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

We are all aware of the increase in food costs because we can feel it in our pockets, especially on top of other price increases. The annual headline inflation rate was 3.4 per cent in December, while food prices rose at a rate of 4.7 per cent. Experts say the main factors that have driven grocery prices up over the past couple of years are the COVID-19 pandemic, global conflicts and – you guessed it – climate change.

All three have caused significant stresses on the grocery supply chain. But how exactly does that work? We outline the process here, from wheat fields to weekly flyers.

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

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Farming: Three chefs show how regenerative agriculture ends up on your plate
  2. Biodiversity: IVF breakthrough gives northern white rhinos fragile hope for a future
  3. Space: Aided by Canadian hardware, Odysseus lunar lander aims to make space history
  4. Mining: Alberta regulator will hear Australian company’s revived plan for a controversial coal mine
  5. Pollution: Glencore urged to support International Joint Commission to resolve cross-border mining dispute
  6. Conservation: Changes to Ontario species law would speed loss of protected habitat, scientists say
  7. Urban boundaries: Some farmland development restored in new Ontario omnibus bill
  8. Marine life: Proposed national marine conservation area in northern Ontario could soon be protected
  9. Life and wellness: Looking after yourself and looking after the environment
  10. This week from The Narwhal, read the joint investigation reported with The Globe.

A deeper dive

B.C.’s multimillion-dollar mining problem

Jeffrey Jones is The Globe’s reporter for environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) and sustainable finance. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about a joint investigation we did with The Narwhal.

Francesca Fionda covers mining for The Narwhal, the online news source that puts the environment front and centre. In recent years, mining has taken on a new lustre, as Canada and the world look to critical minerals as the foundation for a low-carbon economy. These are the ingredients – copper, lithium, molybdenum and a host of others –needed for batteries used in transport and energy storage,

Fionda makes it her business to keep in touch with industry professionals, policy reform advocates, environmentalists, government officials, members of small communities and First Nations leaders, many of them in British Columbia. She’s found that as excitement builds over mining’s new era, many of those people worry about a lingering problem: spent mines that have yet to be cleaned up, some leaking toxic waste for decades. How can the industry move forward while an ugly problem from past booms remains unsolved?

“A major concern was the multibillion-dollar cleanup costs of past and current mines and a gap in funds held by the province as a security,” Fionda says. “Without enough money put aside for cleanup, the environment is at risk and taxpayers could be left covering the costs.”

She spent several months investigating those problems – and the risks that remain as the critical minerals rush gathers steam. As it happens, her work fit neatly into a couple of interesting initiatives in the publishing field.

First, Emma Gilchrist, the Narhwal’s editor-in-chief, and Ryan Macdonald, The Globe and Mail’s energy and environment editor, had been discussing ways to combine forces to bring our publications’ respective readers deeper insight into major issues. At the same time, The Globe team was beginning a series of stories exploring Canada’s prospects in the world of critical minerals.

This is where Globe data journalist Chen Wang and I came in. The two of us were on the team that produced Hustle in the Oil Patch, an award-winning 2018 investigation into the crisis of underfunded cleanup liability in Western Canada’s oil and gas industry. We were able to use that experience to enhance Fionda’s reporting, in the story and in the accompanying data and graphics, as part of the first-ever collaboration between our organizations.

The resulting investigative piece, “B.C’s multimillion-dollar mining problem,” was published last week in both The Globe and The Narwhal, along with stunning visuals from our photo and graphics teams. It pinpoints where the gaps are in B.C. when it comes to the billions of dollars set aside for mine cleanup, and offers up some possible solutions. We think it’s worth your time.

- Jeff

Open this photo in gallery:

An aerial view of the Tulsequah Chief Mine and the Tulsequah River, at left. The orange discolored water and soil is the result of acid mine drainage.Christopher S. Miller/The Globe and Mail

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

Kelly Cryderman: Danielle Smith breaks pledged tax cut while promising the moon for Alberta’s Heritage Fund

Jatin Nathwani and Ann Fitzgerald: Nuclear waste holds the key to a secure and carbon-free future

Jennifer Keesmaat: Public lands can help unlock the housing crisis – and our governments hold the key

Eric Reguly: Brussels faces long battle with its farmers as agricultural powerhouse Ukraine seeks EU membership

Green Investing

Opinion: Is ESG investing counterproductive?

Take an insurance company as an example. It may rank well on sustainability metrics, but it can’t really get much greener. On the other hand, when a brown firm such as a heavy construction materials supplier is backed into a corner by an increased cost of capital, it may lean further into its existing high-pollution operations or even cut corners on pollution mitigation.

Rather than avoiding brown firms altogether, research suggests that tilting – holding brown firms that have taken corrective action – may be more effective at reducing externalities. Read the full piece today

Making waves

This week’s Making Waves highlights an opportunity for young people in Canada. A partnership between Change Course, Canada’s National Observer and, the Climate Finance Scholarship Contest is open to anyone aged 18 to 30.

Applicants are invited to respond to prompts with a written essay or multimedia submission. See full contest rules and details here.

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

Photo of the week

Open this photo in gallery:

A crane operator walks next to the waste footing in the Drina river near Visegrad, Bosnia on Jan. 10, 2024. The United Nations Environment Assembly is meeting in Nairobi on Monday, Feb. 26, to discuss how countries can work together to tackle environmental crises such as climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity.Armin Durgut/The Associated Press

Guides and Explainers

Catch up on Globe Climate

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