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Countries missed opportunity to address climate crisis with pandemic stimulus

With deadlines to address climate change looming, countries worldwide missed a chance with unprecedented pandemic stimulus spending, a new Johns Hopkins…

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With deadlines to address climate change looming, countries worldwide missed a chance with unprecedented pandemic stimulus spending, a new Johns Hopkins University study finds.

Credit: Johns Hopkins University

With deadlines to address climate change looming, countries worldwide missed a chance with unprecedented pandemic stimulus spending, a new Johns Hopkins University study finds.

Analyzing over $13 trillion in COVID-19-related stimulus packages from 19 countries and the European Union, just 6% of the money went to projects that will likely reduce greenhouse gasses, while the vast majority of recovery spending didn’t address climate at all. Another 3% of stimulus spending went to projects likely to increase emissions.

The findings are published today by Nature.

“These economic recovery packages provided an opportunity for countries including the United States to really envision what they want their economies to look like going forward,” said co-author Scot Miller, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins. “The pandemic could have been an opportunity to push countries toward greener economies and a lot of governments have failed to do so.”

Governments typically prioritize economic growth over climate protection, particularly during economic downturns. Yet stimulus spending during recessions offers an opportunity to combine climate and economic objectives, the authors say. In the aftermath of the 2009 recession, for instance, 16% of global stimulus spending targeted emissions-reducing activities.

The team analyzed each nation’s stimulus policy from the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 well into 2021, considering the percent dedicated for activities that would increase emissions, lower emissions or that were emissions neutral.

 

Of the $13 trillion nations pledged for recovery efforts, just 6% targeted activities that would reduce emissions —investments in electric vehicles, transit infrastructure, energy efficient homes and offices, and renewable energy research. Countries spent less $1 trillion on projects that would cut greenhouse emissions, either directly or indirectly.

“Even though this was a public health crisis, in principle governments could have intervened in the economy in a way that changed everything, getting together to do something really big to meet the climate challenge,” said lead author Jonas Nahm, assistant professor of energy, resources, and environment at Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies. “But the vast majority of the money spent has very tenuous relations to emissions so it was, overall, very disappointing.”

The team found that of green stimulus measures, only about 27% would directly reduce greenhouse emissions. The remaining approximately 72% would have an indirect impact at best, projects like subsidies for biofuel producers in Brazil, or funding in Germany to aid the construction of electric vehicle charging stations.

Countries that dedicated the most stimulus money for green projects include South Korea and the European Union, each dedicating more than 30% of their packages to such measures. Brazil, Germany and Italy invested more than 20% of their recovery spending in green projects while France spent just over 10%.

Countries that barely considered climate-related projects in their recovery plans, spending less than 5% of their totals, include the United States, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

The trillions of dollars spent globally, mainly on unconditional checks for individuals and businesses, could have covered the necessary investments in technology, infrastructure, and research and development to meet the Paris Agreement climate goals, all while creating jobs and economic recovery, the authors said. As part of this agreement, many countries have set interim emissions goals for year 2030.

“If there was ever an opportunity to tie economic recovery with these climate goals that are drawing closer by the day, this would have been the time to do it,” Miller said. “In the months and years ahead, we shouldn’t forget about climate and greenhouse gas emissions goals when devising economic recovery measures. These 2030 climate goals are coming faster and sooner than we think and we can’t put off thinking about climate change until the pandemic is over.”

Authors included Johannes Urpelainen, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at Johns Hopkins.


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Economics

Housing Affordability Index Drops To Lowest Rate Since 1989, Still Way Too High

Housing Affordability Index Drops To Lowest Rate Since 1989, Still Way Too High

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The National…

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Housing Affordability Index Drops To Lowest Rate Since 1989, Still Way Too High

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

The National Association of Realtors says "affordability" dropped to 98.5 in June, the lowest since 1989.

Housing Affordability Index and mortgage rates via St. Louis Fed.

Affordability in June Was the Worst Since 1989

The Wall Street Journal reports Affordability in June Was the Worst Since 1989

It was more expensive to buy a U.S. home in June than it has been for any month in more than three decades, as record-high home prices collided with a surge in mortgage rates.

The National Association of Realtors’ housing-affordability index, which factors in family incomes, mortgage rates and the sales price for existing single-family homes, fell to 98.5 in June, the association said Friday. That marked the lowest level since June 1989, when the index stood at 98.3.

Housing Affordability Index

The NAR's Housing Affordability Index is based on median income data current  through 2017, projected forward. 

Only 13 months of data is available on Fred, the St. Louis Fed repository.

Affordability is based on whether the median family earns enough income to qualify for a 30-year fixed mortgage loan on the median single-family home without spending more than 25% of the income on payment for principal and interest.

An index value of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home. An index above 100 means a median family has more than enough income to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home, assuming a 20 percent down payment. 

Inquiring minds may wish to look at the NAR's Housing Affordability Index Calculations.

Curiously, the NAR concludes the median household can nearly always afford the median home price.

Do you believe that? More importantly, even if accurate, so what? 

The median person who can afford a home and wants a home probably already has a home. 

First Time Buyer Index

In terms of new and existing home sales, what matters is what a buyer who does not have a home, but wants a home, is willing to pay and can pay. 

The First-Time Buyer Index for 2022 Q2 fell to 68 assuming a starter home price of $351,500. 

Can 68 percent of would-be buyers afford (and find) a $351,500 home in a neighborhood in which they want to live? 

