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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

To most Canadians, the beaver is considered a national icon and emblem unique to us. But in California, beavers are superhero rodents in the fight against climate change.

California joined the ranks of “beaver believer” states in the U.S., where drought and poor salmon stocks are driving policymakers to harness the energies of a rodent that reproduces quickly and stores water, as a biological imperative. “Beavers are an untapped, creative climate-solving hero that helps prevent the loss of biodiversity facing California,” is how a state budget request document filed earlier this year put it. Read more from our international correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe after his trip to the golden state.

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Sarah Beesley, a fisheries biologist with the Yurok Tribe in northern California, examines artificial beaver dams created on McGarvey Creek on Sept. 12, 2022. The Yurok have worked to restore the McGarvey watershed for beavers and salmon.Nathan VanderKlippe/The Globe and Mail

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Wildlife: Evidence of thousands of dead salmon offers a horrific snapshot of a severe drought that has gripped B.C. Also read about the quest to protect Hudson Bay’s unique coastline, one of Canada’s last, best wild places.
  2. Agriculture: In the Canadian wheat odyssey, Prairies prove to be resilient during global food shortage.
  3. Energy: Ontario to increase use of gas-fired plants for energy, raising further questions about climate commitments. B.C.’s wood pellet industry under fire for being sold as renewable bioenergy. Meanwhile Ottawa looks to ensure Canadian hydrogen projects remain competitive.
  4. Housing: Canadians struggle to afford home upgrades in the face of climate change. Intelligent City wants to automate the future of sustainable housing. Also, Toronto is undercutting its green building standards policy, critics say.
  5. Weather: Post-tropical storm Fiona shows vulnerabilities in Canada’s weather-radar network, expert says. Also read about how Alberta controls the weather to minimize hail damage.
  6. From The Narwhal: When this man realized his Manitoba family farm was on land with a long history of Indigenous farming, he embarked on a journey to learn more

A deeper dive

Going on grid

Ryan MacDonald is the is senior editor of climate, environment and resources at The Globe and Mail. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about the big EV push.

Canada wants an all-electric vehicle fleet by mid-century, but there is no electric vehicle revolution without the minerals that power them.

This week, Neal Rockwell takes us to Quebec, where a planned graphite mine is part of a larger plan to turn Canada into a manufacturing hub for lithium ion batteries. There are worries the project isn’t as clean as it claims to be.

At The Globe, we’re committed to covering this industrial transformation and the communities that will be affected as the country moves to take advantage of the demand for critical minerals. In the coming months, you’ll see more stories about what it all means.

In March, automaker Stellantis NV announced it will partner with South Korea’s LG Energy Solution to build a $5-billion EV battery-assembly plant in Windsor, Ont. That announcement followed one about a pair of planned facilities to produce cathode active material in Quebec.

Global auto makers are expected to spend an estimated US$300-billion on EV and battery manufacturing in order to electrify their fleets. The broader question is whether Canada can leverage these investments to develop a full supply chain, from mining of critical battery components all the way through to battery recycling.

Things are starting to heat up.

In Ontario, Ontario Innovation Minister Vic Fedeli tells The Globe’s Irene Galea that his government’s top priority is to attract companies to build battery and EV plants in Ontario.

Quebec is on a similar drive to attract investment – and to take advantage of the “future-facing” minerals beneath its soil such as such as copper, graphite, niobium, zinc, cobalt, nickel, titanium and lithium. Just today, Rio Tinto announced a $700-million investment in a titanium plant in Quebec. The company hopes to develop the first North American producer of titanium.

Meanwhile, back in the town of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, Mayor Réjean Gouin has some questions for residents who have raised environmental concerns about the graphite mine being developed in their community.

“Do you want an electric car, do you want electric buses, do you want electrification?”

Canada sees opportunity in critical minerals; there is always a cost.


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Single lane bridge along the 88 KM dirt road that links St Michel des Saints with the Atikamekw community of Manawan.Neal Rockwell/The Globe and Mail

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

Ken Dryen: ‘We will need to find a new possible.’ Ken Dryden on the biggest question young Canadians face: Climate change

Charlotte Dawe: Canada’s biodiversity promises are fantasy without legal overhaul

Apoorv Sinha: Greening heavy industry should be the next climate goal

Editorial board: Canada has some of the world’s cleanest electric power. And we’re about to need a lot more of it

Green Investing

Accounting body proposes rule changes to put nature on the balance sheet

The independent body that sets accounting standards for Canada’s public sector is proposing rule changes that would allow municipalities to include the value of wetlands, grasslands and other natural assets on their balance sheets.

The Public Sector Accounting Board has been scrutinizing ways to recognize the value of a wide range of natural settings, from rivers and ponds to fields and marshes. The board is embarking on a complex process that would pave the way for new standards governing what is allowed to appear on financial statements.

Also read:

Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Madison Cooper doing mental health research in response to climate change.

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Madison CooperHandout

My name is Madison Cooper (She/Her), 26, and I live in Mississauga. For years, I have experienced the mental and emotional impacts from climate change. I have often felt sad and frustrated. Thankfully, I came across a climate café. This is an informal space hosted by a trained facilitator where I could voice my feelings about climate change with other people who were feeling the same way, and it was free to attend!

After finding this supportive community, I decided to use my studies to look more in-depth at how these spaces can support youth with the emotional impacts of climate change through graduate work. I am currently completing a Master of Science in Health Promotion and Sociobehavioural Sciences through the University of Alberta studying how climate change affects young people’s mental health and the ways in which climate café can support and enhance mental resilience.

Climate cafés have taught me that we are not alone, that our individual emotional work helps sustain our activism, and undoubtedly affects collective well-being. That connection cultivates hope. If you wish to connect, come check out the climate café I facilitate! I hope to see you there.

- Madison

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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Saguaro cacti stand in the Sonoran Desert as monsoon season clouds pass on October 8, 2022 near Apache Junction, Arizona. The saguaro is the largest cactus in the nation and an iconic symbol of the American Southwest. The cacti are threatened by a number of issues linked to climate change including an increased risk of wildfires kindled by invasive grasses. Scientists monitoring Arizona’s Saguaro National Park have observed a heightened mortality rate in young saguaros amid increased temperatures, inconsistent monsoon rains and long-term drought. The giant cactus is a unique keystone species to the Sonoran Desert with saguaros living as long as 150-200 years and reaching heights of over 50 feet.Mario Tama/Getty Images

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