World’s largest money manager to CEOs: You have to do great for society

letter Tuesday from among the world’s most influential money managers having a pointed message: Simply posting good financial returns is not enough. You’ll want a positive effect on society, too.

In the annual letter to CEOs sent Tuesday, Laurence Fink, the chairman and CEO of BlackRock, which manages nearly $6.3 trillion in investments, put CEOs on high alert they could be likely to fix their lengthy-term strategy, how they plan to make use of savings from the tax reform law, what role they play in their communities and whether or not they are coming up with an assorted workforce that’s being retrained for opportunities inside a more automated future.

“Society is demanding that companies, both private and public, serve a social purpose,” Fink authored in the letter, that was first as reported by the brand new You are able to Occasions. “To prosper with time, every company mustn’t only deliver financial performance, but additionally show the way it constitutes a positive contribution to society.”

Fink’s letter used stronger language, experts stated, than his recent annual letters to CEOs, which have focused on lengthy-term strategies and also the ecological, social and governance practices (frequently known as “ESG” factors) from the companies that they invest. In this year’s letter, Fink stated he’d double how big BlackRock’s team that engages with companies to try to encourage them to do more about such issues.

“There has been a paradox of preferred tax treatment and anxiety,” Fink authored, expressing worry about earnings inequality, infrastructure and automation. “Because the economic crisis, individuals with capital have reaped enormous benefits. Simultaneously, many people around the globe are facing a mix of reduced rates, low wage growth and insufficient retirement systems.” He noted the growing expectation the private sector lead to resolving concerns, writing that “we see many governments neglecting to prepare for future years.”

The letter comes among a larger recognition in corporate boardrooms and cash management offices about the significance of issues like global warming, leadership diversity and earnings inequality for that lengthy-term health from the profits of companies. One recent survey through the investment talking to firm Callan discovered that just 39 percent of investors stated the payoff for thinking about ESG issues in investment decisions was unclear, lower from 63 percent in 2016. When the domain of socially responsible mutual funds or a major focus of activist pension funds, such factors have grabbed the interest of the broader variety of shareholders because they evaluate where you can invest.

“We used to speak about ‘social investing,’ making it seem like i was speaking in regards to a debutante pavillion,” stated Nell Minow, vice chair from the governance talking to firm ValueEdge Advisors. Now, Minow stated, as such issues have become new vocabulary and focus from more investors — and as the government is increasingly rolling back its participation in issues like global warming — there is a greater expectation that personal sectors get the slack. “It’s a mistake to consider there’s any tradeoff here between financial returns and social goals. All this is extremely considered to ensuring the organization earns money.”

“Passive” investments for example index funds or eft’s allocate investments for an entire market index or industry. Unlike managers of actively managed funds, where managers buy then sell stocks, passive money managers aren’t able to sell the shares of companies with that they disagree. (Some $4.5 trillion of BlackRock’s $6.3 trillion in assets under management are passively managed.) But they are able to election their shares against negligent company directors, hold conferences with board members to discuss their disagreements, and election their shares on investor proposals that try to change other practices, such as outsized Chief executive officer compensation or a company’s ecological policies.

The presumption is that Fink’s letter could open the doorway for BlackRock — along with other big bucks managers — to more often election against management’s wishes when shareholders push for such changes if discussions don’t make the needed results. Previously, BlackRock yet others happen to be belittled for siding largely with management based on data reported by Morningstar, the investment giant voted with management 91 percent of times in the last 3 years. One pension fund put BlackRock on the “watch list” last year for what it known as its “reticence to oppose management” and “inconsistency between their proxy voting record using their policies and public pronouncements.”

(A BlackRock spokesman declined to discuss that critique but stated within an emailed statement that “we are prepared to have patience with companies when our engagement affirms they’re trying to address our concerns” however that if no progress is viewed, “we’ll election against management.”)

Yet in 2017, BlackRock, as well as other big bucks managers, sided with shareholders the very first time on proposals about gender diversity on the board and others related to climate change. Certainly one of individuals instances what food was in ExxonMobil, where it cast its shares this season from the oil giant on the measure instructing the organization to reveal more about its global warming efforts.

Some observers elevated questions regarding Fink’s letter. Charles Elson, the director of the corporate governance center in the College of Delaware, requested how BlackRock would measure the idea of societal good: “What sort of metric do generate, and how can you act upon that metric? And just what happens in the event that metric affects lengthy term value to the negative?”

