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The Economic Perspective 8/4/2023

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.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Last week we participated in another great T-Shirt Day! This time, the theme was "Places Around the World", with everyone challenged to pick out a shirt from a location that was significant to them. Several represented their heritage, with Germany, Puerto Rico, and Columbia all seen, and other showed of their favorite locations from Sabbaticals and vacations, including Thailand, Yellowstone, and Disneyworld, and more! Check out our well-traveled TBG and BGA employees!

As we are entering the first week of August, and temperatures are not forgiving; In this Friday's edition we have a few articles highlighting the rise in temperatures throughout the month of July as well as America's first new nuclear reactor coming online and beginning operation and construction spending increases, and more. Remaining on topic with the rise in temps, our data visualization covers the global record warmth for July as well as impacts to populations affected.

Enjoy the read and feedback is always appreciated! 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! Have a great weekend!

Study Reveals Over 10 Trillion Gallons of Water Lost from Colorado River Basin

A study by UCLA reveals that rising temperatures caused by the human-induced climate crisis have led to a significant decrease in the Colorado River's flow. Between 2000 and 2021, over 10 trillion gallons of water were lost from the basin, equivalent to the size of Lake Mead. This 10% reduction in flow over two decades is mainly due to higher temperatures in the Western US, where the river runs through seven states, serving water for about 40 million people. The research emphasizes that without the climate crisis, the river's first-ever water shortage would not have occurred. State leaders are seeking ways to cut water usage as the situation worsens. Read more here, and find the full study here.

America's First New Nuclear Reactor Starts Operations

On Monday, a new nuclear reactor has begun delivering power to the electric grid in the United States. The reactor was opened in Waynesboro, Georgia with its primary owner being Georgia Power. This reactor will generate approximately 1,110 megawatts of energy, which will power 500,000 homes. The last time a reactor was turned on was in 2016 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and before that not since 1996. As nuclear reactors do not produce greenhouse gases this has been a positive as urgency to respond to climate issues grows. Read More.

Phoenix is Using "Cool Pavement" to Fight High Temps

Cool pavement is a light color water-based asphalt treatment that is applied on top of asphalt pavement so that it will reflect the sunlight instead of absorbing it. The city’s pilot program in 2021 found that while the human experience of heat exposure increased due to surface reflectivity, surface temperatures at noon and afternoon were 10.5-12 degrees F lower than traditional asphalt. On average, sub-surface temperatures were 4.8 degrees lower. In June 2023, the city had 100mi with the coating and expects to add 18mi more by end of the year. Read more here; photo credit: City of Phoenix

US Construction Spending Up in June

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, construction spending rose 3.5% in June, year-over-year, soaring over May’s 1.1% increase. Surprisingly, spending on single-family housing projects surging 2.1% in June despite the Federal Reserve's tightening monetary policy. Spending on multifamily housing projects also increased in June by 1.5%, but apartment vacancy rates will likely curtail growth in the future. Spending on public construction increased by 0.3%. Read more here.

Tour de Turtles

This previous Saturday, July 29th, Tour de Turtles returned to Disney’s Vero Beach hotel. This event is now in its 16th year of operating where sea turtle awareness is raised through the annual public release of baby sea turtles and tagged adult sea turtles to gain insight on their migration and ultimately, protection. Disney’s conservation team and the Sea Turtle Conservancy conducts the yearly event and the work behind the scenes. The team steadily monitors a five-mile stretch of Vero Beach during sea turtle nesting season (March-October) and have recorded 2,000 nests this season, a number well above average. Since the Disney conservation team’s start in 2003, 20,000 turtles have been recorded and more than 1.5 million turtles have taken their first steps on Vero Beach. To learn more about the event, follow the tracked sea turtles, and how you can help, read here.

Data Visualization of the Week

Higher Temperatures Felt Nearly Everywhere in July

Last month, four out of five people were impacted by at least one day where climate change had a significant effect on daily temperature, according to a new report by Climate Central. Additionally, at least 2 billion people felt a strong influence of climate change on each of the days of the month. Florida experienced extreme July heat, as did many southern states, Central America, northern Africa, and the Caribbean, among others. Many scientists are calculating it’s the warmest month on record. The new study calculated that the burning of coal, oil and natural gas made it three times more likely to be hotter on at least one day for the 4,019 cities that evidence of climate change was determined (AP News). Additionally, this July, is "virtually certain" to be the world's warmest month on record according to scientists. As depicted in the chart below, the warmest day occurred on July 6th according to Copernicus Climate Change Service (BBC News).

Read more at AP News and BBC News.


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