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Lineups outside grocery stores in St. John's as state of emergency hits Day 5 – CTV News

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. —
Emptying kitchen cupboards were restocked in St. John’s, N.L., on Tuesday, as residents lined up at grocery stores open for the first time since last week’s massive blizzard.

The lineup at one Sobey’s store stretched around the parking lot and out onto the street by the time doors opened at 10 a.m.

The city had advised people to buy enough food to last 48 hours, but some would-be shoppers still turned away upon seeing the epic queue.

Within 20 minutes, there was little room to move inside the store as people filled their carts with essential foods and household items, leaving some shelves nearly bare.

The openings at Sobey’s and other grocers occurred on the fifth day of a state of emergency in the provincial capital, as cleanup continued from a storm last Friday that brought 76 centimetres of snow to some areas.

The state of emergency was to continue Wednesday, though the city said some restrictions would be lifted.

Grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, as well as family doctors and specialist clinics in order to take pressure off hospital emergency rooms.

Oil companies will also be permitted to deliver home heating fuel.

Hundreds of Armed Forces personnel have been brought in to help in the effort, and more were expected to arrive on Tuesday.

Amid the slow return to everyday life, police announced one troubling development: the search for 26-year-old Joshua Wall, who went missing at the height of the blizzard, has been suspended.

RCMP spokeswoman Glenda Power said in an email that despite “exhaustive efforts” over the last four days, Wall — who was last seen leaving his home for a friend’s house at the height of the storm on Friday — has not been found.

“Bay Roberts RCMP continue to urge residents in the area to check their properties, including backyards, sheds, barns and other outbuildings, as well as vehicles, in the event Joshua sought shelter there,” Power said.

At Sobey’s on Tuesday, one St. John’s resident said she and her husband walked down early with a plan to beat the crowd, but arrived to find others had the same idea.

Doris Squires said she was looking forward to a restocked kitchen Tuesday night.

“I’m going to put on a pot of fresh meat soup, if I can get some fresh meat,” she said.

Several taxi companies offered free rides to seniors and people with disabilities who needed to pick up supplies.

Just around the corner from Sobey’s, there was a sense of relief at The Gathering Place, a service centre providing meals, warmth and other basic needs for low-income residents.

Ashley MacDonald, director of social programs, said the state of emergency has been hard on guests who rely on the centre for food and toiletries and couldn’t afford to stock up ahead of the storm.

Many were without power or any means to keep up with updates from the city, MacDonald said, noting some people approached her in the street during the last few days asking where they could find food.

“They’re in the dark about what everybody else knows,” MacDonald said.

About 70 people showed up on Monday to eat and to warm up, MacDonald said, and more than a dozen took home canned supplies for other community members who were housebound.

MacDonald said there was a sense of relief that day as people were finally fed, saw their friends’ faces and swapped stories after an isolating and precarious stretch.

She said planning ahead for warming centres and access to food should be a priority during such weather events in order to better support vulnerable members of the community.

Scott Seabrook, who lives in a bedsit nearby, was at The Gathering Place for a meal Tuesday afternoon. He said he’d been relying on the centre since moving to the city nearly a month ago for a job opportunity that fell through.

Seabrook said staff sent him home with some extra canned food Thursday night, warning they might be shutting down for a couple of days.

“I’ve been living on canned goods since then, and I shared it with some of the people in my room,” he said.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said about 450 troops — including some 175 reservists — would be in Newfoundland on Tuesday to help the province dig out from the storm.

Premier Dwight Ball said Tuesday afternoon that the Armed Forces had completed more than 160 assigned tasks so far, and the call volume of requests for assistance had been “extremely high.”

The city said it would allow the St. John’s International Airport to resume flights Wednesday at 5 a.m., and taxis would have permission to resume operations at midnight.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2020.

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The "Twin Threats" Facing Big Oil – OilPrice.com

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The “Twin Threats” Facing Big Oil | OilPrice.com

Nick Cunningham

Nick Cunningham is an independent journalist, covering oil and gas, energy and environmental policy, and international politics. He is based in Portland, Oregon. 

