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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
We already know that almost all the world’s glaciers are melting. But now, three-dimensional satellite measurements show that glaciers are melting faster that ever before, losing 31 per cent more snow and ice a year than they did 15 years earlier.
Half the world’s glacial loss is coming from the United States and Canada – and scientists blame human-caused climate change.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Agriculture technology provider Farmers Edge Inc. has launched an automated insurance product that will cover canola farmers if their crops are damaged by extreme heat. The risks of a heat blast are likely to increase as the effects of climate change intensify.
- Trans Mountain Corp. has permission to keep secret the name of its insurer, after a ruling by a commission with the Canada Energy Regulator. The federal Crown corporation argues that revealing its insurer would result in higher premiums, because fewer companies are willing to insure the pipeline with public pressure. (Separately, the company was asked to temporarily halt work on a section of its oil pipeline expansion project in B.C. to protect hummingbird nests)
- From The Narwhal: How the global steel industry is cutting out coal. As the world grapples with the climate crisis, the steel sector is, for many, next up in the push to rethink age-old industries.
A deeper dive
A message from the kids
Climate Strike Canada is a national network of grassroots, youth-led activism and advocacy groups, and individuals, from across the country. Here is their message following the Leader’s Summit on Climate.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
You attended President Biden’s Leaders Summit on Climate. Forty world leaders attended to announce new climate targets and ambition in the lead up to COP26, this November. We are pleased to see the White House taking leadership in the global fight by uniting other countries, but the United States, yourself, and the rest of the world still have a very long way to go.
We are alarmed by what you displayed on the world stage: promises without any plans for concrete action at home. Your announcement of a new emissions target of 40 to 45 per cent reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 was woefully inadequate. Science calls for at least 60 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. You continue to provide very little transparency about what these numbers mean, or how we will achieve them.
Through the youth climate strike movement, young people across Canada and around the world have been rising up and pleading for action. You marched with us, you declared a climate emergency, you promised us a livable future, but you let us down, time and time again.
Climate change is not a crisis of emissions; it is a crisis of equality. The most affected people and areas are those who contribute the least to climate change. If Canada does not meet and exceed its climate target, marginalized people in Canada and around the world will bear the brunt of our inaction. Solutions involve reimagining our systems and addressing structures that threaten the preservation of communities most impacted by this crisis. Canada is an exporting nation, so tackling climate change in Canada means tackling oil and gas production, the fastest and largest source of growing emissions in this country. Canada needs not only to refine and upgrade climate targets but also push for a just transition. Our planet and its people don’t have time for empty words. We need action.
Climate Strike Canada
What else you missed
- A British Columbia First Nation has joined calls for the federal government to step in on the environmental review of a proposed open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.
- A Mi’kmaq First Nation in Cape Breton says federal fisheries officers seized 37 lobster traps that were set by an Indigenous harvester.
- Canada’s environment minister has proposed changes to the bill that would make the federal government more accountable as it strives to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
- Royal Dutch Shell’s climate change strategy does not go far enough and investors should advise against it at an upcoming meeting, a U.K. pension funds group said.
Opinion and analysis
Eric Reguly: Bitcoin’s ungreen credentials will give governments an excuse to clamp down on cryptocurrency
Jeffrey Jones: Calgary private equity firm JOG shifts to carbon-capture opportunities
Banking regulator to shift focus to technology, climate risks
Canada’s banking regulator is ready to “draw a line in the sand” on a decade of drawn-out reforms to make the global banking sector more resilient and devote more energy to emerging risks from climate change and technology, says the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions.
New threats that increasingly keep banking regulators up at night present a fresh set of challenges because they fall outside the traditional boundaries of financial risk management. That includes climate change.
But turning the page on more than a decade of financial reform will not be simple. With feedback from banks, OSFI is adjusting those standards to fit Canada’s needs, but the last changes won’t be fully in force until 2023 and 2024.
- Also: Killing rush hour with help from green bonds
- Canadian banks struggle to reconcile Big Oil financing with green commitments
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Danielle Gallant doing climate justice.
My name is Danielle Gallant. I’m a 30-year-old lawyer based in Ottawa, on the traditional, unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishnaabeg people.
I work at Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, where I represent seven youth in a lawsuit challenging the Ontario government’s decision to roll back its climate target and put the province on a path to climate catastrophe. We say this infringes on Ontarians’ fundamental rights. This case also highlights how climate change disproportionately affects youth and future generations, something I care deeply about. We recently secured a historic victory by defeating Ontario’s attempt to have the case thrown out before a full hearing.
It has been an honour to work with incredible youth who are passionate, articulate and engaged in climate action. I believe we should strive to include their voices, and those of others who are directly affected by the climate crisis, in the conversation about how to transition to a more sustainable and equitable society.
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
- If Canada is going to meet its new greenhouse gas emissions goal, it is going to have to be tactical
- This is your brain on trees
- For Canadian companies, ‘net zero’ is an ambition in need of a definition
- Standing at the intersection of a global pandemic and environmental racism