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.
Canada’s coastline is 71,261 kilometres long. It touches the North Pacific, Arctic and North Atlantic oceans. Savvy Canadian business people are seeing the coastline as an opportunity.
A growing number of companies want to capitalize on all that space to develop an edible seaweed industry – one that will not only meet growing global interest in this aquatic food, but also expand Canada’s agricultural sector in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible way. Some think Canada has a significant opportunity to be a global leader in the industry.
Now, let’s catch you up on other news.
Noteworthy reporting this week:
- Nature: Preparing for ‘Firmageddon,’ researchers watch B.C.’s forests for die-offs and droughts
- Greenbelt plans: Doug Ford is ‘disappointed’ with federal Environment Minister’s Greenbelt comments, after Steven Guilbeault said he might intervene in Ontario’s Greenbelt development plan.
- Net Zero Advisory Body: Political squabbling puts Canada net-zero goals at risk
- Conservation: ‘Ambitious’ conservation targets demand agreement between B.C., Ottawa
- Cities: Calgary is losing ‘greenness,’ Statistics Canada data show
- Infrastructure: Climate-minded electrical companies look to improve their weakest link ... the wooden utility pole
- Adaptation: Climate change spurs innovation at ski resorts adapting to a warmer world
- Listen to The Decibel: Cheap grocery apps aiming to reduce food waste
- From The Narwhal: Blueberry River First Nations beat B.C. in court. Now everything’s changing
A deeper dive
Welcome to the Code Minimum project
Canada’s building codes are out of date, inconsistent and ill-prepared for climate change.
As extreme weather events are increasing, the way the places in which we live, work and play are designed and built becomes more important than ever. And building codes, which set minimum standards for structural protection, are a tool that, if they took climate change into account, could save lives and property.
To understand how well building codes across the country protect us, The Globe and Mail interviewed dozens of engineers, architects, builders, researchers, meteorologists, inspectors and government officials, as well as insurance and credit-rating industries stakeholders.
Reporters pored over thousands of pages of documents, and searched through nearly 1,600 proposals submitted to national code-makers going back 15 years, to unearth efforts to improve the resilience of buildings – as well as the resistance to do so.
Our months-long examination reveals that Canada’s building code regulations are inadequate to stand up to our new climate reality and are largely based on outdated or poor-quality data that does not consider current or future climate change. The average annual total precipitation amounts referenced in the most recent edition, for instance, rely on observations from 1961 to 1990.
Remember the 2021 tornado in Barrie? With wind speeds up to 210 km per hour, we’re lucky it didn’t kill anyone. However, the twister left dozens of homes uninhabitable; they weren’t built to withstand its force.
Nor are the homes on the East Coast prepared for more frequent hurricanes or those on the West Coast for severe heat waves and wildfires. And homes across the country are ill-prepared for destructive flooding.
Read the project today, and follow for more future reporting...
- We followed up with a story focus on flooding: They waterproofed their homes. Quebec’s outdated building codes left them vulnerable
- Next up in the series, a look at the effects of wind: As tornadoes in Canada get more destructive, momentum builds for new building codes to save homes. Watch for that story, coming this week.
- After that, keep your eye out for a story about heat: We’ve seen the devastating effects of heat on the body and how it can create environmental disaster like in B.C., what about your home?
Reader callout: Has your home been affected by extreme weather? Get in touch with us to share your story.
What else you missed
- How a ‘biological cacophony’ of fish sounds could help scientists understand ocean world
- India will receive 12 cheetahs from South Africa next month
- Avalanche survivor urges people to be cautious while dealing with unstable snowpack in B.C. this year
- Tensions between Ottawa, Alberta making it hard to hold funding talks on carbon capture, Cenovus CEO says
- Climate groups decry selection of oil chief to oversee COP28
- Analyst EU carbon price forecasts edge higher but risks remain
- Alberta landowners fear repeat of orphan well crisis as renewable energy booms
- Natural disasters caused $313-billion economic loss in 2022, Aon says
- Joe Manchin bill would delay tax credits for electric vehicles
Opinion and analysis
Konrad Yakabuski: Go big or go home. Canada will need to match U.S. EV subsidies to stay in the game
Christopher Ragan, Rick Smith, Edward Greenspon: With demand surging, Canada must upgrade its electricity grid. Can we overcome our unique challenges to do so?
Editorial board: New energy is needed for clean power at Gull Island
Do fossil fuels have a place in responsible investments?
Fossil-fuel companies are among the largest emitters of greenhouse gases and they are often shut out of responsible investing portfolios. One landmark report found that just 100 active fossil-fuel producers were linked to 71 per cent of industrial GHG emissions since 1988. Given the pace of the energy transition, some investors don’t want to lose out on this sector, especially one that’s a hallmark of a diversified Canadian portfolio. Is that enough validation? One expert says that we need to firt insert an ESG lens based on a set of universal values.
- ‘Recession resilient’ climate startups shine in tech downturn
- Kinder Morgan sees tax credits speeding up clean energy investments
- Oil sands execs say they can’t invest in decarbonization any faster, despite profits
Each week The Globe will profile a Canadian making a difference. This week we’re highlighting the work of Rebecca Sinclair working to support Indigenous led climate policy.
Hi, I’m Rebecca Sinclair (Merasty), 36, Treaty one Territory – Winnipeg Manitoba. I am a proud nêhiyaw-iskwêw, wife and mother of three. I am the executive director at Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research Centre. I was born and raised in Northern Manitoba, and a member of Barren Lands First Nation and Little Saskatchewan First Nation.
My most important work will always be my relationship with the land and waters. This is at the heart of the work I contribute to as part of a collective. Challenging narratives and false solutions through Decolonizing Climate Policy in Canada a phase one report, a case study and through Indigenous-led climate policy. This work is credited to a collective of brilliant Indigenous leaders and changemakers just living Indigenously.
Supporting language revitalization through Akiing Onji, supporting youth land based projects at Waterways, through my former work at Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective shows that solutions are not binary. They are vast and at the heart of the resurgence of the Indigenous epistemology, which in turn sees immense benefits.
Indigenous-led protocol to the natural world is at the heart of solutions to the climate crisis. Through our teachings, songs, generational knowledge, and ceremonies there are tangible solutions. Collectively we first need to confront the root causes of the climate situation; colonialism, capitalism and heteropatriarchy. Decolonization is a solution. Land back is a solution. The youth are making immense changes to this colonial society. Imagine a world where our relationships with each other and the natural world are primary. Reciprocity, respect and balance are the currency. We must address the causes before we can enact effective solutions.
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
Catch up on Globe Climate
- New fishing tech could help save North Atlantic right whales
- How the Canadian military plans to go green
- Destinations for the 2023 environmentally conscious traveller
- COP15 reaches historic biodiversity agreement
We want to hear from you. Email us: GlobeClimate@globeandmail.com. Do you know someone who needs this newsletter? Send them to our Newsletters page.