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    The global oil and gas industry is facing the “twin threats” of the loss of profitability and the loss of social acceptability as the climate crisis continues to worsen. The industry is not adequately responding to either of those threats, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

    “Oil and gas companies have been proficient at delivering the fuels that form the bedrock of today’s   energy system; the question that they now face is whether they can help deliver climate solutions,” the IEA said.

    The report, whose publication was timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos, critiques the oil industry for not doing enough to plan for the transition. The IEA said that companies are spending only about 1 percent of their capex on anything outside of their core oil and gas strategy. Even the companies doing the most are only spending about 5 percent of their budgets on non-oil and gas investments.

    There are some investments here and there into solar, or electric vehicle recharging infrastructure, but by and large the oil majors are doing very little to overhaul their businesses. The top companies only spent about $2 billion on solar, wind, biofuels and carbon capture last year.

    Before even getting to the transition risk due to climate change, the oil industry was already facing questions about profitability. Over the past decade the free cash flow from operations at the five largest oil majors trailed the total sent to shareholders by about $200 billion. In other words, they cannot afford to finance their operations and also keep up obligations to shareholders. Something will have to change. Related: Libya Is Facing A New Oil War

    But, of course, as climate policy begins to tighten, oil demand growth will slow and level off. Most analysts say that it won’t require a big hit to demand in order for the financial havoc to really begin to devastate the balance sheets of the majors. Demand only needs to stop growing.

    The IEA said there are things the industry can do right now – and should have done a long time ago. Roughly 15 percent of the energy sector’s total greenhouse gas emissions comes from upstream production. “Reducing methane leaks to the atmosphere is the single most important and cost-effective way for the industry to bring down these emissions,” the IEA said. But, the Permian is flaring more gas than ever, and methane leaks at every stage of the extraction and distribution process. Drillers have promises improvements, but the industry’s track record to date is not good.

    Meanwhile, the IEA also noted that while attention is often focused on the oil majors, national oil companies (NOCs) account for more than half of global oil production. The majors only account for about 15 percent.

    It is one thing for ExxonMobil or Chevron to face an existential crisis – which, absent an attempt to transition to a low-carbon business, they certainly do – but it’s an entirely different thing for the NOCs who will struggle to deal with the energy transition. The threat from the energy transition is not just to a specific business, but to whole governments and entire populations. “Some are high performing, but many are poorly positioned to adapt to changing global energy dynamics,” the IEA said. “None of the large NOCs have been charged by their host governments with leadership roles in renewables or other noncore areas.” Related: Has Natural Gas Hit Rock Bottom?

    Ultimately, the report from the IEA should be worrying for the industry. The agency itself has faced criticism for not being more at the forefront of calling for a clean energy transition, and its forecasts for renewables have consistently undershot actual improvements for renewable technologies. The agency also continues to call for more upstream oil and gas investment. In other words, the IEA is somewhat conservative, and has been slow to recognize major shifts in the energy sector.

    As such, the majors should probably take note when the IEA says something like “the transformation of the energy sector can happen without the oil and gas industry.” They can drag their feet, and will become increasingly ravaged by policy change and a deterioration in their core business. Or, they could proactively transform themselves, as the IEA says they should. Solutions to climate change “cannot be found within today’s oil and gas paradigm,” the agency said.

    By Nick Cunningham of Oilprice.com

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      St. John's residents restock food, medicine after massive blizzard – CTV News

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      TORONTO —
      Some pharmacies and grocery stores reopened Tuesday, as St. John’s, N.L., residents worried about accessing medication and replenishing food supplies after a massive blizzard.

      The city urged people to stock enough food for 48 hours. By the time doors opened at 10 a.m. at one Sobeys, the lineup stretched around the parking lot and onto the road. Inside, some residents were co-ordinating to ensure neighbours who couldn’t get out to the store would have essentials too.

      “We’re just combining forces to help out people on our street,” Margaret Connors told The Canadian Press. “I think everybody was surprised at all of this, but I think people are pulling together,” she said.

