Monday, 18 December 2017

CHINA RULES: ACCELERATING A GLOBAL DISRUPTIVE SHIFT TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES

China Well-advanced Toward World Dominance in Electric Vehicles
China is well-known for its high levels of pollution and emissions but what is less well-known is that China is dominating the global migration to clean technologies, including clean energy and clean transportation. 

Nearly 100% of China’s new electrical generation capacity has for some time now been sourced from renewables with nearly 2M people employed in its solar power sector, 690,000 in its solar heating and cooling industry and 509,000 in its windpower sector.

Now China has also become the disruptive accelerating force for a global migration of automakers at-large to zero and low emission vehicle.  A combination of two factors are playing in favour of China’s global dominance in this regard.

First, China, as the largest vehicle market in the world with 28M new vehicles sold in 2016 compared with 17.5M in the US that year, has the power to literally dictate the direction of the global auto industry.

Second, with the help of its market power, China is effectively dictating the direction of the vehicle industry with its quotas to the effect that 10% of each automaker’s sales for 2019 must be zero and low emission vehicles (electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids), 12% for 2020 and 20% for 2025.

Topping off the stringent quotas, China has the world’s most ambitious Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) requirement for 2020 at 5L/100km.  CAFE refers to the average fuel consumption of vehicles sold by a manufacturer in a given year.

China, like India, is also pondering a ban on internal combustion engines, with 2030 in mind.  In the case of China, it is not if, but when.  Apart from the pollution issue, China wants to end the dependency on foreign oil imports.

China’s automaker BYD, the largest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world, expects China to have achieved the elimination of lone internal combustion engine new vehicles by 2030 -- to be replaced with electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Capping its determination to be the global leader in electric vehicles, as of 2016, 30% of all light duty vehicles purchased by the Government of China must be electric.

China’s electric vehicle dominance equally applies to buses.  Of the total of electric buses presently operational in the world, 98% are on the roads of China.  One fifth of all bus sales in China are electric buses or 100,000 buses/year

The city of Shenzhen alone now has 14,000 electric buses in its fleet, an accomplishment in less than 5 years.  The vast majority of Shenzhen buses are manufactured by BYD in that city.

Likewise, BYD offers a full line-up of electric trucks.  The city of Beijing is now replacing its entire fleet of sanitation vehicles with 26 different models of BYD trucks.

Contributing to this impressive China portrait, the ride-sharing service in the country, Didi Chuxing, which in November 2017 had 260,000 electric vehicles in its network, plans to have 1M electric vehicles by 2020, including self-driving vehicles.

Summing up, China is well on its way to achieving its target of manufacturing 2M eco-vehicle in 2020, with an anticipated 700,000 electric vehicles sales for 2017. 
 
This is coupled with a pending invasion of Chinese vehicle manufacturers in foreign markets.

Global Automakers Partnering with Chinese Firms
China’s tall order on quotas for zero and low emission vehicles has got global automakers scrambling.  Even GM sells more vehicles in China than in the US and the same goes for Volkswagen.

The icing on the cake are China’s rules of the game that, to sell vehicles in the world’s largest market, the vehicles must be manufactured in the country and foreign companies must have a partner in China. 

And batteries of electric vehicles in the country must be sourced in China.  China is positioning itself for global dominance in lithium-ion batteries.

Exceptions don’t amount to more than 5% of the Chinese market.

Not surprisingly, in June 2017, Volkswagen announced that it had partnered with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. (JAC) with the anticipation that this alliance will deliver 400,000 electric vehicles to the Chinese market in 2020.

In November 2017 Volkswagen revealed it would invest $40B in electric and autonomous vehicles by 2022, in sharp contrast with its statement of just two months earlier when it said it would invest $20B in electric vehicles by 2030.  This suggests that a previous Volkswagen projection for 20% to 25% of its sales, or 2M to 3M electric vehicles in annual sales by 2025 may be conservative. 

In an earlier statement, Volkswagen indicated that it would invest $11B in battery manufacturing facility in Germany.  But rumour has it that Volkswagen’s first battery facility will be in China.

Then there is the matter of the about-turn of Toyota.  Toyota, having originally placed all its zero emission vehicle eggs in the hydrogen fuel cell basket, has since made a major shift to electric vehicle technologies to be ready to comply with the swift and strong emphasis on electric vehicles of the Government of China.  To this end, Toyota has entered into a Chinese joint venture with China FAW Group Corp and Guangzhou Automobile Group to manufacture electric vehicles in that country beginning 2020.

To make up for lost time, Toyota has joined up with Mazda to form a partnership with Denso, a parts manufacturer, to develop and manufacture electric vehicles under the umbrella of the new EV Common Architecture Spirit Company.  This company is 90% owned by Toyota.  Toyota’s about-turn on electric vehicles also includes a partnership with Panasonic.


General Motors has set more modest global goals with the aim to sell 500,000 new energy vehicles/year by 2025.  These goals include having 20 entirely electric models by 2023 with two of these vehicle to be on the market around 2019.  Much of this growth will be associated with the GM partnership with SAIC in China.   

As is the case of other manufacturers, Mercedes is working with a partner for a factory in China, BAIC, to build all-electric cars for the Chinese market.  Another Mercedes Chinese partner, BYD, will have the joint company build all electric vehicles under the Denza brand.

To power its electric vehicles, Daimler announced an €500 million ($590M) investment in a new battery factory in Kamenz, Germany via its ACCUmotive subsidiary.  But with market considerations in mind, in addition, Daimler will build a $740M battery factory in China with its partner BAIC and start production in 2019 with an electric SUV.

