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Happy Friday, everyone!
Happy Friday! Today we bring you updated information on extremely low water levels impacting shipping on the Mississippi, the innovative approach taken by one Phoenix town to deter car traffic, new info on the most glacier-covered mountain in the contiguous US and more.
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Khosla Ventures Backs Efforts to Make Barge Traffic on the Mississippi River at Risk Again
Last October saw extremely low water levels on the Mississippi River, causing $20B in losses due to reduced shipping volumes and increased shipping costs for barging. Low water levels this year haven’t reached the record lows of 2022, but it’s been extremely dry and water levels are 14 feet below average at some locations in the river. This has the agriculture industry in the Midwest particularly worried as peak harvest and export season nears. Low water levels can restrict barge loading amounts and can dramatically increase costs, ultimately reducing grain exports in some cases. Read more at wsj.com and agweb.com.
How a Car-Free Community in Pheonix Defeated Parking Minimums
A new residential development in Tempe, AZ aims to promote car-free living by having no parking spaces onsite or in the surrounding areas. The community’s first residents moved in this spring and when completed, the complex will house up to 1,000 people. During the lease, residents must disclose any cars they own and cannot park on surrounding streets within a block. In exchange, they receive free monthly passes to ride the city’s rail and bus systems, discounts for ride-sharing cars and scooters vehicles, and parking for bicycles. Additionally, the community is expected to have bike repair shops, grocery stores and shops. Bloomberg
New Study Shows Melting of Glaciers on Mt. Rainer
The most glacier-covered mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Rainier, is rapidly losing its now 28 glaciers and snowfall due to climate change. A new Park Service study conveyed a reduction of 53.812km^2, or 41.6% in glacial coverage between 1896 to 2021. Additionally, the study officially removed one glacier, the Stevens Glacier. This was removed from the Park’s inventory due to lack of flow. Two other south facing glaciers, the Pyramid and Van Trump glaciers have experienced a 32.9% and 33.6% decline of their area and 42.0% and 42.9% of their volume, respectively. The report warns devastating ecosystem and economic impacts from these continued losses, citing bizarre wildflower blossom events, shorter climbing season for summiteers, landslides, and floods. Mt. Rainier National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Washington and gets roughly 2 million visitors every year. Read More.
Shipping Giant Maersk Unveils 'Trendsetter' Green Vessel as it Aims to be Carbon Neutral by 2040
On Thursday, Maersk presented a landmark moment for green technology. A new container ship with dual engines was unveiled, one engine running on traditional fuel, and one engine running on biomass or captured carbon and hydrogen from renewable power. This new ship will emit 100 tons of carbon dioxide less per day compared to diesel-based ships. This step is the first in the shipping industry as further efforts are made to help reduce carbon emissions. Shipping accounts for around 3% of global carbon emissions, and due to the global nature of the industry it has been difficult to decarbonize it. Read More.
Jobs in the Woods Act Offers Solutions to Forestry Workforce Challenges
The U.S. forest products industry has been a vital manufacturing sector, this year contributing $353 billion annually to the economy, but is now facing workforce challenges. Labor shortages in mills and an aging logging sector hinder growth and modernization. These issues also affect the U.S. Forest Service's ability to implement forest plans and meet timber commitments. Furthermore, a declining workforce due to an aging population and rural outmigration compounds the problem. To address this, the bipartisan Jobs in the Woods Act (H.R. 5344) has been introduced, offering grants for education and training in forestry-related fields. This legislation aims to create a skilled workforce, support economic development in rural areas, and ensure a sustainable forest industry. Various forestry associations advocate for its passage. Read more here.
Investigation Into the Depletion of America's Aquifers
A recent investigation by the New York Times focuses on the depletion of aquifers around the U.S. Aquifers buried underneath the ground supply almost 90% of the water in this country. The investigation found that almost 40% of 80,000 wells have been at record lows during the past decade. Depletion of aquifers causes concerns for saltwater intrusion in coastal areas and can lead to increases in arsenic levels in drinking water. There are solutions in sight, including water-saving equipment, wastewater reuse, desalination, and others. Read more at nytimes.com or here.
Data Visualization of the Week Where Climate Change Most Affected Summer Temperatures
97% of the U.S. population experienced at least one summer day with temperatures notably influenced by human-caused climate change in 2023. In 45 U.S. cities at least, half of all summer days had temperatures at least twice as likely to be affected by climate change. Areas most affected were in Texas, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico. The map below presents various cities based on the number of days they had with a Climate Shift Index of 3 or higher. Take a look at an interactive map here.