      NTV spoke to several shoppers outside a Coleman’s grocery store, many of whom were focused on picking up the essential groceries after spending days with limited fresh food.

      “When you run out of milk and you run out of bread and you run out of eggs, things like that, you need to get those things in order to feed your kids,” said one shopper.

      The store limited customers to just two loaves of bread each, as fears of a food shortage grow in the region.

      Greg Gill, the vice president of marketing at Colemans, told NTV that staff are doing the best they can to get the food onto store shelves, but considering Newfoundland is an island and ferry shipments have been halted for the time being, there’s only so much they can do.

      “High-demand items and those with a shorter shelf life are a bit of a concern,” he said.

      On CTV’s Your Morning, St. John’s Mayor Danny Breen said the city is encouraging people to walk, but some taxi services are offering free rides to help seniors and people with disabilities in particular. Taxi services are scheduled to resume operation at midnight, while schools in metro St. John’s will also be closed for the rest of the week.

      The Friday blizzard dumped 76 centimetres of snow in the area. Tuesday marked the fifth day of the state of emergency.

      “We want everyone to slow down, take it easy, be very mindful of what’s happening,” he said.

      Travel continued to be an issue across eastern Newfoundland Tuesday as the St. John’s International Airport said it would resume commercial flights on Wednesday morning.

      At street level, snow removal has proven difficult for residents. On Monday, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Navy members were deployed to help. Ottawa said more than 400 troops would be in Newfoundland on Tuesday.

      “I know that my group is committed and we’re here until our leadership and the province sees no need for us here,” Master Cpl. Andrew Cox told NTV.

      Breen is urging residents to get their cars off the road in order to speed up the snow clearing process, but does not have a timeline for when it will be finished.

      “The parking bans are in place to have unfettered access to the roads so we can get this cleaned up as quickly as possible,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

      The Friday storm was compounded by earlier snowfalls, he added. The city had seen 170 centimetres of snow already, some of which hadn’t even cleared before Friday’s blizzard.

      “We never really caught up on our removals,” he said. “We’re only a month into our winter season here. We’ve got a long ways to go.”

      Breen added that city staff has “learned a lot in the last couple of days” when it comes to how states of emergency are handled in the city.

      “We have some work to do,” he said. “When we get this cleaned up and we sit back and look at what happened, I think we need to do a very thorough review.”

      With files from The Canadian Press and NTV

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      Ten Thousand Villages to close operations in Canada, including in Waterloo and New Hamburg – CTV News

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      KITCHENER —
      After 74 years in business, Ten Thousand Villages Canada has announced it will close its corporate operations, including its distribution centre in New Hamburg and its store in Waterloo.

      “It is with the heaviest of hearts we announce the closure of the corporate operations of Ten Thousand Villages Canada, which includes the head office, distribution centre in New Hamburg,” a statement on the company’s website begins.

      The non-profit social enterprise was started in 1946 by Edna Ruth Byler, a member of the Mennonite Central Committee, when she started selling wares from her trunk on behalf of Puerto Rican women.

      The closures include all Ontario stores except for one each in Port Colborne and Cobourg.

      “We’ve worked long and hard for about 12 years to bring Ten Thousand Villages back to profitability,” explains Rick Cober Bauman, executive director of Mennonite Central Committee Canada.

      “It’s of course selling fairly-traded handy crafts from around the world here in a Canadian market. It did very, very well for many years and for the last number of years, that model was very, very difficult.”

      Operations in Waterloo Region will close on May 29 this year, alongside several other branches around the country and even the company’s online store.

      “In this challenging retail environment, we recognize your commitment, support and dedication to the success of Ten Thousand Villages Canada,” the company says in a news release on its website.

      “However, in spite of all our best efforts, we have been unable to achieve the level of sales that would continue to provide us with the ability to operate a sustainable business model.”

      Under its business model, a total of eight stores across the country are owned and operated by different boards. Some of those stores will remain open.

      Two years ago, the Mennonite Central Committee decided to close nine stores across the country, including one in Stratford and another in St. Jacobs.

      A few stores will close earlier than May, with a date set for March 31, while others have not yet determined a date to close.

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