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

Methane has long been known to be a major contributor to climate change, with livestock — particularly cattle — among the chief culprits of methane production (mostly through belching). But one B.C. company thinks they may have a solution: kelp.

Cascadia Seaweed Corp., based in Sidney, B.C., started farming seaweed in 2019 with a couple of small test plots. This year, it expects to harvest 50 tonnes of kelp from seven sites. Now, as Wendy Stueck reports, the company is looking at using seaweed in agriculture feed, hoping that the addition of kelp could help reduce the methane emissions produced by livestock. To date, Cascadia has raised about $7-million from investors and received about $3-million in grants.

Spencer Serin, an instructor at Vancouver Island’s North Island College who is working with Cascadia on seaweed research, thinks the company is on to something. “As we see the effects of climate change – reduced yield, decreased top soil, harder to get crops in the Prairies, lot of failures – if we are going to have a sustainable model of animal agriculture, it is good to look toward other sources of protein and nutrients for the animal,” Serin says.

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

University of Victoria engineering student Cam Kinsman keeps an eye on the line during the sugar kelp harvest at the Cormorant farm site in Tofino, B.C., on April 20, 2022.CHAD_HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail


Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Monarch butterflies: Dwindling populations led the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to add the iconic black and orange butterfly to its list of endangered species last week.
  2. U.S.: Joe Biden’s climate plan has stalled, but many of his Democratic allies say there is more the U.S. president could be doing to keep his agenda moving.
  3. Oil: Vancouver City Council has voted to set aside approximately $660,000 for potential legal action against global fossil fuel companies to recoup costs associated with climate change.
  4. Mining: Lab-grown diamonds are climate-neutral, but luxury companies are struggling to find skilled workers that can produce them at high speed and quality.
  5. From The Narwhal: In Saskatchewan, land ownership concentration and big money are forcing farmers to clear their lands in order to keep up.

A deeper dive

A week of extreme heat waves forecast a new global reality

Ryan MacDonald is a senior editor at The Globe heading the climate, environment and resources team. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about this week’s record-setting heat events around the world.

Climate change is no longer a future threat. The world is getting hotter — and it’s clear that the world is not prepared for extreme heat.

July saw the first-ever extreme heat warning issued in the United Kingdom where temperatures topped 40 C. Train operators asked customers not to travel, flights were disrupted and the hot air and parched land caused dozens of fires in several cities.

Britain is ill-prepared for extreme heat. And climate scientists say the heat wave should be a wake-up call about climate change and the need to modify buildings and cities to cope with temperature extremes.

Britain was not alone. These climate change-fuelled heat waves are forecasting a new global weather reality.

In the U.S., there are heat warnings and advisories for 28 states as temperatures are expected to climb above once-in-100-years levels over the next week. China is also suffering from sweltering heat, with Shanghai hitting 40.9 C, the city’s highest temperature since 1873.

Here at home, the situation has been far less dire, but that doesn’t mean we should be complacent in preparing for extreme heat events. Canada’s hodgepodge of heat warning systems have been criticized for not reaching people soon enough, or worse still, delivering contradictory advice.

In June, a death review panel convened by the B.C. Coroners Service concluded last year’s extraordinary heat dome led to as many as 619 heat-related deaths, mostly of older people who lived alone and suffered from chronic diseases. Among its major findings was “a lag” between heat alerts issued by the federal Environment Ministry, and the responses of B.C.’s public agencies. The Globe’s Matthew McClearn explains the challenges and what needs to happen next in this piece.

For Canadian cities, much of the danger during extreme heat events is due to our built environment. Elliott Cappell, Toronto’s former chief resilience officers, argues extreme heat should be classified as a natural disaster alongside flooding or earthquakes.

The bigger challenge, however, is to rethink how we build — starting with building codes and standards — in a way that considers a hotter future.

More reading on extreme heat from the Globe:

How does the human body respond to rising temperatures? This one-of-a-kind lab in Ottawa is trying to find out

How you (and your home) can stay cool in a heat wave

In Canada’s biggest cities, vulnerability to rising temperatures may depend on your neighbourhood

People lay in the sun on Brighton beach, during a heatwave in Brighton, Britain, July 19, 2022.PETER CZIBORRA/Reuters


What else you missed


Opinion and analysis

The Globe Editorial Board: Can Canada cut emissions without gutting the oil and gas industry? There is no other option

Kelly Cryderman: Canada’s plan for the oil and gas sector might be an overly political, unnecessary relic

Elliott Cappell: When it comes to climate change, Canada is least prepared in the places that matter most

Mike Crawley: Canada can lead the way to use renewable power to produce green hydrogen

Candace MacGibbon: Our allies need more access to Canada’s natural resources


Green Investing

According to a study by the Responsible Investment Association (RIA), Canada is a world leader in responsible investing. Among developed countries, assets under management (AUM) that qualified as green or responsible investments increased by 48 per cent in Canada between 2018 and 2020, with more than $3-trillion invested sustainably in Canada during the same time frame.

Canadians of every stripe are turning on to RI, says Patti Dolan, portfolio manager and certified responsible investment adviser with Wellington-Altus Private Wealth in Calgary, even in oil country: “there is a huge sustainability community here,” she says.

And, as investors seek to reward strong ESG performers, Canadian publicly traded companies are becoming more diligent about improving and sharing details about their practices, which is critical, with ESG credibility currently under fire. These companies aren’t just doing it because investors demand it, Ms. Dolan says. Sustainability also makes sense for their long-term bottom line. “What I find is companies with really good ESG practices are more resilient,” she says.


Making waves

We will be taking a break from publishing profiles this summer! But we’re still looking for great people to feature. Get in touch with us to have someone included in our “making waves” section for after Labour Day.

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

A seal eats from an icicle with frozen fish on a hot day at Bioparco di Roma, in Rome, Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Zookeepers at the Bioparco often give animals ice blocks with either fruit or meat inside on hot summer days.Andrew Medichini/The Associated Press


Guides and Explainers


Catch up on Globe Climate (make H3)

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