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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, MCO and the Port of Seattle have released some travel tips to navigate through the crowds. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) anticipates this year could be one of the busiest Thanksgiving travel periods in the airport’s history, with total passengers through the airport expected to be at or slightly above 2019 and 11 percent above 2022 levels. MCO anticipates a 17% increase over last year's thanksgiving traffic. Read more about Seattle and Orlando.
This week on The Economic Perspective we have articles on Seattle's circular wood economy, the water usage of AI, The Alachua Conservation Trust receiving a grant for $25 million, the EU criminalizing environmental 'ecocide', and more.
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City of Seattle to Create Circular Wood Economy
A $4M grant from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will provide Seattle with the opportunity to establish a Salvaged Wood Warehouse to support the local circular wood economy. A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life. The idea of this Seattle based warehouse is to help recycle, recover, and distribute roughly 150 annual tons of wood from older homes, instead of sending it to a landfill. KUOW NPR
U.S. and China Pledge to Cooperate on Climate Ahead of Biden-Xi Meeting
Leaders from both the United States and China met face-to-face on Wednesday to discuss cooperation in combating the current climate crisis. Both countries will be reviving a bilateral agreement that will address deforestation, energy transition, and other environmental issues. This revival is coming after relations deteriorated over disagreements on Taiwan, Ukraine, and the Middle East. Both nations will also support commitments by the G20 summit to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030, with further commitments likely to be made at the UN conference on climate change, COP28, in Dubai in a month. Read More.
The Growing Water Footprint of AI Begins to Generate Concern
The expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) is contributing to a significant "water footprint," particularly in AI data centers. As AI applications demand increased computing resources and storage, dedicated AI data centers are emerging, with notable growth in the US and the global South. Stanford University's AI Index Report 2023 highlights the unprecedented environmental impact of AI model training. Concerns are raised about water scarcity, especially in developing countries where data centers are expanding. The lack of proper regulation and awareness underscores the need for stronger measures and equitable AI development. Innovative solutions, such as Google's low-water alternatives and Microsoft's adiabatic cooling, aim to address water consumption in data centers, emphasizing the importance of sustainable practices in the growing tech age. Read more about AI’s development’s water usage here.
Lake to Lagoon Regional Conservation Partnership Program Awarded $25 Million USDA Grant
Alachua Conservation Trust (ACT), in collaboration with Volusia County and Stetson University, has received a $25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The award supports research-based land management practices and land protection for coastal and inland resilience in East Central Florida. The program will be led by ACT and involves partnerships among state and federal agencies, local governments, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and private stakeholders. The work will build upon existing land protection programs to leverage resources for the protection of environmentally sensitive lands. Read more here.
EU Criminalizing Environmental 'Ecocide'
The European Union (EU) has been named the first governing body to criminalize wide-scale ecological damage, which they are ‘comparing to ecocide’. This occurred late Thursday when lawmakers agreed to justify unlawful and wide-spread habitat loss, illegal logging, deforestation, and other irreversible environmental damage to the quality of air, soil, and water with much harsher penalties. Marie Toussaint, a French lawyer and the contact in bringing this issue to the EU declared this “could usher in a new age of environmental litigation in Europe”. More severe penalties could include harsher fines, exclusion from land access, permit reduction, and even prison sentences. Read the whole story here.
Data Visualization of the Week
Architecture Billings Index Down for Third Straight Month
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dropped for the third month in a row in October to a score of 44.3. A score under 50 signifies a decline in billings from the previous month. New project inquiries were also soft in October at a score of 48.8. All U.S. regions reported similar billings results, with the lowest score in the West at 40.0, followed by the Northeast, 42.1; the South, 48.5; and the Midwest, 48.9. As skilled labor shortages, high material costs, and international conflicts affecting global market stability continue, billings could soften further through the end of the year. Read more here.