Public sector pays the price

first_imgPublic sector pays the priceOn 4 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Congestion charging is here to stay. It looks like public sector staff willpay the price for working in the capital – but there’s been no sign ofdisruption on or off the roads. Jane Lewis reportsIt has been hailed a triumph by some, and it certainly wasn’t the”bloody day” that Ken Livingstone warned Londoners to expect. But while it is still too early to call the congestion charge a success, itis probably safe to say that anyone who took up William Hill’s 5:1 odds thatthe charge would be scrapped by the end of the year, must have resignedthemselves to taking a hit. Nearly three weeks into the scheme, there has been no sign of the widespreaddisruption, violent public protest, or mass refusal to pay the £5 charge thatso many predicted. Now it’s here, how are we going to live with it? And who will be mostaffected? In the run-up to the launch, the most vociferous opposition came froman unlikely coalition of Smithfield meat-workers and West End theatre staff,who teamed up with solicitors Class Law to mount a High Court challenge onbehalf of all low-paid workers. Taxing the poor Both Livingstone and the company responsible for managing the scheme,Transport for London (TfL), have long maintained that the impact on this groupwould be minimal, claiming that 85 per cent of those on low incomes living inor around central London don’t have cars anyway. This was challenged in some quarters. “Poorer people tend to shift workat unsocial hours when public transport is least available,” claimed theRAC. Nonetheless, the action was quietly dropped after raising just one tenth ofthe £500,000 it needed to bring the case to court. Its sponsors claimed victorybecause Livingstone has given assurances that he would at least considerintroducing a cheaper rate for drivers on low incomes. The controversy still raging, however, relates to key public sector workers.Here the scheme’s devisors appear to have shown remarkable inconsistency. Whilegovernment chauffeurs, police, firefighters and certain NHS staff carryingequipment or drugs are exempt from the charge, the majority of NHS workers,ambulance drivers and teachers are not. “We are already hearing anecdotal evidence that schools in the zone arebeing hit, with some teachers considering resignation,” said a NationalUnion of Teachers spokeswoman. For many, the prospect of spending an extra £1,200 a year just to get towork is a step too far – particularly in the absence of any forthcoming deal tohelp with the costs, “and there’s very little that individual schools cando”. One option under consideration is to raise the London Weighting allowanceto compensate for the charge. But this, as she pointed out, “is a veryblunt instrument”. Staff shortages London Ambulance staff are marginally better off, having struck a deal withemployers that gives those working in the zone £550 per year towards the charge– a move that will cost more than £250,000 a year. This is more likely to put pressure on other NHS chiefs to follow suit –particularly given strong language from unions. “This charge will tip manyon the breadline over the edge,” said Unison’s London spokesman GeoffMartin. The fear is that the charge will only add to the chronic staff shortagesalready gripping the NHS in London, making it even more difficult to recruitand retain doctors, nurses and paramedics. “It will add to the continual dripeffect, making it difficult for people to work in central London. Given thechoice of a job just inside the zone, or one outside, which would youchoose?” added Martin. The strategy HR chiefs in the NHS appear to be taking is to tackle theproblem on a case-by-case basis. Headed by Tim Higginson, personnel director at Guys & St Thomas’, theyhave come together and set up an appeals panel. Given that the charge has sofar provoked just one recorded resignation (a clerical officer at MoorfieldsEye Hospital), this selective approach may well turn out to be the mosteffective. Recruitment and retention is likely to prove less of an issue in the privatesector, said Charles Cotton, adviser on reward and employment conditions at theCIPD. “I don’t think someone is going to move out of central Londonbecause of the congestion charge. Uncertainty about the economy means therewon’t be a large number of people wanting to move job at present,” hesaid. However, he noted, there is still widespread concern that the dire state ofpublic transport could prove the Achilles heel of the congestion charge. “There may well be a lot of complaints from companies that staff arearriving at work stressed and exhausted,” said Cotton. Employers foot the bill Luckily, many staff may not have to worry about the cost. Research by lawfirm Fox Williams shows that 35 per cent of London employers have decided tofoot the bill. But, as employment specialist Helen Monson pointed out, thiscould have complicated implications for tax. While business journeys can be treated as expenses under existing InlandRevenue rules, the same is not true of journeys to and from work. Thus, ifemployers choose to reimburse staff for travelling to work, it will be treatedas a taxable benefit. That could put an extra 40 per cent on the bill for anupper-bracket taxpayer. Employers taking this course of action, she added, could also facechallenges for unfair treatment from staff using public transport. If commuterswho drive to work are reimbursed for their journey, why not them too? Path to flexible working The charge may well have other implications for HR in London. “There is a very real possibility that homeworking and more flexiblehours will become more popular,” said the Institute of Directors,”though this is likely to be confined to larger companies who can affordto accommodate different working patterns rather than small business.” Are we likely to see an extension of the congestion charge elsewhere? Theshort answer is yes. The launch of the scheme has attracted massive support ona global basis, while in the UK, some 35 towns and cities, including Bristol,Edinburgh and Nottingham, have announced an interest in following suit. Indeed, individual congestion schemes may shortly be overtaken by somethingmuch bigger. Sources close to the Government claim that widespread publicacceptance of Livingstone’s scheme – combined with its huge revenue-raisingpotential – means that plans for a national road toll scheme, based oninstalling sophisticated satellite tracking technology in every vehicle in thecountry, “have moved sharply up the political agenda”. Compared with the implications of a New Labour-inspired ‘spy-in-the-skysatellite’ scheme, charging from 3p a mile on quiet roads, to £1.30 a mile incrowded city centres, the London congestion charge will soon seem small beer. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Industry power couple launch off high street estate agency

