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Trucking is a huge part of Peel's economy; how can its toll on the climate be reduced? – The Pointer

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Peel is in a tug-of-war with one of its most important sectors—the trucking industry. The region relies on a robust logistics sector to support its local economy. Almost half the region’s jobs are connected to the sector and the movement of goods contributes $49 million annually to Peel’s gross domestic product with about $1.8 billion of goods traversing its highways and roads each day. 

But Peel has also committed to mitigating its climate footprint, and while a vitally important industry, trucking is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF), a non-profit organization set up by the City of Toronto in 1991 to help finance climate action, studies carbon emissions across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

Data from TAF show that throughout 2019 and 2020, Peel emitted 10 megatonnes of carbon, the second highest amount next to Toronto at 13.2 megatonnes.

A dramatic shift away from dirty transportation is needed if the world is to limit global warming below cataclysmic thresholds. So how can Peel continue to support a vital piece of its economy—that is a significant greenhouse gas contributor—while also reaching its own climate targets?

Is an economic shift in Peel’s future? Not likely.

But if solutions aren’t found, risks could upend the industry.

Earlier this year, Peel’s Regional Audit and Risk Committee received a report from staff detailing how climate change is impacting the goods movement sector across the region.

The findings are damning and showcase a multitude of vulnerable areas in the transportation network across Ontario. If the planet warms to the irreversible two degrees above pre-industrial levels—widely viewed by experts as a point of no return for devastating climate impacts—keeping the industry going will be costly.

Done in collaboration with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the University of Waterloo’s Terrametrics Research Lab, the study reviewed key climate hazards and how they will impact the movement of goods. The study did not focus just on trucking, but incorporated goods movement through the Pearson International Airport and along the Canadian National (CN) Railway Company lines as well.

The study relied on evidence from past environmental disasters in Peel to inform its findings.

The first natural disaster mentioned was the 2013 rain storm which flooded most of Peel, Toronto and cost $1 billion in damages according to the Insurance Board of Canada. Not only did it disrupt the trucking industry, it stranded people on GO Transit, overwhelmed stormwater systems and left widespread property damage. Another flood in 2018 cost a further $80 million and once again the Region saw a domino effect across the supply chain.

Not only does the study believe these sorts of weather events will continue, researchers also found continuous flooding has impacts beyond those caused by the initial flood.

“Another problem expected to arise due to increased flooding is the subsequent increase in erosion,” the review reads. “Erosion caused by floods affects both the underlying soil structure and built infrastructure designed to meet specified ranges in the underlying ground conditions.”

The report explains further investigation is needed in Peel to understand if the stormwater management system can withstand the projected increases in precipitation.

The Region of Peel Official Plan finalized in April 2022 set out to define roadways networks most important to the movement of goods.

(Region of Peel)

Roadways are also unique because of the expensive pavement surface and the ongoing budget requirements to maintain them. Despite being used everywhere, asphalt does not hold up well under the elements. Any driver is familiar with the sickening thud that can come from striking a pothole. These potholes are often created by the freeze and thaw of the pavement which cracks the surface. Freeze-thaw cycles are becoming more common with the changing climate, and the degradation to ground-related infrastructure is expected to get worse.

When water seeps underneath pavement or train tracks it is malleable, when it freezes it becomes hard, creating cracks. According to a City of Mississauga press release in March, the municipality had seen a 75 percent increase in the number of potholes in 2022 compared to the previous year.

One idea to reduce the reliance on highway infrastructure is a shift within the goods movement sector to the province’s rail network. But similar to roadways, railways come with their own set of vulnerabilities in a warming climate.

The train network in Ontario is small, and one disruption to a portion of track would trigger a chain reaction causing delays down the line.

“The rail system has a set of interconnecting components that lend themselves to failure much more easily than roads which may have alternative paths to ensure continuous operations,” the study explains.

Regional Councillor Annette Groves told The Pointer in order to relieve stress on local roadways, Peel should be investing in existing thoroughfares that are important to the sector. She pointed to Highway 407, the vastly underused toll road that bisects the region.

“Give the truckers a couple of lanes on there at no cost so that they can move their goods to market, because goods need to get to market today, not 10 years from now, not 15 years from now.”

According to researchers, extreme heat days and higher than usual temperatures will be widely felt across all transportation systems. Along with creating an increased demand for cooling systems on trucks carrying things like food or medicine, the hotter temperatures will negatively impact those forced to step out and work in these extreme temperatures.

