Last month’s announcement by Stephen Harper of EcoEnergy Innovation Initiative recipients and other Government of Canada investments in clean tech provided an excellent example of false and misleading information coming straight from the Prime Minister’s Office.
First, the EcoEnergy Innovation Initiative call for statements of interest came in the form of regional launches across Canada in September 2011. The deadline for submissions of statements of interest for one part of the program was just two weeks after the launches, the second part in mid-October 2011.
While those who have had their projects approved were advised to this effect 2 years ago, the Prime Minister made the official announcementof approved projects on May 3, 2013, to purposely mislead the public to the effect that the government is doing something now. But there is no new funding for clean tech innovation in 2013-2014 – zero!
Note, as well, that 30% of the EcoEnergy Innovation Initiative funding awarded — $24.942M out of the total $82M — went to carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, the greenwashing technologies to make it appear that the fossil fuel industry has the environment at heart. Also, $8.826M, or 11% of all funding, went to tar sands projects.
As for the merits of CCS, according to this article from La Presse: 1) one third of the energy produced by a pilot CCS application to a coal-fired generating unit of the Boundary Dam facility in Saskatchewan is necessary to run the CCS component; 2) TransAlta, despite $800M in funding from Ottawa, abandoned its CCS project in Pioneer, Alberta.
Further on recent investments in clean tech, note that:
1) Sustainable Development Technology Canada, which averaged $56.4M/year in investments in clean tech innovation in the past, was allocated in the last Budget only $1M for 2013-2014 and $12M for 2014-2015;.
2) Obama recently announced an increase in clean tech research funding by 30% to reach $7.9B and an acceleration of the permitting approval process for renewable energy production and distribution projects on federal lands – federal lands make up 20% of the continental US land mass;
3) in August 2012, the Government of China announced financial commitments up to the year 2015 in the amount of $372B for emissions and pollution reductions and energy efficiency. http://www.ibtimes.com/china-spend-372-billion-reduce-pollution-encourage-energy-efficiency-759575 This complements the $67.7B in investments in clean techs in China for the year 2012; and
4) the global totals for clean tech investments in 2011 and 2012 respectively were $302.3B and $268.7B, the drop in investments in 2012 in part a reflection of the decline in clean tech prices, policy uncertainty in the US and European economic woes.
Will Dubitsky worked for the Government of Canada on sustainable development policies, legislation, programs and clean tech innovation projects/consortia. He lives in Quebec.