New York state divests from fossil fuels in historic move

December 10, 2020 by  
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The retirement contributions of New York state workers will no longer be invested in fossil fuels. The state announced Wednesday that it is removing oil and gas stocks from its portfolio, making it the world’s largest pension fund to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The pension fund’s financial portfolio is worth $226 billion, and it disburses $1 billion to retirees every year. The new plan is to sell off the riskiest gas and oil stocks and be completely divested from fossil fuels by 2025. By 2040, the fund plans to completely axe carbon polluters. Related: BP to reduce oil, gas production by 40% to focus on clean energy “We continue to assess energy sector companies in our portfolio for their future ability to provide investment returns in light of the global consensus on climate change ,” said state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli in a statement. “Those that fail to meet our minimum standards may be removed from our portfolio. Divestment is a last resort, but it is an investment tool we can apply to companies that consistently put our investment’s long-term value at risk.” First to go? Companies that produce ultra-dirty tar sands oil . Tar sands are a sticky mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen that require an especially environmentally harmful process to extract. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Canada have the world’s largest reserves of tar sands. So Imperial Oil, Exxon Mobil Corp’s Canadian branch, is first on the chopping block. Then, the fund will review and probably eliminate frackers, such as Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil. Oilfield service companies, storage and pipeline builders are other top candidates. After that, fund managers will consider utility companies. Environmental activists have been pushing for divestment in fossil fuel companies for years. Ireland’s national government divested in 2018 and Norway’s in 2019. Oslo and New York City are planning to divest at the city government level. More than 1,200 universities, religious organizations, philanthropic foundations and other groups have also pledged to sell off their fossil fuel holdings. Via Huffington Post Image via Artem Sapegin

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New York state divests from fossil fuels in historic move

Investment analysts conclude that greener businesses rule

February 25, 2020 by  
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Investment returns on firms driving the transition to a green economy are easily outstripping those of their fossil fuel competitors, new analysis suggests.

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Investment analysts conclude that greener businesses rule

When it comes to messaging, it’s all about ESG

February 25, 2020 by  
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For the last two years, I’ve been scratching my head about something: Americans have made it very clear that they want to buy from good companies. And when you ask them what’s good and who’s good they give a range of answers that lump together “good for the planet” and “good to people.”

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When it comes to messaging, it’s all about ESG

Soil carbon is a valuable resource but not all soil carbon is created equal

February 25, 2020 by  
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There’s particulate organic matter, which is the stuff you generally can see. Mineral-associated organic matter, on the other hand, consists mostly of microscopic coatings on soil particles. They work differently.

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Soil carbon is a valuable resource but not all soil carbon is created equal

Inside Shell’s EV charging vision

July 10, 2019 by  
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This article is adapted from the newsletter Transport Weekly, running Tuesdays. Subscribe here.There was no better example of Shell’s difficult balancing act — between the fossil fuel engine that has driven its business for decades and its aims for a cleaner future — than an unexpected issue that arose at one of its recent events in the San Francisco Bay Area.  

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Inside Shell’s EV charging vision

U.S. agriculture needs a 21st-century New Deal

July 10, 2019 by  
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How can we give power back to farmers — and out carbon back into the ground?

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U.S. agriculture needs a 21st-century New Deal

Market analysts find green economy market cap matches fossil fuel sector

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new report from FTSE Group finds that sustainable investments have grown as the fossil fuel sector has shrunk, presenting a massive opportunity.

