Energy & Resources
December 3, 2020

Did Child Safety Car Seat Requirements Lower Birth Rate?

For everyone that has three kids, you know how hard  it can be to put those three kids in a car with approved child safety car seats. It can be a challenge in many models of vehicles. But now work by Jordan Nickerson and David Solomon, professors of finance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College has linked the declining birth rate of American women on the design and carrying capacity of  American vehicles.

In fifty years the birth rate of American women has fallen from 2.12 children on average to 1.73. Of course the fact that there’s available birth control and  better educational and work  opportunities have impacted these statistics. But these researchers point out that declining birth rate curves do not dovetail with just those factors.

The Economist Science and Technology page describes the researchers’ study, “Car Seats as Contraception”.

The paper is available for download here.

The researchers looked at the impact of car seat policies on American birth rates for 43 years to 2017. In 1973 only small infants had to be legally in baby car seats. Legislation then evolved to make it mandatory for children to be in car seats until they are eight years old.

So could that be the reason that there are fewer three child families?

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It is not small shifts in technology but big moves in governmental policy that will be the last gasp of the gas driven vehicle. As Reuters.com writes

China’s pointed direction to shift completely to electric vehicles will halt 70 percent of global oil demand in the enxt ten years, meaning that the “oil era” is clearly finished.

There’s a secondary reason too: China will no longer spend $80 billion dollars annually importing oil to fuel vehicles, meaning cleaning air and a better bottom line.

I have already written about the fact that SUVs are considered status symbols in China and will likely continue to be popular. China in 2016 produced 28 million vehicles, a big chunk of the 70 million vehicles produced globally.

On January 1st of 2018 China stopped the manufacturing of over 500 different car models including domestic and foreign automobile ventures. The stoppages of ICE (internal combustion engines) vehicle manufacturing  included factories operated by  Volkswagen and Benz.

As the New York Times said at the timethe measure pointed to a mounting willingness by China to test forceful antipollution policies and assume a leading role in the fight against climate change. The country, which for years prioritized economic growth over environmental protection and now produces more than a quarter of the world’s human-caused greenhouse gases, has emerged as an unlikely bastion of climate action after President Trump’s rejection of the Paris climate agreement.”

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The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Partners for Climate Protection program will be hosting a free webinar on the importance of measuring and monitoring your community’s climate action progress.

Hear expert advice from Michael Hay, Town of Banff’s Environment and Sustainability Manager on how to monitor, measure, and report your municipal climate action progress.

We’ll talk about:

Tracking the results of specific emissions reduction measures
Updating greenhouse gas emission inventories
Documenting progress and engaging stakeholder
How the Town of Banff monitors, measures, and reports on their climate action progress

This webinar is intended for municipalities in the Partners for Climate Protection program, working on Milestone 5. However, any interested municipalities or individuals are welcome to join.

Michael Hay’s Biography
As Manager, Environment and Sustainability, Michael leads the Town of Banff’s work in the implementation of their Environmental Master Plan, a comprehensive and courageous roadmap to a sustainable future for both the residents and visitors of Banff, and the ecosystems in which they live and interact.

Municipal Climate Change Action Centre
The Municipal Climate Change Action Centre was founded in 2009 as a collaborative initiative of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, Rural Municipalities of Alberta, and the Government of Alberta. We deliver funding, technical assistance, and education to help Alberta municipalities, school authorities and community related organizations advance actions that lower energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve climate resilience.

Learn more at mccac.ca

Date: Wednesday November 24, 2020

Time: 1:00 to 2:00 pm. Pacific Time.

To register click on this link.

Image: Pinterest

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ASU SUSTAINABILITY SERIES | SHALANDA BAKER

Arizona State University’s (ASU) School of Sustainability and Island Press are  featuring Island Press authors and Urban Resilience Project contributors.

Join Revolutionary Power author Shalanda Baker as she explains how this unique moment in history provides an unprecedented opening for a deeper transformation of the energy system, and thus, an opportunity to transform society.

Shalanda Baker is the co-director and co-founder of the Initiative for Energy Justice at Northeastern University.

Her book, Revolutionary Power, is a playbook for the energy transformation, complete with a step-by-step analysis of energy policy areas that are ripe for intervention. Baker argues that people of color, poor people, and indigenous people must engage in creating a new energy system to upend the unequal power dynamics of the current system.

Join us as Baker explains how this unique moment in history provides an unprecedented opening for a deeper transformation of the energy system, and thus, an opportunity to transform society.

Moderated by Kris Mayes, director of ASU’s Utility of the Future Center. This event is in partnership with Island Press, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that shines a spotlight on crucial issues and focuses attention on sustainable solutions.

 

This event is in partnership with Arizona State University.

Date: Thursday November 19, 2020

Time: 12 noon Pacific Time

Click on this link to register.

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Do you know what the biggest use of bitumen is? Bitumen is “low-grade crude oil which is composed of complex, heavy hydrocarbons.” It is composed of sand,water and viscous oil, and needs a lot of energy to make it into any kind of useable product. It is what the oil sands  around Fort McMurray are full of.

