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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
We’d like to start your climate newsletter experience with a peek into nature.
Mount Garibaldi, between Vancouver and Whistler, usually attracts hikers and skiers – but now volcanologists are hoping it will also attract more federally funded science.
The sleeping giant is among the highest-threat volcanoes in Canada, even though it hasn’t erupted in about 10,000 years. Canada has five potentially active volcanic areas, all in British Columbia and Yukon, but much of the volcanic regions remain relatively understudied. Some scientists think it’s about time that we take a closer look.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Reduce: Montreal aims to curb distribution of printed flyers
- Reuse: Deconstruct this: After demolition, building materials get a second life
- Recycle: Beverage group vows to go ahead with recycling fees for cans, bottles
- Clean energy: Inside Australia’s renewable hydrogen boom
- Manufacturing: Ford says Oakville plant to produce EV passenger cars by 2025
- Electric vehicles: As we switch to EVs, how much more electricity will we need and how green will it be?
- Greenhouse gas emissions: Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 1.8 per cent in 2021
- Photo essay from The Narwhal: A musician’s unexpected journey to protect the Earth’s last remaining quiet places
A deeper dive
Doug Saunders is The Globe and Mail’s international affairs columnist. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about his reporting trip to Vietnam to learn more about ecological damage to the Mekong Delta.
In the silent hour before dawn, we went to the edge of the great river and gingerly stepped aboard a narrow boat. The small outboard put-putted us down the glassy waters of the Mekong for half an hour, toward a thick bustle of light and activity.
Soon we were surrounded by larger vessels carrying heaps of vegetables, fruit, grains and shellfish, their crews taking fistfuls of cash from visiting craft. A woman in a conical straw hat carefully passed us steaming breakfast bowls of seafood pho.
This is the Cai Rang floating market, where farmers from Vietnam’s vast Mekong Delta, one of the most fertile regions in the world, have traditionally converged every morning to sell their wares to wholesalers. They have come here through endless networks of canals that had been the Delta’s sole transportation route until roads were completed in the 2000s.
But farmers here view the market, in its current form, as a symbol of ecological tragedy. It is a fraction of its historic size, largely kept aloft through government subsidies. One problem: Those canals are all blocked, when they exit to the Mekong or the South China Sea, by modern dams designed to prevent increasingly frequent salt-water floods caused by erosion and sea-level rise.
The other problem is that Mekong Delta farmers no longer come to the city to sell their wares – more than a million of them have given up their land due to climate-related crop failures and economic pressures. Rather, they come to the city by motorcycle or minibus, to rent tiny rooms in cramped worker slums and get jobs in factories.
Some might regard them as climate refugees or climate migrants. But, as photographer Goran Tomasevic and I discovered during our weeks in the Delta and its surrounding cities, climate change does not generally produce refugees or permanent migrants. Rather, as a decade of research has shown, it reduces migration and leaves people stuck in place.
The farmers we met in the factory slums of Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City couldn’t afford to migrate or bring their children to the city; they were stuck alone, sending their money back to their parents and their kids, who live in “hollow villages” populated only with grandparents and parentless children. Rather than climate migration, the ecological damage to the Mekong Delta, and dozens of regions like it around the world, is replacing the friendly bustle typified by the floating market with something that might be called climate loneliness.
What else you missed
- Jury holds key to fate of $1-billion transmission project
- Extended power outages raise questions about resilience of Quebec’s power grid
- Topless Junos protester splashes pink paint at Trudeau’s office in Ottawa, climate group says
- Canada ready to become a reliable provider of critical minerals to allies, Environment Minister says
- Over and out: Germany switches off the last of its remaining nuclear plants
- G7 climate ministers drop language on growing LNG demand in draft
- No date for coal phase out as G7 ministers wrap meeting in Japan
- Will your next car be electric? New U.S. poll has mixed results
- Stiff EPA emission limits aim to boost U.S. electric vehicle sales
- Asia and Australia target greenwashing as companies risk penalties
- LGIM and CBIS team up to demand greater transparency from ExxonMobil on net zero aims
- Alberta’s energy regulator reconsiders Fort Hills oil sands approval after critical report
Opinion and analysis
Dave McKay: Let’s help farmers unearth one of Canada’s biggest economic and climate opportunities
John Rapley: We need a new climate-focused Marshall Plan for cleantech in poorer countries
David Waltner-Toews: Could my backyard chickens cause the next pandemic?
Peter Frankopan: In sailing toward disaster, or navigating a new path, humanity should consult its history
Andrew Willis: Teck and Glencore dispute investor appetite for coal
Editorial board: In defence of wonder, and going back to the moon
Canadian Sustainability Standards Board names chair, directors
A new organization that will oversee adoption of global corporate sustainability standards in Canada has named the former head of the country’s accounting body as its first chairman, a key step in the move to formalize disclosure of environmental, social and governance metrics. Charles-Antoine St-Jean, who was interim president of CPA Canada, will chair the group formed to co-ordinate with the International Sustainability Standards Board.
- Arm of Britain’s biggest asset manager says it will back climate votes at U.S., Canadian banks
- RBC was biggest fossil fuel funder in the world in 2022 at US$42-billion, report says
- Two investor advisers recommend BP shareholders oppose activist climate resolution
- Dutch government says it will support Shell’s efforts to reduce CO2, nitrogen emissions
- U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips raises emission targets, expects $10-billion in annual spending
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Joe Bennett doing conservation research.
My name is Joe Bennett. I’m 49 years old and from Ottawa.
Canada’s nature provides us with clean air to breathe and fresh water to drink. It is also a big part of what defines us as a people.
Research in my lab aims to help natural places resist and recover from the threats of climate change and land development. We design techniques to help choose which ecosystems need to be restored, which need to be protected, and need to be monitored for signs of change. We work collaboratively with partners such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada. Increasingly, we also work with Indigenous partners such as 4 Directions Conservation Consulting, and with private landowners, all of whom share a sense of responsibility to the land.
Despite all the bad news, I’m still very hopeful for the future. Everywhere I go, I talk to people who love our land and waters. If we work together to take care of our environment, our environment will take care of us, and our future generations.
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 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
- We went to Peruvian oil country to see the lack of Canadian corporate oversight
- Do we need a moratorium to save the mackerel population?
- This is the most consequential budget for climate in years. Here’s what to watch
- The final IPCC report looks dire, but there are bright spots