Back from Norway and back to business
January 30, 2023 - The Nett Report
Every other week The Nett Report provides readers with thoughtful perspectives useful to navigating life in a changing world. Past issues can be found here (recent) and here (past two years).
We’re back from Norway and Sweden
After 18 days of experiencing Scandinavian life, we are back in San Diego. Takeaways from the trip include:
The two countries are stunningly beautiful, particularly in the north and along the fjords.
Public transportation systems in Oslo and Stockholm could be global models for cities everywhere. Oslo and Stockholm are number 6 and 3 in the world, respectively, according to a recent global study.
Prosperity abounds. We saw little evidence of homelessness, no cars or houses in disrepair.
The people all speak English fluently since they begin learning the language at age 6.
The food is great!
You can find pictures and more on my Facebook page.
“Africa requires $3 trillion to implement its aspect of the Paris Agreement, yet less than US$20 billion was provided in total to the continent between 2016 and 2019. Voluntary carbon markets can play a crucial role in filling this finance gap, but its potential is far from being realized.” - Joseph Nganga, executive director for Africa of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet
Colorado River states fail to reach agreement, California holds out
Because the Colorado River’s water has been over-allocated for decades, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been looking to develop a seven-state agreement to reduce use by 20%. According to a story on CNN on January 30, 2023, six states have come up with a plan, but California has refused to sign on to the agreement. That could well be because of the Imperial Irrigation District, which serves Imperial Valley in the state’s southeast corner, has 70% of California’s allocation and first priority rights to the state’s Colorado River allocation, according to a January 17, 2023 story in CalMatters. Meanwhile, Time reported on January 20, 2022, that Arizona might have to give up its housing growth plans because of the shortage.
Argentina faces worst drought in 60 years
While drought in the U.S. West has made headlines in recent months, Argentina is facing its worst drought in 60 years. Low water levels and heat have killed thousands of fish, cattle farmers have lost stock, and crops have died, according to a January 26, 2023 article in Gizmodo.
Israel replenishes its water supply with desalination
While the U.S. and Argentina work out their drought crises, Israel is using technology to solve its water shortage problems. The Jerusalem Post on January 30, 2023, reported that desalination plants on the Mediterranean are creating fresh water that is pumped inland to refill Lake Kinneret, a reservoir that serves not only Israel but neighboring Jordan.
Deloitte Survey found climate change is a top challenge facing business
According to a story in Fortune’s CEO Daily on January 31, 2022, Deloitte’s recently released CxO Sustainability Report surveyed more than 2,000 C-level executives from 24 different countries and found that they rank climate change as a top challenge facing business, second only to the economic outlook. Climate change ranked above innovation, competition for talent, supply chain challenges, and geopolitical challenges.
61% said climate will have a “high” or “very high” impact on their organization’s strategy and operations over the next three years.
84% agree or strongly agree that “the world can achieve global economic growth while also reaching climate change goals.”
Only 33% said their companies tie senior leaders’ compensation to environmental sustainability performance.
Only 32% have incorporated climate concerns into their lobbying and political activities.
Future of Work / The Economy
2023 Fortune Global Forum to be held in Abu Dhabi
We don’t usually promote pending events in The Nett Report, but I thought that Fortune CEO Alan Murray’s reasons for hosting the annual Fortune Global Forum in Abu Dhabi in November are interesting. The forum brings together the CEOs of the largest companies in the world, as well as many of the most exciting startups, to share their thoughts and plans. I have been to Abu Dhabi several times, hosting a panel on the future of cities and attending international ocean conferences, so I was keenly interested in Murray’s rationale. “Why Abu Dhabi? CEOs are wrestling with three great transformations that will shape business and society in the decades ahead. This city is a propitious location for exploring all three.”
First, a re-imagination of globalization. Companies are rethinking their supply chains and global footprints to increase resiliency and reduce exposure to geopolitical risk. The Emirates is a natural bridge between East and West, North and South. It has a well-developed business and transportation infrastructure. And it is moving toward increased tolerance and openness, putting it high on the list for potential investment.
Second, a retooling of the economy to meet the climate challenge. While the Emirates were built on petrodollars, leaders here have taken a long-term view toward investing in reducing emissions and increasing renewables. As a sign of that, Dubai will be hosting COP28 this year, beginning the same day that the Fortune Global Forum closes.
Third, a technological revolution. Abu Dhabi has made significant investments in this area, opening the first university solely dedicated to the development of A.I.: the Mohammed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence. And importantly, the UAE’s signing of the historic Abraham Accords means Fortune will be able to draw on the vibrant tech community in nearby Israel when assembling its audience and program.
Four Takeaways from the Davos Economic Forum
Murray also provided four takeaways from the recent World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, in a January 22, 2023, Fortune story. Murray says “what happens in Davos isn’t always fully connected with what’s happening in the rest of the world,” however, here are his perceptions:
The markets are not predicting a recession. Among the CEOs in Davos, most believe the economy will slow in 2016, but they aren’t bracing for a full-blown global recession.
The European Union is in trouble due to concerns about migration and security.
