Separately, LGPS Central has also confirmed that as of 1 May 2020 it is now running a discretionary £211m UK Gilts mandate in-house on behalf of Nottinghamshire Pension Fund, it said.This is in addition to a global investment grade corporate bond fund that the pool launched last month, bringing together £1.2bn of partner fund assets under management, with the initial investors being Derbyshire Pension Fund, Nottinghamshire Pension Fund, Staffordshire Pension Fund and Worcestershire Pension Fund.Swiss pension fund tenders CHF900m bonds mandateA Swiss public sector pension fund has issued two tenders worth CHF450m (€420m) each via IPE Quest.According to the QN-2610 search, the mandates could invest in global, domestic and foreign bonds, following the Swiss Bond Index (SBI) AAA-BBB Total Return benchmark.Managers should have at least CHF10bn in assets under management as a firm, and at least CHF5bn in credit. Their track record should be at least five years, but a minimum of 10 years is preferred.The deadline for applications is 22 May at 5pm UK time. Applicants should state performance data to 31 March 2020, gross of fees.The IPE news team is unable to answer any further questions about IPE Quest, Discovery, or Innovation tender notices to protect the interests of clients conducting the search. To obtain information directly from IPE Quest, please contact Jayna Vishram on +44 (0) 20 3465 9330 or email [email protected] read the digital edition of IPE’s latest magazine click here. LGPS Central has selected two external managers for its £900m (€1bn) Global Active Emerging Market Bond Fund. The two managers selected are M&G Investments and Amundi, with each fund manager receiving half of the total mandate, the investment pool announced.It said that more than 70 fund managers from across the globe expressed an initial interest in tendering for the mandate.Gordon Ross, interim chief investment officer and investment director for fixed income at LGPS Central, said: “When we began the manager search for our Emerging Market Bond Fund, we were looking for candidates which displayed a robust and disciplined investment process, full transparency, value for money and commitment to responsible investment.”He said that both selected managers “showed evidence of all these attributes in managing EMD products and we are very much looking forward to working with them as we deliver the returns our partner funds need for the long-term.”
One of African football’s most powerful figures Kwesi Nyantakyi has been banned from the sport for life for breaking bribery and corruption rules.Ex-Ghana Football Association (GFA) president also broke conflict of interest rules, FIFA announced yesterday.Football’s world governing body launched an investigation after Nyantakyi was pictured taking $65,000 from an undercover reporter. FIFA fined Nyantakyi 500,000 Swiss francs (£390,000).Nyantakyi was also vice-president of the Confederation of African Football and a member of the FIFA Council.He stepped down as GFA president in June after film of him allegedly accepting a “cash gift” was made public.The film was captured by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas and BBC Africa’s investigations unit, Africa Eye, received exclusive access to the footage.Nyantakyi later resigned his CAF and FIFA posts but claimed the footage had been doctored to falsely incriminate him.The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee said the ban for life applied to “all football-related activities at both national and international level”.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
The Grizzlies have signed free-agent center Joakim Noah for the remainder of the season, the team announced Tuesday. Noah’s deal is worth $1.73 million as part of a prorated minimum deal for the rest of the season, ESPN reported earlier. New York still owes Noah $38 million from the four-year deal he signed for $72 million in 2016. Related News Noah appeared in just 53 games over the previous two seasons with the Knicks. He played only seven games in 2017-18 while averaging 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds.The 2007 No. 9 overall pick is a two-time All-Star and has averaged 8.9 points and 9.3 rebounds in his career. The 33-year-old was waived by the Knicks in October. Gary Harris injury update: Nuggets G (groin) to undergo MRI on Tuesday
EDMONTON, Alberta — The NHL is being put on notice: Joe Thornton is getting healthy and he’s starting to give the Sharks a serious-matchup edge in the depth of the lineup.On opening night, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer preached about the importance of finding a dominant third line that can tip the scale similar to the mismatches created by the Pittsburgh Penguins vaunted “HBK” line during their Stanley Cup runs in 2016 and 2017. He’s experimented with a handful of different combinations in search …