The impact of the letter will be based, obviously, about how much “muscle” BlackRock puts behind the letter’s demands, Minow stated. If it holds managers accountable, and votes when it must against proposals, its heft and influence could create real change.

“If you have like 5, 10 or 15 percent from the holdings, [management] is going to concentrate,” stated David Larcker, a professor in the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford College. ” They are not likely to mess it up off when a trader like this comes forward. It ratchets in the debate to some serious level.”

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‘A really big deal’: New You are able to City’s fossil fuel divestment could spur global shift

New You are able to City’s decision to sever ties using its fossil fuel investments is placed to demonstrate a catalyst with other metropolitan areas when confronted with the Trump administration’s staunch support for coal, gas and oil interests, based on several leading economists.

On Wednesday, city officials announced that New You are able to ended up being to divest its pension funds of approximately $5bn in fossil fuel-linked money within the next 5 years. New York’s total pension fund because of its teachers, firefighters along with other city workers may be worth about $189bn.

suggested dumping shares in gas and oil companies. A large number of other institutions, varying from Oxford College towards the Rockefeller Siblings Fund, also have became a member of a movement that activists have to say is worth $6tn in divestments or prevented investments.

“The divestment movement is active and growing by its nature, New You are able to will have a large leadership role,” stated Sachs. “New You are able to hosts Wall Street, the United nations and also the US media, it’ll certainly be the center of climate action too. Despite Trump turning the keys to the gas and oil industry, it’s obvious that if one makes egregious decisions you will not pull it off.Inches

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city’s lawsuit against oil and gas companies is aimed at ‘standing up for future generations’. Mayor Bill de Blasio stated its suit against gas and oil companies targeted at ‘standing up for future generations’. Photograph: Off-shore Press / Barcroft Images

The divestment itself is going to be brushed off by major fossil fuel companies but tend to help galvanize political action even while the Trump administration peels away ecological rules and throws open more US land and waters to drilling and mining.

“Divestment isn’t about economically punishing companies, it’s something of collective action that may politically isolate companies,” stated Paul Ferraro, an economist at John Hopkins College.

“New You are able to is fabulous in this way because it’s so visible also it gives others room to produce change. But it’ll only work if everybody follows, similar to how everybody has to lower their electricity use with each other for this to possess a consequence for global warming.”

New York’s move ahead climate isn’t without its critics – environmentalists have were not impressed with De Blasio’s opposition to congestion charging for vehicles and the own frequent vehicle journeys to a health club.

Rightwing groups and business interests will also be opposed. Linda Kelly, senior vice-president from the National Association of Manufacturers, stated the program was an “absurd make an effort to politicize disasters, as opposed to a good-belief effort at securing significant change”.

The deep divisions over global warming in US politics, combined with the ongoing strength of major fossil fuel companies, has tempered the passion even of individuals in support of divestment and action to lessen emissions.

“The big gas and oil companies have a lengthy approach to take and lots of money to create,” stated Ferraro. “When you consider the stock values, it’s difficult to think that non-renewable fuels are facing imminent disaster, as predicted by various environmentalists.”

New York City plans to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue oil companies

New York City is seeking to lead the assault on both climate change and the Trump administration with a plan to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue the world’s most powerful oil companies over their contribution to dangerous global warming.

Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell – to federal court due to their contribution to climate change.

Court documents state that New York has suffered from flooding and erosion due to climate change and because of looming future threats it is seeking to “shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back on to the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat”.

The court filing claims that just 100 fossil fuel producers are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution, with the five targeted companies the largest contributors.

The case will also point to evidence that firms such as Exxon knew of the impact of climate change for decades, only to downplay and even deny this in public. New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is investigating Exxon over this alleged deception.

New York was badly rattled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and faces costs escalating into the tens of billions of dollars in order to protect low-lying areas such as lower Manhattan and the area around JFK airport from being inundated by further severe storms fueled by rising sea levels and atmospheric warming. De Blasio’s office said climate change is “perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades”.

New York’s lawsuit echoes a similar effort on the west coast, where two California counties and a city are suing 37 fossil fuel companies for knowingly emitting dangerous levels of greenhouse gases. One of those firms, Exxon, has complained that it has been targeted by a “collection of special interests and opportunistic politicians” as part of a “conspiracy” to force the company to comply with various political objectives.