first_imgTwo high-profile estate agents in Scotland are the latest to launch an off-the-high-street agency.Celia and Patrick Paton, who are to run their eponymous estate agency from the family home, say they want their firm to concentrate on personal service and upmarket property marketing all with technology at its heart rather than a physical branch.Paton & Co will be based at their borders home but cover the whole of Scotland although the pair say they will still offer a face-to-face service.“Instead of a shop window, we will provide enhanced online marketing, which makes perfect sense when 95% of home buyers start their house search online,” says Patrick.“A year ago, we might have been looking for office premises, but recent events have highlighted the possibilities of working from home and using technology more effectively to allow a better work-life balance.“With two young sons, we know how important that is, which is why we understand clients who are searching for a particular lifestyle as much as a new house.”Property backgroundsThe pair have extensive industry experienced. He worked at Knight Frank and Smiths Gore before becoming a partner at Rettie, while Celia worked in property marketing for several years at McEwan Fraser Legal.Unusually for a start-up, Paton & Co is to market its homes on all four UK property portals – OTM, Zoopla, Rightmove and Boomin.It will also offer virtual tours for all its properties as standard and is using what3words tech to help those attending viewings find out-of-the way properties.Main pic: Patrick and Celia Paton with sons, Jock and Freddie, and dog, Fidget.Celia Paton Patrick Paton Paton &Co online agent Scotland April 7, 2021Nigel LewisWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Agencies & People » Industry power couple launch off high street estate agency previous nextAgencies & PeopleIndustry power couple launch off high street estate agencyCelia and Patrick Paton say Covid has proved agencies don’t have to operate a branch to be successful.Nigel Lewis7th April 20210802 Viewslast_img read more

