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Happy Friday, everyone!
Yesterday marked World Oceans Day, celebrated annually on June 8th since 1992 and encouraging actions to protect the planet as oceans cover more than 70% of the Earth's surface. According to the UN, the world's oceans are home to the largest share of biodiversity and around 200 million people are employed either directly or indirectly in related industries. The World Economic Forum highlights this year's event by building on two recent victories with the High Seas Treaty agreement protecting biodiversity in international waters and the global leaders' 30x30 commitment which agrees to conserve 30% of lands, water and ocean by 2030.
In this week's edition of the Economic Perspective, we feature a few pieces on advances in the EV space including new grant funding from EPA for school buses and new lithium extraction technology. We also highlight new funding for coastal climate resilience and initiatives in Massachusetts for climate change solutions, and more. While this week we also recognized World Ocean's Day, the popular 'National Donut Day' was celebrated; the data visualization presents an interesting map of popular donut stores across the U.S.
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Funding Announcement for Coastal Climate Resilience Efforts
Funding in the amount of $2.6 billion was announced this week to continue tackling coastal climate resilience by protecting coastal communities and restoring marine resources. This includes about $400 million for tribal communities in support of habitat restoration, fish hatcheries and Pacific salmon, and those in the direct path of climate change. Another $349 million will go specifically to climate resilience in fisheries, another $60 million will go toward climate-resilience job placement and training, and $200 million will go to improvements in the NOAA data collection process. This funding takes steps necessary to ensure coastal communities re better prepared for the effects of climate change. Funding comes from the Investment Reduction Act. Read more at NOAA
Florida's Strawberry Growers Face New Challenges due to Climate Change
According to a recent study from University of Florida agricultural researchers, Florida’s strawberry growers in the Tampa Bay area will need to move their operations north by the year 2050 to remain in the proper growing zone, which continues to move due to global warming. If the growers do not relocate, they may experience a 17% decline in crop yields and a monetary loss of 10% per acre. Strawberries are sensitive to changes in temperature and rainfall, and the researchers say it is crucial to make the changes to reduce impacts to agricultural production. Read more at WLRN.
Expanded Slag Cement Plant Opens in Florida
Heidelberg Materials has opened up their expanded slag cement plant in Port Canaveral, Florida after investing $24 million in improving their facility. This investment was in a new roller press, which increases the plants grinding capacity. This will enable Heidelberg Materials to better support Florida and nearby markets in more sustainable and resilient construction projects. It also brings them closer to their goal of reducing their carbon footprint by 2030. Read more at Pit & Quarry.
New Lithium Extraction Tech To Help Hit EV Targets
Lilac, a lithium extraction company, is currently piloting an unproven technology called direct lithium extraction (DLE). DLE will pull brine directly into their processing unit to put it through a chemical process to separate the lithium. The brine from mining will then be pumped back underground. This process will eliminate the need to transport concentrated brine and process at a separate facility. DLE technologies require less land and resources and can pull more lithium out of the brine as well. Other companies pioneering this include EnergyX and Standard Lithium. Read more at CNBC.
Massachusetts Harnesses Forests as Key Climate Change Solution with New Initiative
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healy has launched the Forests as Climate Solutions initiative to address climate change by focusing on the state's forests. The initiative involves investing in conservation efforts, updating guidelines for state lands, and providing incentives to landowners to maximize the climate benefits of their forests. Massachusetts aims to utilize the carbon sequestration potential of its forests to meet its emission reduction targets and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. The initiative will be supported by scientific input, public participation, and financial assistance to forestry businesses, emphasizing the importance of forests in the state's climate strategy. Read more here.
EPA Grant Program provides $400M for low-emission school buses
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced an additional $400 million in grants for communities to apply for through its Clean School Bus Program to pay for electric, propane and compressed natural gas buses. As part of the bipartisan infrastructure law, $5 billion has been provided to transform the U.S. school bus fleet, up from the initial $1 billion in rebates last year that covered more than 2,500 buses in 389 school districts. The funding is especially important for helping reduce air pollution in disadvantaged communities where the EPA states applications will be prioritized to replace diesel buses in high-need educational areas inline with the Justice40 Initiative. Read more at Smart Cities Dive.
Data Visualization of the Week
The 9 Donut Lands of the U.S.
A deep dive into donut store ownership and prevalence in the U.S. has identified 9 distinct “fiefdoms” of donut stores.Areas dominated by independent stores and areas dominated by Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme or other big brands are mapped out by census tracts. The analysis also identified donut shops with another food/drink in their name… coffee is unsurprisingly the most common donut companion (at least judged by store names), but some surprising pairings show up in the top 10: kolache for example (look it up). See the visuals and more on the methods from Washington Post.