The legal action and the divestment draw perhaps the starkest dividing line yet between New York and the Trump administration on climate change. Under Trump, the federal government has attempted the withdraw the US from the Paris climate accords, tear up Barack Obama’s signature climate policies and open up vast areas of America’s land and waters to coal, oil and gas interests.

De Blasio and the city comptroller, Scott Stringer, have come under pressure for several years from activists to rid New York’s pension funds of any link to fossil fuels, with some environmentalists claiming the city has been too slow to use its clout to tackle climate change.

Stringer admitted the divestment will be “complex” and will take some time but said the city’s pension funds could promote sustainability while also protecting the retirement of teachers, police officers and other city workers.

“New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of climate group 350.org.

“With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous – it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court.”

Christiana Figueres, former UN climate chief and architect of the Paris climate agreement, added: “The exponential transition toward a fossil-fuel-free economy is unstoppable and local governments have a critical role to play. There is no time to lose.

“It’s therefore extremely encouraging to see NYC step up today to safeguard their city and exercise their role as investors to protect their beneficiaries from climate-risk.”

New York joins cities such as Washington DC and Cape Town in divesting, along with universities such as Stanford in California and Oxford in the UK. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, notable for its links to the past oil wealth of John D Rockefeller, has also sought to divest.

How eco-friendly are planet?

Multiple research has discovered that planet tend to be more efficient, and for that reason accountable for less green house gas along with other emissions than cars powered exclusively by car engines. An EU study according to expected performance in 2020 discovered that an electrical vehicle using electricity generated exclusively by an oil-fired power station would only use two-thirds from the energy of the gas vehicle travelling exactly the same distance.

For each 100km travelled inside a gas vehicle …

… it requires 26 megajoules to obtain gas from the ground and transport it towards the vehicle …

… and also the vehicle itself uses 142 megajoules to maneuver itself around.

For the similar distance within an electric vehicle, using electricity generated within an oil-fired power plant

… it requires 74 megajoules to create and transport the facility towards the vehicle …

… which in turn uses just 38 megajoules to maneuver itself and it is passengers

Although an electrical vehicle powered in this manner continues to be ultimately burning exactly the same fuel because the gas vehicle it replaces, it’s burning significantly less from it. And even though green house gas emissions are similarly dangerous wherever they occur, another emissions that are dangerous to human health are less harmful once they happen in a power plant outdoors the town than in the roadside near schools and houses.

There are various kinds of electric vehicle

The excellence between gas and electric isn’t binary a car’s eco-friendly credentials vary based on whether and just how it uses electricity, and just how that electricity is generated, significant trade-offs for efficiency and range.

Green house gas emissions

Total grams of CO 2 equivalent per km

Getting fuel towards the vehicle
Getting electricity towards the vehicle
Emissions in the vehicle

Gas 125g

Range-extender with electricity from Oil

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from EU-mix

Range-extender with electricity from EU-mix

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Nuclear

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Wind

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from EU-mix

Range-extender with electricity from Nuclear 26g

Range-extender with electricity from Wind

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Nuclear 2g

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Wind

Energy used

Megajoules per 100km

Getting fuel towards the vehicle
Getting electricity towards the vehicle
Fuel energy utilized in the vehicle
Electricity utilized in the vehicle

Gas 169MJ

Range-extender with electricity from Nuclear 166MJ

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Nuclear 155MJ

Range-extender with electricity from EU-mix

Range-extender with electricity from Oil

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from EU-mix

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Nuclear

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from EU-mix

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Wind

Range-extender with electricity from Wind

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Wind

Food destroyed by drought could feed greater than 80m each day, states World Bank

The meals produce destroyed by droughts could be enough to give a rustic having a population how big Germany’s every single day for any year, the planet Bank has reported.

In new research, it stated, the “shockingly large and frequently hidden” effects of prolonged periods without rain threatened to stunt the development of kids and condemn these to an eternity of poverty.

The report stated the lost food production associated with drought would feed greater than 80 million people every single day for any year, adding that although floods and storm surges had an instantaneous impact, droughts were “misery in slow motion”.

The Planet Bank stated ladies were born in droughts bore the marks for his or her whole lives, becoming an adult psychologically and physically stunted, undernourished and unwell.

New data implies that women born during droughts had less use of education, had more children and were more prone to are afflicted by domestic violence. Problems brought on by droughts were forwarded to generation x, resulting in a vicious circle of poverty.

