Michigan Utilities Agree to 25 Percent Renewables Goal

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Detroit News:A ballot committee seeking to boost Michigan’s renewable energy mandate is ending a statewide petition drive after reaching an agreement with utility giants DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. The state’s two largest utilities announced Friday they are targeting a “50 percent clean energy goal” by 2030, including investments to ensure that 25 percent of the electricity they sell comes from renewable sources by that time, along with energy efficiency programs.Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer of California was funding a Michigan petition drive for a potential ballot initiative that would have required at least 30 percent of a provider’s electricity sales come from renewables by 2030. But the Clean Energy, Healthy Michigan committee said Friday it will not submit the more than 350,000 signatures it had collected to put the proposal before voters.The agreement between the ballot committee, DTE and Consumers “is a win for the people of Michigan,” Steyer said in a statement.“ Michigan has become a national example of how consumers, public interest advocates and energy companies can work together to find real solutions to combat climate change.”The new DTE and Consumers goal to sell 25 percent renewables by 2030 builds on a 2016 law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder that requires an electric provider’s portfolio to include at least 15 percent renewables by 2021. The state first adopted a 10 percent standard by 2015 under former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.Both companies have already announced plans to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent—by 2040 for Consumers and by 2050 for DTE—as they continue to move away from coal.More: DTE, Consumers Boost Renewable Energy Goals Michigan Utilities Agree to 25 Percent Renewables Goallast_img read more

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Bankers turning toward green lending as climate risks rise

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Some of Europe’s largest banks are unveiling plans to lend and manage money in greener ways as pressure mounts to account for risks associated with climate change.“It is coming, it’s a trend that’s started,” said Louis Douady, head of corporate social responsibility at Natixis SA in Paris. “The intention is to adapt our balance sheet to climate transition, so clearly we want to have a change in our business mix.”Financial institutions are beginning to get on board with the global fight against climate change, a movement that was until recently the territory of non-profit organizations and environmentalists. Natixis, UBS Group AG and ING Groep NV are among lenders unveiling large-scale environmental finance and investing initiatives as central banks and regulators step up their warnings on climate risk.Natixis is working on a new color-coded indicator that will be applied to about 60 percent of its activities to encourage more climate-friendly business. The system, due to start by year-end, uses shades of green, brown or neutral to reflect a transaction’s risk weighting on the bank’s balance sheet. The greener the project, the lighter the risk.UBS recently introduced a sustainable investing strategy to its wealth management arm in Switzerland, the U.K. and the Asia Pacific region that has amassed more than 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) from investors in the first six months of the year.“Demand for sustainable and impact investing has undeniably been on the rise in recent years,” said James Purcell, head of alternative and sustainable investments at UBS. “The game changer has been the realization that this investment strategy does not mean sacrificing returns.”More: Banks Pivot Toward Greener Finance in Climate Action Push Bankers turning toward green lending as climate risks riselast_img read more

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Opinion: South Africa’s coal-heavy draft IRP is misguided

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Business Day:The minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, published a draft of [South Africa’s] long-awaited new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the power sector last week. Most observers are relieved that the draft does not include expensive nuclear power being forced into a “policy adjusted” plan with potentially disastrous financial and other consequences for SA, as was standard with the drafts produced during the Zuma years.While we should indeed be relieved that some sanity has prevailed in the process, this is not the benchmark against which the IRP should be measured. The test is how it fares in meeting the enormous challenges we face in the electricity sector today.The sector is bankrupt. Long delays and cost overruns in Eskom’s coal-fired power station build programme have resulted in big price increases, consequent reductions in demand and ultimately in Eskom’s liquidity and funding crisis.And, in a perfect storm, the sector is experiencing a fundamental technological disruption, with lower cost and smaller-scale renewable energy and related technologies that are already eating into Eskom’s market share. Many experts now agree that Eskom’s coal-based business model is not viable and will require large bailouts into the future.The draft plan, however, does not burden the reader with these unpleasant realities, which, if recognised, would have resulted in a different outcome. It assumes a continued coal power station build programme and the operation of the older coal stations for the remainder of their full 50-year lives. The result is that the plan has to assume Eskom will be able to recover these soaring costs by raising tariffs a further 39% in real terms by 2021.These numbers simply do not stack up. The plan is not viable — something will have to give.More: Energy plan’s drafters are stuck in a coal hole and have just kept digging Opinion: South Africa’s coal-heavy draft IRP is misguidedlast_img read more