Hotter days have dire impacts on human health and the well-being of employees. The consequences would be seen in sectors requiring outdoor work such as loading/unloading cargo, maintenance to infrastructure and trucks and airport activity. This warming is already being felt in Peel where data from the Credit Valley Conservation Authority found that since 1940 the region has been warming at twice the rate of the global average. 

The City of Mississauga estimates each pothole takes about 20 minutes to fill.

(City of Mississauga)

According to the Audit and Risk study, heat days—which can lead to lost work hours—are particularly a concern for rail networks, since buckling of tracks in summer months is expected along with issues of equipment malfunction in higher temperatures.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has produced various reports referenced often throughout the study. The United Nations panel has released damning scientific studies in recent years detailing the consequences that will befall the planet should a lack of climate mitigation continue. One theme throughout the IPCC’s reports raises the issue of more extreme and compounding events.

Instances of mass weather changes, increasing deadly storms — like the one seen a few weeks ago that killed a person in Brampton — tornadoes and extreme heat and cold snaps are expected to become more frequent.

“Drawing on an examination of projected weather patterns, it is likely that the Peel Region will experience similar intensifying concurrent weather patterns leading to the need for preplanning for critical services to residents and services,” the report warns.

If solutions to mitigating climate change are not found, Peel will have costly, potentially deadly disruptions in the future.

“The impact of a single event in one aspect of the system can result in cascading impacts on the overall stability and predictability of the region’s economy,” the report’s authors wrote.

The Region’s director of the Office of Climate Change and Energy Management made it clear at a council meeting that if Peel wants to accomplish the goal of reducing GHG emissions by 45 percent below 2010 levels, an acceleration of work and further funding is needed. 

“The planet is now on a dangerous trajectory of warming. The Region of Peel is not immune,” Christine Tu said. “Act now, be bold.”

Peel’s Climate Change Action plan is 50 pages of ideas on how to reduce its corporate carbon footprint, this includes any buildings, systems, vehicles and organizational groups the Region directly oversees. According to the plan, buildings, water and wastewater and employee commuting create the most GHG emissions for Peel. Since the municipalities under the Region have public transit systems, their carbon emissions for Peel are not included in the breakdown.

The transport industry is largely the responsibility of the province which is supposed to take ownership of the increasing GHG emissions.

Statistics Canada says Ontario’s largest carbon emitting industry is the transportation sector with 36 percent of total emissions, followed by buildings at 17 percent. This contributed to a 2019 total of 163 megatonnes of carbon emitted in the atmosphere. According to Canada-wide data, Ontario is the second largest emitter of carbon in the country following Alberta. 

The Ontario government website explains a decrease can be seen from 2000 to 2015 in total carbon emissions with transportation emissions staying consistent.

(Province of Ontario)

What Peel does oversee is the planning on where and how the Region will grow. Land-use policies are one of the most valuable tools in shaping a municipality’s future. In April, Peel councillors voted to open almost 11,000 acres of greenfield lands to expand the urban boundary. Some of the discussions surrounding the expansion hinted at the idea of Caledon becoming a freight village.

In 2018 Caledon Mayor Allan Thompson made a comment in an interview to Business View magazine on his aspirations for Caledon to become a “freight village.” These words have haunted the Mayor who initially walked back the comment.

But actions speak louder than words.

Since his election in 2018, Thompson has been pushing to expand Caledon’s trucking industry, create more warehouses and zone land as employment. This can be seen in the multiple Minister’s Zoning Orders (MZO) the Town Council has asked for, allowing farmland to be paved over. When Peel was passing its Official Plan (OP) until 2051, Thompson tried to force a motion at the last minute allowing Caledon to increase the amount of employment land within the OP.

It was not on the public agenda during the meeting and would have opened up huge swaths of land around Bolton and north of Mayfield Road for development, mirroring the proposed Highway 413, another project Thompson has aggressively pushed, to help create his “freight village”.

His close council ally, Jennifer Innis, has supported the same initiatives and is vying to become Caledon’s next mayor, after Thompson steps down later this year.

But her main rival for the job has a different vision.

“I don’t support a freight village. I don’t believe that a freight village is a good fit with what we want to do with respect to climate change and the climate change action plan that we have,” Groves, who is also running to become Caledon’s mayor, told The Pointer. “I don’t know what a freight village would look like.”

