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Electrification is key to jumpstarting Canada's slumping economy – Corporate Knights Magazine

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Anne-Raphaëlle Audouin, president and CEO of WaterPower Canada

Elisa Obermann, executive director of Marine Renewables Canada

Francis Bradley, president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association 

John Gorman, president and CEO of the Canadian Nuclear Association

Michelle Branigan, CEO of Electricity Human Resources Canada

Robert Hornung, president and CEO of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association

In the depths of the Great Depression in the last century, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched an effort that revolutionized farm life in the United States. The New Deal’s Rural Electrification Act not only put thousands of jobless people to work, it improved quality of life for struggling rural families and greatly increased productivity in agriculture.

As leaders of the organizations that represent the breadth of Canada’s electricity sector, we believe that this country can seize a similar opportunity as it seeks to recover from the steep economic slump precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Backed by analysis from the International Monetary Fund, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) recently urged governments around the world to ensure that their economic recovery efforts are used to modernize their energy systems. In August, incoming federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland signalled that the restart of Canada’s economy “needs to be green” and that decarbonization “has to be part of it.”

Our country starts with a clear advantage. We are already blessed with a clean electricity system; more than 80% of our power supply comes from non-emitting hydroelectric, nuclear and wind, solar, and marine renewable generation. Our remaining coal-fired power plants are being phased out.

Still, Canada faces huge hurdles in meeting its target of reducing greenhouse gases from 2005 levels by 30% by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, as pledged by the Liberal government. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan has said those goals will be achieved in significant part through electrification. Currently, electricity supplies only 20% of Canada’s final energy use. We can expand that by electrifying areas of the economy that now rely on fossil fuels, including transportation, industry and buildings. 

In its June report, the IEA urged governments to take a number of strategic steps, including accelerating the growth of wind and solar, boosting investments in storage and small modular reactors, and maintaining the bedrock roles for hydroelectric and nuclear.

New technologies will allow us to produce power in more distributed locations, eliminate waste in the system, store electricity for when we need it, and enhance the grid to better serve the needs of digitally sophisticated businesses and residential customers. Governments can support the expansion of electric vehicles (EVs) by offering incentives, investing in charging infrastructure and even mandating that EVs make up a regulated percentage of automakers’ sales. We can use clean electricity to produce hydrogen, in a way that produces no emissions, to fuel industrial processes and large transport trucks and trains.

With a focus on energy efficiency, and as the cost of innovative technology continues to fall, we can ensure that the low-carbon transition is affordable and doesn’t impose a burden on Canadians who may struggle to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

In an open letter published June 29, nearly 50 corporate leaders called for “bold federal investment in a green recovery.” They noted that Canada produces more renewable power than any country other than China and can expand that production to boost exports and lead in innovative technology such as emissions-free hydrogen. Given Canada’s leadership in non-emitting generation, we have an opportunity to grow the role of diverse electricity sources and pursue novel and innovative technologies as we increase the use of electricity in our energy mix.

In approving clean-energy stimulus, the federal government should follow some basic principles: 

  • target projects that can start quickly or be accelerated; 
  • reflect Canada’s diverse electricity markets;
  • encourage partnerships with Indigenous and other local communities; and
  • streamline its own regulatory processes while working with provinces to ensure there are not regulatory barriers to innovation.

However, government must also ensure the financial health of the industry when making these future-proofing investments. The economic battering has left many businesses and residential customers unable to pay their bills. Government can help by offsetting COVID-related costs for industry and continuing to support our customers as they navigate an uncertain economy.

In pursuing an electrification strategy, Ottawa will have to work with provinces that regulate and, in many cases, own the power generation and transmission assets. Projects such as inter-provincial transmission lines that would provide a regional market for clean power clearly need enhanced collaboration between governments. Provincial governments, municipalities, and schools, colleges and universities are obvious candidates for investments in energy efficiency and distributed energy projects that will pay dividends for many years. Efforts need to be coordinated.

All these changes require workers with different skill sets that call for updated training to manage them. Industry actors will need to ensure that there is a plan to recruit and retain that next generation of employees to innovate and manage the grid of the 21st century.

As governments turn to stimulus spending to revitalize Canada’s economy, this country’s long-term decarbonization goals can receive a significant boost if we make clean electricity the country’s single largest energy source. Done right, it will yield an energy system that is affordable, resilient, and ready for the net-zero economy of tomorrow. 

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Dollar shines as virus, economy woes hit risk assets – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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By Stanley White

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar extended gains against most currencies on Thursday as signs of economic slowdown in Europe and the United States renewed concern about a second wave of coronavirus infections.

The euro, which has already taken a hit due to worries about a return to severe lockdown restrictions, faces an additional hurdle later on Thursday with the release of data on German business sentiment.

The dollar is likely to continue to rise as another spike in coronavirus cases and the Federal Reserve’s warnings that the U.S. economy needs more fiscal stimulus cause investors to repatriate funds from riskier assets.

“Risk is being sold across the board, and there is a big unwinding of dollar shorts,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities.

“Questions surrounding the coronavirus and the need for even more stimulus are turning flows back to the dollar.”

