Edition for 18 April 2020

Top Stories

How the packaging industry can navigate the coronavirus pandemic (McKinsey)

  • Including sustainability, cost pressure, e-commerce, digitization in general, and shifting consumer preferences.
  • It seems likely that concerns about hygiene and food safety in the context of the pandemic might become a higher priority while the sustainability performance of different packaging substrates could become a lower priority—at least for the short term.
  • Peter Berg, David Feber, Anna Granskog, Daniel Nordigården, and Suku Ponkshe, “The drive toward sustainability in packaging—beyond the quick wins,” January 2020.

Canada funds oil sector environmental cleanup during pandemic (Bangkok Post - World)

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced Can$1.7 billion (US$1.2 billion) to help Canada's oil sector, struggling with low prices, survive a pandemic-related downturn by cleaning up environmental messes.
  • The prime minister also announced a Can$750 million (US$535 million) fund to help energy companies cut methane emissions under new, stricter environmental regulations.
  • Most of the wells are in the prairies of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where "thousands of energy sites, no longer in use, dot the landscape in various states of disrepair," according to the Alberta Energy Regulator website.

‘Not going to do anything:’ Oil executives say federal abandoned well program comes too late (National Post)

  • Trudeau also announced a $750-million fund aimed at reducing methane emissions.
  • He said the funds would allow Canada to “continue to fight climate change and reduce emissions while keeping people at work.” “This is an opportunity for us to make sure that Albertans are getting to work cleaning up their province,” he said.
  • Media reports in March suggested a bailout package for the oil and gas sector could be as high as $20 billion, including immediate liquidity options and the potential for Ottawa to purchase shares in beleaguered energy companies.

Energy Department Considers New Partnership to Bring Star Power to Earth (Nextgov)

  • As the world looks for sustainable, alternative forms of energy, the federal agency in charge of the nation’s power supply wants to harness the same energy-generating phenomenon that powers the stars.
  • The Energy Department has been supporting research into fusion power technologies—which hypothetically produce heat energy by forcing two atoms to fuse together under high pressure—since the concept was first suggested some 80 years ago as an alternative to current forms of nuclear power, which rely on fission, or the splitting of atoms to release energy.
  • “Recognizing the recent surge in interest and investments by the private sector in the development of fusion energy, the [Department of Energy Office of Science’s Fusion Energy Sciences] program has been exploring partnership initiatives to leverage the private sector efforts, with the objective of accelerating progress toward the realization of fusion energy and solidifying U.S. leadership in this critical energy technology of the future,” the notice states.

New Zealand activist flies flag of environmental revolution with election run (Reuters)

  • The growing green concerns that will be in the spotlight on Earth Day next week are mirrored in a call for an “environmental revolution” by an 18-year-old New Zealand activist looking to take on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an election this year.
  • Climate change is shaping up as a major issue in the general election after New Zealanders were shocked in recent months by ash from bushfires in neighbouring Australia that turned their skies red and glaciers brown.
  • The youthful challenger, climate activist Luke Wijohn of New Zealand’s Green Party, stands to become the country’s youngest lawmaker should he pull off an admittedly unlikely win to take Auckland’s Mount Albert seat from Ardern in the Sept. 19 poll.

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