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Category Archives: Resource Based Economy

Trudeau to destroy another resource industry in the west but to the chagrin of the Feds Alberta could benefit – Brooks Bulletin

Posted: January 18, 2020 at 10:35 am

Albertans are used to being singled out by the Trudeau government as a target to destroy our resource-based economy. But we are not alone, in a mandate letter to the new federal Fisheries Minister he commanded the Minister to work with BC and Indigenous communities to create a responsible plan to transition from open-net salmon farming in coastal BC waters by 2025. That would be the same transition word Liberals use about phasing out the oilsands. That mandate caused an immediate uproar in the BC fish farming industry including First Nations involved in that business who see the termination of their industry. The delusion promoted by anti-open net salmon farming activists and political parties is that the entire industry can just be moved onto land-based containment rearing systems. Like with the delusion of creating hundreds of thousands of green jobs in Alberta to replace our energy industry that level of wilful ignorance is truly astounding. The BC salmon farming industry involves 7,000 jobs and $1.2 billion in annual business mainly based in remote locations on Vancouver Island. There is only one reason why the industry is based there because open-net farms require sheltered sea water locations for low-cost salmon production. If they are no longer allowed to operate in that way, commercial fish farming companies will just close down and move or expand their salmon operations in other parts of the world. As to land-based total containment fish farming operations, there is no economic rationale in building such expensive facilities on Vancouver Island. Trucking fish food a thousand miles to a remote island land operation just to truck out harvested salmon thousands of miles to markets is a sure-fire recipe for bankruptcy the ferries alone would be a massive burden in costs and time lost. A modest prototype total land-based operation on Vancouver Island has consistently lost money despite receiving $10 million in government grants. The reality is without low-cost open net fish farming the industry is not viable anywhere on the BC coast. The BC government probably understands that eliminating open-net fish farming will be the demise of industry and the loss of jobs in remote coastal areas. They probably also understand that if land-based salmon farming operations are to be successful they will need vast economies of scale, be close to a large source of fish food, and be within reasonable trucking distance to major north American markets. I would suggest that any commercial entity contemplating a vast land-based operation would quickly realize that faraway coastal BC would be the last location on their list. Interestingly, southern Alberta would rank high on the list for a major world-class land-based containment salmon-farming operation. Heres why fish food is a major production cost and due to their carnivorous nature, salmon require some fish oil and fish meal in their fattening diet. Those ingredients were usually available in coastal fishing areas. But Cargill, an animal feed processing company, has developed a strain of Canola that supplies the exact omega oil and meal nutrient requirements as original rendered fish products. That variety of fish food Canola is being grown for Cargill right next door in Montana. No need to haul that feed a thousand miles and ferry rides to remote BC coastal sites if commercial fish farming operations were in southern Alberta. Transportation logistics are also well-developed in southern Alberta thousands of trucks and railcars already transport millions of tons of beef, pork and other food products from Alberta to every part of north America. But there is more.Can you imagine the regulatory and environmental protocol nightmare the BC government and its green group allies would inflict on any commercial sized land-based containment operation proposal. Its not the same, but Alberta already has long experience with commercial intensive meat production with cattle feedlot production and beef processing. Those regulatory, environmental and management processes are a precedent for industrialized fish (feedlot-type) farming. We also have the land, water and low-cost utilities. Heck with all the solar and wind power, Alberta could produce the most sustainable salmon in the world. I would suggest if they are already not doing so the Alberta government in its diversification goals might want to seriously study the potential of salmon feedlot-type farming in Alberta. Providing the right type of incentives might allow Alberta to steal-away a billion-dollar industry from those self-righteous folks in BC. How satisfying that would be. More devious Federal fish policy next time. Will Verboven is an ag opinion writer and ag policy consultant.

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Bringing Consensus Politics Back to Environmental Issues – State of the Planet

Posted: at 10:35 am

The surest sign that environmental protection has moved into the political mainstream around here is Andrew Cuomos now constant articulation of environmental initiatives in New York State. New Yorks Governor has been a politico since he was a teenager working in his fathers political campaigns. Political calculation is hardwired into his approach to governance. In his recent State of the State Address, he announced a $3 billion-dollar environmental bond act that is designed in large measure to help New York adapt to climate change. In addition, Cuomo is investing substantial state resources in a multi-decade effort to modernize and decarbonize the states energy system.

Meanwhile, in our nations capital, our amateur politician President Donald Trump is continuing to claim that human-induced climate change is a hoax and is busy reducing the rigor of any environmental regulation that lobbyists can put in front of him. His goal is to promote the use of fossil fuels. He attacks wind energy, energy conservation and water conservation policy while promoting pipelines, coal mines and the fossil fuels he sees as central to a muscular American economy. He is convinced that environmental regulation prevents businesses from creating jobs. His view of this is stuck in a time warp dating to about 1980 that does not recognize the vigor and market strength of the growing green economy. He also seems willing to ignore the broad American consensus supporting environmental sustainability.

The politics that underlie all of this are obvious. As always, Trumps main political concern is his base. According to a March 2019 Gallup poll, six in ten Americans want to see America reduce its use of fossil fuels, but 58% of all Republicans oppose reductions in fossil fuel use. Significantly, there is an American consensus behind developing renewable energy: 80% of the country favors more development of solar energy and 70% would like to see more wind energy. The presidents recent rant against windmills might reduce support for wind energy by his hard-core supporters, but the country as a whole supports renewable energy.

