Trudeau government mum on Japan’s invitation to rejoin global timber treaty
The federal Liberal government has yet to respond to a months-old invitation from Tokyo to have Canada rejoin a global environmental organization that regulates the timber trade.
A July 2022 briefing note obtained through an access-to-information request shows that Japan has asked Ottawa to be part of the International Tropical Timber Organization.
The group works with producer and consumer countries to share knowledge about conservation practices and to promote the sale of sustainable timber.
The organization currently includes 37 exporters of timber and 38 countries that import it, including all other G7 states.
Canada was among the signatories to the 1983 treaty that originally created the organization, but Stephen Harper’s Conservative government pulled out of it in 2013.
The same year, Harper’s government also pulled Canada out of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, a move the Trudeau government reversed in 2016.
But Canada has now been absent from the timber organization for nearly a decade, during which the World Wildlife Fund has reported worsening tropical deforestation in parts of southern Africa and Peru, driven by illegal and unsustainable logging.
A briefing note prepared for International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan notes Japan’s invitation to rejoin but doesn’t specify when it was made.
“Sustainable forest products, limiting deforestation and combating illegal logging are priorities for Canada,” reads the July 2022 briefing note, prepared in advance of a call with Japan’s then-state minister of foreign affairs, Takako Suzuki.
The document recommended to Sajjan that if Suzuki made note of Tokyo’s previous invitation, he should respond that Canada “will consider rejoining” but note that Canada’s “re-entry would require a long parliamentary accession process.”
Six months later, Natural Resources Canada says it “continues to actively consider whether to rejoin the treaty” but will not elaborate on that process.
“The government strongly supports global efforts to promote sustainable forest management and halt deforestation,” spokesman Michael MacDonald wrote in an email.
“Canada left the treaty in 2013 in part because it does not have tropical forests,” MacDonald wrote — despite 38 other non-tropical countries being members of the group.
He noted that Canada has signed onto similar agreements, such as the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use.
MacDonald said Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson was not available for an interview.
The Conservatives, Bloc Québécois, NDP and Green Party did not respond to requests for comment before deadline.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2023.
Canada's economy rebounded in January in surprise 'double-barrelled blast of strength' – CBC News
Canada’s economy showed a rebound in January, with real gross domestic product growing by 0.5 per cent for the month, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
The figures came after a contraction of 0.1 per cent in December.
January’s report was better than economists had been expecting. In a note, Andrew Grantham of CIBC Economics said the January figure was above the 0.4 per cent consensus expectation of economists’ forecasts.
Statistics Canada said the main drivers of growth for the month were also the largest contributors to the December decline.
“In January, the wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sectors all rebounded from declines recorded in the previous month,” the federal agency said.
After remaining relatively flat in the second half of 2022, the accommodation and food services sector was also among the top contributors to growth in January.
Advance figures for February released at the same time by Statistics Canada indicate that the economy continued to expand that month, although the 0.3 per cent increase is less than what was seen in January.
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Douglas Porter, the chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said today’s “double-barrelled blast of strength is well above even the most optimistic views.” He said the January and February figures have BMO projecting first-quarter growth of 2.5 per cent.
Grantham said the strong growth in January, plus the surprise further advance in February, leaves overall GDP tracking at almost three per cent for the first quarter of the year, which is above the 0.5 per cent expected by the Bank of Canada.
Forecasters said the good start to 2023 economically could impact the central bank’s path on interest rates. Earlier this month, the Bank of Canada left its key interest rate target unchanged at 4.5 per cent. It was the first time the central bank kept its key policy rate on hold since it began raising it last year in an effort to cool rising prices.
“Suffice it to say that if the strength seen in the opening months of the year persists, the [Bank of Canada] is going to find itself in a tough spot,” Porter said.
Canada saw economic growth resume in January following small contraction – Global News
Statistics Canada says economic growth resumed in January following a small contraction in December.
The agency says real gross domestic product rose 0.5 per cent to start the year after contracting 0.1 per cent in the final month of 2022.
It also says that its initial estimate for February indicates growth continued with a gain of 0.3 per cent, though it cautioned the figure will be updated.
For January, the growth came as the wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, and mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sectors all rebounded after falling in December.
Wholesale trade gained 1.8 per cent in January, helped by wholesalers of machinery, equipment and supplies, while the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector grew 1.1 per cent after falling 3.3 per cent in December.
