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

Are you counting down the days until spring? So are we. Only 35 more days to go until we can officially say winter is over.

That means it is the same countdown for the March equinox (vernal equinox), when the sun passes Earth’s equator and day and night will be almost equal as we get more sunlight. Sounds nice!

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

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Conservation: To save Great Salt Lake, Utah explores radical options – and other water-starved states are taking notes
  2. Oceans: Commonwealth secretary casts organization as authoritative voice on ocean protection at IMPAC5
  3. Listen to The Decibel: A success story in Indigenous-led conservation
  4. Agriculture: Agtech pushes the boundaries of food production and fuels a debate about who is considered a farmer
  5. Adaptation: Canada’s EV revolution has a problem - not enough skilled labour to support it
  6. News from The Narwhal: ‘Keep it quiet’. Workers told not to report oil spill at remote B.C. worksite, insider says

A deeper dive

The Fusion question is no longer how but how soon

Ivan Semeniuk is The Globe’s science reporter. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about a future with fusion.

One rainy day last October I found myself standing in a construction site near Devens, Mass., in a pocket of rolling countryside west of Boston.

I was in the basement of a large, partially completed building that was still open to the elements. Above me was a concrete ring supported by pillars with a forest of metal scaffolding reaching upward to the roof.

It did not look much like a historic site, but it crossed my mind that one day it could be.

In the coming months, the concrete ring and pillars will be the base for SPARC, a demonstration nuclear fusion reactor that is being built by Commonwealth Fusion Systems. If it is completed when expected, in about two years, it will become the first privately operated device to attempt to reach “net energy” — the term of art in fusion science for a device that can release more energy than it takes in.

Nuclear fusion has been held up as the ultimate answer to humanity’s energy needs as long as I have been reporting on science. For most of that time, the prospect of harnessing the same process that powers the sun and the stars has remained tantalizingly out of reach. The world’s large fusion effort, the giant International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), has been under construction in France for about 15 years and is still years from operation.

What has changed is that researchers and tech companies have begun to explore shortcuts to fusion energy that are opening up thanks to new technologies and materials that were not available a generation ago. Commonwealth Fusion Systems is a prime example of this trend. By making creative use of a material called a high temperature superconductor, the company says it can create a machine that will do what ITER will do, but at a size and scale that could pave the way to commercial power generation.

Others are similarly preparing to take their ideas from the drawing board to working prototype. General Fusion, a Vancouver-based company, is also in the hunt and has begun clearing a site in the U.K. for its demonstration reactor.

With all of this activity under way and more, I am taking readers on a journey to explore the landscape of commercial fusion at a crucial turning point. Is fusion for real? Is it our best bet for a post-carbon future? Where is Canada in this race? It’s a great time to be asking those questions. I invite you to have a look at my report and prepare for ignition.

- Ivan

Also: listen to Ivan talk on The Decibel about everything you need to know about fusion energy

Open this photo in gallery:

(BC) General Fusion’s primary compression prototype has completed over 1,000 shots, consistently achieving its compression performance targets.General Fusion

Open this photo in gallery:

The magnet test facility at MIT's Plasma Science & Fusion Center.Simon Simard/The Globe and Mail

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

Heather Exner-Pirot: For the oil patch, ‘just transition’ is buzzword legislation, not sound economics

Blair Feltmate and Prashant Shukle: Extreme weather cost us $3.1-billion in 2022 – this is Canada’s climate wake-up call

Ned Bell, Stefanie Colombo, David Dzisiak, Larry Johnson, Ian Roberts, Mary Robinson, Dallas Smith: Shuttering salmon farms not just threatens jobs but also hurts the environment

Green Investing

  • The energy sector remains a tough place for environmentally conscious investors. Some may have consoled themselves in the expectation that oil and gas producers would transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, enticed by growth in solar and wind power and the rise of electric vehicles. But dazzling profits from fossil fuels may be impossible for energy executives to resist.
  • BP reported a record profit of $28-billion for 2022 and hiked its dividend, but infuriated climate activists by rowing back on plans to slash oil and gas output and reduce carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Big Oil more than doubled its profits in 2022 to US$219-billion, smashing previous records in a year of volatile energy prices where Russia’s invasion of Ukraine reshaped global energy markets and, in some cases, the industry’s climate ambitions.

Making waves

Do you know a young person trying to make a difference when it comes to climate change?

Pivot Green wants to support young Canadians working together with other generations on positive, impactful ideas and actions that help address the climate challenges of our times.

The Canadian Youth Climate Action Award provides $1,500 and a plaque to the successful applicant. Two runner-up prizes of $500 each will also be awarded to projects of merit. The awards will be given to the programs/projects which best meet the Pivot Green mission and values.

Applications for the Award will have a closing date of March 25, 2023. Award recipients will be announced on Earth Day 2023. For more information, please contact

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

Ahead of Valentine’s Day...

Open this photo in gallery:

A flamboyance of flamingos gather at the Ras al-Khor wildlife sanctuary in Dubai, on February 7, 2023.GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Guides and Explainers

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