One target of the Trump Administrations attack on environmental regulation has been the time and cost of analyzing and mitigating the environmental impact of products and projects. The attack on the amount of time major projects are delayed by environmental impact analyses has some basis in reality, although data indicates that most major infrastructure projects are delayed by inadequate financing rather than regulatory roadblocks. If the money is in place to build something it tends to get built. The exception is projects like pipelines that take on symbolic meaning and are opposed for their overall impact on environmental quality. Anti-development efforts are often based on Not in My Backyard (NIMBY) issues raised by those in or near the path of development. These are sometimes based on environmental issues but are just as often based on a conservative impulse to protect what we have and leave things unchanged.

What is missing from all of this is an understanding of the long-term impact of an environmentally damaging product or project and the long-term cost of addressing those impacts. All the poisons we have released into the environment must eventually be contained or cleaned up, and those that we miss often result in health care costs from cancers and diseases caused by toxic substances. The U.S. has spent close to a trillion dollars on toxic waste clean-up since we enacted Superfund in 1980. The military spent hundreds of billions of dollars cleaning up their mess, and the private sector has spent a small fortune making sure that the worst mistakes of toxic mismanagement were remedied. We learned that burying toxic chemicals underground in metal containers didnt work because of a simple phenomenon called rust. And once these chemicals leach into the soil, they eventually reach aquifers and can poison our water and food supply.

Some projects that are delayed or stopped due to anti-development or pro-environment impulses cause short-term pain but long-term gain. A wonderful example was the effort to replace the West Side Highway in New York City with an interstate highway. Had that happened there never would have been a Hudson River Park and the Highline and development of the far west side of Manhattan would have never taken place. Visual and recreational access to the river turned out to produce more economic growth than another superhighway would have generated.

Environmental politics has slipped into the polarized symbolism we see in most of Americas national politics. However, since environmental pollution is directly experienced in our communities, the most important political discussions and decisions tend to take place at the local level. It is easier to build consensus when we are focusing on real impacts rather than symbols. It is also easier to resist the paid lobbyists who make their living off of polarized division since in most cases our local concerns arent important enough to attract their attention. No one wants their children to breathe polluted air, drink water with lead in it, or play in chemically contaminated playgrounds. No one.

The effort to delegitimize science may make it hard for the public to understand the potential impact of particular projects or products. Propaganda messages sometimes dominate the communication of scientific facts. I am afraid we are in for a difficult period where the impacts will only be believed once they arrive. We are now seeing that with climate change. The need to adapt to new conditions is apparent and widely supported. The effort to mitigate climate change is more controversial but gaining support as the impacts become more obvious.

That is the fundamental feature of environmental politics. The battles in Washington may sometimes be over symbols, but conditions on the ground, in our communities are real. The waters are rising, the lead pipes in need of replacement, the air is orange. There is an objective reality that is only denied by the delusional. If we lose the ability to define, describe and communicate that reality we will not be able to manage the new technologies human brainpower can and will invent.

There are honest disagreements over what causes damage and what doesnt. The chemicals and technology of food production are poorly understood, and the food industry has done its best to avoid the kind of transparency and information exchange that would facilitate effective and efficient regulation. Businesses are terrified of engaging in an honest conversation about the costs and benefits of their production processes out of a reasonable fear that such conversations are not possible in todays polarized political culture.

But if we are to move toward an environmentally sustainable economy, we need to be able to discuss the impacts of human activity on the planet with calm, realism and humility. Everything humans do creates an impact and our goal cannot be to eliminate impacts but reduce them. It is in our interest as a species to permit economic development so that all humans can benefit from the wonders and bounty of the modern world. My view is that political stability and public safety requires continued economic development. But it is also important that the high throughput economy many of us benefit from moves toward becoming a circular and renewable resource-based economy. To do this we need to study, understand and measure our environmental impacts. We then need to discuss them and reduce negative impacts through rules and better management.

Environmental protection must move out of the arena of symbolic politics. Our national politics is completely focused on symbols, manipulation of image, defining reality and achieving power. But we are living, organic creatures. Our health is an objective reality and while symbols impact our mind and indirectly our body, one cant wish illness away. Just as in health care, we can and will disagree about the methods used to protect our planet or our body. But the need for such protection is beyond dispute.

In the blue-red political world weve created we need to remember the values we share and our interdependency. As individuals and families, we can do a great deal to create the world we want to make for ourselves. But we also require the collective resources that can only be achieved by a community. We depend on each other for clean air, clean water, healthy food and protection from floods and fire. Governor Andrew Cuomos $3 billion-dollar bond proposal will provide some of the resources New Yorks governments need to build resilient communities. Perhaps some day soon our national government will do the same.

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PNGs economy rebounds in 2019, a year in review – POST-COURIER

Posted: at 10:35 am

A rebound in the mining and resource industries helped drive stronger economic growth in Papua New Guinea in 2019, a year which saw Peter ONeills eight-year tenure as prime minister end.

Mr ONeill resigned in late May following a series of policy disputes and defections within the government.

He was replaced on May 30 by James Marape, the former minister of finance.

