Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

Living in a Glass House type economy   Leave a comment

There is a saying that those who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones. Mea culpa.

I have had an opportunity to complete reading a book by Brian Alexander called; “Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town”. It is an excellent book that gets into some of the nuances of what is happening to “ordinary people” and civic life in the U.S.A.

If you have some Anchor Hocking cookware in your kitchen, you have a connection to Lancaster Ohio, the town that is being destroyed by the current economic system. Of course, it isn’t just Lancaster Ohio.

A review of “Glass House” by Laura Miller can be found at: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2017/02/brian_alexander_s_glass_house_about_lancaster_ohio_reviewed.html

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This book has helped me to understand a bit about what it is like to live in the U.S.A. at this time in history.

 

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Long work hours don’t work for people or the planet   1 comment

Busy? No time? Stressed? Unemployed?

Here’s a possible alternative for our society, so let’s begin talking about how we humanize our time.The David Suzuki Foundation has just published a thoughtful piece that challenges us to think about why we who work for a living, seem to be working long, stressful hours.

In their column, they quote the New Economics Foundation which advocates a 21 hour workweek. Such an innovation would, they argue, address problems such as overwork, unemployment, high carbon emissions and entrenched inequalities in society.

The full column can be found on the Suzuki Foundation website: www.davidsuzuki.org

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Council Urges Church to Sell Fossil Fuel Holdings   Leave a comment

Council Urges Church to Sell Fossil Fuel Holdings

Posted on: August 11, 2015 – 15:53 by Kevin Cox

Commissioners of the 42nd General Council are urging the United Church to sell its $8.7 million holdings in fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy co-operatives.

The Bakeapple (Yellow) Commission, one of three decision-making bodies of the Council, heard spirited arguments on both sides of the issue before passing a proposal to “encourage the United Church of Canada Foundation and direct the Executive of the General Council to take active steps to sell their holdings in the 200 largest fossil fuel companies.”

The motion also calls for the reinvestment of the funds into renewable energy.

The commission also called for the United Church pension board to review the extent and rationale for its fossil fuel investments and determine if its holdings “align with the Christian imperative of seeking justice, resisting evil, and living with respect in Creation.”

According to background material on the motion, the United Church of Canada Foundation holds $2.8 million in fossil fuel investments or 5 percent of the portfolio. The Treasury has $5.9 million in fossil fuel stocks or 4.7% of that portfolio.

Several other faith groups have made moves to divest from fossil fuel companies because of the industry’s contribution to climate change.

Jim Hannah of British Columbia Conference said the church needs to speak out about the role of the fossil fuel industry in climate change. “This is about the survival of this planet. This is about the survival of this species. For my grandchildren’s sake I want to do everything I can,” he said. “It’s going to cost us money, it’s going to cost us jobs. We’re going to have to change how we live in this world. We have to do this.”

Erik Mathiesen, the United Church’s Chief Financial Officer, said a lot of research and lobbying is being done by groups in the church on issues such as responsible investing and climate change. “The concern is that commissioners may not have all the information about everything underway,” he said.

Several commissioners said the church should hold onto its shares and use them to influence the policies of fossil fuel companies. David Pollard of Alberta and Northwest Conference said some of the large companies are doing valuable research and development work. He suggested that the church should be affirming companies that are environmentally responsible.

But Manitou Conference youth commissioner Aidan Legault said that the church’s voice hasn’t been heard at the corporate table. “Just being at the table, we aren’t making a difference. The way we can make a difference as a church and say we are not going to stand for any irresponsible environmental management by these companies is by divesting,” Legault said. “We can do it by taking our own money and saying we are going to put it elsewhere.”

Hanna Strong of Montreal and Ottawa Conference said the church would have more say if it held onto its stake. She also urged commissioners not to demonize the people who work in the petroleum industry.

“People work in this industry. In the church I have a very difficult time walking up to someone saying we have divested and you don’t have a job,” Strong said.

