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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.

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A 3500 square foot hurricane resistant house made from over 2 million recycled water bottles is photographed in Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia on September 12, 2023.Meagan Hancock/The Globe and Mail

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Extreme weather: Hurricanes are growing more intense along Atlantic seaboard, study finds
  2. 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.
  3. Oil and gas: What comes next for Irving Oil after Arthur Irving’s departure?
  4. Wildfires: Residents in Lytton, B.C., face high fees for archeological research, complicating rebuilding efforts
  5. Environment: Scientists’ quests to save the all-American front lawn from the ravages of climate change
  6. Climate commitments: Suncor CEO explains sustainability comments, says company still committed to reducing emissions
  7. Pipelines: TC Energy’s B.C. pipeline route bolstered by deal with Ksi Lisims LNG
  8. 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.

- Adam

What else you missed

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

Green Investing

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.

Making waves

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Jeff Dahn, professor of chemistry and physics at Dalhousie University and recipient of the Olin Palladium Award from the Electrochemical Society, poses for a portrait in a research lab of the Dunn Building, in Halifax, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023.Kelly Clark/The Canadian Press

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.

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 to tell us about them.

Photo of the week

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David Suzuki, for decades Canada's leading environmentalist, with his daughter Sarika Cullis-Suzuki, one of two co-hosts succeeding him on the CBC's long-running show The Nature of Things, on B.C.'s Quadra Island on Aug. 4, 2023. Now retired at 87, he watched Canada's summer of wildfires with a sense of defeat. "Even when we won, we failed as a movement to change the underlying assumptions of society, the behavior of government and business people."MELISSA RENWICK/The New York Times News Service

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