In a break with his predecessor, Mr Marape has struck a somewhat nationalistic tone since taking office, setting out an agenda to find a more even balance between the interests of investors and Papua New Guineans amid a perception that the country has not adequately benefitted from foreign-funded, resource-based projects in the past.

Elsewhere, the new administration has sought to diversify the economy by prioritising growth in non-resource sectors, small and medium-sized businesses, and the informal economy.

A key pillar of this strategy involves agriculture, with Mr Marape telling OBG in a recent interview that he aims to turn the country into the food bowl for Asia by expanding production and export capabilities.

To this end, the government announced it would invest K200 million ($58.7m) annually in the sector through to 2030, while in late August the EU inaugurated a K340 million ($99.8m) pilot program designed to benefit smallholder farms in East Sepik Province.

Another sign of the new economic approach was revealed in late November with the release of the 2020 budget, the countrys largest ever.

The budget outlined expenditure of K18.7 billion ($5.5bn), 13.3 per cent more than in the 2019 supplementary budget.

Much of the spending will be directed towards capital investment, with a particular focus on electricity, internet and road infrastructure improvements seen as key to unlocking non-resource growth.

While revenue is also expected to reach record levels, the budget foresees a deficit of K4.6 billion ($1.4bn) in 2020, or roughly 5 per cent of GDP.

Resources drive return to growthWhile the economy struggled in 2018, it is projected to grow by 5 per cent in 2019, according to both Treasury estimates and the IMF, the highest rate since 2015.

The sharp increase comes on the back of a 1.1 per cent contraction in GDP in 2018, with expansion heavily affected by the 7.5-magnitude earthquake that hit the country on February 26 of that year.

In addition to leading to the death of more than 200 people, the earthquake destroyed much of PNGs industrial infrastructure, subsequently halting production of some of the countrys major resource-based projects.

Growth in 2019 was largely driven by a recovery in mining and oil and gas operations as damaged infrastructure was repaired and production at major projects resumed.

Non-resource industries have also recorded improvements.

Non-mining growth is projected to increase by 2.9 per cent over the course of the year, according to Treasury figures, driven by 2.5 per cent growth in agriculture and fisheries.

Project uncertaintyDespite efforts to diversify the economy, much of the countrys longer-term prosperity is still tied to resources.

While these sectors recovered in 2019, they have also been subject to uncertainty.

In a development that is expected to double PNGs liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports by 2024, the government signed an agreement with Total, ExxonMobil and Australian Securities Exchange-listed Oil Search relating to the development of the $13 billion Papua LNG project in April.

However, shortly after taking power, Mr Marape called for a review of the terms of the deal.

Despite announcing in September that it would honour the agreement, the governments approach has led to some concern within the industry.

The Marape administration has also been locked in negotiations with ExxonMobil over the Pnyang gas project.

With the government seeking more favourable terms than previous resources deals, there are fears that a stalemate over Pnyang could delay overall resource development in the country.

Elsewhere, the government has moved to revise the 1992 Mining Act.

Officials are expected to introduce the bill to Parliament in early 2020; anticipated proposals include reforms of the maximum term of mining leases, renewal periods for licences and labour laws.

Bougainville votes for independenceAnother significant political event for 2019 occurred in December, when the people of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, a collection of islands in the Solomon Sea, voted overwhelmingly to break away from PNG in an independence referendum.

Almost 98 per cent of the 180,000-strong voting population voted in favour of independence, rejecting proposals of greater autonomy to remain part of PNG.

Although a blow to PNG, the decision is non-binding, with the final decision to be ratified by Parliament.

A series of lengthy negotiations are expected to determine the terms of the regions departure from PNG, with some analysts predicting that independence may not be realised for a decade.

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Hello, Hanover – The Post – Ontario

Posted: at 10:35 am

Winters in Hanover are a breeze.That was my first impression about this area, when my fiance and I moved here for work-related reasons, a little over a year ago.Sure, the snow is still wet and chilly here, the cool air still forces one to bundle up in extra clothing and warmth, but a winter here is not a Sudbury winter. Thats an entirely different and frosty animal. Northern cold.Theres only two seasons in Sudbury winter and construction season. Thats a common joke made around the city, anyway. However, itd be more accurate to say there are about eight months of winter and four months of construction, after the citys roads get wrecked by the long winter season.See, Sudbury, or Nickel City, or the Bury, as many locals refer to it as, is a northern city known for its rich history in mining, however, the city has expanded from its resource-based economy, and has emerged as a major retail, economic, health and educational centre for Northeastern Ontario.Sudbury is also home to one of Canadas best-known landmarks the Big Nickel, its numerous lakes (theres more than 60), Science North, its re-greening project and its city-wide adoration for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League, just to name a few. Oh, and its also my hometown.After roughly 10 years of writing as a freelance journalist for the Sudbury Star newspaper, and with a public relations and journalism degree from Cambrian College tucked into my back pocket, Im here, in Hanover, as a full-time multimedia journalist for The Post.Back in Sudbury, I covered everything from sports, to hard-hitting news, like politics, court, city council, etc. Thatll be the same here.Covering sports is what initially interested me in a career in journalism, as I was raised in a sports-oriented family. Both of my brothers played hockey growing up, and I was no different. Heck, even my father coached hockey for a bit, too. Every Saturday, like many Canadians, mom, dad and the three boys were glued to the television for Hockey Night in Canada.Hockey, though, was always more of a pastime for us, and as weve aged, weve all branched out into different careers. One brother is a chef in our nations capital, while the other is a mechanic in Sudbury.At 18 years old, I became the sports editor for the Cambrian Shield, a now defunct and student-ran online-only newspaper for Cambrian College. During the two-year span of journalism school is when I began freelancing for the Sudbury Star, after the then sports editor, Bruce Heidman, convinced me to start writing for the local paper.Fast-forward all those years later to now and, well, here I am a more well-rounded journalist, with some additional experience in this field to my name, to go along with a laid-back, free-spirit personality.Since our arrival in Hanover, Ive come to appreciate the close-knit, family-feel of a small town and the trust among neighbours.It helps, too, selfishly-speaking, that weve added to our small family since our arrival, with the addition of two kittens, and that can only be regarded as a positive.This opportunity as a full-fledged journalist is many years in the making, and I couldnt be more excited to get started.Journalism isnt about me. Its about you and the community. So, to that, I say, lets get started and share your stories together.Hello, Hanover.kdempse@postmedia.comTwitter: @keith_dempsey

