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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
You may remember our reporting on wild pigs. They are invasive, destructive and dangerous, and their populations in Canada are exploding out of control. We have a podcast episode about it here. And now, the wild pigs roaming Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba pose a new threat.
A growing population of hard-to-eradicate “super pigs” is threatening to spill south of the border, and northern states such as Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana are taking steps to stop the invasion. Though they are not native to North America, the feral swine are excellent at surviving Canadian winters.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Water: Mackenzie River’s low water levels are preventing crucial supplies from reaching remote NWT communities
- Arts: Arcadia Earth, a massive environmental exhibit, makes Toronto its first permanent home
- Technology: Alberta to apply sovereignty act to try to thwart federal clean-electricity plan
- Fall economic statement: Ottawa stops layering on new climate promises to focus on implementation – and gets lukewarm reviews
- Pollution: Another water release incident at Kearl oil sands project follows two earlier this year
- Trade: Revised Canada-Ukraine free-trade agreement does not contain carbon tax, Ukraine says
- Conservation: Elephant ivory and rhino horn imports banned by Ottawa
- Mining: Australian company revives its push for a controversial coal mine in Alberta
- Environmental protest: First Quantum facing Panama mine shutdown, as Cobre Panama’s future rests on Supreme Court decision
- On the ground with The Narwhal: Despite the risk of military explosives, TC Energy wants to build ‘Ontario’s battery’ on Georgian Bay
A deeper dive
Canada’s pre-COP noise
This year’s COP28 climate conference, hosted by the the United Arab Emirates, is set to formally begin programming Nov. 30. Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber, president of the event, laid out a plan for “brutally honest” climate summit earlier this year.
Canada has also joined in on the pre-COP chatter.
Ottawa is poised to announce new regulations and funding around methane – a greenhouse gas that’s 85 times more potent than carbon dioxide – on Thursday.
These regulations will be the cornerstone of Canada’s COP28 climate plan. They follow the 2021 Global Methane Pledge, a joint agreement in which more than 100 countries promised to cut methane emissions by at least 30 per cent below 2020 levels by 2030.
Canada’s strategy is more ambitious: It hopes to reduce emissions by 40 per cent to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. It plans to do this by cutting oil and gas sector emissions by 75 per cent.
And on Tuesday, Alberta will announce a new grant program to encourage carbon capture projects in the province, as the oil and gas sector faces increasing pressure to reduce emissions.
The program will be modelled on the Alberta Petrochemicals Incentive Program, which allows for a refundable tax credit of up to 12 per cent of eligible capital costs once projects are operational, according to Premier Danielle Smith. It aims to augment the federal government’s planned tax credit for carbon capture, utilization and sequestration (CCUS) projects, which will cover up to 50 per cent of capital costs.
- Saskatchewan squabbles with Ottawa over pavilion presentations at COP28 in Dubai
- France, U.S. to propose ban on private financing for coal-fired plants during COP28 summit: sources
- ‘We absolutely need to act immediately,’ says UN chief during visit to Antarctica ahead of COP28
What else you missed
- Alberta Energy Regulator reports runoff spill at Suncor’s Fort Hills oil sands site
- Ottawa to appeal court ruling that struck down cabinet order labelling plastics toxic
- U.S. study finds Canadian mining toxin in American waters; treatment ‘a small dent’
- B.C. opposition parties heat up climate debate with attacks on NDP’s plans
- Canadians want to see carbon price paused on all home heating fuel, poll suggests
- Ontario funding projects aimed at using hydrogen to power electricity grid
- Canada won’t get to net zero without an emissions cap on oil and gas, researchers say
- Saskatchewan says Ottawa’s net-zero plan would cost province $40-billion, job losses
- World racing to well beyond warming limit as carbon emissions rise instead of plunge, UN report says
- To save the climate, the oil and gas sector must slash planet-warming operations, report says
- Energy storage gains a foothold, but vast expansion needed to decarbonize, experts say
Opinion and analysis
Thomas Homer-Dixon: We should listen to a renowned scientist’s warning on climate change
Michael Byers: Humans are destroying the only home they have. Canada can help save it by shutting down the tar sands
Biogas digesters turn emissions into fuel – so why won’t governments support them?
George Dick’s $45-million biogas digester plant in Chilliwack, B.C., is an elegant solution to a handful of problems: It cuts down methane emissions while also producing a usable fuel. But despite how elegant such solutions are, implementing them is hard. Mr. Dick’s company, Dicklands Biogas, currently the largest such one in British Columbia, received little financial help from the federal or provincial government. While Mr. Dick did get a small bank loan, for the most part lenders were hesitant to touch such a steep, and seemingly high-risk, investment.
- Ontario funding projects aimed at using hydrogen to power electricity grid
- Germany pledges to invest €4-billion in green energy projects in Africa
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Kate Moran finding ocean-based climate solutions.
Kate Moran is the president and chief executive officer of Ocean Networks Canada. Her top priority at the moment is using the ocean space to – durably – remove CO2 from the atmosphere so that we can have a planet that is habitable for humans and rich biodiversity.
One of the organization’s projects is called Solid Carbon; a feasibility study is just being finalized. The aim is to take direct air-captured CO2, pump it through the water column and inject it into subseafloor basalt – essentially the bedrock of the ocean. The enterprise would be powered by renewable energy.
Then there is ocean-based carbon-dioxide removal, a concept being explored in partnership with Columbia University. Ms. Moran was involved in a U.S. National Academies study on research needed to advance the science.
“We know that 30 per cent of the CO2 that we’ve burned in the atmosphere has already been absorbed by the ocean,” she said. “Are there other ways that we can enhance that, to further remove CO2 from the atmosphere?”
Turning CO2 into rock and other magic: A scientist’s pursuit of ocean-based climate solutions. Read the full story today.
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
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year winners for 2023 capture nature in all its splendour and fragility, see the full list of winning images here.
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
- Research shows that forests are essential to Canadian climate pledges
- Canada’s lost opportunity to finance the critical minerals revolution
- Glaciers could unearth climate history frozen in time
- In B.C.’s rainforest, we search for white Spirit bears