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(NaturalNews) The government of the African nation of Rwanda, in the eastern part of the continent, is now mandating that all visitors from the United States and Spain self-monitor for signs of Ebola, as well as complete an extensive questionnaire and report their medical condition...
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(NaturalNews) An expert scientist from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) has publicly warned that the Ebola strain currently in circulation appears to be far more virulent and infectious than previous strains.Dr. Peter Jahrling has been on the ground...
Antibiotic and heavy metal contamination in environment contributes to resistance of harmful bacteria
(NaturalNews) Low concentrations of various pharmaceutical drugs are making their way into our water systems and soil through improper disposal, such as flushing, and through human excretion.When people take antibiotics, or other medications, they are often passed through the...
(NaturalNews) If you need another reason to add more celery into your diet, researchers have now identified a compound in the vegetable that demonstrates anti-tumor activity. Effective against several types of cancer -- including those of the pancreas, ovaries, liver, small intestine...
(NaturalNews) The Obama Administration has ordered the Department of Defense to form a 30-member military medical "quick strike team" that can deploy quickly -- within 72 hours -- to any new outbreaks of Ebola in the U.S., reports have said.The team will consist of five physicians...
(NaturalNews) Texas health officials as well as others with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ended a 21-day quarantine and observation period for dozens of people suspected of being exposed to the United States' first domestically diagnosed Ebola patient, and while...
(NaturalNews) So you think you have a fungus infection? Or is it a yeast infection? Is there a difference?Mold, yeast, mildew - they are all fungi. Sometimes the words are used interchangeably. And sometimes the words yeast and fungus are used to describe different stages of the...
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At last month’s People’s Climate March, among the most popular signs were ones supporting renewable energy like wind and solar as the best way to avoid a climate catastrophe. And because of the urgency of the situation, it’s easy to think that we should be building up renewables as much as we can.
But, from an economic point of view, it turns out that not all renewable energy is created equal.Locally owned projects are more likely to use local labor and materials, and borrow from local banks.
One main difference is between energy generators that are locally owned and ones owned by some faraway entity, and a new report from the Institute of Self-Reliance presents the details. The report, written by Senior Researcher John Farrell, makes two main points: Locally owned renewable energy projects create more economic benefits than absentee-owned projects, and they are less likely to encounter community opposition. By enacting policies to support local renewables, Farrell argues, states and counties stand to gain thousands of jobs and millions of dollars.
Farrell’s report presents striking data from an earlier study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which showed that wind power projects often provide twice as many jobs when they are locally owned. Farrell provides this example:
A 20-megawatt wind energy project built in Minnesota but owned by Spanish firm Iberdrola would add $20 million to the state’s economy and create about 10 long-term jobs. But if that same project were owned by Minnesota farmers or Kandiyohi Power Cooperative, it would create 20 long-term jobs and generate as much as $68 million in economic activity for the state.
The benefit to a local economy depends on various aspects of a project, such as its size, location, and the amount of local labor and materials used.
Why do locally owned projects create more jobs per megawatt? The National Renewable Energy Laboratory gives three reasons: They are more likely to use local labor and materials, provide benefits to local shareholders, and borrow from local banks.A program in 2009 made it easier for projects to grow because it cut down the need for investors who take a cut of the profits.
These economic benefits could also be the reason that neighboring communities are more likely to support renewable energy projects when they are locally owned. Farrell points to a study published in the journal Energy Policy in 2011 that looked at two German towns, each with a wind farm on its outskirts. The locally owned wind farm received far friendlier reception from neighbors than the absentee-owned wind farm.
Farrell says that seeing locally owned projects get built changes residents’ impression of renewables and encourages them to think about how they can use renewable energy in their own lives.
“They realize this is real; it’s not a fanciful notion,” Farrell said. “People ask themselves ‘I wonder if I could do that?’”Barriers to local ownership
With all these benefits on the table, you would think local entrepreneurs would be starting up wind and solar projects across the country. Yet, in 2007, just 2 percent of wind projects in the United States were locally owned, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
It turns out that federal and state policies make it difficult for locally owned projects to get off the ground. The federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, for example, rewards developers of solar projects by lowering the amount they owe in taxes. But because the program doesn’t provide any money up-front, it essentially requires entrepreneurs to have access to large amounts of capital before beginning a project.
While that may work for California’s BrightSource Energy, which receivesfinancing from companies like Google, Morgan Stanley, and Chevron Technology Ventures, it leaves most community owned projects behind. They can attempt to work around the rule by bringing in partners to provide capital—but these partners generally take a cut of the project’s revenue and diminish its ability to grow.Locally owned projects create more economic benefits, and they are less likely to encounter community opposition
Congress took a step forward in 2009 with the 1603 Treasury Program. This took the Section 48 Investment Tax Credit, which rewarded larger renewable energy businesses, and converted the tax credits into cash grants. That made it easier for locally owned renewable energy projects to grow, but then the program expired in 2011.
In some cases, policies are better at the state level. In Minnesota, the Community Based Energy Development statute (CBED) requires utilities to support locally owned renewable energy projects. The statute allows qualified candidates to charge higher rates for electricity in their first 10 years. This gives them the opportunity to get off the ground and has accelerated the growth and development of 100 MW of community-owned wind energy in Minnesota over the last nine years, Farrell reports.
Further west, a Colorado law established “community solar gardens” and obligated utilities to buy power from them. These “gardens” are arrays of solar panels that utility customers can own a share of. If the solar garden produces more energy than its shareholders can use, they get a share of the earnings after the excess power is sold to the utility.