Similarly Ford has committed $765M to produce electric vehicles with its Chinese partner Zoyte.

Electric Taxis
China’s spectacular shift to electric vehicles includes taxis.  The city of Beijing recently announced to would replace 100% of its fleet of 70,000 taxis with electric vehicles.   Shenzhen too has plan to covert all of its taxis to electric vehicles.

In effect, BYD’s all electric e-6 cross-over vehicle dominates China’s electric taxi market.

Even the iconic London cab is going electric with China in the picture, via the newly branded London Electric Vehicle Company owned by Geely, the Chinese owner of Volvo passenger vehicles.  Annual production is expected to be 20,000 vehicles, specifically, range extended vehicles with gas generators and Volvo electrified vehicle components.  The company is aiming to conquer the European market and recently sold 225 of its vehicle to stakeholders in Amsterdam.  One can conclude these cabs will eventually be on the Chinese market as well.

One other Chinese speciality electric vehicle, this one aimed at the taxi market as well, but adds on on-demand car sharing, is China’s NEVS plug-in hybrid version of the former SAAB brand.  NEVS bought out SAAB and through a joint venture with DiDi Chuxing, and GEIDCO (Global Energy Interconnection Corporation) to create GNEVS (Global New Energy Vehicle Service Company Limited), the joint venture will initially produce 50,000 units/year and up that to 220,000 units/year.

China’s Electric Vehicles are Coming to a Market Near You
China’s invasion of global markets with its electric vehicles has already begun.  For example, BYD has a electric bus and truck manufacturing facility in Lancaster, California and will be constructing an electric truck plant in Ontario Canada.

BYD will be selling classes 5, 6 and 8 trucks in the North American market and has recently signed a contract to supply UPS.


Another truck soon to enter the North American market is China’s Chanje all electric medium duty vans via a partnership with Ryder Systems, one of the largest truck leasing and maintenance companies on the continent.  Under the partnership, Ryder will be the exclusive distributor, leasing agent and maintenance service provider.  By the end of 2017, Ryder will have acquired 125 of these vans. 

The next step is bringing China’s electric cars to the North American market.  BYD, already established as the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer, will eventually be introducing the BYD Qin to this market.

China Rules
China Rules!  This applies to clean energy, electric vehicles and their batteries and one cannot count on the US and Canada to have proportional shares of the pie.




Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Why Coal can’t make “America Great Again”, By Will Dubitsky, September 4, 2017

The decline of the US coal sector

Among the nonsense from Donald Trump on how he will make “America great again,” he says that he will revive the US coal industry.

But coal is having a dismal plight in the US.
 
Revenues of the top four US coal companies fell from $33B in 2011 to $150M in 2015. Coal’s declining role in the US power supply saw it going from 50% in 2006 to 42% in 2011 to 30% in 2016. US coal production dropped 19% in 2016.  In 2015, 11 gigawatts (GW) to 14 GW of US coal capacity went off line.

The US coal industry took some comfort in that the 2017 first quarter data marked a sharp improvement over the disastrous year of 2016, with a 14.5% increase in weekly production and a 58% increase in exports.  But this is just a blip in the industry’s decline since 2006.  All the long-term US and global indicators suggest US coal will continue it’s decline.

Forty-nine percent of this trend for a US coal market slump is attributable to natural gas and 18% to the growth of the renewables market.  Moreover, the renewables market now represents the largest share of new US electrical capacity installations, with 68% of new power capacity added in 2015 attributable to renewable energy sources.   This latter trend can only increase with renewables having reached a point where they are among the least expensive sources of supply.

Another 26% of the coal slump is related to a lower than expected electricity demand and 3% to 5% to environmental regulations. – Yet in Trump’s view, regulations have been a key killer of the coal industry. Trump has got it all wrong.

As if that is not bad enough, the least expensive, least costly and easy to mine US coal sources have been fully exploited, making a return to the good old cheap coal days unlikely.

For many US utilities, investments in coal-fired plants no longer make economic sense.  The same is true for railroad companies hauling coal.  The US railroad firm CSX announced it will no longer be buying new locomotives to haul coal.

Trump’s rabbit out-of-the-hat: Lift the ban on coal mining on federal lands

Nevertheless, Trump thinks he has come up with the rabbit out-of-the-hat solution for the coal industry.  Specifically, he wants to make federal lands available to the fossil fuel sector.  This is a major policy thrust since 28% of the land mass in the US, or 643M acres is federally owned and 40% of coal mined in the US is extracted from federal lands. 

Within these public lands is the Powder River Basin, in southeast Montana and northeast Wyoming, one of the most productive coal mining regions in the US.

Conscious of the environmental considerations, the Obama administration had imposed a moratorium on new coal leases on public lands and adopted a ruling to eventually raise the royalties for existing coal mines on these lands.  In the interim, a three-year study on the industry’s environmental impacts was initiated.

But given the decline in domestic demand for coal, the Obama administration ban on coal on federal lands seemed, for some, to be a restriction on coal exports.

US coal industry dependence on exports

With respect to foreign markets, the US coal industry is dependent on exports to China and India.  This spells more bad news for the US coal industry considering China's war on coal, solar coming in cheaper than coal in India and India’s renewables targets.  To make matters worse, there is a lot of competition of other global suppliers of coal to Asian markets.

Half of US coal industry slump attributable to China

In effect, half of the US coal industry’s revenue decline in the last 5 years is associated with the reduction of US coal exports to China.

