Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil, got a raise. On Jan. 1, 2013, Tillerson will earn a base salary of $2.71 million, according to Reuters -- a 5 percent raise. He will also get a bonus this year of $4.59 million. He also got 225,000 shares of stock, worth, as of writing, about $19.7 million (though there are restrictions on how he can sell it). Exxon's stock is up 3.26 percent so far this year.
The millennial generation stands to shape our cities for decades to come, largely because it's so big: 86 million, compared to 77 million baby boomers. Millennials are just starting to turn 30, and middle-aged demographers are wondering how many of them will run to the suburbs like their parents and grandparents before them.
Now, cities face a new demographic reality: The young and single are aging and having children. If the pattern of the past 50 years holds, they might soon set their sights on suburbia.
"We know young people move the most," says Richard Florida, whose book The Rise of the Creative Class published 10 years ago helped spark the wooing of young professionals to revive declining urban centers. "So capturing people early on in their lives in a metro really matters. It's important to compete with suburbs for people once they get a little older and have children."
The older they get, the less likely people are to live in cities, according to recent Census data. The peak age for urban living is 25 to 27, when 20% of that age group are nestled in urban centers. By the age of 41, about a quarter have moved to the suburbs.
Experts say getting cities baby-ready would entail improving schools, building housing near public transit, and expanding and improving parks. That all sounds well and good to me, but here's the hitch: Demographers say millennials want to bring the suburbs to the city with more low-rise townhouses and single-family homes instead of apartments. So much for that density thing?
The marker on this map shows the location of Aiwiaso, Ghana, a town small enough that one could count the number of buildings within it in short order. And, if all goes according to plan, it will in 2015 be the location of the fourth-largest solar photovoltaic plant in the world and the largest in Africa.
Blue Energy, the renewable energy developer behind the $400m project, which has built a solar farm 31 times smaller outside Swindon, [England,] said the 155MW solar photovoltaic (PV) plant will be fully operational by October 2015. Construction on the Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by the end of 2013, with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules. …
The company said it expects to create 200 permanent jobs and 500 during the construction phase, which already has the go-ahead from planning authorities.
Earlier this year, a film was released documenting the efforts of a Scottish farmer to oppose a new development by Donald Trump. The movie is called You've Been Trumped, and it is racking up accolades and awards.
I haven't seen the film. But I am confident that part of the reason it's earning such praise is that Donald Trump is an odious, preening buffoon. We've writtenbefore about his development plans in Scotland, and about his methane-soaked project in the Bronx. We have not, however, spent a lot of time otherwise mocking his stupid opinions and trolly comments. This is because one does not engage with children as though they are your equals. If the child is yours, you would put him in timeout; if he is not, if you are just an observer to a child's bad behavior, you merely sigh heavily and thank the Heavens that you were not cursed with such a useless little pile of crap.
Anyway. The farmer at the center of the film, Michael Forbes, is in the news again. This time, it's for winning "Top Scot" at the Spirit of Scotland awards.
About a third of the electric cars in the U.S. are spinning on California roads, but the state still has much work to do to build the charging infrastructure to support them.
There are about 1,000 public chargers in the state right now, and New Jersey-based NRG is poised to install 200 fast chargers and the wiring for 10,000 more regular chargers throughout the state by 2016. A fast charger can juice up a vehicle in as little as 15 minutes, while the regular kind can take hours. But building up the infrastructure isn't simple, as KQED reports:
Still, a multitude of challenges face NRG and other charging companies, like Bay Area-based ChargePoint andEcotality. Fast chargers produce very high voltage. They require complicated permitting. And they cost upward of $40,000 each.
Right now, the financials don’t add up says NRG’s Terry O’Day.
Reading the report, we couldn't help but wonder how those incentives -- a combination of tax breaks, zoning changes, and contributions -- broke down by industry. (Full disclosure: We have a bit of a chip on our shoulders about fossil fuels.) The report offers a teaser hint:
Far and away the most incentive money is spent on manufacturing, about $25.5 billion a year, followed by agriculture. The oil, gas and mining industries come in third, and the film business fourth. Technology is not far behind, as companies like Twitter and Facebook increasingly seek tax breaks and many localities bet on the industry’s long-term viability.
While we were celebrating Thanksgiving, Monsanto had much to be thankful for, too. Last month, the Department of Justice quietly scrapped an investigation begun in January 2010 into anticompetitive practices in the American seed market that Monsanto dominates like an extra-mean, extra-genetically-modified Hulk. Today, Hulk "pleased."
The DOJ didn't even see fit to mark the investigation's end with a press release. News of it emerged from a brief item Monsanto itself issued the Friday before Thanksgiving, declaring it had "received written notification" from the DOJ antitrust division that it had ended its investigation "without taking any enforcement action."
Climate Progress blogger Joe Romm is one of the best there is at breaking down climate science, which is to say that he is one of the best there is at dropping reams of data in your lap that he can demonstrate add up to the apocalypse. Yesterday, when you weren't looking, he dropped a ton of data in your lap in a post whose title ends in an exclamation point. So, you know. It's serious.
For a long time, climate scientists have been concerned about the effects of melting permafrost. By way of quick refresher, permafrost is the layer of frozen ground that is a hallmark of the Arctic. Since the region is usually below freezing, the soil stays frozen to varying depth, which has been a boon for development. Rock-solid soil makes it simple to build towns and roads. Until the permafrost starts to melt -- which it is -- causing some serious problems for those towns and roads.
That's actually the least troubling problem. Of far more concern is methane release. As layers of soil and vegetation that have been frozen solid for centuries thaw, they start to release methane that's been trapped. And, worse, that vegetation starts to decompose, releasing newly created methane. Methane, as we've noted, is far more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, creating a massive negative loop of warming and permafrost thaw and more warming and so on.
What's the U.N. going to do about the problem? Nothing. As Romm notes, a key U.N. report won't even acknowledge it exists.