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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Now that COP26 is over, we’re left with a lot of information to digest. One of the big themes of the conference was finance.
So this is where I remind you of our new newsletter course: Green investing 101. It’s written and edited by some familiar climate faces at The Globe. (well, reported by Jeffrey Jones, Emma Graney and David Berman, and edited by audience editor Jessie Willms and myself).
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- What lies beneath: Exploring Canada’s invisible carbon storehouse — and what’s at stake for the planet if it’s disturbed
- The North Atlantic is one of the key areas where carbon is transferred from the atmosphere into the deep ocean. Advocates say Canada is well positioned to play a leadership role in the initiative to study the region.
- The ROM’s first-ever climate curator wants to move ‘away from the doomsday aspects of climate change’
- According to a new poll, nearly two-thirds of Canadians support oil and gas emissions cap, even if it puts jobs at risk
- From The Narwhal: Miners competing over Ontario’s Ring of Fire have contentious relationships with Indigenous communities in Australia
A deeper dive
A look at the COP26 deal
Sierra Bein is the author of Globe Climate. For this week’s deeper dive, she wraps up The Globe’s reporting on COP26.
“Africa risks being destabilized by climate change. It’s already, in certain of our countries, a matter of life and death. Already we are seeing some of our nations failing,” said Gabon’s Environment Minister, Lee White.
Delegates to the United Nations conference kept watering down drafts of a deal that was intended to put the spoken commitments into action. The most notable was a last-minute change in language around the “phase out” of coal, which became “phase down” instead. Coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change, and quitting coal altogether is a difficult task.
But perhaps the most concerning figures to leave the summit were that despite new commitments announced during the first week, the world is slated to blow past the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees to at least 2.4 degrees.
That’s not to say COP26 was all negative, as climate change columnist Adam Radwanski writes from Glasgow. Progress came nearer to the conference’s end, with a surprising co-operation declaration from the U.S. and China to cut emissions among other collaborations.
The thing about COP conferences is that the commitments aren’t legally binding, and that could be something to revisit in future conferences: How do we create an imperative to act? For now, we must wait for nations to put policies into place.
Ultimately, despite compromises that made the outcome more weak in environmental campaigners’ eyes, it wasn’t the worst conclusion. It’s safe to say that we can see advances, but not necessarily success. “No deal was the worst possible result there. Nobody wins,” Patricia Espinosa, the United Nations’ climate secretary said in an interview with The Associated Press.
And as Adam writes: As more growth happens, COP26 could yet be seen as a positive pivot point. “The momentum is there; the ultimate test for COP26 will be how long it lasts.”
Before you go, check out:
- Ugandan Vanessa Nakate’s powerful voice helps reframe climate activism
- From The Decibel: An inside look into how deals are made at COP26
- Here’s what you missed on COP’s gender day and transportation day
What else you missed
- Harper says Canada’s climate-change policy unfairly singles out ‘certain parts of the country’
- B.C. plans to expand reforestation program to include carbon credits
- Ford government bets big on Highway 413, Bradford Bypass on Ontario’s greenbelt
- Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek’s climate emergency declaration headed for a vote
- New Foreign Affairs Minister pushes back on U.S. tax-credit plan for electric vehicles
- B.C. study shows sustainable management of salmon fishery before colonization
- Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon increases amid COP26 climate summit
- Obama chides China, Russia at COP26 for ‘dangerous lack of urgency’ on climate change
- Enbridge argues Line 5 workaround fits U.S. ‘Build Back Better’ agenda
Opinion and analysis
Darryl White and Perrin Beatty: What happens after COP26? Canada’s $2-trillion question
Eric Reguly: COP-out? Not quite, but Glasgow climate summit made little progress on crucial carbon markets
Konrad Yakabuski: The unreal spectacle of COP26
Editorial board: Canada has nearly kicked its coal addiction. The rest of the world? Not so much
Konrad Yakabuski: Hydro-Québec’s export plans keep short-circuiting
Canada’s pension funds are key to climate goals
The COP26 summit in Glasgow has put major institutional investors in the spotlight as financiers of both climate change and solutions to combat it, writes Jeffrey Jones. With assets topping $2-trillion, Canada’s biggest pension funds are key to the discussion, and current and future retirees are demanding their contributions be invested in assets that won’t make the problem worse.
These are all moves in the right direction. So far, though, it’s been difficult to make comparisons among the pension funds – how much of their portfolios are actually sustainable and what remains to be accomplished to meet environmental, social and governance targets.
- These 10 TSX stocks are ahead of the curve on environmental sustainability
- Shipping companies that carry coal draw increasing investor ire, and coal stocks slip after Glasgow climate deal
- Electric truck maker Rivian races to $86-billion market value
Can green investing save the planet? A new newsletter course from The Globe explores climate-conscious investing. Sign up today.
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Luc Houle creating a more eco-friendly type of footwear.
Hi, I’m Luc Houle, 33, located in Toronto. I’m a shoe innovator and oil painter.
We saw a problem with consumer plastics; the world uses a lot of them! 330 million tons of consumer plastics are thrown away each year and one of the big culprits are the shoes we wear. I created Johnny Footwear as a solution to this problem. Instead of the typical 1,000 years, Johnny shoes biodegrade in three short years while retaining the same comfort as sport shoes. Best of all, they come with seeds in the outsole so they can grow into apple trees after being planted, helping offset your carbon footprint. We launched on Kickstarter Oct. 12, 2021.
Choosing an environmentally conscious lifestyle is paramount, however we also need to lead industries toward making these same choices. If there’s one thing you can do to create real change, it’s to seek out and support environmentally conscious companies. Industries incentivize profits over ethics and so it’s important that we make the two synonymous.
Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com to tell us about them.
Photo of the week
Catch up on Globe Climate
- Five things to take away from the first week of COP26
- Here’s how to keep up with our COP26 coverage
- It’s time to iron out climate-related disclosure
- Indigenous-led power to put 17 First Nations on the grid