Why net-zero needs a gear change in STEM education

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National Grid have announced a major new investment in London – and now they’re looking for the right people to fill jobs in the future. Today Gareth Burden – Project Director, London Power Tunnels – tells City A.M. why they’re doing it.

For this country to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 we require the development of cutting-edge technology and new infrastructure built on a transformational scale – a theme the Prime Minister majored on at his Conservative Party Conference speech this week. 

What we need to achieve our goals is a Net Zero Energy Workforce which combines technical expertise, with softer skills and a passion for climate action. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles we face in reaching net-zero is the emerging employment and skills gap.

Currently, the UK’s energy sector directly employs 144,000 people but to reach net-zero it needs to fill 400,000 roles. This has the potential to be an opportunity for significant employment in every part of the United Kingdom with huge boosts for London and regional economies.

However, if the uptake of science, technology and engineering (STEM) subjects at school, university and as a career remains at current levels, we won’t be able to reach our target and the environment, and economy, will suffer as a result. 

Read more: Boris Johnson announces millions for wind energy revolution

To succeed in building a Net Zero Energy Workforce, we need to inspire the next generation to choose STEM. Research carried out by Development Economics for National Grid found that we need to increase the number of A level candidates for physics by 24 per cent and maths by 19 per cent to maintain the pipeline of qualified talent Britain needs.

Diverse students should want to study STEM

Simply put, we will only


Adam Schiff Tells Bill Maher Abolishing Electoral College an ‘Overdue’ Constitutional Change

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and HBO host Bill Maher discussed how the U.S. Constitution “needs fundamental change” Friday night, with both agreeing the Electoral College should be eliminated from the framework.

Schiff said that he supports a rewrite of the U.S. Constitution and amendments that would abolish the Electoral College, but he cautioned that today’s Republican Party would likely hijack the process. The California Democratic congressman said he would prefer to use “discrete amendments” to the Constitution that would overturn controversial money-in-politics Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Maher said any changes to the Founding Fathers’ framework is difficult because many Americans believe the constitution was “literally delivered by Jesus.”

Both Schiff and Maher said they would be in favor of getting rid of the Electoral College system, which today would require two-thirds of the House, two-thirds of the Senate and three-fourth of all states to agree upon. Operating within a governmental system and national populace as divided as America in 2020, Schiff said, this is very unlikely to happen soon.

“I think we’re better off focusing on discrete amendments to the Constitution to overturn Citizens United and make sure that we can have elections untampered or uninfluenced by excessive expenditures and dark money. And I would favor doing away with the Electoral College system,” Schiff told the Real Time with Bill Maher host Friday.

A 2019 study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin found Republican candidates for president can expect to win 65 percent of future elections because the Electoral College system is set up to favor their party’s voting base. The study analyzed why “inversions”—when the popular vote winner still loses the U.S. presidential election—have happened twice since 2000. And both times, the losers were Democratic candidates,


Climate change threatens Coachella Valley, Palm Springs tourism, study says

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Climate change threatens Coachella Valley, Palm Springs tourism, study says
Climate change threatens Coachella Valley, Palm Springs tourism, study says

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is one of the most famous music festivals in the world and is also amongst the most profitable, grossing an impressive $114.6 million in 2017, which set a record for the first recurring festival franchise to earn over $100 million. Coachella, Stagecoach and the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament are attractions that have drawn millions to the Coachella Valley over the years, but scientists warn that this could change as extreme heat becomes a dangerous reality.

The Coachella Valley is a desert region in southern California with virtually zero annual rainfall and an annual average temperature of 22.8°C, which makes it a desirable destination for those seeking year-round warmth. While this region hosts world-renowned events and is unlikely to lose popularity anytime soon, a study warns that rapidly rising temperatures are threatening the thriving tourism industry.

The study was published in the journal Climatic Change and found that in the Coachella Valley, the number of days above 29.4°C between November and April will increase up to 150 per cent by 2100. The researchers say that weather and climate are important factors that tourists consider, so they divided their findings of future impacts to the region’s tourism industry into three categories: winter snowbird season, outdoor tourist attractions, and annual festivals.

“Although tourism is a significant economic driver [in the Coachella Valley], little is known about how global warming will affect tourism at these locations,” the study states. Tourism is the primary source of revenue for the Coachella Valley, which is why the study’s projections are particularly foreboding.

coachella wikimedia commons credit: Jason Persse
coachella wikimedia commons credit: Jason Persse

Sunset over the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 21, 2012. Credit: Jason Persse/ Wikimedia Commons.



Mario Molina, Nobel-winning Mexican chemist who made key climate change finding, dies at 77

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mario Molina, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995 and the only Mexican scientist to be honored with a Nobel, died Wednesday in his native Mexico City. He was 77 years old.

Molina’s family announced his death in a brief statement through the institute that carried his name. It did not give a cause of death.

He won the prize along with scientists Frank Sherwood Rowland of the United States and Paul Crutzen of the Netherlands for their research into climate change.

Molina and Rowland published a paper in 1974 that saw the thinning of the ozone layer as a consequence of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, chemicals used in a range of products.

Molina’s work contributed to the drafting of the first international treaty on the subject, the Montreal Protocol, which phased out the use of the chemicals. Later, he focused on confronting air pollution in major cities like his own Mexico City and pushing for global actions to promote sustainable development.

One of his last public appearances was alongside Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, also a scientist, in a video conference during which Molina reflected on the coronavirus pandemic and the importance of wearing masks to avoid transmission.

Molina was a member, among other institutions, of the National Academy of Sciences and for eight years was one of the 21 scientists who composed President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

Only two other Mexicans have been awarded Nobel Prizes: Alfonso García Robles received the Peace Prize in 1982 for his work on nuclear weapons negotiations and writer Octavio Paz was awarded the prize for literature in 1990.

Molina died on the same day this year’s prize for chemistry was awarded.

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How Philanthropists Can Support Transformative and Equitable Change in Education

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In the United States, philanthropy plays a large role in shaping education, with investments meant to impact and make a change for future generations.

The racial divide, when it comes to education opportunities for students in the United States, has existed historically, and is now more amplified as a result of COVID-19. A recent study by EdBuild suggests that about 20 percent of students are enrolled in districts that are both poor and nonwhite, and stats show that just 5 percent of students live in white districts that are equally financially challenged.

The racial and economic disparities in schools provide a crisis at hand for future generations who will bear the brunt of the inequities as adults. Which is why it’s crucial now more than ever for philanthropists and investors to be part of the solution that could help remove those barriers and create more equitable school structures.

According to a study completed by the American Council on Education and funded by the TIAA Institute, in 2017, education received $412.26 billion, the second largest sector of philanthropic contributions in the United States.

America’s richest choose to invest in education because they believe that it will create change and have a positive impact in the world. Education is seen as an investment opportunity because it has the power to change the economic development and career opportunities for future generations.

While the philanthropic investment in American education is the second largest amount in comparison to other sectors, such as human resources, health and the environment/climate change, the contributions still pales when it comes to the overall spending of U.S. K-12 public schools per year.

Contributions from philanthropic organizations and funders are usually directed to influence policy change in education, to support teacher training and professional development, to improve learning efficacy and to

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