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Markets Tumble as Surge in Virus Cases Imperils Recovery: Live Business Updates

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Credit…Darren Staples/Reuters

European energy companies like BP, Royal Dutch Shell and others have lately been selling off oil fields and investing billions in renewable energy, a response to plunging oil prices and growing concerns about climate changes.

But the American oil giants Chevron and Exxon Mobil are going in a far different direction. They are doubling down on oil and natural gas and investing what amounts to pocket change in innovative climate-oriented efforts like small nuclear power plants and devices that suck carbon out of the air.

The disparity reflects the vast differences in how Europe and the United States are approaching climate change, a global threat that many scientists say is increasing the frequency and severity of disasters like wildfires and hurricanes. European leaders have made tackling climate change a top priority while President Trump has called it a “hoax” and has dismantled environmental regulations to encourage the exploitation of fossil fuels.

The big American and European oil and gas companies publicly agree that climate change is a threat and that they must play a role in the kind of energy transition the world last saw during the industrial revolution. But the urgency with which the companies are planning to transform their businesses could not be more different.

“Despite rising emissions and societal demand for climate action, U.S. oil majors are betting on a long-term future for oil and gas, while the European majors are gambling on a future as electricity providers,” said David Goldwyn, a top State Department energy official in the Obama administration. “The way the market reacts to their strategies and the 2020 election results will determine whether either strategy works.”

Credit…Felix Odell for The New York Times

As car sales collapsed in Europe because of the pandemic, one category grew rapidly: electric vehicles.

One reason is that purchase prices in Europe are coming tantalizingly close to the prices for cars with gasoline or diesel engines. For example:

  • An electric Volkswagen ID.3 for the same price as a Golf.

  • A Tesla Model 3 that costs as much as a BMW 3 Series.

  • A Renault Zoe electric subcompact whose monthly lease payment might equal a nice dinner for two in Paris.

This near parity is possible only with government subsidies that, depending on the country, can cut more than $10,000 from the final price. Carmakers are offering deals on electric cars to meet stricter European Union regulations on carbon dioxide emissions. Electric vehicles are not yet as popular in the United States, largely because government incentives are less generous.

As electric cars become more mainstream, the automobile industry is rapidly approaching the tipping point when, even without subsidies, it will be as cheap, and maybe cheaper, to own a plug-in vehicle than one that burns fossil fuels. The carmaker that reaches price parity first may be positioned to dominate the segment.

A few years ago, industry experts expected 2025 would be the turning point. But technology is advancing faster than expected, and could be poised for a quantum leap. Elon Musk is expected to announce a breakthrough at Tesla’s “Battery Day” event on Tuesday that would allow electric cars to travel significantly farther without adding weight.

The balance of power in the auto industry may depend on which carmaker, electronics company or start-up succeeds in squeezing the most power per pound into a battery, what’s known as energy density.

“We’re seeing energy density increase faster than ever before,” said Milan Thakore, a senior research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, an energy consultant which recently pushed its prediction of the tipping point ahead by a year, to 2024.



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Business

Greater Vernon businesses honoured for excellence – Vernon Morning Star

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Businesses in the Vernon area received some well-earned accolades last week.

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce announced its 2020 Business Excellence Award winners Friday night, with awards handed out in 12 categories during a virtual gala.

“It was an exciting evening as the winner in each category was announced, and this year was truly a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit, vision and thinking outside of the box as our businesses and non-profit agencies navigate the challenges created by the pandemic,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.

The winners of the 2020 Business Excellence Awards are:

  • Business of the Year sponsored by Valley First: The Med

(Honourable mention: Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery)

  • People’s Choice Award sponsored by Total Restoration Services: Turning Points Collaborative Society

(Honourable mention: Sterling Centre Remedy’s RX Pharmacy, J.C. Tompson Construction, The Bridge Educational Society)

  • Small Business of the Year sponsored by Community Futures: Anna’s Vitamins Plus

(Honourable mention: Home for Dinner, Kalamalka General Store, Ritual Barbershop)

  • New Business of the Year sponsored by MNP LLP: Fill – Vernon’s Refill Store

(Honourable mention: Bottle None, Boarding House Cafe, Cheese on Wheels)

  • Young Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by Nixon Wenger Lawyers: Alysia Lor-Knill, Teassential

(Honourable mention: Mitchel Derksen, Numu Consulting; Elmaz Wilder, Ritual Barbershop; Kayley Letendre, Sugarbees Ice Cream Company)

  • Businessperson of the Year sponsored by Kal Tire: Tony Dyck, Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

(Honourable mention: Brad Pelletier, Predator Ridge Resort; Richard Finn, Wayside; Joe Pearson, Remax)

  • Employer of the Year sponsored by City of Vernon: Sproing Creative

(Honourable mention: Community Futures North Okanagan, Valley First, The Home Depot)

  • Customer Service Award sponsored by Okanagan Spring Brewery: Sterling Centre Remedy’s RX Pharmacy

