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64% of Canadians have air conditioning. Is it enough for climate change? – Global News



Climate scientists proclaimed July 3, 2023, the hottest day in human record keeping.

Canada has seen a swathe of heat warnings in the past week, warning of elevated risks for heat-related illnesses and air quality. And the return of El Niño, a naturally occurring climate pattern, is bringing even warmer weather than the country has seen in the past seven years.


But data shows many Canadians don’t have air conditioning.

Data from Statistics Canada shows 64 per cent of Canadian households had some type of air conditioning in 2021. StatCan only listed figures for the provinces.

Amanda Griffin / Global News

According to Statistics Canada, 64 per cent of Canadian households had some kind of air conditioning in 2021, the most recent year for which figures are available.

The numbers vary by province, as low as 19 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and as high as 90 per cent in Manitoba.

Dr. Melissa Lem, president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, told Global News those numbers were likely appropriate, based on local climates, in the past. She said they likely aren’t enough for the future as climate change brings about more heat waves.

“Our bodies are designed to operate in a really narrow temperature range,” she said, speaking from Vancouver, “and when we go past that temperature range, we start to get sick.”

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Lem said it’s important for people to have access to cool indoor environments, either in their own homes or via public transit, and to keep in contact with others.

“One of the major risk factors for death during the 2021 heat dome on the West Coast was social isolation,” she said, adding that many seniors — who are among those more vulnerable to extreme heat — are socially isolated.

With that said, how we create cooler environments matters too, she noted. Adapting in the wrong way could make things worse.

“People talk about air conditioning as being the solution, but in fact, what’s even more important is electrifying our cooling,” she said.

Click to play video: 'World Meteorological Organization sounds alarm over El Niño’s return'

World Meteorological Organization sounds alarm over El Niño’s return

Using air conditioners, depending on how the electricity powering them is generated, can create more carbon emissions and ultimately raise temperatures even further.

Lem said it’s also important to reduce fossil fuel use.

According to city data, 55 per cent of Vancouver’s carbon emissions come from heating buildings with natural gas.

“If we rapidly retrofit our buildings to electrify and install heat pumps that can cool, that will both keep us safe indoors but also tackle the climate change issue at the same time,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Heat wave, high demand for AC repairs spurs home cooling solutions: Winnipeg expert'

Heat wave, high demand for AC repairs spurs home cooling solutions: Winnipeg expert

Using air conditioning can pose further challenges, a University of Waterloo researcher told Global News.

Joanna Eyquem said air conditioning units pump hot air outdoors – just one of the reasons why urban areas can be between 10 to 15 degrees warmer than surrounding rural areas.

Eyquem said the artificial surfaces within cities retain heat and release it in the evening.

Moreover, if many people are using air conditioning during hot weather, the strain on the power grid can heighten the risk of blackouts, which could lead to other problems.

Click to play video: 'Heat wave driving demand for air conditioners in Alberta'

Heat wave driving demand for air conditioners in Alberta

Eyquem’s research showed that the National Building Code does not consider extreme heat to be an emergency. Eyquem said that means most cities or apartment buildings don’t have more than two hours of emergency backup power.

According to Eyquem, adaptation is necessary. That involves preparing homes to keep heat out and cool air in – meaning using things like more awnings and energy-efficient windows.

Outside of households, she said it requires adding more green spaces to cities, limiting the amount of heat-storing concrete and metal, as well as planting more trees that provide shade.

Both Eyquem and Lem said provincial and federal governments must update building codes to ensure living spaces are cooler.

“If we’ve only relied on air conditioning, we haven’t put any of those kinds of passive approaches that really stop heat entering our homes,” Eyquem told Global News.

Eyquem and Lem both said adaptation is ultimately about keeping people safe.

“It’s not just important to start to gradually electrify and start to introduce cooling. This has to be done at speed and scale to make sure that lives are protected,” Lem said.

– with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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India asks Canada to recall several dozen diplomats – Hindustan Times



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Canada secures second place in 2023 Best Country Rankings



Achieving second place might sound like a disappointment. However, the second place means a lot in the global ranking of countries, and Canada has recently secured that spot.

The 2023 Best Countries rankings by US News & World Report placed Canada in second place. In the rankings, Switzerland won the first place and Sweden in third place.

By taking up the second place, Canada toppled Germany since the country earned the second place last year. Consequently, Australia and the US occupied the fourth and fifth place in the rankings.

The ranking system

US News’ Best Countries ranking system is a yearly ranking of the best countries to live in according to several metrics. The annual ranking originally started in 2015, in which the ranking attempts to “examine a country’s merit beyond hard metrics.”


