Japan’s Nippon Life to end lending for new coal projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Asahi Shimbun:Nippon Life Insurance Co. plans to become the first leading Japanese financial institution to reject investments and loans into new coal-fired power generation projects at home and abroad, a company source said July 12.The decision, made by Japan’s largest life insurance company, may have a domino effect across the financial industry.“It was difficult,” said a Nippon Life executive. “But we, as a life insurance company, which is supposed to offer society a huge public benefit, decided not to do that.”After the Paris Agreement against global warming took effect in 2016, many financial and other institutions in the United States and European countries ended their investments and loans to coal-fired power projects.As for Japanese companies, three mega-banks intend to set stricter standards when deciding on investments toward coal-fired power generation. Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co. announced in May that it would not invest in construction of coal-fired power plants overseas.More: Nippon Life won’t invest in coal-fired power plant projects
Spain aims for 100% renewables by 2050 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Spain has launched an ambitious plan to switch its electricity system entirely to renewable sources by 2050 and completely decarbonise its economy soon after.By mid-century greenhouse gas emissions would be slashed by 90% from 1990 levels under Spain’s draft climate change and energy transition law. To do this, the country’s social democratic government is committing to installing at least 3,000MW of wind and solar power capacity every year in the next 10 years ahead.New licences for fossil fuel drills, hydrocarbon exploitation and fracking wells, will be banned, and a fifth of the state budget will be reserved for measures that can mitigate climate change. This money will ratchet upwards from 2025.Under the plan, “just transition” contracts will be drawn up, similar to the £220m package announced in October, that will shut most Spanish coal mines in return for a suite of early retirement schemes, re-skilling in clean energy jobs, and environmental restoration. These deals will be partly financed by auction returns from the sale of emissions rights.The government has already scrapped a controversial “sun tax” that halted Spain’s booming renewables sector earlier this decade, and the new law will also mandate a 35% electricity share for green energy by 2030.More: Spain plans switch to 100% renewable electricity by 2050
EIA: Renewables provide almost 18% of U.S. electricity FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Clean Technica:The United States Energy Information Administration has recently published data revealing that renewable energy sources provided nearly 18% of the country’s electrical generation through the first nine months of the year, while solar and wind grew substantially as compared to the same nine months a year ago.The Energy Information Administration (EIA) published its Electric Power Monthly (with data up through September 30, 2018) this week, which was then analyzed by the SUN DAY Campaign run by Ken Bossong, which pays close attention to the EIA’s regular energy reports. According to SUN DAY’s analysis of EIA numbers, renewable energy sources — which include biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind — accounted for 17.8% of the country’s net domestic electrical generation through the first three-quarters of 2018.Interestingly, this was a marginal increase on the 17.6% recorded through the first nine months of 2017, despite the fact that hydropower generation dropped by 5.1%.Through the same period, EIA’s data shows that solar and wind both saw strong growth, with utility-scale solar growing by 30.3% (which includes distributed small-scale solar) and wind energy growing by 14.5% compared to the same period a year earlier. Taken together, wind and solar accounted for almost 9% of the country’s electrical generation and 49.7% of the total from all renewable energy sources.Looking at all renewable energy technologies, hydropower remains the consistent leader, accounting for 7.05% of the nation’s total electricity generation, followed by wind with 6.41%, solar with 2.42%, biomass with 1.48% after a 1.5% increase in generation, and geothermal with 0.39% after a 5.4% increase.More: Renewables account for 18% of U.S. electricity generation
As a backpacker and the mother of a two year old, I wonder if and how and when we will ever be able to hike long distances as a family. That question seems to be getting more attention with exceptionally younger thru-hikers tackling the trail.In 2013, a five-year-old boy known by his trail name “Buddy Backpacker” hiked the entire Appalachian Trail with his parents and became the youngest recorded thru hiker on the 2,189-mile trail. In 2014, Buddy and his family completed the 2,663-mile Pacific Crest Trail. That same year, Lisa Murray started the Appalachian Trail with her three-year-old twins, Tess and Cole. The twins spent their fourth birthday on the trail and managed to cover over 1,000 miles in 4 months. This year, Tess and Cole plan to finish their A.T. journey in mid-September.Are these families providing a positive life-changing adventure for their children, or are they pushing the limits—and their offspring—a little too far?Cindy Ross is a mother, author, and adventurer who made long distance trips with her kids. She trekked the 550-mile Colorado Trail with four llamas, a three-year-old daughter, and a one-year-old son. They turned that hike into the start of a Continental Divide Trail traverse and finished the 3,000-mile journey in five summers.Yet Cindy does express concerns about young children undertaking long-distance hikes. “My kids had a choice to ride (a llama) or hike, and they never had to carry anything. They