Droughts reduce crop yields, forcing maqui berry farmers to grow into nearby forests, the financial institution stated, adding: “Since forests behave as an environment stabiliser which help regulate water supplies, deforestation decreases supply of water and exacerbates global warming.” For firms, the economical price of a drought was four occasions as large as a ton, it stated.

Guangzhe Chen, senior director around the globe Bank’s water global practice, stated: “These impacts demonstrate why it’s more and more essential that we treat water such as the valuable, exhaustible, and degradable resource that it’s. We have to better comprehend the impacts water scarcity, that will be severe because of growing populations along with a altering climate.”

The Planet Bank stated that lots of the countries impacted by drought overlapped with areas already facing large food deficits which were considered fragile, heightening the necessity to tackle the issue.

A woman walks across a dry riverbed in Kenya

A lady walks across a dry riverbed in Turkana, Kenya on 18 October 2017. Photograph: Jennifer Huxta for that Protector

Its report suggested constructing new water storage and management infrastructure, along with an approach to control the interest in water. It advised tougher regulating power companies operating in metropolitan areas so they receive incentives to take a position and enhance their performance. Safety nets ought to be set up to assist families cope when droughts switched into economic shocks.

“If we don’t take deepening water deficits and also the bigger and much more frequent storms that global warming brings seriously, we’ll find water scarcity distributing to new regions around the globe, potentially exacerbating problems with violence, suffering, and migration,” stated the report’s author Richard Damania. “Current means of managing water are less than the task. This ocean-change will need a portfolio of policies that acknowledge the economical incentives involved with managing water from the source, towards the tap, and to its source.”

What’s Up in Coal Country: Alternative-Energy Jobs

From the mountain hollows of Appalachia to the vast open plains of Wyoming, the coal industry long offered the promise of a six-figure income without a four-year college degree, transforming sleepy farm towns into thriving commercial centers.

But today, as King Coal is being dethroned — by cheap natural gas, declining demand for electricity, and even green energy — what’s a former miner to do?

Nowhere has that question had more urgency than in Wyoming and West Virginia, two very different states whose economies lean heavily on fuel extraction. With energy prices falling or stagnant, both have lost population and had middling economic growth in recent years. In national rankings of economic vitality, you can find them near the bottom of the pile.

Their fortunes have declined as coal has fallen from providing more than half of the nation’s electricity in 2000 to about one-third last year. Thousands of workers have lost their jobs and moved on — leaving idled mines, abandoned homes and shuttered stores downtown.

Now, though, new businesses are emerging. They are as varied as the layers of rock that surround a coal seam, but in a twist, a considerable number involve renewable energy. And past jobs in fossil fuels are proving to make for good training.

In Wyoming, home to the nation’s most productive coal region by far, the American subsidiary of a Chinese maker of wind turbines is putting together a training program for technicians in anticipation of a large power plant it expects to supply. And in West Virginia, a nonprofit outfit called Solar Holler — “Mine the Sun,” reads the tagline on its website — is working with another group, Coalfield Development, to train solar panel installers and seed an entire industry.

Taken together, along with programs aimed at teaching computer coding or beekeeping, they show ways to ease the transition from fossil fuels to a more diverse energy mix — as well as the challenges.

‘Absolutely No Catch’

GILLETTE, Wyo. — John Davila, 61, worked for 20 years at Arch Coal’s Black Thunder Mine in Eastern Wyoming, a battered titan from an industry whose importance to the region is easy to see — whether in the sign in the visitors’ center window proclaiming, “Wyoming Coal: Proud to Provide America’s Energy,” or in the brimming train cars that rumble out of the Eagle Butte mine on the outskirts of town.

But in April last year, at a regular crew meeting in the break room, he was among those whose envelope held a termination notice rather than a work assignment. “They called it a ‘work force reduction,’” said Mr. Davila, whose straight, dark ponytail hangs down his back. “Nice way to put it, but it still means you’re out of a job.”

So a summertime Thursday morning found him, along with a couple of dozen other men and women, in a nondescript lecture room at a community college, learning how a different source of energy, wind, might make them proud, too.

The seminar was the last of three that week organized by Goldwind Americas, which is ready to provide as many as 850 giant wind turbines for a power plant planned in the state. The company was looking for candidates, particularly unemployed coal miners like Mr. Davila, to become technicians to maintain and operate the turbines.

