Fossil Fuel Subsidies And Impact Greenwashing Are Stalling The Energy Transition

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Published on: November 14, 2019

Since 1800, worldwide consumption of fossil fuels has increased 1,300-fold. Access to this cheap energy has lifted people out of poverty and catalyzed economic growth, wealth creation and healthier living environments. So, the fossil fuel industry must be remarkably profitable, right?

After all, if renewables like solar and wind were competitive in a free market, would we not have switched over by now? Wouldn’t the top of the Forbes Global 2000 be stacked with clean energy companies instead of oil and gas giants?

It sounds reasonable that market forces make fossil fuels our energy source of choice. The reality is quite different, however. Oil and gas companies are better at procuring government subsidies than generating profits. That has led investors to overestimate the fossil fuel industry while leaving clean energy innovations underfunded. It seems like we give companies important to the energy transition “just enough capital to fail.”

Until we unrig the playing field, clean energy will struggle, and your tax dollars will perpetuate climate change. There is little time left for action, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that without major reductions in CO2 output by 2030, the Earth will suffer severe and irreparable damage.

Human civilization needs to become carbon neutral. But has anybody seen a realistic plan for that? What stands in the way of unhooking ourselves from cheap fossil fuels?


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“It is empowering to know, given my Alberta heritage, our technology can change the climate impacts of the Alberta oil sands regions and generate significant additional economic benefits.”

Brett Henkel

Co-Founder and Vice President Strategic Accounts & Government Affairs

Brett Henkel’s unabashed optimism tempered by his mechanical engineering background and gas separation experience combine to bring a rare perspective to his position on Svante’s executive team.

Transferring the company’s breakthrough CO2 capture technology to customers’ sites will rely heavily on Brett’s strengths for identifying and understanding the technical and business details and relating those details to partners’ teams, approving agencies, and stakeholders.

As co-founder, he was instrumental in creating the process and the hardware used to prove the technology’s effectiveness as well as mobilizing external support throughout the path to becoming a successful innovation. These experiences strengthened his knowledge of business development and program management priorities.

Prior to launching Svante, Mr. Henkel was the program manager for QuestAir Technologies’ compact hydrogen production system with its partner, ExxonMobil. He is credited with designing the world’s first solenoid-driven rapid pressure swing adsorption test station.

Brett received his Bachelor of Science in Physics, with distinction, and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Victoria.

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