Is intelligent design theory making an inroad into secular science? One might think so, based on a book review published in the Jan. 1 issue of Nature,1 entitled, “The bits that make up the Universe.” Michael A. Nielsen reviews a new book by Hans Christian van Baeyer, Information: The New Language of Science (Weidenfeld & Nicolson: 2003). Nielsen begins,What is the Universe made of? A growing number of scientists suspect that information plays a fundamental role in answering this question. Some even go as far as to suggest that information-based concepts may eventually fuse with or replace traditional notions such as particles, fields and forces. The Universe may literally be made of information, they say, an idea neatly encapsulated in physicist John Wheeler’s slogan: “It from bit”. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Nielsen indicates that scientists are asking some mighty big questions:The book’s most appealing feature is its focus on big questions. What is information? What role does information play in fundamental physics? Where else in science does information play a critical role? And what common themes link these areas? Von Baeyer approaches these questions from many angles, giving us a flavour of some of the most interesting answers currently being offered.Nielsen indicates that the new thinking goes beyond the information theory of Claude Shannon, who defined information only in its ability to be transmitted faithfully without regard to content. Nielsen has mostly good comments about von Baeyer’s book, calling it “an accessible and engaging overview of the emerging role of information as a fundamental building block in science.”1Michael A. Nielsen, “The bits that make up the Universe,” Jan. 1 issue of Nature 427, 16 – 17 (01 January 2004); doi:10.1038/427016b.Well, this is really interesting. The importance of such a paradigm shift after 145 years of Darwinian naturalism cannot be overemphasized. If more and more scientists are willing to ask these basic questions, and consider the role of information as a fundamental entity in the Universe, then it would appear intelligent design (ID) theory is poised to make great strides in 2004. (After all, the centrality of information is one of the key points made by ID leaders, as expressed in the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life). This book review is tantalizing, but its questions are not big enough. Most thoughtful readers who follow Nielsen’s questions will feel impelled to ask the follow-up question, Where does information come from? To say it always existed would appear tantamount to asserting the existence of God. It’s hard enough for atheists to claim matter and energy burst forth out of nothing, but to add information to that would be appear unsupportable. Secular scientists can be plagiarists when it comes to giving credit to non-evolutionists. We’ve already seen them take credit for the dam-breach theory of the origin of Grand Canyon (see 07/22/2003 headline), not crediting Dr. Walter Brown and other creation scientists who have been proposing the idea for years. Creationists have been the leaders of the concept that information is a fundamental entity of the Universe; it has been a common theme expressed by Dr. A. E. Wilder-Smith, Dr. Werner Gitt (author of In the Beginning Was Information), Dr. William Dembski and Dr. Stephen Meyer of Discovery Institute, and others. We should not let von Baeyer or Nielsen or Nature forget this. Ultimately, the credit should go clear back to the Apostle John, who stated the fundamental axiom of information theory, In the beginning was the Word*. Now wouldn’t that be a revolution, to see the Bible referenced in the footnotes of a scientific paper.*Want to know the identity of the Word? Keep reading John Chapter 1 – and for that matter, the rest of the book.(Visited 26 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
8 March 2016South Africa has signed the host country agreement for the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The conference will be held in South Africa from 24 September to 5 October 2016.Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa signed the agreement on 3 March with the secretary-general of CITES John Scanlon on the margins of an international conference on wildlife crime in The Hague, in the Netherlands. South Africa was one of the first signatories to CITES in 1975 and continues to play an active role in the enforcement of the Convention.The minister welcomes the world to South Africa for CITES CoP17:The signing coincided with the release of the official CITES CoP17 logo.The logo is an iconic image of the African white rhinoceros, according to the Department of Environmental Affairs. The rhino’s body comprises the outlines of a number of species of endangered plants and animals from the African continent, such as the pangolin, cycad, African aloe and African lion.The selection of the rhino as the dominant image reinforces South Africa’s status as home to the largest rhino populations in the world, it says. South Africa’s sterling rhino conservation track record has resulted in significant growth in rhino numbers: from approximately 50 in 1895 to approximately 18 000 today.“The choice of a rhino as the dominant image in the logo for CoP17 is also to draw attention to the challenges South Africa and other African range states face as a result of poaching,” said the minister.Frontline challengesScanlon described South Africa as a highly appropriate location for the conference, given the frontline wildlife challenges and opportunities being tackled on the continent.