Even before a series of devastating monsoons overwhelmed Pakistan last summer, the country was battling an onslaught of infectious and noncommunicable diseases, a new study finds.
The top five leading causes of premature death in 2019 (three years before the floods) were neonatal disease, ischemic heart disease, stroke, diarrhea, according to the study, published Wednesday in The Lancet Global Health. disease and lower respiratory infections.
At the same time, the researchers determined that child and maternal malnutrition, air pollution, high systolic blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking were major risk factors for disability and death.
“Pakistan’s baseline was already among the lowest in the world prior to extreme flooding,” lead author Ali Mokdad, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, said in a statement.
The authors highlight that Pakistan’s health challenges are exacerbated by natural disasters such as the summer floods of 2022, which affect more than 33 million people — half of them children, many of whom are malnourished.
The study also examines how Pakistan can reduce maternal and child mortality, high fertility rates and persistent gender disparities.
Infectious diseases — including tuberculosis, hepatitis, typhoid and paratyphoid — also affect populations unequally, the report said.
“The country urgently needs a single national nutrition policy,” co-author Zainab Samad, head of the Department of Medicine at Aga Khan University in Pakistan, said in a statement.
Such action is especially necessary “as climate change and increasing droughts, floods and plagues threaten food security,” Samad said.
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Today we’ll see how New Jersey’s ambitious offshore wind plans collide with its weak transmission game.Past: Why China’s reopening means record oil demand, followed by America’s most and least water-efficient states
Danish energy giant takes control of New Jersey wind project
Energy company Ørsted announced Wednesday that it will take full control of an offshore wind project in New Jersey.
- The acquisition is part of more significant news globally from the Danish energy giant, which is investing in multibillion-dollar offshore wind projects around the world.
- It also points to a larger fault line in U.S. energy politics: the question of how to get electricity onshore.
Pull out, dig in: Ørsted is acquiring Newark-based energy company Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which co-invested in the project with Ørsted in 2020.
- The company will acquire the final 25% stake in the Ocean Wind 1 development. It currently controls 75%.
- The project, located 15 miles from the Atlantic coastline, will be fully online in 2025.
Global Expansion: Ørsted invests heavily in offshore wind energy development around the world.
The massive expansion announced on Monday will meet half of Sweden’s energy needs, clean energy website Recharge News reported.
- According to Bloomberg, Ørsted announced plans in 2021 to spend $57 billion to become a leading supplier of green energy globally.
- The company hopes to be what ExxonMobil and Chevron did to fossil fuels in renewable energy.
Reason for sale: As early as last fall, PSEG was considering moving to a more conservative offshore wind business, NJ Spotlight News reported.
- The company considered leaving the high-risk, high-reward field of offshore wind installations.
- Instead, it will invest in a more stable and regulated sector to build the transmission systems needed to disperse electricity to land.
Surge hits a snag
Growth in offshore wind power could be bottlenecked by a lack of transmission infrastructure to transport it to nearby cities, according to Bloomberg Law.
Ørsted’s Ocean Wind 1 and 2 projects will together provide around 2,200 megawatts of electricity – enough to power 1 million homes.
dashed hopes: Last October, the New Jersey Public Utilities Commission rejected a proposal by PSEG and others to create a “backbone transmission system,” Spotlight News reported.
- PSEG is one of 13 companies submitting bids for a new transmission system to connect emerging offshore wind farms to the New Jersey grid.
- Instead, the board focused most of its investments on onshore transmission.
Shortly after this news, PSEG began to consider the sell-out announced on Wednesday.
Pilot project: But in October, the board backed a new infrastructure that would serve as the ultimate access point for offshore power.
- A new substation at the Larrabee Power Station in central Jersey will provide offshore wind with a single destination.
- The substation and related grid improvements will cost the state $1.07 billion, or $1.03 per customer per month, according to a state report.
Musk returns to court over infamous tweet
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is on trial for deceiving investors into artificially inflating Tesla’s stock price.
“Millions of dollars were lost when his lies were exposed,” plaintiffs’ attorney Nicholas Porritt said in opening statements on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Fraud or Mistake? The controversy centered on a notorious 2018 tweet that Musk’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, described as an innocent mistake, according to Reuters.
“Hurry up, [Musk] Wrong word,” Spiro said.
- “I am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured,” Musk tweeted in 2018.
- The federal judge presiding over the trial called the statement reckless and “false,” The Verge reported.
Early consequences: Musk and Tesla ended up each paying $20 million to the SEC to settle the fraud charges.