68 percent is a much more reasonable number than the overall 98.5 percent calculation, but that still strikes me as too high. 

Case-Shiller National Home Price Index

I have not updated my full set of Case-Shiller home price charts for a while but that chart is current (May data). 

Case-Shiller lags by a few months so it's even worse than shown. 

The pre-pandemic index was 212 and it's now 306. That's a 44 percent jump with real median wages declining, property taxes soaring, food soaring, and energy soaring.

Yet, the NAR says that median overall affordability has declined only to the 98.5 percent level. Yeah, right.

Meanwhile, rent and food keep rising and the price of rent will be sticky. Gasoline is more dependent on recession and global supply chains.

Food Prices Rise Most Since February 1979

For more on the price of food, please see Food at Home is Up 13.1 Percent From a Year Ago, Most Since February 1979

For more on rent, please note Tennant's Unions Demand Biden Declare a National Emergency to Stop Rent Gouging

For more on producer prices please see Producer Prices Decline For the First Time Since the Pandemic Due to Energy

Spotlight on Fed Silliness

The Fed has blown three consecutive bubbles trying to produce two percent consumer inflation while openly promoting raging bubbles in assets especially housing.

*  *  *

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Tyler Durden Sun, 08/14/2022 - 12:30

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Economics

Summer Teen Employment

Here is a look at the change in teen employment over time.The graph below shows the employment-population ratio for teens (6 to 19 years old) since 1948.The graph is Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA), to show the seasonal hiring of teenagers during the sum…

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Here is a look at the change in teen employment over time.

The graph below shows the employment-population ratio for teens (6 to 19 years old) since 1948.

The graph is Not Seasonally Adjusted (NSA), to show the seasonal hiring of teenagers during the summer.

A few observations:
1) Although teen employment has recovered some since the great recession, overall teen employment had been trending down. This is probably because more people are staying in school (a long term positive for the economy).

2) Teen employment was significantly impacted in 2020 by the pandemic.

Click on graph for larger image.

3) A smaller percentage of teenagers are obtaining summer employment. The seasonal spikes are smaller than in previous decades. 

The teen employment-population ratio was 38.4% in July 2022, down from 38.9% in July 2021. The teen participation rate was 43.6% in July 2022, down from 43.8% the previous July. 

So, a smaller percentage of teenagers are joining the labor force during the summer as compared to previous years. This could be because of fewer employment opportunities, or because teenagers are pursuing other activities during the summer.

3) The decline in teenager participation is one of the reasons the overall participation rate has declined (of course, the retiring baby boomers is the main reason the overall participation rate has declined over the last 20+ years).

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Economics

Braxia and KetaMD, CEOs McIntyre and Gumpel Speak on Acquisition

Last week, the Canadian company Braxia Scientific acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of KetaMD, Inc. This is an exciting acquisition, and…

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Last week, the Canadian company Braxia Scientific acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding stock of KetaMD, Inc. This is an exciting acquisition, and in today’s interview, The Dales Report’s Nicole Hodges talks with CEOs Dr. Roger McIntyre and Warren Gumpel of Braxia Scientific and KetaMD respectively.

For some background information, KetaMD is a U.S. based, privately-held, innovative telemedicine company, with a mission to address mental health challenges via access to technology-facilitated ketamine-based treatments. Braxia Scientific is Canada’s first clinic specializing in ketamine treatments for mood disorders. They recorded revenue of $1.49m for 2022 fiscal year, ended March 31. On a year-over-year basis, revenue increased 47.5%.

Here’s some highlights from the interview.

KetaMD gives Braxia a presence in the US

Dr. McIntyre says that KetaMD gives Braxia what they’ve had as their vision from the beginning: a US presence. KetaMD is a living program. It’s already running, has infrastructure, and patients. McIntyre believes that a program like KetaMD is something Braxia’s needed to scale and obtain commercial success.

With telemedicine, Braxia has a potential to serve a gap in access. The zeitgeist of “patient going to medicine” has flipped, McIntyre says. “Now it’s medicine goes to the patient, and that is long overdue.”

COVID speeding a trend that was already happening

In 2020, 80% of physicians indicated they had virtual visits. That’s a number up from 22% the year before. But this is something that many doctors, McIntyre included, believe always should have happened. The pandemic only was the catalyst for innovation and making the option viable.

While some treatments will always need a clinic or a hospital, McIntyre believes some treatments can be done safely at home. And they are, for many chronic diseases. He feels implementing ketamine and psychedelics would be among these treatments where service could be expanded into the home. It would require careful SOPs in place, best practices, and surveillance. But he believes Braxia Scientific could deliver this with KetaMD.

Gumpel to stay as CEO of KetaMD

Gumpel says that KetaMD benefits in this acquisition from being part of the world’s most prominent researchers in depression, psychedelics, and ketamine. In the acquisition, he’ll stay on as CEO. He admits that Dr. McIntyre has been a huge part of collecting the data on the safety of ketamine treatment, and has a strong motivation to “see this thing through until most of society can access that – or at least the people that need it and want it.”

Gumpel admits he has a personal connection to ketamine treatment. As a person who has experienced bouts of depression for years, it saved his life, he says. He is grateful he was living within walking distance of ketamine treatment in Manhattan. It made him extremely aware of the accessibility gap, which in part inspired KetaMD.

Be sure to tune in for the full interview regarding Braxia and KetaMD, right here on The Dales Report!

The post Braxia and KetaMD, CEOs McIntyre and Gumpel Speak on Acquisition appeared first on The Dales Report.

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