“It’s all great to be for the environment but there are humans on the other side of these 200 companies.”

Lima – an African Perspective   Leave a comment

Reducing carbon in the atmosphere

Reducing carbon in the atmosphere

An article written by Rehana Dada presents an analysis of the agreement recently reached in Lima from an African perspective – somewhat different than that of the corporate-controlled media in North America.

Dada writes that, “The Lima text is mitigation centric, weak on finance, makes adaptation optional, excludes loss and damage from the commitments, and does not include an ex ante review. Not only does it have a low ambition on mitigation commitments prior to 2020, an unresolved technical issue in the Kyoto Protocol means that ratification of the second commitment period is likely to be pushed on a year. ”

http://www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=27478&ThisURL=./ecology.asp&URLName=Ecology

Clean energy provides more jobs than oilsands   1 comment

Canadians are doing well in developing alternative energy, even without serious assistance from the Harper government. Below is a report aired on CBC.

There has been $24 billion of investment in clean energy in Canada since 2009. (Canadian Press)

There has been $24 billion of investment in clean energy in Canada since 2009. (Canadian Press)

Renewable energy has experienced big growth in Canada in the last five years, so much so that employment in the sector outstrips employment in the “oilsands”.

That’s the conclusion of a report on the state of green energy technology in Canada by Clean Energy Canada, an advocate for renewables.

It estimates $24 billion has been invested in the past five years, mainly because of renewable initiatives in the power sector by Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec.

Employment in the clean energy sector – which encompasses hydro power, as well as wind, solar and biomass – is up 37 per cent to 23,700 people. That compares with 22,340 employed in the “oilsands”.

For the full report on CBC, go to: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/clean-energy-provides-more-jobs-than-oilsands-report-says-1.2857520

Good News on “clean technology”   Leave a comment

Clean-tech is good for the economy and environment

Protest with Clean Energy for us sign
Credit: Chris Yakimov via Flickr

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

What’s the fastest-growing sector in Canada’s economy? Given what you hear from politicians and the media, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s the resource industry, especially extraction and export of fossil fuels like oil sands bitumen and liquefied natural gas. But we’re no longer just “hewers of wood and drawers of water” — or drillers of oil, frackers of gas and miners of coal.

Although extraction, use and export of natural resources are economically important and will remain so for some time, we’re starting to diversify. According to Ottawa-based consultants Analytica Advisors, clean technology, or clean-tech, is the country’s fastest-growing industry.

The firm’s “2014 Canadian Clean Technology Report“, found direct employment by clean-tech companies rose six per cent from 2011 to 2012, from 38,800 people to 41,000, with revenues increasing nine per cent to $11.3-billion. According to Industry Canada, mining and oil and gas sector revenues grew just 0.3 per cent in the same period, manufacturing 1.9 per cent and the construction industry 3.9 per cent.

At the current growth rate, Analytica estimates Canada’s clean-tech industry will be worth $28 billion by 2022. But with the global market expected to triple to $2.5 trillion over the next six years, Canada hasn’t come close to reaching its potential. It’s our choice to seize the opportunity. With just two per cent of the global market (matching our share of population), we could have a $50 billion clean-tech industry by 2020 — double the size of today’s aerospace industry.

Clean-tech also outshines other sectors on research and development investment, with $1 billion invested in 2012 and $5 billion from 2008 to 2012. That’s more than the combined R&D investments of natural resource industries (oil and gas extraction, mining, agriculture, forestry and fishing), and only $200 million less than the aerospace sector.

“If you look at the sum of the investments and revenues of all these companies, we have a significant industry today, Analytica president Céline Bak told the Hill Times. “Given the growth in investments today, it will continue to be significant and can grow into an industry comparable in size to other significant industries, like aerospace for example.”

