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Global Economy Can Grow If World Warms Less Than 1.5°C, Study Says – Bloomberg

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The global economy will be 2% bigger by the end of the century if the world can hold global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to a new study.

Most models predict a period in which the world surpasses that mark for several years or decades, before cooling back down to the 1.5 degree mark (2.7 Fahrenheit) by 2100. This would require removing existing carbon from the atmosphere on an impractically large scale, according to research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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The so-called 'gig economy' is on the rise — here's what that means for Alberta workers – CBC.ca

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They’re the people who pick you up in an Uber or deliver groceries to your door — so-called gig workers, referred to as “independent contractors” by the companies for which they work — and across Canada, there’s an ongoing debate about the future of their industry.

Last month, a report from the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee recommended that those who work in the “gig economy” — for example, working for apps such as Uber and Skip The Dishes — should be guaranteed a minimum wage, along with some other protections.

No exact analog to that committee currently exists in Alberta. A spokesperson for Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s minister of labour and immigration, said the provincial government’s primary commitment is to support workers as the economy continues to recover.

“Alberta’s government continues to monitor the gig economy, as it is an evolving sector with unique needs,” said Joseph Dow in an email.

According to a study released by Statistics Canada in 2019, around eight per cent of all workers in Canada participated in gig work in 2016, up from 5.5 per cent in 2005. 

Uber Eats courier Spencer Thompson is shown in Toronto in a 2021 file photo. On the heels of new recommendations being made for gig workers by the Ontario provincial government, an Alberta labour leader says a conversation needs to be had around the future of gig work in the province. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

Efforts to update laws around how gig workers are paid and what benefits they are entitled to has been a contentious issue over the past few years. 

During the last federal election campaign, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said that the 1.7 million Canadians working in the gig economy were “left behind” during the pandemic.

An Alberta labour leader says despite the same issues existing for those participating in Alberta’s gig economy — low wages, insecurity and lack of benefits — no conversation is being had provincially about the supports available for these workers.

“I’m profoundly concerned about the shift towards gig work,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

“It’s bad for individual workers. But I would argue that it’s just as bad for the economy, because when people are faced with that kind of insecurity, they can’t participate in the economy in the same way as workers in other sectors.”

Brandon Mundy, a delivery driver with Instacart in Calgary, says working in the gig economy has helped him through some difficult times — but he’s hoping changes are introduced to mitigate the risks of working in a competitive and saturated market. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Brandon Mundy is a delivery worker with Instacart, a grocery delivery service.

He previously delivered with food delivery platform DoorDash, but said he stopped working for that service due to long periods of delays between orders.

“It can get incredibly competitive these days, because of how saturated the delivery driver industry is right now,” he said.

Even though Mundy said he tends to make more working with Instacart, he’s noticed smaller payouts recently. Plus, he’s been putting significant wear and tear on his vehicle.

“I would sure hope [Alberta] introduces support for gig workers,” Mundy said. “Especially with how popular it is now, especially through COVID.”

Efforts to unionize and departures of platforms

Those gig workers completing tasks for apps like Uber and Lyft are considered independent contractors by the companies. 

Therefore, the company isn’t obliged to pay minimum wage or other protections — but that is a “smoke screen,” said Jim Stanford, economist and director of the Vancouver-based Centre for Future Work.

“Courts and labour regulators in many countries around the world are recognizing that and saying, no, just because you assign the work over a smartphone doesn’t mean they’re not your effective employee,” Stanford said.

Brandon Mundy, a delivery driver with Instacart, says the time it takes to buy groceries from a store, and then deliver them to a home, isn’t always translating into reliable profits these days. He said an oversaturated market and mitigating concerns like vehicle repair can make things more challenging. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Uber Canada previously referred CBC News to a proposal that would provide a benefit fund to workers, adding that the company attempts to prioritize “what drivers and delivery people want: flexibility plus benefits.”

Efforts by workers to secure more benefits have also led to certain app-based platforms reconsidering their availability within Canada.

In 2020, food delivery service Foodora announced it would leave Canada in the wake of workers attempting to unionize. 

Stanford said such moves suggested that business models of gig platforms depended on the “exploitation of gig workers.”

