NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT A POLITICAL HOT POTATOby Blair Bess, December 10, 2018Timing is everything. Take for example the Trump administration’s decision to release the latest National Climate Assessment during last month’s Thanksgiving holiday. No shocker. The president and his team consistently dump unwelcome information at times they believe no one is paying attention.Publication of the climate assessment is mandated by Congress. It has been released every four years since the requirement to do so was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990. That’s right, Bush 41, whose recent passing we as a nation are still mourning. Again, timing is everything. In this instance, it’s the perfect time to pause and consider the significance of this piece of legislation.The elder President Bush understood the disastrous consequences of climate change. According to Monica Medina, a former principal deputy undersecretary of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bush 41 knew that global warming posed “a risk to our health, to our prosperity, and to our national security.”President Bush’s commitment to the environment is in stark contrast to opinions expressed by the current occupant of the Oval Office. When questioned about the climate report’s validity, President Trump reacted dismissively and said, “I don’t believe it.”Climate change deniers like President Trump and many of his party’s leadership in Congress choose to pooh-pooh the findings of the climate assessment because it is contrary to “evidence” proffered by fossil fuel industry-affiliated experts and the special interests funding their careers. Their views are not predicated on potential environmental hazards or the health concerns of ordinary Americans. They are rooted in increased profits; the public is damned.The consequences of the administration’s recent actions and inactions relating to environmental regulation and its withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement are a far greater matter of national security than the attempts of undocumented immigrants to “invade” our southern border. They just don’t play as well with the Trump base.Since the last climate assessment was released four years ago, states in the west and southwest have increasingly been subjected to devastating droughts. Dwindling water supplies have affected the livelihood of farmers. Uncontrollable wildfires have taken a human toll, causing loss of life, property, and natural resources.Coastal flooding and erosion, which is attributed to a decrease in sea ice, have impacted Alaskans as well as Americans in offshore territories of the U.S., like Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Hotter temperatures are life-threatening to both elderly and young Americans.Scientists who contributed to the National Climate Assessment note that by 2050 those higher temperatures and dramatic changes in rainfall will also reduce agricultural productivity and impact the health of livestock.The report further notes that extreme weather events driven by global warming are “virtually certain to increasingly affect U.S. trade and economy, including import and export prices and businesses with overseas operations and supply chains.” We may expect shuttering of factories and a resultant hardship for American workers at home. It’s quite possible that climate change will eventually have a greater negative impact on businesses large and small than the administration’s ill-conceived tariffs on imports, and its “America First” trade policies.During the administration’s first two years, the wholesale elimination of regulations enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency and other government institutions have removed safeguards meant to keep Americans healthy and secure. The economic health of American workers – not their employers – is often cited as the motivating factor behind these changes.To varying degrees, all administrations pander to those whose financial support helped put and keep them in office. The Trump administration is no different. Yet fixes that favor short-term corporate interests over those of ordinary Americans who voted for the president will inevitably yield economic consequences that affect the bottom-line and well-being of us all.Global warming and the environment need not be a political hot potato. As the late President Bush told an audience thirty years ago, “Those who think we’re powerless to do anything about the greenhouse effect are forgetting about the White House effect.” In the wake of the latest National Climate Assessment, it is in everyone’s interests for the current occupant of that house to retake his temperature and reconsider his position on climate change. FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail
Fred Miller’s Thursday night lecture on “Firsts” in Ocean City will not be presented this week because of his wife Susan’s illness. It will be rescheduled later in the series.The lecture had been scheduled for 7 p.m. July 9 as the opener in the Ocean City Historical Museum’s popular summer Thursday night lecture series.The series will resume next week (July 13) with Musem Director Jeff McGranahan presenting a photo essay on the old Ocean City School.The lectures are free and open to the public. The series continues each Thursday evening through Sept. 3. They are held in the Christopher Maloney Lecture Hall of the Ocean City Free Public Library.The Ocean City Historical Museum will be open Thursday evening.
The sweet bakery industry was left “gob-smacked” by the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA’s) decision to include calorie reduction as part of its consul-tation on cutting saturated fat in baked goods.As widely expected, the FSA has proposed voluntary targets – described as “recommendations” in the consultation – for cutting saturated fat in biscuits, cakes, pastries and buns by between 5-10% by 2012, compared to 2008 levels. However, proposals that the cuts should be accompanied by a calorie reduction took industry by surprise.”Calorie reduction was not discussed in any of the meetings we had in the run-up to the consultation being announced, so we were gob-smacked to see them included,” said Barbara Gallani, manager of the Biscuits, Cakes, Confectionery and Chocolate Sector of the Food and Drink Federation. “Calorie reduction raises very different challenges compared to just reducing saturated fat and we will be responding strongly to the proposal during the consultation.”Stan Cauvain, director of bakery consultancy BakeTran, told British Baker that calorie reduction in bakery products was “hugely difficult”. “Reducing saturated fat in bakery products is, to varying degrees, achie-vable by using alternative fats. But reducing saturated fat and calories at the same time is a much bigger and more difficult task that means every component of a product will have to be looked at and its composition completely re-engineered,” he said. “The FSA may risk alienating industry with these proposals.”The consultation, which also covers chocolate and soft drinks, closes on 3 November.