“Africa is home to a vast array of CITES-listed species and South Africa is globally recognised for ‘the Big Five’. CITES Parties and observers look forward to convening in South Africa for the World Wildlife Conference,” said Scanlon.At the conference, parties will collectively evaluate the progress made since 2013, and take decisions on what additional measures are needed to end illicit wildlife trafficking.They will also consider a number of proposals to bring additional species under CITES trade controls, as well as tackle issues concerning livelihoods and the review of significant trade, traceability, and the effectiveness of CITES implementation, among other things.The illicit trade in wildlife and rhino poaching will feature on the agenda of CoP17. The CITES CoP17 creates an avenue to communicate and raise awareness of the importance of species and wildlife conservation and the need to address the illegal trade in species, all the while supporting legal trade underpinned by sound sustainable utilization principles, says the department.South Africa’s biodiversityThe “magnificent logo is furthermore testament to the rich tapestry of biodiversity for which our country is known globally”, Molewa added.Isn’t this logo just too beautiful? As we look forward to the big days in Sept, the month of the Rhino. pic.twitter.com/huIC8zCYtH— Environmentza (@environmentza) March 5, 2016South Africa is the third most biodiverse country in the world after Brazil and Indonesia. Despite occupying only 2% of the world’s land surface, South Africa is home to nearly 10% of the planet’s plant species and 7% of the world’s reptile, bird and mammal species.Unpacking the logo, her department explains that the incorporation of human silhouettes emphasizes the crucial role people play in species conservation. Its colours draw inspiration from the diverse hues of the African seasons. The rhino’s heart, in the shape of the African continent, symbolises the idea that the African continent is the wellspring of life.“The [CITES] CoP17 logo released today reminds all of us of the interconnectivity between different species, and of the fragile, complex relationships between humankind and our stewardship of our natural resources. South Africa looks forward to hosting this important gathering, where we will chart the course for a new era in species conservation,” Molewa said.Source: Department of Environmental Affairs
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Steve Groff is a noted cover crop proponent from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who farms in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed that also includes parts of New York, Virginia, West Virginia and most of Maryland. What happens in his watershed matters to Ohio’s farmers, whether they know it or not.“Cover crops are a part of the strategy to reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the Bay. In southeastern Pennsylvania in 2005, cover crops were used on 5% of farm acres in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Groff said. “Now there are cover crops on 18% of Chesapeake Bay region and 75% of fields in Lancaster County, Penn. are planted to cover crops.”Groff has spent many years refining his use of cover crops to maximize their benefits and profitability on his farm. In more recent years, regulations in the watershed have encouraged his neighbors to follow his example.“We do have a pollutant problem and these water quality problems are things the public can see. This shapes the public perception of agriculture. They sometimes go over the top to make things scary sounding — that is what the media does — but you have to admit there is a kernel of truth there. If we do not do something about this, we are going to be regulated out the wazoo,” he said. “Now they are using satellite imagery to monitor cover crop usage in Chesapeake Bay that is being used as a pilot program to test ground truth. They are doing this in Maryland to see if guys are really planting cover crops.”With continuing discussion about making the requirements for the Chesapeake Bay a national template, every farmer in the country needs to be carefully watching as the regulatory environment continues to evolve in the watershed.“Should we use the carrot or stick to get more cover crops? In this watershed you cannot spread manure over winter unless you have at least 25% ground cover so livestock producers have to plant cover crops,” Groff said. “We are 15 years down the road with these regulations and now there is a lot of voluntary adoption with this. We don’t want more regulations but they are probably coming. You may as well start tinkering around with this stuff now because you will probably have to be doing it some day anyway.”Josh McGrath, associate professor and soil and fertility and nutrient management specialist at the University of Maryland, said the Chesapeake Bay nutrient management strategies are far from ideal in some cases because they too often favor the politics over the reality of the situation.“Maryland is probably the most highly regulated state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, which is probably the most highly regulated watershed for agriculture in the country,” McGrath said. “The Maryland Water Quality Improvement Act was passed in 1998 and the first thing that it did was mandate that farmers could not exceed the fertility recommendations of University of Maryland Extension. That was not something that we supported in Extension. All farmers in Maryland now have to have nutrient management plans that cover N and P.”The emphasis on mandates is a real concern for McGrath and others, because, while these mandated practices may be the right fit for some agricultural situations, they may be the wrong fit for others. The net result is that mandates can actually hurt water quality improvement efforts.“What we have done is turn the clock back in some situations. Agriculture has been progressively moving forward with technology that allows us to be more site specific,” McGrath said. “Some of the regulations, like mandating the incorporation of manure, may be fine on the coastal plain where it is flat, but in western Maryland with steep slopes and highly erodible soil, no–till was dominant. We’ve just turned back the clock to the 1970s by having these incorporation regulations across the board. Blanket regulations are moving us backwards with regard to site specificity.”In his paper from early 2015,“Implementation of agricultural phosphorus management policy in Maryland” Frank J. Coale, a professor at the University of Maryland, outlined the evolution of the growing regulatory environment faced by farmers in Maryland.