Technology transformation key to efficiency and sustainable economy

Canada can’t seem to catch a break these days. First came the secular downturn in commodity demand and prices starting in 2008 which caught an aging, oblivious population unaware. Next came a national obsession with self-destructive debt to pour into non-productive real estate that has stolen savings and investment from our future. And now our largest trading partner is aimed at reducing its use of our exports (dairy, lumber, oil too), while lowering its corporate tax rate to entice tax revenues from our side of the boarder to them. What to do?

Why, get wise of course. Start embracing the future, instead of clinging to the past. Transform your tax incentives to move away from non-productive activities toward innovation and investment in smart goods and services that the whole world desperately wants like net zero buildings, green energy and water systems, hydroponic farming and biodegradable plastics, to name just a few. The transition will take some work and cause some growing pains, but the opportunity here is enormous.  Yes, we can get a lot smarter.

Sustainability expert Jim Harris from Strategic Advantage explains why sustainability and digital transformation are not just one and the same, but also highly profitable. However, when it comes to buildings, fuel, and energy efficiency, we’re just scratching the surface of what can be achieved.  Here is a direct video link.

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Graphic of religions advancing around the globe

Reminds of watching viruses spread. Fascinating visual.

Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever molded the huge geographic regions in their paths. Here is a direct video link.

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West Australia: a cautionary tale for Canada and beyond

After the debt-fueled commodity boom: cash flows recede, asset values drop, only the debts remain.

Property prices in WA have fallen while unemployment and cost of living expenses are high. It’s a perfect storm for those who invested at the height of the mining boom.Here is a direct video link.

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Canada: under-saved, undiversified and unprepared for mean reversion

Canada enjoyed elevated cash flow during the late, great, global commodity boom 2002-2011.  That was then.  Cash flow is cyclical, and that cycle is over.  Unfortunately, Canada is unprepared for the secular mean reversion that follows secular booms.  Thanks to over-confidence and malinvestment in highly inefficient assets like the Alberta tar-sands, egregiously priced real estate and non-productive consumer goods, Canada has now earned an extended rough patch in the payback period.

This chart since 2009 of Canada’s largest non-bank mortgage lender Home Capital Inc tells the story.  Home Capital shares ballooned with the household debt bubble into 2014 and have since lost 86% on revelations of widespread fraud and management cover ups.  This darling of the Canadian housing boom, may well be a canary in the coal mine, reminding of what happens when excess leverage and reckless risk-taking becomes a national obsession.

Dangerously undiversified, the bloated financial sector today makes up 34% of the Canadian TSX Index, while energy and materials make up another 33%. Healthcare is just 0.5% and technology 2.9%.

The chief strategist for Canada at BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, admits that he doesn’t see a single attractive sector in the Canadian stock market because oil prices will stay low and the rest of our economy is over-levered and floundering.  See:  World’s biggest fund sees nothing to like in Canada stocks.

We agree.  It will take significant price declines across Canadian stocks and many realty markets, before Canadian assets are attractive investments once more.  Fortunately for those who are prepared, those opportunities are coming.  Unfortunately, most Canadians are oblivious and will not be able to take advantage of better prices when they present.

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Oil cos forced to admit: electric vehicles are new normal

Remember the adage: “It’s hard to get a person to admit facts when their pay cheque depends on denying it”?

Electric vehicles powered by renewable power makes so much more sense on every measure than old school ‘ICE’, that the evolution is unstoppable. Even oil companies are finally starting to publicly acknowledge these facts with projections that 35-47% of new cars will be EV within 23 years–likely a gross underestimation of the adoption pace now unfolding.

Electric cars are coming fast — and that’s not just the opinion of carmakers anymore. Total SA, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is now saying EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade.

The surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil-based fuels to peak in the 2030s, Total Chief Energy Economist Joel Couse said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference in New York on Tuesday. EVs will make up 15 percent to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030, after which fuel “demand will flatten out,” Couse said. “Maybe even decline.” Here is a direct video link.

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AZ weather woman working around denial and apathy to spread climate facts

Amber Sullins gets a minute or two to tell up to two million people about some extremely complicated science, using the tools of her trade: a pleasant voice, a green screen, and small icons denoting sun, clouds, rain, and wind. She is the chief meteorologist at ABC15 News in Phoenix, so her forecasts mostly call for sunshine. Within this brief window, however, Sullins sometimes manages to go beyond the next five days. Far beyond. Here is a direct video link.

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