In the build-up to the holidays, bakeries, cafés, coffee and sandwich shops need to make the most of Christmas shoppers and consumers in the festive period. Cranberries, cinnamon, spices and apples are all seasonal ingredients that would complement sandwich fillings.Relishes and chutneys that use these ingredients can provide an extra edge to sandwich ranges, and are an inexpensive and simple way of increasing profits, while providing a more premium product for consumers. Maria Whitehead runs The Hawkshead Relish Company with her husband Mark in the heart of the Lake District, producing 120 different relishes, chutneys and sauces. She believes high-quality products using flavoursome and natural ingredients are key to enticing customer interest.”Customers will be attracted to sandwiches with good flavours, natural ingredients and fresh products. Sauces and relishes are an ideal way to do this in the busy Christmas period. Customers should be using ingredients like mulled spices and winter berries to complement seasonal fair, such as turkey. These products fly out this time of year and the foodservice market is twigging on to this hassle-free way of vamping up a sandwich.”The company’s Christmas product range is proving to be increasingly popular in the bakery and sandwich industry. The Hawkshead Relish Company’s fruity and lightly spiced Christmas chutney, gingered apple Boxing Day chutney and chunky Michaelmas relish are all favourable choices.Bakers are also keen to sell jars of chutneys and relishes in-store, such as its fig and cinnamon chutney, as an additional offering to customers. “Bakers purchase relishes for sandwiches they make and sell in-store and an increasing number sell jars on to customers who want them as gifts or as an indulgent extra for Christmas dinners,” adds Whitehead.”If a customer can buy a sauce or relish that they have already tried in a sandwich, then it’s a great way to maximise sales.”Clive Barker, co-founder and operations director at BD Foods, which creates restaurant-quality products to complement businesses in the foodservice sector, explains how bakers are intrigued by the firm’s unique take on traditional relishes and chutneys. “In the run-up to Christmas, we see a marked increase in foodservice companies looking to strengthen their portfolio of festive condiments and chutneys. This year, we have had more requests for slightly quirkier chutneys, such as date and tamarind, spiced apple and mustard seed and even a winter chilli piccalilli.”Bakeries and sandwich shops who use and sell such relishes and chutneys during the Christmas holidays could benefit from it in the long run. “Our Michaelmas Relish is something our customers consider an all-year-round product, using it as a pasta sauce and even a salsa dip,” Whitehead says.Barker believes such sandwich accompaniments will prove popular with customers for years to come. “Chutneys and relishes are important at this time of year. Bakeries, cafés and the like can transform an ordinary sandwich into something emotively festive, and possibly more profitable. After all, the traditional Christmas meal would just be Sunday lunch without them.”
Storage silo manufacturer Barton Fabrications has secured accreditation from the SafeContractor scheme for its commitment to health and safety.SafeContractor is a third-party accreditation designed to recognise “very high standards in health and safety management amongst UK contractors”, and to help simplify supplier assessment and selection.Under the scheme, businesses are vetted to examine health and safety procedures and their track record for safe practice.Companies meeting the scheme’s standard are included on a database accessible to registered users via the SafeContractor website. More than 210 nationwide businesses have signed up to use the scheme when selecting contractors, said SafeContractor.“We are delighted to receive the accreditation,” said Mark Barton, managing director and owner of Barton Fabrications, which describes itself as the UK’s largest manufacturer of aluminium storage silos.“Our aim is to make on-site silo installation a safe and simple process for the customer and the SafeContractor award gives the customer third-party reassurance that we meet the highest levels of on-site safe working procedures.”
