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

For the ninth straight month, Earth has obliterated global heat records. The latest record-breaking in this climate change-fuelled global hot streak includes sea surface temperatures that weren’t just the hottest for February, but eclipsed any month on record

The temperatures over the month of February, the winter as a whole, and the world’s oceans set new high-temperature marks, according to the European Union climate agency Copernicus.

Climate scientists say most of the record heat is from human-caused climate change, plus additional heat coming from the natural El Niño effect this year.

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

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Report: Governments must change rules around housing to meet building, climate targets: task force
  2. Resources: Natural gas overtaking forestry as top contributor to B.C. government’s resource revenue
  3. Treaty history: Treaty Road looks at the painful stories behind the numbered treaties signed with Canada’s Indigenous peoples
  4. Farming in war: How Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial built an agribusiness portfolio in Ukraine
  5. Batteries: Hydro-Québec tests backup system for outages with initial pilot of 20 battery-powered homes
  6. Vineyards: B.C. wine industry has chance to reshape itself after climate-related catastrophes, sommelier says
  7. In-depth from The Narwhal: 8,000 kms of ice roads link Canada’s North. Erratic winters are wreaking havoc on the lifeline

A deeper dive

Cloud seeding brings science fiction closer to reality

Nathan VanderKlippe is an international correspondent for The Globe. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about making it rain.

In 1954, Collier’s magazine published a cover story with a striking illustration. A man in a shirt and tie leans back, looking over his shoulder to the great beyond, his hand grasping a giant lever. Behind him, bright sunshine gives way to a black thunder cloud and then a crystalline snowfall.

The tagline: “Weather Made To Order?” It was an early vision of a new technology then emerging from the realms of science fiction, the possibility of using chemistry to create precipitation. Many decades later, the drought that has taken hold across much of the southwestern U.S. has made the idea newly relevant.

If the clouds won’t yield sufficient rain on their own, can they be artificially coaxed into producing enough moisture to, say, refill Lake Mead or prevent farmers and real estate developers alike from making painful cuts to water use? The techniques behind cloud seeding – the injection of particulate matter into the air to encourage the formation of raindrops or snowflakes – are by now long established, although their effectiveness remains a matter of considerable debate. In fact, Israel recently abandoned a long-lived program after a rigorous review suggested it had produced little extra water.

In the U.S., however, scientific doubt has proven a feeble adversary against hope, in particular hope that the right technology can end the long dry spell. I spent some time recently an hour’s drive west of Las Vegas, where local water officials have overseen the installation of new cloud-seeding generators.

They intend to prove they are creating enough new moisture that state authorities will increase their allowable water use, which can in turn support future population growth.

It’s likely going to be a tough sell to skeptics. But as one atmospheric scholar told me, when it comes to making it rain the bounds between belief and science have a tendency to blur: “It’s a matter of faith, really.”

- Nathan

Open this photo in gallery:

One of four cloud-seeding generators installed in hopes of bringing more water to Nye County, Nevada.Nathan VanderKlippe/Supplied

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

Rita Trichur: Canada’s critical minerals revolution could use some French flair

Alex Bozikovic: A task force’s bold prescription: a Canada of 15-minute cities

Martin Olszynski and Sara Hastings-Simon: Ottawa risks repeating Alberta’s climate policy of all talk and no walk

John Ibbitson: Saskatchewan’s response to carbon tax reveals how Liberals botched national unity

Green Investing

RBC plans to bolster lending for decarbonization, renewable energy

Royal Bank of Canada says it is stepping up efforts to reduce the climate impact of its lending and investment businesses with a strategy to plow billions of dollars into decarbonization measures and triple its lending for renewable energy. The country’s largest bank also said it is taking a more stringent approach to evaluating the emissions of its oil and gas and power generation clients, with a view to helping them advance the transition to lower-carbon operations.

Making waves

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Sanders LazierSupplied

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Sanders Lazier helping businesses move to net-zero.

My name is Sanders Lazier. I’m a 36-year-old Toronto father, and the founder/ CEO of Carbonhound, a software platform that eliminates barriers for businesses to measure and reduce their climate impact.

In a time when climate action is needed, there are critical gaps in knowledge, capital and data that hold business owners back from taking their first steps. These gaps are further exacerbated by reporting demands from their biggest customers, which are often committed to net zero. Without the same resources to get a handle on their carbon emissions, small- and medium-sized businesses risk not being able to participate in these supply chains and meet the needs of evolving markets.

I hope we can make credible climate reporting accessible so that businesses of all sizes can participate in taking action against climate change. The more support there is for businesses to tackle climate change, the more empowered we will be to meet our environmental commitments.

- Sanders

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

Open this photo in gallery:

The Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights, are seen in the sky above Kiruna on March 7, 2024 in Kiruna, Sweden. The area is widely regarded as one of the best places in the world to see the phenomenon, which occurs when energized particles from the sun hit the Earth's upper atmosphere.Leon Neal/Getty Images

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