The dollar traded at $1.1658 per euro on Thursday in Asia, just shy of a two-month low high reached on Wednesday.

The pound bought $1.2714, near its weakest level since late July.

The dollar was quoted at 0.9240 Swiss franc , which is near a nine-week high.

The U.S. currency bought 105.40 yen , holding onto a 0.4% gain from the previous session.

The dollar has rallied this week as rising coronavirus infections in Europe and Britain undermined investor optimism about vaccine progress.

The Ifo survey due later on Thursday is forecast to show an improvement in business morale in Germany, Europe’s largest economy.

However, sentiment for the euro has already suffered a big blow after surveys released on Wednesday showed new restrictions to quell a resurgence in coronavirus infections slammed the euro zone’s services industry into reverse.

The mood for riskier assets has also soured after data on Wednesday showed U.S. business activity slowed in September and several Fed policymakers warned that further government aid is needed to bolster the economy.

The dollar index =USD>, which pits the dollar against a basket of six major currencies, stood at 94.336 on Thursday, close to a nine-week high.

There are no major economic data releases scheduled during the Asian session, so trading could be subdued, analysts said.

Some investors are watching the Australian and New Zealand dollars, which have come under pressure due to growing expectations for additional monetary easing.

A recent decline in commodity prices is expected to increase downside risks for the Antipodean currencies, some traders say.

The Aussie traded at $0.7069, near its weakest since July 21.

Across the Tasman Sea, the kiwi bought $0.6549 after tumbling by 1.3% in the previous session.

(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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UPDATE: Trudeau throne speech emphasizes economic support for Canadian workers, economy – The Guardian

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A speech from the throne delivered in Ottawa on Wednesday emphasized a number of enhancements to existing programs put in place in response to the pandemic but did not offer large-scale social policy reforms, such as a basic income guarantee, that were hinted at by government weeks ago.

The speech, read before parliamentarians  by Governor General Julie Payette, outlined the Justin Trudeau government’s immediate plans to respond to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months. While the severity of cases of the virus has diminished since a high point seen last spring, a recent spike in cases in Canada’s most populous provinces has provoked fears of the social and economic effects of a second wave across Canada.

In the speech, Payette said the immediate public health response to the continuing pandemic is the first priority of government. The speech pledged to improve rapid testing capacity in Canada and pledged additional short-term assistance for businesses forced to close due to future public health orders. Payette also briefly addressed plans to deploy a vaccine for the virus, although it remains unclear when a vaccine will be approved by health officials.

“The government has already secured access to vaccine candidates and therapeutics while investing in manufacturing here at home. And to get the vaccines out to Canadians once they’re ready, the government has made further investments in our capacity for vaccine distribution,” Payette said.


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The bulk of the 53-minute speech focused on immediate economic and social support for Canadians in the coming months, as well as plans for a longer-term economic recovery.

Notably, the speech did not include a pledge to create any new economic supports on the scale of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), which will begin to transition to a program under the Employment Insurance system at the end of September.

In terms of commitments in the coming months of the pandemic, the government pledged to:

  • Create one million jobs as part of a green economic recovery;
  • Extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy until next summer;
  • Create a transitional Canada Recovery Benefit for individuals who would not qualify for EI;
  • Provide more supports for self-employed individuals and gig workers through the EI system.

The speech also included a pledge to “make a significant, long-term, sustained investment” in childcare, but stopped short of committing to a universal childcare program.

In a moment that harkened back to the Trudeau government’s successful 2015 election campaign, the throne speech also pledged to better tax “extreme wealth inequality,” address tax avoidance by tech giants and limit stock option deductions for the wealthy.

The speech also pledged to improve protections for seniors in long-term care homes by penalizing those who neglect seniors. The speech also pledged to “accelerate steps to achieve” a universal pharmacare program.

The more ambitious components of the speech focused on climate change and green economic recovery. The commitments included:

  • Legislated commitments for achieving net zero emissions by 2050;
  • Improving upon Canada’s emissions reduction goals by 2030;
  • Making zero-emissions vehicles more affordable;
  • Creating a new national water agency; and
  • Planting 2 billion trees.

The Trudeau government’s speech from the throne followed the prorogation of parliament in August, after sustained pressure on the government for its handling of the WE Charity scandal.

At that time, Trudeau said the move would allow the government to focus on a plan for a recovery of the Canadian economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Trudeau’s decision to prorogue parliament effectively brought an end to scrutiny of the government’s handling of the WE Charity controversy by several standing committees.

In the weeks that followed, sources in government had communicated to media that the throne speech would set out bold, social initiatives, including a proposal for a Basic Income Guarantee, as well as plans for a “green recovery” of the economy.

But in recent weeks, government staff had downplayed the possibility of large-scale, costly social programs.

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Racism has cost US economy $16 trillion in 20 years: Citi report – Yahoo Canada Finance

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<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to a new report from Citi (C), systemic racism in the United States has had a huge cost to the economy: $16 trillion over the past two decades.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”16″>According to a new report from Citi (C), systemic racism in the United States has had a huge cost to the economy: $16 trillion over the past two decades. 

