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

Earlier this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced proposals outlining how to regulate and standardize companies’ disclosure of emissions, spell out the risks of policy and physical changes stemming from the climate crisis and explain targets and transition plans. In response, the shoe industry has put its foot down, so to speak.

In a submission to the SEC, the Footwear Distributors & Retailers of America said such disclosures would be costly and onerous, if companies could even get the information in the first place. The shoe industry’s adverse response is emblematic of the “political can of worms” the SEC’s disclosure recommendations have become, Jeffrey Jones writes this week; General Motors, Exxon Mobil Corp., Occidental Petroleum and the American Bankers Association have all also raised concerns with the disclosure proposal.

And, as a similar debate unfolds in Canada, with investors pushing regulators to align climate-reporting requirements with tougher-looking international standards, whether the SEC, a bellwether regulator, will move forward with its climate agenda is a question with wide-ranging implications.

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


Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. NATO summit: At the three-day summit in Madrid, it was revealed that DIANA (the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic) and NATO’s climate centre will each have offices in Canada.
  2. Green gardening: A rare insect, the rusty-patched bumblebee, inspired two Ontarians to write a guide on creating a habitat for native pollinators.
  3. Renewable energy: In an Alberta first, the city of Edmonton has signed a deal with Ontario-based Capstone Infrastructure Corp. to buy up wind power and help decarbonize city operations.
  4. Drought: A devastating drought across the Horn of Africa has triggered a spike in malnutrition and the looming threat of famine, with millions of people increasingly at risk of starvation.
  5. Natural gas: As European countries work to reduce their reliance on natural gas, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has said private-sector proposals to export liquefied natural gas from Canada’s East Coast will need to move forward without federal financing.
  6. From The Narwhal: Everything you need to know about Winnipeg’s ambitious new plan to hit net zero by 2050.

Nanugur Kolor, 40, is eight months pregnant and expecting her eighth child. Her livelihood gone, she makes a hut of branches in Kaikor, in the Turkana region of North Kenya.GORAN TOMASEVIC/The Globe and Mail


A deeper dive

The 2021 B.C. wildfires hit home for artist Brian Jungen

Marsha Lederman is the Western Arts Correspondent for the Globe and Mail. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about speaking with artist Brian Jungen, whose B.C. studio was destroyed by last year’s devastating wildfires.

In 2014, Brian Jungen bought a property in the Okanagan where he would live and work. The work would be twofold: he would ranch, and he would have a large studio where he could continue to make the art that has made him famous. Jungen, who is Dane-Zaa, is an internationally renowned artist, probably best known for creating Northwest Coast mask-like sculptures out of deconstructed Nike Air Jordan sneakers. These works, known as Prototypes for New Understanding, were a sensation and established Jungen as beyond-art-world famous. He has won awards and had solo shows in Canada and around the world, at prestigious institutions such as the Tate Modern in London.

The success allowed him to buy that ranch near Vernon and set up his studio there.

On August 15, 2021, a Sunday, Jungen’s ranch was destroyed. The White Rock Lake fire came down one side of the valley and up the other, wiping out Jungen’s studio along the way, including work in progress and his entire archive.

Jungen himself had been evacuated from the property a few days earlier, but he wasn’t able to get his cattle out. Five days after the fire, he managed to obtain a permit to return and see to his cattle.

“When we went back in, it was still an active fire. And it was completely unrecognizable. It was like nothing I ever experienced. It was like being on the moon,” Jungen told me during a conversation over Zoom last month.

The cattle miraculously survived. And the two houses on the property were saved, likely because he had soaked them with the irrigation system before evacuation. But an enormous fir tree fell on the main house and destroyed it too.

“Many of you who have visited over the years will not recognize the ranch as it was,” Jungen posted to Instagram in September, along with a video showing the devastation.

That’s how I learned of the fire. Sitting in the comfort of my home in Vancouver, scrolling through Instagram on my phone. I was shocked. I have interviewed Jungen previously and written about his work. And long before that, I have been a fan of his work.

On a human level, he has always been a pleasure to interview: thoughtful, generous. So smart. Interested and interesting. Kind.

All summer, I had been surrounded by the climate disaster – the heat dome, the destruction of Lytton, and on and on.

But seeing that Instagram post, it became personal. This was someone I knew. An artist whose work I revere. How much of that work had been destroyed? It really hit home.

But not, of course, like it hit home for Jungen. And for many, many other British Columbians during the horrible summer of 2021.

Fire Damage to Brian Jungen's ranch and studio.Brian Jungen/Brian Jungen


What else you missed


Opinion and analysis

Adam Radwanski: In its ruling against the EPA, the U.S. Supreme Court has dealt another blow to Biden’s climate agenda.

Emily Waugh: Canada’s diverse landscapes and extreme climates both define the people who live here, and how we speak.

Kelly Cryderman: F1 driver Sebastian Vettel, who has protested the Alberta oil sands, is not the climate spokesperson the world needs.


Green Investing

While many companies publicly commit to being champions of ESG, real ESG progress requires active involvement and support from decision-makers at all levels. But within many of these companies are leaders stagnating this progress – known as closet dissenters – who advocating for ESG in public, merely idling or even opposing on ESG initiatives in private.

Many leaders simply do not believe in the value of ESG: a recent study of Swiss energy investors found that investment managers’ implicit, attitudes toward clean energy more strongly predicted their actual investments in solar energy than their explicit attitudes. So, against the backdrop of recent heightened regulatory scrutiny of ESG services, decision-makers must be able to spot dissenters using behavioural clues to safeguard their investments.

Failing to address these obstructions at the top can lead to a culture of closet dissenters that permeates throughout the company, interfering with real ESG progress.


Making waves

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

People stand by the shore as the Hong Kong Observatory raised its No.8 storm warning, in Hong Kong, Saturday, July 2, 2022.Kin Cheung/The Associated Press


Guides and Explainers


Catch up on Globe Climate

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