Showing posts from October 19, 2016

Greenland Ice Melting 7 Percent Faster Than Previously Thought

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[Let's put these up along Greenland's rapidly melting ice cap: a) New Mega Oil Discovery In Alaska Could Reverse 3 Decades Of Decline, b) Can Canada reduce greenhouse gas emissions while still supporting western Canada’s oil industry? *RON*]
By Eurasia Review, 17 October 2016
The same hotspot in Earth’s mantle that feeds Iceland’s active volcanoes has been playing a trick on the scientists who are trying to measure how much ice is melting on nearby Greenland.

According to a new study in the journal Science Advances, the hotspot softened the mantle rock beneath Greenland in a way that ultimately distorted their calculations for ice loss in the Greenland ice sheet. This caused them to underestimate the melting by about 20 gigatons (20 billion metric tons) per year.

A Year After Trudeau's Election, Gov't Is Consulting, But Is It Really Listening?

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[The suspicion is that government says 'Thank you for your contribution!' then public feedback goes straight into the circular file. We should avoid the temptation to succumb totally to cynicism and still take the small time needed to let the government know when we don't agree with their policy direction. Ultimately this counts, if only when they do their re-election calculations. *RON*]
By Jim Bronskill, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 16 October 2016
OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau's Liberals swept to power last October with a promise of a more open government that better reflects the values and expectations of Canadians.

A year later, they're getting credit for a willingness to listen. But it's too early to tell whether that is resulting in decisions and policies the public truly wants.

CMHC Issues First-Ever 'Red' Warning For Canadian Housing

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[It's always hard to know what this kind of announcement means, beyond its face-value. To what degree is CMHC permitted to make this kind of announcement independently of the government? I.e., is this a political announcement of sorts? Wait and see. *RON*]
Alexandra Posadzki, Canadian Press / Huffington Post, 17 October 2016
TORONTO — The head of the federal housing agency is raising a red flag about the state of Canada's real estate sector, saying affordability concerns have spilled over from the country's two most expensive cities to nearby markets.

In an opinion piece published Monday in the Globe and Mail, CMHC CEO Evan Siddall says the agency will raise its overall risk rating for the national housing market to "strong'' from "moderate'' for the first time when it issues its housing market assessment on Oct. 26.

"Affordability pressures hurt lower-income households the most and cause real socioeconomi…

Russia and the West: Where did it all go wrong?

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[Great photo! The US's greatest feat of productivity: manufacturing enemies. *RON*]

Jonathan Marcus, BBC News, 17 October 2016

It is hard to imagine a period since the end of the Cold War when relations between Russia and the United States have been quite so bad.

US officials have described the joint Russian-Syrian onslaught against Aleppo as "barbarism" and warned that war crimes are being carried out.

The Russian president has spoken explicitly about the worsening climate between Washington and Moscow, insisting that what the Obama administration wants is "diktat" rather than dialogue.

For all that, the US and Russia are still in contact over Syria. For all the harsh rhetoric and accusations, they both realise that they have a vital role to play in any eventual settlement of the Syrian drama.

Whatever its immediate strategic intentions, a permanent war in Syria doesn't benefit Moscow any more than Washington.

Inequality is rising in Denmark, and negative interest rates are to blame

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[They say the difference comes from earning income from bank accounts and bonds versus equity. No mention of productivity versus salaries for labour. *RON*]
Eshe Nelson, Quartz, 17 October 2016
Scandinavian countries are famed for their high levels of equality. They are portrayed as a blissful landscape where everyone gets a good education, high wages and generous government support. Now this equality is under threat in Denmark, and once again unconventional stimulus measures by central banks are to blame.

A measure of income inequality, known as the Gini coefficient, has risen in Denmark from 0.20 in 1990 to 0.27 in 2014, according to the Danish Economic Council’s latest report (pdf). The gauge runs from 0 (full equality) to 1 (complete inequality) so this is still a very good score, in fact in 2013 Denmark had the third best according to the OECD. However, this report is another illustration of central bank policies that are supposed to spur eco…

How do you solve a problem like Wallonia? Tiny region is blocking Canada-EU trade pact worth billions

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[Typical National Post piece. Of course the question is, 'Worth billions to whom?' The question one is not permitted to ask because the Post doesn't allow comments on its web site. The second question thus being 'Free speech (and a bully pulpit) for whom?' *RON*]
Marie-Danielle Smith, National Post, 18 October 2016
OTTAWA — A leaders’ summit and signing ceremony for Canada’s free trade agreement with Europe, scheduled for next week, will be cancelled if the European Union can’t convince the Belgian region of Wallonia to sign on by Friday — leaving the deal Ottawa has laboured over for seven years in limbo.

Proponents of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement were holding their breath as European trade ministers were expected to finalize support for CETA Tuesday.