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Should climate change action cost the economy? Canadians unsure, poll says – Global News



Following a summer of record-setting heatwaves and devastating forest fires, it has become clear to Canadians that something needs to be done about climate change. But new Ipsos polling suggests they are divided on whether fixing climate change should come at the cost of the country’s economy.

The Ipsos poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, also found that the issue of climate change had become a primary issue during this year’s election, ranking top five among respondents.

“The underlying current of the data here is that a lot of people like to treat the environment and the economy as a zero sum game, as mutually exclusive. But it seems to me that Canadians refuse to believe that’s the case,” said Ipsos Vice President Sean Simpson.

“They believe that we can, in fact, move towards greener policies, move towards actions that help stem climate change while at the same time growing the economy in a responsible manner.”

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What can Canadians do to avert climate crisis? – Aug 11, 2021

Data from the poll, which interviewed 1,500 Canadians online over the weekend, found that 77 per cent of those surveyed said the country needs to do more to reverse its effects, but 51 per cent said the federal government needs to “balance economic considerations with environmental efforts.”

Meanwhile, 35 per cent of respondents said they believed Canada should do everything in its power to fight climate change, and 13 per cent said they felt “no urgency” to correct it if the country’s economy has to suffer. That said, 58 per cent agreed combatting climate change would require solutions that would negatively impact the economy.

Roughly 75 per cent of Canadians surveyed, regardless of party affiliation, said they could get on board with a carbon tax “if they knew the money collected was going directly to initiatives to combat climate change.”

Conservatives were most likely to say that Canada needed to find a balance between the economy and the environment at 67 per cent, the poll found, in contrast to the 48 per cent those who identified as Liberal voters and 42 per cent who said they would vote NDP.

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Canada Election: Singh blasts Trudeau’s record on climate change at same site where Trudeau joined 2019 climate protest

Canada Election: Singh blasts Trudeau’s record on climate change at same site where Trudeau joined 2019 climate protest

Similarly, Conservative voters were also more likely to say that it wasn’t worth destabilizing the economy over at 19 per cent, versus three per cent of Liberals and seven per cent of NDP voters surveyed. Meanwhile, Green Party voters were the most likely to to “favour combating climate change, even if the economy slows” at 60 per cent, while 51 per cent of NDP voters, 47 per cent of Liberal voters and 14 per cent of Conservative voters agreed.

Simpson noted there was no generational divide on these beliefs.

“Age is no longer the primary determinant of whether you’re green (not the party), but in your in your attitudes and beliefs,” he said.

“What that suggests is that there is an emerging consensus in Canada that it’s important to take action to help stop our impact on on climate change.”

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That growing consensus could be attributed to the country’s spate of extreme weather.

Eighty-four per cent of Canadians surveyed agreed the “extended heat warnings, drought and wildfires” this year were more cause for alarm than they were five years ago while 77 per cent said it made them more concerned about climate change.

This could also be because more Canadians are being impacted by climate change this year. Sixty-six per cent of Canadians surveyed said they were directly affected by extreme weather this year, and 81 per cent said they felt like their government should provide those who have been directly impacted with more support.

The sentiment was felt highest among respondents in British Columbia, who dealt with record-breaking heat waves and poor air quality throughout much of the summer. The province was followed closely by respondents who live in Quebec and are facing high temperatures and scorching conditions not seen since the year 1916.

“You look out the window, you walk outside, you’re seeing funny sun because you know there’s smoke in the air,” Simpson said. “That creates a sense of urgency.”

Click to play video: 'The Impact of Climate Change on Atlantic Canada'

The Impact of Climate Change on Atlantic Canada

The Impact of Climate Change on Atlantic Canada – Aug 11, 2021

Those surveyed in Ontario and Alberta were least likely to agree that it was more of a concern that it was five years ago, that it made them more concerned about climate change or that climate change directly impacted them.

“Alberta is always the least likely to to say that climate change is urgent. It’s not that they don’t believe it. It just means that maybe those economic considerations are a little bit more important for for Albertans,” Simpson said.

He added that Ontario was one of the hardest hit provinces throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, which could shift their priorities.