The program, which is to teach the basics of wind farm operation, maintenance and safety over two weeks in October, would cost the participants nothing but their time, organizers said. Those who wanted to test their potential would have a chance to climb a 250-foot tower that Saturday at a farm Goldwind owns in Montana. And if they completed the full program, they would have certifications that could open the door with any employer they chose.

“There’s absolutely no catch – you don’t like me, you don’t like Goldwind, that’s O.K.,” David Halligan, the company’s chief executive, told an even larger crowd in Casper the day before. “There’s going to be opportunity across the country.”

It is a message of hope that has been in short supply, especially after the loss of more than 1,000 jobs in the region and the bankruptcies last year of three major producers. But while coal’s prospects have been dying down, wind development is poised to explode in the state, which has some of the world’s strongest and most consistent winds. And while coal mining jobs have fallen to historic lows nationally in recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that wind-energy technician will be the fastest-growing occupation, more than doubling over the next seven years.

Though most of the coal jobs lost last year have since returned as companies have emerged from bankruptcy, the insecurity surrounding the industry remains. “It’s been a little scary when you’ve got people all around you getting laid off,” Brandon Sims, 37, an Air Force veteran who works for an explosives company that serves the mines, said outside the lecture room. “You never really know when your day to get the pink slip is.”

Hands-On Practice

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Coal mining was already dead in Crum, a town of less than 200 just this side of the Kentucky border, by the time Ethan Spaulding, 26, graduated from high school, he said. That dashed his hopes of becoming a roof bolter, helping stabilize the ceilings of mine tunnels. “You don’t even have to have a high school diploma to go to the coal industry,” he said, “and you can start making $150,000 a year.” Or perhaps you once could.

Mr. Spaulding was standing near the railroad tracks at the edge of town where trains move coal out of the region, behind a dilapidated brick building that once housed a high-end suit factory. It is becoming a hub for the family of social enterprises that Coalfield Development leads, which include rehabilitating buildings, installing solar panels, and an agriculture program that grows produce and is turning an old mine site into a solar-powered fish farm.

Wanting to stay in Crum, Mr. Spaulding went through the solar program Coalfield runs with Solar Holler, which offers its participants a two-and-a-half-year apprenticeship. He is now a crew chief at the training center, overseeing the renovation of a larger classroom inside the building. Though he is optimistic that he can eventually reach his target income in the solar industry, the installation jobs for which the trainees will ultimately qualify generally pay far less — $26 an hour, on average, nationally.

And yet there is keen interest. For David Ward, 40, managing installations at Solar Holler helps repay the student loans he ran up pursuing a degree in counseling — a growth industry in a state reeling from opioid addiction. An electrician, he said he was “interested in the idea of making your own power and the environmental impact.”

The program is the brainchild of Brandon Dennison and Dan Conant, two West Virginians who wanted to help develop a sustainable economy in the state. Mr. Dennison, 31, started Coalfield Development in 2010; it grew out of a volunteer effort to build low-income green housing. Mr. Conant, 32, had worked on political campaigns, including Barack Obama’s first presidential contest. After becoming involved in the solar industry, he concluded that rooftop solar development, with its individual, decentralized nature, could combine the door-to-door approach of political campaigning with a technology to fight climate change.

He completed the first Solar Holler project — putting panels on the Presbyterian church in his hometown, Shepherdstown, on the Potomac River — and, quickly overwhelmed with demand for similar installations, realized the state didn’t have a work force to handle it. So he formed a partnership with Mr. Dennison’s organization to develop one. At Coalfield’s facility here, participants learn how the arrays create electricity and connect to the power system, but they also get practice installing panels on a shed behind the main building. That helps them clear one of the basic industry hurdles: becoming comfortable working on a roof.

A View Most Never See

SHAWMUT, Mont. — If a big worry for would-be solar installers is staying balanced while ferrying heavy glass-sheathed panels around a roof, for potential wind energy technicians it is whether they can climb more than 200 feet in broiling heat or icy cold and emerge into the gusts to fix machinery. Still, the Goldwind technicians say working so high up is one of the job’s best features.

“You get a view that most people will never see,” as Lukas Nelson, 27, a site manager in Ohio, put it in one of the company’s promotional videos. Only a few towers have elevators, and at Goldwind’s power plant here, the access is by a series of 90-degree aluminum ladders and steel mesh platforms, straight to the top.

