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The Economic Perspective 04/19/2024

The Latest Trending Economic, Environmental and Infrastructure 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!

Thanks for tuning in to this week's edition of the Economic Perspective! We have some great articles for you this week, covering topics like creating bioplastics from native seaweeds, climate change litigation, pollination programs in the EU, and more! Our data visualization this week showcases the results of a study quantifying the economic impact climate change is expected to have over the next 25 years, showing that climate change has more than an impact on just the environment, it has a real impact on global business as well. Interested? Keep reading below!

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!

Thank you and have a great weekend!


Bioplastics from Seaweed?

FAU’s Harbour Branch Oceanographic Institute received a $1.3 million grant to test whether sargassum, the seaweed mats that invade Florida’s coasts and cover beaches almost annually, of late, can be safely harvested offshore without harm to fish or other marine life, and potentially repurposed into inputs for bioplastics and biofuels. Pictured is project member Brian Lapointe, Ph.D., conducting fieldwork as he is immersed in Sargassum. Read more about the project here

Climate Inaction as Human Rights Violation

After several U.S. cases brought by youth have foundered, on 9 April 2024, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down a verdict in favor of several elderly women, who argued that the Swiss government’s inaction toward climate change endangered their lives by increasing the likelihood of heat waves and thus exacerbating the risks to their health. The court found that the government violated its own rules that protect “the right to respect for private and family life”.  The court turned down two similar cases, one by youth and another by an individual, in both cases on technical grounds. More about the case here.

State of Washington Declares Drought Emergency

Most of Washington was issued an emergency drought declaration this last Tuesday due to a dry start to winter this last year mixed with low snowpack. Thanks to El Niño weather patterns, statewide snowpack currently is at 68% of normal values. Many watersheds are forecasting low water supplies, including low flows and warmer waters this summer, and planning for emergency water right transfers. The Washington Department of Ecology is providing $4.5 million in drought response grants to deliver financial support on those systems experiencing drought impacts. Communities can learn more about water conservation here.

EU to Promote 'Buzz Lines' to Help Reverse Decline of Bees by 2030

As bees and other pollinators decline in population the EU has moved to implement “Buzz lines” where insects can move across Europe and find food and shelter in protected areas. The plan will also include the ban of several pesticides that contribute to bee population decline such as a sugar beet pesticide that France has banned. The EU parliament will need to endorse the plan and show that it helps reverse bee population decline by 2030 under the EU’s Nature Restoration Law. Read More.

A Robot That Can Anticipate a Person's Smile - and Smile Back

At the moment, there is a lot of research being done on improving robot’s expression in real time. In most humanoid robots, there is a noticeable delay before they can smile back at humans. According to Yuhung Hu, a robotics researcher at Columbia University, he noted that through synced facial expressions, future iterations could be sources of connection in a loneliness epidemic. Thus, Yuhung Hu, along with his colleagues created Emo. Emo was trained to smile in sync with humans. The robot can predict a human smile 839 milliseconds before it happens and smiles back. Read more here.

Data Visualization of the Week

New Study Shows Impact Climate Change will have on the World Economy

By 2049, climate change is estimated to impact the economy by roughly $38 trillion a year from a recent study in the journal - Nature by researchers at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. This impact shows the multitude of how climate change influences more than the environment alone, it has a real impact on every stage of business. The largest monetary hit will be in developing countries, who are in fact the least responsible to climate change’s contribution statistically. Read more about the study, impacts, and additional highlights here and here.


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