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

You know we like to start you off with some positive news.

Soon, runners in Canada may hit the road in shoes without a footprint. Cloudprime, a running shoe whose sole boasts foam made from the raw materials of carbon emissions.

And despite its sustainable status, the company says it will keep pace with the newest high-performance shoes that have led to markedly faster finish times over the last five years. But there is no existing blueprint for mass-producing foam from carbon emissions, so that’s something the team will be creating as they grow.

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

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Wildlife: B.C.’s glacier-fed rivers saved salmon in last year’s drought. That safety net is disappearing
  2. California storms: Weather causes several deaths, severe flooding and brings bounty of snow to drought-stricken parts of the state
  3. Infrastructure: Labrador’s Inuit communities ponder a potential highway, both the good and bad
  4. Finance: The Federal Reserve is not interested in becoming a “climate policy maker,” chair Jerome Powell
  5. Banff: Alberta asks Ottawa to rethink Moraine Lake car ban
  6. Adam Radwanski analysis: Industrial carbon pricing gets a boost in Alberta, but is it enough?
  7. Nature: Landslide reshapes popular climbing spire in B.C.
  8. Resilience: How cities, scientists and nurseries are partnering to help seedlings grow into urban forests
  9. In-depth with The Narwhal: ‘Death by a thousand clearcuts.’ Canada’s deep-snow caribou are vanishing

A deeper dive

Canadian military aims to hit net-zero

Emma Graney is The Globe’s energy reporter. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about the military’s big, green plan.

As I’m The Globe and Mail’s energy reporter, the Canadian military is rarely part of my beat, until I happened across details of a new solar project being pitched for the base in Gagetown, N.B.

There along the Saint John River, tourist sites boast the village is ideal for birdwatching, boating activities and craft studios. It is also home to Canada’s secon- largest military base, also known as 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown.

Turns out, this solar project I stumbled across is part of a larger push by the defence forces to go green.

Much like other government departments, it’s aiming for net-zero by 2050, and it’s one of the first militaries in the world to commit to such a target.

It’s not exactly a cake walk for any department, but in the case of Canada’s military, we’re looking at the potential to transition ships, aircraft, deployed bases and sites at home here in Canada. And between Canadian Armed Forces and Defence, we’re talking one of the country’s largest employers - not to mention biggest polluters. Emissions from the DND and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) represented about 59 per cent of the federal government’s total in 2019-2020.

Part of what the military is up to is ramping up energy efficiency and switching to greener power - something I saw firsthand in Atlantic Canada, as bases in very different stages of their net-zero push figure out the best way to get there.

It’s worth noting, too, that CFB Gagetown is home to the Canadian military’s first net-zero building. It’s powered by solar, collects water from the roof and wells, and heats mostly by geothermal. Walking through it feels like a normal teaching lab for engineers, but as a first for the CAF, it’s a potential model for what comes next.

On the water, it’s procuring more energy-efficient vessels and refitting others, using lower-emission fuels and testing new technologies to reduce energy used on board ships. And while Gagetown looks to build another solar farm, next door in Nova Scotia, CFB Halifax is at an earlier stage of its emissions-reduction journey.

Greening the military isn’t going to be cheap. But reducing the environmental footprint of military operations will play a crucial role in Ottawa’s climate change objectives.

- Emma

Jon Parker, left, speaks with Captain Peter Ryan in the control room of a solar-powered carbon-neutral building at CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick on November 29, 2022.Chris Donovan/The Globe and Mail

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

Gary Mason: How much do Alberta’s politicians really care about climate change?

Robert McLeman: No outdoor skating in eastern Canada this winter? Get used to it

Janice MacKinnon: There’s no just transition without provincial collaboration

John Rapley: Time to rethink recessions and economic growth – less could be more

Jeffrey Jones: Canada’s top financial minds are trying to define the green energy transition. It won’t be easy

Green Investing

Shareholder advocates are taking aim at climate plans as proxy season begins. The Shareholder Association for Research and Education, or SHARE, has put a proposal on the ballot for Metro’s annual meeting this month that calls for an “enterprise-wide climate action plan” rich with details and timelines that outline how the company intends to meet science-based emissions targets. Metro is just the first among several companies whose climate policies SHARE is targeting during the 2023 proxy season.

Meanwhile, A majority of Canada’s biggest public companies, including its largest emitters, now tie some portion of executive pay to achieving environmental, social and governance targets, but some industries are embracing the practice more than others, a study by the law firm Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP has found.

Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Fernando Laposse doing sustainable design.

Fernando Laposse in advance of his Interior Design Show appearance in TorontoKat Green/Handout

Not long after graduating from the arts and design college Central Saint Martins in London, Fernando Laposse had an existential crisis. His studies to that point had focused on industrial product design, which meant working with a lot of manmade materials. He caught a glimpse of his future – making a succession of plastic products for big, nameless companies – and it terrified him.

Over the past eight years, he has developed an entirely new artisan craft, making artifacts, wall coverings and furniture from the colourful leaves of heirloom corn grown in Mexico. He calls the vibrant, veneer-like material “Totomoxtle,” named for the small village of Tonahuixtla where he spent his summers as a child.

Corn husks were just the start. Working with Indigenous farmers in Tonahuixtla, he plants thousands of agave plants each year as part of a reforestation program to mitigate damage from climate change. With the villagers’ help, the fibres from the agave are turned into sisal that are used to make benches, sofas and chairs. Those pieces have been showcased at Triennale di Milano, the Victoria and Albert Museum and at Design Miami where his exhibit Pink Beasts stole the show in 2019.

Read the full story about how Laposse wants to lead the charge in design sustainability.

Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? Email us at to tell us about them.

Photo of the week

Police uses water cannons during a large-scale protest to stop the demolition of the village Luetzerath to make way for an open-air coal mine extension on January 14, 2023. In an operation launched earlier this week, hundreds of police have been working to remove activists, who have already occupied the hamlet of Luetzerath in western Germany.INA FASSBENDER/AFP/Getty Images

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