UK pension fund figures sign climate impact pledge

first_img“But to see the roomful of pension scheme CIOs, trustees and managers spontaneously agreeing to take radical, decisive action now was incredible. I cannot remember being a part of a discussion like it.” Senior figures at large UK pension schemes have signed a climate change “charter”, seeking to address a sense among trustees that not enough is being done to fight climate change.Signatories pledged to recommend to their boards that every investment be scrutinised for its impact on the climate and to insist that their asset managers engage with companies about having a clear plan to move to a low-carbon future. The charter was created at a recent event held by pensions industry forum Mallowstreet, and committed individuals to action, rather than pension funds or trustee boards.Co-founder of Mallowstreet Dawid Konotey-Ahulu, who hosted the event at which the charter was created, said: “We had a chance to halt climate change 30 years ago, but we missed the opportunity, and now we are out of time. “I think the time has come for asset owners to focus on this as a core part of their investment decision making”Paul TrickettAccording to Mallowstreet, the charter has so far been signed by three senior individuals working for UK pension funds: Paul Trickett, who chairs the trustee board for Santander UK’s £11.5bn (€13.3bn) scheme, as well as working as a trustee for the Railways Pension Scheme and the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme; Mark Tennant, chairman of the £8bn Centrica Common Investment Fund; and Rosie Lacey, group pensions manager of the £970m De La Rue Pension Scheme.Tennant said: “The problem we have with climate change is that everyone talks about it and everyone is deeply concerned, but very little is being done.”“We hold assets for future generations,” he added. “For them climate change matters. The younger generation requires us to look at the carbon footprint and the social impact of the investments we make on their behalf.”Trickett said: “I think the time has come for asset owners to focus on this as a core part of their investment decision making. I don’t know exactly how urgent it is, but I would prefer not to wait any longer.“The industry is focused on achieving its obligations to members. Establishing climate change as an issue to be considered as part of that is going to take time but if asset owners press for this it will happen more quickly.”The charter, which can be signed here, reads as follows:We, the undersigned, agree with the UK government that there is a climate emergency. We also know that current actions and responses are insufficient to avoid catastrophic damage to our planet. This climate emergency will have a material financial impact on every pension fund and all our futures.As chairs, investment committee members, pension managers and trustees, we pledge to recommend to our boards and investment committees:To ask “What is the impact on the climate?” for each and every investment that is made.To demand that the carbon impact of every investment is measured and reported on by our managers. We will work actively and collaboratively to develop complete carbon measurement standards.To insist that each of our investment managers actively engage with corporate boards underlying our investments so that every company develops and discloses both a complete measure of their carbon impact as well as a clear business plan to transition to a low carbon future. To review, and ultimately will recommend the termination of, any investment manager that fails to support and actively engage in stewarding the transition to a low-carbon future.last_img read more

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Content First… Martyn Hannah launches new agency ghostfoundry

first_imgShare Submit Former EGR North America Editor Martyn Hannah has announced the launch of new industry-focused content marketing agency ghostfoundry (ghostfoundry.com)The Leeds-based agency seeks to deliver effective marketing solutions for all industry stakeholders helping promote their services, products and operations through optimised content.  Initial ghostfoundry services will include blog post creation, press releases, thought leadership articles and general copywriting. Furthermore, ghostfoundry will offer clients link-building capabilities alongside digital PR outreach through content distribution.Commenting on the agency launch Martyn Hannah, Director of ghostfoundry, said: “Given the increasing scrutiny operators and suppliers find themselves under for the ways in which they market to players, content marketing should be front of mind as it provides the perfect solution to the problem.“Properly executed content marketing strategies allow businesses to build genuine, long-term relationships with their target audience. Through authentic, high-value content it is possible to engage consumers/customers, build affinity with your brand/business, and foster incredible loyalty.“We look forward to working with online gambling businesses to help them unlock the true power of content marketing.” Share StumbleUponlast_img read more