A balance is needed to keep a valuable industry alive while also minimizing the impacts it has on the environment. As Peel and the world barrel toward human activities that will speed up climate change, industries are still figuring out how to adapt.

Similar to electric vehicles (EVs), the largest industrial sized green “big rigs” are hitting the market. An article from Autoweek describes the lengths at which manufacturing companies are going to ensure carbon pollution is limited. The piece explains how various large truck manufacturing companies like MAN and Scania with car companies like Volvo and Tesla are introducing electric technology into commercial transport trucks. The difficulties of switching over the industry as a whole is around the available technology for batteries to withstand long distances and pull thousands of pounds of goods.

Freightliner’s eCascadia vehicle has a travel range of 250 miles with two or three times the cost. Since these trucks travel much farther than average family vehicles, companies are unsure how they will hold up over time. Charging infrastructure along trucking routes is also scarcely available.

“There’s got to be a way to do this and to do it right,” Groves said. “I’ll be honest, I don’t have those answers. But I think that if we put our heads together, along with the industry, we can come up with some very good solutions.”


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @taasha__15  


COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you

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Economy

JobsOhio and the long-term, innovative revitalization of a state's economy – McKinsey

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October 6, 2022Ohio’s economy, like so many in the Midwest and elsewhere, was struggling after the Great Recession. With the evisceration of manufacturing jobs, it needed a major transformation.

In 2011, the state had a novel idea. Using profits from the beverage industry, Ohio formed a new entity—a first-of-its-kind, state-authorized non-profit—to stimulate economic growth through new industries: JobsOhio. Over the next decade, the state saw nearly one million jobs created or protected.

McKinsey was a key early partner, helping develop JobsOhio’s growth plan that identified ten sectors with opportunities for employment, such as aerospace and aviation, healthcare, logistics and distribution, technology, and financial services. Since 2001, Ohio had lost over 230,000 jobs in these sectors and ranked 47th out of all 50 states in growth. By 2017, it was 23rd and had added $30 billion in payroll.

The state’s job creation was its best ever, but JobsOhio wanted to ensure its strategy would be effective going forward. In 2018, the initiative asked McKinsey to issue a report evaluating its performance.

“JobsOhio was in a class by itself in terms of economic development organizations as far as dollars per job, attracting companies, capital investments, and more,” says Ben Safran, a partner at McKinsey who worked on the report. “But we also found it needed to address approaching headwinds in the broader macro economy.”

Brendan Buescher, a McKinsey senior partner based in Cleveland, says the findings encouraged JobsOhio to think locally.

“They were certainly performing well against comparable organizations,” says Brendan, “but we urged them to measure success against the needs of Ohioans.”

The report helped shape JobsOhio’s 2.0 strategy, which expanded its industry-focus to include a new emphasis on workforce, innovation, infrastructure and investment throughout the state. From this, JobsOhio developed Innovation Districts in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati; these multi-organization partnerships have created 60,000 jobs and established Ohio as a global leader in healthcare, life sciences, and technology in these three regions.

As the new strategy was getting off the ground, COVID-19 rocked the state’s economy. Partnering with McKinsey again, JobsOhio quickly created a strategy for the pandemic economy, leading to the launch of Ohio to Work. Designed for displaced workers, Ohio to Work offered skills assessments, career coaching, virtual career fairs, and connection with employers who had signed on to interview or hire workers from the program.

Specifically, McKinsey helped JobsOhio develop a unique program for reskilling and upskilling for higher-tech jobs: JobsOhio paid for tuition costs for technical degrees, and enrollees gradually repaid JobsOhio through a marginal percentage of their income—if they got a job that paid a good wage. Those repaid funds are not kept by JobsOhio; instead, the organization invests them in the next cohort. The program has been a success. Its funds have continued to replenish because of the high employment rate of participants.

“With this strategy, not only is Ohio coming back strong from COVID-19, but Ohioans have the opportunity to pursue new careers they might have never thought possible,” says Ben. “A woman who had been a back-office worker and lost her job is now a nurse assistant—a whole new, stable career that feels like a calling. There are many powerful stories like this.”

As we have worked to improve the lives of all Ohioans, we’ve valued McKinsey’s partnership over the last several years. Their data-driven approach combined with creative thinking led to solutions that fit the unique needs of our state—and supported our success in creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.


