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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Have you all recovered from the whirlwind that was COP26?
The United Nations climate conference might be over, but the hard work is only beginning. Now, for youth, as well as those who care for them, the uncertainty of the future is likely to heighten their worries about climate, and themselves.
So, how can you as a parent or caregiver engage on eco-anxiety and climate change with youth? How do you have those conversations? We’ve got some answers, and extra resources for you this week.
Let’s Talk Science and the Royal Society of Canada have partnered to provide Globe and Mail readers with relevant coverage about issues that affect us all – from education to the impact of leading-edge scientific discoveries.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- The sound of climate change: Acoustic ecology has captured the imagination of musicians for decades, and when the habitats they studied are gone, recordings may be all we can ever experience of them
- Endangered elephants of Gabon lumber into a debate over climate change, conservation and agriculture
- A dangerous spike in pollution levels in Delhi and its neighbouring states prompted the Supreme Court to intervene this week, calling for emergency measures.
- Environmental studies evolve to manage new threats, climate change pressures
- From The Narwhal: Photos inside the Gidimt’en eviction of Coastal GasLink
A deeper dive
How are B.C.’s string of natural disasters connected?
Ryan MacDonald is a senior editor at The Globe heading the climate, environment and resources team.
As B.C. deals with the aftermath of torrential rains that triggered extensive flooding and a series of tragic mudslides that left at least four people dead, it is only natural to begin the search for answers.
Of course, we don’t have all the answers yet – and with the recovery just beginning and expected to last months, it’s important to recognize that communities are still suffering.
A team of Globe journalists, many of whom we involved in covering Western Canada’s extreme heat wave set out to explore this extreme weather event in the context of climate change and look at how B.C.’s string of natural disasters are connected.
As the team writes in its extensive report, it would be an understatement to say it has been a tough few months for the country’s westernmost province. While it sounds easy to connect extreme heat to fires, scientists will tell you that flooding and mudslides are also part of the cascade of climate-change disasters. With wildfires come changes to the soil and vegetation that can exacerbate the effects of heavy rainfall.
For the Globe’ B.C.-based feature writer Nancy Macdonald, the floods have marked “the end of normal,” which is what some in B.C. have begun calling it.
Or, as University of British Columbia climate scientist Simon Donner said, climate is changing faster than we can adapt. “We’re not ready for this.”
He’s right. Despite all the warning signs and despite all the talk about climate extremes, Canada is not ready. What B.C. is going through right now should be a call for all governments of all levels to change that.
The Decibel: Understanding the extreme flooding in B.C.
Opinion and analysis:
- After a year of disasters, it’s urgent that we address Canada’s climate-caused water crisis
- We can’t ignore the role deforestation plays in triggering devastating floods
- These B.C. storms are not the new normal. We can’t even see that from here
- The B.C. flooding isn’t just a regional catastrophe – it’s a warning that climate change is coming for everyone
- With climate disasters on the rise, B.C.’s Indigenous communities find themselves at high risk of displacement
- From fire to “atmospheric river”: Why B.C. is trapped in a world of climate extremes
What else you missed
- Calgary council declares state of climate emergency
- Jonathan Wilkinson says natural resources must evolve to include renewables, biofuels
- Antony Blinken to boost U.S. response to regional crises in Africa
- Biden’s sweeping social, climate bill passes divided House
Opinion and analysis
John Rapley: The climate change bill is coming due. Who is going to pay it?
Katharine Hayhoe: The choices we make on climate change – and whether we choose hope – will determine our future
Elliott Cappell: Canada shouldn’t go to the next major COP summit. We should host it, instead
Lydia Miljan: Trudeau’s emissions cap reminds oil-producing provinces of his father’s hated National Energy Program
The Editorial Board: The world promised to try to hold climate heating to 1.5 C. That goal is nearly dead
Colin Robertson: Climate change is increasing global security threats. Canada can help
Jason Tchir: Could plug-in hybrid vehicles slow the transition to electric-only?
Big investors lack confidence in ESG promises
Institutional investors made a splash at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, but the grand ambition relies on the companies in which they invest developing and sticking to credible ESG plans, with climate strategies being paramount.
Around the world, 82 per cent of institutional investors, such as pension funds, insurers and asset managers, believe companies frequently exaggerate or overstate their progress on ESG initiatives, according to public relations firm Edelman, which polled 700 analysts, portfolio managers, chief investment officers and others.
What does this mean for the future of the ESG struggle? Sustainable finance reporter Jeffrey Jones writes on that.
- Planting Hope, sesame milk company led by all-female executive, goes public
- Opinion: It’s time for businesses to start planning for the climate transformation, but where to begin?
- Investor newsletter: These stocks are the biggest winners from green energy transition. Plus, bad times for Goodfood, and investing ideas for inflationary times
Can green investing save the planet? A new newsletter course from The Globe explores climate-conscious investing. Sign up today.
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Prof. Shoshanna Saxe doing sustainable infrastructure research.
My name is Shoshanna Saxe, I’m based in Toronto, and I’m an award-winning researcher and assistant professor at the Faculty of Engineering’s Department of Civil & Mineral Engineering at the University of Toronto.
My work is focused on the relationship between the infrastructures we build and the societies we create. How can we align infrastructure with sustainability to build the world we need? I fundamentally ask two questions: 1) what infrastructure should we build? and 2) once we decide to build something, how should we build it? I have researched transportation, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, and most recently carbon emissions in new housing projects. Current zoning bylaws encourage the construction of large concrete basements that considerably drive carbon emissions.
What’s important to keep in mind is that there are solutions to this issue. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, when it comes to the decision of having a new space or lessening your environmental footprint. Laneway housing, maximizing outdoor space, and building vertically are all feasible options that accomplish both.
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
- A deal was reached, but was COP26 a success?
- Five things to take away from the first week of COP26
- Here’s how to keep up with our COP26 coverage
- It’s time to iron out climate-related disclosure