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Market analysts find green economy market cap matches fossil fuel sector

Discovery of ancient middle finger bone completely upends what we know about human migration

April 9, 2018 by  
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Archaeologists have discovered an ancient middle finger bone in Saudia Arabia, and it could completely change what we know about human migration. An 85,000-year-old bone belonging to Homo sapiens marks the first evidence of humans that scientists have found in the Nefud Desert. This is also the first time Homo sapiens bones of that age have been discovered anywhere outside Africa. The current theory of human migration posits that Homo sapiens migrated en masse in a movement known as “Out of Africa” about 60,000 years ago in a single, contained wave. But this newly-discovered bone suggests that people migrated out of Africa in multiple different phases, at least 20,000 years earlier than we thought. Related: Incredible fossil discovery rewrites the history of human migration out of Africa Archaeologists unearthed the 1.25-inch middle finger bone in 2016, and researchers used a CT scan to form a 3D model of the entire bone, which showed conclusively that it belonged to Homo sapiens.  Nature  published news of the discovery this week. “What our discovery shows is that the early spread of Homo sapiens was much more spatially widespread than we thought,” said lead study author Huw Groucutt of the University of Oxford . Via CNN Images via Flickr  and Nature

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Discovery of ancient middle finger bone completely upends what we know about human migration

Trump administration prioritizes rural areas over cities in infrastructure spending

April 9, 2018 by  
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The Trump Administration has re-prioritized which kinds of communities, and what kinds of projects, receive funding from the popular $500 million transportation grant program known as TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery). “More than 64 percent of this round of TIGER funding was awarded to rural projects, a historic number that demonstrates this Administration’s commitment to supporting the country’s rural communities,” the Transportation Department said when it announced the grant recipients in March. Democratic strongholds such as New York City , Chicago and Los Angeles received zero funding from these grants, while projects in blue states that were funded focused primarily on those states’ Trump-supporting regions. This means much more money for rural roads and rail projects, and less for bike infrastructure, green-ways, and sustainable urban design projects. The TIGER grant program was first established through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus package or economic recovery bill, under President Obama . While the discretionary funds are an important tool for the White House, they represent only a small percentage of the Department of Transportation’s distribution of $50 billion each year through the highway trust fund. After trying to eliminate the program twice, Trump recently signed a massive spending bill into law that tripled the program’s budget. Now, it seems, his administration has found a use for TIGER. Related: 69% of Republicans believe global warming’s seriousness is “generally exaggerated” Trump is not the first president to be accused of using the program to favor his political supporters. In 2013, at the start of President Obama’s second term, two-thirds of the TIGER infrastructure funding went to districts represented by Democrats in Congress. Much of this Obama-era funding went towards projects such as bike and pedestrian infrastructure while sometimes giving only the bare minimum required by law to rural areas. In addition to its shift towards rural communities, the Trump Administration, with its well-publicized focus on trade, is also prioritizing upgrades to port infrastructure in Alabama, Maryland and Louisiana. Via ABC News Images via Depositphotos   (1)

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Trump administration prioritizes rural areas over cities in infrastructure spending

Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

March 28, 2018 by  
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Big Bend National Park isn’t just a place of stunning landscape beauty—the Texan park is also paleontological paradise. To tell the story of the area’s rich fossil history, Texan architecture studio Lake | Flato designed the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, a series of interpretive pavilions that draws inspiration from the surrounding topography. The unstaffed, low-maintenance building operates off grid and draws energy and water from solar panels and a rainwater catchment system. Created as a series of open-air pavilions , the Fossil Discovery Exhibit takes visitors on the Big Bend Fossil Discovery Trail: a sequential walkway that covers four paleontological eras from the Early Cretaceous period to the Cenozoic Era. “The complex story of Big Bend’s remarkable landscape can be brought to life through its fossil history and the artifacts found within the park,” wrote the architects. “These characteristics create a unique opportunity for interpretation and education; the trail will describe the world-class diversity and length of Big Bend’s fossil history while directly referencing the breathtaking surrounding landscape.” Related: Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum is sustainably built from CNC-milled beetle-kill timber Elevated on concrete piers, the building is clad in perforated weathering steel for low maintenance and camouflage so as to avoid disrupting views from the road and trails. Interior partitions guide visitors through the spaces, the highlight of which is the Gallery of the Giants where massive bones and recreated skeletons are on display. Solar panels power the buildings, while the angled roof, which evokes a winged dinosaur, is optimized for rainwater collection. + Lake | Flato Via Dezeen Images by Casey Dunn

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Off-grid Fossil Discovery Exhibit camouflages into the Texan desert

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