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Heat wave in Pacific Northwest could soon repeat due to climate change

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The suffocating heat wave that killed hundreds of people across the Pacific Northwest last week would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, a study finds.

Reporting the first research attributing the event to climate change on Wednesday, scientists said climate change had made such a heat wave in the region 150 times more likely. The scientists estimated the extraordinary temperatures were a one-in-a-thousand-year event, though noted this was difficult to quantify given the unprecedented heat in early summer. But if current greenhouse gas emissions continue, an event so extreme could start occurring every five to 10 years by the 2040s, they warned.

“People need to realize that heat waves are killers, and they are by far the deadliest extreme event,” said coauthor Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford and co-leader of the World Weather Attribution, an international scientific collective that published the study. The research https://bit.ly/3hDuvJO by 27 scientists is still awaiting peer review but uses peer-reviewed rapid attribution methods to produce findings quickly after extreme events.

“Heat waves are really changing so much more and so much faster than all other extreme events,” Otto said. “Heat preparation and preventing death during heat waves need to be a No. 1 priority for every city authority.”

The heat wave gripped parts of the United States and Canada for days at the end of June, smashing records in dozens of cities. Power lines melted in the heat. Roads buckled. Canada thrice broke its national temperature record, peaking on June 29 at 121 Fahrenheit (49.6 Celsius) — a full 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.6 degrees Celsius) higher than the previous record set in 1937.

Another heat wave is expected to hit parts of Canada and the United States later this week.

The death toll in Oregon alone has topped 100, while British Columbia saw hundreds more deaths than usual. It will take months to calculate a full death toll, but scientists say these numbers will rise. Hospitals also saw jumps in the number of heat-related visits and emergency service calls.

The new research attributing the heat wave to climate change is not entirely surprising. Worldwide, climate change has made heat waves more common, more severe and longer lasting.

The June heat wave, however, was far beyond the norm for the Pacific Northwest. For that, the authors suggested two possible explanations: Either many factors came together to produce a very rare event that was worsened by climate change, or climate change has altered the atmospheric conditions so that this type of heat wave is now more common than previously understood.

Either way, industry-driven climate change played a key, and considerable, role, according to the study.

“Most types of extreme events have been getting more frequent,” said Philip Mote, a climate scientist at Oregon State University not involved in the study. Or in the case of the Pacific Northwest heat wave, he said, extreme events were sometimes becoming “things that were almost unimaginable.”

‘CLEAR HUMAN FINGERPRINT’

The temperature spike was caused by what scientists call a “heat dome”, or a mass of high-pressure air parked over the region. Like a lid on a pot, the dome trapped hot air beneath it.

While the weather was unusual in its timing — record-breaking temperatures are rare so early in the summer season — last month proved to be the warmest June on record for North America, and the fourth warmest globally, scientists at the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service reported Wednesday.

In recent years, scientific advances have allowed researchers to link specific extreme weather events to climate change. (Graphic on extreme weather) https://tmsnrt.rs/3wcycMk

“There is a clear human fingerprint on this particular extreme heat wave in the Pacific Northwest, and in general on extreme heat waves everywhere in the modern era we’re living though,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the new study.

To establish the climate link to last week’s heat wave, the study’s authors used computer simulations to estimate what conditions might have been without any global warming, and compared that with current conditions and what actually occurred.

“This event was shocking to everybody who experienced it in the Pacific Northwest. Rightfully so, because there was just nothing even close to it in the modern historical record,” Swain said. “And yet it might be something that just becomes a relatively common event.”

(Reporting by Andrea Januta in New York; Editing by Katy Daigle and Lisa Shumaker)

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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Thursday – CBC.ca

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The latest:

Tokyo reported 5,042 new daily coronavirus cases on Thursday, hitting a record since the pandemic began as the infections surge in the Japanese capital hosting the Olympics.

The additional cases brought the total for Tokyo to 236,138, about a quarter of the national total. Japan reported more than 14,000 cases on Wednesday for a total of 970,000.

Tokyo has been under a state of emergency since mid-July, and four other areas have since been added and extended until Aug. 31. But the measures, basically a ban on alcohol in restaurants and bars and their shorter hours, are increasingly ignored by the public, which has become tired of restrictions.

“We need to tackle the situation as we now have a stronger sense of urgency,” Prime Minister Yosihide Suga told reporters, referring to Tokyo’s new record exceeding 5,000 cases for the first time. “The infections are expanding at the pace we have never experienced before.”

