Posts filed under ‘Economy’

‘Where’s that money going to come from’: Insurers, government back away from disaster relief

With the federal government looking to play a smaller role in covering the costs of natural disasters, and private insurers declaring some homes built in some high-risk areas are uninsurable, the question of who will pay for storm damage is becoming a more pressing issue.

In the U.S., which continues to be pounded by powerful hurricanes and storms, the government will be spending billions on recovery. In Texas alone, the government has estimated the financial toll of the floods caused by Hurricane Harvey could be between $150 billion and $180 billion.

But with bigger and more intense storms hammering Canada because of climate change, it too faces increasing financial pressures. Provinces that in the past relied on Ottawa to cover those costs may find it more challenging to receive disaster assistance.

Read ‘Where’s that money going to come from’: Insurers, government back away from disaster relief by Mark Gollom at CBC News.

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September 11, 2017 at 11:46 am Leave a comment

What Quebec Can Teach Us About Creating a More Equitable Economy

Quebec’s social economy (also translated as “solidarity economy”) extends far beyond the province’s two major cities, and includes manufacturing, agricultural cooperatives, daycare centers, homecare services, affordable housing, social service initiatives, food co-ops, ecotourism, arts programs, public markets, media, and funeral homes. The capital that fuels all this economic activity comes from union pension funds, nonprofit loan funds, credit unions, government investment, and philanthropy.

Each enterprise involves a cooperative or non-profit organization — which together make up 8-10 percent of the province’s GDP. More than 7,000 of these “social economy” enterprises ring up $17 billion in annual sales and hold $40 billion in assets (Canadian dollars). They account for about 215,000 jobs across Quebec.

Read What Quebec Can Teach Us About Creating a More Equitable Economy by Jay Walljasper  at Shareable.

September 6, 2017 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it

What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever.

When one first hears calls for degrowth, it is easy to think that this new economic vision must be about hardship and deprivation; that it means going back to the stone age, resigning ourselves to a stagnant culture, or being anti-progress. Not so.

Renewable energy cannot sustain an energy-intensive global society of high-end consumers. A degrowth society embraces the necessity of “energy descent”, turning our energy crises into an opportunity for civilisational renewal.

In a degrowth society we would aspire to localise our economies as far and as appropriately as possible. This would assist with reducing carbon-intensive global trade, while also building resilience in the face of an uncertain and turbulent future.

Read Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it by Samuel Alexander at The Conversation.

May 22, 2017 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

StrongestTown Contest 2017 – Championship Round

We’ve invited our members, listeners and readers to nominate towns based on the Strong Towns strength test and Strong Towns principles. We know that no town is perfect. This contest is about showcasing towns that are doing their best to be strong, that have the building blocks in place to be strong towns today and in the future.

The votes are in and we’ve narrowed down our 16 town bracket to two final contestants: Guelph, Ontario and Traverse City, Michigan.

April 10, 2017 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

Despite Trump, Canada’s budget stays the course on climate change

Some industry groups and politicians worry about making a clean energy transition in Canada when President Trump still “digs coal.”

So perhaps the most important test for this budget was whether Canada would stick to its guns, or whether Trump’s influence would spur a change in course.

The budget’s clean technology section opens by saying that the “global campaign against climate change is an economic opportunity for Canada,” an opportunity where Canada “can be a true global leader.”

The government zeroes in on clean tech, along with digital industries and agri-food, as growing industries that are key to Canada’s economic success.

The clean power sector alone employed over 9 million people in 2015, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (and including large hydro).

Canada has a strong clean tech foundation. According to data from Analytica Advisors, a consultancy tracking Canada’s clean tech sector, Canada had over 700 companies, $11 billion in revenues, and 55,600 people working in the sector in 2016. But we’ve also been losing market share to our peers, falling from 14th to 19th among the world’s top 25 clean tech exporters in 2016.

Read Despite Trump, Canada’s budget stays the course on climate change by Clare Demerse at cleanenergycanada.

March 27, 2017 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

Policies for Shareable Cities

IMG_0443Cities are built for sharing. It’s what makes cities engines of prosperity, innovation, and cultural exchange. Well connected cities have the unique capacity to raise per capita production and innovation while using dramatically less energy. For this reason, cities may be our best hope for achieving widespread prosperity within the earth’s natural limits.

The sharing economy has deep implications for how cities design urban spaces, create jobs, reduce crime, manage transportation, and provide for citizens. As such, the sharing economy also has deep implications for policy making. The sharing economy challenges core assumptions made in 20th century planning and regulatory frameworks – namely, that residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural activities should be physically separated from one other, and that each single family household operates as an independent economic unit.

The guide curates scores of innovative, high impact policies that US city governments have put in place to help citizens share resources, co-produce, and create their own jobs. It focuses on sharing policy innovations in food, housing, transportation, and jobs — key pocket book issues of citizens and priorities of urban leaders everywhere. The guide is meant to help cities develop more resilient, innovative, and democratic economies.

Read the guide  Policies for Shareable Cities: A Sharing Economy Policy Primer for Urban Leaders produced by Shareable and the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

March 6, 2017 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

No one can make electricity cheap again

reactorOntario’s electricity woes stem back to the late 1970s and, over the past 40 odd years, all three parties have had a hand in them. It started with the building of the Darlington nuclear station, which the Bill Davis Tories approved and the David Peterson Liberals saw through to completion — 10 years late and almost $12 billion over budget. No one could afford to pay the real cost of Darlington, so Ontarians carried that debt for the next three decades.

Here’s the short answer: electricity requires infrastructure, infrastructure costs are tied to commodities and labour, and these costs go up over time. What people pay for electricity in any given region is a product of geographic luck (the availability of cheap hydro for example) and having rare — but possible — infrastructure foresight (the ability to plan effectively for the electricity of the future).

Read No one can make electricity cheap again by Bruce Lourie at The Star.

February 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm Leave a comment

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