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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Weather and climate change are different, but the heat waves in Western Canada are hard to ignore. B.C. will experience the hottest temperatures during a “heat dome” and neighbouring provinces and territories are are predicted to experience near-record highs.
“As the climate changes, we can expect more of these heat waves in the future. Certainly this current heat wave we’re in is consistent with climate change. However, we cannot directly attribute any one event to climate change,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon.
Now, let’s catch you up on news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Leading environmental groups are unsure if they will respond to demands to explain their sources of revenue to Alberta’s inquiry into foreign funding of anti-energy campaigns.
- BC Hydro will phase out two plants that rely on natural gas to generate power as it focuses on hydroelectricity in striving for a greener grid.
- Canada and the United States are now holding biweekly meetings on the threatened shutdown of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline and a 1977 bilateral treaty that was designed to ensure uninterrupted transmission between the two countries, a lawyer for the Canadian government has informed a U.S. federal court.
- An unusual mix of speakers showed up to Vancouver City Council earlier this month to argue in favour of Vancouver’s higher environmental standards for new houses – guidelines that city staff had suggested delaying for a year to help relieve a heavily bogged-down permitting system.
- From The Narwhal: As Coalspur — the company behind the Vista coal mine near Hinton, Alta. — declares itself financially “devastated,” experts question whether sufficient funds have been collected for eventual cleanup.
A deeper dive
It’s time to develop global standards for corporate reporting on ESG issues
Jeff Jones is a sustainable finance reporter for The Globe. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about how Canada’s accountants want universal reporting standards for environmental, social and governance issues.
I have to admit I didn’t expect the strong feedback my story about accountants and ESG reporting standards received.
An international effort is under way to establish a universal format for reporting environmental, social and governance issues, and, as I wrote in the piece, Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, the industry body, is calling for Canadian business leaders to contribute.
The group says some businesses have been hamstrung by the numerous platforms out there for disclosing everything from workplace diversity to climate change risks. Investors, rating agencies and others want organizations to use their preferred templates, and this has proven confusing and costly.
It’s roused more emotion than you might expect from a story about the accounting profession. At least one institutional investor on social media says standardization is overdue, agreeing with the accountants as well as Canada’s largest pension funds, which have also called for a universal approach to disclosure. Others have accused the accountants of taking advantage of the effort to generate new revenues through ESG auditing fees.
The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation is setting up a global sustainability standards board, and wants to have a plan under way by November, when countries meet in Glasgow, Scotland, for the next United Nations climate conference.
To be sure, finance, and its role in the fight against climate change, promises to be a major topic at that meeting. Mark Carney, the U.N.’s Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, has emerged as a leading voice in the field. The former Canada and U.K. central banker has been instrumental in an effort by banks, insurers and fund managers to use their resources to accelerate the transition to a net-zero emissions economy.
What else you missed
- Wood Buffalo National Park continues to be threatened by development in B.C., Alberta: UNESCO
- Coal companies hope to move forward with mines in Alberta despite roadblocks
- Reservoir to protect Calgary from floods gets Natural Resources Conservation Board approval
- Alberta moving forward on two new plans to maintain river water quality
- Trans Mountain tree cutting can resume as stop-work order on pipeline route lifts
- Turtle carcasses wash ashore in Sri Lanka after ship fire
Opinion and analysis
Jason Tchir: Should cities charge more for parking permits for gas guzzlers?
David Parkinson: IMF proposes an “international carbon price floor” – and Canada could be the model
Adam Radwanski: The case for a rethink of how Canada is retrofitting its buildings
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Sophia Bi doing climate education reform.
My name is Sophia Bi, 16, and I am one of the members of Climate Education Reform BC, an organizing team of almost 30 secondary school students united by the urgent need for climate education in the K-12 school system. Founded in late 2020, the group has been working to build a network and meet with field experts and community members, culminating in a set of six specific calls for reform, titled “Needs”, released in April alongside an open letter directed at the B.C. Ministry of Education.
What started as the idea of a handful of high school students turned into a province-wide network; along the way we’ve met the almost unequivocal support of students, parents, teachers, scientists and community members all across British Columbia excited to see our collective vision become a reality.
Reforming education is the basis for the deep systemic change we need, and presents one of the simplest yet most powerful climate solutions out there. It won’t be an easy fight, but with the support of the community, we can ensure our future generations are both equipped and empowered to face the climate emergency.
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
- The future of coal mining under a microscope
- Alberta’s renewal begins with the end of Keystone
- How can nature repair the planet?
- Oil, political connections, protests and elephants