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Wood Mackenzie: Offshore wind installations to top 22GW annually by 2028

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:Offshore wind will account for 25% of the world’s installed wind power by 2028, up from 10% at the end of last year, according to analyst Wood Mackenzie.The 160GW of cumulative capacity installed by then would represent a sevenfold increase on the 23.4GW erected by the end of 2018 — largely a result of the ever-reducing cost of the technology.As WoodMac states: “The possibility of offshore wind becoming cheaper than coal, gas and nuclear in most major countries is a question of when rather than if.”A record low strike price of £39.65 ($51.27) per MWh was achieved at a UK Contracts for Difference auction last year, while French asset manager Lazard puts the levelized cost of energy of new coal-fired power plants at $66-152/MWh, and new gas combined-cycle plants at $44-68/MWh.Nevertheless, WoodMac points out that the offshore build-out — which it expects to reach 22.3GW annually by 2028 — could be negatively impacted by a lack of policy frameworks in some countries and “lukewarm returns” due to the ultra-competitive nature of auctions and slim margins.But these potential problems will be countered by the ability of floating wind to unlock new markets and developers starting to pursue subsidy-free merchant projects, it adds.[Leigh Collins]More: Offshore wind ‘will provide 25% of all wind power by 2028’ Wood Mackenzie: Offshore wind installations to top 22GW annually by 2028last_img read more

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Daily Dirt: FY15 budget will protect National Parks, KEEN donates for river clean-ups, and Supreme Court ruling endangers Rails-to-Trails