Suga, who has been criticized for insisting on hosting the Olympics despite the coronavirus spreading, says there is no evidence linking the surge in cases to the July 23-Aug. 8 Games. He urged people to firmly stick to the emergency requests and stay home despite the summer vacation.

A protester calling for the cancellation of the Olympic Games stands with a sign urging officials to choose the ‘shine of our lives’ over the shine of medals. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)

Alarmed by the pace of the spread, some experts have called for a current state of emergency in Tokyo and five other areas to be expanded nationwide.

Instead, Suga on Thursday announced a milder version of the emergency measures in eight prefectures, including Fukushima in the east and Kumamoto in the south, expanding the areas to 13 prefectures. The less-stringent measures allow prefectural heads to target specific towns but cannot order business closures.

Suga also pledged to “prevent the further spread of the virus by firmly carrying out vaccinations.”

Experts say people are not cooperating because many feel less of a sense of urgency about the pandemic while the Olympics are going ahead and Suga’s government keeps issuing the same requests for people to stay at home.

-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:30 a.m. ET


What’s happening in Canada

WATCH | Ontario won’t mandate COVID-19 vaccines for teachers, kids in September: 

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said Wednesday there are still no plans to require COVID-19 vaccinations from educators, staff and students when in-person learning resumes in September. 1:47


What’s happening around the world

People wait to be vaccinated against COVID-19 a day before stricter lockdown measures are implemented in Manila on Thursday. (Lisa Marie David/Reuters)

As of early Thursday morning, more than 200.3 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to a case tracking tool maintained by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.2 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines will extend tighter coronavirus restrictions to include three areas, including a province adjoining the capital region, to prevent the spread of the delta variant, the president’s office said on Thursday. The tougher restrictions, already due to take effect in metropolitan Manila from Aug. 6, will also be imposed in Laguna province and the cities of Cagayan De Oro and Iloilo, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement

In Africa, the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says he came down with COVID-19 last week and if he had not been vaccinated earlier, “I would not be here by now.” An audibly ill John Nkengasong told reporters that despite his vaccination in April, “the severity of the attack is unbearable.” He cited his experience to push back against vaccine hesitancy.

African Union officials said on Thursday that the body had begun shipping COVID-19 vaccine doses acquired through a Johnson & Johnson deal, but they raised alarm at the pace of total deliveries to a region where only 1.5 per cent of people are vaccinated.

WATCH | U.S. extension on eviction ban still leaves some out in the cold: 

The Biden administration’s new ban on evictions only applies in areas of the U.S. where COVID-19 cases are surging, leaving millions of Americans unable to pay rent at risk of losing their homes. 2:02

In the Americas, the delta variant is “highly worrisome” as the mutation has spread to nearly two dozen countries across the Americas, officials with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) told reporters.

Mexico’s Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 20,685 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest daily jump since late January, and 611 fatalities.

In the Middle East, Iran again reported a fresh single-day high on Wednesday, with 39,357 new cases of COVID-19. The country reported 409 additional deaths, bringing the reported COVID-related death toll to 92,194.

In Europe, Britain will scrap quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers returning to England and Scotland from France, rowing back on a rule that had infuriated French politicians and thrown millions of holidays into confusion.

-From Reuters, The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 9 a.m. ET

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Here's what Canada did while you were sleeping on day 13 of Tokyo Olympics – CTV News

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HALIBURTON, ONT. —
Canada added two medals to its collection overnight on day 13, bringing home silver in women’s canoe sprint and a bronze in women’s cycling.

Here’s a look at some of the 2020 Summer Olympic events you may have missed overnight.

Cycling

Lauriane Genest

Lauriane Genest won Canada’s first-ever medal in the keirin, capturing bronze in the event. New Zealand’s Ellesse Andrews took silver while Shanne Braspennincx of the Netherlands captured gold.

The keirin is an eight-lap race amongst six cyclists who start the race following behind a motorized pace bike, as it accelerates to top speed of 50 km/hr. The pace bike moves off the track with two laps to go before cyclists jockey for positions to finish the race.

On the water

Canada's Laurence Vincent-Lapointe

Canada’s Laurence Vincent-Lapointe captured canoe sprint silver in the women’s C-1 200-metre race on Thursday, taking second place in 46.786 seconds. American Nevin Harrison took the gold with a time of 45.932, while Ukraine’s Liudmyla Luzan claimed bronze at Sea Forest Waterway. Canadian teammate Katie Vincent finished eighth in 47.834 seconds.