That’s the combined cost of disparities in wages, education, investment in black-owned businesses, and the housing market.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Racial inequality has always had an outsized cost, one that was thought to be paid only by underrepresented groups,” said Citigroup Vice Chairman Raymond J. McGuire. "What this report underscores is that this tariff is levied on us all, and particularly in the U.S., that cost has a real and tangible impact on our country’s economic output. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to confront this longstanding societal ill that has plagued Black and brown people in this country for centuries, tally up the economic loss and as a society, commit to bring greater equity and prosperity to all."” data-reactid=”18″>“Racial inequality has always had an outsized cost, one that was thought to be paid only by underrepresented groups,” said Citigroup Vice Chairman Raymond J. McGuire. “What this report underscores is that this tariff is levied on us all, and particularly in the U.S., that cost has a real and tangible impact on our country’s economic output. Now, more than ever, we have a responsibility and an opportunity to confront this longstanding societal ill that has plagued Black and brown people in this country for centuries, tally up the economic loss and as a society, commit to bring greater equity and prosperity to all.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The $16 trillion drag on the U.S. economy since 2000 is particularly felt in the area of capital investment of black-owned businesses. A 2019 study from Illumen Capital found that $35 trillion of capital would be allocated differently, were it not for racial and gender bias.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”19″>The $16 trillion drag on the U.S. economy since 2000 is particularly felt in the area of capital investment of black-owned businesses. A 2019 study from Illumen Capital found that $35 trillion of capital would be allocated differently, were it not for racial and gender bias. 

According to the estimates from Citi’s research, racism impacting Black entrepreneurs has cost the United States $13 trillion of business revenue and potentially 6.1 million jobs that could have been created — each year. 

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Closing the gap” data-reactid=”21″>Closing the gap

What’s more, closing the wage gap between Black and white employees could have added $2.7 trillion — or 0.2% of GDP each year to the American economy. 

“Improving access to housing credit might have added an additional 770,000 Black homeowners, adding $218 billion in sales and expenditures,” the study found, while improving access to college for Black students could increase the income of Black employees by up to $113 billion over their lifetimes.

“Present racial gaps in income, housing, education, business ownership and financing, and wealth are derived from centuries of bias and institutionalized segregation, producing not only societal, but also real economic losses,” the study noted. 

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 27: A Black Lives Matter ballon is seen at the Navy Memorial to support Black Lives Matter during the Black Mamas March a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd on June 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Demonstrators took part to voice their support for racial equality and to honour the memory of George Floyd, whose death at the hands of police in Minneapolis sparked protests worldwide. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)
A Black Lives Matter ballon is seen at the Navy Memorial to support Black Lives Matter during the Black Mamas March a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd on June 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

“However, future gains from eliminating these gaps are enormous: benefiting not only individuals, but also the broader U.S. economy with positive spillover effects into the global economy.”

If racial gaps were eliminated, Citi estimates that over the course of the next 5 years, roughly $5 trillion could be added to the country’s GDP. 

That’s an average of 0.35% of GDP growth each year.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Goldman Sachs in July published a report saying that reducing racial income inequality “could also deliver a boost to the level of US GDP of around 2%, which currently equates to just over $400 billion per year.”” data-reactid=”39″>Goldman Sachs in July published a report saying that reducing racial income inequality “could also deliver a boost to the level of US GDP of around 2%, which currently equates to just over $400 billion per year.”

The benefits wouldn’t just remain domestically: the study also notes that 0.09% growth would be added to global growth. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Citi on Wednesday announced it plans to spend over $1 billion to help address racial inequality over 3 years. The plan would include programs to help increase access to banking and credit to Black and brown communities, which are traditionally underbanked. The initiative would also aim to increase investment in Black-owned businesses and help more Black households purchase homes.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”41″>Citi on Wednesday announced it plans to spend over $1 billion to help address racial inequality over 3 years. The plan would include programs to help increase access to banking and credit to Black and brown communities, which are traditionally underbanked. The initiative would also aim to increase investment in Black-owned businesses and help more Black households purchase homes

In its report, Citi wrote: “The persistence of racially-biased attitudes, coupled with the implementation and maintenance of policies enshrining these attitudes, constitute what is often termed as systemic racism. Biases may be conscious or unconscious. Nonetheless, the result of policies creating and perpetuating bias produce inequality. Even when the biases fade, the policies may linger, rendering the inequality multi-generational as it becomes interwoven with the way things are done: in broader society, government, corporations, and/or institutions.”

“We are in the midst of a national reckoning on race and words are not enough,” said Chief Financial Officer Mark Mason. “We need awareness, education, and action that drive results.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read more:” data-reactid=”44″>Read more:

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance” data-reactid=”52″>Read the latest financial and business news from Yahoo Finance

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Follow Yahoo Finance on&nbsp;Twitter,&nbsp;Facebook,&nbsp;Instagram,&nbsp;Flipboard,&nbsp;LinkedIn,&nbsp;YouTube, and&nbsp;reddit.” data-reactid=”53″>Follow Yahoo Finance on TwitterFacebookInstagramFlipboardLinkedIn, YouTube, and reddit.

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