“The economy may be more top of mind for Ontarians than it is elsewhere,” Simpson noted.

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He added that the conversation about climate change has shifted since the last election.

Only 27 per cent of Canadians surveyed agreed that climate change activists are “overreacting.” This is down five points from 2019. In contrast, there is a growing number of Canadians who believe that Canada contributes little to the world’s pollution at 34 per cent, up seven points from 2019.

While Canadians have made it clear that climate change needs to be addressed, there is also a growing number that believe it may be too late to reverse its effects.

Forty-nine per cent of Canadians surveyed — up eight points from 2019 — said they believed there was no way to “significantly reduce carbon emissions” within the next ten years, no matter how hard anyone tried.

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B.C. wildfire smoke socks in Alberta again; Calgary with second-smokiest summer on record

B.C. wildfire smoke socks in Alberta again; Calgary with second-smokiest summer on record – Aug 16, 2021

According to the poll, 74 per cent of Canadians surveyed agreed that “Canada has an obligation to lead on climate change globally.” This was highest among Bloc Quebecois and Liberal voters, and true for most respondents, regardless of party affiliate — with the exception of those who said they would vote People’s Party of Canada.

“In a sense, the People’s Party is is a hodge-podge of maybe contrarians, maybe climate change deniers,” Simpson said.

“But, of course, they only represent about two per cent of the population at this point in time, so I don’t think they’ll have a big impact on the outcome of the election.”

A sample of n = 1,500 was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources, and respondents earn a nominal incentive for their participation. Quotas and weighting were employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos polls which include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canadian dollar falls as Canadian data shows economic momentum easing



Canadian dollar

The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Thursday as the greenback notched broad-based gains and investors weighed domestic data showing some weakening in activity.

The loonie was trading 0.3% lower at 1.2675 to the greenback, or 78.90 U.S. cents, after moving in a range of 1.2616 to 1.2698.

Canadian wholesale trade fell by 2.1% in July from June, the biggest decline since April last year, and housing starts were down 3.9% in August compared with the previous month.

“Momentum (in housing starts) has been moderating after unprecedented strength earlier in the year,” Shelly Kaushik, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.

Foreign investors are growing more worried that Canada‘s federal election on Monday could result in a deadlock that hampers Ottawa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and further slows the economic recovery from the crisis.

The U.S. dollar climbed to a near 3-week high against a basket of currencies after data showing U.S. retail sales unexpectedly increased in August.

The data could ease some concerns about a sharp slowdown in the U.S. economy, ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting next week.

U.S. crude prices were unchanged at $72.61 a barrel as the threat to U.S. Gulf production from Hurricane Nicholas receded. Oil is one of Canada‘s major exports.

Canadian government bond yields were higher across the curve. The 10-year touched its highest since Aug. 12 at 1.272% before pulling back to 1.231%, up 1.2 basis points on the day.


(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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New Zealand's Economy Was Humming Prior to Delta Lockdown – BNN



(Bloomberg) — New Zealand’s economy was expanding at a rapid pace before a nationwide lockdown interrupted its momentum, latest data show. 

Gross domestic product climbed 2.8% in the second quarter after jumping 1.4% in the first, Statistics New Zealand said Thursday in Wellington. Economists forecast a 1.1% gain. From a year earlier, when the country was in its initial pandemic lockdown, the economy expanded 17.4% against expectations of 16.1% growth.

Today’s report will do nothing to dissuade the central bank from raising interest rates at its next meeting on Oct. 6 as it frets about mounting inflation pressures. While a contraction is expected in the current quarter after an outbreak of the delta strain of coronavirus prompted a three-week national lockdown, last year’s experience shows that demand quickly bounces back when restrictions are lifted. 

The New Zealand dollar rose on the data. It bought 71.29 U.S. cents at 10:47 a.m. in Wellington, up from 71.2 cents beforehand.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Global economy projected to show fastest growth in 50 years – UN News



In its new report released on Wednesday, the agency said that the rebound was highly uneven along regional, sectoral and income lines, however.  

During 2022, UNCTAD expects global growth to slow to 3.6 per cent, leaving world income levels trailing some 3.7 per cent below the pre-pandemic trend line. 

