Addressing the skilled labor gap can start with high school education efforts, but keeping students engaged can be a challenge. As shop classes fade out of the core curriculum, they are being replaced with different incentives for students, ranging from manufacturing training classes during visits to facilities to high-tech real-world training in classroom settings. Read more
America’s global competitors are racing to construct or expand sophisticated high-speed rail networks, while U.S. plans for high-speed rail have stalled. Should we continue to pursue construction of advanced train systems for commuting, travel, and business, or is high-speed rail a colossal waste of public funds? Read more
The latest annual infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has given the U.S. a D+ grade — a modest improvement from the prior year, but still close to failing. The ASCE’s recommendation is to fund more projects to hire civil engineers. Read more
While most large companies have sustainability programs in place, there’s evidence that one major resource is being wasted like never before: water. Learn how cutting industrial water consumption can help both the environment and your business’s bottom line. Read more
Two great awakenings marking our time will determine the nature of our future. And although they emerged independently, they happened more or less in sync. The first is the realization that all of the carbon dioxide our fossil-fuel driven economy is spewing into the air has thrown a blanket around our planet that is changing our climate into something different from the one that we evolved to live in. The second awakening is China. Leaders in China have vowed to bring their people out of poverty by developing into an economic superpower, fueled by its enormous coal reserves. Needless to say, they have been successful, achieving an average 9.23 percent annual GDP growth rate since 1989.
In doing so, China burned almost as much coal last year as the rest of the world: 3.8 billion tons versus 4.3 billion. China represents 82 percent of the increase in coal demand since 2000. Burning all that coal has had an enormous impact on global CO2 emissions.
It has also taken its toll locally. Air quality throughout China’s cities is downright dangerous. With government policy focused on rapid growth, there are few regulations on emissions. If that doesn’t change, emissions could be 70 percent worse by 2025. The cost of environmental degradation in China amounted to 3.5 percent of its GDP in 2010, three times what it was in 2004. Read more