first_imgBlue Ridge Outdoors’ Daily Dirt brings you a look at some of the most pressing issues of the week from the Blue Ridge and beyond.Supreme Court Ruling Could be a Set Back for Rails-to-TrailsThe Supreme Court ruled 8-1 earlier this week in favor of a private landowner in Wyoming who was fighting to keep bike paths from being built on his public land grants, according to reports.So while the case wasn’t about bike paths specifically, it could set a precedent about whether or not the federal government retains its control over land that had been granted to railroad companies, once abandoned for that purpose. The decision threatens to undermine the hugely popular federal “rails to trails” program making up more than 1,400 bike and nature trails created since its inception in 1983. According to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, the 21 miles of mixed gravel Medicine Bow Rail Trail is “one of the most popular rail-trails in America.”The name of the Wyoming case is Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States. The land in question is situated in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest and the plaintiffs are descendants of an owner of a sawmill that produced railroad ties, granted dozens of acres in 1976 in exchange for turning other acreage over to the government.The Brandts’ lost their case twice in lower courts after the Forest Service attempted to convert a 10-acre length of former railroad track into bike trails that now runs through their property.“The court undermines the legality of thousands of miles of former rights of way that the public now enjoys as means of transportation and recreation,” said Justice Sonia Sotomayor — the lone dissenter. “Lawsuits challenging the conversion of former rails to recreational trails alone may well cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”River Network and KEEN Promote River Clean-UpThis spring KEEN Footwear is partnering with River Network to support 14 river clean-ups across the U.S. through a give-with-purchase program at more than 80 local retailers.KEEN will donate $5 for every pair of KEEN.CNX shoes sold at participating retailers, up to $50,000. Select retailers will host the program for a two-week period from March 1 to April 30. Of those retailers, 24 have made the additional commitment to match KEEN’s $5 donation to support a local non-profit of their choosing in their area.River Network, a non-profit organization which helps to unite different river and watershed restoration and conservation organizations across the U.S., will use the donations to support river 14 clean-ups.River Clean-Up Dates and Locations:3/29/2014 –Houston, TX3/29/2014 – Washington, DC4/5/2014 – Bethesda, MD4/12/2014 – Denver, CO4/12/2014 – Atlanta, GA4/19/2014 – Summerville, MA4/19/2014 – Missoula, MT4/19/2014 – Seattle, WA4/19/2014 – Prescott, AZApril/May – Kansas City, MO5/14/2014 – Petaluma, CA5/17/2014 – Ann Arbor, MI9/20/2014 – Northfield, MNObama’s FY15 Budget Seeks Robust Funding for National ParksPresident Obama’s recently released fiscal year 2015 budget calls for full funding to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), used to build or improve thousands of athletic fields, parks and other recreational amenities since the 1970s, according to Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).LWCF is a self-funded program from offshore oil and gas leasing royalties and has protected and built recreation infrastructure in every state and 98 percent of U.S. counties.The administration’s budget also asks for $640 million to prepare the National Parks for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016.The budget also includes a proposal to separate catastrophic wildfire expenses from management budgets; addressing the pressure agencies face to meet both management and wildfire crises on a shoestring budget.OIA’s research shows nearly half of all Americans participate in outdoor activities, spending $646 billion on outdoor recreation every year, supporting more than 6.1 million sustainable American jobs and generating nearly $80 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue.CamelBak Continues Battle Against Single Use Water BottlesFor the last three years CamelBak has been working on the Relay — the first water filtration pitcher to filter water “at