Digital transformation is as much about people as technology. Companies struggle to create cultures that can embrace rapid technological change, and governments struggle in response to publics more likely to focus on future risks than future benefits.
Transformation is big business. The Swiss shops that normally line the main street in Davos have been temporarily eradicated in favor of corporate networking lounges offering comfortable seating, free wi-fi, good coffee, and giant signs promoting the companies that want to power the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Four different takeaways from Davos
Another perspective from Davos comes from a January 20, 2023, story in Uplink by Florian Reber, Head of Partnerships at Chloris Geospatial, a company that promises to access biomass data for any project, forest, or land area anywhere on Earth:
Sustainability has clearly become a favorite topic in Davos, judging from the slogans about net zero on the many pavilions and lounges along the Promenade. The official program also reflects the interest in discussing pressing climate and nature challenges, and new partnerships and initiatives were announced.
Nature & biodiversity are hot. 100% of global GDP is 100% dependent on nature. Of the 550 sessions in Davos, 110 are related to nature, an indication of the increased corporate awareness of that dependency and their interest in showing leadership for nature-positive action.
You still can’t manage what you don’t measure. Data are needed to measure, report and verify (MRV)the impact of investments made to protect and restore nature. There are lots of new technologies that can help us in this regard – from machine learning, AI, cloud computing, improved sensor quality, and new sensor fusion models. Measuring natural capital has never been as reliable, scalable, and cost-effective as it is today.
We need to build trust in algorithmic MRV solutions. Measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) of carbon credits must be trusted for their robustness and integrity.
The Political Divide
Dimon - Ukraine outcome is the only thing that matters for the future of the world
In a January 19, 2023, Fortune story, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said “Ukraine could be an ‘inflection point for the Western world’: ‘The only thing that matters for the future of the world is how this thing plays out.’” Dimon says a recession is “a justified concern for most Americans, but he is more worried about the war in Ukraine and the repercussions it has for the world.” The outcome of the Ukraine War has implications for “Russia, war, Ukraine, energy, and trade,” Dimon says. The story reports that “the prospect of a prolonged war is now more real than ever and pointed out that “Putin ally Dmitry Medvedev sought to deter more Western involvement in the war with a warning: The defeat of Russia—which possesses nearly 6,000 nuclear warheads—in Ukraine could ‘trigger a nuclear war.’”
Tanks for Ukraine – who has them? how many are there?
The hottest topic in the last week regarding the Ukraine War surrounds tanks. Who has tanks? How many? How capable are they? Visual Capitalist on January 17, 2023, compiled a visualization of the top 25 fleets of tanks in the world. The story included a link to Global Firepower’s assessment of tank strength around the world.
Winter respiratory surge is declining
In the November 21, 2022, issue of The Nett Report, we wrote that “concerns have been growing and reported in numerous news outlets that the U.S. could undergo a triple threat pandemic of Covid-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) when these three respiratory viruses surge at the same time. We cited a story in Science that said, “there is little chance the trio will peak together and collectively crash hospital systems the way Covid-19 did at the pandemic’s start.” Now, according to a story this week in the Washington Post, it seems “the RSV wave has receded in Connecticut and across the country. Flu cases have rapidly dwindled. Covid hospitalizations rose briefly after Christmas, only to fall again. Health experts said hospitals are still in a busy winter respiratory virus season but avoided a worst-case scenario of being slammed on three fronts after the holidays.”
What a faded line in a Covid test means
When the second (right side) line in a Covid test is very faded, almost invisible, does this mean the test is positive? Negative? A January 18, 2023, story in the Jerusalem Post explains – “a line is a line, it doesn't matter how bright it is, so that means you're positive for coronavirus.”
The Nett Light-Side
“I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.” - Lucille Ball
Metal robot liquefies and reforms to escape jail
A January 25, 2023, article in Science contains a video showing how a 10-millimeter-tall “robot” can slip through the bars of a mocked-up jail cell by liquifying and reforming. The robot “is made of magnetic, microscopic particles inside a sheath of gallium, a soft metal with a low melting temperature. When exposed to an alternating magnetic field, the particles heat up and melt the gallium. The magnetic field is then used to steer the liquid metal, which can pass through would-be prison bars with ease. When cooled inside a mold, the gallium reforms its original person-like shape.”
Clothing that tricks facial recognition tech
Facial recognition technology is becoming ubiquitous, and, of course, for every technology, there is an opposing technology. A January 20, 2023, story in PetaPixel showcases Cap_able, an Italian start-up with a line of clothing that confuses artificial intelligence (AI) cameras and stops them from recognizing the wearer without the need to cover the face.
About Carl Nettleton
Carl Nettleton is an award-winning writer, speaker, thought partner, facilitator, and subject-matter expert regarding water, climate, sustainability, the ocean, and binational U.S.-Mexico border affairs. Nettleton Strategies, the consultancy he founded in 2007, is a trusted source of analysis and advice on issues at the forefront of public policy, business, and the environment. He helps people to think strategically about their options for change. He is also the founder of OpenOceans Global, a nonprofit addressing ocean plastic in a new way.
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