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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
On Wednesday it will be World Water Day, and we’ve been talking about water a lot.
Our last newsletter edition outlined the importance of the UN ‘High Seas Treaty’, particularly that the high seas are the common heritage of humankind. We’ve also shared about ice cover dwindling on the Great Lakes. And in this newsletter, you will read about First Nations refusing to drink reservoir water after the Kearl oil sands leak of toxic tailings.
Today, take a moment to explore and read more about what is being done in our country to address the water crises -- both to help gain access to drinking water in Indigenous communities and make sure environmental bodies of water are kept healthy.
Or, simply take a break from work to test your knowledge of bodies of water in Canada.
Now, let’s splash into other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Oil sands tailings leak: First Nations living near Imperial Oil leak refuse to drink water from nearby reservoir even after Ottawa ordered company to contain leak of toxic water. Meanwhile, both federal and Alberta governments will review communication.
- Pollution: Alberta Energy Regulator investigating release from coal mine into Smoky River
- Law and justice: Justice Russell Brown’s absence will be felt in an environmental law hearing
- Business: BlackRock’s Larry Fink says it’s not his role to drive climate agenda
- Oil and Gas: B.C. approves Indigenous-led Cedar LNG project, announces new ‘energy action framework’, sets high bar for new LNG projects
- Industry: Paper Excellence’s ties to controversial Indonesian forestry giant could hinder Canadian expansion
- Oceans: Marine protected areas at risk from ship waste, critics say
- News from The Narwhal: How the Ontario government muzzled its Greenbelt Council
A deeper dive
The final IPCC report is here
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its most recent, and final report. It’s the last summary of an eight-year process to determine the current state and future trajectory of the Earth’s climate, and it has never before been so well-documented. This publication now concludes the sixth global assessment.
The overarching message: By taking urgent action, nations can avoid making parts of the planet unlivable and spare the world from experiencing the most serious impacts of climate change.
In terms of numbers: the assessment shows that humanity is well on course to cross the 1.5 degree signpost some time during the first half of the next decade.
What is needed is already known: Including smarter approaches to how we live, eat, work, build, farm and transport ourselves from place to place. Also we need to build in more resiliency as we adapt to the effects already occurring.
That doesn’t sound hopeful. But despite the still dire tone of the IPCC6 report, experts also say there are bright spots.
Valérie Courtois is director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, an Ottawa-based group focused on Indigenous-led conservation. She feels hope knowing that Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas are being identified as able to help Canada meet its conservation goals.
“So that changes the entire paradigm. You’re not looking to maximize use. You’re thinking of what needs to stay for landscapes to be healthy – and what needs to stay for people to be healthy,” she said.
You may remember the “code red” report that was released in 2021, which became a major talking point at COP26. It outlined that humans are, beyond any reasonable scientific doubt, the primary cause of climate change. Last year, COP27 made a commitment to launch a fund to compensate poor countries suffering from catastrophic climate-change events, ... but little else.
Science reporter Ivan Semeniuk and environment reporter Wendy Stueck have kept their eyes on the reports, and pulled together the main takeaways from the document.
Among the report’s main takeaways:
- Losses and damage due to a changing climate are apparent around the globe, with nearly half the world’s population living in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change;
- The best solutions for dealing with the problem, including shifting to low carbon energy, will not only reduce future impacts but improve human health outcomes;
- Increasing investments and removing financial and other systemic barriers to sustainable development will ensure that technology and human ingenuity can be applied to the problem to best effect.
What else you missed
- Inside the never-ending softwood lumber trade war between Canada and the U.S.
- Ontario not effectively protecting boreal caribou habitat, federal minister says
- International Petroleum Corp CEO urges Canada to offer more funding to build carbon capture
- Rising airline emissions could trigger global caps as early as 2024, trade group says
- Survivors in shock as Cyclone Freddy toll passes 400 in Malawi, Mozambique
- Topless Greenbelt Junos protester after mischief charge: ‘Just tell Avril I’m not mad’
- Shell rules out setting more ambitious goal for end-user emissions
- Biden administration tells Supreme Court that Big Oil climate cases belong in state court
Opinion and analysis
The editorial board: The Trans Mountain pipeline purchase has been a (necessary) failure
Kelly Cryderman: Should the environmental impact of big projects be assessed by Ottawa? Supreme Court is set to weigh in
Jessica Scott-Reid: The death of Kiska the killer whale exposes the limits of Canada’s animal-captivity laws
Campbell Clark: The scale of Ottawa’s battery-plant subsidies hidden until the money is gone
Critics slap ‘woke’ label on responsible investing
It can be difficult for Canadian investors to ignore the anti-ESG feelings coming from the United States. Last year, former vice-president Mike Pence claimed new ESG regulations would “allow left-wing radicals to destroy American energy producers from within.”
“The recent politicization of ESG in the U.S. has generated investor confusion in Canada,” says Coby Bucci, senior vice-president of corporate development at Harbourfront Wealth Management in Vancouver. “The rhetoric and ongoing debate are creating headwinds against – but not stopping – ESG investing. Investors want and deserve the choice.”
- Also: Dutch lender ING toughens oil and gas policy to include trade finance, midstream infrastructure
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Erin Hogan helping student innovators.
Hi! I’m Erin Hogan, the programs manager at GreenHouse, a social impact incubator at the University of Waterloo. At GreenHouse, I work with student innovators who are dedicated to creating positive social and environmental change by connecting them to the resources and support they need to succeed. I’m grateful to learn and collaborate with them every day.
Outside of my work at GreenHouse, I have explored different ways to make an impact and learn from the world around me. I’ve been a crew member for the Marine Debris Removal Initiative, a nature interpreter for a non-profit dedicated to protecting local waterways, and a volunteer with a group of people passionate about taking intergenerational climate action.
Everyone has a role to play in shaping a more sustainable and just future, whether you’re on the frontlines or working behind the scenes. Collaboration is key to achieving our collective goals, and I’m excited to a part of communities that are working toward making a positive impact in the world!
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.
Catch up on Globe Climate
- What is the UN ‘High Seas Treaty’ really about?
- Indigenous community says they were kept in the dark about industrial leak
- What Canada can learn from the “Norway paradox”
- Can Canada keep up in the race to world cleantech superpower?