Decathlon

Canada's Damian Warner

Damian Warner is inching closer to the top of the podium, continuing to hold a commanding lead in the decathlon with only two events left to complete. The Canadian posted an Olympic decathlon record of 13.46 seconds in the 110-metre hurdles before going on to place third in discus. Warner also tied a personal best in pole vault after clearing 4.90 metres on Thursday.

Warner leads with just javelin and the 1,500 metre left in the competition. Australian Ashley Moloney sits in second place while fellow Canadian Pierce LePage rounds out the top three. The last two events are set for later Thursday.

Diving

Canada's Meaghan Benfeito

Canada’s medal chances were dashed after Meaghan Benfeito failed to qualify for 10-metre platform diving final. The 32-year-old missed the 12th and final qualifying spot on her fourth dive of the day, finishing in the 13th spot, wrapping up her time at the Tokyo Olympics.

On the track

Canada's Andre De Grasse

The Canadian men’s 4×100-metre relay team is off to the finals after sprinter Andre De Grasse made a late comeback for the team, crossing the finish line in second place, just hours after winning himself a gold medal in the 200-metre sprint.

Golf

Brooke Henderson

Canada’s Brooke Henderson had a better day on the course, bouncing back to shoot a 3-under 68 in the second round of the women’s golf tournament. Henderson is currently tied for the 34th spot, sitting at even par.

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The cost of down payments in Canadian cities skyrocketed in 2021, new data shows – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Skyrocketing housing prices in 2021 are driving up how long it would take for homebuyers to save for a down payment, new data shows.

The National Bank of Canada (NBC)’s latest report found that during the second quarter of 2021, housing affordability has worsened by the widest margin in 27 years. The report examined housing and mortgage trends in 10 cities across the country.

To save up enough for a down payment for an average home in Canada, it would take just short of six years – or 69 months – if you saved at a rate of 10 per cent of their median pre-tax household income.

This marked a notable jump compared to the 57 months of saving at that same rate this time last year.

And, if you live in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, it could take decades – assuming you put away 10 per cent of your before-tax household income.

Here’s a breakdown of how much time it would take to save up for a down payment for an average home or condo, if you saved a tenth of your pre-tax income:

Vancouver

  • Standing head and shoulders above the other cities, it would take a staggering 34 years – or 411 months – of saving to be able to afford a home here.
  • The average home here costs $1.47 million.
  • It would take just under five years – 57 months — to save up enough for a down payment on an average condo in Vancouver.

Victoria

  • An estimated 28 years, or 338 months, of saving to make a down payment for a non-condo home, with the total price of a representative home set at $1.03M.
  • It would take 47 months of saving to afford a condo down payment.

Toronto,

Toronto

  • To save enough for a down payment for a home here would take 26.5 years – or 318 months.
  • The average home here costs approximately $1.2 million.
  • To afford a condo down payment here would take just under five years, or 56 months.

Hamilton

  • At a 10-per-cent saving rate, you’re looking at 6.5 years of saving up to afford a down payment for a home — and around four years to afford a condo in this city.

Ottawa/Gatineau

  • Trying to save up a home down payment in Canada’s capital could take a little over four years.

Montreal

Montreal

  • Saving up a tenth of your pre-tax earnings for 3.5 years would mean you could afford a down payment on a representative home in Montreal
  • The total price tag of a non-condo home sits at $492,777.
  • Trying to afford a condo here could take you just a little more than two and a half years of saving.

Calgary

  • You’d need to save up for just under three years – or 34 months – to afford a home here, or about half that time to afford a condo.

Edmonton

  • Potential homebuyers were looking at 2.5 years – or 30 months – of saving if you’re looking to make a down payment on a non-condo home.
  • The average total cost of a non-condo home was $428,600.

Winnipeg

Winnipeg

  • Affording a down payment on a $370,000 home could take homebuyers about 2.3 years worth of saving.
  • Home buyers needed 18 months to save up a down payment on a condo.

Quebec City

  • The price of a representative home in Quebec’s capital is $330 742 and it would take the average Canadian household just over two years – or 28 months — to save up a down payment.

Researchers also found mortgage payments now make up 45 per cent of the income for a representative household, slightly above the average amount (43 per cent of income) needed in 1980.

NBC noted that during most of the past two years, income growth and lower interest rates have been conducive to improving affordability.

But 2021 has been a stark contrast, the bank said, with home price increases outpacing income growth and mortgage interest rates also rising.

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