China, the world's largest energy consumer represents half of the world's coal demand and nearly half of global coal production.  With nearly 100% of it’s new electrical generation capacity associated with renewables, China saw its coal consumption slump for a third year in a row in 2016 with a 7.9% decline in 2016, a 3.7% decline in 2015 and 2.9% in 2014.  This slump will continue given China’s commitment to invest a whopping $361B in renewables between 2016 and 2020.

The order of magnitude of China’s war on coal entails a 10%  decline in the percentage of the nation’s electricity sourced from coal in just 4 years, from accounting for 80% of 2011 total electricity consumed to 70% in 2015.  By 2025, coal is expected to represent 55% of China's electricity mix.

Concurrently, China is also cancelling planned and under construction coal power plants.  In January 2017, China announced it had suspended such plants that represented 120 GW.  This is part of a continuing trend.  China announced the suspension of 30 coal plants in 2016 associated with 17 GW.

China is also cutting the domestic supply of coal with a commitment that entailed the closing of 1000 coal mines in 2016 and not opening any new ones in the subsequent three years.

Beijing is equally impressive in its war on coal, having planned to cut 30% of its coal consumption in 2017 and having already pledged to completely ban all coal use by 2020.  The city had previously announced it would close its 4-major coal-fired plants in 2016.

US coal exports to India wanes

As for India, a combination of renewables cost declines and government policies is shifting the electrical power landscape of India, the world’s other large coal consumer.

On the matter of the new energy economics, at an auction in May 2017, the state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India obtained a record low tariff of 2.44 Rupees (Rs) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for Rajasthan’s Bhadla solar park, a 10,000-hectare facility on the edge of the Thar desert. This places solar energy at a considerably lower price than coal-fired plants.  India’s largest power company, NTCP, sells electricity from its coal facilities at Rs3.20 per kWh.

At the policy level, India has targets for 100 GW of solar and 75 GW of wind installed capacities by 2022.  But these goals of India may be too modest.  In June 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that it’s 40% renewables target for 2030 may be surpassed by 2027.  This could mean no new coal plants being built in India until after 2022.

Recent data indicates that India is on track to meeting its policy objectives.  Between March 2014 and March 2017 India increased its solar capacity from 2.6 GW to 10 GW.

The impact on the country’s coal sector is already being felt.  In June 2017, Coal India, the world’s largest coal producer, and representing 82% of the country’s coal, announced the closure of 37 mines.  Around the same period, the Indian states of Gujarat, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh cancelled thermal energy plants.

This is quite the energy transition because 60% of the country’s current electrical productions stems from coal sources.

In parallel, the India experienced a 21.7% decline in coal imports in January 2017.

The descent of the global coal sector

Collectively, the impacts of the decline of coal consumption in the US and China is a projected stagnation of global coal demand for the next 5 years

Globally, a record breaking 64 GW of coal plant retirements occurred over 2015 and 2016.  Global coal production fell 231M tons of oil equivalent in 2016 alone.

US is looking in the rear-view mirror

US coal industry job numbers confirm domestic and export market trends.  The industry went from 800,000 jobs in the US coal sector in 1920s, to 130,000 in 2011 to a little over 70,000 today.

Yet Mr. Reavey, chief lobbyist for Cloud Peak Energy, a US coal enterprise with major investments in the Powder River Basin, had described the Obama ban on new coal mining on public lands as a policy to restrict access to satisfying market demand.

Fittingly, the Trump administration repealed the moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands and froze the pending application of the coal ruling on raising royalties pertaining to national properties.

The 2017 spike up in the industry numbers may give the Trump administration the illusion (among many of his illusions) that he is succeeding in reviving the US coal industry.  But the long-term trends will continue to paint a different picture.


Thursday, 28 July 2016

TRUDEAU'S ABANDONMENT OF MIDDLE AND LOWER INCOME CANADIANS: PUBLIC FAITH IN TRUDEAU AND HIS ACTIONS AT ODDS, by Will Dubitsky, July 28, 2016

Part I: Macro-economics, Trudeau, the Proposed Free Trade Deals and Disempowering Canadians

Disempowerment of the Majority and "Father Knows Best"
Canadians aren't totally duped on free trade, but Trudeau counts on Canadians to trust him on this. -- Trudeau can get away with this because of his success in projecting a "Father Knows Best" almost Messiah-like image, framed with his acting skills.


No wonder Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury Secretary, and former chief economist at the World Bank, has gone full circle to conclude that international agreements should be judged on whether they empower citizens.  
  
The Transpacific Partnership (TPP), the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and NAFTA represent quite the opposite of empowerment!

At the generic level, these agreements place national corporate tax systems in a perpetual race to the bottom, leaving governments without the necessary finances to address inequality.  Rather they contribute to greater inequality.  The Trudeau administration is most comfortable with this unfairness for the majority of Canadians. 

As for the supposed benefits for the population at-large stemming from NAFTA, they have not materialized.  The economic plight of the majority have not improved in the last 30 years or more.

Turning to the specifics of the proposed new agreements, according to leaked versions of the TPP, the agreement among other things, would extend patents for pharmaceutical companies on drugs -- in some cases indefinitely -- and "block" bio-similar competitors from introducing new medicines in subsequent years.  If there was ever a great formula for raising drug costs for the middle and low income Canadians, this is it!

One has only to look to the US where similar patent rules apply.  There, high drug prices and monopolistic protections have resulted in treatment rationing, prescriptions going unfilled and severe impacts on family/individual budgets.

Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Clauses
Like NAFTA , the TPP and CETA contain clauses on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) systems, which effectively allow a foreign corporation to sue a national government in the event that the nation's environmental; First Nations; labour and economic stability initiatives; or other government actions impede the company in question from maximizing its profits -- In this way profits trumps sovereignty, specifically, profits taking precedence over the best interests of the nation regarding the common good, or as we say in Canada, "peace, order and good government."

In this context, Lone Pine Resources is suing the Government of Canada for $119M under the NAFTA ISDS clause over Quebec's ban on fracking.  Similarly, TransCanada is suing the US Government for $15B under this same NAFTA ISDS clause concerning the Obama rejection of the Keystone XL project aimed at bringing tar sands oil to US for refining, prior to being exported outside the US.

Foreign Companies Get to Have a Say on our Legislation and Regulations
Not to be outdone, CETA takes foreign rule in Canada to new heights.  As proposed, CETA would allow foreign companies to not only receive national treatment equivalent to domestic companies with respect to government procurement, but would also offer foreign companies the right to participate in public consultations on proposals for new government regulations.

While we would consider it unthinkable that a foreign citizen could influence the development of Canadian laws and regulations, CETA offers foreign corporations such rights.  In other words, a foreign company would have the privileged opportunity have a say on laws drawn up to serve the best interests of Canadians,  Canadian companies, and, more generally , Canadian economic and sustainable development initiatives.  As a case in point, this provision would re-open the doors for the export of Canadian water.

Bulldozer Communications Techniques
Notwithstanding the known concerns of progressive Canadians on these agreements, Chrystia Freeland would like Canadians to believe that 1) her signing of the TPP in New Zealand in Feb 2016 does not make the TPP a  done deal for Canada, 2) Parliament would need to ratify the deal and 3) consultations would be held with Canadians on the agreement before any such ratification.
 
On item 1 above, in fact, ratification of the deal is Cabinet's  task, not that of the Parliament.

As for the promised consultations, the aforementioned item 3, they would best be described as secret talks with industry representatives and university professors for which attendance is by invitation only, and there is little public advance notice. 

Questions are allowed at these hearings, but on the basis of one of these meetings, one in Montreal where the Council of Canadians managed to be present, the Council learned that none of the questions raised actually get answered.  Regarding the maximum of one day's public notice for these consultations, the rationale offered was that MPs have busy schedules!

True, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade will be holding hearings in various cities in Canada.  But the press release on the purpose of these hearings reads as follows: “The Committee’s primary objective is to assess the extent to which the agreement, once implemented, would be in the best interests of Canadians.” 

Evidently, the issue for the Trudeau government is not whether the agreement should be ratified or not, but rather how to manage the message to Canadians to the effect that TPP is good for them and "Father knows best."



Part II: Micro-economics, Air Canada Middle Class Maintenance Jobs, a Case History

Absolving of Air Canada of Obligations on 2600 Middle Class Aircraft Maintenance Jobs in Canada
On the more day-to-day governing level, the mindset favouring corporate rule by the Trudeau Liberals is well-reflected in Bill C-10.

Bill C-10 is not a familiar legislative initiative for most Canadians. That's because the Liberals did everything possible to sweep this initiative under the rug.  The Bill was passed, with closure imposed, Harper style, with little time for debate in the House of Commons.  And a tie vote in the House was broken in favour of the Liberals, by the Speaker, who cast the deciding vote.

Why all this fuss to shove this Liberal legislative change under the carpet?  The answer is that this law was about the abandonment of 2500 middle class aircraft maintenance jobs to accommodate Air Canada's request to modify the legislation that applied to Air Canada dating back to its privatization in 1988.  With the changes put into law,  Air Canada would no longer be obligated to undertake its aircraft maintenance in Montreal , Mississauga and Winnipeg. 

The story behind all this is that following Air Canada's privatization, Air Canada sold off its  aircraft maintenance division to Aveos, a company primarily made up of former Air Canada employees. However, prior to the Trudeau government legislation, Air Canada had already transferred half of 5000 Canadian maintenance jobs to locations outside Canada.   The end result was that Aveos went into  bankruptcy.

All of this was followed up with the January 2016 agreement with the CEO of Air Canada,  Calin Rovinescu, to reward him for his great work in transferring jobs outside of Canada with a minimum of $3M/year in annual income.  Prior to that, in 2015, Air Canada approved an increase in his retirement  guaranteed income by 90%, to reach $800,000/year.

Maintaining the Flippant Legacy of Liberals on Middle Class Jobs
This current Liberal frivolity on middle class jobs has its roots in the 1988 Air Canada privatization itself.  Consider the fact that 60% of all international aircraft companies are state-owned

The legislation governing the privatized Air Canada was supposed to have assured that the disadvantages of privatization, with respect to the preservation of middle class jobs in Canada, would not come into play.  Justin Trudeau merely completed the task of abandoning middle class Canadian jobs and interests that the privatization legislation was supposed to prevent.

Through all this, the public had been led to believe that this was all part of a trade off to encourage Air Canada to purchase 45 Bombardier C Series aircraft that would ultimately be serviced in Montreal.  Unfortunately, all the indications are such that this was just a rumour.  In reality, it was soon discovered that once more Air Canada has a free reign to do as it feels, to transfer jobs outside of the country.