Once refined, 85 percent of all bitumen product is used as a “binder” in asphalt applied on roadways, airports, and parking lots. Add in gravel and crushed rock to bitumen, heat it up, and you are good for road building.

The City of Vancouver has experimented with “eco” asphalt in the past, being one of the first in Canada to use a plastic based wax to create a “lower-heat” asphalt mix in 2012.

But as Maurits Kuypers in Innovations Origins.com describes the Dutch  have gone one step further in their adaptation of “bio” asphalt~asphalt that uses plant-based lignin to replace bitumen. This of course also fits in with using less oil based products.

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Metro Vancouver is unique in that the region uses water from the mountains contained in Seymour, Capilano and Coquitlam reservoirs. Think of that~we do not take advantage of rain water, ground water, or fresh water from rivers for any water sources.

While we are lucky in that our water supply is vast and with prudent conservation should last through a dry hot summer, according to Elizabeth Elkin at Bloomberg,  “Almost two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to face water shortages by 2025. “

According to the CME Financial Derivatives exchange Wall Street is going to commence trading in futures contracts estimating California’s water supply. The purpose of commodifying water is to allow “big water consumers” such as almond growers and municipalities to hedge against price increases.

But this also suggests water, will become scarcer with climate change and  more torrid temperatures.

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As we enter the era of the New Abnormal  – much faster than most of us expected – where will people go “when there is no longer any other choice”?  Abrahm Lustgarten explores the prospects of American migration, greater than any movement in its history, in this New York Times Magazine article:

Here are the paragraphs directly relevant to us:

The millions of people moving north will mostly head to the cities of the Northeast and Northwest, which will see their populations grow by roughly 10 percent, according to one model.

Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan and Vermont will become more temperate, verdant and inviting. Vast regions will prosper; just as Hsiang’s research forecast that Southern counties could see a tenth of their economy dry up, he projects that others as far as North Dakota and Minnesota will enjoy a corresponding expansion. Cities like Detroit, Rochester, Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use.

One day, it’s possible that a high-speed rail line could race across the Dakotas, through Idaho’s up-and-coming wine country and the country’s new breadbasket along the Canadian border, to the megalopolis of Seattle, which by then has nearly merged with Vancouver to its north.

Oh well then, you can bet that this will be interpreted by some to mean better wine, wealth and keeping the border closed.

ProPublica presents the climate changes graphically:

 

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The Public Sector Digest is co-presenting this webinar with the international landscape design firm Arcadis.

Climate change can pose considerable physical and economic risks to local governments. To reduce the impacts of climate change, organizations must seek ways to adapt to the changing climate as well as mitigate their contribution to climate change. PSD has partnered with Arcadis for this webinar to define the importance of integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation. Low carbon resilience (LCR) is an approach that focuses on integrating adaptation and mitigation strategies by reducing vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Experts from PSD and Arcadis will share how local governments can build LCR while maintaining regulatory compliance, financial efficiency, and expected levels of service.

Moderator | Tyler Sutton, General Manager of Research & Marketing, PSD

Panelists

Erin Orr, Research & Policy Analyst, PSD
Nichole Chan, Sustainability & ESG Lead, Arcadis

Live webinar – Thursday May 21,2020 | 11:00 to 11:30 Pacific Time

You can register by clicking this link.

Images: Medium & Huff Post

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Gord Price will be in Australia for the next month.  Follow his coverage here and on Instagram (gordonpriceyvr).

More evidence from the Sydney Morning Herald on how deeply unserious some decision-makers can be, even after declaring a climate emergency and living through a national trauma that validates the urgency.  It is the gap between lack of action and the desire for strategic change that makes this story extraordinary.

The world’s largest coal port wants to transition away from coal – but because of government policy, can’t do it.

 

The world’s largest coal port State deal blocking world’s largest coal port from fossil fuel exit

The head of the world’s largest coal port says it must transition away from the fossil fuel and diversify Newcastle’s economy before it’s too late, but controversial NSW government policy is stopping it.

As the government worked to improve its climate policy following a summer of drought and bushfires, Port of Newcastle chief executive Craig Carmody said $2 billion of private investment was waiting for the green light to develop a container terminal and move the Hunter away from coal.

However, a once-secret facet of the Baird government’s 2013-14 port privatisation deal – which would force Newcastle to compensate its competitors if it transported more than 30,000 containers a year – could keep the local economy tethered to coal for decades.

Mr Carmody said the port had about 15 years to transition away from the resource, which makes up more than 95 per cent of its exports. He added that a changing climate and struggling regional sector compounded the situation.

 

Here’s the kicker:

“It doesn’t really matter what governments in Australia want to believe, the money we need to do what we need to do have already made their decisions,” Mr Carmody told the Herald.

“There is a reason why businesses, particularly in the energy space in Australia, are saying, ‘Well, if the government won’t provide a policy direction, then we’re going to go off and do it ourselves’.”

 

 

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