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Minister of Finance Invited to Kenora for 2020 Pre-Budget Consulations – Net Newsledger

Posted: at 10:35 am

KENORA Kenora federal MP Eric Melillo sent a letter to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, inviting him to visit the Kenora riding as part of the 2020 pre-budget consultations.

In the letter, MP Melillo briefed Minister Morneau on the opportunities and challenges facing Kenoras natural resource industries, adding that leveraging the potential of the Ring of Fire and developing an action plan for the forestry sector should be prioritized in the 2020 budget.

He also invited the Minister to meet with local entrepreneurs and First Nations leaders to hear firsthand about the issues facing them.

I believe Minister Morneau would benefit from the opportunity to speak directly to workers, job creators, and community leaders in the Kenora riding, Melillo stated.

The Kenora riding has a diverse resource-based economy that includes mining and forestry, as well as tourism. Residents and business owners in the riding face unique challenges related to infrastructure, internet access, and availability of services.

I have heard from many constituents across my riding that they have felt forgotten by this government, Melillo concluded in his letter. I hope you will take this opportunity to hear what they have to say.

Eric Melillo 2020 Pre-budget Consultations Invitation to Minister Morneau by james1572 on Scribd

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B.C. cheers high tech in its rural communities – but financial support is missing – The Globe and Mail

Posted: at 10:35 am

The commitment to the high-tech initiative is in the mandate letter given to Bruce Ralston, seen here in Legislature on Feb. 19, 2013, when he was named minister of jobs, trade and technology in 2017.

CHAD HIPOLITO/The Globe and Mail

For more than a century, the community of Trail in B.C.s Kootenays has been a mining town. More recently, it has landed the MIDAS Fab Lab, a business incubator for startup companies that is helping diversify the regions economy through research and development of digital fabrication industries.

Since opening a little more than three years ago, the lab has provided skills training for more than 100 workers, supported the development of more than 90 prototypes, created or expanded a dozen businesses and helped generate $3-million in sales.

Its precisely the kind of high-tech initiative the B.C. government says the province needs.

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The commitment is in the mandate letter given to Bruce Ralston when he was named minister of jobs, trade and technology in 2017: Establish B.C. as a preferred location for new and emerging technologies by supporting venture capital investment in B.C. startups ... [and] ensure that the benefits of technology and innovation are felt around the province.

But, ahead of the Feb. 18 provincial budget that Finance Minister Carole James is determined to balance, government has been trimming its contributions to help expand the tech industry especially in rural communities. Funding for Innovate BC is drying up, while the Rural Dividend Fund has been suspended.

In the Kootenays, those dollars helped develop the MIDAS lab and the soon-to-open Nelson Innovation Centre. Those are just some of the tech projects designed to help B.C.'s rural communities typically built on boom-and-bust natural-resource industries become more economically resilient.

The high-tech industry in the Kootenays is generating half a billion dollars a year in economic activity, said Cam Whitehead, executive director of the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology. These are higher paying jobs, and theyre driving wealth to smaller communities."

But the barriers to success are higher than in urban areas.

These are small businesses in rural communities, he said in an interview. They dont have the opportunity to connect with all of the resources, which are centred in the Lower Mainland and larger urban centres. This is a huge opportunity to drive a transition from the traditional natural resource-based economy to one which is fully in line with transitioning to a clean economy in the digital age.

The B.C. Rural Dividend program was established under the former Liberal government to help small communities strengthen and diversify their local economies. The NDP government suspended it, describing it as a slush fund.

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Mr. Whitehead doesnt care what the program is called, he is just hoping the province will find some funding to help carry on with the good work it was producing.

It wasnt perfect, but its delivered so much, to so many. The eligibility was broad and that was great. It was flexible for technology and innovation projects in our area.

Mr. Ralston was not available for comment, but a spokesman for the ministry said the money has been rerouted to helping forestry communities that are facing a dramatic downsizing.

With regard to the Rural Dividend Fund, Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development staff have retained those applications and are assisting in redirecting them to other sources wherever possible," Lori Cascaden said in a statement.

Jill Tipping, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association, raised the alarm about B.C.'s low investments in high tech last year, which threatened to force a Vancouver-based business incubator to close its doors. After The Globe and Mail reported on the potential loss, the federal government stepped in with crucial dollars to avert the closure.