It was Saturday morning after the three seminars, and Goldwind safety managers had delivered a brief lecture in a trailer that served as the farm office, warning of perils like rattlesnakes in the tall grasses outside and electrocution from throwing switches in the towers.

The organizers separated the crowd of about 20 into two groups. One would take a tour of the wind farm and substation while the other climbed towers whose blades sat idle. After lunch, they would switch.

In front of the trailer, Chancey Coffelt, 33, Goldwind’s regional safety manager, was showing the climbing group how to put on harnesses — a network of heavy metal clips and rings attached to straps that thread over the shoulders, across the chest and around each thigh. They would latch onto a rope pulley system as they climbed each of four ladders and then hook into a bracket as they reached each platform before freeing themselves from the pulley.

Mr. Davila, the 20-year mine veteran, was standing with members of the second group, chatting about Wyoming’s wobbly energy economy and how wind might — and might not — steady it. “A lot of coal miners don’t like wind or solar, but you need them all,” Mr. Davila said. “It’s like a puzzle you have to solve: just think about how many things we plug in.”

Still, many of the men expressed concern over what the jobs would pay, saying the salaries paled in comparison to what they could earn on an oil rig, for instance.

“It’s so easy to get a six-figure job in the oil industry,” Jesse Morgan, a baby-faced 31-year-old city councilman and back-office worker at a drilling services company, had said over beers at a bar in Casper where he was asked to show ID. “You get addicted to that money.”

But it could be worth taking a pay cut to get out from under the stress of constantly planning for the next layoff, and being able to return home at night rather than working 30- to 40-day stints offshore. The oil field never stops, Mr. Morgan said of his time on the rigs. “It’s 24/7 — you miss birthdays, every holiday.”

As with the other men, Mr. Morgan’s work experience made him an attractive candidate for Goldwind. Accustomed to the industrial behemoths of fossil fuel production, he is familiar with the environment, equipment and procedures of working safely while surrounded by danger — like remembering to fasten the chin strap on a hard hat so it won’t slip off and injure a colleague laboring hundreds of feet below.

Chelsae Clemons, 26, a technician at a Goldwind plant in Findlay, Ohio, said the emphasis on safety and training was part of the program’s value. Among the few staff members at the seminars with a bachelor’s degree, she had worked in a lab at a hospital and had little relevant experience when she decided to pursue a career in renewable energy. In Gillette, she told the crowd, “They’re giving certifications I had to pay for.”

‘This Is Bee Paradise’

HINTON, W.Va. — “Solar’s not going to be everything, and one of the big challenges for the state is how do we diversify and get lots of cool stuff going,” Mr. Conant, the Solar Holler founder, was saying as he drove from a solar installation at a hilltop farmhouse toward a 1940s summer camp that the local coal company provided for the children of its employees until 1984. “When you’ve been a one-industry town for a really long time, that’s an issue. The last thing we would want to do is pin our hopes on doing that again, just with some other technology.”

After winding down a road canopied by emerald-green trees, he passed the opening of the Great Bend Tunnel, during whose construction in the 1870s, as one legend tells it, the African-American folk hero John Henry beat a steam drill in opening a hole in the rock, only to die from his efforts. Minutes later, Mr. Conant came to Camp Lightfoot, which a nonprofit organization, Appalachian Headwaters, is turning into an apiary with an eye toward helping displaced coal workers and military veterans get into the honey business. Early next year, Mr. Conant plans to install solar panels on an old gymnasium, which now holds racks of wood frames for the hives.

Deborah Delaney, an assistant professor of entomology and wildlife ecology who oversees the apiary and bee program at the University of Delaware, said the area was well suited for a honey enterprise. It is largely forest, unsullied by the pesticides that threaten the insects in industrial farm areas, and it has plant species like black locust and sourwood whose honey can fetch a high price.

“This is bee paradise,” she said, sitting on the porch of the cafeteria building where a Patriot Coal banner hung askew on one wall. For now, Ms. Delaney and the program’s staff are getting the colony established on a hillside in 86 hives that buzz away behind electrified wire fencing to protect them from bears. Next spring, they plan to distribute about 150 hives to 35 beekeepers either free or through a low- or no-interest loan. Come harvest time, the beekeepers would bring their honey-laden frames to the camp for extraction and processing; organizers would pay them for their yield and then sell the honey to support the program.