“That should really be a warning sign for us that this is not a business model that we should encourage in Canada. We have to make sure that they’re subject to the same rules and responsibilities as any other employer,” he said. 

“Otherwise, this cancer, which is spreading through the labour market, will continue to undermine wages and working conditions in all kinds of industries.”

Ontario’s recent proposal did not include everything the union-backed group Gig Workers United called for, including for gig workers to receive full employee protections.

In early December, the European Union announced draft legislation that would provide employee rights to gig economy workers, a move that would affect millions of workers.

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'Throwaway economy' thwarting climate goals: report – Phys.org

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Researchers said national climate pledges to reduce emissions focus narrowly on fossil fuel use and ignore the mounting global a
Researchers said national climate pledges to reduce emissions focus narrowly on fossil fuel use and ignore the mounting global appetite for stuff.

Countries are neglecting the massive impact of the “throwaway” economy on planet-warming emissions, according to research published Wednesday that calculated more than half a trillion tonnes of virgin materials have been consumed since the 2015 Paris climate deal.

From clothing to food, planes to buildings, research by the organisation Circle Economy estimates that 70 percent of are linked to the manufacturing and use of products.

But in its on the state of the world’s use of materials, researchers said national climate pledges to reduce emissions focus narrowly on and ignore the mounting global appetite for stuff.

Matthew Fraser, head of research at Circle Economy, said the aimed to look beyond just fossil fuel use and the transition to green energy and ask about the emissions implications of using fewer resources.

“What if we reimagine our relationship with stuff, what would that bring us? Actually, it is quite significant,” he told AFP.

The report estimates that if the economy were more circular, reducing resource extraction and consumption by 28 percent, then the world could meet the Paris warming target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

But only a third of nations’ climate pledges mention the circular economy as part of their emissions goals, the report said.

It warns that humanity is consuming 70 percent more virgin materials than the world can safely replenish.

Economic ‘metabolism’

The analysis looks at global material flows based on national import and export figures and translates them into estimates of materials used—and reused.

It calculates annual resource use has grown from 89.8 billion tonnes in 2016 to more than 100 billion tonnes in 2019 and estimated it at 101.4 billion last year.

Circle Economy found that almost all of the materials extracted go to waste, with just 8.6 percent of materials recycled in 2020, what they call the circularity gap.

That is an even lower proportion than in 2018, when reused materials were 9.1 percent of the total, as the for more things surges.

“Even though we are getting more efficient with how we use materials—computers are getting smaller, cars are becoming lighter, recycling is getting better—these micro gains in efficiency just aren’t stacking up relative to the total increasing demand,” said Fraser.

The report identified a number of practices across sectors from food production to transportation that it said could help rein in the ever-expanding use of virgin materials.

Fraser said the model that enables people in richer countries to buy products from all over the world to be delivered within hours and days “will inevitably have to change”.

The report also weighed strategies like enabling electrical goods—which contain critical raw materials including gold, silver and cobalt—to be repaired, redesigning items to be easier to recycle, restricting single-use plastics and renting items like cars rather than buying them.

One sector it identified as having a significant opportunity to reduce its materials footprint was buildings and construction, where Fraser said current practices were far from sustainable.

He said would be needed occasionally to reconfigure the economic incentives that make reusing resources more expensive than using new ones—stressing that this should be seen as an integral part of efforts to curb global warming.

But Fraser said for now the issue remains a significant blind spot for governments, which he said do not pull together data of their countries’ materials footprint.

He added that people in the future may ask tougher questions about whether materials can be recycled before they are even used.

“Could we become more strict about the metabolism of our ? Just like you wouldn’t eat all the time,” he said.

“I think in the future that could become more and more prominent.”


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‘Throwaway economy’ thwarting climate goals: report (2022, January 19)
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Crypto VC Firm Inflection Launches $40M Fund to Build ‘Open Economy’ – CoinDesk

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Limited partner investors in the Mercury Fund include Galaxy Digital, Digital Currency Group (CoinDesk’s parent company), Accolade Partners, Evanston Capital, Isomer, Hutt Capital, Multiple Capital, Presight Partners and Rockaway, as well as individual backers Marc Andreessen and Chris Dixon of Andreessen Horowitz and noted tech investors Bo Shao and Erik Voorhees, among others.

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