While most Notre Dame students scramble for their hats and scarves on snowy South Bend mornings, the men of Siegfried Hall will break out their summer wardrobes once again during today’s seventh annual Day of Man. The Ramblers will sport shorts, flip-flops and pink T-shirts to raise awareness of homelessness and fundraise for the South Bend Center for the Homeless. Senior Andrew Ritter, a co-commissioner of the event, said the Day of Man is a unique and rewarding opportunity for students to experience solidarity with people who lack basic living necessities. “We are more than glad to be cold one day for those who are cold everyday,” he said. “It is our way of standing in solidarity with them and bringing awareness to the fact that a lot of people are not properly clothed and are having to live outside in this South Bend winter.” Historically, Ritter said the event has been highly successful in terms of both student participation and fundraising, as well as in direct donations to the Center for the Homeless. Last year’s Day of Man brought in more than $5,000. “Siegfried usually has about 175 out of the 240 men in the hall participate, and their efforts go along way in raising money,” Ritter said. “Truthfully, though, we hope to increase [donations] this year in order to contribute more to the Center.” Junior co-commissioner Johnny Dang said aside from the tangible benefits the fundraiser provides for the Center for the Homeless, the event has an equally important effect on student participants. “[Participants] come to understand that during this time of year a lot of people who are homeless are struggling to find warmth,” he said. “This is one day where they will learn to appreciate the things that they have … and how fortunate they are.” Sophomore Taylor Roberts said he was initially hesitant about participating in the Day of Man, but he was ultimately satisfied with the experience. “You always question yourself when your cup is empty and you’re walking out in the cold,” he said. “But once you get your first couple of dollars, it really sinks in that you’re doing a good thing.” Despite the event’s benefits, Roberts said it is limited in terms of addressing the complexity of homelessness in a holistic manner. “I admit that I don’t think you can feel the full effect [of homelessness],” he said. “There are so many other factors including the lack of food, the lack of shelter during even harsher conditions and often mental and physical illness.” Though the Day of Man may not be an authentic proxy experience for homelessness, Roberts said it provides students with a new perspective on a real issue. “The event does signify a big step forward in realizing some of the hardships that the homeless do experience while also extending a hand and making a difference,” he said. Contact Michael Fernandes [email protected]
The Department of Academic Affairs within student government spent the past year as a liaison between undergraduates and Notre Dame administrators, and department director Maxwell Brown said a newly-developed mission statement has offered direction for the group’s future initiatives. “The Department of Academic Affairs is the official link between students and administration through articulation of resolutions and promotion of academics in and outside of the classroom to enhance the undergraduate-student experience,” Brown said. Brown, who is serving his second term as director of Academic Affairs, said several of last years major initiatives involved collaboration with the University’s Academic Council, a group headed by University President Fr. John Jenkins. The Council oversees the Academic Code, among other things, and Brown said he attends the meetings as a full voting member with speaking rights, representing the undergraduate student interests. As a result of one of the revisions to the Academic Code this year, Brown said students will now be able to take the first course of a minor pass/fail. “[This initiative] is really to allow students to be able to comfortably explore things, to encourage this intellectual exploration,” Brown said. “You can take a course pass/fail if you’re interested in it but don’t want to negatively affect your GPA, … and then you can continue [the minor] and use the first course even though you took it pass/fail. “That way, you can just take the four other courses required to complete the minor instead of having to do all five, when that might not fit into your schedule if you’re a junior or senior,” he said. Brown said the new legislature does not overly pad GPAs but instead provides students with a chance to safely explore the academic options available in a “highly competitive research and career environment.” Another key development was improving the advocacy for students put on academic probation, Brown said. “We’re working to make the academic system and the Academic Council as a whole more transparent [so] students know what changes are happening,” he said. “Overall, with these changes there is a lot more attention to advocacy for students and not only streamlining language to make it more efficient and effective, but also to really support the students and advance their interests.” The upcoming library renovation plans were another major accomplishment for the department, Brown said, which was committed to making sure “students’ voices are being heard.” “The survey that went out was extremely helpful … and we had a very effective response [from students],” Brown said. “The information really provided a positive framework to move forward, and it’s really been taken under advisement not only by the librarians themselves who are organizing the renovations, but also the architects who will actually work on it.” Brown said the survey showed student feedback on both the physical aspects of the library and the “intangible resources” available online. “This is one of the parts of the survey that was really interesting, [because] the students who were able to effectively use the [online] resources and meet with the research librarians found that to be overwhelmingly useful,” he said. “But then the other group of students had just never used them or not heard of them, so that’s something that’s really important for us to work on.” In additions to renovating the library building, Brown said the department is also planning to expand the librarian in-residence program in dorms. “The program brings a librarian to the dorms, someone who is available to help with research or answering questions about library databases,” he said. “We just want to help students become more familiar with and utilize the resources available them.” Brown said his department welcomes comments and suggestions from students on all initiatives pursued by student government.
