I was surprised to receive an envelope in the mail from Canada Post informing me that our neighborhood would be converting to so-called community mailboxes next year. Having read the odd news item about their latest plan, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised but maybe I was simply in denial. Maybe I couldn't believe that Canada Post would do something this outrageous and arbitrary.
Earth is clearly experiencing more frequent extreme weather than in the past, and we can expect it to get worse as we burn more coal, oil and gas and pump more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This can have profound and costly impacts on everything from agriculture to infrastructure, not to mention human health and life.
If nothing else, the G7 countries' recent agreement to end fossil fuel use for energy by 2100 signals a shift in the way we talk and think about global warming. Previous agreements were about reducing carbon emissions from burning coal, oil and gas. This takes matters a step further by envisioning a fossil fuel-free future. Moving toward zero carbon emissions -- in a much shorter timeline than agreed upon by Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States -- is absolutely necessary, and not just for the climate.
During the hour that it took the world's elite G7 politicians discussing climate change to wander through an enchanting meadow of flowers in Germany's Bavarian Alps earlier this week, 800 people may have died prematurely from the impact of air pollution, most of it caused by the burning of non-renewable fossil fuels.
Berlin -- Yesterday, Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, challenged the Canada-European Union Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) and other trade deals in a panel discussion with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. During the panel, Chancellor Merkel presented her G7 presidency priorities.
Canada needs to make more use of direct programming with target countries (nearly 80 per cent of official aid went to foreign agencies in 2013, often on a sole-sourced basis). And more should be done to connect Canadian expertise to multilateral development banks and international humanitarian institutions.
In an unprecedented move, the Fed undertook an extraordinary experiment in monetary policy. Unable to further target an interest rate, already at zero, the Fed began announcing a quantity of cash that it would inject into the financial system by purchasing large numbers of government bonds and other highly-rated securities, and replacing them with cash.
Post-crisis regulatory reform efforts show that developing countries are rule takers and G7 countries are the rule makers. All this in spite of the fact that the epicentre of the international financial crisis occurred in developed countries. So why should many of the regulators and supervisors in developed countries claim to know best practices for developing countries?
With the release of the latest growth projections from the Bank of Canada and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), it appears that Canada's two-year run at the top of the G7 group of countries could be coming to an end. Both the Bank of Canada and the IMF have lowered this year's growth predictions, paving the way for - get this - America to take over the top spot.