were completely in charge of the trip. We took breaks every hour and allowed as much time to play as to hike. Moderation is also really important. We were never out there more than eight weeks. I wouldn’t have wanted to take my kids out there for six months at a time. I didn’t want to push them.”There are, however, children who like to push themselves (and their parents), like Asher Molyneaux, who was seven years old when he approached his father and asked if they could hike the Appalachian Trail. He was eight years old when he completed the journey, with his father Paul devotedly hiking behind him. “It was his hike,” Paul says. “Asher hiked in front to set the pace and determine our mileage. We were only out there as long as he wanted to be out there.”Most eight year olds are attending second grade, but Asher and many of the children hiking the trail are homeschooled by their parents—and the trail. “I remember people asking me about his education, and I always thought it was such a strange question,” said Paul. “He was getting the best education possible from the trail and the people on it.”Looking back now at age 13, Asher says, “I was learning so much on the trail and from the people I met on the trail. We ended up hiking with a naturalist, a drag racer, and an astronomer. I learned a lot of things that not everybody else got to learn.”When asked about the risk of hiking with young children, Paul points out that it’s more dangerous to put your kid in a car seat than to take them hiking on the Appalachian Trail. “I wasn’t nervous,” Asher adds. “The fear of the woods wasn’t instilled in me.” Now Asher wants to do the trail again but says he will probably wait until he’s sixteen.Still, most parents, myself included, have hesitations about taking their young children on long-distance backpacking trips for physiological and psychological reasons. Consulting with a doctor and talking through these concerns will help families feel better prepared on the trail.Mother, backpacker, and pediatrician Tracy Macpherson does not believe that an extended trip would adversely harm a child developmentally. “The human body is amazing,” she says. “It is fully equipped to respond and adapt to the stresses imposed. I suspect this is even more true with children. With the proper training, anyone—including children—will become more physiologically ready for an extended backpacking trip.” Any ill effects would only arise from poor preparation or pushing children beyond their ability.The common theme among parents who hike successfully with young children is this: it is not the parent’s hike—it is the child’s journey. When there is no emotional attachment to success or a finish line, there is also no age limit on adventure and self-discovery.There will most likely always be concern and backlash against children hiking long-distance, but perhaps that is because we live in a culture where most children are not spending much time outdoors. I have met young long-distance hikers like Asher Molyneaux and Buddy Backpacker, and when I talk to them about the trail, they typically smile, laugh, and light up with excitement. That seems like a good indicator that these kids are capable and old enough to hike the trail. Because as Cindy Ross puts it, “It’s impossible to make a small child fake being happy.”
Can you believe it? October is the Live Outside and Play Road Team’s last month on the road! And we plan to make it the best yet. We’re traveling the whole span of the Blue Ridge territory this month so there is no excuse not to come by and say hello! Check out some of the events we have going on during our final hurrah.October 5th-8th: The Festy ExperienceNelson County, VirginiaWe already know music, craft beer, and the outdoors are a match made in every adventurer’s heaven. Join us at The Fest Experience for incredible tunes, the Blue Ridge Burn, and an excuse to camp in October. Find our tent by the Blue Ridge Outdoors stage, and you find another threesome made in adventurer heaven- tunes, free swag, and raffles for outdoor adventure gear!October 12th: Group Ride with Roanoke Mountain AdventuresRoanoke, VirginiaRoanoke boasts itself as the “Mountain Bike Capital of the East.” Join us for a group mountain bike ride with Roanoke Mountain Adventures and put their claim to the test. We will have rides for all skill levels, so have no fear, even the newb-iest of newbs will find some surfy trails to cruise along.October 13th-15th: Roanoke GO OUTSIDE Festival – GO FestRoanoke, VirginiaRoanoke GO OUTSIDE Festival feels like a small town fest, with the benefit of being a sizable city. Check out the schedule and plan the perfect weekend. Whether you line dock dogs up next to pure barre, or BMX demo’s next to the Lumberjack show, you’re going to have a good time. There is literally something for everyone.October 21st: Bridge DayOak Hill, West VirginiaThere are so many ways to get from the bridge down to the floor of the canyon, you pick! Base jumping, rappelling, skydiving, TANDEM base jumping, the list goes on, and so does the fun. Join us for our FINAL festival and find out what all the capital letters are about. Did I mention there is a Bridge Day Chili Cookoff?October 28th: Trail Maintenance with Greenville County Parks and RecGreenville, South CarolinaOur final event has to be something for the community because, at its core, this program is about maintaining the nature we so dearly love, live in, and enjoy. We will be teaming with Greenville County Parks and Rec to work on a trail that needs some love. More details to be announced as the event gets closer!As with every event we attend, we will be repping our sponsors and their awesome gear! You can check out first hand what we use on the road to live outside and play, including gear from La Sportiva, Crazy Creek, National Geographic, RovR Products, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, LifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.