the speed of a faucet.”camelbak pitcherCamelBak Relay filters water 10X faster than the leading competitor, the filter lasts twice as long, the locking-lid gives a controlled pour, and it filters twice: once as you fill and again as you pour, with a unique pleated Double Filter Technology system. Independent test results showed Relay removes 97% of chlorine, taste and odor when tested to NSF/ANSI Standard 42.The space-saving pitcher holds 10-cups of water and fits in most refrigerator doors. Side-locking latches keep the lid in place and it’s BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and covered CamelBak’s Lifetime Guarantee. (MSRP $36.99)“CamelBak Relay is the latest example of our commitment to promote hydration while eliminating disposable bottled water,” said CamelBak CEO Sally McCoy, a long-time industry persona and advocate. “We listened to our consumers’ frustrations and solved each complaint by creating an all-around better product that filters water fast, prevents spills and fits well into refrigerators.”Camelbak also has pledged $100,000 to the 21st Century Conservation Corps, which employs young adults and veterans in protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s natural and cultural resources. The donation is a response to a challenge set forth by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, asking the private sector to donate $20 million to support the Corps. Visit www.camelbak.com.Cotton Still a Sticky Issue for CompaniesLast year the public learned that Uzbekistan uses forced labor, including that of children, to harvest cotton; and since then some 139 brands have pledged to remove Uzbek cotton from supply chains. The Responsible Sourcing Network picked 49 companies and graded them on their efforts.Adidas ranked No. 1 for eliminating Uzbek cotton for implementing practices such as having “a robust public policy with a well-defined strategy,” requiring that suppliers abide by company sourcing policies, and providing the training to suppliers to that they can follow those policies.Many brands still fall short when auditing suppliers — a daunting task considering the number of supplier tiers that go into garment construction. Companies are reluctant to disclose activities to the public “lest they be ridiculed for not attaining higher accomplishments,” according to the report.The report calls for companies to work together to develop a spinner certification program that would audit and approve spinners based on how responsibly-sourced their cotton is.“Why I Love to Ski or Ride” Video Contest Final Entry Date FridayLearn to Ski and Snowboard is a national public awareness campaign designed to motivate newcomers to take ski or snowboard lessons from professional instructors, and the groups’ “Why I Love to Ski or Ride” video contest ends March 14.ImageProxyJudges for the 2013-14 crop of videos are returning judge Senan Gorman, founder of North Pole Design; Joe Stevens, founder of The Media Center in Charleston, W. Va.; and Troy Hawks, communications consultant based in Denver.The contest is for amateur videographers to express why they love snowsports, part of the industry’s effort to encourage current participants to help motivate newcomers to learn how to ski or snowboard.Three finalists will be determined and each finalist will win a jacket from The North Face, a selection of Warren Miller Entertainment films, and a subscription to either SKI or Transworld Snowboarding. A Grand Prize winner will be selected from among the finalists and will win a $500 gift certificate from skis.com and the Warren Miller Entertainment Award of Excellence. Winning videos will be showcased on You Tube, the skiandsnowboardmonth.org website and the National Ski Areas Association’s annual national conference. January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month.Vermont Resorts Report Record Breaking FebruaryVermont ski and snowboard resorts enjoyed a record breaking February holiday period, according to Ski Vermont. The Valentine’s Day storm dropped up to 2 feet of snow over the Green Mountains and continued for two weeks through Presidents’ Day. Vermont resorts reported both strong ticket sales and lodging numbers for the entire holiday period and are seeing a continued positive effect with late season lodging reservations.last_img read more