To determine the ranks, the news outlet consults several prominent institutions. They include the global advertising company WPP and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. US News & World Report uses the former’s BAV brand analytics tool and consults with the latter’s professor David Reibstein. Thus far, the news outlet relies on 73 attributes to describe a country and identify its recent successes.

Subsequently, the news outlet distributed the survey from March 17 to June 12 to 17,000 respondents around the world. The survey includes 87 nations, and the respondents will assess the countries’ merits based on their perceptions.

Other than Canada, the top 10 countries in the ranking come from highly developed countries around the world such as Switzerland, Sweden, the United States, Australia, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. 

Canada exceeded the score of 90 in agility (94.1), quality of life (92.7), and social purpose (93.4). The following scores are entrepreneurship (84.2), open for business (80.1), cultural influence (55.0), adventure (54.5), power (41.9), and heritage (41.6). 

Canada concluded its ranking by obtaining a score of 17.8 for the Movers metric with attributes such as differentness, distinctiveness, dynamicity, and uniqueness. Of the four, dynamicity occupies the top ranking with a score of 36.8. Distinctiveness takes second place in 26.3, followed by the measly scores of differentness and uniqueness of 5.0 and 9.3, respectively.

Another thing to consider in the Movers category is the recent issues of surging living costs and housing. As Canada’s housing crunch continues, this might have affected people’s perception of the reality of living in the country.

Canada’s strong scores

There are several reasons why Canada managed to snatch the runner-up position in the 2023 Best Countries rankings. Its global connectivity and decent job market, for instance, almost reached a perfect score with 95.5 and 98.4, respectively, thanks to Canada’s reputation as a highly interconnected country with good job prospects. 

According to US News, Canada is a high-tech industrial society with high living standards. After the trade agreements with the US in the 1980s and 1990s, both countries have become each other’s largest trading partners.

In addition, US News also said that Canada owes its economic success to the service sector and export of energy, food, and minerals. With the availability of proven oil reserves, Canada has emerged as the world’s fourth-largest oil producer.

Canada also won the perfect score in the racial equality and religious freedom categories. Thanks to the myriad of ethnic and religious groups in the country, Canada has attained the status of a multicultural society. Despite the post-Christian and secular state of modern Canada, Canada’s multiculturalism allows many religions and beliefs to flourish in the country.

Another reason behind Canada’s high rank in the Best Countries rankings is the near-perfect score of economic stability and hospitality to families. Owing to Canada’s famed reputation as a comfortable country to live in, many people think it’s best to raise families there.

The tourism industry in Canada is also something to behold. Canadian urban and natural tourist spots from British Columbia to Nunavut spoil domestic and foreign tourists with abundant options. Tourists can experience anything from Canada’s natural majesty to urban excellence in any of Canada’s provinces and territories.

The availability of SIM providers such as eSIM United States tourists adds to the convenience of tourists from the US and anywhere else. Various kinds of data plans are also available in Canada, which makes the country a desirable destination for travel aficionados who love to share their journeys online. With these plans, tourists don’t have to worry about internet coverage anymore when they explore Canada.

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India tells Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff: Report



India has told Canada to withdraw dozens of diplomatic staff amid heightened tensions between the two nations over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, according to a report published by Financial Times.

People familiar with the matter informed FT that Ottawa has been told by New Delhi that it must repatriate around 40 diplomats by October 10.

Ties between India and Canada have become seriously strained over Canadian suspicion that Indian government agents had a role in the June murder in Canada of a Sikh separatist leader and Canadian citizen, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who India had labeled a “terrorist”. India has dismissed the allegation as absurd.

Canada has 62 diplomats in India and India had said that the total should be reduced by 41, the newspaper said.


Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said earlier there was a “climate of violence” and an “atmosphere of intimidation” against Indian diplomats in Canada, where the presence of Sikh separatist groups has frustrated New Delhi.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration urged the Indian government to cooperate with Canada in its investigations into the killing of Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

State Department spokesperson Mathew Miller said, “As he made clear then, I’ll reiterate now, we remain in close coordination with our Canadian colleagues on this question.”

“We have engaged with the Indian government on a number of occasions to urge them to cooperate with Canada’s investigation. The secretary had an opportunity to do that in his meeting with the foreign minister on Friday,” he said.

Currently, the United States is in close coordination with Canada on allegations regarding the Indian government’s involvement in the Nijjar killing row.

India has suspended its visa services in Canada, following Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau’s allegations of Indian involvement in the killing.


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