Being a military brat, and having moved a fair number of times during my childhood, I missed out on a lot of time with my grandparents. One set lived in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, the other in Southern Mississippi, and after leaving Mississippi at the age of four for California, I never lived fewer than eight hours away from either pair. In fact, with my dad taking two tours of duty in Germany during my teens, I was an ocean away for six years.Looking back, I cherish the way I was able to grow up, living around the country and the world, but there is a regret there, an envy, when I hear from friends who were able to grow up closely surrounded by their extended families.Nashville based songwriter Chris Kessenich took inspiration from his grandfathers, both named Art, for his latest project. Arts Fishing Club, named for the time Chris spent on the water with his grandfathers, released the first part of its debut record, Human, late last month.Human I is the first of a two part song collection featuring jangling guitars, equally soaring and contemplative keys, and introspective lyrics highlighting the lessons his imparted to Chris at the feet, and behind the reel, of his grandfathers.I recently caught up with Chris to chat about grandfathers, the new record, and life lessons learned from fishing.BRO – Fondest memory of those fishing sessions with your grandfathers?CK – Unfortunately, my dad’s father, Colonel Arthur Kessenich, passed when I was in fourth grade. I literally only have one or two memories of him and one of those was him teaching me how to fish off a dock at a cabin in Wisconsin. The fishing connection with him is particularly meaningful, as it represents 50% of my memories with him. My other grandfather, Arthur Schmidt, used to take my cousins and me up to Canada fishing. I don’t know that there is one particular memory that sticks out. Just getting to spend that much time with people you love doing nothing but slaying pike and walleye. Those were some pretty special times.BRO – Fly fishing? Spinners? Preference?CK – I’m so enamored by fly fishing, but I am god-awful at it. We grew up fishing on the lakes in Wisconsin, so it’s primarily spinners, spoons, bucktails, and jiggin’. To be completely honest, I’m a pretty terrible fisherman relative to all my cousins. I’m the guy that will be in the boat and everyone else will have caught four big ole boys and I’ll have lost my one hit. I think I’m better at singing and drinking. Things have been better in recent years, but that is probably why my grandfathers’ philosophy – it’s not what you catch, but who you share it with – has resonated with me so much.BRO – Human is coming out in two volumes. Is there a particular theme that defines this first set of songs and sets it apart from the upcoming second volume?CK – The subject matter in both parts of Human covers a lot of emotions and ideas, so I wouldn’t say there is a particular theme, except for the exploration of what it means to be human in this day and age. Human I is much darker in lyrical tone. Human II is less lyrically intense, though it still has its moments.BRO – We are featuring “Icarus” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?CK – “Icarus” was written to be a bit ironic or satirical. Whichever one, I always screw those up. The story of Icarus in Greek mythology is about hubris and excess. When I wrote the song, I was looking back on a time in my life that was marked by partying and undue excess. It’s supposed to feel like a party song that gets you dancing, because that’s what we’re doing. We’re partying. But when you start peeling back the layers, you’ll find it is more of a critique than a rallying call or manic party tune.BRO – Flash forward to your first time fishing with your own grandchild. What’s the first lesson you impart?CK – Well, that’s a fun though to entertain. Suddenly, I’m grinning from ear to ear. I think I’ll steal from my grandparents. That taught me that fishing is about casting over and over again, coming up empty-handed and doing it over anyway. And if we don’t catch anything, we haven’t wasted our time. I think that fishing is such an amazing metaphor for creativity and life. I’d want that lesson to sink in. Either that or make sure you know what’s behind you before you cast the hook!Arts Fishing Club’s tour schedule is pretty quiet until December, when fans can catch the band in Nashville and NYC. Until then, be sure to check out the band’s website for tour updates and how you can get your hands on Human I and the forthcoming Human II.Make sure you take a listen to to “Icarus,” along with new tunes from The Brother Brothers, The Watson Twins, Greta Van Fleet, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.
