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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).

You will also be provided a glossary of terms that appear in our courses, to make sure you know what’s what. Take a moment to check it out and sign up for free today!

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

ALLY JAYE REEVES/The Globe and Mail


Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. What lies beneath: Exploring Canada’s invisible carbon storehouse — and what’s at stake for the planet if it’s disturbed
  2. 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.
  3. The ROM’s first-ever climate curator wants to move ‘away from the doomsday aspects of climate change’
  4. According to a new poll, nearly two-thirds of Canadians support oil and gas emissions cap, even if it puts jobs at risk
  5. 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.

The COP26 summit ended in an agreement after going into overtime, but left much skepticism and a lukewarm response from delegates representing dozens of poorer countries.

“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.

Other sticking points were how a carbon trading market would work and reparation, known as “loss and damage” for vulnerable countries who have experienced prolonged effects of climate change.

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.”

- Sierra

Before you go, check out:

A worker is vacuuming the floor at the venue of COP26 in Glasgow November 12, 2021.YVES HERMAN/Reuters


What else you missed


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


Green Investing

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.

Can green investing save the planet? A new newsletter course from The Globe explores climate-conscious investing. Sign up today.


Making waves

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.

Luc Houle, creator of Johnny FootwearHandout

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.

- Luc

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

Extinction Rebellion protesters are seen outside the entrance to the COP26 site on November 12, 2021 in Glasgow. As World Leaders meet to discuss climate change at the summit, many climate action groups have taken to the streets to protest for real progress to be made by governments to reduce carbon emissions, clean up the oceans, reduce fossil fuel use and other issues relating to global heating.Peter Summers/Getty Images


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