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Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
The 116th Congress is weighing potential policy mechanisms to reduce the impact of climate change and cap global warming to an internationally agreed upon target of no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result, fossil fuel tax subsidies, as well as other mechanisms of support, have received additional scrutiny from lawmakers and the public regarding their current suitability, scale and effectiveness. Indeed, the subsidies undermine policy goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.
The United States provides a number of tax subsidies to the fossil fuel industry as a means of encouraging domestic energy production. These include both direct subsidies to corporations, as well as other tax benefits to the fossil fuel industry. Conservative estimates put U.S. direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at roughly $20 billion per year; with 20 percent currently allocated to coal and 80 percent to natural gas and crude oil. European Union subsidies are estimated to total 55 billion euros annually.
Environmental and Energy Study Institute;
This fact sheet focuses on employment in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors in the United States and around the world. According to the 2019 U.S. Energy Employment Report (USEER), 611,000 people worked in zero-emission technology industries, including renewables and nuclear in the United States. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recorded even higher renewable energy employment in the United States at 855,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2018. Jobs in energy efficiency experienced significant growth—the sector now employs more than 3 million people in the United States. IRENA reports that, globally, the renewable energy sector employed 11 million people in 2018, 700,000 more than in 2017.
The oceans are facing more threats now than at any time in history. Yet a nascent industry is ramping up to exert yet more pressure on marine life: deep sea mining. A handful of governments and companies have been granted licences to explore for deep sea mining in ecologically sensitive waters, and the industry is positioning its development as inevitable, but deep sea mining isn't happening anywhere in the global oceans – yet. Opening up a new industrial frontier in the largest ecosystem on Earth and undermining an important carbon sink carries significant environmental risks, especially in light of the biodiversity and climate crises facing the natural world and specifically our ocean. Rather, we need a strong Global Ocean Treaty that puts conservation, and not exploitation, at the heart of how governments approach the ocean.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
This essay charts the career of the entomologist and popular author Marston Bates (1906-1974) within the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) between 1935 and 1952. Today, Bates is best remembered as a science communicator. Publishing over a dozen books on natural history and the environment, he helped bring ecological ideas to broader public audiences during the 1950s and 1960s. Not simply a popularizer of contemporary scientific concepts, Bates stood out for his critical commentary on the environmental problems of economic development, conservation, and global population growth, as well as the need for more integrative, cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding humans in nature. Long before becoming a public intellectual, however, he worked for the RF as a mosquito specialist, serving as director of International Health Division malaria and yellow fever laboratories in Albania, Egypt, and Colombia during the 1930s and 1940s. Bates' mid-career shift from researching mosquito ecology to writing about human ecology may seem to be a sudden left turn. A closer look at the archival record reveals the pivotal role played by the Rockefeller Foundation in shaping Bates' career trajectory and ideas about the environment. Furthermore, placing Bates' work in the context of his time with the RF reveals connections between twentieth-century U.S. environmental thought and international health projects.
Union of Concerned Scientists;
This UCS analysis provides a detailed view of how extreme heat events caused by dangerous combinations of temperature and humidity are likely to become more frequent and widespread in the United States over this century. It also describes the implications for everyday life in different regions of the country.
We have analyzed where and how often in the contiguous United States the heat index—also known as the National Weather Service (NWS) "feels like" temperature—is expected to top 90°F, 100°F, or 105°F during future warm seasons (April through October). While there is no one standard definition of "extreme heat," in this report we refer to any individual days with conditions that exceed these thresholds as extreme heat days. We also analyzed the spread and frequency of heat conditions so extreme that the NWS formula cannot accurately calculate a corresponding heat index. The "feels like" temperatures in these cases are literally off the charts.
We have conducted this analysis for three global climate scenarios associated with different levels of global heattrapping emissions and future warming. These scenarios reflect different levels of action to reduce global emissions, from effectively no action to rapid action. Even the scenario of rapid action to reduce emissions does not spare our communities a future of substantially increased extreme heat. For the greatest odds of securing a safe climate future for ourselves and the ecosystems we all depend on, we would need to take even more aggressive action, in the US and globally, than outlined in any of the scenarios used here. Our challenge is great, but the threat of not meeting it is far greater.
Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace;
Individual giving in India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil is part of PSJP's Philanthropy Study. Previously the study has focused on producing a series of papers on philanthropy in four emerging market countries/regions – India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil. These studies have taken a broad view of philanthropy, encompassing everything from individual giving (by the very wealthy and by people of more modest means, including crowdfunding) to giving by private and corporate foundations, CSR, community philanthropy, social justice philanthropy, self-funded movements and impact investing.
The current paper looks at individual giving by ordinary people in these countries/ regions in more depth. Seen as an area of great promise in India and Russia, it is at an earlier stage in Brazil. In the Arab region giving to the social sector is barely making headway, though traditional giving is very much alive.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States;
While the physical dimensions of climate change are now routinely assessed through multimodel intercomparisons, projected impacts on the global ocean ecosystem generally rely on individual models with a specific set of assumptions. To address these single-model limitations, we present standardized ensemble projections from six global marine ecosystem models forced with two Earth system models and four emission scenarios with and without fishing. We derive average biomass trends and associated uncertainties across the marine food web. Without fishing, mean global animal biomass decreased by 5% (±4% SD) under low emissions and 17% (±11% SD) under high emissions by 2100, with an average 5% decline for every 1 °C of warming. Projected biomass declines were primarily driven by increasing temperature and decreasing primary production, and were more pronounced at higher trophic levels, a process known as trophic amplification. Fishing did not substantially alter the effects of climate change. Considerable regional variation featured strong biomass increases at high latitudes and decreases at middle to low latitudes, with good model agreement on the direction of change but variable magnitude. Uncertainties due to variations in marine ecosystem and Earth system models were similar. Ensemble projections performed well compared with empirical data, emphasizing the benefits of multimodel inference to project future outcomes. Our results indicate that global ocean animal biomass consistently declines with climate change, and that these impacts are amplified at higher trophic levels. Next steps for model development include dynamic scenarios of fishing, cumulative human impacts, and the effects of management measures on future ocean biomass trends.