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Tiny House Advocate Speaks at Olympia Timberland Library

first_imgFacebook0Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by the Timberland Regional LibraryOlympia resident Dee Williams hand-crafted her beautiful 84 square foot house and wrote a book about the experience, “The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself-Memoir.” She will speak at the Olympia Timberland Library on Thursday, July 31 from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m.In building her tiny home, Williams discovered that the important stuff in life isn’t stuff.“Admitting that I’m “happy enough” makes me wonder if I’m falling short of my potential as a middle-class American,” Williams writes on her website. “But the facts are the facts,” she continues, “I found a certain bigness in my little house – a sense of largeness, freedom, and happiness that comes when you see there’s no place else you’d rather be.”Jim Lynch, author of “The Highest Tide,” writes: “The Big Tiny” is irresistible. Dee Williams is as much fun on the page as she is in person. Comic, silly, and soulful, she takes us on her journey to simplify her life and along the way tunes in to our own inner desire to pare down to our nearly naked selves.”Williams founded Portland Alternative Dwellings (PAD) to help others find a way to make their housing serve their lives. She has been featured in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Yahoo.com, National Public Radio, CBS This Morning and more.Attendees may bring their own copies of the book to be signed. Books will also be available for purchase. Learn more about Dee and the tiny house movement at www.padtinyhouses.com.This program will take place after regular library hours and no other services will be available.The Olympia Timberland Library is located at 313 8th Ave.SE.  For more information contact the library at (360) 352-0595 or visit www.TRL.orglast_img read more

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Kids Learn Tips On Rip Currents, Sharks

first_img“They’re a little scary, but if you know more about them, you can be respectful, not fearful,” said Williams, a post-doctoral coastal ecologist at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken.In a shark encounter, do not splash because the shark could take it for prey, such as a seal, Williams said.Teresa Sperber, a member of the board of the Library Association, which does fundraising and programming for the library, said she arranged Williams’ talk because she was familiar with Sea Grant after two of her children – Paul, 12, and Cecilia, 8 – attended camp at Sea Grant this summer. “I thought it was very informative,” Sperber said. “I think the kids learned a lot in a fun style,” Sperber said. About 20 children and five adults attended.Williams conducts two other programs for the community, a for-adults version of the one presented at the library and another on dune management, also for adults. Williams can be reached through Sea Grant, 732-872-1300, or at [email protected] Story and photos by Joseph SapiaRUMSON – With swimmer Michael Phelps racking up gold medals for Team USA in the Summer Olympics, it may be interesting to know he is much slower than a common Jersey Shore visitor.Rip currents can move “two times as fast as an Olympic swimmer,” said Amy Williams, a coastal ecology extension agent for the Sandy Hook-based New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium.That was one of the facts presented in “Ocean Hazards: Sharks and Rip Currents,” a children-oriented talk Williams did at the Oceanic Free Library, here, on Wednesday, Aug. 10.A rip current is “a current of water that rips you away from the shore,” Williams said. When waves come in, the water has to go back out – the channeling of that outgoing water in one location is a rip current.Aside from avoiding panic and swimming parallel to the shore, try to get a lifeguard’s attention if swimming in a rip current, Williams said. “Rip currents take you out to sea, but they stay on the surface,” she said. “They don’t go out very far.”Mary Catherine O’Connor, 9, who lives in the borough, said she came away with new knowledge. “I learned sharks don’t mean to attack you and a lot about rip currents and how to be safe in them.” Her sister, Eleanor, 11, said she learned that to get out of a rip current: swim parallel to the shore to escape the narrow funneling of water.Margot O’Connor of Rumson holds her daughter, Claire, 6, while attending a talk at the Oceanic Free Library, Rumson. O’Connor is vice president of the library association.The children also learned that a swimmer is safer if using a flotation device, and panic is a main reason people get in trouble in rip currents.Williams talked about shark attacks.In 2015, for example, there were 96 reported shark attacks worldwide, with only six deaths from these, Williams said. Of the 300 to 400 species of sharks, only three – great white, bull and tiger – are known to attack humans, she said.last_img read more

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BACK IN THE SADDLE

first_imgBACK IN THE SADDLE–Jockey Flavien Prat gets his first win since being seriously injured Sept. 17, as he guided Belvoir Bay to an emphatic 7 ¼ length win in Sunday’s $75,000 Blue Norther Stakes at Santa Anita. A French native, Prat, 23, returned to riding on Saturday following multiple spinal fractures and a collapsed lung.last_img

