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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
If you still haven’t read the most recent Report on Business Magazine, here is a little reminder to check it out.
The last publication has climate-related people to explore, such as Gregory Payne, a value manager who has focused on environmental thematic investing since 2008. He explains how the Mackenzie Greenchip Global Environmental All Cap Fund succeeded with a more targeted approach.
Or, if it’s more your pace, meet 50 emerging leaders reinventing how Canada does business, including Gautam Bakshi, founder of 15Rock, a risk analytics company that uses machine learning and industry-leading financial modelling to spell out the financial consequences of climate risk for investors looking to green their portfolios.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Great lakes: As ice cover dwindles on the Great Lakes, researchers scramble to understand the implications
- Climate spending: B.C.’s budget is long on promises for conservation, but short on dollars, say conservation groups
- Electric vehicles: Why the future of Taiga Motors, one of Canada’s brightest EV startups, remains fraught with risk
- Listen to The Decibel: How organ transplants could be changed by ... frozen frogs
- Indigenous environmentalism opinion: Slowly but surely, Indigenous peoples are gaining control of traditional land
- Energy: Canada and EU pledge stronger economic and energy ties, reaffirm support for Ukraine
- Banking: New federal rules call for financial institutions to bolster climate disclosure, risk management
- The Narwhal explains: five takeaways from the new climate rules for Canada’s big banks
A deeper dive
High stakes for the High Seas Treaty
Ryan MacDonald is senior editor of climate, environment and resources. For this week’s deeper dive, he talks about the high seas treaty and why it matters that we keep it in the conversation.
The high seas amount to nearly half of the Earth’s surface. Throughout history, the high seas were governed by a patchwork of treaties and regulations. Until now.
It took nearly two decades, but the so-called “High Seas Treaty” recently announced at the United Nations will help meet a global commitment to protect biodiversity in 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030.
Once ratified by member states, the treaty will allow for the setting up of marine protected areas that cover large swaths of the high seas – a step that is seen as crucial for achieving the target of protecting 30 per cent of the planet for nature by 2030, as laid out in the framework on global biodiversity that was established last December in Montreal.
So, will it work? And what’s really at stake?
Rashid Sumaila, a fisheries economist at the University of British Columbia, told The Globe’s environment reporter Wendy Stueck that the treaty reflects growing recognition of the potential uses of marine resources in manufacturing, fashion and pharmaceuticals, as well as the need for international co-operation to safeguard ocean ecosystems.
But there are challenges in putting some measures in the treaty into practice.
The new treaty does not contemplate a ban on high-seas fishing. It would, however, create areas that generally include restrictions on activities such as fishing and shipping. And there are calls for government to call for a deep-sea mining moratorium in international waters. Canada has already effectively put a moratorium on deep-sea mining in Canadian territorial waters.
Most important in all of this is that this treaty recognizes that the high seas are the common heritage of humankind. No one country can claim sovereignty. Up until now, human activities in oceans have expanded and few rules apply. The world must work together to ensure there is not a free-for-all in the deep seas.
What else you missed
- Sultan al-Jaber, COP28 president, calls for climate action
- Environmental groups celebrate as ExxonMobil gives up oil exploration permits in B.C.
- Kearl oil sands leak exposes gaps in how Alberta and Canada oversee industry, say experts
- Travel sector mulls green future but tourists reluctant to pay
- Nature group wants Canada to strengthen reviews of genetically engineered animals
- Climate change hits home for some on P.E.I., but it is taking back seat in election
- La Nina, which worsens hurricanes and drought, is gone
- Group of EU countries to explore changes to car emissions la
- Biden approves controversial, huge Willow oil drilling project in Alaska
- Maple Leaf Foods says it expects modest annual growth in its plant-based protein category
- EU strikes deal to curb energy consumption by 2030
- Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion costs surge 44 per cent to 30.9-billion
- California copes with heavy rain, flooding in latest ‘atmospheric river’ storm
Opinion and analysis
Blaise Ndala: The violence consuming eastern Congo shows the bloody cost of energy transition
Editorial: We know current GDP and inflation data. Canada needs the same for emissions
Todd Hirsch: Look beyond grocers such as Loblaw. Food insecurity is going to get a lot worse
Editorial: As Alberta battles Ottawa in court, the Liberals are right to seek balance between the economy and environment
Legal concerns surrounding ESG issues grow as Shell board faces lawsuit from environmental activists
Experts are watching a high-profile case in Britain to see if corporate structures will shield directors from being held liable in ESG-related actions. If they don’t, it could lead to a new spate of lawsuits.
Last month, ClientEarth, an environmental activist group, filed suit against the 11 directors of Shell PLC, arguing the oil major is not shedding fossil fuel assets and shifting to alternative energy quickly enough. The group said the company’s board is failing to manage climate-related risks, which could affect Shell’s future success to the detriment of investors, including pension funds. Shell has rejected ClientEarth’s allegations, asserting its directors have complied with their legal obligations and have acted in the company’s best interest.
Opinion: ‘Woke capitalism.’ ESG investing is starting to become its own source of risk
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Tricia Schmalenberg thinking about sustainable farming.
My name is Tricia Schmalenberg. I’m 46 and from Winnipeg.
Climate change is significantly affecting food production and supply. Everything we purchase and use contributes to carbon emissions. My family composts all our food scraps which we use to fertilize our garden; growing what we can to offset carbon emissions generated through the transportation of produce from outside of the province. We subscribe to Community Supported Agriculture, which means we receive locally grown vegetables for 20 weeks of the year.
My commitment continues at work as a professional engineer and environmental manager for Maple Leaf Foods Agri-Farms. We have a community garden where staff who don’t have a garden at home can use a plot to grow food to offset their carbon emissions. My role also influences the future of sustainable farming. The company is investing in new tech such as anaerobic digestion, which converts methane from food and farm waste into renewable natural gas, and regenerative agriculture, to rebuild soil organic matter and restore biodiversity.
It’s going to take a collective effort to effect the change needed. I encourage everyone to engage with their government officials and to exercise their right to vote, in order to influence policy.
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 COP 26, and just generally how Canada will change because of climate change.
- We have ways to make your travelling 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
- 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?
- The future of fusion energy