She said the province has since offered encouragement, but little in the way of financial support.

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The tech sector is thriving, but could be doing even better both in urban settings and in rural settings," she said in an interview.

While B.C. is pinching pennies in high-tech support, Alberta and Ontario are spending far more to attract tech growth. Ms. Tipping said it should not be difficult sell: For every dollar invested in B.C. technology industries, governments collect more than $10 in tax revenue.

Government has a role to promote growth and stability and to provide the necessary infrastructure. And so, when people say to me, We cant afford it, my response is, you cant afford not to, she said. Yes, we need balanced budgets and we need to manage spending, but we also need to be preparing for the future.

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Carbon pricing: Research on carbon taxes and cap-and-trade – Journalist’s Resource

Posted: at 10:35 am

In the lead-up to the 2020 elections, theJournalists Resource team is combing through the Democratic presidential candidates platforms and reporting what the research says about their policy proposals. We want to encourage deep coverage of these proposals and do our part to help deterhorse race journalism, which research suggests can lead to inaccurate reporting and an uninformed electorate. Were focusing on proposals that have a reasonable chance of becoming policy. For us, that means at least 3 of the 5 top-polling candidates say they intend to tackle the issue. Heres what the research says about carbon pricing.

Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, John Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang

Carbon pricing schemes put a financial price on carbon emission. They are widely portrayed in the economic literature as an effective way to reduce carbon emissions from high-carbon emitting industries, such as certain types of energy production. Academics and politicians often frame carbon pricing not as a cure-all, but rather as one part of a broader strategy to slow or reverse rising global temperatures.

Rising temperatures caused by climate change could cost the U.S. economy many billions of dollars. A 2017 paper in Science projects that for every 1.8 degree Fahrenheit average temperature increase in the U.S., gross domestic product will fall by 1.2% yearly equal to roughly $233 billion at todays GDP.

Poorer areas of the country could be hit hardest, according to the paper. By the end of this century, under business-as-usual emissions, the poorest third of U.S. counties are likely to lose between 2% and 20% of current income that residents earn, the authors write. The richest third of counties could lose up to 6.8% of income, according to the authors estimates or gain 1.2%.

The Science paper offers one estimate of the effect of climate change on U.S. economic output, or productivity, as measured by GDP. Another paper by two Environmental Protection Agency staffers, published April 2019 in Nature Climate Change, looks at costs related to infrastructure, health, agriculture and other sectors across two scenarios.

The first scenario where the average global temperature is trending toward 5 degrees Fahrenheit higher in 2100 compared with pre-Industrial Revolution levels would come with about $170 billion in annual costs by 2050 across the 22 sectors the authors analyzed.

The second scenario heading toward an average global temperature in 2100 thats 8 degrees Fahrenheit higher than pre-industrial levels would come with about $206 billion in annual costs across those sectors by 2050. The estimates dont include potential cost savings from adaptation measures, such as creating dunes to protect beaches or building levees to divert floodwater, which can reduce infrastructure damages.

Aside from estimating the costs of rising global temperatures, economists have also come up with two big market-based ideas to address climate change and put a price on carbon emissions: Carbon taxes and cap-and-trade.

Carbon taxes put an initial financial burden on entities that emit carbon as part of their regular business. Think a coal-fired electricity plant. Under carbon tax schemes, governments set the price of pollution while markets determine the amount of pollution companies can pollute and pay the tax or reduce emissions to avoid it.

There are carbon taxes in other countries but not in the U.S. Some academics have argued that there is already a kind of carbon tax borne by people, not companies in the sense that some parts of the U.S. experience substantial economic losses from climate change, like from more severe storms that cause billions of dollars in property damage.

In practice, businesses could pass along the cost of a carbon tax to consumers. If a refinery that produces heating oil pays a tax for emitting carbon, customers might end up paying higher prices for home heating oil.

To some economists, this is not a bug but a feature: higher prices would lower demand for carbon-intensive fuels. In some countries, revenues from carbon pricing programs are disbursed to households to help pay higher fuel prices, according to an October 2019 paper in Climate Change and Renewable Energy.

Cap-and-trade puts a cap on overall carbon emissions levels. Unlike carbon taxes, where governments set the price and markets determine the amount of pollution, under cap-and-trade governments set an amount of allowable pollution while markets set the price.

The emissions cap is divided into credits and governments then sell those credits to companies that pollute. Companies that pollute under the cap can sell their credits to entities that pollute more. Part of the appeal is that as the cap lowers over time, so does the number of credits, incentivizing companies to pollute less.

A national carbon tax is a popular idea among some economists and policymakers in the U.S. More than 3,500 economists from across the political spectrum, including 27 Nobel laureates, support a carbon tax plan that would give dividends directly to Americans. But so far, jurisdictions in the U.S. have gone with cap-and-trade strategies over carbon taxes.

Michael Bennet, Deval Patrick and Elizabeth Warren have indicated to The Washington Post they might pursue carbon pricing as president, but none have released firm policy statements in support of carbon pricing schemes. Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard would not pursue carbon pricing as president, according to the Post.

In June 1990, Colorado State University economist Jo Burges Barbier wrote in a paper in Energy Policy that further policy instruments and considerations beyond carbon pricing alone were needed to curtail carbon emissions from the energy sector.