“For some people it might be a side hustle, but for other people it could really turn into, over time, a true income that could sustain a family,” said Kate Asquith, program director at Appalachian Headwaters.

Economists say this kind of diversification is important, especially in a region where coal is unlikely to make a major comeback, even if Trump administration policies are able to foster a revival elsewhere. Demand is strongest for the low-sulfur coal from the Powder River Basin straddling Wyoming and Montana, rather than what Appalachia produces. The new-energy industries cannot replicate what coal once did, economists say. Long-term jobs at the Wyoming wind farm would number in the hundreds at best, while the solar program thus far trains only 10 workers each year.

Even a coal boom wouldn’t create jobs the way it used to: like the steam drill that ultimately took John Henry’s place, new equipment and technologies have replaced workers in heavy industries. Production of coal, for instance, increased over all from the 1920s until 2010, while the number of jobs dropped to 110,000 from 870,000.

So interest in the bees has been high here. “Thought it was weird at first — bugs in a box in the backyard,” said Sean Phelps, 27, who left a secure job as a school janitor to work with the bee program. Exposure to his father-in-law’s hives changed his perspective. Now he sees them as a way to help the area, as well as fun. “This is what I want to do,” he said. “Whenever you’re out in them, it reduces a lot of stress.”

Interrupted by a Storm

SHAWMUT, Mont. — It was after lunch, and Mr. Davila and Mr. Morgan were at the base of one of the wind towers, wearing heavy harnesses and waiting for the first group to finish so they could start the climb. Suddenly, Jason Willbanks, 39, who lost a job as an electrician with a coal company and now drives crews to and from their shifts on coal trains, emerged from within. Walking heavily into the blazing sunlight, he clattered onto the metal platform and stairs. Asked how he was, he shot back: “Sweating like a fat guy at an all-day dance.”

As he pulled off the harness, dropped to his knees in a patch of shade on the grass and rolled onto his back, Mr. Davila offered him a bottle of water from a cooler. “You’ve earned it,” he said.

Not long after, word came from the Goldwind crew: A thunderstorm was heading toward the farm, so the second group could not climb.

“I feel like I’m all dressed up with nowhere to go,” Mr. Davila said, disappointed, gesturing toward the harness. “ I wanted to see if I could get up.”

“You’ve just witnessed what it’s like to be a wind-turbine technician,” Mr. Coffelt, the safety manager, said, cocking an ear over one shoulder and suggesting that the group move away from the rattlesnake he had heard. “Imagine if you’re one or two stacks up when you get that alert: right back down we come.” After weighing options, the Goldwind organizers called it a day, offering repeated apologies and promises to get the men back to the site which, over the following months, they did.

Mr. Morgan, who posted a beaming selfie from atop the turbine on Facebook, did not apply for the training program. But Mr. Davila did, and was accepted.

He is torn over whether to enroll, he said. He is desperate for the work but hesitant to leave his wife and home in Gillette, where he has lived since he was 6, for one of the jobs immediately available outside the state. Still, he added with a chuckle, it might be good to move: “Maybe there’s more to the world than Gillette.”

Mars counters Trump’s climate stance with $1bn sustainability plan

The organization backlash keeps growing against Jesse Trump’s withdrawal in the Paris climate accord, with Mars launching a $1bn sustainability plan as well as an M&M’s campaign centred on alternative energy.

It’s the latest climate move through the family owned firm, which become a vocal critic of america president’s decision to drag from the 2015 climate pact, saying it had been “disappointed” using the withdrawal and stressing that corporations couldn’t do it yourself if this found tackling global warming.

Mars has become moving out a $1bn (£771m) investment to assist cut green house gas emissions across its value chain by 67% by 2050, operate a poverty reduction and sustainability programme for maqui berry farmers and suppliers, and increase food security and safety efforts.

Leader Grant F Reid stated: “This plan’s about not only doing better, but doing what’s necessary. We’re carrying this out because it’s the best factor to complete but additionally because it’s good business.

“We have a much an aggressive advantage from the more resource-efficient logistics, and from making certain that everybody within our logistics does well.”

The Peanut, Twix, Milky Way and Skittles maker has additionally revealed intends to champion alternative energy through its M&M’s brand, featuring pictures of items like wind generators alongside its red and yellow chocolate figures.

Its sustainability investments and M&M’s campaign were announced in front of the United nations general set up and climate week that will run from 18 to 24 September in New You are able to.