JP Nauseef, JobsOhio President & CEO

Most recently, the decade of growth and economic investment in Ohio helped attract a new investment from Intel, which announced earlier this year that it would be opening a new chip manufacturing plant in Central Ohio. This huge project is the largest single private-sector company investment in the state. It will create 3,000 new jobs at the plant with an average salary of $135,000.

“As we have worked to improve the lives of all Ohioans, we’ve valued McKinsey’s partnership over the last several years,” says JP Nauseef, president & CEO of JobsOhio. “Their data-driven approach combined with creative thinking led to solutions that fit the unique needs of our state—and supported our success in creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.”

The turnaround of the state’s jobs growth, Ben adds, suggests a potential way forward for other challenging situations. “Their success has been a paradigm shift,” says Ben Safran. “They are a model for growth in a changing economy.”

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IMF chief sees ‘darkening’ outlook for global economy – Al Jazeera English

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will next week downgrade its forecast for 2.9 percent global growth in 2023, Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday, citing rising risks of recession and financial instability.

Georgieva said the outlook for the global economy was “darkening” given the shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and climate disasters on all continents, and it could well get worse.

“We are experiencing a fundamental shift in the global economy, from a world of relative predictability … to a world with more fragility — greater uncertainty, higher economic volatility, geopolitical confrontations, and more frequent and devastating natural disasters,” she said in a speech at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Georgieva said the old order, characterised by adherence to global rules, low interest rates and low inflation, was giving way to one in which “any country can be thrown off course more easily and more often.”

She said all of the world’s largest economies — China, the United States and Europe — were now slowing down, which was dampening demand for exports from emerging and developing countries, already hit hard by high food and energy prices.

The IMF would lower its 2023 growth forecast from 2.9 percent, its fourth downward revision this year, when it releases its World Economic Outlook next week, she said. The global lender would leave its current forecast for 3.2 percent growth in 2022 unchanged, she said and gave no number for the new 2023 forecast.

The war in Ukraine and global economic risks will dominate next week’s annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank in Washington, DC, which bring together finance ministers and central bankers from around the world.

The IMF estimates countries accounting for about one-third of the world economy will see at least two consecutive quarters of contraction this year or next, Georgieva said.

“And, even when growth is positive, it will feel like a recession because of shrinking real incomes and rising prices,” she said.

Overall, the IMF expects global output to shrink by $4 trillion between now and 2026. That is roughly the size of the German economy and amounts to a “massive setback,” she added.

Global divisions

Georgieva said the division of the global economy into blocs that are either supporting Russia, opposing it, or “sitting on the bench” following its invasion of Ukraine would wind up reducing important efficiencies and hurting poor people the most.

“We cannot afford the world to break apart,” she said. “If we go to a point where we cut off parts of the world from each other, it will be the poor in rich countries and it will be the poor countries that will bear the brunt of the impact of it.”

Uncertainty remained high and more economic shocks were possible, she said, warning that high debt levels and liquidity concerns could amplify the rapid and disorderly repricing of assets on financial markets.

Georgieva said inflation remained stubbornly high, but central banks should continue to respond decisively, even if the economy slowed down.

A customer shops in a grocery store during a power cut in Beirut, Lebanon
Inflation is stubbornly high, but central banks should continue to respond decisively, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday[File: Francesca Volpi/Bloomberg]

She told CNBC in an interview that US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell was walking a “very, very narrow” path in shaping monetary policy, but the IMF expected interest rates to be “somewhere in the 4 percent territory” in 2022 and 2023.

“If he doesn’t tighten enough, inflation may de-anchor. If he tightens too much, there could be a recession. So Jay Powell is doing his best to watch the parameters in the economy to calibrate what he does, and I trust that he will make the right call,” she said.

Fiscal measures adopted in response to high energy prices should be targeted and temporary, she said in the speech.

“In other words, while monetary policy is hitting the brakes, you shouldn’t have a fiscal policy that is stepping on the accelerator. This would make for a very rough and dangerous ride.”

The United Kingdom this week reversed plans to cut taxes for the richest, which had sparked market turmoil and a sharp rebuke from the IMF, that warned the country’s financial plans risked increasing inequality and were at cross purposes with tightening monetary policy.

Asked on CNBC about the IMF’s criticism of UK policy, Georgieva said, “This is a message we convey to everybody.”