In July 2016 at the Farnborough air show in England, Air Canada signed a contract with Pratt & Whitney for the maintenance of the Pratt & Whitney engines of the C-Series.  Not so coincidentally, in June 2016 Pratt & Whitney announced an investment of $65M to do the maintenance of the C Series engines in Columbus, Georgia.
 
With the cat now out of the bag, Air Canada corrected the originally intended false impressions by explaining that the maintenance of the C Series in Canada would be for the structure of the aircraft only, the engines to be excluded from maintenance work in Canada.

Part III: Epilogue

Now one has to wonder how much else is being kept from public scrutiny in keeping with the principles of "Father knows best" and corporate rule, the Trudeau government trade mark. 

TRUDEAU'S ABANDONMENT OF MIDDLE AND LOWER INCOME CANADIANS: PUBLIC FAITH IN TRUDEAU AND HIS ACTIONS AT ODDS, by Will Dubitsky, July 28, 2016

Part I: Macro-economics, Trudeau, the Proposed Free Trade Deals and Disempowering Canadians

Disempowerment of the Majority and "Father Knows Best"
Canadians aren't totally duped on free trade, but Trudeau counts on Canadians to trust him on this. -- Trudeau can get away with this because of his success in projecting a "Father Knows Best" almost Messiah-like image, framed with his acting skills.


No wonder Lawrence Summers, former US Treasury Secretary, and former chief economist at the World Bank, has gone full circle to conclude that international agreements should be judged on whether they empower citizens.  
  
The Transpacific Partnership (TPP), the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and NAFTA represent quite the opposite of empowerment!

At the generic level, these agreements place national corporate tax systems in a perpetual race to the bottom, leaving governments without the necessary finances to address inequality.  Rather they contribute to greater inequality.  The Trudeau administration is most comfortable with this unfairness for the majority of Canadians. 

As for the supposed benefits for the population at-large stemming from NAFTA, they have not materialized.  The economic plight of the majority have not improved in the last 30 years or more.

Turning to the specifics of the proposed new agreements, according to leaked versions of the TPP, the agreement among other things, would extend patents for pharmaceutical companies on drugs -- in some cases indefinitely -- and "block" bio-similar competitors from introducing new medicines in subsequent years.  If there was ever a great formula for raising drug costs for the middle and low income Canadians, this is it!

One has only to look to the US where similar patent rules apply.  There, high drug prices and monopolistic protections have resulted in treatment rationing, prescriptions going unfilled and severe impacts on family/individual budgets.

Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) Clauses
Like NAFTA , the TPP and CETA contain clauses on Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) systems, which effectively allow a foreign corporation to sue a national government in the event that the nation's environmental; First Nations; labour and economic stability initiatives; or other government actions impede the company in question from maximizing its profits -- In this way profits trumps sovereignty, specifically, profits taking precedence over the best interests of the nation regarding the common good, or as we say in Canada, "peace, order and good government."

In this context, Lone Pine Resources is suing the Government of Canada for $119M under the NAFTA ISDS clause over Quebec's ban on fracking.  Similarly, TransCanada is suing the US Government for $15B under this same NAFTA ISDS clause concerning the Obama rejection of the Keystone XL project aimed at bringing tar sands oil to US for refining, prior to being exported outside the US.

Foreign Companies Get to Have a Say on our Legislation and Regulations
Not to be outdone, CETA takes foreign rule in Canada to new heights.  As proposed, CETA would allow foreign companies to not only receive national treatment equivalent to domestic companies with respect to government procurement, but would also offer foreign companies the right to participate in public consultations on proposals for new government regulations.

While we would consider it unthinkable that a foreign citizen could influence the development of Canadian laws and regulations, CETA offers foreign corporations such rights.  In other words, a foreign company would have the privileged opportunity have a say on laws drawn up to serve the best interests of Canadians,  Canadian companies, and, more generally , Canadian economic and sustainable development initiatives.  As a case in point, this provision would re-open the doors for the export of Canadian water.

Bulldozer Communications Techniques
Notwithstanding the known concerns of progressive Canadians on these agreements, Chrystia Freeland would like Canadians to believe that 1) her signing of the TPP in New Zealand in Feb 2016 does not make the TPP a  done deal for Canada, 2) Parliament would need to ratify the deal and 3) consultations would be held with Canadians on the agreement before any such ratification.
 
On item 1 above, in fact, ratification of the deal is Cabinet's  task, not that of the Parliament.

As for the promised consultations, the aforementioned item 3, they would best be described as secret talks with industry representatives and university professors for which attendance is by invitation only, and there is little public advance notice. 

Questions are allowed at these hearings, but on the basis of one of these meetings, one in Montreal where the Council of Canadians managed to be present, the Council learned that none of the questions raised actually get answered.  Regarding the maximum of one day's public notice for these consultations, the rationale offered was that MPs have busy schedules!

True, the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade will be holding hearings in various cities in Canada.  But the press release on the purpose of these hearings reads as follows: “The Committee’s primary objective is to assess the extent to which the agreement, once implemented, would be in the best interests of Canadians.” 

Evidently, the issue for the Trudeau government is not whether the agreement should be ratified or not, but rather how to manage the message to Canadians to the effect that TPP is good for them and "Father knows best."



Part II: Micro-economics, Air Canada Middle Class Maintenance Jobs, a Case History

Absolving of Air Canada of Obligations on 2600 Middle Class Aircraft Maintenance Jobs in Canada
On the more day-to-day governing level, the mindset favouring corporate rule by the Trudeau Liberals is well-reflected in Bill C-10.

