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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
While many Canadians have been stuck inside with the winter weather and coronavirus lockdowns, these Pakistani women hope to make history on the world’s toughest peak.
K2 in the Himalayas is one of the most treacherous climbing jobs on Earth, and women have yet to break one of its difficult records. Get your fill of outdoor adventures reading this piece about the climbers that hope to change that.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- U.S.-Canada relations: Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden will unveil more aggressive targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions within the next two months as they forge a North American alliance to battle climate change. But can their climate momentum survive a harder test ahead?
- Opinion: Farmers offer Ottawa an olive branch with plans to fight climate change, despite tensions with farmers over carbon pricing, writes Adam Radwanski.
- Alberta will establish an office to promote the oil industry’s environmental, social and governance measures in the hope it can help stem the tide of divestment from the oil sands and the Canadian energy sector.
A deeper dive
Report on Business Magazine talks to Canada’s changemakers
We selected 50 entrepreneurs, academics and executives who are striving to find a better way of doing things. Our changemakers haven’t just said something needs to be done about climate change, gender equity or reconciliation. They’re doing it.
For example, Ryan Riordan, an associate professor of finance at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
It could be easy being green, but how much will it cost? Riordan—a lifelong environmentalist at heart —is quite literally crunching the numbers in his industry-leading research, despite initial skepticism from the business community about its usefulness. That is, until the publication of his widely referenced recent report, “Capital Mobilization Plan for a Canadian Low-Carbon Economy,” which is the first to tally the costs of meeting Canada’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
Or, Barnabe Geis, the director of programs, Centre for Social Innovation.
His mission in his role at Toronto’s CSI is focused on building the “next” economy—”one that is regenerative, equitable and prosperous for all.” Since Geis joined CSI nine years ago, he has spearheaded the Social Entrepreneurship 101 course, which has trained more than 150 members, and CSI’s Climate Ventures incubator, which has accelerated the ideas of 121 early-stage entrepreneurs. And because CSI knows the children truly are our future, Geis’s team piloted the Agents of Change program, teaching the foundations of social entrepreneurship to ambitious youth as a means of achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Adam Noble is the Founder & CEO of Noblegen
Imagine if the food chain wasn’t linear but circular. Food tech company Noblegen uses Euglena, a single-cell organism, to replicate animal-based foods—without the livestock. Here’s just one example: the Egg, a powder that when mixed with water can be used in everything from scrambles to baking. It scooped up a 2020 World Food Innovation award, and the agricultural, environmental and societal applications are massive.
Have you heard of Erin Madro? Senior Engineer at Cenovus Energy
Calgary-based Cenovus has made a big promise to the world: net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It’s a big goal for the oil and gas company, and Erin Madro is leading the environmental innovation group set to make it happen. Stakeholders, scientists, academics, innovators and entrepreneurs are all firmly on board.
More from ROB Magazine
- Editor’s Letter: Why we’re celebrating some of Canada’s emerging business leaders
- Socially responsible policies are good for corporate image, but are they a benefit to shareholders as well?
What else you missed
- Two of Alberta’s largest First Nations have written letters to coal companies saying they will oppose any new mine proposals in the Rocky Mountains since the provincial government has consistently ignored their concerns.
- Trans Mountain Corp., a Canadian government corporation that operates an oil pipeline, has asked a regulator to keep the identities of its insurers private as environmental activists push them to drop coverage.
- A flippered forager was taken away in the back of a police cruiser Sunday morning after it was found wandering the streets of Charlottetown: a seal found in the P.E.I. neighbourhood was released back into the water.
Opinion and analysis
Message from the Norway wealth fund to oil sands companies: Clean up your act or suffer
Eric Reguly: “Can the Canadian oil sands companies pull off similar transformations? Not easily, since they are well behind in the renewable energy game. But what choice do they have but to try?”
Why Canadian cleantech is forced to sell abroad
Hari Suthan: “The provinces don’t pull together in tandem, and our national energy economy remains fragmented and resistant to systemwide change.”
B.C. government had 10 billion reasons not to cancel Site C dam project
Gary Mason: “This move will likely do little to quell the dissent from a formidable army of critics who have been against this dam from the beginning. Their opposition is based on an array of reasons including the damage it was going to cause to the environment and the lack of a business case for the electricity it will provide.”
Online carbon-offset platform attracts support from venture capitalists
A digital platform that links carbon emitters with carbon offsets has attracted some of Canada’s and Silicon Valley’s best-known venture capitalists, underscoring the growing role of tech-style financing in sustainable technology.
Patch is an early-stage example of the rising tide of capital being deployed in cleantech ventures. So far about 10 companies seeking offsets use the platform. It has attracted US$5.7-million in capital from investors led by Jeff Jordan of Menlo Park, Calif.-based VC firm Andreessen Horowitz.
- Also read: RBC adds $500-billion to funds earmarked for net-zero carbon goal
Each week The Globe will profile a young person making a difference in Canada. This week we’re highlighting the work of Jocelyn Doucet who is passionate about closing the circular economy of plastic.
Hi, I’m Jocelyn Doucet, a chemical engineer from Montreal who is serious about climate change and the impacts of plastic waste. With my passion for chemistry, I’ve enabled a solution to plastic’s end of life creating a circular economy of plastic.
At the molecular level, plastic is made up of “blocks”, the monomers, which are assembled into long chains called “polymers.” The Pyrowave technology is a microwave which helps undo the links between the blocks without damaging them, but can be reassembled as new chains to form new plastics. It was actually first created using a kitchen microwave in my home. Pyrowave allows for endless recycling and avoids the GHGs associated with the extraction of virgin material.
This solution is so simple and easy to implement that Michelin Tires not only invested in this project but they also just signed a deal with Pyrowave to implement this so that they can reach their objective of creating sustainable tires.
It is true that so much talk of climate is doom and gloom, we are hoping to encourage people that change is still possible.
Do you know an engaged young person? 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
- We’ve rounded up our reporters’ content to help you learn about sustainable ways to live life at home, travel, invest, and generally to learn about our species at risk.
- 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
- Can Canada electrify everything?
- Books for a better planet
- Canada’s resource reckoning is coming
- Investing in the future never looked so green