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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Churchill, Man., is known the world over as a geographical sweet spot for polar bears – and a giant nursery for cubs. Females hunker down in snow-covered earthen dens in the forest with their babies until they are strong enough to make the long trek to Hudson Bay to feed on seals.
The incredible moment when the mother emerges with her young for the first time is highly coveted by wildlife enthusiasts coming to the area. Check out what all the hype is about.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- How a tiny First Nation forced an overhaul of land use
- From Helsinki to Hay River, N.W.T., a pond hockey tournament with a global goal
- B.C. flower farmers flee to Nova Scotia to escape climate change
- Carbon emissions, threaten the very winter wildernesses skiers love. Is it time to end helicopter skiing?
- On the ground with The Narwhal: How Indigenous guardians are reinforcing sovereignty and science on their lands
A deeper dive
Russian oil ban has put the spotlight on Canada
Sierra Bein is the author of Globe Climate. For this week’s deeper dive, she talks about where climate change lies in the energy disruption caused by the invasion of Ukraine.
Patricia Espinosa is preparing to step down as U.N. climate chief, but has a message for the world first: The invasion of Ukraine must not distract leaders from the climate crisis.
Climate analysts echo Espinosa’s hope that the geopolitical crisis will mark a pivot for global climate action. The energy security concerns brought on by the war could spur movement away from fossil fuels, and closer to clean energy. But moving too quickly to escape dependency on Russian energy could prompt more domestic coal use instead.
The Russian ban has put the spotlight on Canada especially, which supplies more than half of America’s oil and gas imports.
This weekend, The Globe’s Jeffrey Jones, Patrick Brethour, Wendy Stueck and Brent Jang take a look at a difficult question, while Putin’s war in Ukraine leaves the world in search of energy. Can Canada help without undermining its climate ambitions?
Ottawa isn’t committing to any major revamp of its energy and climate policies that might allow for greater oil and gas production. But the government is leaving the door open for some assistance to help Europe.
The hope is still to achieve net zero by 2050, even as an increased need for fuel arises. The problem is that the future of Canadian oil exports would have a high cost of supply when technology such as carbon capture, utilization and storage is involved. Still, experts reject the idea that an energy-security crisis justifies watering down long-term emissions reduction targets for fossil fuel producers. Again, Canada and the United States are being forced to take a fresh look at their energy relationship.
“It may not be exactly what Alberta wants but there is alignment. Ottawa and Washington see that there’s a need for oil and gas in the immediate term. They are less convinced of the need for oil and gas in the long term,” said Robert Johnston, adjunct senior research scholar at the Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy. “And they want to make sure there’s a lot of emphasis on helping Europeans get to their climate goals and diversify away from Russian oil and gas through low-carbon and renewable investments.”
But moving away from fossil fuels will need to happen sooner than later, especially as vulnerable countries’ demands for funding for disaster compensation have received resistance by wealthy nations in the U.N. talks.
“What is very important is to get a sense of urgency in this process,” Espinosa said. “We don’t have time for gradual progress any more.”
What else you missed
- Conservative leadership hopeful Jean Charest says he’s opposed to Bill 21 and favours more oil and gas production
- Canada can help Europe turn to renewables instead of Russian oil, Environment Minister says
- Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon hits second straight monthly record
- Shackleton’s ship Endurance found beneath Antarctic ice, more than 100 years later
- Mass timber flatiron building takes shape in Leaside
- Biden’s billion-dollar cleanup pledge puts Great Lakes back in environmental spotlight
- Canadians put more faith in employers to address societal issues as trust in other institutions declines
- UBS looking to cut its financing of fossil fuel emissions by more than two-thirds by 2030
Opinion and analysis
Donna Kennedy-Glans: The current energy crisis shows politicians need to move beyond pitting green energy against hydrocarbons
Darryl White: Canada can be a leader on energy security
Kai Chan: North Americans have already used up their share of the planet’s resources for the year. It’s clear that climate action needs a reboot
Matthew Bubbers: Our love of big SUVs is ruining us, but there’s no end in sight
Vancouver woman, 22, earning $45,000 wants investments to match her environmental values
As part of the paycheque project, The Globe examines real-life scenarios of people who want to learn about their finances and how to invest. In this edition, Alex’s green lifestyle in B.C. extends to her investing style. The 22-year-old PR and social-media professional who recently moved to Vancouver wants her values reflected in her investment choices. Her top financial concern: “I’d rather invest in companies that are not harshly impacting the environment.”
She invests in a balanced fund that includes companies that focus on environmental, social and corporate governance qualities. Check out her story.
Are you a millennial who would like to participate in a paycheque profile? Send us an e-mail.
- Ukraine crisis raises questions about shifting imperatives for socially conscious investors
- How Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is affecting investments in the agriculture sector
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Dr. Stephen Petersen doing conservation and research.
I am Dr. Stephen Petersen, the director of Conservation and Research at Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg. I have been fortunate to have worked with animals ranging from tiny shrews to enormous bowhead whales. Early in my career I realized that working to conserve wildlife was the most impactful thing I could do. That work has led me to work at a zoo where there are opportunities to learn about animals from around the world and lead projects that directly help species in the wild.
Our Conservation and Research team primarily studies Manitoba species, particularly polar bears, Arctic seals, and beluga whales in the north and endangered Prairie butterflies in the south. Working in a zoo setting allows us to learn from the animals we have in our care to help animals in the wild, while engaging a diverse audience and empowering them to protect the environment.
People often don’t realize the amazing amount of conservation work that goes on behind the scenes at accredited zoos. Much of this work helps save species that are affected by the threats of climate change, habitat loss, and other human pressures. Not only can you learn about amazing animals but you also can support the important work of zoo conservation scientists when you visit. Not close to a zoo? You can still help wildlife conservation efforts by becoming a citizen scientist and participating in projects like our team’s Beluga Bits project.
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, what happened at COP26, 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
- In Russia’s war against Ukraine, energy is a weapon
- 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?