Bill C-10 is not a familiar legislative initiative for most Canadians. That's because the Liberals did everything possible to sweep this initiative under the rug.  The Bill was passed, with closure imposed, Harper style, with little time for debate in the House of Commons.  And a tie vote in the House was broken in favour of the Liberals, by the Speaker, who cast the deciding vote.

Why all this fuss to shove this Liberal legislative change under the carpet?  The answer is that this law was about the abandonment of 2500 middle class aircraft maintenance jobs to accommodate Air Canada's request to modify the legislation that applied to Air Canada dating back to its privatization in 1988.  With the changes put into law,  Air Canada would no longer be obligated to undertake its aircraft maintenance in Montreal , Mississauga and Winnipeg. 

The story behind all this is that following Air Canada's privatization, Air Canada sold off its  aircraft maintenance division to Aveos, a company primarily made up of former Air Canada employees. However, prior to the Trudeau government legislation, Air Canada had already transferred half of 5000 Canadian maintenance jobs to locations outside Canada.   The end result was that Aveos went into  bankruptcy.

All of this was followed up with the January 2016 agreement with the CEO of Air Canada,  Calin Rovinescu, to reward him for his great work in transferring jobs outside of Canada with a minimum of $3M/year in annual income.  Prior to that, in 2015, Air Canada approved an increase in his retirement  guaranteed income by 90%, to reach $800,000/year.

Maintaining the Flippant Legacy of Liberals on Middle Class Jobs
This current Liberal frivolity on middle class jobs has its roots in the 1988 Air Canada privatization itself.  Consider the fact that 60% of all international aircraft companies are state-owned

The legislation governing the privatized Air Canada was supposed to have assured that the disadvantages of privatization, with respect to the preservation of middle class jobs in Canada, would not come into play.  Justin Trudeau merely completed the task of abandoning middle class Canadian jobs and interests that the privatization legislation was supposed to prevent.

Through all this, the public had been led to believe that this was all part of a trade off to encourage Air Canada to purchase 45 Bombardier C Series aircraft that would ultimately be serviced in Montreal.  Unfortunately, all the indications are such that this was just a rumour.  In reality, it was soon discovered that once more Air Canada has a free reign to do as it feels, to transfer jobs outside of the country.


In July 2016 at the Farnborough air show in England, Air Canada signed a contract with Pratt & Whitney for the maintenance of the Pratt & Whitney engines of the C-Series.  Not so coincidentally, in June 2016 Pratt & Whitney announced an investment of $65M to do the maintenance of the C Series engines in Columbus, Georgia.
 
With the cat now out of the bag, Air Canada corrected the originally intended false impressions by explaining that the maintenance of the C Series in Canada would be for the structure of the aircraft only, the engines to be excluded from maintenance work in Canada.

Part III: Epilogue

Now one has to wonder how much else is being kept from public scrutiny in keeping with the principles of "Father knows best" and corporate rule, the Trudeau government trade mark. 

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Enel's Italian revolutionary: Decisively away from Fossil Fuels By Christopher Hopson Recharge News, January 14 2016

ONES TO WATCH: Enel's Italian revolutionary

Francesco Starace: 'Big is bad. Our strategy is much more flexible and modular then it was before, and more adaptable to the world we live in'
Francesco Starace: 'Big is bad. Our strategy is much more flexible and modular then it was before, and more adaptable to the world we live in'



The 60-year-old chief executive is putting renewable energy at the heart of the state-owned company’s growth plans. In early 2016, it plans to take 100% control of renewables subsidiary Enel Green Power (EGP), clawing back the 31% of shares it doesn’t currently own, before adding 7.7GW to EGP’s existing 10.6GW of capacity by 2019. Latin America and hybrid facilities — in which two different renewables sources are utilised to create cost-saving synergies — will be key focuses.
Enel has also pledged to become carbon-neutral by 2050, close down 23 coal power stations in Italy, and to never build another coal-fired plant — scrapping plans for two new facilities in Italy and Chile. Starace recently went so far as describing coal power as “technologically obsolete”. It is a major departure for a company that supplied 19% of its energy from coal in 2014.
Starace — who was chief executive of EGP from its launch in 2008 until he waspromoted to the Enel top job in May 2014 — is one of the most green-minded utility bosses in the world.
Unlike other utility chief executives, he does not believe that nuclear and natural gas are the answer to the world’s problems. The new generation of nuclear plants, such as the planned Hinkley Point C in the UK, he says, are “typically nightmares of engineering and construction” that are “incredibly complex and very, very difficult to complete”. He believes that building gas plants will only make sense until about 2025, while carbon capture and storage schemes “simply don’t work”.
And unlike the shift towards renewables by other major European utilities, Enel’s move is not born out of urgent necessity. The likes of E.ON and RWE in Germany have needed to embrace green energy because their business models have become unprofitable — their over-reliance on fossil-fuel plants that are increasingly being switched off to allow low-cost renewable power onto the grid has resulted in significant financial losses.
As the Italian grid is not so heavily saturated with wind and solar, Enel does not need to take such a leap now. But Starace has realised that the rise of renewables is inevitable, so he is future-proofing his company today. It is a move that is likely to be hugely influential among utilities globally.
“We have to acknowledge that the climate clock is ticking and time is of the essence,” Starace told a conference in October. Conventional fossil-fuel and nuclear plants are “a trap”, he explained. “A trap for companies to die.”
He does acknowledge, however, that Enel’s transition away from coal and nuclear will not be without some pain.
“You need to be willing to say, ‘Even if it’s my own arm, I’ll cut it off if it’s not needed’,” Starace said. “Big is bad. Our strategy is much more flexible and modular then it was before, and more adaptable to the world we live in.”
Other utilities — many of which are unsure of their role in the future energy landscape — will be watching keenly to see how Enel’s energy transition plays out.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Le Pari de Paris (Paris Gamble) and Liberal Green-Washing

The article Le Pari de Paris by François Cardinal in the November 15, 2015 edition of La Presse is at the very best misleading, based on half truths and wishful thinking, and exemplifies a weak understanding of environmental and related economic challenges.


