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The Economic Perspective 02/23/2024

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!

This week Cortney Cortez and Kristen Larsen represented our team at GOMCON 2024 hosted by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance in Tampa, Florida. Cortney presented on a case study cost benefit analysis of a living shoreline project in Okaloosa County. In addition, our team also had two posters selected for presentation during the Rise and Shine poster sessions throughout the week. The posters' topics were focused on TBG's efforts with Community Engagement for Safe Shelters in the Tampa region as well as Restoration Efforts of Florida Gulf Coast Counties.

GOMCON brought together coastal scientists and others in state and federal government, academia, non-profit, and private sectors to discuss current Gulf research and collaborate on new opportunities. Emphasizing the intersection of science, policy, and management, GOMCON included sessions on themes that are important to ecosystem and community resilience as well as restoration and natural resource management.

During the Celebration of GOMA's 20th anniversary at the Florida Aquarium, The Balmoral Group received a Sapphire award pin from GOMA for our participation and support of GOMA for over 5 years!

In this week’s edition of the Economic Perspective, we have a plethora of articles on deteriorating flood insurance policies, urban forestry management, AI applications for mines and agriculture, and more. Our data visualization shows the increase in private vehicles taxying children to school over the last 50 years.

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!


A Flood Insurance Quirk Makes Basements a Bad Place to Keep Your Stuff

Most flood insurance policies do not cover basements and any damage to belongings that reside in them. As flood risks increase, coverage is declining. In addition, homeowners and renter’s insurance almost never cover flood damage despite it being the most common and costly damage to homes. Most people who still have flood insurance are likely getting it from the federal government as 4.4 million insurance policies existed through FEMA in 2023. Read More.

Unveiling a Century of Evolution in Urban Forest Ecosystems

Researchers at The Forest School and New York Botanical Garden have conducted a century-long study on the Thain Family Forest, offering insights into often understudied urban forest dynamics. Analyzing data from 1937-2021, the study revealed significant changes in species composition due to the loss of eastern hemlock. Despite shifts, native species remained dominant, emphasizing the forest's resilience. The findings highlight the importance of long-term monitoring and adaptive management in sustaining urban forests, providing crucial ecosystem services and supporting biodiversity. The study suggests that with conservation efforts, urban and rural forests may exhibit similar developmental patterns. Read More.

U.S. Coast Guard Launches Boat Alert System for Whales in Puget Sound

Underwater noise caused by marine vessel traffic can disrupt many at-risk whale species in the Puget Sound region, causing injury or death to local whales. To keep Puget Sound whales safe, The U.S. Coast Guard is launching a unique pilot program that will alert ships of whale sightings in Washington state's Salish Sea. This Cetacean Desk program will provide mariners with near real-time data about the location of whales through the existing WhaleReport Alert System. Mariners will be able to access the map and receive notification of when to slow down or change course. The goal is to keep the marine mammals safe from boat strikes and reduce noise in the sound. Seattle Times; USCG.

AI Finding New Mines

KoBold, a Silicon Valley start-up mining company, recently identified a high-quality copper ore location in Zambia, which has a long history of copper mining. The company, whose backers include Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Andreesen Horowitz, among others, uses artificial intelligence to search for potential mining locations for copper, cobalt, nickel, and lithium – all crucial metals for the energy transition underway. KoBold is hoping to quickly build a new mine at its Mingomba mine location in Zambia. It’s expected to take about $2 billion to get the mine into production. The site could potentially produce 500,000 – 600,000 metric tons annually once fully operational, putting it in contention for the third largest copper mine in the world. Read More.

Strengthening Regional Food Systems Through AI

In the wake of improving farm-to-farm market supply chains on a regional level, researchers plan to develop an AI driven platform called Cultivate IQ to integrate sales and market data across the farm-to-market supply chain. The team of researchers from the University of Arkansas-led project will evaluate and identify unique datasets in the agri-food supply chains for small and medium sized farms. The Cultivate IQ project is intended to help plan and manage food supplies. Optimizing the production of food and connection between farmers and consumers, researchers and other stakeholders is a joint collaborative effort. Read More.

App and Social Network for Inuit Knowledge-Sharing

A citizen-science app, Siku, developed by and for Inuit communities in Alaska and Greenland combines traditional knowledge with scientific data for environmental monitoring. The app allows users to document wildlife sightings, ice conditions, and other observations with pictures and narrative. This allows younger Inuit community members to engage with data collection in ways other than oral traditions. The observations within Siku have helped Inuit communities demonstrate wildlife and sea ice changes to scientists working in their areas. Read More.

Private Jet Tax Proposed

The IRS will begin auditing private jet owners to review patterns of personal use and determine whether any tax evasion has occurred. The future audits will be targeted at large corporations and high-income taxpayers. The examination of private jet usage has not been closely looked at in the past decade, and with more than 10,000 corporate jets in operation the U.S. alone, the environmental impacts have been alarming. Personal jets have significantly higher emissions than other modes of transport, with 5.3 million tons of carbon released in 2020 to 2023 and an increase of flights from 119,00 in 2020 to 573,000 in 2022 (, 2023). This proposed tax could increase taxes for jet owners and curb some usage. Read More.

Data Visualization of the Week

School Buses on the Downturn

In 1969, more than 40% of K-12 school children walked or rode bikes to school. Today, that number (for a variety of reasons) has dropped to about to about 10%. The visual below shows how the other means of getting to school have changed in the last 50 years. The data are based on responses to the National Household Travel Survey conducted by the Federal Highway Administration. Read More.


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