The EPAs Acid Rain Program in 1995 became the first national cap-and-trade effort. It seeks to reduce airborne sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides coming from power plants.

Acid rain happens when those pollutants get into the atmosphere, then fall to the ground through precipitation like rain or snow, contaminating waterways and crops. Since the programs introduction, acid deposits have decreased 30% across the Midwest and Northeast and the program prevents an estimated 20,000 to 50,000 premature deaths each year, according to the EPA.

Another national cap-and-trade program was the NOx Budget Trading Program, which operated during the 2000s and sought to reduce nitrogen oxides from power plants during the summer.

But a national cap-and-trade program failed in 2010, in part because opponents rebranded it cap-and-tax, making the idea politically unpalatable. No national cap-and-trade program has come close to passing Congress since.

Though now defunct, the NOx Budget Trading Program prevented nearly 2,000 summertime deaths each year in participating states, most of them along the east coast, according to a 2017 analysis in the American Economic Review.

Harvard University economist Robert Stavins assesses the state of carbon pricing in a May 2019 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. He writes that economists have reached consensus that pricing systems such as carbon taxes and cap-and-trade will be key to reducing carbon dioxide emissions:

There is widespread agreement among economists and a diverse set of other policy analysts that at least in the long run, an economy-wide carbon pricing system will be an essential element of any national policy that can achieve meaningful reductions of [carbon dioxide] emissions cost-effectively in the United States.

States have taken up the cap-and-trade baton in the last decade or so. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative covers nine New England and Mid-Atlantic states and set its first carbon cap for the power sector in 2009. Since then, greenhouse gases have fallen 40% in those states, and theyre aiming for another 30% reduction by 2030. The initiative has raised $2.7 billion, which has been invested into wind and solar power generation, and to help low-income people pay their energy bills.

Power plants across those nine states generate about 112,000 megawatts less each month than plants in other states, and they emit 286 fewer tons of sulfur dioxide and 131 fewer tons of nitrogen oxides per month, according to a May 2019 paper in Energy Economics. However, that analysis finds the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative had a causal effect only on reductions of sulfur dioxide emissions, not nitrogen oxides.

Californias cap-and-trade program began in 2006 and the legislature extended it in 2017. It has an emissions cap affecting 80% of greenhouse gases coming from about 450 of the states biggest polluters.

That program has demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of an economy-wide approach, compared with sectoral systems, write economists Richard Schmalensee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stavins of Harvard in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

California reports it is on track to beat its initial target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and is aiming for emissions levels 40% under 1990 levels by 2030.

But the California cap-and-trade program may be distributing benefits, like cleaner air, unequally. Companies that emit greenhouse gases there tend to be located in areas where more people live in poverty, but the program hasnt led to environmental benefits in those neighborhoods, according to a July 2018 analysis in PLOS Medicine.

In fact, greenhouse gas emissions in neighborhoods near polluters actually increased from 2013 to 2015, compared with 2011 to 2012, the authors find. They peg overall greenhouse gas reductions to the state importing less electricity from coal-fired plants.

Emissions reductions also vary widely by industry, the authors find. Seventy percent of certain power plants reduced emissions over the period studied, while 75% of cement plants increased emissions. A glut of credits on the market may keep lower-income California communities from enjoying the environmental benefits of cap-and-trade.

Some experts also caution that California is markedly dissimilar from most states. California has a strong, mostly popular, single-party majority in its legislature, so its an easier lift politically to experiment with market-based emissions reduction strategies.

Utilities in the state are also largely on board with addressing climate change, even through regulation. The state doesnt rely much on coal to produce energy, while many other states do.

Because California is a unique case in several respects, it is unlikely that other states in the U.S. will be able to adopt similar systems, Guri Bang, research director at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, and her co-authors write in a 2017 article in Global Environmental Politics.

Finally, on the global scale, there is the free-rider problem.

Right now theres no prospect of an enforceable, international cap-and-trade system that could put a meaningful dent in global carbon emissions. There are too many hurdles to mention, but one of them is that countries would probably want higher emissions ceilings for themselves, but lower emissions ceilings for the rest of the world, as the late Harvard economist Martin Weitzman explained in a June 2019 article in Environmental and Resource Economics.

In other words, countries want to reap the environmental benefits of carbon reduction without paying the price they want a free ride.

Still, people in countries with carbon pricing programs can reap monetary benefits.

A 2016 paper in Energy Policy analyzed real-world carbon tax and cap-and-trade programs and found that policymakers earmark 70% of revenues from cap-and-trade to climate-friendly efforts, while 72% of revenues from carbon tax systems there are several in Europe are refunded to people or put into government general funds.

Policy perspective: Building political support for carbon pricing Lessons from cap-and-trade policies

Leigh Raymond. Energy Policy, November 2019.

The gist: This review of long running cap-and-trade programs suggests that a new idea in carbon pricing the idea of a carbon dividend in the form of an equal per capita payment to all citizens is consistent with the successful public benefits strategy discussed here.

Perceived fairness and public acceptability of carbon pricing: A review of the literature

Sara Maestre-Andrs, Stefan Drews, Jeroen van den Bergh. Climate Policy, July 2019.

The gist: Somewhat surprisingly, most studies do not indicate clear public preferences for using revenues to ensure fairer policy outcomes, notably by reducing its regressive effects. Instead, many people prefer using revenues for environmental projects of various kinds.

Carbon pricing and energy efficiency: Pathways to deep decarbonization of the US electric sector

Marilyn A. Brown, Yufei Li. Energy Efficiency, February 2019

The gist: Our modeling results suggest that carbon taxes coupled with strong energy-efficiency policies would produce synergistic effects that could meet deep decarbonization goals.

Marilyn Brown, professor of sustainable systems, Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jo Burgess Barbier, assistant professor of economics, Colorado State University.

Noah Kaufman, research scholar, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University.

Gilbert Metcalf, professor of economics, Tufts University.

Leigh S. Raymond, professor of political science, Purdue University.

Robert Stavins, professor of energy and economic development, Harvard University.

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Ghana And World Bank Sign $570 Million Agreement | Banking/Finance – Peace FM Online

Posted: at 10:35 am

Ghana and the World Bank on Friday signed four agreements, totalling nearly $570 million aimed to transform the economy, boost education, improve sanitation and fight flooding in Accra as well as reduce forest losses.

Out of the total commitment for the four projects, $557 million is in loans and just over $12 million in grants.

The Greater Accra Resilient and Integrated Development project is a $200 million, multi-sector and transformative urban project which aims to support Greater Accra to become a cleaner, safer and more resilient city.

It focuses on reducing flood risk along the Odaw urban river basin and three selected low-income communities: Nima, Alogboshie and Akweteman.

Ghana Accountability for Learning Outcomes Project is $150 million for 6 years, which has the development objective to improve the quality of education in low performing basic education schools and strengthen education sector equity and accountability in Ghana.

The objective of the $200m Ghana Economic Transformation Project is to promote private investments and firm growth in non-resource-based sectors of the Ghanaian economy. The project will work towards improving the business environment to facilitate firm growth and investments.

The final project is the Additional Financing for the Ghana Forest Investment Programme, which is a $12.4 million grant and $7 million loan project. It seeks to reduce forest loss and degradation in selected landscapes in Ghanas High Forest Zone, where deforestation is at the highest.

Finance Minister Mr Ken Ofori-Atta and Mr Pierre Laporte, the World Bank Country signed the deal on behalf of Ghana and the World Bank respectively.

In his address Mr Ofori-Atta commended the World Bank for its support, saying the projects would help to advance governments quest for inclusiveness and transformation.

He said since the government came into office some three years ago, the goal has been to accelerate the pace of development and ensuring that no one was left behind.

However, this could not be done without focus on wealth creation, which is key to ensuring sustainability.

He said government has proven to Ghanaians its desire of inclusiveness through flagship programmes such as the one district one factory and the free SHS programme.

Mr Ofori-Atta urged development partners not to slow down the process because of an election year because the government was desirous to move forward development.

On his part, Mr Laporte said the event affirmed the banks commitment to the government and Ghanaians through the signing of the legal Agreements of the four important and potentially transformative projects.

We have a longstanding and strong partnership with the Government and the people of Ghana. The World Bank is committed to strengthening our partnership even further going forward, he said.

We will work with you hand in hand to ensure that these projects, as well as others already ongoing, are implemented timely and effectively. This will, in turn, result in efficient use of resources, achieve the projects objectives, and most importantly positively impact the lives of the people, communities and institutions, he added.

He said project delays were costly, and encouraged the teams to identify implementation challenges and work collaboratively with other government organizations as well as with the Bank teams to resolve them.

One important aspect of the implementation process is feedback from beneficiaries. Implementing entities thus need to ensure there are functional grievance redress mechanisms and strong citizens engagement for all projects as they contribute to effective, efficient and sustainable delivery and outcomes, Mr Laporte.

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Advancing role of geospatial knowledge infrastructure in world economy and society – Geospatial World

Posted: at 10:35 am

The past decade has witnessed unprecedented technological advancements. Technologies like Cloud, mobile, Internet, and Internet of Things (IoT) have led to data explosion and analytics. It is estimated by IBM that 90% of the worlds data has been created in the last two years. This comprises largely of unstructured data, generated by transactions, logs, records, social media, audio, visual and video consumption. New data sources are added every day, resulting in valuable data ecosystems for governments and businesses alike.

The availability of such large amounts of data has given rise to a Data Economy, which is thriving on analytics and value derived from these varied data sources. This data economy is supported by a converged Digital Infrastructure, which ensures seamless storage and exchange of data through communication systems.

Given that 80% of all data has a spatial component, a foundational component of the Data Infrastructure also includes the geospatial data infrastructure. Geospatial data provides the critical where or location component to any data or system. Geospatial Data not only serves as an infrastructure, but as a knowledge source and a service provider for the country.

The significance of place has been well recognized by our ancestors for ages maps have been used for defence, trade, navigation, land and resource management, infrastructure planning and administration. People have been making decisions based on knowledge of the environment provided by maps, hence, the better the maps, the better and the decisions.

With the evolution of technology, the face and form of maps have also changed. Nowadays, digital geospatial information provides far more value for societal, economic and environmental use than just a simple map, and serves as an essential national information resource. It provides an integrating underpinning location reference frame that enables government systems and services, and national development initiatives. With the development of mobile devices and telecommunications infrastructure, its use is also increasing in business services provided by companies like Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, etc.