Global Momentum: No Excuse for the Liberals not Having a Plan in their Platform and/or Post Election Ideas/Proposals for Discussion
To begin, there is an incredible momentum among Canada's competitors to the effect that they are light years ahead of Canada on the migration to a green economy.  Therefore there is no excuse for the Liberals not having an outline of proposals to achieve significant greenhouse gas targets by way of applying foreign models to Canadian contexts.

For the first time since the post World War II period, thanks to the climate policies of China, the world's largest energy consumer, Europe, the US and other countries, demand for fossil fuels is flattening, as the world moves away from a resource-based economy.   

Concurrently, nations around the globe are intensifying their actions on climate change and the costs of clean technologies are declining rapidly.

Together these trends are jeopardizing the prospects for increasing global oil supplies, particularly supplies derived from expensive to extract reserves, such as those of the tar sands.  This implies the demise of the business model of the oil industry that is based on 1) strong growth and 2) high oil prices to reflect favourable supply-demand economics.

In keeping with these trends,  China's emissions and coal consumption declined in 2014.  More specifically, these results pertain to China being the world's largest investor in clean technologies, having installed 34 gigawatts of new solar and wind capacity in 2014 and invested $89.5B in clean energy investments in that year.  In effect, China's new clean electrical generation capacity added in 2014 represents 70% of current total Hydro-Quebec electrical production capacity, but China installed this order of magnitude of clean energy new capacity in a single year!

And then there is the acceleration of the momentum towards zero and low emission vehicles.  The Government of China has a target of 30% of vehicle purchases to be electric beginning 2016 and the production of 2M eco-vehicles/per year by 2020. 

California's zero and low emission vehicles initiatives are equally aggressive. 

Recognizing the writing is on the wall, UBS, the world's largest private bank, and the Chief Economist of BP, Spencer Dale, have both concluded that the fossil fuel era is over, with UBS saying that the green economy will be the emerging new economic paradigm by 2020 and BP's chief economist concluding that the majority of world's oil reserves are unlikely to ever be exploited. 

The former Governor of the Bank of Canada, and now the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has more or less said the same thing referring to the majority of oil reserves as unburnable assets -- more commonly known as "stranded assets."

The reality is that China, Europe and the US have already demonstrated that a migration for a green economy offers a better economic paradigm that contributes more to job creation and growth than the traditional resource-based economy.  Indeed the green sectors offer 6 to 8 times more jobs per government investment unit than the traditional resource-based economy.

And the job numbers are staggering making the green sectors the highest job creation and growth sectors of our times, and this will only increase as countries around the globe become more aggressive on climate change.  There are now 3.5M jobs in the green sectors in Europe and there are 1.6M people working in China's solar energy sector and another 356000 in China's windpower sector.  Have a look at the clean energy job figures on page 63 of the report of The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.


Trudeau and Global Green Economy Development
That Trudeau's model for economic stimulus is infrastructure funding is troubling, a post World War II economic development model entailing spending money on increasing dependencies on personal vehicles as well as public transit.

If Trudeau was in tune with the emerging new economy, the lion's share of stimulus spending would go towards tomorrow's jobs or green economics.



Trudeau and Improving Canada's Environmental Image to Export More Tar Sands Oil
As for Justin Trudeau's current mindset on climate, he met with Obama in Manila to instrumentialize a positive pitch on the environment to convince Obama to import Canada's energy, tar sands supplies in particular.  This green-washing is nothing new for Trudeau because he had criticized Harper for not boasting of Canada's environmental record to get the Obama administration on side for Keystone.  In this vein, Trudeau had also congratulated the former Premier of Alberta, Alison Redford, for promoting Canada's environmental record as a means to get Washington to support Keystone.

"Coincidentally," Peter Kent, the former Conservative Minister of the Environment also considered his main job to be that of enhancing Canada's environmental image in order to export more oil.

Add to the cocktail that Justin Trudeau 1) has stated that opposition to Keystone and Energy East is not based on science and 2) told David Suzuki regarding David Suzuki's remarks that 80% of tar sand reserves must remain in the ground, that the Suzuki remarks in question are"sanctimonious crap."

All of the above comments concerning recent Trudeau's statements on instrumentalizing the environment to win the support of the Obama administration on pipelines are consistent with Dion's recent contributions to Liberal green-washing.  Stéphane Dion, as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, and in reaction to Obama's rejection of Keystone, said we are going to need oil anyway.


The Liberal Failure Legacy on Climate Change: Due to a Lack of Commitment not an Absence of Ideas on How to Achieve Kyoto Protocol Objectives
Turning to your assumption to the effect that the Liberals can be excused for not knowing how to achieve significant reductions of greenhouse gases (GHG) when they were previously in power, it must be pointed out that the economic revolution towards the migration to a green economy began while the Liberals were in power.  This contrasts with the indications of your article of November 15, 2015 implying that the Liberal government can be excused for not knowing how to significantly achieve Kyoto GHG reduction targets.
   