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10 Great Spring Hiking Destinations in the Southeast

first_imgWhat better way to explore the outdoors than to hit the trails? Adventure awaits in the woods, and with mother nature on the brink of showing off for Spring, there’s no better time than now to tug on the hiking shoes and get outside. Pack a picnic and bring the kids, or grab a friend and catch up as you trek the paths that relax your mind, refresh your soul, and take your breath away.1. Shining Rock Wilderness, North Carolina The Shining Rock Wilderness is the largest wilderness area in North Carolina. As part of the Pisgah National Forest, there are several diverse hiking trails to choose from. Two of the main access points are Art Loeb and Investor’s Gap (moderate and easy, respectively), which are both well-traveled trails, but have incredible views. The Art Loeb makes the ascent up the side of Cold Mountain where the Cold Mountain trail itself takes you all the way to the peak. It’s a strenuous hike – about 11 miles round-trip to the peak and back – but once you see the view from the top, you’ll be too amazed to feel tired.3867348585_f265a7cca3_oView from Cold Mountain in the Shining Rock Wilderness2. DeSoto State Park, Alabama One of the best places to go for a hike in Alabama is DeSoto State Park. The park is located on Lookout Mountain with gorgeous ridges, amazing waterfalls and a peaceful river. There are over 25 miles of hiking trails ranging anywhere from easy to expert. Take the DeSoto Scout Trail, a historic 16 mile trail with exits along the way. It follows along Little River all the way to Little River Canyon National Preserve, where you can find some of the most breathtaking waterfalls you’ve ever seen.  Don’t forget to bring the camera – you’ll kick yourself if you don’t.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 2.42.11 PMDeSoto State Park Trail to Laurel Falls3. Smoky Mountains, TennesseeHow can you list places to go hiking in the Southeast without mentioning the Smoky Mountains? Whether you choose the North Carolina side or the Tennessee side, the Smokies won’t disappoint. To find a trailhead to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top, follow the Abrams Creek out of the Cades Cove picnic area, and you’ll find the Anthony Creek Trail. Grassy meadows, fragrant flowers and azaleas bursting with color will accompany you on this trail. Make frequent stops along the trail to take in your surroundings, some of the most regal views in the entire Smoky Mountains.View near Thunderhead MountainView near Thunderhead Mountain4. Sipsey Wilderness, AlabamaFor a truly wild experience check out Alabama’s Sipsey Wilderness. It is part of the Bankhead National Forest and is a popular wilderness area for both hikers and backpackers. There are many trails to choose from for a day hike or multiple-day backpacking trip. The Sipsey features waterfalls, free-flowing creeks, scenic overlooks and a yellow poplar named Big Tree that has become a star attraction. At 150-feet tall and 25-feet around, Big Tree is the largest specimen of poplar in Alabama.5490540429_cfa531afa7_bCool creek waters at Sipsey Wilderness5. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve, VirginiaScott’s Run Nature Preserve is as unique as it is beautiful. Home to remarkable wildflowers such as Virginia Bluebells and sessile trillium as well as rare species of flowers (please don’t pick them!), you’ll find yourself slowing down so that you don’t miss the streaks of color, tiny blooms and impressive hardwood trees. Go in the spring after a fresh rain and witness nature’s wonders as the creeks are swollen and spilling over into clear waterfalls and brilliant mushrooms peek up from the soil. Although this is a popular place to visit among the locals, please leave only footprints behind, as this beautiful atmosphere is threatened by the pollution and destruction of visitors. Grab a trail map and see just how many fun discoveries you can make along the way.11001328633_63af4258e9_kGorgeous waterfall in Scott’s Run Nature Preserve6. Jones Gap State Park, South CarolinaGet lost (in a good way) in Jones Gap State Park, where you’ll find little waterfalls at nearly every turn. There are many miles of trails to explore and find adventure in the great outdoors. The park requires registration before using the trails, for the protection of both hikers and nature. Count the beautiful cascades as you go, and notice the blooming flora and scampering fauna as you enjoy the quiet serenity of mother nature.127882186_8403ad425c_bOne of many refreshing waterfalls at Jones Gap State Park7. Monongahela National Forest, West VirginiaThere are few places as gorgeous as the Monongahela National Forest. With elevation ranges from 1000 feet to 4863 feet above sea level and diverse patterns of precipitation, it’s no wonder that this national forest is considered one of the most ecologically diverse in the country. Anything from the Cranberry Glades Botanical area to the Falls of Hills Creek, this paradise has much to explore.Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 3.00.50 PMRaven Ridge Trail at Monongahela National Forest8. Grandfather Mountain, North CarolinaNorth Carolina is rich in beauty and nature. There are so many opportunities to experience the earth through hiking with rolling hills crawling with wildlife, grassy meadows covered in carpets of flowers, and mountains that will make you forget everything in life to absorb the moment. Grandfather Mountain is a landmark that encompasses all that makes North Carolina unique, with 11 diverse trails to choose from fit for a party of one, or the entire family.3845864216_bc083c6422_bScenic overlook from Grandfather Mountain9. Radnor Lake State Park, TennesseeNestled in Nashville, Tennessee is Radnor Lake State Park, more than 1300 acres of forests and trails perfect for getting away from the city and entering the serene peace of the outdoors. The Natural Area preserves the natural state of the woods with rare wildflowers such as blood root and majestic wild life such as the bald eagles. It is a popular place for Nashville area residents to retreat into the woods and hit the trails for a breath of fresh air and scenic views.5219448777_a2ff346bb6_bTiny chipmunk scampering through Radnor Lake State Park10. Stone Mountain, GeorgiaWhen I think hiking in Georgia, Stone Mountain is one of the first places that comes to mind. Although it’s a popular place to hit the trails, and for the most part isn’t strenuous, it’s still lots of fun. There are trails as short as ¾ mile, and as long as 5 miles. Each trail will provide a different experience of the park area, and trail maps are available to use as a guide. Although Stone Mountain itself as an attraction is highly commercialized, it is surrounded by natural getaways that will take you along side lakes, up to the top of the mountain for a panoramic scenic view, or even through a Nature Garden where you can enjoy colorful plants and flowers in all their spring glory.2463358302_30eeb1206b_bHiking Stone Mountainauthor-photoNatalie Cone is a freelance writer from Birmingham, Alabama. As a nature enthusiast and mother of two boys, she writes articles about all things outdoors and blogs about the mishaps of motherhood. Her fiction short stories have won three first-place contest awards, and have appeared in various magazine publications and anthologies. Natalie can be found on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NatalieWrites, on Twitter @nataliecone and in a field of flowers at springtime.last_img read more

