In a unanimous 14-0 vote on Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved an emergency ban on “unjust,” no-fault evictions to stop landlords from evicting some of their tenants.
No-fault evictions are evictions that are outside the resident’s control, such as when a landlord decides to end their lease or not renew it.
This comes on the heels of the approval to enact statewide rent control earlier this month. These new rental law will take place in January 2020.
In a statement on his website, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the emergency measure seeks to protect his residents before Assembly Bill 1482 takes place.
“Our city is experiencing a housing crisis, and we should be using every available tool to keep people in their homes, and runaway rents in check,” Garcetti said in the statement. “This ordinance is an important measure that will prevent evictions before the new state law takes effect, and I am proud to be able to sign it into law today.”
California and Oregon are the first states nationwide to enact rent control. In March, Oregon approved a law placing an annual limit on rent increases of 7% plus inflation.
Efforts to increase affordable housing have long been talked about in California, which battled over a statewide rent control measure for several years.
In the November 2018 election, California voters shot down a previous rent control initiative, Proposition 10, by 61.7%. That proposal would have capped annual rent increases to prevent unjust evictions.
For years, when the climate movement called for “connecting the dots,” they meant linking extreme weather to the broader story of human-caused climate breakdown. In the age of the Green New Deal, our job is to connect the dots in a different way: between the climate crisis and the crises of economic and racial inequality that afflict us every day. And we have an opportunity to get concrete – literally – by showing precisely how targeted green investment in racialized and working-class communities can slash carbon emissions.
One truly radical and intersectional approach? Tackle the United States’ housing and climate crises at the same time – with a Green New Deal for housing.
Of course, the centrist climate wonks hate how expansive the Green New Deal idea is. They think every piece of its social policy is an expensive distraction. But they forgot to follow the carbon beyond their tidy little graphs. In the real world, you can’t separate the carbon causing the climate emergency from our physical and economic systems, any more than you can separate windows, furnaces, and air conditioners from your monthly rent bill. And you can’t separate voters’ – and political organizers’ – desires for a safe and affordable home from their commitment to a stable climate.
In aggregate, the United States’ 138m housing units cause over 15% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than all commercial buildings combined. Housing inequality is also the biggest driver of the country’s horrifying wealth gap, with the median black family owning just $11,000, compared to the median white family owning over $135,000. And housing costs are destroying Americans’ budgets. Nearly 20m households spend over half their income on rent or mortgage payments. Another 20m pay over a third.
In the real world, you can’t separate the carbon causing the climate emergency from our physical and economic systems While the climate movement flexes its muscles by holding climate strikes and blocking pipelines, housing movements all around the country are racking up wins, with campaigns like the Homes Guarantee putting national rent control on the mainstream political agenda.
Anyone hoping to become the Democratic nominee should be able to answer the question: what will your climate plan do for the housing crisis? Or, to flip it around: What can your housing policies do for the climate emergency? Either way, a good answer should be the same: a lot.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday in New York, the United States of America (U.S.A) announced robust plans and initiatives by his administration to reverse the negative effects of climate change in Nigeria.
A statement by Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, in Abuja, said the plans were revealed in his address to the United Nations Climate Action Summit with the theme: A Race We Can Win. A Race We Must Win.
While sharing the sentiment expressed by the UN Secretary-General that the world is on the verge of climate catastrophe, President Buhari stated that “undeniably, Climate Change is a human-induced phenomenon.”
He stressed the need for Member States to step-up their collective climate actions in line with the request of the Secretary General.
“It is in this regard that I wish to reiterate Nigeria’s commitment to its obligation under the Paris Agreement, the aspirations enshrined in our Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and ensure a resilient future that mainstreams climate risks in our decision making.
“I want to announce that the Government of Nigeria will develop a more robust sectorial action plan, and expand the scope of our Sovereign Green Bonds in line with our intended upward review of Nigeria’s NDC’s towards the inclusion of the water and waste sectors by 2020,” he said.
On the water sector, President Buhari revealed that Nigeria would issue a Green Bond for irrigation and construct multi-purpose dams for power, irrigation and water supply.
