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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Before getting into the heavy news, here’s a bit of cuteness to start your afternoon.
Each year, tourists visit Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, an archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence to document an experience unique to this part of Canada. Each winter, tens of thousands of harp seals gather on the pack ice around the area. They’re adorable, but they are also an enduring mammal that has had to slowly change location as their habitat changes on a warming planet.
Aside from guests wishing to see the fluffy, white-furred babies, they increasingly have an interest in learning about climate change. Seeing how climate change affects wildlife, like the 7.6 million harp seals inhabiting the waters from Eastern Canada to Greenland, the world’s largest population, can help visitors better grasp the devastating impacts of the crisis.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- War, Indigenous rights, climate change: everything is connected, writes Tanya Talaga. “For years, the Earth has been telling us how sick the planet is – and Indigenous communities have borne disproportionate pain from that sickness.”
- Ontario is running out of landfill space. Will it embrace the circular economy or sleepwalk into a crisis?
- Carbon: The Unauthorised Biography highlights trend of artists tackling climate change
- Analysis from The Narwhal: Can Alberta help solve Europe’s energy crisis? It’s complicated
A deeper dive
Today, energy security and climate action are twin goals
Ryan MacDonald is a senior editor at The Globe heading the climate, environment and resources team
Russia’s war in Ukraine is triggering an energy crisis in Europe that now threatens to engulf the world. Today, oil prices are soaring again on talk of the U.S. banning Russian oil exports. Suddenly, the world is talking about energy security.
For those who are committed to climate action, these two ideas may appear to be at cross purposes. But, as Adam Radwanski reports, the reality is that they are twin goals.
Adam spoke with Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, who was “in the room” as the world came together to consider how to confront the energy crisis. Short term, those decisions are all related to oil and gas supply. But Mr. Wilkinson also reports that Europe’s commitment to accelerating the energy transition away from fossil fuels will happen “a lot quicker than many had been assuming.”
What Europe is interested in, he said, is energy security. That means, in the long term, generating their own energy with renewable sources such as wind and solar power. And it means making stable arrangements “with secure, trusted partners like Canada.”
In other words, there is little enthusiasm from Europe to continue to rely on oil and gas.
Emma Graney, the Globe’s energy reporter, explores this question in her report from Berlin. Whereas past Russian provocations were met with muted responses from the West, largely because of energy implications, this time it’s different. Now, Europe wants to secure an energy future beyond Kremlin control.
Clearly, energy is a geopolitical force that can be weaponized. Just listen to Svitlana Krakovska, the Ukrainian climate scientist and a co-author of the most recent IPCC report, who insists human-induced climate change and the war on Ukraine have “the same roots,” originating with fossil fuels and humanity’s dependence on them.
What else you missed
- Canada is throwing its support behind a push for a global treaty that could do for plastic pollution what the Paris agreement is slowly doing for greenhouse gas emissions.
- Quebec deer overpopulation has left governments and biologists struggling to find ways to control their numbers amid vocal opposition to mass culls.
- Although Africa has contributed relatively little to the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions, the continent is still to see worsening impacts from human-caused global warming, UN report warns
- Top U.S. senators from both parties grilled Democratic energy regulators who recently approved guidelines for approving new natural gas projects that allow consideration of environmental justice, landowner and climate issues.
Opinion and analysis
Jane George: Iqaluit has endured six months of water woes – when will the federal government step up?
Energy security behind renewables’ new gains
Widespread concern over energy security after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is turning investor interest toward the energy sector – but the best-performing stocks are not the obvious ones associated with traditional oil and gas producers.
Instead, stocks tied to wind, solar and hydro energy are leading the way, and the gains could mark the start of a sustained comeback for the beaten-up renewable energy sector, according to some observers.
“The sun shines on all countries, the wind blows on all countries – so they can get much more sovereign security around that,” said John Bai, chief investment officer at Toronto-based sustainable investing firm NEI Investments.
- David Berman
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Megan McCarthy helping measure a way to net zero.
My name is Megan McCarthy, and I am the co-founder and CEO of ROCarbon Labs, based in Halifax. We are a 100-per-cent female-owned and -operated team and we are on a mission to help the world transition to a low carbon economy. I am excited about our latest innovation, our Carbon Credit Exchange Market (ROCx), positioned to be the only exchange to offer ESG aligned offsets.
We measure energy usage and use that data to help businesses create a lucrative, clear path to Net Zero. We also generate new sources of income for building owners by automatically creating and selling carbon offsets on our voluntary carbon market, ROCx.
When you purchase offsets from a business in your community, you are contributing toward their success and a low carbon economy. We can all help keep the planet below a 1.5 C rise in global temperatures. And remember: You don’t know what you don’t measure.
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
- IPCC report delves into our lack of preparedness, can we still be resilient?
- Beijing proved you don’t need winter to host an Olympic Winter Games
- How does flood risk affect your home’s value?
- Machine-made snow at the Olympics and the future of winter sport