BRO: What are your favorite places to hike? Upton: My favorite areas to hike are the Black Mountains, Middle Prong Wilderness, and Linville Gorge Wilderness — all located within Pisgah National Forest.* What advice to you have for others who may want to follow in your footsteps? Do your research. Respect nature. Care for it. Always bring extra socks. Photography isn’t something I know too much about—I’m a hiker with a camera—but I simply try to capture what I see and tell a story. I write as a means of decompression after a good hike, and as a means of conveying information that is hopefully educational and inspires you to get out there. The ancient rock formations of Linville Gorge never cease to incite awe. This photogenic area along the Mountains To Sea Trail is known as The Chimneys. Catching sunsets along the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of my favorite things to do. Seeing how the dimming rays of the sun mixes with shadows to create explosions of color upon the layers of the Blue Ridge is awe-inspiring, if not breathtaking. A perfect day to me is hiking somewhere off the Parkway, grabbing a pizza, and watching the light show at Cowee Mountain Overlook with faves. Heaven. Sun rays cuts through the dissipating morning fog along the Black Mountain Crest Trail. The Crest Trail is my favorite hike in WNC. It’s the highest alpine trail on the east coast, boasting almost a dozen 6,000’ peaks along its 12-mile route — and while the hike is a challenge, the countless mountain vistas and moss-covered cloud forests are unparalleled. What lessons or insights have you discovered on the trail?Be prepared. Nature provides, but nature can also be deadly. Respect it. I’ve found that nature is as spiritual as church, and climbing over rocks, up hills, and through thorns is as relaxing as any vacation. Everyone should try it. Roger Upton has hiked in every national park and national forest in the Southeast, and for the past several years, he’s shared his journeys as the Carolina Trekker. The South Carolina native explored the outdoors from an early age, and today, he continues to wander deep into the wilds of Appalachia. We asked Upton to offer his insights from his years of hiking in these hills. He’s also shared his five favorite photos and the stories behind them.This was a quiet moment in the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness as my hiking companion, Matthew, stopped to rest and double check his map. It’s always refreshing to hike with those who “get” you and whom you trust and respect out on the trail. This peaceful moment would soon be forgotten as we began the near-vertical push through thorns, blowdown, mud, and rocks to the Naked Ground terminus of Slickrock Creek Trail #42. What have the toughest, scariest, or most memorable moments from the trail? All those can be answered in one hike: Slickrock Creek Trail in Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Creek Wilderness, located in Nantahala National Forest. It’s revered in the hiking community as one of the ten or so toughest hikes in the country. Aside from the endless creek crossings, insane heat (we hiked it in mid-July), climbing over downed house-sized trees, keeping the faint trail among overgrown thorns, picking ticks and dodging snakes — the final straight up ascent is enough to break most hikers — if they even make it that far. I’ve never left a hike so bloodied, bruised, and battered physically and mentally. But was it worth it? Hell yeah! Anyone who knows me knows I am most at home among the mountains and streams and trees. Nature both rejuvenates and humbles me. It’s the one place where I feel truly connected to something far greater than myself. I am a guest of the wilderness, if not a welcomed outsider. For whatever hours and miles I hike, it’s here that I am truly free and without care. I might not be lost, but it’s here that I lose myself. How far along are you on your South Beyond 6,000 attempt?The SB6K is a challenge of bagging 40 peaks in the Southern Appalachians that are at least 6,000’ in height. I like to climb, I like a challenge, and I like solitude. These peaks and their trails meet all those criteria for the most part. I’m about halfway through the challenge.
By Dialogo March 23, 2009 Chile will continue to maintain its sovereignty and jurisdiction in the maritime areas over which Peru has submitted a demand to the Court of The Hague, Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs of, Mariano Fernández, said as he read a solemn declaration. “The claim refers to Peruvian maritime areas that are subject to continuous Chilean sovereignty and jurisdiction based on international law, and that the government will continue to exercise,” said the minister, reading the note to the Foreign Ministry. In the text, Chile reiterated “its full respect for the International Court of Justice as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, and it will enforce its rights under all applicable rules.” It is also noted that “Chile reaffirms on this occasion that relations between Chile and Peru are based on principles and permanent values of neighborliness.”