He said: “We will strengthen solid and liquid waste management systems to attract more private sector investors.
“We will take concrete steps to harness climate innovative ideas by including youths in decision making processes as part of our over-all climate governance architecture.
“We will mobilize Nigerian youths towards planting 25 million trees to enhance Nigeria’s carbon sink.”
The Nigerian leader also disclosed that Nigeria had embarked on diversification of its energy sources from dependence on gas-powered system to hydro, solar, wind, biomass and nuclear sources.
Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insight report shows that the 30-year note rate dropped for the eighth consecutive month as of August, spurring an increase in the percentage of refinances.
In August, the 30-year note rate dropped to 4.07%, falling from 4.18% in July. This decrease attributed to an uptick in refinances, which accounted for 43% of all loans during the month, according to the report.
“The drop in interest rates month-over-month continues to drive up the percentage of refinances, which accounted for 43% of all loans in August, up from 38% the month prior,” Ellie Mae stated. “Purchase percentages as a share of all loans dropped under 60% for the first time in 2019.”
To get a meaningful view of lender pull-through, Ellie Mae said it reviewed a sampling of loan applications initiated 90 days prior to calculate an overall closing rate of 77.3% in August.
According to Ellie Mae, closing rates on purchases increased to 80% during the month, while closing rates for refinances dropped slightly to 72.5%.
However, the percentage of refinances increased across the board last month, with FHA refinances climbing from 24% to 27%.
Conventional refinances rose from 42% in July to 46% in August, and VA Refinances ticked up from 31% in July to 34% in August.
Overall FICO scores increased from last month’s 731 to 734, while LTV decreased to 78 and DTI remained at 24/37, according to the report.
“Interest rates continue to decline and we’re seeing homeowners capitalize on the refinance opportunity throughout the month of August,” said Jonathan Corr, president and CEO of Ellie Mae. “As we enter the fall and the market expects further rate cuts from the Fed, we will watch to see if the share of refinances continues to climb further
NOTE: Ellie Mae’s Origination Insight Report focuses on loans that closed in a specific month, comparing their characteristics to similar loans that closed three and six months earlier. The closing rate is calculated on a 90-day cycle instead of a monthly basis.
The Federal Government to has threatened to sack incompetent environmental consultants who indulge in professional misconduct or degradation of environmental laws in the country.
Director-General of National Environmental Standard Enforcement Regulatory Agency (NESERA), Prof Aliyu Jauro, stated this yesterday at the 2019 accredited Environmental Consultants, organised by the agency.
He said ministry has 33 environmental regulations that deal with waste management, adding that it would fully implement the regulations in a bid to resolve challenges associated with poor waste disposal.
“We have different types of waste such as e-waste, medical waste, solid and liquid waste but our regulations in the area of medical waste will soon be ready,” he said.Jauro, therefore, explained that the agency was collaborating with other relevant agencies on sound environmental management since its regulation covers issues on desertification and flooding.He assured that the agency would address rampant desertification caused by incessant felling of trees, vowing to sanction developers in the housing and construction sectors building houses on waterways.He also lamented the building of houses on waterways and dumping of refuse on drainages, insisting that these were part of the major problems that contribute to flooding in the country. “If you go to most Nigerian cities, you will discover that residents dump refuse on water channels and during heavy rains, the refuse block the water channels, which leads to severe flooding,” he stated.
Jauro maintained that consultants’ malfeasance was responsible for the environmental auditing on behalf of their clients, while NESREA’s role would be to review their work and issue them certificates.
Climate change is the long-term modification of the Earth’s climate resulting from atmospheric changes and interactions among the atmosphere and other geological, chemical, biological, and spatial factors within the Earth’s powerful energy system. Climate scientists who collect and analyse information about our planet and climate on a global scale report an accelerating global rise in average temperature from the late 19th century to the present, nearing one degree Celsius. Leading scientists view this temperature change, accompanied by sea ice losses, sea level rises, longer, more intense heat waves and other increases in extreme weather events, as robust evidence of climate change.