Mayor’s Update June 9

first_imgMayor Jay Gillian Dear Friends,Last Saturday (June 3), we held a town hall meeting to share information on our 2017 bayside dredging program. Many in attendance had questions about dredging private boat slips. I’ve asked my team and ACT Engineers to work together to create a simple fact sheet explaining the responsibilities of individual owners, the city and the state when it comes to completing this work. I will update you within the next two weeks with a link to this new resource.At last night’s City Council meeting, it was announced that the city issued $25 million in short-term notes to help pay for capital improvements in the city. The interest rate on this borrowing is just 1.06 percent. That rate is directly related to Ocean City’s exceptional AA Standard & Poor’s rating. This helps Ocean City continue to make responsible investments in infrastructure work citywide.City Council also voted to accept a gift of more than $150,000 from the Friends of the Ocean City Pops to install cameras and video screens at the Ocean City Music Pier. The screens will add a lot to the experience of attending a Pops concert – providing close-ups of musicians and headliners and bringing all of the visuals a lot closer for those seated in the back of the auditorium. The equipment will be available not just for Pops concerts but for the entire lineup of Music Pier shows and entertainment throughout the year.I’d like you all to join me in thanking the Friends of the Pops for this generous gift, and I want to encourage you all to attend a Pops show this summer. The season opens on June 25 with Vanessa Williams taking the spotlight. The summer schedule includes something for music lovers of all tastes and ages (see complete schedule ). The Pops and the Music Pier are two of Ocean City’s greatest treasures, and this gift will make them even more valuable.I’d like to remind everybody that the twice-a-week trash and recycling pickup schedule begins on Monday. You can check pickup days for your address here.The Ocean City Exchange Club honored Tom Oves Jr. on Monday with its annual “Book of Golden Deeds” award. The honor recognizes citizens who make selfless contributions to their community, and Tom is the perfect recipient. It was inspiring to see so many people from all parts of Ocean City come out Monday to pay tribute to him. He has served the community as an educator, Board of Education member, youth sports coach, Junior Wrestling Club founder, business owner and neighbor. It’s people like Tom who help make Ocean City such a great place to live and visit.I also want to remind you that Restaurant Week in Ocean City runs tonight through next Friday. The week offers a great chance to try a new place or to get a great deal at one of your favorites. Check menus and offers at .Warm regards,Jay A. GillianMayorlast_img read more

Slide for Amyloid Tomorrow Features Taste of Ocean City

first_imgChip Miller Skatefest 2018. (Chip Miller Facebook) The Chip Miller Amyloidosis Foundation will present a fundraiser, the “Slide for Amyloid” tomorrow, July 20 at the Ocean City Water Park to raise awareness and funds to combat the deadly disease, Amyloidosis.The event, which starts at 5 p.m., features food, music and surprises.The food feast, “A Taste of Ocean City,” will feature specialties from eight Ocean City restaurants.Tickets are $50 for children and young adults aged 5 to 20 ($60 at the door $75 adults 21 and up ($85 at the door;) with Family Four Packs of four tickets priced at $200 ($225 at the door.) Kids aged 4 and under are free.It’s all to combat Amyloidosis, a rare disease which is usually fatal if not diagnosed in time. Amyloidosis is a condition which has no known cause and no known cure. It results in the buildup of amyloid proteins on the organs.Chip Miller, a longtime Ocean City resident and supporter of its surfing community, was stricken with the disease in and passed away in 2004, just a few months after his diagnosis.Chip’s son Lance, an event organizer, said rather than dwell on the tragedy, the event is “a big party and a celebration of my Dad’s life. At the same time we hope to make people aware of the disease and encourage early diagnosis.”A Surf Fest bearing Miller’s name will take place on Friday July 20 at 7th Street Beach in Ocean City.  Sign-ins begin at 7:30 a.m. and the contest starts at 8:30. If there are no waves, the contest will take place on Saturday  or Sunday July 21 or 22.To register for the Slide and/or the Surf Fest in advance, visit the Chip Miller Amyloidosis Foundation website at read more