(Honourable mention: Intermezzo Restaurant & Wine Cellar, Vernon Teach and Learn, Olive Us Oil & Vinegar Tasting Room, Okanagan Restoration)

  • Manufacturer of the Year sponsored by Tekmar Control Systems: UnderGround Kombucha

(Honourable mention: Kekuli Bay Cabinetry, Summit Tiny Homes, Planet Bee Honey Farm)

  • Non-Profit Excellence Award sponsored by Community Foundation North Okanagan: Social Planning Council North Okanagan

(Honourable mention: Venture Training, Greater Vernon Museum & Archives, North Okanagan Valley Gleaners)

  • Community Leader of the Year sponsored by De Vine Vintners: Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery

(Honourable mention: The Fig Bistro, Lake City Casino, Vernon Teach and Learn)

  • Innovator of the Year sponsored by TD Bank: The Med

(Honourable mention: Caufields Engraving, Turning Points Collaborative Society, Martens Holdings)

The winners will be invited to a private event to receive their awards in person.

With the People’s Choice Award, partial proceeds from online voting will establish a scholarship for a local business student while other proceeds will fund Chamber initiatives to support local business.

The gala featured video messages from Ken Holland, general manager of the Edmonton Oilers; and Jillian Harris, founder and creative director of Jillian Harris Design, former Bachelorette and co-host of Love It Or List It Vancouver. There was also a live performance by Andrew Allen.


@VernonNews
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Supreme Announces Business Model and Name Change

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One of North America’s leading steel solution providers returns to its roots

ACHESON, AB, Oct. 27, 2020 /CNW/ – Supreme is proud to announce a major change to our business model and to simultaneously unveil an exciting refresh of our operating name and brand.

Since 1972, we have been transforming landscapes across western Canada and the United States with major projects like the Rainier Tower in Seattle, the Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver and the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories, to name a few.

Today we honour our history, returning to the roots set down by company founders John and Sally Leder.

Our company is rolling together the brands Supreme Group, Canron, Midwest Constructors and Supreme Industrial.

Going forward we will be known as Supreme Steel LP.

Along with our brand and name change, our services have been refined.

Supreme Steel will no longer offer large scope general contracting or multi-disciplinary module construction services. Structural steel and bridges have built the company’s foundation as a focused leading steel solution provider, and we are recommitting to these offerings.

Over the past 50 years, our family-run company has developed expertise in fabricating and constructing extraordinary steel projects. From bridges to skyscrapers, maintenance work to plant modifications, and potash headframes to barges Supreme is your complex steel solution provider. Our large facilities and strong geographical diversity allows us to provide these services from coast-to-coast.

Please visit our new website www.supremesteel.com to view our brand story and to read more about our offerings.

Exceptional people. Enduring relationships. Extraordinary solutions

SOURCE Supreme Steel

For further information: Media Contact: Rhandi Berndt, Marketing & Communication Coordinator, Supreme Steel, [email protected]

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AIG to depart from life & retirement business

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“AIG’s executive management and board believe a simplified corporate structure will unlock significant value for shareholders and other stakeholders,” a company release said. “Although no decisions have been made as to how to achieve a full separation, the board’s intent is to accomplish it in a way that maximizes shareholder value and establishes two independent, market leading companies.”

“Over the last three years, we have taken significant action to de-risk AIG and position the company for profitable growth, including fortifying general insurance, diversifying life & retirement, significantly strengthening AIG’s capital and liquidity position, and building a world-class team,” said outgoing AIG CEO Brian Duperreault in a statement. “This foundational work has positioned AIG to pursue a separation of life & retirement enabling both companies to prosper as stand-alone entities.” 

Read more: AIG appoints Peter Zaffino as CEO

AIG’s decision to separate from the life & retirement business comes shortly after it named Peter Zaffino to serve as the company’s newest chief executive officer, succeeding current CEO Duperreault. Duperreault will transition into a new role as executive chairman of the company.

“Across AIG, we have made significant progress executing on our strategy to deliver value for our clients, distribution partners, shareholders and other stakeholders,” commented CEO-elect Zaffino on the decision. “Our businesses can be further strengthened by separating life & retirement from AIG, which we believe will enable each entity to achieve a more appropriate and sustainable valuation.”

Coinciding with the major announcement, AIG also revealed its Q3 2020 catastrophe loss estimates. The company’s catastrophe loss estimates for the third quarter, net of reinsurance, totaled US$790 million (before tax). Of that US$790 million, there was US$185 million of estimated catastrophe losses for claims related to COVID-19 – principally in AIG’s travel, event cancellation, trade credit, property, agriculture, and casualty books of business.

AIG also announced the results of its annual actuarial assumption update for the life & retirement and legacy segments. This year saw lower interest rate assumptions, including a decrease in the expected 10 year forward 10-year Treasury rate to approximately 2.8%.

The company recorded a third quarter 2020 charge of US$7 million, after-tax (US$9 million pre-tax), to net income attributable to AIG common shareholders, representing a charge of US$22 million, pre-tax, in the life & retirement segment and a benefit of US$13 million, pre-tax, in the legacy segment.

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