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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Ocean education is not widely found in schools, it is often absent in our conversations about sustainability and climate. If we want to ensure a sustainable future for us, our youth and our planet, we need to become ocean literate to give people the tools needed to discuss ocean conservation in a meaningful way and have a positive impact on the ocean. Here’s one place to start.
Let’s Talk Science and the Royal Society of Canada have partnered to provide Globe and Mail readers with relevant coverage about issues that affect us all – from education to the impact of leading-edge scientific discoveries.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Energy: Ottawa has approved a new oil development off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and Shell is eyeing a major expansion of the B.C. natural gas project, despite promises for emissions cut,. Suncor is divesting its solar and wind assets, to focus on hydrogen and renewable fuels. Meanwhile in Mexico, a Supreme Court is set to rule on electricity law that could impact Canadian sector.
- EVs: GM says Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle plant is on track in Ingersoll.
- Flooding: The fall floods dramatically reshaped B.C.’s river systems, creating uncertainty about how the runoff will flow. This year’s spring thaw will test flood barriers that the ‘atmospheric river’ ruined and covered in debris. In Abbotsford, the city looks to senior governments for up to $2.8-Billion in flood protection.
- From the federal Budget: A lot of the highlights of this year’s budget were related to climate spending, including that the Liberals are betting on the energy transition as key driver of economic growth. Kelly Cryderman says the budget has a before-the-war feel as Ottawa abandoned oil-industry lifelines, and an made an international push to avoid a reliance on Russian oil and natural gas. But the budget as a whole shows it still lacks conviction for Canada’s green-economy future, says Adam Radwanski. Read his whole analysis here.
- From The Narwhal: The Alberta government spent another $22-million on unpaid land rent for oil and gas operators in 2021
A deeper dive
We’re allergic to climate change
Pascale Malenfant is an intern based in Ottawa for The Globe and Mail. In this week’s deeper dive, she talks about allergies and why climate change is making them worse.
As I write this with not one, not two, but three separate tissues lodged in my nostrils this morning, it is clear that the worst of pollen season is upon us Ontarians sooner than expected. In fact, regardless of where you are in Canada, if you’ve also noticed your seasonal allergies starting earlier and getting worse as the years go by, you can take solace in knowing there’s a tangible explanation.
Decades’ worth of observation and research point to climate change as the culprit behind your allergenic anguish. Across North America, allergy seasons are starting earlier, ending later, and featuring higher amounts of pollen thanks to rising temperatures and CO2 levels, which force plants to both bloom at different times and accelerate their pollen production. In Canada, the issue is especially prevalent in the north, where the migrating tree line has introduced pollen in communities largely unaccustomed to significant amounts of it, exacerbating seasonal allergies and asthma.
I was happy to learn while working on this piece that there are ways to work around this threat to Canadian health and economy — as the potential nation-wide increase in sick leave could cost billions of dollars in productivity revenue. Some of these actions might be as basic as focusing landscaping efforts and funding on urban areas known to host highly problematic pollen producers, such as ragweed, which drove the Quebec government to come up with a multipronged strategy in 2015 to combat its increasing impacts on Quebecers amid climate change. Other approaches include targeting provincial pharmacare programs, many of which, I was surprised to learn, still don’t cover antihistamines for most Canadians.
However, likely the most common sentiment among those I spoke to was the importance of mitigating climate change itself, feeling that each time governments engage in yet another project that exacerbates rising temperatures and CO2 levels, they put Canadians’ health and quality of life at greater risk.
Apparently, prevention can be pretty good medicine — if it’s taken seriously enough.
What else you missed
- Royal Bank CEO calls for ‘orderly’ climate transition amid criticism
- This economics professor who’s behind B.C.’s new economic plan wants to remake capitalism
- Home and condo builders aim to develop without carbon emissions
- Enbridge looking at carbon capture and storage opportunities in U.S. Gulf Coast and Ontario
- Guilbeault asks Alberta minister Nixon to ‘correct’ column on emissions reduction
Opinion and analysis
Christine Smith-Martin and Marilyn Slett: Rebuilding fisheries and wild fish stocks for coastal First Nations would be reconciliation in action
Brian Kingston: When it comes to zero-emissions vehicles, Canada is pushing the wrong policies
Konrad Yakabuski: What Steven Guilbeault isn’t saying about Ottawa’s plan to slash oil sector emissions
Lucas Harris, Calvin Sandborn, and Adele DesBrisay: Ottawa’s proposed single-use plastics ban is a step forward, but falls short
Alan Bernstein: Tackling climate change will require a big bet on clean technology
Canada’s securities regulators had looked set to take a soft approach to company disclosures of climate-related data, but they may be forced to get tougher now that more stringent rules are being hashed out globally.
At the outset, U.S. and EU proposed requirements are more rigorous than what Canadian Securities Administrators floated for public companies. And with a major office of the new International Sustainability Standards Board open in Montreal, any deficiencies here will be exposed for the world to see. Green investing reporter Jeffery Jones shares more of his thoughts here.
- Investors urge governments not to ditch climate for energy security
- Use higher oil prices to spur new energy investments, CEOs urge
- Investors urge Rio Tinto to cut indirect emissions at annual general meeting
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Michael Bartz who is encouraging everyone to stay curious about climate solutions.
Hi, I’m Michael Bartz from Lethbridge, Alta. I’m the producer and host of the In Over My Head podcast, a show about how we can collectively come together to solve the climate crisis. Each season I tackle a different topic, asking experts the questions you may have always had, but didn’t know whom to talk to.
My climate journey started with me drastically downsizing my life by building a 16.25 sq/m (or 175 sq/ ft) off-grid Tiny Home. But I wasn’t sure if this was actually making a difference to the planet. So I put down my toolbelt and reached for a microphone. With each conversation, I gained new insights, empowering me and my listeners.
My advice would be to “get curious” about climate change, and become a more informed citizen to help be part of the solution. My curiosity led to some amazing conversations. Where is your curiosity going to take you?
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, what happened at COP26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your traveling more sustainable and If you like to read, here are books to help the environmentalist in you grow, as well as a downloadable e-book of Micro skills - Little Steps to Big Change.
Catch up on Globe Climate
- What does it take to move an entire city?
- How the B.C. flood changed lives forever along Highway 8
- Russian oil ban puts spotlight on Canada, and our climate ambitions