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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
It’s been a difficult week for residents of Lytton, B.C., as the community and surrounding cities on Canada’s West Coast have been ravaged by wildfires, just over a year since the 2021 wildfires that devastated the small town.
Meanwhile, in northern Manitoba, most of the 2,000 residents of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation had evacuated their homes by Sunday, as a result of a 180-square-kilometre fire that was first reported earlier in the week. About 30 more people were expected to flee the area by the end of the day on Sunday.
While both fires have the potential for widespread devastation, Dan Mundall, a Lytton area resident who ignored an evacuation order to help fight the fire, told The Globe’s Nancy Macdonald that locals spent time this spring preparing for the possibility of a repeat of last year’s blaze. “We took lessons from what we did last year,” he said. “We worked with people from the community and the Lytton First Nation to create arrangements, so that when something like this happens, we were able to more quickly respond.”
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- European heat wave: Temperatures across Europe have soared this week, and countries across the continent are facing their own consequences of the heat wave. In Italy, the worst drought in 70 years is threatening crops across the country, while wildfires rage in Spain, France and Greece.
- B.C.: After last year’s devastating fall floods, pilots in B.C. assembled a permanent volunteer disaster relief team.
- Suncor: Canada’s largest oil sands producer plans to explore a multibillion-dollar sale of its Petro-Canada gas-station network, following a corporate shakeup and the departure of CEO Mark Little.
- Carbon tax: The federal government has opened a door allowing the provinces to cut fuel taxes, without the possibility that Ottawa could neutralize those cuts with a higher federal fuel charge.
- Books: In The Last Resort, Sarah Stodola looks at the dark, unsustainable side of beach tourism.
- From The Narwhal: After the 2021 heat dome, B.C.’s ocean wildlife is bouncing back, though early estimates of just how many species perished may have been too low.
A deeper dive
The climate crisis and its impact on migration in Peru
Natalie Alcoba is a freelance journalist based in Argentina whose work focuses on collective organization and the women’s movement in Latin America. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about her experience reporting on climate crisis-related migration in Peru’s Amazonas region.
Sometimes, it’s the quiet moments that affect you the most in a story. Senayda Medina and I had chatted at length in the small humanitarian tent she had been living in since an earthquake and then flood and had forced her and her family to flee their community in the northern Amazonas region of Peru. The earthquake, combined with fierce storms, floods and landslides that swallowed towns whole had displaced some 10,000 people.
The 33-year-old mother and small-scale farmer had described the horror of having to scale a mountainside in the middle of the night to safety, of seeing neighbours perish in that disaster, and of feeling the heartache of being separated from her children, who were studying in another community.
After our interview, as I was leaving the shelter, I ran into Senayda again. The sun was setting and she watched humanitarian workers with Save the Children say their goodbyes to the residents. It was hard, being there, alone, she whispered to me. No home to take care of, no children to mind, or plot of land to cultivate. I saw projected on her face an expression of what it means when humans and communities are uprooted, the scars of listless boredom, futility and a feeling of being forgotten.
Peru is one of the countries most at risk of climate-related disasters and the internal displacement that will create. Despite comprehensive plans aimed at responding to such events, disaster response experts told me that a lack of local organization and funding creates delays or insufficient attention. People like Senayda spend months waiting for a solution, and then fear that the solution they get will not actually give them the tools they need to survive the next time disaster strikes. For her, that means land that she can harvest, so that is she not relying on aid. “It’s not easy to be left with nothing,” she said.
What else you missed
- The Volvo XC40 Recharge, and Hyundai’s Ioniq 5 are both solid options for all-electric compact SUVs, though one has a clear edge.
- Canada’s oil sands producers are looking at how to harness nuclear energy to help slash emissions.
- A Mi’kmaq chiefs group in New Brunswick is joining a court challenge to the federal government’s approval of a new offshore oil project in Newfoundland.
- The government must implement rights-based Indigenous fisheries, a new senate report says
- Shell will install 79 EV charging ports across Canada by the end of 2022
Opinion and analysis
Patrick Brethour: Ottawa’s new fuel tax policy will allow the provinces to neuter the carbon tax.
David Sax: The pandemic made us appreciate the simple pleasures of nature. And as the threat of COVID-19 recedes, we should all stay outside.
Jayati Ghosh: The world may be on a path to collapse, but all is not lost.
Miners are moving quickly to ramp up supplies of critical elements needed for the low-carbon energy transition, meaning investors have a chance to benefit from that shift.
There are currently very few mutual funds or exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available to Canadian investors composed of commodities seen as crucial to the development of clean technologies, but experts say there are ways to identify the players that offer lower risks as other investment products focused on the energy transition are brought to market.
And while that market is still small, short-term price growth for certain commodities has been astronomical. Cobalt prices, for instance, grew by 119 per cent in 2021. And as investor demand continues to grow, more investment products that address that investor need are starting to become available.
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
Guides and Explainers
- Want to learn to invest sustainably? We have a class for that: Green Investing 101 newsletter course for the climate-conscious investor. Not sure you need help? Take our quiz to challenge your knowledge.
- We've rounded up our reporters' content to help you learn about what a carbon tax is, what happened at COP 26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your travelling more sustainable and 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
- What does the future hold for ESG?
- How last year’s B.C. wildfires hit home for artist Brian Jungen
- 30,000 years of climate history on Mount Logan
- Bringing the climate fight to your kitchen
- Saving the song of Quebec’s chorus frogs