Connect with us

Real Estate

Facing despair as a strong economy fails to defeat climate change: Don Pittis

Editor

Published

on

[ad_1]

It is not unreasonable that the majority of Canadians and the 97 per cent of scientists who understand that climate change is real are feeling a certain amount of despair.

Optimism following the 2015 Paris summit that the world could and would halt the growth of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere and slow the devastating effects of rising seas, storms, drought and forest fires has turned to gloom.

And perhaps most disheartening is the fact that despite a strong, growing economy in many parts of the world, including Canada and the United States, governments have failed to reverse the damage. So what happens when the economy goes into retreat?

Backsliding at the G20

As the G20 meets in Argentina today, reports from groups that monitor greenhouse gas output show that none of the world’s richest 20 economic powers have met their Paris targets that would limit temperature increases to two Celsius degrees above pre-industrial levels.

“Current nationally determined contributions would lead to a global temperature increase of around 3.2 C,” says the report from Climate Transparency, based on numbers assembled using the various governments’ own data.

And yet people who have seen it say the draft resolution of the G20 concluding document backslides on climate, partly to make it palatable to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has already withdrawn his country from the Paris accord and promotes increased use of coal.

Experts say climate change is already affecting poor countries, helping to spur waves of migration that are expected to increase as the climate warms. These migrants were intercepted Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea off Spain. (Jon Nazca/Reuters) 

Study after credible study show the increasing impact of climate on human lives and health. It is already contributing to mass migrations that will worsen.

Trump reportedly tried to suppress a recent U.S. government study by releasing it on the day after American Thanksgiving. That may have backfired when the release — which declared climate change had already cost the economy hundred of billions of dollars and would cost hundreds more — was unofficially labelled the Black Friday Climate Report.

“Climate change … is arguably the biggest threat humanity has ever faced,” says Stewart Elgie, chair of the Smart Prosperity Institute, a think-tank based at the University of Ottawa, comparing it to the impact of nuclear war. “We are messing with the planet’s life support system in a way that we haven’t before.”

Captured by selfish forces

But despite large support for climate action, governments have been captured by selfish forces that seem bound to sacrifice the planet for short-term interests. Well-funded voices of opposition use social media to discredit sound science. 

In Canada the government of Ontario has tossed out carbon pricing, the favoured free market way of cutting carbon, on the grounds that it will slow economic growth. Yesterday they replaced it with costly taxpayer handouts to business that have been shown to be ineffective in parts of the world where they have been tried.
The governments of Alberta and Canada continue to use taxpayer billions to subsidize oilsands transportation when market forces have signalled we should stop.

 

Repeatedly, public funds are being spent to make climate change worse, instead of investing in alternatives that would make it better. And since Earth’s climate is the ultimate shared resource, there sometimes seems no advantage in taking individual action, if others others just produce the carbon you have saved and more.

But rather than despairing, Catherine Gauthier is using the law to fight back. A spokesman for the Quebec youth group Environnement Jeunesse, the 29-year-old has helped launch a legal campaign to sue the federal government in an effort to keep it from destroying the planet for future generations.

“We are bringing the government to court because it is infringing our fundamental rights,” says Gauthier. Under Quebec law, that includes the right to a safe environment and the preservation of biodiversity, she says.

Growing visible impacts

Gauthier says the technique has been used elsewhere, including the Netherlands, to give the fight against climate change a legal basis that stands above individual economic interests.

Sarah Buchanan, a policy expert with Environmental Defence Canada, has had moments of despair. But she still hopes democracy and capitalism can solve the problem, in part because people will increasingly witness climate change in their lives.

A policeman stands in front of a G20 banner at the summit’s media centre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Marcos Brindicci/Reuters)

“People who do not see these immediate impacts right now are going to start seeing them very soon,” says Buchanan.

While she objects to increased government subsidies for fossil fuel production, she insists it is false to see a conflict  between fighting climate change and supporting the economy. And while poll after poll show most Canadians realize something needs to be done, she thinks their voices have been overwhelmed by the financial clout of pro-carbon interests.

Buchanan says she hears from despairing people who ask what they can do, and she always asks them if they have told their elected officials how much they care.