Geospatial Information is nothing but a digital version of the physical world in which all human, economic and environmental activities take place, and without which a digital economy is not possible. Geospatial information is presented in many forms and mediums including maps, satellite imagery and aerial photography.

Geospatial information and related location-based services silently extend value and benefit to all sections and stakeholders, including citizens, communities, businesses, governments and others on a daily basis by providing the digital connection between a place, its people and their activities. It is also used to model and portray the impact of the past, the present and the likely future.

Geospatial information is a nations digital currency for evidence-based decision-making. As already established, it is a critical component of national infrastructure and knowledge economy that provides a nations blueprint of what happens where, and the means to integrate a wide variety of government services that contribute to economic growth, national security, sustainable social development, environmental sustainability and national prosperity. All governments, both at the national and local levels, hold considerable quantities of geospatial information and location data, for example databases of schools and school performance, flood risk data and mobile phone ownership data. However, this information is often not up to date, or of sufficient quality for effective decision-making. In contrast, a geospatially enabled nation is one that shares, integrates and uses a wide range of data to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits. This use and associated benefits extend across governments, businesses and citizens, and from national to city and small community levels. Geospatial information is the underpinning infrastructure for all these applications.

Having said that, it is important to highlight that governments and national geospatial agencies need to consider countrys respective geospatial readiness to build further strategies to advance towards digital transformation. However the challenge is an increasing digital and geospatial divide. It is high time to invest in developing a positive and collaborative approach towards building global geospatial infrastructure and policy frameworks. It is critical that countries develop a collaboration and partnership model to co-create the geospatial knowledge platform, including government to government, government to private, government to funding agencies, also involving in the process the academia and research institutes.

In the quest to strengthen Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure in transforming economy of digital age, Geospatial Media and Communications is organizing an exclusive workshop at the Geospatial World Forum onAdvancing Role of Geospatial Knowledge Infrastructure in World Economy and Societyto discuss the geospatial readiness of the country, eventual transformation model including existing and required integrated policy framework and most importantly enriching the knowledge platform adopting collaboration and partnership model.

To know more please visit http://www.geospatialworldforum.org

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Focus on demand creation reforms in budget: PHDCCI to govt – Daijiworld.com

Posted: at 10:35 am

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS): PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the government that demand rejuvenating reforms should be the major focus area of the forthcoming Union Budget 2020-21.

Demand creation reforms will push the broad based recovery of the economy and create an environment of enthusiasm to become a US $5 trillion economy, going forward, D K Aggarwal, president, PHDCCI said in a press statement covering the broad pre-budget expectation of the industry chamber.

At this juncture, rationalisation of direct taxes and an income tax exemption upto the level of income of Rs 5 lakhs will be a great breakthrough to enhance the personal disposable income of the individuals and to increase the consumption demand in the economy, said Aggarwal.

With no personal income tax applicable upto the income of Rs 5 lakhs for the individuals, income tax slabs should be rationalised to 10 per cent for people earning upto Rs 10 lakhs per year, 20 per cent for those with incomes of over Rs 10 lakhs and upto Rs 20 lakhs, 30 per cent for income over Rs 20 lakhs and upto Rs 2 crore and 35 per cent for individuals earning more than Rs 2 crore, he said.

Increased expenditure of the government to enhance consumption demand along with implementation of Rs 102 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) has the potential to push economic growth trajectory to more than 8 per cent in the next three years, Aggarwal added.

Access to finance is a major roadblock being faced by the industries particularly by the MSMEs impacting their competitiveness and growth. To address the liquidity crunch in MSMEs, there is a need to set up a dedicated fund of Rs 25,000 crore or more with no collateral being asked for the MSMEs, PHDCCI has said.

Long term Capital Gains Tax on shares is suggested at 10 per cent for the holding period after one year, 5 per cent after two years and zero per cent after three years as when STT was levied it was in lieu of exempting long term capital gains tax.

Around 95 per cent of MSMEs are in Proprietorship/Partnerships business. They are not getting any relief from the recent cut in corporate tax rates. So at this juncture we suggest a uniform tax rate of 25 per cent to such businesses, going forward, Aggarwal said.

To kick-start the exports growth trajectory, the PHDCCI president suggested increase in export earnings by the exporters on the base of the previous year (year-on-year earnings) should be tax free.

MSME exporters must be fully exempted from tax on their export earnings as this will enhance the exporters' motivation and strengthen their competitiveness in the global markets.

For doubling farmers' income, a properly designed market support scheme for agricultural produce and dismantling of barriers to markets for farmers must be pursued, the chamber has suggested.

APMC should be dismantled and e-NAM should become the vehicle for farmers' produce across the states.

Aggarwal also urged for increase in public healthcare spending to at least 3 per cent of GDP with increase in annual budget each year for delivery of better health services to the people.

Health centres should be made available within the radius of one kilometer and hospitals within the radius of 10 km, said Aggarwal.

There is a need to initiate work on inclusive and approachable education with a spending of at least 4.5 per cent of GDP on education, he added.

A robust analysis of current skill gaps to promote effective skill development should be undertaken to create more and more employment opportunities for the growing workforce in the country.

Skill Mapping must be done to scientifically plan human resource needs in the different sectors of the economy.

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