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Environment scheme omission denying farmers ‘increased profitability’ – McConalogue

first_imgThe Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) must be reopened for farmers who have their Agri-Environment Options Scheme (AEOS) contracts end in 2018.Those are the calls of Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue on Friday, who said that farmers were being denied ‘increased profitability’ by being omitted from the scheme.Deputy McConalogue explained: “GLAS must be immediately reopened to farmers whose AEOS contracts finished in 2018. “These farmers are being deprived of the opportunity to join the latest agri-environmental scheme GLAS. This is indefensible and denying them increased portability levels, while carrying out additional actions that are conducive with the protection of the environment and climate change mitigation.“It must also be remembered that in 2015, Government said once the scheme was fully opened with 50,000 farmers it would require funding of €250 million per annum.“The government have missed this financial commitment on the scheme in each year over the 2016-2018 period as evidenced in latest PQs, so the finances are there to reopen the scheme.“Secondly, there actually has been a €62 million underspend in the scheme, as of December 2018, so further unused monies are available. “The government must ensure the scheme is immediately opened for these farmers and reopen GLAS,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.Environment scheme omission denying farmers ‘increased profitability’ – McConalogue was last modified: April 12th, 2019 by Shaun KeenanShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:CHARLIE MCCCONLOGUEDonegal Farmingfarminglast_img read more

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African scientists make headway in grasping persistent TB bacteria

first_imgWith more than one million people being diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis each year, it has become difficult to fight the disease. But Africa’s scientists are making progress by targeting bacteria using techniques that have never been applied to TB research. Researchers from Stellenbosch University are getting closer to understanding why some bacteria are drug-resistant. (Image: The Conversation)Jomien Mouton and Samantha Sampson• Rural Southern African doctors go the extra mile• HIV/Aids in South Africa• Local researchers honoured at their ‘Oscars’• Health hero on a mission to fight TB• Global Aids conference in South Africa The arrival of drug-resistant tuberculosis has significantly complicated global efforts to decrease the scourge of the disease.Each year more than nine million people are infected with TB and another 1.5 million die. But the latest figures show that at least 20% of people diagnosed with the disease have “multiple-drug-resistant” TB. And about 9.7% of these also have “extensively-drug-resistant TB”.TB is caused by bacteria that attack the lungs. Most TB treatments target bacteria that actively grow in the body. But a very important subset of bacteria is able to survive treatment. These are known as persistent bacteria.Though these persistent bacteria only represent a very small proportion of the bacteria that causes TB, failing to get rid of them can have devastating consequences. They are responsible for lengthy drug treatment, and could contribute to drug resistance. They therefore should also be the target of TB therapies.The challenge with these persistent bacteria is that they are very difficult to isolate. This makes it difficult to study them and therefore difficult to develop drugs to kill them.As a team of scientists at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, together with colleagues at Imperial College London, we found a new way to identify, isolate and target persistent bacteria. Our technique, which has never before been applied in TB research, will help scientists understand why some bacteria respond to treatment and others become resistant.How this bacteria worksPersistent bacteria plays a particularly important role in latent TB – when bacteria that can cause TB hibernate in the body. Someone with latent TB will not have any clinical symptoms and will therefore not know that he or she has the disease. Latent TB can survive in the body for decades and only flare up when someone’s immune system is compromised.Latent TB can therefore progress to full-blown disease in people who have compromised immune systems. These are often people who have HIV/AIDS, suffer from malnutrition, are ageing or have a substance-abuse problem. About one-third of the world’s population carries latent TB.Conventional thinking has held that persistent bacteria are also present in people who have latent TB. These bacteria are thought to either stop growing or are slowly growing, although they still survive in the body.But emerging research has started to question this assumption on two fronts:     Some research shows that proportions of the bacteria continue to grow while others die.     Other research argues that the bacteria do not grow.Understanding the bacteria present in latent TB is important to choose the best TB treatments. This is especially important because of the difficulties associated with treating persistent bacteria that can survive treatment.For this reason our research is focused on finding ways to study and target persistent bacteria. We used specific bacteria-associated labels and sophisticated laser-based methods to identify and isolate these bacteria.A new method to study persistent bacteriaThe technique, known as fluorescence dilution, uses two fluorescent proteins to label the bacteria. One protein tracks live bacteria and the other measures its growth. It is applied to identify and isolate individual bacteria to study it.The technique can best be described as using “micro-tweezers” to physically pick out the slow-growing bacteria from the rest. This enables us to find the hard-to-identify persistent bacteria.We were able to do this by applying the same approach that’s been used to isolate the bacteria that causes food poisoning, Salmonella. This involves subjecting the bacteria to conditions that come closest to those found in the body as opposed to conditions in the laboratory.Using this technique, we found that when bacteria entered a specific type of white blood cell, a population of non- or slowly-growing persistent bacteria appeared. White blood cells play a critical role in defending the body against invading bacteria. In the laboratory we use them to mimic the environment found in the body.This finding is important because it shows that the numbers of persistent bacteria increase by being inside white blood cells. This means that the host’s own defences can help the bacteria to survive TB treatment.Hope for the futureThese are only the first steps, but this technique offers unique opportunities to deepen scientists’ understanding of why and how the body’s response to TB treatment results in drug resistance.We can now, for example, begin to study what drives bacteria into a latent state. Once we understand this better it will be possible to begin designing drugs that better manage latent TB. Importantly, this could help decrease the amount of time it takes to treat TB as well as minimise drug resistance.Jomien Mouton is a postdoctoral research fellow in the MRC Centre for Tuberculosis Research, Stellenbosch University and Samantha Sampson is associate professor of SARChI Research Chair in Mycobactomics at Stellenbosch University. This article was originally published in The Conversation. Read the original article.last_img read more

