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With 20 years of experience building composite fishing boats, David Saulnier knew how fibreglass vessels survived rough powerful swells and lashing winds. “Why don’t I just bring this on land and build the same way?” he wondered.
In 2018, he and business partner Joel German launched JD Composites to do just that. The company makes insulated panels that can be used to construct homes, sheds, roofs and decks. The composite material is made with foam created from recycled water bottles, and was tested twice to withstand a category five hurricane.
As climate change brings more variable weather to the Atlantic region, interest in the hurricane-proof material is growing.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Extreme weather: Hurricanes are growing more intense along Atlantic seaboard, study finds
- Emission caps: Ottawa to press ahead with oil and gas emissions cap despite Supreme Court decision. Plus, listen to The Decibel with Adam Radwanski explain the ruling and why it has some questioning Ottawa’s ability to lower emissions.
- Oil and gas: What comes next for Irving Oil after Arthur Irving’s departure?
- Wildfires: Residents in Lytton, B.C., face high fees for archeological research, complicating rebuilding efforts
- Environment: Scientists’ quests to save the all-American front lawn from the ravages of climate change
- Climate commitments: Suncor CEO explains sustainability comments, says company still committed to reducing emissions
- Pipelines: TC Energy’s B.C. pipeline route bolstered by deal with Ksi Lisims LNG
- From The Narwhal: Jess H̓áust̓i says focusing on conflict and fear led to burnout that took years to recover from. Then, they began centring art and healing
A deeper dive
The financing agency at the centre of Ottawa’s clean-economy ambitions
Adam Radwanski is a climate reporter and columnist for The Globe. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about what happened since the idea of the Canada Growth Fund.
Since the Canada Growth Fund was announced by Ottawa last year, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is exactly. It was obvious from the outset that the $15-billion financing agency was pivotal to the government’s hopes for meeting climate targets and fostering clean growth; it was less clear what it was supposed to invest in, and how.
I wasn’t alone in this confusion. Although in the past couple of months I was finally starting to piece together some picture of the fund’s mandate, based on what I was hearing from sources who had interacted with it, there was still mounting impatience across a range of sectors to figure out what the CGF might do for them.
So I was glad when the fund’s new chief executive officer, Patrick Charbonneau, agreed to sit down with me recently for his first interview since taking the job. I wrote about it for The Globe this weekend.
I got the sense that Mr. Charbonneau – a veteran executive with PSP Investments, the public-sector pension fund manager that Ottawa has entrusted to run the CGF – was fairly new to media interviews generally and wary of putting himself too much in the spotlight.
But over the course of a long conversation in PSP’s Montreal offices, we wound up covering a lot of ground. Among other topics, this included his interpretation of the CGF’s mandate to support both heavy industrial decarbonization and the scale-up of early-stage clean-tech companies, what investment tools the fund will use for those purposes, and how it’s taken shape operationally so far behind the scenes.
The picture that emerged for me, which aligns with conversations I’ve been having with sources outside the CGF, is that it’s really been kicking into gear the past couple of months. While there’s good reason for industry frustration with the abstract way that the government launched the effort, there’s clearly been some pretty rapid movement – including quite a lot of potential investments being placed in the CGF’s pipeline – since PSP took control this summer.
The real test, as Mr. Charbonneau acknowledged, will come when the CGF actually starts making investments – which it’s planning to begin announcing as soon as the coming days. But at least now we know how it’s been preparing for that moment, and a better idea of what to expect.
What else you missed
- Canada promised to stop exporting unwanted plastic waste, but it’s still piling up
- Rock collected by Apollo 17 astronaut in 1972 reveals moon’s age
- COP28 conference should focus on cutting fossil fuel emissions, not output, Saudi Aramco CEO says
- Nestle, Volvo among 131 companies calling for COP28 agreement to ditch fossil fuels
- Canada to invest more than $1-billion in satellite technology to boost Earth observation data
- Antarctica sea ice lowest since 1986, Calgary researcher says
- First atmospheric river of fall deluges parts of B.C.’s south coast, southern Interior
- U.S. regulators approve natural gas pipeline expansion in Pacific Northwest despite environmental protests
Opinion and analysis
Grant Bishop: After Supreme Court’s decision, Ottawa must urgently refocus its climate policy
The editorial board: Provinces have climate powers – and duties
Almost 60 per cent of small and medium businesses across Canada affected by extreme weather: survey
KPMG in Canada says almost 60 per cent of small and medium businesses across the country have been affected by extreme weather events this year. The firm’s survey shows that more than half of respondents saw their costs rise significantly as a result, while 44 per cent saw a direct hit to their revenue.
KPMG says businesses in regions that experienced a high level of extreme weather were hit harder. For example, in Ontario outside of the Greater Toronto Area, almost 80 per cent of respondents were directly affected by extreme weather.
- Shell has given up specific targets for carbon offsets, CEO says
- Wave of billion-dollar oil patch deals a sign of bullish Canadian energy sector
- Deutsche Bank sets emissions targets for coal mining, cement and shipping clients
How an award-winning Halifax professor nurtured a network of battery entrepreneurs
They call themselves the “Dahn lab” graduates, and they’re powering an unlikely, Halifax-based research hub for batteries designed to replace fossil fuels.
At the tightly wired network’s heart is Jeff Dahn, a professor of chemistry and physics at Dalhousie University, who on Oct. 9 was presented with the Olin Palladium Award from the Electrochemical Society for a lifetime of working to improve rechargeable batteries. The prestigious prize has previously been won by Nobel laureates.
According to the award citation, the 66-year-old researcher is an author or co-author of 78 inventions with patents issued or filed, and has trained more than 65 PhDs and 30 post-doctoral researchers, many of whom now hold senior positions in battery firms around the globe.
“It’s a war on climate change. We need every sensible energy storage technology to store energy from solar and wind,” he said after receiving his prize at the Electrochemical Society’s biannual gathering in Sweden.
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 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
- We are digging deep on critical minerals
- Prudence and ambition in financing climate change solutions
- Big-wave surfers of Nazaré are helping restore the kelp forest
- Studying the start of the solar system may teach us about Earth’s future