West Africa is particularly vulnerable due to its high climate variability, heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture and limited economic and institutional capacity to offset the consequent scarcity and conflict effects. This paper identifies evidence linking climate change and conflict, traces the impact on the population of the West African region, and describes a case, set in West Africa, of conflicts arising from climate change. Finally, the author proposes a model to guide stakeholder interventions intended to minimize the extent of such conflicts.
Evidence linking climate change and conflict
Formal evidence of causal links between climate change and violent conflict is mixed. The dominant view is that climate change potentially contributes to political instability and resource insecurity across the world, and thus poses a threat to peace (see Figure 1). However, critics argue there is no evidence of a direct relationship between climate change and violent conflict. They acknowledge that in some circumstances, and in association with other factors, climate change can induce or worsen conflict – for example among pastoralists and farmers competing for land and water. The circumstances cited by researchers include deteriorating livelihoods, increased migration, changes in the movement patterns of pastoralists, and opportunism by merchants of violence and the political and business elites.
The arrows in Figure 1 trace the path from climate change to conflict, while the letters mark potential opportunities for intervention. Reducing the impact of climate change on resource scarcity (A) is a task well beyond the scope of even a large individual nation. At best, nations within a region may be able to cooperate to minimize the impact of resource competition (B) on market prices, thus reducing resource and political conflicts.
Examples of institutional interventions at the resource scarcity stage include water rationing, more efficient irrigation methods; pasture management, and natural resource rejuvenation and protection. Interventions in markets, such as resource rationing (C) or price controls are often unpopular, and the resulting conflict may result in political intervention (D).
The consequences of climate change vary with the context. As climate change impacts the world’s physical landscape, it alters our geopolitical structure. For example, drought will increase competition for a diminishing amount of fertile land. Combined with other market forces, scarcity leads to price rises that generate conflict among supply and demand resources, which may result in resource and political conflict (E), especially when prices rise faster than incomes.
Rising sea levels will inevitably force coastal dwellers to migrate inland (F), further adding pressure to what are likely to be increasingly scarce land and water resources. When social and political institutions are strong, they can address these conflicts through community leaders, ombudsmen, and other dispute resolution mechanisms. When they are weak, institutional breakdown opens the door to violent conflict (G).
One 2018 Stockholm International Peace Research Institute report finds “there is context-specific evidence that climate change can have an effect on the causes and dynamics of violent conflict in the region when: (a) it leads to a deterioration in people’s livelihoods; (b) it influences the tactical considerations of armed groups; (c) elites use it to exploit social vulnerabilities and resources; and (d) it displaces people and increases levels of migration.”
Several studies find evidence of strong links between climate shocks and conflict. One reports that the risk of armed conflict increases when water is scarce. Another researcher finds that a standard deviation increase in temperature raises the risk of interpersonal conflict by 2.4 percent and intergroup conflict by 11.3 percent.
Severe drought and water variability owing to climate change are found to cause conflict among farmers and pastoralists in several African countries. Across Africa, researchers report a strong linear relationship between temperature and civil war, with a 1 degree Celsius increase raising the risk of civil war by 4.5 percent within a one year span.
Hsiang et al. contend that El Niño events bring hotter and drier weather and therefore serve as a model of future climate change. Examining the tropics between 1950 and 2001, they found that civil conflicts were twice as likely to commence in El Niño years as in cooler, wetter La Niña years. They estimate that El Niño may have contributed to 21 percent of civil conflicts during this period.
Other research links the recent conflict in Darfur to climate change, exacerbating pre-existing tensions between farming villagers and pastoralists as rainfall and vegetation declined, and suggests that the government exploited these tensions to foment conflict and bolster its support among specific ethnic groups it favoured. This conflict was marked by violence directed at civilians, with reports of poisoned wells.
A recent study, authoritative in light of the pedigree of its unprecedented number of authors for a scholarly article, concludes that “climate has affected organized armed conflict within countries” and “intensifying climate change is estimated to increase future risks of conflict.” Consistent with other findings, the authors also conclude that low socioeconomic development, intergroup inequality, and weak states worsen already difficult situations.