The transportation and warehousing sector added 1.9 per cent in January, more than offsetting a drop of 1.1 per cent in December that was due in part to bad weather.
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Canada’s Climate Crisis: An In-Depth Look at the Current State and What’s Being Done to Combat It
Canada’s annual average temperature increased by 1.9C from 1948 to 2021. According to the Government of Canada, northern regions exhibited an increase in annual mean temperature three times over the global mean warming rate.
Climate change affects food security, biological diversity, and people’s health. Many believe that Canada’s dealing with a climate crisis and wondering what’s been done to combat it. Here’s a quick overview of the current situation and the plans the government has available to tackle this problem.
What’s the Current Climate Situation in Canada?
According to the last update from the Climate Action Tracker, the action taken by Canada has been rated as “highly insufficient.” That means the country isn’t in line with the global agreement made in Paris to stick to the 1.5C limit.
Furthermore, CAT experts believe the emission reduction target by 2030 is only enough to be in line with a 4C warming. They warn that Canada should strengthen their climate policies and targets while offering more support to others to reach set goals.
Canada’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan
The plan for reducing emissions by 2030 was adopted in March 2022, and the government itself describes it as achievable but ambitious. The idea is to lower emissions in 2030 by 40% when compared to 2005. It’s worth noting that Canada has a plan to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
According to this plan, the country will invest over $9 billion to promote pollution-cutting effects. The strategy includes:
- Improving electric vehicle infrastructure. People who want to purchase ZEVs (zero-emission vehicles) can hope for financial support.
- Greening buildings and homes. The idea is to adopt revised building codes that are in line with the environmental goals.
- Clean energy projects. These include investing in solar and wind power, electricity, and other projects.
- Reduce gas and oil emissions. It seems to be the most ambitious part of the plan, especially since Canada keeps supporting the Trans Mounting pipeline and exporting LNG to Europe.
Some other details include empowering farmers to implement sustainable practices and communities to launch climate action projects.
What Can You Do to Help with Climate Change?
Collective action is important to restrict climate change, and some suggestions for individuals include the following:
- Consider how you travel. Use public transport or walk when possible. If you are heading to far destinations, consider not taking frequent long-distance flights. For example, if you want to go to Vegas to enjoy casino games, consider playing online roulette while at home, which can provide immersive fun while reducing your carbon footprint.
- Use LED lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances. Many modern appliances come with an energy efficiency rating.
- Eat veggies to reduce a carbon footprint. It takes less energy and greenhouse gas emissions to produce vegetables. Apart from lowering your carbon footprint, this is a healthy diet that could help you lose pounds and manage weight.
- Focus on reusing and recycling items. Consider shopping for second-hand clothes and not purchasing anything you don’t absolutely need. Consider donating the items you don’t need anymore, and make sure to recycle those that you throw away properly.
A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy
The federal authorities adopted this long-term plan in 2020, and its goal is to secure a future with a healthier environment and economy. The main principles of this plan include the following:
- Making energy-efficient structures more affordable. The idea is to make locations where Canadians live easier to purchase, maintain, and upgrade while ensuring houses and buildings energy-efficient.
- Affordable and eco-friendly transportation. From clean electricity supply to ZEVs and other details, the idea is to reduce congestion while making communities healthier.
- Carbon pollution pricing. The idea is for pollution to be pricey but ensure that the households get back more than they pay.
- Achieving a clean industrial advantage. The country aims to focus on “Made in Canada” services and products with low carbon footprints.
- Embrace the power of nature. Restoring and conserving natural spaces while planting billions of trees is another way to reduce pollution and fight climate change.
The government has released the final National Adaptation Strategy for comments. It’s the first strategy of this type that was designed by working with Indigenous People, municipal, territorial, and provincial authorities, as well as other relevant platforms. The idea is to design shared priorities and unite everyone across Canada to take joint action to decrease climate change risks.
Scientists are racing to find the most effective climate change solutions, with the potential options leaving them divided. However, they agree on one thing – it’s necessary to take strong action in the soonest possible timeframe.
Canada has already adopted a climate change action plan, and the only question is if it’s aggressive enough. It remains to be seen whether some changes to the strategy will be made in order to reach the long-term goals of dealing with the climate crisis.
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