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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Did you miss our event last week about the five issues we should be talking about before election day?
Don’t worry, you can still check it out! The Globe’s climate reporter Adam Radwanski and The Narwhal’s editor-in-chief Emma Gilchrist dive deep into the key environmental issues ahead of Sept. 20. (Psst: In the description, there are shortcuts you just want to listen to one or two topic discussions.)
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- At Fairy Creek, a war in the woods as police seek more power to clear blockades. There is little sign of the lengthy battle over old-growth logging letting up, and the RCMP says it is losing against a sophisticated, well-funded movement
- A magnet breakthrough brings fusion energy closer to reality. The development could speed the way to reliable, carbon-free energy without the constraints of renewables or some of the downsides associated with conventional nuclear energy.
- British naturalists see a new harbinger of climate change in the dragonflies sweeping across the U.K. and Ireland
- Lobster dispute, frustration with Ottawa could turn the tide on the Liberals in Nova Scotia
- Photo essay from The Narwhal: Three Black farmers and the fight for diminishing land in Southern Ontario where access to land remains one of the biggest hurdles
A deeper dive
Lessons in transition
Transition is a word that is used a lot in discussing climate issues – mostly in the context of moving from fossil fuels to a low-carbon future. The human side is discussed less so.
In Canada, thousands of people are employed – both directly and indirectly – in the energy sector. According to Natural Resources Canada, in 2019, the sector directly employed more than 282,000 people and indirectly supported over 550,500 jobs. The sector accounts for more than 10 per cent of nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the country.
That is why, in the midst of a federal election, you’re hearing party leaders talk a lot about transitions for energy workers – from oil and gas to low-carbon energy solutions.
So where does that transition begin?
For many, it means deciding whether to return to an industry that has been plagued by uncertainty or to change careers. For many others, it begins at school.
The Globe’s energy reporter Emma Graney, who lived a previous life as an education reporter, was intrigued by what she saw at the University of Calgary, where the school has started to reallocate resources into courses that produce graduates who are able to get jobs across different facets of the energy sector.
A degree in oil and gas engineering used to be a ticket to gainful employment and grads could look forward to fat paycheques. But with the world moving to address climate change, oil is no longer the undisputed energy king. At universities throughout North America, students want courses on alternative fuels, sustainability and low-carbon options. And the schools are listening. You can read Emma’s story here.
Helping students, workers and communities thrive in a prosperous, low-carbon world is a transition we can all get behind.
-Ryan McDonald, senior editor of environment, climate and resources
What else you missed
- As federal deadline for electric vehicles approaches, there’s a tourism opportunity to be had.
- Two Southern Alberta First Nations have filed for a judicial review of a federal decision rejecting a new open-pit coal mine in the Rocky Mountains, arguing that the government failed in its duty to consult them about the project.
- The U.N.’s top climate official urged governments to stop their “deferral and delay” tactics and instead embrace rapid, widespread measures to curb and adapt to global warming.
- From 4 per cent to 45 per cent: The Biden administration sets ambitious blueprint to produce almost half of the United States’ electricity from the sun by 2050
Opinion and analysis
Charles Brindamour and Blair Feltmate: Let’s manage climate risks, not disasters
Eric Reguly: Coal’s unwelcome revival is bad news for the UN’s crucial climate summit in Glasgow
Konrad Yakabuski: Our phony election debate over the oil sands won’t stop their expansion
Sarah Hogeveen: If we want our youth to build a greener future, give them the tools to understand climate science
Kaitlyn Bailey: I’ve been all over B.C., but an Ontario hiker never forgets her first mountain
Keith A. Hobson and Linda Wires: Ontario’s war on cormorants should be a wake-up call for Canadians
A Vancouver-based company that constructs energy-efficient buildings using a unique cement-like material has closed an equity financing that it says vaults it past unicorn status in less than three years. Nexii Building Solutions Inc.’s $45-million funding round was led by industrial manufacturers Honeywell International Inc., Trane Technologies PLC and other investors. The privately held company says it now has a valuation of US$1.23-billion, 31 months after it was established with technology developed by two brothers in Moose Jaw.
Two Montreal-based companies are developing a new method for processing fumed silica they say could reduce emissions by 86 per cent. They say this would make them the only companies to produce fumed silica in Canada, and the first to use plasma technology to manufacture it. Typical methods of producing fumed silica – also known as pyrogenic silica – are known to pollute the environment and create harmful, potentially explosive by-products. Also, most fumed silica is produced by American, German or Chinese companies, so transportation can add to emissions.
Opinion: Federal leaders could do more to link corporate financial disclosure measures to climate action
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Naila Moloo doing environmental research.
I’m Naila Moloo, a 15-year-old based in Ottawa who is passionate about making impact in the environmental sector. I’m currently working on building transparent and flexible solar cells leveraging nanotechnology, as well as a bioplastic from duckweed through an internship at Pond Biomaterials.
After getting my debut novel published this year, I am intersecting my passions for writing and STEM through the development of a children’s book series on emerging technologies. I’ve realized during my journey that technological advancements are going to play an enormous role within sustainability, but we need more awareness.
There is a lot of negative coverage in the media about climate change, and while its effects are certainly detrimental, there is increasing innovation unfolding that many people are not aware of. From injecting carbon dioxide waste into concrete to replicating the mechanism that powers the sun and stars in a lab for clean fusion energy, very exciting things are coming.
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 climate change election is coming
- How to save art in catastrophic climate-related events
- Canada’s clean-energy advantage is in peril
- Five climate-change myths to shut down