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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
Chris Turner has won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World. “The climate debate is inherently pessimistic, and while Chris Turner doesn’t pretend that crafting policy to slow global warming is easy, he presents a compelling argument: doom and gloom is not an effective strategy,” said the jury.
And of course, we need to shoutout another finalist. Sideways: The City Google Couldn’t Buy by Josh O’Kane, a reporter for The Globe and Mail.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Listen to The Decibel: Energy and environment reporter Matt McClearn on the missing two billion trees Trudeau promised
- Wildlife: Three bat species at risk of becoming endangered as wind turbines take heavy toll on wildlife
- Nature: ‘This is my therapy,’ says Cape Breton photographer who battled cancer through his craft
- Waste: Ontario threatened legislation to block recycling fees
- Ontario’s Greenbelt: Ford calls Greenbelt design a ‘scam’
- Resilience: Is B.C. prepared to handle another blast of extreme heat? Meanwhile, About 50 people remain out of their homes because of B.C. flooding, and tsunami risk assessment on Vancouver Island prompts rethink of evacuation plans
- Conservation: Nature group buys sensitive Vancouver Island habitat to ensure it remains undeveloped
- The true cost of chocolate: In Africa and Latin America, The Globe spoke with growers on the front lines of global price wars. Plus, What makes cocoa ‘fair trade’?
- Energy: Ottawa’s net-zero electricity council must consider needs of northern communities, ATCO head says
- Analysis From The Narwhal: They’re not coming for your furnace. Alberta needs a grown-up conversation on climate
A deeper dive
Wildfire season is back
Ryan MacDonald is a senior editor at The Globe heading the climate, environment and resources team.
It has been a brutal start to wildfire season in Canada.
Thousands more people were ordered to evacuate their homes in Alberta over the weekend, as raging wildfires continued to burn and strained the firefighting resources of local communities. In British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories fires are also blazing.
A heat dome that has settled over British Columbia and Alberta is not helping matters, though temperatures are expected to peak today. In 2021, a previous heat dome pushed temperatures into the 40s in B.C. and led to some 600 deaths, making it one of Canada’s deadliest weather events.
For climate watchers, this is a familiar scenario; hotter, dryer weather systems driving earlier, longer wildfire seasons. The relationship between extreme heat and fire is something the Globe has examined before.
Wildfire experts, climatologists and doctors warn that as the climate warms, Canada is headed for record-smashing high temperatures, longer and increasingly intense wildfire seasons, and prolonged periods of smoke exposure.
At The Globe, we’re committed to looking at both the causes and the potential solutions around climate change. With than in mind, here are some reading resources that explore the issues around extreme heat, wildfires and the health implications of wildfire smoke:
- Wildfire smoke is the air quality issue in Canada, now and for the future: The Globe’s Matthew McClearn and John Sopinski used data from Environment and Climate Change Canada to show how wildfires are impairing air quality across Western Canada.
- The future of wildfires in Canada: Already, wildfire seasons in some jurisdictions have become longer. In Alberta, for example, the fire season officially begins March 1; just a few years ago, the start date was April 1.
- Another heat dome in B.C. What’s changed? Justine Hunter checks on the progress of lessons learned to see if B.C. is prepared to handle another blast of extreme heat. She found some progress, but gaps still remain.
- The latest on the wildfires in Alberta: Everything you need to know on the fires and the evacuations.
What else you missed
- Imperial Oil faces more water problems at Kearl oil sands mine, Alberta regulator says
- Algonquin Power and Utilities launches strategic review of renewable energy group
- Solar power, gas capture offer ways to repurpose landfills and other brownfields
- Tidal power firm winds up Nova Scotia project, blames red tape and delays from Ottawa
- Canada’s Competition Bureau to investigate oil sands group over advertising
- In major climate step, EPA proposes first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants
- Thousands still missing as Congo flood survivors search for relatives
- Thousands along Bangladesh, Myanmar coast told to seek shelter as powerful Cyclone Mocha approaches
Opinion and analysis
- Opinion: The oceans are a grocery store, a metaphor and much more. But they can no longer be something we ignore
Photographer Edward Burtynsky says corporations can play a role in fighting climate crisis politics
As Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky points out, climate catastrophes, such as floods and wildfires, are affecting people around the world without regard for their political affiliation. That’s why Corporate Canada should use its influence to prevent the climate crisis from being miscast as a partisan issue in our country. His call to action for the business community is timely. It comes in the middle of an annual meeting season for public companies marked by heightened shareholder pressure on environmental issues in both Canada and the U.S.
- Investors criticize popular sustainability-linked bonds as investors warn of false environmental claims
- Globe Advisor: How ‘financial feminism’ is upending the investment landscape
- WSP Global doubles down on green-tinted expansion
- Church of England fund to vote against Shell’s chair over climate concerns
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting a compilation of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2023.
Canada’s Greenest Employers, selected by Mediacorp Canada Inc. which runs the competition, is an editorial competition that recognizes employers that lead the nation in creating a culture of environmental awareness. Applicants for the award are compared to other employers in their industry and must pay a fee to enter the contest. The Globe and Mail is not involved in the judging process. Winning employers, selected by editors of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, are evaluated using four main criteria:
- Unique environmental initiatives or programs they have developed
- Whether they have been successful in reducing their own environmental footprint
- Whether their employees are involved in these programs and contribute unique skills
- Whether their environmental initiatives have become linked to the employer’s public identity, attracting new employees or customers
Did your favourite companies make the cut? See the full list here.
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.
- 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
- The Inuit greenhouse powered by renewable energy
- Ottawa and Ontario don’t share the same vision for electricity’s future
- Environmental education with a cosmic twist
- How Vietnam challenges what ‘climate refugees’ look like