“More often than I expect, the answer is, ‘No,'” she says.

Paralyzed by fear

Elgie, like other climate scientists and activists I spoke to, will not let despair divert him from helping to move the world to a low-carbon economy.

“Fear can be paralyzing,” says Elgie.

But he says that the world leaders in climate change, including the countries of northern Europe, have cut their carbon use per person to levels less than half that of Canada, with a quality of life as good or better than Canadians’.

He admits that dramatic shifts are always disruptive and often go through a process of “two steps forward and one step back.” It may be that in recessions people will be less willing to make changes, but he says whether we realize it or not, the process of decarbonization is underway and is unstoppable. 

“In 20 to 30 years, we will live in a low-carbon global economy. We can debate the pace of change,” he says, “but the fact that change is happening is now undeniable.”

Follow Don on Twitter @don_pittis
 

[ad_2]

Source link

قالب وردپرس

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary

Editor

Published

on

By

Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market

Editor

Published

on

By

The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

10 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers

Editor

Published

on

By

Buying a home for the first time is exciting and a commitment to the future. It’s often challenging, too, and the process requires a lot of steps, many of which can be tricky to navigate as a first-time home buyer.

What are some things you should keep in mind as a first-time home buyer?

First-Time Home Buyer Tips

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you begin your journey toward homeownership.

1. Have Your Finances in Order

It’s wise to begin saving as early as possible once you’ve made the decision to purchase a house. You’ll need to consider the down payment, closing costs (which often range from 2% to 5% of the down payment), as well as move-in expenses.

You also need to understand the other costs of homeownership, such as mortgage insurance. property taxes, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, and more.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

Knowing how much you can realistically afford in a home is another important financial consideration. Look for the home of your dreams that fits your budget.

One way to avoid future financial stress is to set a price range for your home that fits your budget, and then staying within that range. Going through the preapproval process will help you understand what price range is realistic for your budget.

3. Make Sure Your Credit is Good

Another thing to keep in mind as a first-time home buyer is your credit score because it determines whether you qualify for a mortgage and affects the interest rate that lenders offer. 

You can check your credit score from the three credit bureaus – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.

This is another good reason for getting preapproved before you start your search. Learn more about the preapproval process and your credit score.

4. Choose The Right Real Estate Agent

A good real estate agent guides you through the process every step of the way. He or she will help you find a home that fits your needs, help you through the financial processes, and help ease any first-time buyer anxiety you may have.

Interview several agents and request references.

5. Research Mortgage Options

A variety of mortgages are available, including conventional mortgages – which are guaranteed by the government – FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans (for veterans).

You’ll also have options regarding the mortgage term. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is popular among many homebuyers and has an interest rate that doesn’t change over the course of the loan. A 15-year loan usually has a lower interest rate but monthly payments are larger.

6. Talk to Multiple Lenders

It’s worth your time to talk to several lenders and banks before you accept a mortgage offer. The more you shop around, the better deal you’re liable to get – and it may save you thousands of dollars.

7. Get Preapproved First

Getting a mortgage preapproval (in the form of a letter) before you begin hunting for homes is something else to put on your checklist. A lender’s preapproval letter states exactly how much loan money you can get.

Learn more about the preapproval process and how preapproval provides you with a significant competitive advantage in our article How Preapproval Gives You Home Buying Power.

8. Pick the Right House and Neighborhood

Make sure to weigh the pros and cons of the different types of homes based on your budget, lifestyle, etc. Would a condominium or townhome fit your needs better than a house? What type of neighborhood appeals to you?

9. List Your Needs and Must-Haves

The home you purchase should have as many of the features you prefer as possible. List your needs in order of priority; some things may be non-negotiable to you personally.

10. Hire an Inspector

Hiring an inspector is another crucial step in the home buying process. An inspector will tell you about existing or potential problems with the home, and also what’s in good order. You can learn more about home inspections and how to find a home inspector through the American Society of Home Inspectors website.

Buying a home for the first time is a challenge, but it’s one you can handle with the right planning and preparation.

Continue Reading

Chat

Trending