Reid stated: “If we’re to assist deliver around the targets agreed in Paris and also the United nations sustainable development goals, there needs to be an enormous step change.

“While a lot of companies happen to be focusing on being more sustainable, the present degree of progress is nowhere close enough.Inches

The Paris agreement aims to avoid our planet from warming up by 2C since the beginning of the commercial age.

Since the earth has already warmed about 1.1C because the Industrial Revolution, the accord targeted at ensuring the brink wasn’t breached with every nation curbing heat-trapping emissions.

Basically a really few scientists say warming is because of human activity.

The main executive added: “Mars has been around business for four generations and promises to be for the following four generations.

“The best way which will happen is that if we all do things differently to make sure that the earth is good and all sorts of individuals our extended supply chains possess the chance to thrive.”

Exxon deliberately fooled public on climate science, say researchers

ExxonMobil has knowingly fooled the general public for many years concerning the danger global warming poses to some warming world and also the oil giant’s lengthy-term viability, based on a peer-reviewed study.

An analysis of nearly 200 documents spanning decades discovered that four-fifths of research and internal memos acknowledged climatic change was real and brought on by humans.

on whether the organization fooled investors about how it makes up about global warming risk.

The brand new study was printed on Wednesday within the journal Ecological Research Letters.

Earlier reporting by InsideClimate News unearthed the interior documents and found very similar conclusion.

In reaction, the organization – the biggest oil producer within the U . s . States, with revenue of $218bn this past year – denied getting brought a four-decade disinformation campaign.

Exxon spokesman Scott Silvestri known as the most recent study “inaccurate and preposterous” and stated the researchers’ goal ended up being to attack their status at the fee for its shareholders.

“Our statements happen to be in line with our knowledge of climate science,” he stated.

The organization also criticised journalists for getting allegedly “cherry-picked” data in a manner that unfairly put the organization inside a bad light, however the new study pressed back with that claim.

“We checked out the entire cherry tree,” Geoffrey Supran, a investigator at Harvard College and co-author from the study, told AFP.

“Using social science methods, we found a gaping, systematic discrepancy between what Exxon stated about global warming privately and academic circles, and what’s stated towards the public.”

As soon as 1979, when global warming barely registered being an problem for the general public, Exxon was sounding internal alarms.

“The most broadly held theory is the fact that… the rise in atmospheric CO2 is a result of fossil fuel combustion,” an interior memo from that year read.

A peer-reviewed study by Exxon scientists 17 years later figured that “the body of evidence… now points perfectly into a recognizable human affect on global climate”.

Simultaneously, however, the organization was spending millions of dollars to put editorials within the New You are able to Occasions along with other influential newspapers that delivered a really different message.

“Let’s face the facts: The science of global warming is simply too uncertain to mandate an action plan that may plunge economies into turmoil,” Exxon stated in 1997, because the Bill Clinton administration faced overwhelming opposition in Congress to all of us ratification from the Kyoto Protocol.

Natasha Lamb, managing partner of investment management firm Arjuna Capital, stated the brand new analysis could bolster the lawsuits accusing ExxonMobil of deliberately downplaying global warming risks.

“The Harvard studies have shown systemic bias in sowing public doubt, while acknowledging the potential risks independently,” she stated after reviewing the study’s primary findings. “That is in the centre from the investigations.”

Lamb’s firm filed the very first shareholder proposal in 2013 asking ExxonMobil to evaluate whether imposing a 2C limit on warming would lead to the organization the inability to exploit its reserves.

Individuals efforts were swatted lower, but 4 years later a decisive 62% of shareholders known as on ExxonMobil, inside a non-binding election last May, to detail how global warming will affect its future.

In three other lawsuits, seaside communities in California are suing 37 oil, gas and coal companies, including ExxonMobil.

Marin and San Mateo counties, combined with the town of Imperial Beach, assert these fossil fuel purveyors understood their product would cause ocean level rise and seaside flooding but required no action to tell the general public or curtail their carbon emissions.

The brand new study “confirms a few of the central tenets in our cases,” stated Vic Sher, a senior partner at Sher Edling along with a lawyer within the situation.

“We will prove that Exxon and also the fossil fuel industry understood for many years that green house gas pollution would situation warming from the air and oceans, ocean level rise, along with other effects,” he told AFP.

“The industry involved in deceptiveness and denial while strongly marketing and making enormous profits.”