Pink Talking Fish Delivers One-Two Punch With Sold Out New Hampshire Shows

first_imgPink Talking Fish brought their full bodied experience to New Hampshire over the weekend. The hybrid tribute fusion band, which performs the music of Pink Floyd, Talking Heads, and Phish, is comprised of Eric Gould on bass, Dave Brunyak on guitar, Zack Burwick on drums, and Richard James on keys.  Friday night experienced a sold out crowd at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, with Saturday’s sold out performance at the Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center in Plymouth. Both shows simply ripped the audience to shreds from dancing their asses off during the blistering performances.The crowd was packed at 3S Artspace, and the band started off the night with a banging version of The Talking Heads “Nothing But Flowers” before flowing into Phish’s “Mike’s Song.” Brunyak went into a spacey jam, taking the audience on a magic carpet ride of majestic tones that wouldn’t quit, as Gould provided a solid backdrop of bass dynamics. Without hesitation, Pink Floyd’s “Time” reared its head, with Burwick lending deep drums as the song was introduced onto the set. James positioned gentle keys into the tune, building it up ever so slowly.The endless melodies streamed into a catchy “Simple” before cooling off the soaked venue with “Fearless.” James eased into a psychedelic “Psycho Killer” which quickly prompted full blown audience participation, as many of the lyrics were blasted out with arms raised in the air. Tinges of guitar, coupled with bass that lingered for days, held the flow together, as Burwick retained a solid beat in the back end.“Wish You Were Here” was teased before flowing into David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The playful back and forth between the two songs amazed the audience, not knowing when the next flip flop in the mashup would occur. It was a masterful performance with the two melodies before closing out first set with “Weekapaug Groove.”After a quick set break, “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” brought fans back in from the cool night air, as teases of Black Sabbath and “I Want My MTV” were sprinkled in with the opener before rolling into “Maze.” “Found A Job” teased “Dove” by Cymande. If you weren’t paying attention, it was easy to miss.“Hey You” rolled in and out of “Golden Age” and “Thank You For Sending Me An Angel,” which teased “Runaway Jim.” The hits kept coming as “Pigs (3 Different Ones),” “Sand,” fan favorite “This Must Be the Place,” and “Harry Hood” filled out the rest of second set. Encore featured a bluesy “Seamus,” with James on vocals, followed by Phish’s “Sleeping Monkey,” bringing the show to a close.Night two of their New Hampshire run was to a sold out crowd at the Flying Monkey. Before the band took to the stage, frisbees and flying monkey sling shot stuffed animals were thrown out to the crowd, getting the venue amped up for the evening’s performance. The band opened with “Possum” before edging into Pink Floyd’s “Breathe,” which cooled off the high energy swirling around the theater. Filling in for keys on Saturday was Jordan Giangreco of The Breakfast.  He added a touch of multicolored, deep tones, and held down the vocals for the song, before the notes morphed into Phish’s “Cities,” with Brunyak taking over on vocals. The Phish theme continued with an extended steamy “Stash.” Jazzy tones danced around the melody and the crowd provided full audience participation with belted out lyrics.Throughout the show, visual imagery splashed around on a huge screen behind the band, creating a heady experience for the crowd. Pink Floyd cropped up with “Have A Cigar” before busting into an electrified, bass heavy “Making Flippy Floppy” that teased Phish’s “Rift” before sliding back in to wrap up “Making Flippy Floppy.” The surprises continued as they slammed into a full on “Rift.” “Run Like Hell” got down and dirty with slinking keys, throbbing bass beats, and tight drums that pulled the melody together. “Big Business” took listeners on a winding jam full of trippy vibes on the keys, which took the song wide open with exploratory tones throughout. The guys were clearly having a blast on stage, along with a pumped up audience, as first set came to a close.After a quick set break,”Girlfriend is Better” woke the venue up again. A spicy jam was incorporated into the tune before they strolled into “No Men In No Man’s Land.” A tasty “Astronomy Domine” filled the air before an energetic “Life During Wartime” took over.Another genius flip flop mashup commanded the set as they ebbed from “You Enjoy Myself” into “Dogs” and back and forth again. Crammed with nuggets of delicate tones, spirited, trippy vibes that circled around the venue, and splashes of keys that went on for days, fans were naturally going nuts. Brushes of cymbal, coupled with slight strums of the guitar, helped build up the energy during the never-ending jam. Brunyak had no fear holding the notes for an extended period of time, making the crowd go wild and begging for more. The Talking Heads “Crosseyed and Painless” creeped in as dancing images of David Byrne dashed across the screen behind them, bringing second set to a close. The immensely energetic evening encored with “Run Like An Antelope,” wrapping up one hell of a hot weekend run.For more information on Pink Talking Fish, along with a full rundown of their tour dates, please visit their official website.Setlist: Pink Talking Fish | 3S Artspace | Portsmouth, NH | 2/17/17Set 1: Nothing But Flowers>Mike’s Song>Time>Wild, Wild Life>Simple>Fearless*>Steam>Psycho Killer**>Wish You Were Here/Space Oddity Mashup>Weekapaug GrooveSet 2: Shine On You Crazy Diamond***%>Maze, Found A Job%%, Hey You>Golden Age>Thank You For Sending Me An Angel%%%, Pigs (3 Different Ones)***>Sand, This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody), Harry HoodEncore: Seamus, Sleeping Monkey*w/ Bug lyrics and melody blended into the end of Fearless**w/ Exodus tease***w/ Black Sabbath tease% w/ “I Want My MTV” lyric%% w/ Dove by Cymande tease%%% w/ Runaway Jim teaseSetlist: Pink Talking Fish | Flying Monkie Movie House & Performance Center | Plymouth, NH | 2/18/17Set 1: Possum>Breathe>Cities, Stash, Have A Cigar>Making Flippy Floppy*>Rift, Run Like Hell>Big BusinessSet 2: Girlfriend Is Better>No Men In No Man’s Land>Astronomy Domine>Life During Wartime, You Enjoy Myself>Dogs>You Enjoy Myself>Dogs, Crosseyed And PainlessEncore: Run Like An Antelope*w/ Rift teaseWords and Photography by Sarah Bourque. 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David Crosby Announces Coast-To-Coast U.S. Fall Tour And New Solo Studio Album

