The Latest Trending Economic, Environmental and Demographic News Curated for You By The Balmoral Group
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Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all those who have served. We also hope everyone stayed safe during Hurricane Nicole.
This week, Resource Economist Amy Bainbridge represented The Balmoral Group at the American Water Resources Association 2022 National Conference in Seattle, Washington, where we presented research on utilizing citizen science to monitor Indian River Lagoon Health.
Today we take a look at fish farming at sea, agricultural losses of Hurricane Ian, residential solar panels, and more. For our data visualization we have an update on monthly inflation levels for October.
Fish Farming at Sea
Consumption of fish is steadily on the rise, while the size of wild fish catch is falling. Some fisheries experts see ocean-based aquaculture as an important part of more efficiently raising fish while avoiding overfishing natural stocks. In contrast to fish farming in tanks on land, fish farming in the ocean lets natural systems take care of salinity and temperature and nutrient levels rather than energy-intensive pump and filter systems. Opponents of fish farming are concerned with environmental impacts and unintended consequences. Ocean Era, an ocean aquaculture company, was recently permitted for an operation off the coast of Florida, but the permit is being challenged in court. Read more about the technology involved in ocean aquaculture at qz.com.
Preliminary Assessment of Agricultural Losses Resulting from Hurricane Ian
An analysis completed by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences, shows that about 5 million acres of agricultural lands were in the path of Ian, with about 700 thousand receiving Category 4 force winds. About 60% of the lands affected were grazing land, followed by field crops and citrus. In total, the analysis estimated the annual production losses to be between $786 million and $1.56 billion. WGCU
Florida Added 44% more Residential Solar panel Systems in 2021
Florida’s Public Service Commission reported a 44% increase in the number of customer-owned power generators, called Renewable Generation Interconnections (RGIs); nearly all RGIs are solar panel systems. In 2021, the number of RGIs increased to 130,947 from 90,552 systems in 2020. In addition to an increase in panels, capacity saw a 41% increase. Read More
Tribal Communities Leading the Way in Salmon Habitat Restoration
The Port of Everett’s Blue Heron Slough restoration project, an approximately 353-acre estuary between Marysville and Everett WA, is undergoing major restoration work to tidal channels, marsh, and mud flats. Through breaching old agricultural dikes installed by early settlers, a total of nine miles of channels will be restored, reconnecting critical habitats for species such as steelhead, bull trout, and great blue heron. At the center of this effort is an attempt to restore struggling salmon populations, an important key stone species for the estuary and for Puget Sound, as they prepare to head into the ocean ecosystem. And Coast Salish tribes, such as the Tulalips and Suquamish are at the forefront of these recovery efforts. The tribes currently hold a conservation easement on Blue Heron Slough and will protect the land in perpetuity, for conservation purposes. Suquamish Tribal Chair Leonard Forsman said restoring salmon habitat means restoring access to Coast Salish people’s culture. Herald Net
US Launches Carbon Offset Program to Help Countries Speed Clean Energy Transition
On Wednesday U.S. Climate Envoy, John Kerry, released a carbon offset plan that would allow corporations to fund renewable energy projects in developing countries. This program, named the Energy Transition Accelerator, is in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund. The plan will create carbon offsets that represent investment in projects to support renewable energy. Companies can buy these offsets to help balance out some of their CO2 emissions. Chile and Nigeria are among some developing countries interested in the program. Criticisms of offset programs have been common, namely that they are schemes meant to undermine a company’s net-aero emission targets. To combat this, this new program requires companies to commit to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and report annually on emissions as well as show progress. Some environmental groups said they are still not supporting the plan as there is a lack of concrete details. Read more
New U.S. Semiconductor Facility Planned
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM) announced plans to build a second U.S. facility in Arizona to produce semiconductor chips this week. The decision to expand was largely due to recent government incentives, including provisions in the CHIPS and Science Act. The first facility cost about $12 billion to build in 2020. Despite high inflation, TSM and other chip manufacturers expect global sales to double in the next decade, making the investment worthwhile. The additional production should help ease supply chain disruptions in the semiconductor chip market over the next few years. Read more here.
Data Visualization of the Week
United States Inflation Rate
Inflation since June has been on a decline since its peak of 9.1%. At 7.7% we are below February inflation levels. While 7.7% is still high the hope is that this trend continues back to pre-covid recession levels. Some goods that saw declines in inflation were food, used cars, as well as medical care services. You can take a loot at more comprehensive data here.