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Happy Friday, everyone!
As a certified women-owned and woman led business, and a champion of women empowerment, the Balmoral Group congratulates Harvard University’s Professor Claudia Goldin for winning the 2023 Nobel Prize in Economics, becoming and first woman to win the prestigious award, a true pioneer in her field.
This Friday's edition of the Economic Perspective features articles on the possibility of manatees falling back on the endangered species list, California constructing large scale solar panels, and recent developments in low carbon concrete, and more! Our data visualization details fossil fuel subsidies reaching a record-breaking $7 trillion globally! Check it out below. Enjoy the read and feedback is always appreciated! Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be interested. If you'd like to view previous editions please click here, or to subscribe please click here!
Have a great weekend!
Nonresidential Spending a Mixed Bag in September
The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI), a 12-month leading indicator of non-residential construction spending, was 3% higher in September 2023 compared to August’s measure. Commercial construction fell 1% over the last month, while institutional construction rose 9%. Demand for data centers and health services continue to support institutional spending, but demand has continued to weaken for office planning. On an annual basis, the DMI was 5% lower in September 2023 than the same month in 2022. Dodge Construction Network.
California May Build Solar Panels Alongside Highways to Power Homes
On Saturday, California gave the greenlight for the state’s transportation and energy to plan out installing solar panels, battery storage, and other renewable energy sites along highways. California’s DOT will establish clear guidelines for companies and public agencies to develop highway-side renewable energy. Empty land alongside roads could be used to generate one gigawatt of potential solar energy powering 270,000 California homes. Additionally, this would alleviate the state’s deserts where many solar panels are currently housed. Read More.
Manatees Face Being Relisted as Endangered Species
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will reevaluate the protection status of the West Indian manatee after a petition provided substantial scientific evidence for restoring its endangered status. In 2021 and 2022, nearly 2,000 manatees died in Florida, prompting concerns from conservation groups and triggering multiple lawsuits over water pollution and habitat loss. A similar evaluation will be also be conducted for Puerto Rico's manatees after a separate petition requested manatees be listed as a separate species. In 2017, manatees were downlisted from endangered to threatened, sparking controversy. Various parties have called for the animal's endangered status to be reinstated since the 2017 announcement. Read more here.
Low Carbon Concrete Has High Profit Potential
Cement production is estimated to generate 7% of all greenhouse-gas emissions globally. While responsible for a large carbon footprint, cement is difficult to decarbonize as it releases CO2 during its production. The industry has a Net Zero goal by 2050. Analysis by McKinsey finds that Megaplants (more than 5M tons/yr capacity) could have a 60% lower cost model using carbon capture and storage, with optimal siting and design. Innovative start-ups are offering new substitutes for Supplementary Cementitious Materials (SCMs) and admixtures could reduce carbon by another 30-50%. Read more here.
Amazon Rainforest Scans Unveil Thousands of Pre-Columbian Earthworks
A recent study combining remote sensing technology, archaeology, and statistical modeling suggests that the Amazon rainforest, known for its biodiversity, may hide over 10,000 pre-Columbian earthworks constructed before European arrival. Conducted by 230 researchers from 24 countries, the study employed LiDAR technology to uncover 24 new archaeological sites beneath the Amazon canopy. These earthworks, linked to Indigenous occupations and landscape modifications, date back 1,500 to 500 years. The findings challenge the perception of the Amazon as a pristine forest and have political implications for Indigenous land rights. The research, published in Science, advances knowledge in archaeology, environmental science, and applied computing. Read more here.
Data Visualization of the Week
Fossil Fuel Subsidies Surged to Record $7 Trillion
An analysis by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) found that in 2022, subsidies across 170 countries reached $7 trillion. This is a $2 trillion increase compared to 2020. Explicit subsidies (undercharging for supply costs) more than doubled to $1.3 trillion, while implicit subsidies (undercharging for environmental costs and forgone consumption taxes) rose by 27%. The IMF estimates that subsidies for oil, coal and natural gas are costing the equivalent of 7.1% of global gross domestic product. IMF