By 2005, the EU had already achieved a 15% reduction in GHGs towards its 2020 target of the 20% reduction in GHG's by 2020.  Well on their way for achieving the 2020 EU GHG reduction targets, the European Wind Energy Association  predicts that 25 of the 28 member states would meet or exceed their 2020 targets of a 20% reduction of GHG be 2020. In other words, contrary to the Liberal nonsense, Canada was not suffering from a lack of good information on what needs to be done to achieve its Kyoto targets.

The European Union has since set a 2030 target of the 40% reduction in GHGs.

More important as a former Government of Canada employee 1) who's experience includes sustainable development policies, legislation, programs and projects and 2) having lived through several Liberal climate change action plans, I can attest that Stéphane Dion never had a serious strategy to achieve the Kyoto target. 

All of the former Liberal government's climate change action plans were pretty much the same, generous funding for clean tech innovation, but nothing else.  Eddy Goldenberg, Jean Chrétien's right hand manduring the previous Liberal reign, admitted much the same to the effect that the Liberals never had a plan to achieve Kyoto. 

Indeed, among the most amazing elements of the Dion plans for previous Liberal governments, was his attempt to convince the UN that, since trees absorb carbon, Canada should earn carbon credits toward Canada's Kyoto objectives for the existence of Canada's trees -- achieving the Kyoto target for doing nothing.  For this green-washing plan, Dion referred to Canada's trees as "carbon sinks." Fortunately, the UN rejected the Dion cheating plan.

As his last act before the previous Liberal government was defeated over the sponsorship scandal, Dion created a billion dollar Climate Fund to purchase emission reductions from the largest emitters.  This was designed as a pay the biggest polluters policy, rather than a polluter payer policy.

So it is no wonder that during the former Liberal reign emissions went up to 18.5% above 1990 levels by 2012. Indeed, Liberals were so lax that they allowed for a voluntary policy for vehicle manufacturers on automobile fuel consumption compliance.  This voluntary program allowed for the Canadian fuel consumption data, that were supplied by vehicle manufacturers without third party verification, to be way better than the fuel consumption for the same vehicles in the US.  This skewed the Canadian numbers on manufacturer-specific corporate average fuel consumption for vehicles sold in a given year.

The aforementioned lax approach on automobile fuel consumption was consistent with my Government of Canada employee experience associated with my sustainable development initiatives while the Liberals were in power, up until the arrival of the Harper administration. Put bluntly,  100% of the time, not 99%, when public interests and private interests were at odds, the Liberals always chose private interests.  Accordingly, it came as no surprise when it was revealed that Justin Trudeau co-campaign chair up until the last days of the election campaign, was Daniel Gagner, a TransCanada pipelines lobbyist.

Unfortunately, Louis-Gilles Francouer, formerly the environmental journalist of Le Devoir and now a member of BAPE,  was the only journalist during the era of the former Liberal government that wrote an article deflating the Stéphane Dion green balloon.  My own article on this and found above, pertaining to my perspective as a former Government of Canada employee during that era, goes into greater depth than the Francouer article.


Conclusions
Bringing us back to the present, our competitors are so much more advanced than Canada on the green economy that Canada, if it so chooses, can have the advantage of looking at global models to-date, for inspiration for a fast-forward plan to catch up. 

Thus it is pathetic that the Liberals went into the 2015 election indicating, and Christina McKenna subsequent to the election claimed, that the Liberals have no plan but would talk to the provinces and quickly come up with one by February 2016.

I say pathetic because acquiring inspiration from examples around the globe need not be daunting. On my own, I have produced a 45 page document on guidelines for a Canadian migration to a green economy that 1) constitutes a very comprehensive and synergistic action plan based on green economy models from around the globe which have been transformed into applications for a Canadian context, while incorporating analyses on how best to learn from the strengths and weaknesses of foreign models; and 2) integrates my Government of Canada experience, up until my retirement in June 2012, a) regarding sustainable development policies, legislation, programs, projects and other related initiatives and b) pertaining to the workings of the federal government and federal-provincial relations; what has been tried; what works; what doesn't; what needs to be changed to achieve effectiveness; and what gaps need to be filled.

To wrap up, comparisons of the Liberals' past record and current/recent statements indicate a continuation of green-washing rather than structured effective strategies.  As such, the Liberal lack of substance on climate policies is not, as you suggested in your article, comforting. 

That Trudeau's new improved theme to the effect that a better environmental record will make it easier to market tar sands exports is not comforting. 

That the Trudeau government is not up to speed that global demand for oil is flattening because of the successful advances of global green economy strategies among our competitors is not comforting

That Trudeau infrastructure/economic stimulus offers little to prepare Canada for the new economy, green economics, is not comforting.

Accordingly the jovial Emmanuelle Latraverse report on the Téléjournal of November 23, 2015 on the federal-provincial meeting to the effect that a better Canadian environmental record will help Canada in marketing its oil, represents just one more journalist falling into the trap of Liberal green-washing and Trudeaumania.

Indeed, there isn't any good excuse for promising to develop a climate plan in crisis mode based on fast-forward consultations with the provinces, a non-leadership plan that appears to be more like a continuation of the Liberal green-washing legacy.

Consequently your insinuation that the Liberals will pull an amazing rabbit out-of-a-hat for February 2016 is in itself amazing and primarily based on packaging/appearances rather than on content.  The Liberals are deficient on tackling climate change.