‘U.S. Renewables vs. Nuclear: The Race Is On’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Solar Industry Magazine:With each providing roughly 20% of the nation’s power, U.S. renewable energy sources are in a statistical dead heat with nuclear power, according to nonprofit research group the SUN DAY Campaign.Citing the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” (with data through June 30), the group says renewables – biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar (including small-scale PV) and wind – are tied with nuclear vis-à-vis their respective shares of the U.S.’ electrical generation.During the six-month period from January through June, renewables surpassed nuclear in three of those months (March, April and May), while nuclear took the lead in the other three, says SUN DAY.In total, according to EIA’s data for the six months, utility-scale renewables plus small-scale solar PV provided 20.05% of U.S. net electrical generation, compared to 20.07% for nuclear. However, renewables may actually hold a small lead, says SUN DAY: Though EIA estimates the contribution from distributed PV solar, it does not include electrical generation by distributed wind, micro-hydro or small-scale biomass, the group points out.In a news release issued earlier this summer, EIA acknowledged the neck-in-neck status of nuclear power; however, the agency simultaneously stressed its view that “nuclear will generate more electricity than renewables for all of 2017.”However, that might not be the case, according to the SUN DAY Campaign.While renewables and nuclear are each likely to continue to provide roughly one-fifth of the nation’s electricity generation in the near term, EIA’s trend line clearly favors a rapidly expanding market share by renewables compared to a stagnating, if not declining, one for nuclear power, the nonprofit says.Electrical output by renewables during the first half of 2017 was 16.34% higher than that of same period in 2016, whereas nuclear output dropped by 3.27%. In the month of June alone, electrical generation by renewable sources was 27.15% greater than it was a year earlier, whereas nuclear output dipped by 0.24%, the group adds.More: U.S. Renewables vs. Nuclear: The Race Is On
Australia’s CWP Sees Baseload Opportunity With Hybrid Renewables Combination FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renew Economy:Australian renewable energy developer CWP Renewables has joined forces with global private markets investment manager Partners Group to build a total of 1,300MW of wind, solar and battery projects that they say will beat coal power on price and reliability.The commitment from Partners Group will see the 135MW Crudine Ridge project south of Mudgee begin construction soon, but Partners will inject a total of $700 million to ensure CWP’s entire 1,300MW portfolio of wind, solar and batteries goes ahead. The investment is designed, and timed, to take advantage of the closure of Liddell, and is built on expectations that closures of other coal-fired generators will follow.“We can, from this large portfolio, produce 24/7 baseload renewable power at very competitive prices,” CWP chief executive Alex Hewitt says. “This is the future of large-scale generation in Australia.”These projects – dubbed the Grassroots Renewable Energy Platform – include the 230MW Sapphire solar farm and 70MWh battery storage, which will combine with the 270MW Sapphire wind farm near Glenn Innes (pictured above) that is nearly complete. It also includes the 140MW Bango wind project, the Glen Ellen and Sundown solar projects, and the massive Uungula wind and the solar project that will total 400MW of capacity, along with other storage.Hewitt says these projects will allow morning and evening wind generation to be combined with daytime solar generation and battery energy storage. This will provide the ability to deliver “base-load” capacity or, at the very least, a “firm” supply of energy for business and other customers. The ability to firm is not just essential for business users, but could also be imperative under the new National Energy Guarantee.“We see a massive transition away from fossil fuels over the next 10 years,” Hewitt says. “The transition is on. The economics are there, and the window is there now to move really fast.” Hewitt says the combined cost of wind and solar and “firming capacity” is cheaper than the $100/MWh plus cost of keeping Liddell open, or for that matter building new coal generators.More: CWP Brings in Partners for 1,300MW of Wind, Solar and Batteries
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Fourth-quarter 2019 earnings reports are likely to be rough on U.S. coal producers yet again when miners begin reporting results over the next few weeks.Every major U.S. coal company is expected to report earnings per share for the period that is either worse than the prior quarter or year-ago quarter, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of analyst forecasts shows. For many producers, quarterly earnings per share will be worse compared to both periods.Moody’s Investors Service recently said it expected EBITDA across its rated portfolio of U.S.-based coal companies to fall by about one-third. Deterioration in coal export volumes will likely lead to even lower cash flow in 2020, Moody’s added in its recent report reiterating its negative outlook on the sector.“We anticipate that companies in their year-end earnings calls will outline steps they are taking to continue to generate positive free cash flow and navigate weak market conditions,” Moody’s stated. “While coal companies have not reported earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019, CSX Corp., which is more tied to exports than some other railroads, reported a 17% drop in coal volumes for the fourth quarter, and expects a 14% drop in coal revenue in 2020.”Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal, two of the largest miners in the U.S. by volume with exposure to both metallurgical and thermal coal, are expected to report a loss to shareholders for the fourth quarter of 2019. Thermal coal producer Hallador Energy Co. and increasingly metallurgical coal-focused Contura Energy Inc. are also expected to report negative earnings per share for the period.[Taylor Kuykendall and Gaurang Dhotakia]More ($): Q4’19 earnings likely another rough period for US coal companies S&P: Fourth quarter results for U.S. coal sector likely to be dismal