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

We hear time and again that more massive storms will be one of the outcomes of climate change. Now, Hurricane Laura may be providing us a glimpse into some of the destruction that comes with such storms.

An offshore natural gas pipeline that serves four major U.S. Gulf of Mexico production platforms remained out of commission today, pipeline operator Enbridge Inc said, following Laura’s path through the area.

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Hazardous emissions from a chlorine plant fire, abruptly shuttered oil and gas refineries and still-to-be assessed plant damage are seeping into the air after Laura, U.S. regulators say, but some key state and federal monitors to alert the public of air dangers remain offline in Louisiana.

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

A fire burns at a BioLab industrial site in Westlake, La., near Lake Charles, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, after Hurricane Laura passed through the region. Hurricane Laura ravaged southwestern Louisiana, leaving weary residents to assess the toll and map a way forward.

WILLIAM WIDMER/The New York Times News Service


Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. The environment and Indigenous food security have a strong connection. In Saskatchewan, the return of a bison herd to one First Nation brought strength back to tradition and culture. The stately creatures that once roamed the Prairies were initially bought as food security during the pandemic, but now are reconnecting community members with their past.
  2. An opinion piece that caught readers’ attention was written by the creators of the Energy vs Climate webinar and podcast series. The oil-sands fundamentals are dire and stark – and Canada shouldn’t spend to revive a dying dream, they write. So what’s a new Finance Minister to do? Read the piece here.

A deeper dive

Green investing toward a recovery

We can’t self-isolate from climate change.

Those are the words of Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England, who has continued to add his voice to calls for countries to make “green” investments part of their economic recovery plans.

Mr. Carney, of course, is a Canadian and served as Bank of Canada governor from 2008 to 2013. But he’s also emerged as a global leader on the issue of climate change and was recently tapped as the United Nations’ special envoy for climate action and finance.

It’s the last part – finance – that is most intriguing about Mr. Carney.

As the world confronts the issues around climate change, there is another shift taking place in financial markets. Investors are increasingly demanding accountability from companies around the environment and social impacts of their decisions.

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Mr. Carney has been at the forefront of this push through his work with the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. In a nutshell, the task force recommended that companies enact consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for investors, lenders, insurers and other stakeholders.

The FSB’s recommendations are voluntary, but Canadian companies continue to lag in this regard with no real leadership from securities regulators. (Watch this space for more reporting on the issues related to climate disclosure.)

Now, as Andrew Wills writes, Mr. Carney is now taking on yet another role related to climate and finance. But this one has more to do with capital than disclosure.

Brookfield has appointed Mr. Carney as its vice-chair and head of ESG (environmental, social and governance) and impact fund investing. The Toronto-based company oversees more than US$500-billion of assets, including a global collection of renewable power plants.

It’s no surprise that Mr. Carney is continuing in his mission to make climate change a priority for the private sector, but his latest appointment is very interesting.

You see, if you want to know who is leading on climate change and the opportunities emerging around the transition to a low-carbon economy you need only do one thing: follow the money.

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- Ryan MacDonald

Mark Carney, ex-Governor of the Bank of England, makes a keynote address to launch the private finance agenda for the 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) at Guildhall in London, Britain February 27, 2020.

POOL New/AFP/Getty Images


What else you missed

Wildfire in Argyle, N.S., grows to 18 hectares but is now 80 per cent contained: Crews have responded to nine wildfires in Yarmouth, Queens, Cumberland, Lunenburg and Annapolis counties over the weekend.

Wind gusts fan flames of B.C. wildfire burning near Columbia Lake: The BC Wildfire Service says winds increased the size of the Doctor Creek fire to about 58 square kilometres, and the blaze is moving uphill in the west.

Antarctica’s ice shelves vulnerable to meltwater that could cut ice ‘like a knife,’ study finds: The ice shelves, formed over thousands of years, serve as dams to prevent much of the continent’s snow and ice from flowing toward the ocean.

Staff say sexism, racism and abuse are ‘systemic’ within UN-led climate fund: The current and former Green Climate Fund (GCF) workers said they also suffered or witnessed instances of inappropriate relationships and abuse of power in the workplace in the last three years, the Financial Times reported.

Brazil’s plan to protect the Amazon has opposite effect: Under military command, Brazil’s once-effective but recently declining investigation and prosecution of rain-forest destruction by ranchers, farmers and miners has come to a virtual halt, even as this year’s burning season picks up.

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At least 14 dead dolphins found in Mauritius near site of oil spill: Other dolphins stranded on shore and appeared seriously ill, environmental consultant Sunil Dowarkasing said.


Opinion and analysis

When a natural disaster hits during a pandemic, the results can be deadlier than imagined

Scott Janzwood: “Even if Canada manages to escape this wildfire season relatively unscathed, spring floods are only six months away. And while the pandemic will eventually end, the cascading effects of climate change across nearly every component of our lives mean that compound risks are here to stay.”


Here’s what readers had to say

Last week, we published a story by Patrick Brethour and Adam Radwanski answering the question: Can Chrystia Freeland deliver on the green recovery Canada needs? Readers had a lot to say about it, here’s some of the discussion:

  • Ham for everyone: I wonder if Alberta feels part of this “inclusive” economy?
  • ebola1: More pie in the sky from the “economy will fix itself’ prime minister.
  • ALBERTA FIRST CDN FEDERALIST: There is such a thing as “good debt”. Borrowing money to build for the future is good debt. Student loans, on average, is an example of good debt. In the case of a national economy, good debt, good borrowing, would be borrowing that would leave behind some legacy that would be of use long term.
  • Chris1995: While green and inclusive in a recovery is nice, just getting an economic recovery should be the priority.
  • Nelson100: It is interesting how Chrystia Freeland and Mark Carney, the supposed saviours of the Liberal Party are both Westerners.

Book review

This week instead of a profile, check out a book review on Donald Savoie’s Thanks for the Business, a story of how the Irvings built New Brunswick. Here is an excerpt.

On Sunday, Aug. 16, California’s Death Valley marked what might be, pending validation, the highest temperature ever recorded on the planet Earth — 54.4 degrees Celsius. Around the world, average temperatures are up. Last year was the second-hottest on record. It displaced 2016.

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Donald Savoie’s latest book, Thanks for the Business: K.C. Irving, Arthur Irving, and the Story of Irving Oil, devotes seven of its 317 pages to climate change – a thin assessment of the impact of oil and gas products and the companies that produce and sell them accompanied. Indeed, Mr. Savoie (who writes that he is a friend of Arthur Irving) spends about as much time on how the Irving family business will navigate and survive the decline of oil and gas (and the rise of electric cars) as he does on the existential threat of climate change itself.

The allocation of attention may be excused, in part, by Mr. Savoie’s intention to write a book that takes the Irving family as an opportunity to explore the topic of business development, corporate management and economic development in Atlantic Canada. The result? Thanks for the Business is made up of rambling, complimentary tales led by the story of the entrepreneurial Irvings.

Do you know an engaged young person? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com or submit this form tell us about them.


Photo of the week

Workers pick corn in the pre-dawn hours to avoid the heat that comes with daylight, in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Aug. 21, 2020. More frequent heat waves, smoke from wildfires and COVID-19 are battering farmworkers in California.

BRIAN L. FRANK /The New York Times News Service


Guides and Explainers


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