a huge amount of consumption and waste (85 billion tons of global natural resource use annually as of 2015, a number which is expected to double by 2050). This approach is not sustainable - neither for the companies nor for the planet.

U.S. Will Be Left in the Dust

As the Trump Administration announces their plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, other countries are set to take the lead in reducing global carbon emissions.

Treading Uncharted Waters

In 2008, Norway established a lifeline for humanity to ensure the survival of our precious food supply. On the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, the Norwegian Government built a “failsafe” freezer vault in a permafrost mountain located in the Arctic circle. Intended as insurance for the world, it was filled with nearly a million packets of seeds, each containing an important global food crop.

Waste Not, Want Not

When it comes to recycling, two provinces are the best in Canada. The Paper & Paperboard Packaging Environmental Council has just released a useful summary of this information, based on their analysis of StatsCan data.

Art is Bracing for Climate Change

Support is making a splash at the 2017 Venice Biennale. This monumental sculpture, crafted by artist Lorenzo Quinn, depicts giant ceramic hands reaching from the Grand Canal in Venice to brace the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.

Death Spiral for Big Oil

Stanford University economist, Tony Seba, has just released a new study forecasting that "the entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it".

Raise the Roof for Tesla’s New Solar Tiles

Tesla has recently begun taking orders for their new solar tiles, which are a game-changer for those looking to invest in alternative home energy. The design itself is innovative, with modular tiles that can cover as much or as little of the roof as desired. And since the tiles look almost exactly like regular tiles, coming in a range of styles, they can easily blend in with non-solar parts of the roof.

Things are Looking Brighter

India is well on its way to meeting the renewable energy targets set during the Paris Climate agreement. With plummeting wholesale prices of solar power reaching another record low in the country, renewable energy is continuing to undercut fossil-fuel generated power. Cheaper finance and growing investor confidence have resulted in this historic 40% drop in price thereby enhancing India’s renewable energy capacity. Even as the world’s third largest carbon polluter, the country is set to exceed renewable energy targets by 2027.

Nurturing the Next Generation

Women for Nature, a philanthropic initiative with Nature Canada, just launched the Young Nature Leaders Grant. In celebration of Canada 150, they invited young Canadians to submit projects that “celebrate the role that nature plays in Canadian culture and identity”.