The clean-tech sector is broad. “These companies are working on problems that we all care about, like how to use the constant temperature from the ground under our offices buildings for heating and cooling and how to replace expensive and polluting diesel power in our remote communities with clean affordable energy or transforming greenhouse gases into stronger concrete to build greener buildings,” Bak said in a Vancouver Sun article. Clean-tech comprises about 700 companies in 10 sectors across Canada, including renewable energy, water treatment, green building and development of environmentally friendly consumer products.

Many experts argue that putting a price on carbon, through carbon taxes or cap-and-trade, is a good way to stimulate clean-tech, by targeting greenhouse gas emitters and encouraging technologies and measures aimed at energy conservation and renewables.

But we could lose out if we take the industry for granted — especially because 74 per cent of clean-tech companies here sell products and services outside Canada, with export revenues of about $5.8 billion in 2012 and 42 per cent going to markets other than the U.S. “High-performing companies are often bought by international players that take the intellectual property, manufacturing and jobs to other countries,” Bak cautioned, adding, “The world already looks to Canada for our clean technology solutions. Isn’t it time that we did too?”

And, while the federal government has strategies to track and promote the fossil fuel and aerospace industries, it has yet to do this for clean-tech.

Diversity in nature is important — ensuring ecosystems remain resilient in the face of threats. So, too, for the economy. It’s folly to rely too heavily on extracting and selling finite resources, especially those that cause pollution and contribute to climate change and other threats to the environment and human health and survival. Canada’s economic growth potential through clean energy is huge, but it needs to be given the same priority government gives other industries.

Clean-tech may not be the answer to all our problems, but it’s a sector that offers a lot of promise for our economy and environment.

For more information, please watch this video.

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Senior Editor Ian Hanington.

Global Day of Action   Leave a comment

Government leaders from across the globe will be meeting in New York City on September 23 for a one-day United Nations climate summit. The People’s Climate March precedes it on September 21 and will send out a massive, united call for climate justice and a strong climate treaty.

We can’t all go to New York, but KAIROS invites you to participate in this historic mobilization from wherever you are! Some suggestions:

This would be a good time to check out ClimateFast, which KAIROS has endorsed, as it counts down to this year’s fast on Parliament Hill (September 28 to October 2) and extends an invitation to everyone to join in fasting on the first day of each month.

Citizens for Public Justice, in collaboration with the Canadian Council of Churches, has created resources for faith communities in Canada specifically related to the UN summit and the People’s Climate March. These include a bible study, bulletin inserts, an infographic on the moral implications of climate change, sermon notes, hymns for Creation, prayers of intercession and activities for youth and young adults, all of which would be particularly appropriate for worship services on Sunday, September 21.

Green Faithan interfaith coalition based in New Jersey, is offering resources and an invitation to faith communities to become Climate March Faith Communities.

KAIROS has a long history of advocacy for climate justice and has produced in-depth analysis on climate change that can help to put the September events into perspective:

Stay tuned for another analytical report following the New York summit.

KAIROS also has a new Watershed Discipleship workshop hot off the press that includes biblical and personal reflection, consideration of the issues facing your watershed, and the opportunity to connect those issues with others across Canada and around the world. With climate change affecting every watershed in some way, this could be a timely opportunity to organize a workshop in your area. If you would like to host a Watershed Discipleship workshop, retreat, or train-the-trainer event and support a growing network, please contact Sara Stratton, KAIROS Members Relations and Campaigns Coordinator at sstratton@kairoscanada.org.

If you would like to go to New York for the march and are in the Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal area, buses are being organized.

As Archbishop Desmond Tutu reminded participants at the So Long as the Rivers Flow conference in Fort McMurray earlier this year, we are all connected by the urgent need to protect our planet from catastrophic climate change, the effects of which have been felt for some time by poor and vulnerable communities in the Global South. KAIROS invites and encourages you to join with others to participate in these efforts in whatever way you can.

If you have questions or need more information, please contact John Dillon, KAIROS Ecological Economy Program Coordinator at jdillon@kairoscanada.org.