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.
This week we have articles on the U.S. car fleet potentially causing lithium shortages, a mosquito feeding platform, whale beachings, and more. The Data Visualization covers changing home prices around the country and expected forecasts for this year.
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Mexico to Continue to Allow Some GMO Corn
Nearly all the genetically-modified organism (GMO) is modified for the purpose of adding herbicide tolerance or Bt production or both. Bt-corn (bacillus thuringiensis) is a type of genetically modified corn that allows the plant to self-produce a safe-to-humans bacteria that is toxic to numerous insect pests. Mexico is a key buyer of U.S.-grown corn, and a 2020 decree to phase out all imports of GMO corn has been making the U.S. corn industry nervous for years. Mexico just softened its stance a bit by allowing for the continued imports of GMO corn for animal feed and industrial uses (which are the dominant uses of corn). Despite this softening imports to Mexico of GMO corn for human consumption will still be banned starting in 2024 under current rulings. Read more at Reuters.com.
100k Gallons of Waste to Flow into Puget Sound
A lightning strike next to the Barton Pump Station in West Seattle caused West Seattle’s Barton Pump Station to shut down twice (for over 10 minutes each time) due to power interruptions and prompted over 100,000 gallons of waste to spill into the Puget Sound area. Because it did not cause a complete blackout, the backup generator was not turned on. As a result of the waste spill, the county closed beaches and both the City of Seattle and King County were fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the terms of their state water quality permits. Earlier in June the Washington Department of Ecology fined the city of Everett after millions of gallons of incomplete treated wastewater was discharged into the Snohomish River. MyNorthwest
Dry Clean Your Clothes in the Climate Startup's Vending Machine
An Atlanta-based startup company, Presso, has invented a dry-cleaning vending machine with a more environmentally conscious process. Dry cleaning has various environmental issues with toxic chemicals being released into the air, on our clothes, and the energy cost of transporting clothing to and from the dry cleaners. With Presso’s machine they use organic cleaning liquid, and the process only takes a few minutes. Not only does this consume seven times less water and three times less electricity than traditional dry cleaning but it also costs 80% less. So far Presso has a handful of machines in hotels and apartments. Their goal is to expand into bigger hotels and eventually into homes. Read More
Port of Seattle Provided with Renewable Natural Gas
Last week, the Port of Seattle’s Maritime Division and Economic Development Department agreed to purchase more than 240,000 therms of renewable natural gas (RNG) from Puget Sound Energy (PSE), becoming their largest RNG customer. Their plan is to use renewable gas at all facilities currently using natural gas. This will result in a reduction of around 1,291 metric tons of carbon emissions annually and is part of PSE’s voluntary Renewable Gas program, a pathway to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2045. PortSeattle.org
More than Half of New U.S. Electric-Generating Capacity in 2023 will be Solar
2023 is going to see a rapid rise in solar in the US as over half of new electric-generating capacity will be from renewable resources. According to the EIA’s Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, developers are planning to add 54.5 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale capacity to the power grid. While solar has been rising since 2010, 2022 saw additions of utility-scale capacity decline by 23% largely due to supply chain disruptions. The EIA expects the delayed 2022 projects will begin operating this year and along with the 29.1 GW of installations planned by developers, 2023 will see the most utility-scale solar capacity added in a single year. EIA
War has Turbocharged Green Energy
The transition to green energy has been accelerated by up to ten years with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. S&P Global estimates that emissions from energy production will now peak in 2028. Renewable energy, which is mostly generated domestically, has gained a significant strategic and economic edge with fossil fuel prices driven higher. By 2027, investments in renewable energy are expected to account for 90% of the increase in global energy capacity. Read More.
Data Visualization of the Week
U.S. Initial Jobless Claims
Investing.com has a tool that presents weekly jobless claims on every Thursday. Despite overall declining rates of unemployment claims, the past two weeks have seen higher rates than the last week of January or first week of February. The forecast of next week is 200,000 unemployment claims which would be higher than this week by about 6,000. Read more about the data here.