Covid Journal, May 29, 2020
A Storm Is Brewing …
I really hate trying to prophesize next events, but the level of unrest and ‘civil disobedience’ seems to be climbing a few notches. The US in particular is seething with racist profiling and murder, resulting in protests and protagonists trying to make things even worse. I don’t understand why white cops are trying to provoke a second civil war with blacks in America.
The white militia, on the other hand, is a gathering storm that stares down authority, armed with AR15s, etc … and gets away with it. Multiple states in the US have now reported on a white rebellion against being told to stay at home or to wear a fucking mask.
The paradox of the clash of the two cultures – oppressed blacks and entitled whites – will destroy the US even more than it already has. Provocateurs are reported on the scene in Minneapolis and even Donald Trump is quoted as saying ‘looting leads to shooting’. What a stupid asshole.
This isn’t going to end well. Even more severe measures will be hammered home in the US and Martial Law will be the inevitable outcome. The Un-United States will fall into disarray and Canada will be flooded with the resulting tsunami wave of anarchy that will follow. Our food chains, supplies and a million other day-to-day interactions and tightly knit reliances will unravel.
How do we protect ourselves from this? How do we enlist support on a global in the event that my dire predictions come true? How do we move forward when so many in the US and even Canada (I’m looking at you, Conservatives) insist on going backwards rather than forward, let alone ‘normal’?
Can We Put An End to the Catholic School Board, Please?
It seems like if one person is saying it, they’re saying it for the entire organization.
Once again, hate speech against the world’s LGBTQ+ community has been launched by a local Catholic School Board trustee and once again we who are not part of this have to wonder why we enable this nonsense.
This seems to bubble over every year when we get close to Pride Week in Canada.
Intolerance gets amplified.
It’s time … we have to put an end to the Ontario Separate School Board (aka Catholic School). They don’t want public civility, so they don’t deserve public funds.
Europe Will Lead The Way With a Green Recovery
GO EUROPE! Once again, Europe is leading the way, offering up an inspiring ‘Green Recovery’ plan as part of their response to Covid. Brilliant.
Details include the following:
On the funding side, the Commission plans to launch a “European Renovation Financing Facility”, tentatively financed with €91 billion per annum and blended with other sources of funding to reach €350 billion in investment per year.
Priority will go first to public sector buildings, especially hospitals and schools as well as social housing and other forms of low income dwellings.
For private residential buildings, the facility will support the supply of green mortgages, aiming to mobilise €50 billion in investments to “develop an attractive mass-market financing product for renovation”.
To further support renovation, the Commission also plans to revise its relevant state aid rules by 2021, in order to “provide an enabling framework for public authorities to support high quality renovation”.
On renewables, key aspects of the recovery plan include:
- An EU tendering scheme for renewable electricity projects worth 15 GW over 2 years, with a total capital investment of €25 billion.
- Support for national schemes with €10 billion over two years, using co-financing by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
For clean hydrogen, the Commission intends to:
- Double the amount of funding for clean hydrogen research and innovation, currently standing at €650 million.
- A further €10 billion over the next ten years – involving co-financing – to “substantially reduce risks” of large and complex projects such as hydrogen.
In order to scale up production of clean hydrogen, the Commission also intends to launch a “1 Million ton of clean hydrogen commitment”.
That will include a “carbon contracts for difference (CCfD)” pilot scheme aimed at supporting production of clean hydrogen. The scheme is “similar to tendering systems for renewable power,” and “could pay the difference between CO2 strike price and actual CO2 price in the ETS” in order to bridge the cost gap between conventional and decarbonised hydrogen”.
A fund worth €10 billion per year, administered by the EIB, would also be set up to grant loans for hydrogen infrastructure.
For the automotive industry, the plan proposes:
- An EU-wide Purchasing Facility for Clean Vehicles, that reduces CO2 and pollutant emissions in line with EU standards. Amount: €20 billion in the next two years.
- A Clean Automotive Investment Fund to accelerate the investments in zero-emission drive trains. Amount: €40-60 billion.
- Doubling EU investment on electric car recharging infrastructure, with the objective of reaching 2 million public charging and alternative refuelling stations by 2025.
For the rail sector:
- A Renaissance of Rail Investment package. focusing on on key corridors where passengers and freight can shift to rail. Amount: €40 billion.
- Financial support for the changeover of the rolling stock, and bring night-train services back into Europe.
The recovery plan also foresees greater funding for urban mobility programmes, such as cycling infrastructure, to be financed under the EU’s regional funding programmes.
A further two sections are dedicated to the circular economy and the farming sector, with a focus on digitalisation.
Canada could also have a green recovery plan, starting with auto manufacturing in places like Oshawa. Thankfully, somone else has prepared a significant proposal for basically nationalizing the GM plant in Oshawa, but here’s a quick summary:
This preliminary feasibility study offers an alternative to the closure of the GM Oshawa assemblyplant.The Government of Canada can provide the leadership to acquire the GM Oshawaassembly plant and repurpose the production to building battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Thereis a good business case for this alternative, based on a triple bottom line analysis that considersthe economic, social and environmental benefits:• A public investment of $1.4 to $1.9 billion to acquire and retool the assembly plant.• Manufacturing and selling an estimated 150,000 BEVs in the first five years.• Creating over 13,000 jobs by year 5.• Government procurement of on quarter of the BEVs produced in the first four years.• Reaching a breakeven point in year 4, and making a modest profit in year 5.• Decreasing CO2 emissions by 400,000 metric tonnes by year 5.Here are the conclusions that have been reached by this preliminary feasibility study for each ofthe five criteria:1. The financial forecasts show that over 13,000 jobs could be created within five years ofthe Oshawa assembly plant being retooled for BEVs: up to 2,900 manufacturing-related jobs (including 600 parts’ supplier jobs), and over 10,000 multiplier jobs.2. The conversion to zero emission vehicles is happening around the world, and Canadianswant to make it happen here. The Oshawa plant is an ideal situation: the market,equipment, knowledge, skills and abilities are all in place.3. The potential is real and the main barrier will be political. The question to ask ourelected officials, and the candidates in this federal election: Will you invest in the future of our children and grandchildren through the implementation of a Green NewDeal for Canada, using the electric vehicle retooling of the Oshawa auto plant as aconcrete example?4. Making this project concrete will inspire other similar projects in Ontario, Canada, theUnited States and other countries and communities around the world.5.There are a number of jurisdictions and countries around the world that are creatingpolicies that support and encourage democratic, public ownership, and the shift to acarbon neutral economy. Tackling the combined issues of growing inequality, theclimate crisis, and political instability will require people to work together in democratic organizations to find creative solutions to these intertwined issues. Governmentpolicies, investment and procurement are practical tools that we can use to target andreach triple bottom line enterprise objectives.The next step to move this process forward will be to complete a full feasibility study that goesinto more detail regarding the potential for government procurement, the types of vehiclesrequired, the capital cost to acquire and retool the Oshawa assembly plant, and a realistic timeline for doing so.
I would add that we should try to engineer some way to make the final plant more flexible with different types of vehicles (eg. passenger cars, light trucks, medium-sized buses, etc).
Also, for the record, I would consider investing in this type of project if it were presented as some kind of crowdfunding program or offering, coupled with a federal commitment to install electric charging stations for every set number of people or based on distance (eg. a charging station every 50km).