Daily Digest 7/3 – Good News Friday: West Coast States Teaming Up to Build Electric Highway, Is The Five-Day Office Week Over?

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header “Good News Friday.” We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


Is the Five-Day Office Week Over? (TS)

In the Survey of Business Uncertainty — by the Atlanta Fed, Stanford and the University of Chicago — employers predicted that post-pandemic, 27 percent of their full-time employees would continue working from home, most for a few days a week. Other surveys of firms have shown that they expect at least 40 percent of employees to keep working remotely.

Across organizations, work was most effective when employees were home one or two days a week, found research by Humu, a tech company run by Google’s former chief of human resources.

Fueled by protests, school districts across the country cut ties with police (sv)

“The reason why we want to move forward without Denver police is simple: We don’t want our schools to be ground zero for the school-to-prison pipeline,” Anderson said. The board voted unanimously Thursday night to phase out police in schools over the next 18 months.

Some school leaders say the right training and the right arrangement can mitigate many of the concerns civil rights activists have raised.

These Cities Are Stopping Police From Responding to Homelessness, Drug Use, and Mental Health Issues (sv)

Similar initiatives also got a boost from President Donald Trump’s executive order on police reform this week. The Trump administration plans to direct resources toward so-called “co-responder” programs that “increase the capacity of social workers working directly with law enforcement agencies.” But the executive order was vague on what that would look like.

Low, moderate alcohol consumption may improve cognitive function (Sparky1)

“Our study suggested that low to moderate drinking was associated with better total cognitive function and better … word recall, mental status and vocabulary among middle-aged or older men and women in the United States,” the study authors wrote.

“Low to moderate alcohol use was also associated with slower rates of cognitive decline,” they said.

Boston Just Banned Its Government From Using Facial Recognition Technology (sv)

“I think that there’s a good reason to ban this technology right now — because it’s unreliable — and moving forward, we have to also consider whether just because something is possible, that it’s the right thing to do,” Councillor Liz Breadon said in Wednesday’s meeting. “Surveilling our population at large and doing facial identification is not necessarily the way we want to go in a free society.”

Money actually can buy happiness, study finds (TourGuideDC)

The findings challenge the “Money can’t buy happiness” adage, which had been supported by other studies, including a widely cited 2010 Princeton University report showing that at levels higher than $75,000, a rise in income is not associated with greater happiness.

The GSS did not ask exactly the same question as that used by the Princeton study, which asked participants how they had felt the previous day and whether they were living the best possible life for themselves.

How a Ruling on Gay and Transgender Rights May Help the Climate (Bill M.)

Some Supreme Court justices have argued that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the power to broadly regulate greenhouse gases because the authors of the Clean Air Act did not specifically address climate change.

Now, though, Justice Gorsuch’s decision “will surely be used,” Professor Carlson wrote, to persuade the court that broad regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act lies squarely within the text of the statute.

Massachusetts directs agency to study phase-out of natural gas (Bill M.)

In a petition filed with the DPU, Healey’s office said Massachusetts would have to make large cuts in its use of fossil fuels to meet the state’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and that the decline would require natural gas distribution companies to make substantial changes to their business models.

“There has been little public discussion of the resulting business planning and financial implications of building electrification,” the petition said.

Board of Colorado Springs Utilities OKs plan that will close coal plants, expand renewables (Bill M.)

A skilled workforce will be required for this energy transformation, Benyamin said. “As we look to the future, training opportunities will be available and transition plans will provide employees new and exciting opportunities. That is a benefit of a four-service, community-owned utility,” he said.

Colorado Springs Utilities said that the plan was largely delivered by utility employees who built comprehensive financial and technical analyses and took into consideration public input, growth forecasts for the city and future environmental regulations.

New Rule in California Will Require Zero-Emissions Trucks (Bill M.)

Oil companies, together with farming and other industries, opposed the measure, calling it unrealistic, expensive and an example of regulatory overreach. Truck and engine manufacturers also opposed the rule, and began a last-ditch effort in March to delay it, saying companies were already suffering from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis.

West Coast States Are Teaming Up to Build an Electric Highway (sv)

The report calls for electrifying main shipping routes across the region by installing charging stations for freight trucks. It’s projected to cost some $850 million in total. However, these types of infrastructure updates are a worthy investment as governments begin planning their economic recoveries from the coronavirus crisis. The pandemic has created an urgency around green development that can spur economic growth and recovery.

Stanford students create Farmlink project, a nonprofit that connects farms and food banks (sv)

“We saw these images of millions of gallons of milk going to waste and hundreds of thousands of eggs being smashed, entire produce fields that were being plowed under. We just wanted to say, let’s connect one farm to our local food bank and if we can do that, that’s a model that we can bring the other places,” Kanoff said.

It is now a model known as Farmlink. The idea, which was started by a handful of philanthropic students from Stanford, has now expanded into a nationwide movement.

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Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the “3 Es.”

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