The research cited above links the environmental impacts of climate change to their impacts on people, identifies the knock-on effects of climate change on the population, and identifies the propensity for these effects to act as sources of stress that may lead to conflict, especially where institutional weaknesses come into play.
“The figures are worrying when one considers that one in five homes is sub-standard as far as safety, costs and other measures are concerned. ”
Research by VeriSmart – a nationwide network of independent property inspectors – has revealed the concerning number of ‘non-decent’ homes in England as per the English Housing Survey.
The English Housing Survey – which dates back to 1967 as one of the longest-standing government surveys in the country – is a national survey of people’s housing circumstances and the condition of housing in England.
VeriSmart’s research details how almost a fifth of homes in the country (19.5% or 4.5 million) failed to meet the government’s Decent Homes Standard, when taking into account hazards, costs and other characteristics.
Private rented homes were found to be the most likely to be ‘non-decent’, with 25% of such properties falling below the expected standard, while the social sector had the lowest proportion of non-decent homes at 13%.
More than a third of homes built before 1919 were deemed non-decent and would require an investment of £9,991 to meet the expected standard laid out by the government, while the average estimated cost for non-decent homes to meet the required standard was £7,211. Typically, older properties would require greater investment to sufficiently repair.
The most common Category 1 hazards – the most dangerous type of hazard – were falls and fires. Falls on stairs, on a level and between levels accounted for the three most common types of hazard, with fires in fourth place.
Converted flats were deemed the most hazardous property type, with 21% of such homes likely to contain hazards, while private homes were the next most dangerous by this measure (14%). Houses were close behind (12%), with flats proving safer (8%), though social rented homes were least likely to play host to a hazard at just 6%.
1.1 million homes had a serious fire hazard – for example no smoke alarms, old or faulty electrical systems, missing fire doors – and other hazards included damp and mould, electrical safety faults and hot surfaces.
Jonathan Senior, chairman of VeriSmart, commented: “The figures are worrying when one considers that one in five homes is sub-standard as far as safety, costs and other measures are concerned.
“Some may fret at the average cost to fix a property so that it meets the required standard, but when these properties are falling below expectations in part due to hazards, safety surely has to take priority.
“We recently looked at the tragic number of home accidents – many involving children and many leading to fatalities – and it’s clear that chances can’t be taken in this area.”
Cities in the Middle East and North Africa are centres of innovation and investment, pivotal to economic growth and development across the region. At the same time, they are vulnerable to severe impact from a range of challenges, shocks and stresses that can be both natural and man-made. The growth of sustainable cities needs to be disaster-proofed.
From emergency planning to infrastructure investment, from adaptations in urban planning to risk financing: resilience and sustainability are two complementary paradigms of urban development in the Mena region. One cannot exist without the other. We should go beyond conventional approaches to risk reduction and advocate a forward-looking approach to urban development, encompassing the spatial, physical, functional and organisational dimensions of any inhabited settlement. A resilient city assesses, plans and acts in preparation for all kinds of hazards to enhance lives, foster an environment for investment and drive positive change.
Urbanisation trends continue to transform cities into unique hubs for services and housing, and to fulfil the promise of social inclusion and better social and economic opportunities for all citizens. However, if not properly managed and planned, these same trends can put a severe strain on urban water, waste, housing, energy and utility systems, unleashing long-term stresses on their efficiency and exposing their weaknesses, particularly when impacted by internal or external forces.
Most Mena cities are increasingly exposed to natural disasters such as flood, extreme heat or drought and climate-related shocks. What we have been observing in the region is that while the number of natural disasters around the world has almost doubled since the 1980s, it has almost tripled in Mena countries, with more than 370 natural disasters affecting 40 million people over the last 30 years, costing $20 billion.
The impact of these disasters on cities has been aggravated by a number of factors, including the rise in population density. In total, 62 per cent of Mena population live in cities while the urban population is expected to double by 2040. Water scarcity, migration to cities from rural areas and from neighbouring countries, flawed policies affecting cities, and climate change all have a lasting impact on Middle Eastern cities.