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Supreme Court Weighs Uranium Mining Ban in Virginia

first_imgFor decades, uranium mining has been banned by state law in Virginia. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the state has authority to ban mining, or whether that power resides instead with the federal government.The case centers on the estimated 119 million pounds of uranium ore beneath Coles Hill, a private estate in the rural landscape outside Chatham, Virginia. The cache is the largest natural deposit of uranium in the United States and one of the largest in the world.Virginia lawmakers asked a state commission in 1981 to conduct a feasibility study on uranium mining and milling. A year later, they enacted a law that permitted uranium exploration but imposed a one-year moratorium on uranium mining. The moratorium was extended indefinitely in 1983. The Chernobyl disaster of 1986 effectively closed the door on uranium mining by stoking fears and driving down the price of uranium.All remained quiet at Coles Hill until the early 2000s, when Walter Coles returned to his ancestral home after a 33-year career as a military and foreign service officer. By then, the price of uranium had risen enough that he fielded a steady stream of inquiries from international investors. In late 2006, Coles and the neighboring Bowen family, whose farm land encompasses a portion of the deposit, formed Virginia Uranium Inc. and revived the idea of mining the land.Over the next seven years, the company tried unsuccessfully to convince Virginia legislators to lift the moratorium on uranium mining, eventually challenging the mining ban in state and federal court. The state-level lawsuit is on hold, awaiting the outcome of the federal lawsuit, now before the U.S. Supreme Court.The court is taking up the case as the country’s nuclear industry faces an uncertain future. Plant Vogle, a Georgia project that is the only nuclear plant under construction in the country, has been plagued by delays and cost overruns, but continues to move forward. A May 2018 study by Center for Climate and Energy Solutions found that although nuclear provides about 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation, plants are being retired because of “low wholesale electricity prices resulting from low natural gas prices, excess power generation capacity, declining renewable energy costs, and low growth in electricity demand.”Coles Hill is located in a county at an economic crossroads, too. Pittsylvania County once was a powerhouse of tobacco production, as well as home to thriving milling, textile and furniture industries. All of those legacy industries have cratered as manufacturers moved and mechanized, and tobacco use has declined to less than half of what it was in the mid-‘60s. The county has largely diversified its economy around outdoor recreation and technology-based businesses.“The community has worked really hard to rebuild a vibrant, diverse economy, and a mining operation like this is incompatible with what they’re trying to accomplish,” said Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.Coles argued that uranium mining would be an economic boon for the county, pointing to a 2011 economic impact study that predicted 1,000 jobs, $135 million in economic impact, and $3.1 million in annual state and local taxes over the projected 35-year life of the mining operation.Charles Miller, member of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, grew up in the area. Miller said that since the mid-2000s, when Virginia Uranium began its push to allow mining, “overwhelmingly the people have indicated they do not want that to take place.”For him, it’s about public health, not in Pittsylvania County but in the watershed downstream.“If the moratorium is lifted, and down the road there was a generation or two or three of children that had birth defects that could be positively linked back to uranium mining, I have children, grandchildren, a great grandchild that would have to bear that burden. I’m not willing to be a party to that.”Opposition to uranium mining has been echoed by regional environmental advocacy groups including the Dan River Basin Association, the Roanoke River Basin Association, and the Piedmont Environmental Council.Beyond local concerns, there are huge potential impacts for people living downstream. The city of Virginia Beach, home to nearly a half-million people, draws its drinking water from Lake Gaston, a reservoir on the Roanoke River.A decision is expected by the summer of 2019.Mason Adams writes from Floyd County, Va. A longer version of this story was originally published by Energy News Network.last_img read more

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Outdoor Updates: Mysterious Tree Deaths Alarm Foresters

first_imgGeorgia Mayors sign letter calling for a future with more renewable energy Survival of North Carolina red wolves could depend on one mating pair Five mayors in Georgia have signed a letter calling for a future powered by more solar power. Over 300 mayors in all 50 states have signed the letter. The group, called “Mayors for Solar Energy,” is bipartisan and represents cities of all sizes across the country. Mayors from Georgia who signed the letter include Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. of Augusta, Mayor Patti Garrett of Decatur, and Mayor Ted Terry of Clarkston.   Foresters do not know the exact number of oak tree deaths, but say that the deaths may be caused in part by a wet season last year followed by a very dry summer this year, which stresses the root system of the trees and kills the finer roots. Despite the tree deaths, foresters say they are not too concerned and won’t be until the oak deaths become a years-long pattern. So what should you do if your white oak dies? Foresters say you should plant another one. Oak trees are suddenly dying around Virginia, foresters say “Mayors for Solar Energy is proof that regardless of geography, demographics or political affiliation, local leaders understand how beneficial solar can be for a wide array of communities,” said Channa Childs, Clearn energy Fellow with Environment Georgia. “The future of energy will be clean and close to home, and these mayors represent the first wave of leaders who will bring the benefits of solar to communities coast-to-coast.” Foresters are noticing a sudden dying of trees around the state of Virginia. “This is acute,” Adam Downing, forestry and natural resources agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension told The Virginia-Pilot. In general, trees die slowly, but these trees are quickly going brown—progressing from healthy to sick in a short period of time. Most are white oaks in urban environments. There are less than 20 red wolves surviving in the state of North Carolina and the continuation of the species may depend upon one mating pair. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will transfer a male and female red wolf from the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge on the Florida coast to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina. The pair of wolves will be in a 200-foot diameter pen for a month. “Hopefully, they bond.” Joe Madison, program manager for red wolf recovery in North Carolina told The Virginia-Pilot. The plan is for the wolves to bond in the pen and then mate in the wild once they are released. Their connection is important for the survival of the species. For the first time since red wolves were reintroduced into North Carolina in 1987 there have been no litters of puppies born.last_img read more