Ultimately, Farrell’s report points to exciting economic opportunities that are not too far out of reach. By enacting policies that encourage locally owned renewable energy projects, lawmakers can boost local and state economies while laying the foundation for a more stable climate.
Kayla Schultz wrote this article for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas with practical actions. Kayla is a graduate from Central Michigan University, where she studied creative writing and journalism. She is an online editorial intern at YES!
New Worldwatch Institute analysis examines global economic trends and associated challenges
For Immediate Release | October 23, 2014 | CONTACT GAELLE GOURMELON
Notes to Editors:
Journalists may obtain a complimentary copy of "Global Economy Inches Upward as Environmental and Social Concerns Mount" by contacting Gaelle Gourmelon at email@example.com.
About the Worldwatch Institute:
Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute’s State of the World report is published annually in more than a dozen languages. For more information, visit www.worldwatch.org.
About Vital Signs Online:
Vital Signs Online provides business leaders, policymakers, and engaged citizens with the latest data and analysis they need to understand critical global trends. It is an interactive, subscription-based tool that provides hard data and research-based insights on the sustainability trends that are shaping our future. All of the trends include clear analysis and are placed in historical perspective, allowing you to see where the trend has come from and where it might be headed. New trends cover emerging hot topics-from global carbon emissions to green jobs-while trend updates provide the latest data and analysis for the fastest changing and most important trends today. Every trend includes full datasets and complete referencing. Visit http://vitalsigns.worldwatch.org to subscribe today to Vital Signs Online.
Washington, D.C.— Nationalprogress is often measured almost exclusively by growth in the gross domestic product, or GDP. Yet as the global economy inches upward, actual social and environmental well-being lags. Alternative measures for gauging progress are needed to determine true prosperity, write Worldwatch’s Mark Konold and Climate and Jacqueline Espinal in the Institute’s latest Vital Signs analysis (bit.ly/VSOEcon).
Growing economy. The global economy grew moderately (at 4.49 percent) in 2013, resulting in a total combined GDP of $87 trillion for all countries in the world. Emerging markets accounted for a large part of the growth (representing 50 percent of the total), as an affluent middle class formed and young workers migrated into cities, encouraging business investment in developing countries.
Growing inequality. Even as the global economy picks up, however, social challenges continue to mount. According to the United Nations Development Programme, average household income inequality in recent decades has risen in both industrial and developing countries. One billion out of 7 billion people live below poverty levels and experience most acutely the dark side of development, such as global climate change, water depletion, food shortages, and biodiversity destruction.
There also continued to be labor shortages, increased globalization, and mismatches between current skill levels and job requirements. Developing countries were faced with a growing pool of willing workers in 2013, but limited access to credit for many small enterprises contributed to a lack of investment and job creation in these markets. In 2013, nearly 202 million people worldwide were unemployed, a 6 percent unemployment rate.
Growing consumption. World population is expected to reach 9.6 billion people by 2050, with much of that expansion happening in developing countries. As the world’s population continues to grow, there is legitimate concern about depleting Earth’s resources faster than they can be replenished. The Global Footprint Network, an agency that tracks humanity’s ecological footprint and nature’s capacity to replenish its resources, estimates that the world is consuming resources at the rate of 1.5 planets per year.
Some studies have argued that the world must replace its growth economy with a steady-state economy, in which production is only replaced, not increased, while the economy continues to develop by improving and renewing its existing resources.
Measuring true progress. Studies suggest that although people’s level of happiness increases significantly when societies develop, high levels of uncertainty and social and economic inequality may run counter to this development. Measures such as the Genuine Progress Indicator account for the social, educational, economic, and environmental activities that contribute to economic growth but that go unnoticed in current national accounting frameworks.
- Although employment rates improved in the United States in 2013, much of the improvement is attributed to fewer people participating in the labor force—mainly newly retired Baby Boomers.
- In the United States, Baby Boomers—individuals born between 1945 and 1965—continued to retire at an approximate rate of 10,000 per day. It is expected that in retirement, Boomers reduce their levels of disposable income, leading to a decrease in economic growth by as much as 0.7 percent.
- In Japan, GDP growth between 2000 and 2013 shrank by 0.6 percentage points annually due to an aging population retiring from the workforce.
- Worldwide, employment rates declined in all regions except South and East Asia, which continued to experience higher levels of growth through 2013.
The full data and analysis are available for purchase through our Vital Signs Online website.
Notes to Editors: Journalists may obtain a complimentary copy of "Global Economy Inches Upward as Environmental and Social Concerns Mount" by contacting Gaelle Gourmelon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When San Francisco firefighters rush out the firehouse doors,they put their lives on the line in more ways than one. In responding to roughly 28,000 fire calls a year, firefighters are routinely exposed to flame retardants, diesel exhaust and other toxic chemicals.
For years, residents of the winding valleys along the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon complained to state agencies about the helicopters spraying weed killers on clearcuts next to their homes.
Ads mentioning energy, climate change and the environment — over 125,000 spots and climbing on the Senate side — have surged to record levels during the 2014 midterm election cycle, reflecting the priorities of some of the nation’s wealthiest donors, with Democrats now pouring millions into campaigns to match Republicans.
Contrary to what a federal official and environmentalists have said, an old Patagonia Mountains mine overseen by the state environmental agency didn't spew orange sludge pollution into a neighboring stream last month, the agency said Tuesday.