Last year there were more than 70 million people forcibly displaced around the world, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Syria accounted for most of the 13.6m newly displaced people worldwide. More than 80 per cent of forcibly displaced people from the region (primarily from Syria, Iraq and Yemen) now live in towns and cities. The urbanisation of forced displacement means the displaced are no longer in isolated areas but merged into existing urban populations. Their move to cities is often based on a perception that cities offer better economic opportunities, increased security, a degree of anonymity, greater access to services and closer proximity to markets.
In fact, the urban spatial footprint can increase rapidly as a result of an influx from displacement, as seen in Beirut or Amman. A large influx of displaced people arriving in cities and towns can double or triple population growth rates in months or weeks. While the impact on cities such as Amman will be somewhat noticeable, expansion is most visible in smaller municipalities such as Mizyara and Zahle in Lebanon, and Mafraq, Zaatari and Ramtha in northern Jordan, where populations have doubled in some cases and new settlement development drives rapid expansion of the urban footprint.
“Urbanisation trends continue to transform cities into unique hubs for services and housing, and to fulfil the promise of social inclusion and better social and economic opportunities for all citizens”
Most Mena governments have embarked on resilience and development in response – from setting up early-warning systems, building institutions and infrastructure to better handle disasters and gathering an accurate picture of the risks they face.
The city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, which was affected by flooding in 2009 and 2011, has undertaken significant steps towards flood-risk reduction by improving drainage infrastructure and land use planning. Dubai has implemented development for urban search and rescue, contingency planning, firefighting and emergency response.
The Jordanian port city of Aqaba has instigated a variety of initiatives regarding earthquake risk reduction, including risk assessment, public awareness, urban search and rescue, and community voluntary teams. Meanwhile Fez in Morocco has community-level disaster risk management initiatives and the coastal city of Byblos in Lebanon, known to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, has an action plan to mitigate risks, including identifying opportunities that the city can take to improve its resilience.
These good practices display the importance that concerned city authorities attach to disaster risk reduction for the safety of their populations. There is a need to replicate such good practices on a wider scale in the region.
But to implement these plans successfully and manage increasingly large and complex urban systems, there is a need for better co-ordination at a central and local level, increased participation of the private sector in urban development and a devolution of responsibilities and budgets to local authorities.
We also need to make sure fast-growing cities do not lock in high rates of carbon emission or put people at further risk of disaster. It will take a combined effort from the public and private sector to build resilience in all Mena cities.
The Nigerian government has said it is intensifying efforts to ensure that its citizens own houses.
The Federal Government Staff Housing Loans Board said this will be done in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda on bridging the housing deficit in the country.
The Executive Secretary of the Board, Dr. Hannatu Fika, said this while briefing journalists during an inspection of housing projects across the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria.
Dr. Fika said the move became necessary giving the crucial roles of public servants in the economic development of the nation.
According to her, all public servants are entitled to the housing loan and should take advantage of the scheme.
“At least the houses speak for themselves. It is not imaginary. This estate belongs literary to Federal civil servants who identified a developer and introduce the developer to us and instructed us to pay their own loan to the developer so that he can build houses for them and this houses you are seeing are houses that came through partnership between the developers and civil servants.”
“This estate is christened Amal Pepple Housing Estate, after one of our former Head of Service and for now, there are over 220 houses and more are going to be constructed because the land is very big,” she disclosed.
When giving an overview of the inspection, she said the Engr Ebele Okeke Housing Estate, also named after a former Head of Service which was earlier inspected will be commissioned in September.
She therefore urged the developers to ensure everything is completed before the day of commissioning.
“Liberty 1, which is now Engr Ebele Okeke Housing Estate is fully developed and occupied. You have seen it yourself, and Liberty 2, which is close to Liberty 1, we planned to commission it in July, but unfortunately the developers weren’t ready. So, we urge them to hasten and finish up. Because quite a number of the owners of the houses in that Estate want it as carcass so that they can redesign it the way they want.
“And i think we are contributing our quota as a Board maximally to the reduction of the housing deficit in the country especially now that we have a Government that is willing to provide houses for most citizens. You know Civil Servants are a critical sector in the citizenry of this country,”She said.