Georgieva urged greater support for emerging markets and developing countries, noting that high interest rates in advanced economies and the strong dollar had triggered capital outflows. The probability of portfolio outflows had risen to 40 percent.

She also called on China and private creditors — who hold the lion’s share of global debt — to address the risk of a widening debt crisis in emerging markets.

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IMF chief issues gloomy assessment of global economy

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The global economy will feel like it is in recession next year, the head of the IMF warned on Thursday, as the fund prepared to downgrade its economic forecasts again.

Speaking ahead of the annual meetings of the fund and the World Bank, Kristalina Georgieva said a third of the world’s economy would suffer at least two quarters of economic contraction in 2023. Georgieva added that the combination of “shrinking real incomes and rising prices” would mean many other countries would feel like they were in recession even if they avoided outright declines in output.

The remarks signal that the IMF is set to downgrade its economic forecasts again next week, for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Blaming “multiple shocks”, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, high energy and food prices, and persistent inflationary pressures, she said growth in all of the world’s largest economies was slowing down, leaving “severe strains” in some places.

The situation was “more likely to get worse than to get better” in the short term, she said, partly because there are emerging financial stability risks in China’s property market, in sovereign debt and in illiquid assets. The near collapse of some UK pension funds last week following UK chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s announcement of £45bn worth of unfunded tax cuts has sparked concerns that low growth and higher borrowing costs will trigger market turmoil.

However, the IMF wants central banks to continue to tighten monetary policy at pace to deal with the persistence of inflationary pressures and to ensure that rising prices do not become ingrained in company attitudes to their charges and wages.

“Not tightening enough would cause inflation to become de-anchored and entrenched, which would require future interest rates to be much higher and more sustained, causing massive harm on growth and massive harm on people,” said Georgieva.

She acknowledged, however, that it would be very difficult for monetary policymakers to judge the impact of their policies when they were moving in sync with each other so quickly. Too many big rate rises could lead to a “prolonged recession”, but the risk of doing too little was at present greater, she said.

In an interview with CNBC later on Thursday, the IMF’s managing director said the task confronting the US central bank was particularly challenging and described the path chair Jay Powell has to navigate as “very narrow”.

“If he doesn’t tighten enough, inflation may de-anchor. If he tightens too much, there could be a recession,” she said, also noting the material impact that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive campaign to tighten monetary policy was having globally.

“The combination of a strong dollar and high interest rates is hitting emerging markets with weaker fundamentals and, practically across the board, low-income countries quite significantly,” Georgieva warned. That would “inevitably” cause defaults, as had already been the case for Sri Lanka and Zambia, she added.

“Both official creditors and the private sector, please come together. Face the music.”

Meanwhile, Janet Yellen, the US Treasury secretary, on Thursday implored central banks, whose “prime responsibility” is to restore price stability, to “recognise that macroeconomic tightening in advanced countries can have international spillovers”.

Without naming the UK or Germany, the managing director took a swipe at their recently announced measures to tackle high energy prices that insulated households and companies from much of the rise in prices.

The IMF has already publicly rebuked the UK government for its generous energy support and unfunded tax cuts. Georgieva’s speech showed the fund was in no mood to offer more nuanced advice ahead of the visits of finance ministers and central bankers to Washington next week.

Calling for temporary and targeted support for vulnerable families, she said that “controlling prices for an extended period of time is not affordable, nor is it effective”.

She highlighted the inflationary risks of pumping too much money into the economy to protect households at a time when central banks were raising interest rates to slow spending and return inflation to low levels.

“While monetary policy is hitting the brakes, you shouldn’t have a fiscal policy that is stepping on the accelerator. This would make for a very rough and dangerous ride,” said Georgieva.

High food prices were causing pain for households in emerging economies and unsustainable debt crisis in many countries, she added. For countries with an urgent need for food this winter, she offered a new “food shock” borrowing line, where countries could claim up to half of the money they have pledged to the IMF.

The pain in the global economy would not be permanent, she said, but a speedy resolution of the world’s economic problems would depend on co-operation, especially on food security, climate change and debt relief for the most vulnerable countries.

Also on Thursday, 140 civil society groups called on the IMF to issue at least $650bn in emergency aid through another allocation of its special drawing rights, a reserve asset.

“The great majority of the world’s countries are struggling amid multiple historic, overlapping, and generally worsening crises,” the organisations wrote in a joint letter to the multilateral lender. “The world’s wealthiest countries must act quickly to assist them.”

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