first_imgDavid Crosby, founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and the Byrds, is officially hitting the road this fall with a coast-to-coast U.S. tour. With stops in major cities across North America–including Seattle, WA; San Francisco, CA; San Diego, CA; Madison, WI; Albany, NY; Port Chester, NY; and so many more–David Crosby has tapped a familiar group to join him on tour, including Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, Becca Stevens, and Michelle Willis. The trio comprises the Lighthouse Band, previously touring with Crosby in support of his 2016 album Lighthouse. Albeit no details yet, Crosby has been working on a solo album in collaboration with the trio, which will be released via BMG this fall.Crosby, who turned 77 this month, has experienced a late in life resurgence in his own career and the history of rock and roll. His new album due out in the fall will be his fourth solo album in five years, collaborating for the second time with his Lighthouse Band. Additionally, the first fully authorized documentary of Crosby will be released in the near future. Directed by A.J. Eaton and produced by Cameron Crowe, the film will portray the musical legends life throughout the years, as the geniuses behind this followed David Crosby around for years.For more information and to purchase tickets, head to Croz’s official website.David Crosby Upcoming Tour Dates:Nov 2 @ Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WANov 4 @ Aladdin Theatre – Portland, ORNov 6 @ Castro Theatre – San Francisco, CANov 8 @ Lobero Theatre, Santa Barbara, CANov 9 @ Golden State Theatre – Monterey, CANov 10 @ Fred Kavli Theatre – Thousand Oaks, CANov 12 @ Balboa Theatre – San Diego, CANov 13 @ City National Grove – Anaheim, CANov 15 @ National Hispanic Cultural Centre – Albuquerque, NMNov 17 @ Liberty Hall – Lawrence, KSNov 19 @ North Shore Centre for the Performing Arts – Skokie, ILNov 20 @ Capitol Theatre – Madison, WINov 24 @ The Paramount Theatre – Cedar Rapids, IANov 25 @ Kalamazoo State Theatre – Kalamazoo, MINov 28 @ The Kent Stage – Kent, OHNov 29 @ Weinberg Center for the Arts – Frederick, MDDec 1 @ The Egg Performing Arts Centre – Albany, NYDec 2 @ Whitaker Centre for Science and the Arts, Sunoco Performance Theatre – Harrisburg, PADec 4 @ Tupelo Music Hall – Derry, NHDec 5 @ Bergen Performing Arts Centre – Englewood, NJDec 7 @ Zeiterion Performing Arts Centre – New Bedford, MADec 8 @ Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NYView All Tour Dateslast_img read more

