So, about Canada’s trees

In our latest newsletter, we break down what a report on the logging industry and a B.C. old-growth announcement have to do with Canada’s climate commitments

It’s no secret that Canada needs to protect its forests if the country wants to meet its commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050 — a pledge reiterated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the ongoing COP26 conference in Glasgow.

The trouble is, many of Canada’s ancient forests are disappearing. And it appears we’re undercounting the amount of pollution caused by logging.

Let me catch you up on two important things that have happened of late.

First, a new report was released by conservation groups noting that Canada is underestimating emissions from its logging sector to the tune of 80 megatonnes a year — or the annual output of 17.4 million passenger vehicles.

By excluding emissions from logging roads while including emissions reductions from undisturbed forests, Canada is masking what the forestry industry is actually doing to the atmosphere, the report’s authors note.

The research came as the B.C. government identified 2.6 million hectares of the province’s most at-risk old-growth forests. While observers say it’s great the province is finally specifying which forests are most threatened, they argue the province is falling short by not implementing what’s truly needed: permanent protections.

What’s more, B.C. is giving affected First Nations just 30 days to come to an agreement on two-year logging deferrals in those newly identified at-risk forests. And while the province set aside $12.69 million in capacity funding for First Nations, critics say the plan places an unfair burden on Indigenous communities to solve a longstanding forestry crisis without adequate support.

From the boreal to B.C.’s coastal canopies, forests have an amazing capacity to store carbon — when they are left intact. The clock is ticking on action at the federal and provincial levels.

Take care and store carbon,

Arik Ligeti
Director of audience

The Narwhal is hiring

Calling all design wizards and B.C. editing experts! We’ve just posted two sweet job opportunities at The Narwhal and we’d love if you could help spread the word (or send in your résumé). The application deadline for both gigs is Nov. 18.

Art director: We are looking for an experienced aesthetic maven to help lead and evolve The Narwhal’s award-winning visual storytelling. This person will become a visionary force behind the beautiful journalism you’ve come to know and love, from photography to graphics to story designs.

B.C. bureau chief: Do you have a track record of producing groundbreaking journalism on subjects of vital public interest? If so, you might be just the person we’re looking for to oversee our team of B.C. reporters as they continue to produce in-depth and investigative stories you can’t find anywhere else.

The Narwhal in podcasts graphic: headshots of Carol Linnitt, Emma McIntosh and Fatima Syed

It’s been a busy week of podcasts for our pod of journalists! First, our Ontario reporting duo of Emma McIntosh and Fatima Syed hopped on the QP Briefing podcast to talk about the stories on their radar, from the Ring of Fire to the impacts of the PC government’s changes to environmental policies.

Fatima also appeared as a guest on The Big Story to offer a reality check on all the promises being made by world leaders at COP26.

And our trusty executive editor, Carol Linnitt, stopped by the Hunt to Eat show to talk about the lens through which she sees the best conservation reporting happening: “reflecting complexity, rather than trying to resolve it.”

This week in The Narwhal

Trudeau promised to cap emissions, but Canada’s oil and gas companies have different plans

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau standing in front of a blue backdrop at the COP26 climate summit

By Ainslie Cruickshank

A new analysis shows the climate plans of eight Canadian oil and gas producers are ‘wholly out of line’ with Canada’s climate goals. Read more.

How the Blueberry ruling in B.C. is a gamechanger for the Site C dam, extractive industries and Indigenous Rights

Pipeline cutting across a green landscape in the territory of the Blueberry River First Nation

By Matt Simmons

In a precedent-setting ruling, B.C.’s Supreme Court found the province guilty of breaching its obligations to Treaty Rights through decades of cumulative impacts. Now, the impact of that ruling is reverberating across the country. Read more.

Three Indigenous delegates talk COP26 and what’s missing in Canada’s climate efforts

Nuskmata, COP26, climate change, Indigenous

By Stephanie Wood

Indigenous Peoples bear the brunt of environmental inaction — and sometimes action. The Narwhal speaks to three women on what they hope to address at the UN climate change summit in Glasgow. Read more.

The Ford government’s mini-budget offers little on the environment

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, left, and Premier Doug Ford, right, at Queen's Park

By Fatima Syed and Emma McIntosh

On the heels of the environment minister’s COP26 visit, the Tories presented a financial plan in which new highways overshadowed climate commitments. Read more.

What we’re reading

New York mag: The case for climate reparations
Globe and Mail: Climate change is a fact – but to prove it, scientists are bogged down in a battle about what facts really are

GIF of dog with branch calculating formula to walk through fence

When you bend the numbers to calculate logging emissions. Tell your accountant to sign up for our newsletter.

The race to understand how kelp forests dampen ocean noise — before it’s too late

The sea is calm and, for the moment, relatively quiet. But marine ecologist Kieran Cox is about to change that. He hits play and suddenly...

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Investigating problems. Exploring solutions
The Narwhal’s reporters are telling environment stories you won’t read about anywhere else. Stay in the loop by signing up for a weekly dose of independent journalism.