By Dialogo April 01, 2009 Raul Alfonsin, the Argentine president who guided his country’s return to democracy following a military dictatorship that left thousands missing, died on Tuesday. He was 82. Alfonsin’s personal doctor, Alberto Sadler, said he died of lung cancer. The government declared three days of mourning. The presidential inauguration of the burly, mustachioed leader on Dec. 10, 1983, ended more than seven years of a repressive military regime that left at least 13,000 disappeared. He won an open election that the military was forced to call, in disgrace, after the nation’s defeat in the 1982 war with Britain over the Falklands Islands. His presidency was marked by two milestones: his daring decision to bring to trial the leaders of the dictatorship for human rights violations, and an economic collapse that made him hand power to his successor six month early. Annual inflation had surpassed 3,000 percent. Few discussed his crucial role in the restoration of democracy at a time when military regimes ruled most of South America, but his presidency came to be seen as a milestone in the region. He was instrumental in getting several political groups to set aside differences and unite in a loose coalition that paved the way for the 1983 election. He garnered 51.7 percent of the vote, handing the powerful Peronist party its first election defeat ever. In office, he quickly ordered the trial of nine members of the former ruling military junta, on charges including kidnapping, torture and the forced disappearances of thousands. It was a bold step in a country where the military dominated for decades, having taken power in six coups in the 20th century. “I think that sometimes I take too many risks, because what we did no one had done before,” he said looking back. Alfonsin said the trials were needed to restore a strong judicial system and break the destructive cycle of political chaos and military coups. The trials, unprecedented in Latin America, ended in December 1985 with the conviction and imprisonment of five former military rulers, including two ex-presidents. Four others were acquitted. Alfonsin established a National Commission on the Disappearance of People which produced for the courts a lengthy report known as “Nunca Mas,” or “Never Again,” detailing the military’s ruthless campaign against dissident based on testimony by hundreds of victims and their relatives and witnesses. Official records now put the number of disappeared during Argentina’s 1976-83 dictatorship at 13,000, while human rights groups say the toll is closer to 30,000. Alfonsin was right about the risks involved in trying the military. He survived three military uprisings between 1987 and 1988, and as a result asked Congress to approve legislation ending the trials and exempting from guilt lower ranking officers. Only now are many of the dictatorship’s most notorious figures being prosecuted, after Argentina’s Supreme Court struck down in 2005 sweeping amnesties from the 1980s that shielded hundreds of former officers from prosecution. Alfonsin kept his aura as a key figure of democracy until the end. “You are a symbol of democracy,” Cristina Fernandez told him as she was sworn in as Argentina’s Peronist president in 2008. Alfonsin made clear, however, there was still work to be done. “Our democracy is limp and incomplete,” He said as the nation marked the 25th anniversary of civilian rule. He explained his strong rejection of authoritarian rule as inherited from his father, a fervent supporter of the Republican Forces crushed by Gen. Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war. After elementary school, however, he attended a military academy for five years. “Those were five very good years, for they served to tire me of military officials,” he later observed. As a 23-year-old law graduate from the University of La Plata, Alfonsin married Maria L. Barrenechea, whom he knew since childhood and courted at neighborhood dances in Chascomus, outside Buenos Aires. Law practice was a base for launching his political career: city commissioner in 1955, a provincial legislator three years later and a member of the national House of Deputies in 1963. In 1976, the military toppled President Isabel Peron, who had succeeded her husband, Gen. Juan Domingo Peron at his death, and launched a harsh campaign to wipe out leftist subversion. In response, Alfonsin and several prominent citizens formed the Permanent Assembly on Human Rights, which denounced rights abuse, challenging the regime. Alfonsin was his party’s uncontested presidential candidate when the military permitted elections in 1983. He won on a platform of human rights and honesty in government. He is survived by his six children. A vigil will be held in his honor at midnight on Wednesday in Congress.
By Dialogo March 09, 2010 Members of the militant Basque separatist group ETA trained around 100 guerillas from Colombia’s rebel FARC group in camps in Venezuela, the Spanish daily El Pais reported Sunday. According to the newspaper, ETA fighters gave lessons in advanced explosives techniques in at least six Venezuelan camps between 2003 and 2008. El Pais said the information came from witness statements made by four former FARC members to Spanish police in Bogota last October. The ABC newspaper in Madrid quoted Spanish police reports saying ETA and FARC first made contact in Cuba in 1993 and held two training camps in 2003. ETA members learned how to make and use grenades and surface-to-air missiles while FARC fighters were shown techniques for urban guerilla warfare, particularly how to use mobile phones as remote detonators for bombs, ABC said. Last Monday a Spanish judge charged that ETA and FARC plotted to kill Colombian politicians in Spain, including President Alvaro Uribe, with Venezuelan “governmental cooperation.” This move prompted tension between Madrid and Caracas, and led to the two governments issuing a joint statement stressing their ties in the fight against terrorism.