The Future of the Workplace in 1-5-10 Years

first_imgTechnology and innovation are constantly creating new opportunities and challenges that will impact how we work in 2020 and in the years to come. With that in mind, Dell Technologies recently invited an eclectic group of colleagues, partners, media, analysts and industry experts to help us explore the transformative trends reshaping the workplace. We explored the future: one year out, five years out, and 10 years out.  Here’s where we arrived:One Year: The Duality of the Mobile WorkforceWhile the introduction of mobile technology and cloud-based solutions have certainly helped make the idea of working anytime, anywhere a reality, the mix of Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials and now, Gen-Z, creates a complicated dynamic of working styles and productivity drivers that are hard to ignore.As work becomes less of a place you go, and more of a task you perform, employees expect to be able to work whenever they want, wherever they want. But are businesses truly ready to evolve the traditional 9-to-5 desk job to meet the needs and expectations of employees?In the next year, businesses will need to strike a balance between empowering employees to work virtual through advanced technology solutions and retaining a workplace environment that allows their employees to work onsite in the office; maintaining company culture and productivity.Five Years: Understanding and Satisfying the Expectations of Gen Z They’re coming! The first wave of Gen Z employees started infiltrating workforces in 2019 and they’re very different from their millennial counterparts. They’ve grown up with cutting-edge technology and are a hyperconnected, collaborative cohort that is accustomed to learning and working in groups.So, will organizations be ready to meet the needs of these digital natives? They’d better be. Gen Z employees want to focus their skills at companies that provide the flexibility and freedom to be entrepreneurial through personalized roles. What’s more, they see the tech industry as the sweet spot to pursue these career goals.Providing intuitive technology and solutions is just one piece of the puzzle for organizations looking to attract this next wave of talent. In the next five years, organizations will need to challenge the hierarchical power dynamic between employees and employers, and provide Gen Z employees with career paths that develop and bolster their skills in new and exciting ways.Ten Years: People and Technology Form the Fabric of the OrganizationIn 10 years, the workplace will be completely redefined as the what we call the fourth industrial revolution has fully taken hold. Technology and IT solutions will more seamlessly support and offload and workplace tasks, and this in turn will reshape the responsibilities and roles of employers and employees. A recent workplace study by McKinsey reported that 60 percent of jobs will be transformed through the automation of a component tasks by 2030.While that may sound like a scary prospect for some, the experts don’t expect machines to fully replace us any time soon. Over the next decade, workers and organizations will adapt as machines take over mundane tasks, and new work opportunities will emerge, involving qualities and skills that are fundamentally human.Employers — specifically the C-Suite — can expect IT to hold an integral role among all functions of the organization. Information and technology will be the invisible threads that drive and connect everything.Ten years out, organizations that successfully achieve digital workplace transformations will be at an advantage over businesses struggling with legacy systems, massive amounts of data and workforces unprepared for change. Some companies will run the race quicker than others, which could widen the gulf between businesses that are future-ready and able to benefit from emerging technologies, and those that are not. But one thing is for certain: the steps organizations take today — including modernizing infrastructure, inspiring employees, and deploying next-generation technologies — will lay the groundwork for their digital-future and help to bring to fruition the next wave of human led, technology-underpinned progress.last_img read more

Group considers restructuring to improve transparency

first_imgSaint Mary’s Student Government Association discussed the possibility of restructuring at its Tuesday meeting. Student body president Nicole Gans said she was looking to other school’s student governments for reform options. “We have been doing a lot of research on how other schools student governments function,” she said. Student body vice president Jacqualyn Zupancic said fluctuations in the organizations structure in recent years have been problematic. A more deliberate structure could help reduce confusion and more effectively engage the student body. “There has been so much change over the last couple of years. We need to have something stable, a structure that just flows,” she said. “[We need] something that, going forward, makes sense. We can get so many more people involved.” Gans solicited ideas on how the organization can be made more effective and efficient with more clearly articulated roles. “This is a drawing board so changes can be made along the way,” she said. Chief of staff Emily Skirtich said the efforts required of the current administration will pay off for future Saint Mary’s student leaders. “This is a stepping stone,” she said. “Making this restructuring is difficult in our positions now, but it’s really getting a new generation of Saint Mary’s students involved.” College Vice President of Student Affairs Karen Johnson praised the group’s effort at approving accessibility and transparency within student government. “This opens up transparency and gets more people the opportunity to be involved,” she said. “You have really thought outside the box. It’s not just about you, but also student government going forward.” Zupancic said the group would begin detailing the changes and drafting a revised constitution in January.last_img read more