The SEC also asked him to resign as chairman of Tesla.
front: Tesla investor Glen Littleton is suing the company on behalf of investors who bought Tesla stock after Musk’s 2018 statement, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Tesla’s stock surged after Musk’s post — only to fall again as people found out it was wrong.
IEA sees oil demand surge after China reopens
Global oil demand could soar to record highs this year as China lifts a pandemic-era lockdown and reopens its economy, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Wednesday.
Oil’s “wild card”: The energy watchdog forecasts that global oil demand will rise by 1.9 million barrels per day in 2023, climbing to a record 101.7 million barrels per day.
- Nearly half of those gains are expected to come from China, the IEA found in its January report.
- recognize the shape and speed of [China’s] Reopening remains uncertain,” the report said, calling both China and Russia “unknowns.”
Redirect Oil: Most of last year’s oil surplus ended up in emerging markets, the IEA observed, as mild weather combined with weak industrial activity reduced demand for resources in Europe.
- Oil demand in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries fell by 900,000 barrels per day in the final quarter of 2022.
- Non-OECD demand rose by 500,000 bpd, the report said.
“Welcome Relief” on the way: Last year’s demand was also constrained by China’s coronavirus-related lockdown and snowstorms that hampered travel in the U.S. and Canada, the IEA found.
“Fresh supplies from new factories in the Middle East and China will provide welcome relief,” the report said.
Disagreement on China: As we reported, a separate report from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Tuesday was more cautious on China.
- While China’s easing of its zero-COVID-19 policy could help boost global economic growth, such measures could also “overextend” the country’s health system, OPEC said.
- But the IEA report remained upbeat about China, noting that diesel from Beijing “has already reached Europe after Beijing raised export quotas late last year”.
To read the rest of the story, click here.
Best and worst states for water use efficiency
A new report finds that California, Texas and Arizona have the highest scores in a new national ranking of water efficiency policies, while Mississippi, Alaska and the Dakotas have the lowest scores.
“Little to no progress”: In the 2022 state ranking scorecard released by the Water Efficiency Coalition, a Chicago-based stakeholder-based nonprofit, states scored an average of just 23 points out of a possible 89.
While some states have improved since the last scorecard in 2017, the analysis observed “little meaningful progress” overall.
Which state is doing the best? According to the scorecard, the top-scoring state — with the most advanced policies in water-use efficiency, conservation, sustainability and accessibility — is California.
It was followed by Texas, Arizona, Georgia, Washington, New York, Nevada, New Hampshire, Colorado and Minnesota.
The worst thing is? The worst-performing states included Mississippi, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Oklahoma and Nebraska.
“Most states continue to hold local water agencies, businesses, and the public accountable for paying for and implementing water-efficient and sustainable water services,” the report said.
What else did the investigation find? One of the key observations is the uniqueness of California, the only state that requires water utilities to develop plans for climate change.
- Connecticut is the only state to report using its own funds to support customer water bill assistance.
- Eighteen states use their own revenue to fund water efficiency and conservation.
- Sixteen states fund water reuse.
- Thirteen states require rate structures that encourage water efficiency.
- Nineteen states mandate coordination among local land use and water planning agencies.
Follow the Colorado River: The scorecard identifies many avenues for improvement in seven states in the Colorado River Basin, which have been enduring prolonged droughts triggered by climate change.
Those states—an average of 37 of the 89 states on the scorecard—could benefit from adopting pipeline efficiency standards, limiting water loss and funding water reuse, the report found.
To see more findings from the scorecard, click here to view the full text.
With Denver’s 100-year snowfall, the Bureau of Reclamation trying to kill the Rio Grande deal, and Jackson, Mississippi, continuing to suffer from water shortages.
Winter storm brings Denver biggest January snow totals in 30 years
- A snowstorm in Colorado brought the Denver metro area its worst January snowstorm in 31 years — with more than 8 inches of snow by morning, CBS News reported. According to CBS News, schools in most areas were closed for the day, while snow-covered roads led to multiple car accidents throughout the area.
Federal officials try to block Texas-NM Rio Grande deal
- Federal officials are trying to sabotage a deal before the Supreme Court that would have divided custody of the dwindling state of Rio Grande between Texas and New Mexico, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deal would give the two states complete control of the river — taking power away from the Federal Bureau of Reclamation.
Water system still out of order in Jackson, Mississippi
- Jackson, Mississippi’s troubled water system remains on the brink of dilapidation following last summer’s ongoing water crisis — the city had issued four boiling water warnings as of Tuesday, NBC News reported. “Every time people hear someone handing out water, the lines are still long and long,” organizer Autumn Brown told NBC.
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