Talking on support from the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, which the Board is under, she said the support is maximal.
“Everybody is giving us support otherwise you wouldn’t have seen what is on ground. Because housing is one of the programmes of government which is one of the major ones. She is giving us 100% support both morally and spiritually,” she said.
When asked if there could be an option of allocating lands to civil Servants to develop by themselves instead of houses, she noted that it’s a good idea, but it all boils down to the same thing, same expenses, giving the funds that will be used to build the house. “but connected to that we have approached the FCT and it has given us land in Wasa district, which will make the houses more subsidised,” she explained.
Dr Fika further advised Civil servants to key into the Scheme even if it’s the carcass.
One of the developers, Arc Rotimi Fason, said his company is ready for the September commissioning.
“As you can see we have all equipment on ground including the transformer. We are currently working on the drainage and we will soon complete it,” he said.
About five housing estate were inspected by the Executive Secretary Federal Government Staff Housing Loan Board within the FCT.
Developer The first phase of the Kano Economic City (KEC) project has reached 85 per cent completion, making the December, 2019, deadline for construction work to be completed realistic.
Conceived about 12 years ago by the administration of a former Kano State Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekaru, and estimated to gulp about $461m, the project faced a major setback when the parties involved could not reach a balance in the financial agreement involved. KEC is strategically located along the Zaria-Maiduguri Road, just a 15-minute drive from Kano Town. Under a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) agreement, the KEC project was expected to be implemented in three phases spanning five to seven years under a joint venture partnership between the Kano State Government and a foremost indigenous real estate and infrastructure development company, Brains and Hammers Limited.
Upon completion, the project will be developed under a Build, Operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) arrangement. The city was designed on a 117.2-hectare to provide over 80,000 Square Metres (sqm) of mega wholesale and retail warehouses and 10,000 shops and stalls targeted at harnessing product value-chain opportunities, as well as to improve economic growth. KEC is designed to accommodate a World Trade Centre (WTC), a wholesale and retail market comprising state-of-the-art warehousing facilities totalling over 80,000sqm and over 10,000 wholesale and retail shops, an education institute, light factories/industries, a conference centre, banks, an office complex, a health center, police station, fire station, international coach station, a five-star hotel, among other modern facilities
. The developer, Brains and Hammers Limited, said the central components of KEC included, but was not limited to trailer and passenger motor parks, amusement park and petrol stations. However, the project was said to have been abandoned for some years until the present Kano State Government under Gov. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje resolved to complete it under its bid to reassert the state as one of the leading economic centres in the country. Gov. Ganduje made a commitment to see that the project comes to reality.
After mobilising the co-partners to site, the governor recently visited the Phase 1 site of KEC; which when completed will house mega GSM and pharmaceutical markets. He said, “My administration is particularly interested and determined to make a global city in Kano that can compete with other business cities in the world in order to have full and better economic potentialities and opportunities for the benefit of all.”
The Head of Design and Project Coordinator of Brains and Hammers, Arch. Muhydeen Afolabi, said his company would secure hybrid funding for the project, coordinate technical development and construction of the market, market various products, as well as services of KEC and discuss off-taker financing models with prospective financiers. Arch. Afolabi added that the Kano State Government on the other hand, would provide land as equity contribution to the project, policy formulation and enforcement in respect to trade and commerce which would accelerate and support occupation of KEC.
Afolabi further revealed that the state government would lead the sensitisation of traditional rulers and the general public, as well as joint facility management of the market complex for a period of 25 years with an option of a renewal. He said, “We have gone far on it, and as you are aware, the Kano State governor was here some time ago and he saw how far we have gone. The December deadline is realistic as all construction works have reached 85 per cent.”
Afolabi further said KEC had been designed to have 10,000 shops in Phase 1, 38 world class warehouses, 280-trailer capacity parking space, among other services needed in a world standard market, adding that the project also had provision for an agricultural hub that would house grains, a space for large and small scale industries, a leather processing unit, a meat unit and other commodities, with an up-to-date ICT centre, a hospital and offices for regulatory and security agencies.