Day: October 11, 2021

China energy cutbacks slow manufacturing

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

An energy crunch in China has led to some factory closures, industries and their suppliers to cut back production and is threating to impact the global supply chain.

Rotting Red Sea oil tanker could leave 8m people without water

Read the full story at The Guardian.

FSO Safer has been abandoned since 2017 and loss of its 1.1m barrels would destroy Yemen’s fishing stocks.

‘America’s Oldest Park Ranger’ is only her latest chapter

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Betty Reid Soskin has fought to ensure that American history includes the stories that get overlooked. As she turns 100, few stories have been more remarkable than hers.

Climate Resilience: Options to Enhance the Resilience of Federally Funded Roads and Reduce Fiscal Exposure

Download the document.

What GAO Found

During the last decade, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) undertook targeted efforts to encourage states to enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads, such as by developing agency policy, providing technical assistance, and funding resilience research. GAO identified projects in four states that planned or made resilience enhancements using FHWA’s resources. For example, Maryland used FHWA resources to raise a bridge by about 2 feet to account for projected sea level rise. Such efforts show the potential to enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads on a wider scale.

GAO identified 10 options to further enhance the climate resilience of federally funded roads through a comprehensive literature search and interviews with knowledgeable stakeholders (see table). Some of these options are similar to recommendations made previously by GAO. Each option has strengths and limitations. For example, adding climate resilience requirements to formula grant programs could compel action but complicate states’ efforts to use federal funds.

Options to Further Enhance the Climate Resilience of Federally Funded Roads

1. Integrate climate resilience into Federal Highway Administration policy and guidance.
2. Update design standards and building codes to account for climate resilience.
3. Provide authoritative, actionable, forward-looking climate information.
4. Add climate resilience funding eligibility requirements, conditions, or criteria to formula grant programs.
5. Expand the availability of discretionary funding for climate resilience improvements.
6. Alter the Emergency Relief (ER) program by providing incentives for, or conditioning funding on, pre-disaster resilience actions.
7. Expand the availability of ER funding for post-disaster climate resilience improvements.
8. Establish additional climate resilience planning or project requirements.
9. Link climate resilience actions or requirements to incentives or penalties.
10. Condition eligibility, funding, or project approval on compliance with climate resilience policy and guidance.
Source: GAO analysis of literature and interviews with knowledgeable stakeholders. | GAO-21-436

Implementing multiple options offers the most potential to improve the climate resilience of federally funded roads, according to knowledgeable stakeholders and GAO’s analysis using the Disaster Resilience Framework , a guide for analyzing federal disaster and climate resilience efforts. This Framework states that integrating strategic resilience goals can help decision makers focus on a wide variety of opportunities to reduce risk. FHWA officials said that they likely would need additional authority from Congress to act on some, or a combination of, options and that the most effective way for Congress to ensure its priorities are implemented for any option is to put it in law. The most recent authorization of federal funding for roads covers fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2021, which ends on September 30, 2021. This provides Congress with an opportunity to improve the climate resilience of federally funded roads and better ensure they can withstand or more easily recover from changes in the climate. Providing FHWA with additional authority to implement one or more of the options could enhance the climate resilience of more—or all—federally funded roads.

Why GAO Did This Study

Changes in the climate pose a risk to the safety and reliability of the U.S. transportation system, according to the 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment. Congress authorized about $45 billion per year in federal funding for roads through 2021 and appropriated about $900 million per year in disaster assistance for fiscal years 2016 through 2020. In 2013, GAO included Limiting the Federal Government’s Fiscal Exposure by Better Managing Climate Change Risks on its High-Risk List. Enhancing climate resilience—acting to reduce potential losses by planning for climate hazards such as extreme rainfall—can help manage climate risks.

GAO was asked to review climate resilience efforts for federally funded roads. This report examines (1) FHWA’s climate resilience efforts and (2) options to further enhance them. GAO reviewed FHWA documents and a non-generalizable sample of projects that used FHWA’s climate resilience resources, analyzed the content of 53 reports and pieces of legislation to identify options, interviewed stakeholders and agency officials, and analyzed options and FHWA efforts using GAO’s October 2019 Disaster Resilience Framework .

Coalition of multinational companies issues report on reducing deforestation

Read the full story in Food Business News.

A coalition of 20 global retailers and manufacturers, including PepsiCo, Inc., Nestle SA and Mondelez International, on Sept. 23 published its first annual report detailing progress in reducing deforestation.

Nature is medicine. But what’s the right dose?

Read the full story at Outside.

A new app called NatureQuant harnesses the latest research to track and rate your time outside. Next up: determining how much you need.

Court dismisses Greenpeace lawsuit against Walmart

Read the full story at Waste Today.

Sept. 20, U.S. District Court Judge Maxine Chesney dismissed a lawsuit Greenpeace Inc. filed against Walmart in late 2020, saying the organization lacked standing for the case to be considered on the merits. In the suit, Greenpeace USA alleges that Walmart uses unlawful, unfair, and deceptive business practices by incorrectly labeling and advertising its various private-label plastic products and packaging as recyclable.

Upstream CEO sees huge potential in burgeoning reuse-refill sector, including for haulers

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Matt Prindiville, head of a nonprofit focused on holistic waste solutions, is at the center of discussions with brands and activists alike about not just relying on recycling for a circular economy.

How record rain and officials’ mistakes led to drownings on a subway

Read the full story in the New York Times.

The deluge in the city of Zhengzhou revealed how China’s years of go-go construction had left its cities vulnerable to climate change.

Wastequip commits to further reducing its virgin resin use

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Wastequip, the company behind Toter containers and other waste-handling equipment brands, is moving forward with efforts to cut one-quarter of the virgin resin it uses throughout its entire cart manufacturing process.

A life cycle analysis of Toter carts that RRS led last year found that Wastequip’s Project25 commitment could help reduce each cart’s carbon footprint by at least 9%. It’s a gradual, multifront effort: The company aims to boost the amount of postconsumer resin (PCR) and postindustrial resin (PIR) in its carts while also extending a cart’s lifespan to avoid the need for new carts as frequently.

Wastequip also wants to increase transparency and traceability for customers. As of 2022, all customers will get information about how much PCR and PIR each cart contains for six of Toter’s top colors, said Kristin Kinder, vice president of research and waste stream sustainability. That data will allow municipalities to “optimize that in their education and their communication channels with the residents,” she said.

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