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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

Before getting into today’s newsletter, I’d like to introduce you to one of a different kind: a newsletter course, created by the same people who bring you Globe Climate.

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Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

A man waters a plant while he works on his laptop.Ally Jaye Reeves/The Globe and Mail

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. ‘Radical pragmatist’? Canada’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault insists he can be both. And he might be just the right person for the job.
  2. Canada loses the bid to host corporate sustainability data office to Frankfurt at COP26, but gets a secondary hub. But winning would have helped Trudeau show that Canada belongs in the big leagues.
  3. Meanwhile in Alberta: During COP26, the province announced a raft of emissions-reduction projects and Jason Kenney announces a plan to expedite Alberta’s hydrogen energy goals.
  4. Logging: B.C. makes big commitment to save old-growth trees after seeking to suspend one-third of old-growth logging. Listen to this episode of The Decibel to learn more about the new plan.
  5. From The Narwhal: Could an Indigenous conservation area in Hudson Bay also be the key to saving carbon-rich peatlands?

A deeper dive

The top 5 things to take away from the first week of COP26

Sierra Bein is the author of Globe Climate. For this week’s deeper dive she recaps week one of COP26.

Canada talks fossil fuels

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the international stage to reiterate a campaign promise to impose emissions caps on the oil-and-gas industry to help reach net-zero goals. The next day, he pushed the world to impose a global price on carbon by 2030, but the bid to follow his government’s lead on carbon pricing didn’t gain much momentum.

Ottawa also took the step of pledging to end financing for foreign fossil-fuel projects in 2022, but no such promise of divesting fossil- fuel projects at home. Financial companies from Canada joined Mark Carney’s climate alliance, which added 450 companies, but they have no plan to divest from fossil fuels either.

Also read: Western Canada’s reaction to Ottawa’s new sped-up emissions targets should come as no surprise

Promises, promises

Canada has made a lot of commitments this week. We joined more than 100 nations in a pledge to end deforestation by 2030 and to slash emissions of the greenhouse gas methane by 30 per cent. We promised 20 per cent of our $5.3-billion international climate finance commitment to tackle biodiversity loss. Over the weekend, Quebec pledged to transition all government vehicles to zero-emission by 2040.

But the question now is who will keep these promises to account? So many things were promised at COP26, who will be keeping track?

Also read: Gabon’s green logging laws offer COP26 countries a path to climate action

An unexpected moment

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his country will aim to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere by 2070 — a long two decades after the U.S. and Canada, and at least 10 years later than China. While it’s encouraging to see new nations pledging to reach net-zero, it’s a lot later than other players had hoped in trying to answer the Paris Agreement. (Don’t forget: That IPCC report from the summer specifically outlined the urgency of getting to net-zero before 2040).

Meanwhile, India, China and the U.S. have compromised a global pact to transition away from coal power. The three nations account for 70 per cent of the world’s coal consumption. Australia, which is one of the world’s biggest coal exporters, was also notable in its absence.

On the ground is Glasgow

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the summit with calls to “act now,” but not too long into the start of the summit, many just wanted the whole thing to be over. (A garbage strike on the first day of the conference likely didn’t help).

“Greta-mania” also swept the city, despite not receiving an invitation to the summit herself. She joined thousands of climate activists who demanded action and blasted COP26 as a ‘greenwash festival’ for wealthy countries. On Saturday, activists took to the streets as part of a Global Day of Action for Climate Justice that saw similar rallies held in cities around the world, including in Canada.


There are many voices that deserve more support at the conference, which has mostly heard top state and finance officials on the stage. One Canadian non-profit group to watch for, is Mihskakwan James Harper and other delegates from Indigenous Clean Energy, to show Indigenous communities should have a key role in shaping the future energy landscape.

Up next: COP26 climate summit enters its crucial final week. Here’s what world leaders will be hashing out

- Sierra

A conference is seen through a window at the media centre during COP26, November 4, 2021.YVES HERMAN/Reuters

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales: Private sector holds the key to reaching sustainability, climate goals

Dr. Maryam Golnaraghi: Canada needs a strategy on cleantech to obtain its emissions, sustainability goals

Editorial board: The global warming alarm clock is ringing. Wake up

Andrew Coyne: How much we cut carbon emissions is less important than how we do so

Campbell Clark: After COP26 climate conference, the carbon trade war will inch closer

Andrew Coyne: Is carbon pricing Liberal policy? For the most part, it’s anything but

A shadow of a media member is seen on a wall with clocks at the media centre during the COP26, November 4, 2021.PHIL NOBLE/Reuters

Green Investing

More from Glasgow: The Bank of Canada plans new tools to better assess how climate change is affecting the economy including how more frequent severe weather events and the transition to low-carbon growth affect potential output, the labour market and inflation.

Eric Reguly at COP26: Greenwashing is real as companies and funds ride the ESG express. The goal is to make it rare

Also read:

Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Ella Galaski-Rossen helping improve our eating habits.

Ella Galaski-RossenHandout

Hi, my name is Ella Galaski-Rossen! I’m 11 years old and live in Ajax, Ont.

I started my climate activism journey when I was 5 years old by helping organize shoreline and community cleanups, and am now the co-founder of the Cleanup Kids, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the planet. My newest project revolves around our eating habits, and I want to share this information with kids in my community so they can make better food choices.

This is possible because I’m a recipient of Earth’s Own Plant Project - a program that provides funding and support to those working to fight climate change by sparking a shift to plant-based eating. With their support, I will create and distribute more than 100 indoor garden boxes to schools across the GTA, which will include information on how to grow your own fruits and vegetables and the positive impact eating plants has on the planet.

The biggest thing I’ve learned is that individuals can really make a difference! Choosing to eat more plants can drastically reduce CO2 emissions, use less water and less land.

- Ella

Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at to tell us about them.

Photo of the week

Activists dressed as the Pokemon character Pikachu protest against Japan's support of the coal industry near the COP26 U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2021.Alberto Pezzali/The Associated Press

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