The report also warns that growth deceleration could be bigger than expected, if policymakers lose their nerve or answer what it regards as misguided calls for a return to deregulation and austerity. 

Two women check industrial looms in a rug factory in Mongolia. International rules and practices have locked developing countries into pre-pandemic responses

Differences in growth 

The report says that, while the response saw an end to public spending constraints in many developed countries, international rules and practices have locked developing countries into pre-pandemic responses, and a semi-permanent state of economic stress. 

Many countries in the South have been hit much harder than during the global financial crisis. With a heavy debt burden, they also have less room for maneuvering their way out through public spending. 

Lack of monetary autonomy and access to vaccines are also holding many developing economies back, widening the gulf with advanced economies and threatening to usher in another “lost decade”. 

“These widening gaps, both domestic and international, are a reminder that underlying conditions, if left in place, will make resilience and growth luxuries enjoyed by fewer and fewer privileged people,” said Rebeca Grynspan, the secretary-general of UNCTAD. 

“Without bolder policies that reflect reinvigorated multilateralism, the post-pandemic recovery will lack equity, and fail to meet the challenges of our time.” 

Lessons of the pandemic 

UNCTAD includes several proposals in the report that are drawn from the lessons of the pandemic. 

They include concerted debt relief and even cancellation in some cases, a reassessment of fiscal policy, greater policy coordination and strong support for developing countries in vaccine deployment. 

Women sell fruit and vegetables on a sidewalk in the Philippines, where workers in the informal economy are in danger of having their livelihoods destroyed by the impacts of COVID-19.

ILO/Minette Rimando.

Women sell fruit and vegetables on a sidewalk in the Philippines, where workers in the informal economy are in danger of having their livelihoods destroyed by the impacts of COVID-19.

Even without significant setbacks, global output will only resume its 2016-19 trend by 2030. But even before COVID-19, the income growth trend was unsatisfactory, says UNCTAD. Average annual global growth in the decade after the global financial crisis was the slowest since 1945. 

Despite a decade of massive monetary injections from leading central banks, since the 2008-9 crash, inflation targets have been missed. Even with the current strong recovery in advanced economies, there is no sign of a sustained rise in prices. 

After decades of a declining wage share, real wages in advanced countries need to rise well above productivity for a long time before a better balance between wages and profits is achieved again, according to the trade and development body’s analysis. 

Food prices and global trade 

Despite current trends on inflation, UNCTAD believes the rise in food prices could pose a serious threat to vulnerable populations in the South, already financially weakened by the health crisis. 

Globally, international trade in goods and services has recovered, after a drop of 5.6 per cent in 2020. The downturn proved less severe than had been anticipated, as trade flows in the latter part of 2020 rebounded almost as strongly as they had fallen earlier. 

Lack of monetary autonomy and access to vaccines are also holding many developing economies back

Lack of monetary autonomy and access to vaccines are also holding many developing economies back, by ILO/K.B. Mpofu

The report’s modelling projections point to real growth of global trade in goods and services of 9.5 per cent in 2021. Still, the consequences of the crisis will continue to weigh on the trade performance in the years ahead. 

For director of UNCTAD’s globalization and development strategies division, Richard Kozul-Wright, “the pandemic has created an opportunity to rethink the core principles of international economic governance, a chance that was missed after the global financial crisis.” 

“In less than a year, wide-ranging US policy initiatives in the United States have begun to effect concrete change in the case of infrastructure spending and expanded social protection, financed through more progressive taxation. The next logical step is to take this approach to the multilateral level.” 

The report highlights a “possibility of a renewal of multilateralism”, pointing to the United States support of a new special drawing rights (SDR) allocation, global minimum corporate taxation, and a waiver of vaccine-related intellectual property rights.  

UNCTAD warns, though, that these proposals “will need much stronger backing from other advanced economies and the inclusion of developing country voices if the world is to tackle the excesses of hyperglobalization and the deepening environmental crisis in a timely manner.” 

For the UN agency, the biggest risk for the global economy is that “a rebound in the North will divert attention from long-needed reforms without which developing countries will remain in a weak and vulnerable position.”

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