In ‘Symbolically Charged Move,’ a Record Faith-Based Fossil-Fuel Divestment by Investors With $5.5 Trillion in Assets

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:More than 40 Catholic institutions are to announce the largest ever faith-based divestment from fossil fuels, on the anniversary of the death of St Francis of Assisi.The sum involved has not been disclosed but the volume of divesting groups is four times higher than a previous church record, and adds to a global divestment movement, led by investors worth $5.5tn.Church institutions joining the action include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the diocese of Assisi-Nocera Umbra-Gualdo Tadino, the spiritual home of the world’s Franciscan brothers.A spokesman for the €4.5bn German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas said that it was committing to divest from coal, tar sands and shale oil.In a symbolically charged move, the Italian town of Assisi will also shed all oil, coal and gas holdings the day before a visit by the Italian prime minister, Paolo Gentiloni, to mark St Francis’s feast day.The origins of the latest church action lie in last year’s climate encyclical by Pope Francis – himself named after St Francis of Assisi – although the project was advanced by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.More: Catholic Church to Make Record Divestment From Fossil Fuels In ‘Symbolically Charged Move,’ a Record Faith-Based Fossil-Fuel Divestment by Investors With $5.5 Trillion in Assetslast_img read more

Ignoring Washington, corporate America continues to expand its renewable energy footprint

first_imgIgnoring Washington, corporate America continues to expand its renewable energy footprint FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:Dozens of Fortune 500 companies, from tech giants like Apple and Google to Walmart and General Motors, are voluntarily investing billions of dollars in new wind and solar projects to power their operations or offset their conventional energy use, becoming a major driver of renewable electricity growth in the United States.“You’re definitely not seeing corporations slow down their appetite for renewables under Trump — if anything, demand continues to grow,” said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president for policy at Advanced Energy Economy, a clean energy business group. “And it means that many utilities increasingly have to evolve to satisfy this demand.”One big question, however, is whether these corporate renewable deals will remain a relatively niche market, adding some wind and solar at the margins but not really making a sizable dent in overall emissions, or whether these companies can use their clout to transform America’s grid and help usher in a new era of low-carbon power.Last year in the United States, 19 large corporations announced deals with energy providers to build 2.78 gigawatts worth of wind and solar generating capacity, equal to one-sixth of all of the renewable capacity added nationwide in 2017, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewable Center. (Power companies themselves added much of the rest, often in response to state mandates.)That trend appears to be accelerating. Corporations have already announced deals for another 2.48 gigawatts of wind and solar in the first half of 2018, as companies like AT&T and Nestlé join the search for cleaner power to fulfill their sustainability goals and take advantage of the rapidly declining cost of renewables.“We didn’t intend to do this as a statement about Paris, though it has become a statement that we’re definitely still in,” said Brian Janous, general manager of energy at Microsoft, which has so far bought enough wind and solar power to match 50 percent of the demand from its global data centers.“But with how fast wind and solar prices have fallen, we see this as something that makes financial sense,” he said.At least 22 companies in the Fortune 500 have committed to buying enough renewable power to match 100 percent of their electricity use in the years ahead. And some analysts say these goals could help spur electric utilities to continue reducing their own emissions even as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era policies like the Clean Power Plan, a regulation focused on reducing carbon emissions from power plants.“We think this is a major trend,” said Lisa Wood, vice president of customer solutions at the Edison Electric Institute, a major utility trade group. “Customers are becoming the driver.”More: A Year After Trump’s Paris Pullout, U.S. Companies Are Driving a Renewables Boomlast_img read more