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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
The polar bear migration is happening now, and you have a chance to watch them gather on this polar bear live cam. You can virtually follow a Tundra Buggy trip in Churchill, Man., to see polar bears as they wait for winter sea ice to form on Hudson Bay.
Live viewing hours are 10:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. EDT. Thanks to explore.org along with Polar Bears International, Frontiers North Adventures, Parks Canada and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre for coming together and making this available.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Interactive and Visual story telling: Remaking the Coquihalla highway after a one-in-1,000-year storm and fortifying it against future climate-change-driven extreme weather events
- Essay: Sailing the Atlantic to learn about climate change left feature writer Ian Brown cold, in more ways than one
- COP27: The world is falling short with $100-billion climate finance pledge for disaster-stricken nations as tense COP27 nears
- Wildlife: Overheating rivers threatening Newfoundland’s wild Atlantic salmon
- Energy: Suncor is going back to its roots as a pure oil sands company, meanwhile the Nisga’a Nation’s LNG plans face opposition from a neighbouring Indigenous group over climate concerns
- Analysis from The Narwhal: Paving wetlands for housing ignores Ontario’s history of floods
A deeper dive
Canada’s unlikely green power hotspot
Jeffrey Jones is a reporter on The Globe’s climate, environment and resources team who often writes about sustainable investing. For this week’s deeper dive he talks about his road trip along Highway 3 in Alberta, where a multibillion-dollar renewables boom is transforming the landscape.
This summer, I travelled east of Lethbridge, Alta., to research a story about renewable natural gas, and a potato-farming family that had jumped into the business of making fuel from waste. After a tour of the facility, I mentioned to one of the owners that projects like his, and a surprising number of solar and wind farms we saw driving through the region, seemed to go against stereotypes about Alberta and its energy mix. He agreed, and said Highway 3, which cuts across the province’s south past the farm, was gaining a reputation as “the energy transition corridor.” That stuck with me.
Later, looking into what was happening in the industry, it became clear Highway 3 was enabling a full-on green-energy boom that many Canadians – even Albertans – weren’t aware of. Billions of dollars are flowing into wind, solar and other projects across incredibly varied vistas of prairies, rolling farmland, badlands and the Rocky Mountain foothills. In the process, the activity is transforming and decarbonizing the provincial power grid, while giving communities an economic jolt.
But how to tell the story of a renewable-energy rush in a place better known for oil and gas? I bounced the idea of a travelogue-style feature off Ryan MacDonald, The Globe’s energy and environment editor, and he was game. The concept: Get behind the wheel and head west on Highway 3, stopping at renewable energy projects along the way.
For a few bright and unusually warm days in early October, Calgary-based photographer Guillaume Nolet and I hit the road to get a close-up look at wind and solar farms and other facilities, and talk to those in charge about how breezy and bright conditions, a welcoming investment climate and improving technology are fuelling the excitement for clean power. All along the way, Guillaume captured stunning images of the unique southern Alberta landscape in autumn.
What else you missed
- Greta Thunberg says COP27 an opportunity for ‘greenwashing, lying and cheating’
- First Nation balances Western science with traditional knowledge in an effort to combat climate change
- Insurance industry recommends climate risk score for houses
- Oil giant Saudi Aramco launches $1.5-billion transition fund, says energy transition plan is ‘flawed’
- As climate pledges fall short, a chaotic future looks more like reality
- Global demand for fossil fuels will decline by 2050, with investment in clean energy growing, IEA says
- Indoor growing could feed Canadians — and others — year-round
- Federal Environment Minister Guilbeault calls out oil patch for sitting idle on climate action
Opinion and analysis
Brian Porter: The last barrel of oil should be a Canadian one
Kerry Bowman: Brazil’s election could determine the fate of the Amazon rainforest
Richard Littlemore: The catastrophic threat of thawing permafrost hangs over us all
Bjorn Lomborg: The climate hypocrisy of rich countries
Mark Carney defends his green banking alliance despite concerns about legal, governance risks
Mark Carney denied that major U.S. banks are considering dropping out of his global coalition of financial institutions, weeks after media reports suggested the group was in danger of breaking ranks over legal worries.
The coalition, called the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ) is collectively aiming for net-zero carbon emissions in their industry. Mr. Carney said that it was still progressing in its quest to get its 500 member institutions to disclose data showing their emission targets and strategies.
- Apple announces new clean energy investments, asks suppliers to decarbonize
- Why companies struggle to make ESG commitments a reality
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of OnTheVerge producing a new sci-fi adventure TV show, The Goldilocks Mission.
Hey! We’re OnTheVerge, a new production company focusing on climate change awareness for teens and young adults. Our new sci-fi adventure TV show The Goldilocks Mission is an eight-part series that showcases real science on the causes and solutions of climate change. Starting with young writers, we’re creating a positive story that merges entertainment with education. We have developed an advisory board of climate scientists, clean energy companies, engineers and youth leaders.
The Goldilocks Mission is rooted in spirituality and our connection to one another. At the heart of the story is a young woman named Mia who is born from the universe and must lead a mission of epic proportions. We’re hoping to entertain even climate skeptics using Unreal Engine and new virtual filming technologies.
Entertainment harnesses the power of imagination. Now, more than ever, we need to come together and imagine possibility through science and the human spirit. We’re making this series firstly for our own kids. Follow us at otverge.com
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
Guides and Explainers
- Want to learn to invest sustainably? We have a class for that: Green Investing 101 newsletter course for the climate-conscious investor. Not sure you need help? Take our quiz to challenge your knowledge.
- We've rounded up our reporters' content to help you learn about what a carbon tax is, what happened at COP 26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your travelling more sustainable and if you like to read, here are books to help the environmentalist in you grow, as well as a downloadable e-book of Micro Skills - Little Steps to Big Change.
Catch up on Globe Climate
- What Canada can learn from European energy planning
- Yukon River Chinook salmon decline is a cultural, spiritual loss
- The environmental cost of electrification
- Storm surge is why Hurricane Fiona hit so hard, and it will get worse