By Reynard Loki – In a grim report released on August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that climate change was “unequivocally” caused by human activity, and that within two decades, rising temperatures will cause the planet to reach a significant turning point in global warming. The report’s authors—a group of the world’s top climate scientists convened by the United Nations (UN)—predict that by 2040, average global temperatures will be warmer than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, causing more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts and extreme weather events. UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the bleak findings a “code red for humanity.”
The report found global warming increasing at a faster rate than earlier predictions estimated. “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land… [and] at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years,” the report says. “Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.” Even if the world’s nations enacted sharp and stringent reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases today, overall global warming is still estimated to rise around 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next 20 years. That means that the hotter, more dangerous future that scientists and the Paris climate agreement sought to avoid is now unavoidable.
Linda Mearns, a senior climate scientist at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research and one of the report’s co-authors, offered a stern warning: “It’s just guaranteed that it’s going to get worse,” she said, adding that there is “[n]owhere to run, nowhere to hide.” In an interview with the Hill, Kim Cobb, the lead author of the report’s first chapter, said, “We’re already reeling, clearly, from so many of these impacts that the report highlights, especially in the category of extremes that are gripping these headlines and causing so much damage, but of course the 1.5 degree C world is notably and discernibly worse.” more>
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economic development, Education, Energy & emissions, History, Nature, Science, Technology
Tagged Climate change, Earth, Ecology, Industrial economy, Leadership, Physics, Super regions, Technology
By Frédéric Simon – While fossil gas is often seen as a transition fuel towards a fully decarbonized energy mix, GE Gas Power sees low-carbon gas as “a destination technology” with the potential to convert power plants to run 100% on clean hydrogen by 2030.
“Today, we have a 50% hydrogen capability for combustion in our largest baseload gas turbines” used for power generation, said Martin O’Neill, vice president at GE Gas Power.
The company’s objective, he explained, is to continue research and development in order “to advance the percentage of hydrogen combustion capability towards 100% by 2030,” he told a EURACTIV event earlier this month.
However, getting there would require a rapid scale up in the production of clean hydrogen, he added. And that will only be possible if multiple sources of low-carbon hydrogen are added to the mix, including so-called “blue hydrogen” where emissions are somehow captured and stored. more>
Posted in Business, EARTH WATCH, Economy, Energy & emissions, History, How to, Nature, Net, Science, Technology
Tagged Business improvement, Climate change, GE, Hydrogen, Industrial economy, Internet, Skills
There have been some changes in the rankings of the world’s longtime auto leaders and you won’t believe the revenue per second.
By Dan Carney – Business data aggregation and analysis site VisualCapitalist.com sifted through the annual results of the world’s car companies and ranked them by total revenues. For novelty, they’ve also included the total revenue per second of each company, with some eye-opening numbers at the top of the list. Even small-fry Tesla brings in $780 every second of the day! This list is based on last year’s sales numbers and represents the carmakers’ corporate entities as they existed last year. Since then, Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles has merged with Peugeot to form the head-scratchingly named Stellantis. So next year we should see some shuffling of the rankings.
BMW and PSA Peugeot Citroen have entered into a 50:50 venture to produce components for hybrids and electric vehicles, says a story in the Financial Times.
The two companies, which will launch the new operation in the second quarter of this year, will team up on the development of battery packs, electric motors, power electronics, generators, chargers and software to run the new breed of vehicles.
The German and French carmakers said that the components would be used in their own vehicles, and will also be sold to other automakers. The joint operation will begin equipping vehicles in 2014, the newspaper said. more>
Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, History, How to, Product, Regulations, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Auto industry, Business improvement, Industrial economy, Jobs, Manufacturing, Super regions, Technology
Why Restarting the Global Economy Won’t be Easy
By Jerry Grillo – As the world contemplates ending a massive lockdown implemented in response to COVID-19, Vinod Singhal is considering what will happen when we hit the play button and the engines that drive industry and trade squeal back to life again.
Singhal, who studies operations strategy and supply chain management at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has a few ideas on how to ease the transition to the new reality. But this pandemic makes it hard to predict what that reality will be.
“There is really nothing to compare this pandemic to,” he said. “And predicting or estimating stock prices is simply impossible, unlike supply chain disruptions caused by a company’s own fault, or a natural disaster, like the earthquake in Japan.”
But COVID-19 represents a new kind of mystery when it comes to something as complex and critical to the world’s economy as the global supply chain, for a number of reasons that Singhal highlighted:
- The global spread of the virus and duration of the pandemic. “We have no idea when it will be under control and whether it will resurface,” Singhal said. “With a natural disaster you can kind of predict that if we put in some effort, within a few months we can get back to normal. But here there is a lot of uncertainty.”
- Both the demand and supply side of the global supply chain are disrupted. “We’re not only seeing a lot of factories shutting down, which affects the supply side, but there are restrictions on demand, too, because you can’t just go out and shop like you used to, at least for the time being,” he said. “And all this is taking place in an environment where supply chains are fairly complex – intricate, interconnected, interdependent, and global.”
- Longer lead times. “We get close to a trillion dollars of products annually from Asian countries, about $500 billion from China,” Singhal said. “Most are shipped by sea which requires a four-to-six-week lead time. The fact that logistics and distribution has been disrupted and needs to ramp up again will increase lead time. So, it will take time to fill up the pipeline, and that is going to be an issue.”
- Supply chains have little slack, and little spare inventory. While manufacturing giants such as Apple, Boeing, and General Motors have more financial slack to carry them through a massive economic belt tightening, their suppliers, spread out across the globe, come in different sizes, different tiers, “and these smaller companies don’t have much financial slack,” said Singhal, pointing to a report of small and medium sized companies in China, “which have less than three months of cash. They’ve already been shut down for two months, and cash tends to go away quickly.
“Many of these companies may go bankrupt,” he added. “So we need to figure out how to reduce the number of bankruptcies. Government is going to play an important role in this, and the stimulus package the U.S. has approved will be helpful.” more>
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Posted in Business, Economic development, Economy, Education, Healthcare, History, How to, Nature, Product, Science, Technology, Transportation
Tagged Business improvement, Georgia Tech, Health, Industrial economy, Skills, Technology