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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.
As wildfires burned a record 18.5 million hectares across Canada this year, greenhouse gas emissions from those fires also soared – to potentially even triple Canada’s industrial emissions. But when Ottawa releases its annual update on GHGs in 2024, those wildfire emissions won’t be part of the tally.
The magnitude of this year’s wildfire emissions is resulting in calls for more transparency in how they are reported – and for urgent action to try to keep them in check.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Oil and gas: Japan and South Korea seen as key allies for LNG export plans in B.C.
- Tidal energy: Bay of Fundy’s high tides have immense energy potential. But a broken barge is only its latest setback
- Conservation: ‘Salmon parks’ in traditional First Nations territory aim to save habitats by stopping old-growth logging
- Alberta climate policy: Alberta deploys sovereignty act, floats its own power corporation to defy federal clean-energy plan. Read our explainer here.
- Carbon capture: Alberta details new multibillion-dollar carbon capture support program; making significant progress, Pathways Alliance CEO says
- Listen to The Decibel: How climate change clues are frozen in glaciers, with guest Justine Hunter, a Globe reporter based in B.C.
- Mining: Arca tests removing carbon dioxide at BHP’s nickel mine in Australia
- Justice: Ontario First Nations file judicial review over federal carbon pricing, say climate can’t ‘be healed at the expense’ of communities
- Technology: 4AG Robotics raises $17.5-million in financing for mushroom-harvesting robots
- On the ground with The Narwhal: The unlikely love story of an endangered tree and the little bird who eats its seeds
A deeper dive
This is an excerpt from the article published the day before COP28 started: Young people can’t surrender the future to false promises
The United Nations Conference of the Parties – or COP28 – will be starting Thursday, and soon I’ll be boarding a flight to Dubai, joining heads of government, industry and NGOs.
This annual climate-change event is a mysterious phenomenon. From an outside perspective, it’s a bureaucratic mess of politicians, closed-door meetings and a barrage of promises that never seem to materialize. Despite the natural pessimism that often shadows these conferences, some of the most consequential decisions about our environment, and ultimately our future, are made at COP.
That’s why I want a seat at the table.
Like most, I wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to join a climate convening, even with more than a decade of environmental advocacy and the founding of a non-profit that addresses many environmental and agricultural issues.
The barrier to entry for young environmentalists, underrepresented communities and smaller NGOs is large. Attending with We Are Family Foundation, I’ll be part of a youth delegation consisting of 10 young decision-makers from around the world, all focusing on specific niches in the climate movement.
This COP holds particular irony and potential. Being held in the United Arab Emirates, one of the leading oil producers in the world, and hosting up to 70,000 global participants, it will likely have a huge emissions impact.
At previous COPs, leaders have failed to see the irony in preaching environmental action, reduction of meat consumption and lifestyle change for the average person, while simultaneously flying in private jets, eating the most expensive meats and being driven in fleets of cars and limousines. Executives from big pollution industries such as oil and gas, agriculture and forestry have also historically been allowed to have a large presence and voice in decision-making.
While I expect that this will continue to be a reality at COP28, I also hold great hope. This is one of the first COPs to have a focus on regenerative agriculture, food-systems issues and effective nature-based carbon sequestration methods, in addition to the transition to renewable energies and fossil-fuel reduction.
This serves as an important platform to speak on issues that have been left out of the conversation. I await the chance to hold leaders accountable, call out corporate greenwashing and bring forward real solutions.
Rather than surrendering our futures to false promises, young people like me want a say in building the future and world we inherit.
- Rachel Parent
Other COP28 news
Explainer: What is COP28? This year’s climate conference, explained
Analysis: Why Canada’s recent climate-policy struggles may be its most valuable contribution to COP28
Here’s why the UAE, the autocratic COP28 host, has to allow limited protests at the summit
COP28 lines up new climate pledges – but do they work?
- Eric Reguly: COP28, with 70,000 participants, is a chaotic climate jamboree. It should be a slimmed-down negotiating session
- Gary Mason: The confounding, depressing hypocrisy of COP28
- Kevin Krausert: At COP climate summits, Canada can’t keep setting emission goals only to miss them
More COP28 quick news hits: UN atomic chief backs nuclear power; King Charles urges rapid environmental repair; U.S. and China to work together; conference focuses on air pollution; Al Gore blasts COP28 climate chief; Turkey, South Africa criticize Israel over Gaza war.
What else you missed
- The hidden environmental cost of your overflowing e-mail inbox
- U.S. proposes plan to help the snow-dependent Canada lynx before warming shrinks its habitat
- Scientists feel interference in research has lessened but still occurs, survey says
- Judge rejects calls to halt winter construction work on Willow oil project in Alaska during appeal
- Temperatures in Siberia dip to -56 C as record snow blankets Moscow
- EU Commission announces action plan to overhaul bloc’s electricity infrastructure
- Peruvian rainforest defender from embattled Kichwa tribe shot dead in river attack
Opinion and analysis
Alex Simakov: Dear Justin Trudeau: Resist the temptation to moralize on the climate transition
Julien Beaulieu and Wren Montgomery: New federal greenwashing rules will do little to prevent deceptive environmental claims
The editorial board: The holes in Canada’s climate strategy, and how to mend them
Opinion: The climate is changing – and so is Canadian disclosure
As investors want to know more about how companies are dealing with climate change and other sustainability issues, Canadian companies are responding. Investors and companies sorted through many competing global ESG disclosure standards and developed a consensus on which ones to adopt.
Companies are issuing these extensive disclosures in dedicated ESG or sustainability reports, often several months after their annual report and yearly shareholders’ meeting. Many of the key disclosures are making it into companies’ shareholder proxy circulars, and they are now part of the criteria for The Globe and Mail’s Board Games corporate ranking, done in partnership with Toronto consulting firm Global Governance Advisors.
- Canadian companies faced record number of activist campaigns in 2023, Toronto consulting firm says
- Climate finance takes centre stage at COP28 summit in Dubai
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
- Research shows that forests are essential to Canadian climate pledges
- Canada’s lost opportunity to finance the critical minerals revolution
- Glaciers could unearth climate history frozen in time