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Pages of the Oldest Bible Reunited Virtually on the Internet

first_imgBy Dialogo July 08, 2009 London, 6 July (EFE).- Thanks to the latest technological advances, experts have managed to reunite in virtual form on the internet more than eight hundred surviving pages and fragments of the oldest Bible in the world, known as the Codex Sinaiticus. For the first time, high-resolution digital images of the pages of this book, dating from the fourth century of our era, will be accessible from anywhere in the world, the British Library announced today. Several scribes wrote the codex in Greek on leaves of parchment, and the text was revised and corrected over the following centuries. The virtual reunification of the Codex Sinaiticus marks the culmination of four years of close collaboration between the British Library, the library of the University of Leipzig, the Monastery of St Catherine (Mount Sinai, Egypt), and the National Library of Russia, in St Petersburg. Each of these institutions holds different parts of the manuscript, which it has been possible to unite in virtual form thanks to the internet (“www.codexsinaiticus.org”:http://www.codexsinaiticus.org). The project will now permit scholars from around the world to carry out more in-depth studies of the Greek text, which has been transcribed in full, with cross-references that include the transcription of the numerous later revisions and corrections. It will also permit researchers to examine the history of the book as a physical object and to study the texture and manufacture of the parchment. The codex, perhaps the oldest bound book that has survived to the present, was enormous: it originally had more than 1,460 pages, each one of which measured 40.6 cm in height and 35.5 cm in width. “The Codex Sinaiticus is one of the world’s greatest written treasures. It marks the definite triumph of bound codices over scrolls,” commented Scot McKendrick, director of the department of western manuscripts at the British Library. “This 1600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation,” McKendrick said. “The project has uncovered evidence that a fourth scribe – along with the three already recognized – worked on the text,” the British Library director indicated. According to McKendrick, “the availability of the virtual manuscript for study by scholars around the world creates opportunities for collaborative research that would not have been possible just a few years ago.” The Codex Sinaiticus project was launched in 2005 when the four institutions that preserve pages and fragments of this Bible signed a collaboration agreement. According to Prof. David Parker of the Department of Theology of the University of Birmingham, who led the British team that made the electronic transcription of the manuscript, “the process of deciphering and transcribing the fragile pages of an ancient text containing over 650,000 words is a huge challenge, which has taken nearly four years.” The transcription includes pages of the Codex found in 1975 in a blocked-off room of St Catherine’s Monastery, some of which were in very poor condition, and which are being published for the first time. The digital images of the virtual manuscript show the beauty of the original, and readers can appreciate the differences in the calligraphy of the various scribes who copied the text, Parker said. In order to mark the launch of the virtual version of the Codex, the British Library has mounted an exhibit titled “From Parchment to Pixel: The Virtual Reunification of Codex Sinaiticus,” which opens to visitors tomorrow and runs until September 7. This prestigious institution has also organized an academic conference taking place today and tomorrow, with the participation of numerous experts who will speak on the history, text, conservation, paleography, and other aspects of the precious manuscript.last_img read more

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US Congress passes Haiti debt relief bill

first_imgBy Dialogo April 16, 2010 The US Congress passed a bill Wednesday calling for easing Haiti’s debt burden to help with reconstruction efforts in the wake of the devastating January 12 earthquake. The measure, adopted unanimously by the House of Representatives, now goes to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law. It directs US representatives to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international lenders to act to relieve Haiti’s external debt obligations and calls for future aid to be in the form of grants, not loans. The “Haiti Recovery Act” also urges the Obama administration to support the creation of an international trust fund for Haiti to support investment in infrastructure including the development of electricity grids, roads, water and sanitation facilities, and reforestation initiatives. The Group of Seven richest countries — Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States — announced in early February that they would cancel Haiti’s bilateral debt. But that amounts to only a small portion of Haiti’s overall debt, which ran about 1.88 billion dollars as of late September 2008, according to the Paris Club group of creditor nations. The Inter-American Development Bank estimates that Haiti’s reconstruction will cost some 14 billion dollars.last_img read more

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