Plastic waste has been documented in nearly all types of marine environments and has been found in species spanning all levels of marine food webs. Within these marine environments, deep pelagic waters encompass the largest ecosystems on Earth. We lack a comprehensive understanding of the concentrations, cycling, and fate of plastic waste in sub-surface waters, constraining our ability to implement effective, large-scale policy and conservation strategies. We used remotely operated vehicles and engineered purpose-built samplers to collect and examine the distribution of microplastics in the Monterey Bay pelagic ecosystem at water column depths ranging from 5 to 1000 m. Laser Raman spectroscopy was used to identify microplastic particles collected from throughout the deep pelagic water column, with the highest concentrations present at depths between 200 and 600 m. Examination of two abundant particle feeders in this ecosystem, pelagic red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes) and giant larvaceans (Bathochordaeus stygius), showed that microplastic particles readily flow from the environment into coupled water column and seafloor food webs. Our findings suggest that one of the largest and currently underappreciated reservoirs of marine microplastics may be contained within the water column and animal communities of the deep sea.
Uganda's Oil Industry has attracted huge foreign investment, but participation by SMEs has remained poor despite their importance in income generation, employment and poverty eradication. Although the Oil industry is highly specialised, it provides indirect investment opportunities for SMEs who make up 80 percent of Uganda's private sector. The opportunities available however have not been sufficiently usurped by SMEs due to the information gap on how to create business partnerships, requirements of the industry and actors in the industry.
Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics;
This study assesses the risk of fish from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) sources passing through the world's most important fishing ports and explores the drivers of this risk.
Like previous studies it has attempted to rank ports and States based on landings and vessel visits reported by governments by using Automatic Identification System (AIS) positional data transmitted by fishing and fish carrier vessels to identify the locations of ports and rank them based on the frequency of visits by foreignflagged and domestic-flagged vessels. It advances our thinking in that (i) the analysis includes an estimation of the hold capacity of fishing vessels and is therefore able to rank ports based on the total hold capacity of vessels visiting them and (ii) the profile and the frequency of vessel visits inform an assessment of the relative risks between different ports, and the implications for the implementation of the Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). The study also assesses the accuracy and utility of AIS-derived data for determining IUU risk globally for all ports, notably by cross-referencing its findings with those of other studies.
The study develops a broad suite of indicators that quantify and aggregate the AIS-derived port visit information in conjunction with published and publicly available policy and regulatory information drawn from other sources, such as the compliance record with binding port State measures of regional fisheries management organizations, to raise a global port State IUU Risk Index. The comparison of achieved risk scores with national income, levels of corruption, and geography provides insights into factors driving (aggravating) or modulating (mitigating) risks of IUU-caught seafood passing through a Nation's fishing ports, and supports a view that States with weaker governance also face higher odds of visits by vessels likely to have engaged in IUU fishing (i.e. higher external risks).
Based on an in-depth assessment of 14 individual ports globally, appended as a supplement to this paper, the study finds that overall, and with the possible exception of mandatory advance request procedures for entering ports, the implementation of key provisions of the 2009 PSMA remains severely lacking. The two main areas for improvement are the posting of publicly available PSM-related information on national and/or FAO portals, and the formal designation of ports.
Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance;
After a pause during the Great Recession, housing costs began rising again as the shortage of homes identified in 2001 began to widen. In some degree, this is because of nationwide changes that have increased demand for apartments and homes on small lots, especially in walkable, transit-connected places. But Greater Boston is also a victim of its own success. The many attractive characteristics of our region are drawing new households by the thousands. Young adults are forming new families and older residents are less likely to flee to Florida and Arizona. Overall, the population of the region is growing – in fact, Massachusetts is the fastest growing state in the Northeast. The disinvestment and population declines of earlier decades have been reversed, and the benefits are overwhelmingly positive. But, if housing supply cannot keep up with demand, these gains could be lost.
From 2010 to 2017, the Metropolitan Boston region added 245,000 new jobs, a 14 percent increase. Yet according to the best data available, cities and towns permitted only 71,600 housing units over that same time period, growth of only 5.2 percent. When supply of new housing does not keep pace with the growing demand created by new workers and young adults forming new households, there is more competition for the existing units. Low rental vacancy rates (just above half of normal) and low for-sale inventory (just above a third of normal) make it a landlord and sellers' market, allowing them to charge top dollar to the highest bidder. Continued demand for labor, driven by economic growth and the retirement of the Baby Boomers is likely to continue driving strong population growth and housing demand well into the future. Compounding the issue is the fact that Baby Boomers will continue to need housing well after they retire, but are stuck in large single family homes because there are very few affordable options to downsize.
For more information: https://ma-smartgrowth.org/resources/resourcesreports-books/
World Bank Group;
The economic prosperity and sustainable development of the Wider Caribbean Region (WCR), and in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS), greatly depend on the wealth of resources provided by the oceans. The marine ecosystems of the Caribbean provide food, livelihoods, and income to millions of people through fisheries, tourism, coastal protection, transportation, and resilience to climate change. In 2017, gross revenues from marine and coastal tourism alone were estimated to total US$57 billion. Building a sustainable ocean economy — the Blue Economy — through better and more effective use of marine resources holds enormous potential for income growth, community development, environmental protection, and poverty reduction.