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Opportunities for more exports strong in China and other emerging economies

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A conversation with…Mark Lyons, Global Vice President and head of greater China for Alltech who spoke at the recent National Institute for Animal Agriculture meeting in Columbus.OCJ: What are some things you want farmers to know about what their consumers in China are looking for?Mark: I would say that the first thing is that it is a market that is developing quickly, food tastes change a lot and at the same time there is a perception that American products are high quality. There is a desire for those products. I think a lot of us were quite skeptical and nervous when there was a Smithfield acquisition and what we have seen from that is that they have put out all the branding. It says Smithfield and there’s an American flag there, they really use that as a way to sell a premium product. We’ve seen over the last few years, more than a doubling of pork imports from the U.S to China. I think that same type of model can be followed with other commodities. We can find U.S. beef in China, it’s probably coming from Hong Kong, but that market is also a huge potential, as is poultry. I think if we can resolve a few of the political issues maybe that could open up an opportunity we hope. Agriculture is probably more politically sensitive to China than it is in the U.S. right now, at least with these two administrations. I think the other piece that’s kind of a funny thing, one of the chefs in Beijing right now is actually from Cleveland, Ohio and works in one of the 5-star hotels and is one of the top three chefs in Beijing. There are other opportunities and there are people like that talking about high-quality food that he can get back home and trying to bring more of that in. OCJ: Those consumer-to-producer relationships are going to be really important no matter what the administrations are talking about. An economist here in Ohio said that one of the bigger threats to U.S agriculture is Donald Trump’s Twitter account out of concern that it could make the folks in China upset and they could reduce of eliminate U.S. agricultural imports. How legitimate of a concern is that?Mark: I think the comments around very sensitive areas are a concern. The way that China approaches these things is all very smooth on the surface and they have the tougher talks one-on-one in private and I think that conversation can be very devastating. I think they have a pretty sophisticated understanding of how our political system works and I think they also understand that in a way, you have a president or an individual who is sometimes speaking on behalf of his country and sometimes speaking on his own. The overall sense that I have gotten is that in the beginning it was a much greater concern, but in the last few months it’s been more about maybe this is something we can work with type of thing for China. I think whether it’s the North Korea stuff or other more pretentious issues, it’s probably not very helpful, but at the same time I think they are well prepared. Probably the biggest concern is how prepared are we and how do those things work out. In general, I think in agriculture we have the chance to have a very ag-focused ambassador. Governor Brandstad from Iowa as ambassador from the U.S to China is very positive. He is very good in his actions and he understands agriculture so that’s something that could work out. I think we can remain positive. OCJ: You also talked about having the right mindset going into this and looking at opportunities not just in China but other countries in the region. What are some bright opportunities you are seeing out in that region in the world that we need to be thinking about?Mark: One that I think will surprise people is Vietnam. The image of Americans in Vietnam is so positive and that’s found as so weird to us. That is a place that’s really blossoming with over 20% growth in feed production in Vietnam right now. There’s tremendous development in that market and I think that’s something to think about. There’s a lot of other markets that are coming in that might be even more interesting to people. Mongolia can be a very interesting place to go if you wanted to raise a grass-fed beef type of product or feedlot finished or put some sort of hybrid system together. You are looking at these big green grasslands and a very interesting terrain and story. There are so many different markets and then you have your higher end markets like Korea and Japan that are consistently looking for quality and I think engaging in those markets and finding new quality attributes that they like and being able to meet those is a huge value added position. There’s an incredible number of different types of markets and I think it’s a matter of going there, learning about them and looking at which ones fit your production systems and what you are interested in.last_img read more

