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The Economic Perspective 02/16/2024

The Latest Trending Economic, Environmental and Demographic News Curated for You By The Balmoral Group


The Balmoral Group provides practical, professional and precise Economics, Data Analytics, and Engineering Consulting services and is part of a globally integrated team.


Happy Friday!

Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day this week! We're excited to announce that we will be presenting at this year's Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve where you can join us and over 50 restoration professionals for its fourth annual Symposium, Restoration Partnerships: From the Bluffs to the Bay, February 29 to March 1, 2024 at the Reserve’s headquarters in Eastpoint, Florida!


This two-day symposium features discussions focused on the region including restoration efforts, applied science, and resource management techniques and will feature sessions that delve into funding opportunities and building collaborative partnerships for the future.


The Balmoral Group (TBG) staff will be facilitating the last session of the symposium titled How Are We Working Together? on Friday, March 1st from 11:00am-12:00pm EST. This session is designed to present updates on our current DEP-funded Apalachicola Regional Restoration Coordination Project, in which we are providing support services to help DEP achieve restoration goals in the region. Additionally, we will be engaging audience participants and facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue among experts, furthering our understanding of restoration challenges, lessons-learned, and future opportunities. We hope to see you there!



In this week’s edition of the Economic Perspective, we're bringing to you articles on shrinking snowpack, the EPA's updated Equity Action Plan, red tides, and more. Our data visualization shows the two states with the highest exposure of renters to extreme weather hazards. We hope you enjoy the read and let us know what you think! 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!

 

Snowpack Shrinkage in Western Washington

Though Western Washington communities were surprised with snow yesterday, overall this season’s snowpack in the Pacific Northwest has been a fraction of the norm. As of this week, Washington’s Cascade Mountains are only about 50-75% of normal snow water equivalent (SWE) and the Olympic Mountains are only 31% of normal SWE. This type of decline puts the mountains of Washington at risk for moderate to severe drought. Unfortunately, recent trends research shows this decline has been ongoing since 1955, with increased snowpack reductions every year and more expected in the future. In addition to the reduction of snowpack, the winter season isn’t lasting as long, increasing fire danger and longer fire seasons. King5


Construction Sales Strong in 2023

Leading construction equipment manufacturer Caterpillar reported strong sales in 2023. Revenues totaled $67.1 billion, a 13% increase from 2022. The increase was achieved through improved price realization, higher sales volume, and abatement of pandemic-related supply chain issues. For 2024, sales are expected to match 2023 levels, with government-related infrastructure investments maintaining non-residential construction demand throughout the year. Read more here.


Florida Senate Designates February 12th as Florida Wildlife Corridor Day 

The Florida Senate recently passed Senate Resolution 1818 designating February 12, 2024 as Florida Wildlife Corridor Day to reaffirm the importance of the Florida Wildlife Corridor and its significant environmental, cultural, economic, and tourism value to the state. The Florida Wildlife Corridor Act of 2021 recognized the 18-million-acre geography of the Corridor, and since then, the Governor and Cabinet have approved over 160,000 acres of this area for conservation. Eight million acres of the Corridor, however, are still in need of protection and consist largely of working farms, ranches, and forests. These lands provide significant wildlife habitat, protect waterways, aid in water storage and flood protection, and more. Read more here.


EPA Releases Update on Equity Action Plan

On Wednesday, the EPA released its update to the 2023 Equity Action Plan. This plan is part of the EPA’s goal in “Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government”. The EPA identified eight priorities within the plan update, some of the highlights include improving access for communities to federal assistance, protecting children from environmental harms, improving data and analytic capacity to better identify and remove barriers, and reducing cumulative impacts and health disparities. The focus remains on ensuring equality for all in cooperation with the future sustainability of the environment. The EPA Equity Action Plan has had much success to date, with the aim to continuing to improve. Read more on the EPA site.


UCF Study Quantifies Economic Impact of Red Tides

A study by the University of Central Florida reveals that the 2018 Florida red tide bloom resulted in an estimated $2.7 billion loss for tourism-related businesses. Collaborating with the University of South Florida and Florida A&M University and published in the Journal of Environmental Management, the research highlights the unexpected economic impact of even low concentrations of red tide on tourism. Lead author and UCF professor Sergio Alvarez emphasizes the need for government resources in responding to harmful algae blooms, urging coastal businesses to recognize the economic risks. The study, based on extensive data sources, serves as a crucial resource for policymakers and the public, emphasizing the multi-billion-dollar disaster potential of harmful algae blooms. Read more here.


Data Visualization of the Week

Renters are Most Exposed to Climate Hazards in These Two States 

According to a Harvard study, 18 million rental units are located in areas exposed to extreme weather hazards. Many of these are concentrated in two states, Florida and California. These states will have a much higher expected annual loss from climate related disasters compared to other states, and renters will feel the brunt of this loss with 77% of California’s rental stock in census tracts with high expected annual loss. With increased insurance costs for weather renters will see greater rental prices as well. Read More.


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