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The Economic Perspective 06/21/2024

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! 

Welcome back to this week’s Economic Perspective! This last week, Balmoral Group commemorated Juneteeth, a day of recognition and restoration. Let us continue to honor the past, celebrate progress, and build on the promise of freedom for all.

This week, Balmoral Group Team members Dr. Laila Racevskis, Dr. Dan Dourte, and Craig Diamond are hosting a workshop with the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve focusing on ways to improve restoration collaboration in the Apalachicola region. Updates will be provided next week on the outcomes from this exciting workshop!

In this week’s edition, we have some great pieces of articles for you on protecting wildlife habitats, using robots to fix electric cars, declining Florida Conch populations due to rising ocean temperatures, climate strategies, and more.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!


Collier County to Buy 9 Properties to Protect Wildlife Habitat

Last week Collier County commissioners approved to spend $720,624 from the Conservation Collier funds to purchase land for conservation and protect wildlife like panthers and bears. The majority of the lands are within the Gore Preserve and there’s an additional property by the Red Maple Swarm Preserve. In total, this will add more than 34 acres for conservation and the County will pay between $24,910 to $141,340 to buy the properties. Read more here.

Startup Kinetic Rolls Out Robots To Fix Electric Cars, and Someday Robotaxis

Kinetic, a new California based startup, hopes to lower costs associated with EVs by using robotics and machine-learning software to diagnose issues with a vehicle’s digital systems. These digital systems on EVs add an additional maintenance cost to EVs that bar many consumers from purchasing them. Kinetic robots will assist auto shops that do not have the knowledge or capacity to work with these newer digital systems, allowing for shorter and cheaper repair times. The company has built its first four service hubs and hopes to provide their services to future robotaxi fleets. Read More.

Florida Conch Populations in Dire Straits Due to Rising Ocean Temperature

After hurricanes Irma in 2017 and Ian in 2022, Florida queen conchs dropped from a pre-hurricane population of over 700,000 to 126,000 in the most recent 2022 survey. After investigating the lack of recovery in conch population, scientists concluded that rising ocean temperatures were the primary factor. Due to the extremes in water temperature, conches would be too cold to develop mating organs in the winter, and too warm to focus on anything but survival in the summer. The solution - move mollusk populations into cooler, deeper waters. The conch population also benefits from the deeper move by being less exposed to poachers, as researchers estimate that in some areas up to 10% of the resident sea snails had been poached. With relocation efforts having been proved to be successful in the past and ongoing efforts to classify the queen conch as a now threatened species, scientists are hopeful to see the revival of conchs. Read more here.

EPA Releases 2024-2027 Climate Adaptation Plan

On June 20th, the U.S. Environmental Protecting Agency (EPA) published its 2024-2027 Climate Adaptation Plan highlighting the agency’s acknowledgment and monitoring of current climate change impacts and seeking to improve in building a more resilient society. This plan builds on the previous 2014 and 2021 adaptation plans by the agency and takes new steps in planning a climate-ready workforce, building facility resilience, developing climate-resilient supply chains, and applying climate data and tools into decision making just to name a few. Read more about the plan here, and view the official CAP here.

Washington's Swinomish Tribe to Receive Nearly $400 Million over Oil Train Trespassing

This week, a federal judge ordered BNSF Railway to pay nearly $400 Million to the Swinomish Tribe after the Railway company was found to be in violation of an agreement dating back to 1991. The agreement, which limits the amount of oil cars to 25 cars per day, was violated when BNSF started transporting 100-car oil trains starting in 2012, the Tribe alleged. U.S. Judge Robert Lasnik sided with the tribe, ordering BNSF to pay $362 Million, summary to the profit from the violations, as well as more than $32 Million in post-tax profits. While the judge acknowledged that $32 Million falls short of actual estimates for BNSF’s post-tax profits, it was felt the nearly $400 Million cost to BNSF was sufficient. Read more here and here.

$75 Million Land Grant Protection Fund Launched by Mass Audubon

Mass Audubon is committed to forming strategies that will help protect 30% of Massachusetts land – equivalent to an additional 10,000 acres. In order to achieve this goal, Mass Audubon 30x30 Catalyst Fund will provide the necessary financial resources to protect lands rich in carbon and biodiversity across the state. This new private fund, being the largest in the region, will not only provide financial resources to support Mass Audubon projects, but will also be used to assist communities, state and federal agencies and other NGOs with their land protection priorities. Read more here.

Washington Department of Ecology Releases Climate Resilience Strategy

Last week, the WA Department of Ecology released a draft updated Climate Resilience Strategy (funded by the Climate Commitment Act) which highlights current climate response work by agencies to address flooding, drought, and wildfire risks, as well as investigates additional ways that agencies can take collaborative action to support climate-response activities through current and proposed work.  Actions within this document highlight strategies that can help alleviate or prepare for extreme heat impacts, as well as drought and air pollution. Additionally, these strategies parallel the KCKCA to help WA reduce 95% of GHG emissions by 2050. The final Climate Resilience Strategy is due by September 30, and the draft is currently available for public comment here. WA ECY

Data Visualization of the Week

Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil Fuels

The chart shows how carbon dioxide emissions have increased over time from pre-Industrial times to date. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, growth in emissions was very low. In the mid 20th century, carbon dioxide emissions started increasing to levels where the world emitted 6 billion tons of CO2. Towards the end of the 20th century, the emissions reached over 20 billion tons of CO2. From that time, emissions have continued to grow rapidly, and the world is now emitting over 35 billion tons each year. Read more here.



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