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Can Wood Replace Concrete and Steel in Skyscrapers?

first_imgD.R. Johnson, a family-owned timber company in southern Oregon, has become the country’s first producer of cross-laminated timber (CLT) certified for structural applications.According to an announcement from Oregon BEST, a non-profit that promotes clean technology, D.R. Johnson is now making panels 24 feet long that will be used at four construction projects around the state, including Western Oregon University and the Albina Yard office complex in northwest Portland.Oregon BEST last year gave $150,000 toward research on this emerging technology at Oregon State University, and to help develop a production line at the D.R. Johnson mill. In addition, Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, is lending the mill $100,000 to offset the costs of ramping up production.The company makes the panels in a press designed by USNR, a Woodland, Washington, firm, and built by D.R. Johnson employees in the mill’s fabrication shop (see Image #3, below).D.R. Johnson manufactures panels with Douglas fir, harvested primarily in Oregon, and a melamine glue from Akzo Nobel called Greenguard Gold. The maximum panel size is currently 10 feet by 24 feet, with a maximum thickness of 9 5/8 inches. The company plans to install new equipment that would extend the press early next year. Wood as an alternative to concreteThe announcement comes at a time of increased interest in replacing concrete and steel, the conventional building blocks of modern commercial buildings, with timber. Promoters of timber construction, already successful in Europe and Australia, say that timber panels produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, can shorten construction schedules, and may even be cheaper than conventional concrete-and-steel buildings.CLT buildings of nine and ten stories have been constructed elsewhere, but the technique is very new in the U.S.Hines Interests LP, a real estate company based in Houston, announced in July that it had broken ground on a seven-story, all-timber office building in Minneapolis. The 220,000-square-foot building — called T3 for its emphasis on timber, transit and technology — is being built on spec and without any tenants lined up in advance, The Star Tribune said in an article.Michael Green Architecture, experts in heavy timber construction, was hired for the project. T3 is expected to be complete in about a year and will be the tallest modern all-timber building in the country. In a TED talk in 2013, Green discussed his affinity for wood construction, and said it would prove critical in building structures that do not contribute to climate change. Steel and concrete, he said, together produce 8% of the planet’s total greenhouse gas emissions, while timber construction sequesters carbon dioxide. Wide-scale adoption of wood-panel construction would not contribute to deforestation, he said, and timber buildings are not fire hazards.Wood also has a tactile quality that steel and concrete do not, Green said. He said he’s never seen anyone hug a steel or concrete building component, while people walking into buildings made from wood actually have.Green thinks buildings of up to 30 stories can be made with “mass timber panels,” although construction of wood skyscrapers is now limited by “arbitrary” restrictions. He said that he looks forward to an “Eiffel Tower moment” of innovation that would clear the way for more timber construction.“We’re at the beginning of a revolution, I hope, in the way we build, because this is the first new way to build a skyscraper in probably 100 years or more,” he said. “But the challenge is changing society’s perception of possibility and it’s a huge challenge. The engineering is truthfully the easy part.” A blend of wood, concrete, and steelAccording to a report posted at ConstructionDive, the foundation of T3 will be concrete to meet local building codes, and a steel frame will make connections between wood components. But the building’s core and floor plates will be made from engineered wood panels. Likewise, structural columns will be made from engineered wood.Many of the pieces can be built off-site and assembled quickly once they’re trucked in, making for faster construction schedules.Melbourne, Australia, claims the world’s tallest timber structure, a 10-story apartment complex which took 10 weeks to build and was completed three years ago. In London, a nine-story building whose floors, ceilings, elevator shafts and stairwells all are made from wood, was opened in 2009. Popular Science reports that Swedish authorities have approved plans for a 34-story wood tower in Stockholm while a Chicago architectural firm has published a feasibility study for a 42-story tower made mostly of CLT.last_img read more

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