Skip to main content
globe climate newsletter

If you’re reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Globe Climate and all Globe newsletters here.

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

Is Canada keeping its promises on climate change? The Globe started to track the federal government’s progress in 2023, and it’s clear there is still a lot more work to be done.

Here is the status of several pledges made by Ottawa over the years. From oil and gas targets to climate financing and plastic waste promises, we’ve looked at it all. But if we did miss something, let us know.

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

Noteworthy reporting this week:

  1. Nuclear power: Alberta’s Capital Power partners with Ontario Power Generation to build province’s first nuclear power reactor
  2. Climate data: With 2023 the hottest year on record, the world is now on track to eclipse 1.5 C above preindustrial levels
  3. Climate science: Loss of snow and impact on water supplies tied to climate change
  4. Extreme heat: A hot, parched South America gets ready for more tragedy in El Niño’s next act
  5. Conservation: Bison bounce back in the American West, giving Indigenous nations hope for restorations of their own
  6. Urban winter: How Ottawa snow groomer Dave Adams inspired a growing network of urban cross-country ski trails
  7. City parks: Vancouver’s move to abolish its unique parks board ‘awakens sleeping giant’
  8. From The Narwhal: First Nations are using artificial intelligence to help save salmon

A deeper dive

City of shadows

Alex Bozikovic is the architecture critic for The Globe and Mail. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about how city planners are thinking about shadows.

Open this photo in gallery:

People cast shadows as they walk in Toronto's financial district.Cole Burston/The Globe and Mail

They look like Mayan temples. Many of Toronto’s new condo apartment buildings have the same silhouette: They step down floor by floor, like one of the ziggurats at Chichén Itzá. This is because of a strong idea in contemporary city planning that shade is bad for our health. New buildings are forced into these odd forms to fit under imaginary lines – “angular planes” – so that they don’t cast shadows on adjacent streets, houses or parks.

But this idea seems strange to me. The rule in Toronto applies almost regardless of which direction the building faces. And as I learned while reporting my piece City of Shadows, the truth is that such policies are highly arbitrary and unsystematic – yet are widespread in the planning of our cities.

The idea of protecting light, especially on public spaces, has become conventional wisdom that’s rarely questioned.

But it’s time to do just that, especially because of what’s happening to the climate. Toronto’s policy – which is similar to those in many other places – dates back to a 1980 study of sun and wind in the city. Since then, the climate has changed significantly and will continue to do so. A federal climate scientist told me that Toronto had 12 uncomfortably hot days a year back then; now it has an average of 24, and in a generation it will have 36 or more.

It will soon be time to design our cities – as is done in many tropical and subtropical places – to provide more shade and more protection from the sun, not less. Maybe that time has already come.

– Alex

What else you missed

Opinion and analysis

Editorial board: From blocking to backing: Doug Ford’s conversion on renewable power

Kelly Cryderman: The provinces need to play ball with each other on electricity

Ruchi Kumar: The fight against climate change may demand that we work with the Taliban

Michael Bernstein: Where to now from COP28? Historic summit missed half the problem

Editorial board: Our climate future is dire. Prospects for change have never been better

Green Investing

Shareholder advocacy group alleges misleading disclosures on sustainable finance from Canada’s Big Five banks

A shareholder advocacy group that seeks to hold companies to account on climate action is calling on securities regulators to crack down on Canada’s Big Five banks, accusing them of misleading investors and the public with their sustainability claims. The charity, Investors for Paris Compliance, wants the watchdogs to force the banks to disclose the true emissions impact of their sustainable-finance divisions and make clear when activities do not advance net-zero goals. Sustainable finance reporter, Jeffrey Jones, has the full story.

  • GE business to fill order for turbines to power Western Hemisphere’s largest wind project
  • Leadership lab: DEI, sustainability pressures mounting on business leaders – and that’s a good thing
  • Ottawa agrees climate adaptation saves money, but experts ask: Where’s the funding?

Making waves

Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Fred Witteveen supporting education as a tool for change.

Open this photo in gallery:

Fred Witteveen in Burkina FasoSupplied

Hi, I’m Fred Witteveen, chief executive officer at Children Believe, an organization driven by the belief that access to education is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

You may not associate championing girls’ education with slowing climate change, but research shows it is one of the most powerful solutions for reversing global warming. Ensuring access to education for girls is a more impactful climate solution than adopting electric cars or even scaling solar power.

Educated girls can strengthen climate strategies by inspiring leadership, encouraging environmentally sustainable consumption and contributing to meaningful change. Unfortunately, girls in developing communities face persistent gender discrimination and socio-economic barriers, including child marriage and early forced labour, which takes them out of the classroom.

We are working to remove barriers to education. In the past year alone, we’ve helped more than 285,000 girls obtain inclusive, quality education, and provided resources, tools and green skills development for jobs centred around sustainable action.

Canadians who want to make an impact should consider supporting organizations advancing education. These efforts do more than tackle the climate crisis. Educating girls contributes to the global economy, alleviates poverty and provides lasting, worldwide change.

– Fred

Do you know an engaged individual? Someone who represents the real engines pursuing change in the country? E-mail us at to tell us about them.

Photo of the week

Open this photo in gallery:

After heavy rains and the flooding of the Congo River on Jan. 9, 2024, residents of Kinshasa try to manoeuvre through flooded streets in the Pompage district.ARSENE MPIANA/Getty Images

  • In photos: 2023 was world’s hottest year on record, EU scientists confirm

Guides and Explainers

Catch up on Globe Climate

We want to hear from you. E-mail us: Do you know someone who needs this newsletter? Send them to our Newsletters page.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe