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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Before diving in this week, read up on how gardening seems to have a new, hip image, like knitting or sourdough bread. Before getting started, there are a few things one should know: There is a level of commitment for the entire season, and your knees will be sore. But the gardening community is warm and your gardening experiment could turn into a full-on passion.
Here are a few words of warning to new pandemic gardeners.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- What can Canada learn from Australia about fighting wildfires? Emma Graney explores the answers.
- From The Narwhal: Finding the Mother Tree — Ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes
- What you missed with wildfires in Canada: Here’s how bad the air quality was and how it affect our health
- From Alberta reporter Kelly Cryderman: Soaring use of air conditioning puts enormous strain on electrical grids
A deeper dive
Where climate meets trade
Ryan MacDonald is a senior editor at The Globe heading the climate, environment and resources team.
It’s going to be a long summer for U.S. Senate Democrats as they attempt to craft and push through a $3.5-trillion budget framework that would include a number of policies to combat climate change.
As part of this massive spending bill, Democratic legislators have outlined plans for an American border carbon tariff. It could come into force in 2024 and would cover a wide range of imports, with oil and gas notably included alongside other products such as steel, cement and aluminum.
Some, such as The Washington Post columnist Megan McArdle, view this kind of carbon tariff as a political gimmick that does little to address climate change and is more akin to “greenwashed protectionism” since the U.S. doesn’t have -- and doesn’t really want – carbon pricing.
For Canada, the potential implications are too big to ignore.
The most pressing issue, as The Globe’s Adam Radwanski writes is how the U.S. policy could affect this country’s ability to introduce its own carbon tariffs. There has been talk in Ottawa about trying to align with the U.S. on a continental approach. But this proposal doesn’t allow for that. With an election on the horizon, Ottawa is promising to launch consultations soon, but not much more.
The moves in the U.S. come just weeks after the European Union introduced a suite of climate measures, including a “carbon border adjustment mechanism” that aims to ensure that imports into the 27-country union either pay a sufficient carbon charge overseas, or else face a charge at the border, equal to the EU’s carbon price. I think The Globe’s Jeffrey Jones is spot-on in characterizing Europe’s moves as an attempt to trigger an emissions-reduction arms race.
The world is moving quickly to ensure that climate talk matches action. That means wading into some messy political waters to ensure that global climate policy and global trade are fair. It’s time for Canada to dive in.
More on this topic: Why carbon tariffs could be coming to Canada soon
What else you missed
- Largest U.S. wildfire grows, forcing evacuation of wildlife station. Now, calls for outside help grow as extreme weather fuels the flames
- Canadian country music star Corb Lund spurs unlikely coalition against coal
- Global recovery from COVID-19 pandemic set to push greenhouse gas emissions to all-time highs: IEA
- Plans in place to protect large area of Yukon from unprecedented flooding
- Quebec rejects $14-billion LNG export project, citing environmental concerns
Opinion and analysis
Elliott Cappell: The moon’s ‘wobble’ ought to be the wake-up call we need to build resilient cities
Tony Hiss: Life under the heat dome: You might no longer know where you are
Glenn McGillivray and Brian Stocks: Sluggish wildfire evacuation orders are resulting in needless deaths
John Beaucage and Frank Davis: Indigenous-led green energy partnerships will move us forward
Editorial board: Don’t have a carbon tax? We don’t want your dirty exports
Can investors take inspiration from say-on-pay votes to hold companies accountable on climate action?
This spring, Exxon Mobil Corp. faced an unfamiliar board-level threat – a little-known activist fund took aim at the major oil company, partly over its refusal to take tougher action to deal with climate-related risks.
It doesn’t have to get that nasty. Publicly traded companies can head off extreme measures with a less invasive method often used with executive pay, and now catching on with climate matters. That includes shareholder pressure to tie executive pay to climate-related targets.
But experts say whether “say-on-climate” becomes as commonplace as “say-on-pay” will depend on how companies take the initiative. Read Jeffrey Jones’s latest opinion piece about sustainable finance and the ESG sector.
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re doing something a little different and bringing you some viewing material.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by anxiety when you think about the climate crisis, this panel is for you to watch, including the following speakers:
- Sneha Suresh, Mind Matters Podcast
- Jordan LoMonaco, Imperfect Eco-Hero Podcast
- Dominique Provost-Chalkley, Start the Wave
- Randi Ramdeen, Start the Wave
- Dawn/D2, Start the Wave
- Sarah JS, the Good Grief Network
- Lerato Phalatse, Mental Matters
- Caroline Hickman, lecturer
Listen in as these six changemakers discuss the intersections of mental health and climate c. ASL interpretation is provided thanks to Shelley McAllister.
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
- Canada wants nuclear to power the future. But how?
- It’s not just Lytton. The future of wildfires in Canada
- First came the heat, then the fire
- It’s time for global standards in corporate reporting on ESG issues