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Net Zero: Gulf of St. Lawrence warmer than ever

Welcome to Net Zero, your daily industry brief on clean energy and Canadian-resource politics.

The Lead

New data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada shows that water temperatures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have reached record highs, which could affect some species, experts warn. Researchers found that warming ocean temperatures in Gulf, especially in deep water, set more records in 2021 than in the past 40 years.

Temperatures at depths of 200, 250, and 300 metres hit highs of 5.7 C, 6.6 C, and 6.8 C, respectively, in the past year.

Experts claim the data is part of a global trend. Last year, the world’s oceans were the hottest on record for the sixth straight year, which scientists say is largely due to fossil-fuel emissions.

“If you (had) asked me 15 years ago, ‘Could the Gulf of St. Lawrence get this warm?’ I would have said, ‘No, impossible,’ ” said Department of Fisheries and Oceans scientist Peter Galbraith.

Scientists say they’re still studying the possible effects of the rising temperatures. CTV News has the story.

Internationally

A new study by the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Centre has found that warmer air and higher soil moisture are stimulating plant growth in the Arctic, causing parts of the treeless tundra to turn green. CNBC has details.

Over in Europe, Germany has written a formal letter to the European Parliament to object to an EU proposal to classify nuclear power as a sustainable source of energy. Reuters has more.

Meanwhile, a report in the academic journal Science says human-induced climate change has reduced plants’ ability to spread their seeds via animals. The researchers claim that biodiversity loss has lowered plants’ capacity to adapt to climate change by 60 per cent across the globe.

“We’re losing animals, but we’re also losing what those animals are doing with their ecosystems,” said Evan Fricke, the report’s lead author. “When we lose those seed dispersers, we lose these … relationships between plants and animals that support how these ecosystems are functioning.” CTV News also has that story.

Environmentalists in the U.K. are restoring the ancient Border Mires bog, which they say can act as a vital carbon sink. BBC News has the full story.

On Monday morning at 9:43 a.m., West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$83.60 and Brent Crude was going for US$86.46.

In Canada

Unionized workers at Teck Resources’ Highland Valley copper mine in B.C. have ratified a five-year collective agreement that ends a strike that started on Jan. 11. Of the 869 workers who voted, 81.2 per cent chose to accept the deal, said United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7619.

Teck said in a statement it was pleased, and the USW bargaining committee said the contract is greatly improved. The Canadian Press has more from B.C.

Canadian scientist David Holland is on an expedition team to the Thwaites glacier in Antarctica, which researchers say might eventually lose large amounts of ice because of deep, warm water driven into the area as the planet warms.

“The question of whether sea level will change can only be answered by looking at the planet where it matters, and that is at Thwaites,” Holland said. The Canadian Press also has that story.

B.C. Hydro says sizzling summer heat and bone-numbing cold in the province last year resulted in a record-breaking, year-round demand for power. 

Finally, after a truck on its way to Kinross’s Chirano gold mine in Ghana exploded last week, killing 17 people, the Toronto-based mining company released a statement saying it didn’t own or operate the truck in question, but it extends its deepest condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy. The Canadian Press reports.

Canadian Crude Index was trading at US$71.06 and Western Canadian Select was going for US$72.29 this morning at 9:44 a.m.

Noteworthy

This post was copy-edited after publication.

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