“Beginning in the late 1980s, the State of Maryland adopted various policies and developed voluntary agricultural nutrient management programs aimed at reducing P loading of surface waters. In swift response to a popularized Chesapeake Bay fish kill during the summer of 1997…the State of Maryland passed the Water Quality Improvement Act of 1998, which phased in mandatory N and P-based nutrient management planning regulations for Maryland farmers. The P management provisions of these aggressive regulations were fully implemented by 2005,” Coale said in the paper. “In an effort to further alleviate water quality impairments and accelerate reductions of P inputs to the Chesapeake Bay from agricultural sources, President Obama issued Executive Order 13508 in May 2009 that declared the Chesapeake Bay a ‘national treasure’ and ushered in a new era of federal oversight and accountability. In 2010, under the existing provisions of the Federal Clean Water Act of 1992, the U.S. EPA developed Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits for P entering the Chesapeake Bay. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL prescribed the amount of P input that can be tolerated by the Bay ecosystem and not result in impaired water quality. A 2025 deadline was established by which time each of the Chesapeake Bay watershed states will be legally obligated to achieve the TMDL P load reductions necessary to alleviate water quality impairments. By 2025, total P loading to the Chesapeake Bay must be less than 14.5 million pounds P per year and P loading from Maryland’s tributaries to the Chesapeake Bay must be no greater than 2.8 million pounds P per year. The TMDL implementation plan allows for half of Maryland’s total load, or 1.4 million pounds P per year, to originate from agricultural sources. In order to achieve the 2025 TMDL mandate, overall P loading from Maryland tributaries will need to be reduced by 15% and P loading from agricultural sources will need to be reduced by 12%, relative to today’s estimated loading rates.”As this model for addressing water quality inches closer to being implemented nationwide, the American Farm Bureau Federation and many others filed friend-of-the-court briefs last month urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear arguments on the EPA’s plans for the Chesapeake Bay water quality “blueprint.”Filers included 92 members of Congress, 22 states, forestry groups represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, and a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business.“The fact that so many voices are being raised in support of Supreme Court review shows the broad and severe threat that EPA’s action here poses nationwide,” said Bob Stallman, AFBF president. “EPA has asserted powers that do not appear in any law written by Congress, and it has done so in the context of an iconic national treasure, hoping that will inoculate its power grab in the courts. We have faith that the nation’s highest court will see this for what it is and hold EPA accountable to stay within its statutory authority.”Despite aggressive new commitments and water quality achievements by the six states in the Bay watershed in the mid-2000s, the EPA asserted federal control over the Chesapeake Bay recovery in its 2010 “blueprint.” The new federal plan effectively gives EPA the ability to function as a super-zoning authority over local and state governments — dictating where homes can be built, where land can be farmed, and where commercial development can occur, AFBF said.If carried out, the plan could impose tens of billions of dollars in direct costs — with unknown economic impacts on local communities and economies. AFBF contends that it also denies state and local governments and businesses the flexibility to adapt to new circumstances, instead locking in limits that can quickly become outdated but can only be revised by EPA.To date, lower courts upheld EPA’s blueprint on the theory that it furthers the water quality goals of the Clean Water Act — despite the absence of words in the statute authorizing such federal action. A significant issue presented for the Supreme Court is the degree to which courts should defer to broad agency interpretations of their statutory power.“The broad support for the Farm Bureau petition shows that deep concerns about the Bay blueprint go far beyond agriculture and far beyond the Bay region,” said Ellen Steen, AFBF General Counsel. “Members of Congress, states and business groups recognize that this illegal framework will be imposed throughout the country unless the Court intervenes. Given the enormous social and economic consequences, not to mention the grave questions about federalism and deference to agency overreaching, this is a case that cries out for Supreme Court review.”Maybe it is time to schedule a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This is the second in a series of stories taking a look at the some of the nation’s water quality issues.
Reduce and removeScience points the way to climate protection mechanisms that are more effective and less costly than biofuels. There are two broad strategies for mitigating CO2 emissions from transportation fuels. First, we can reduce emissions by improving vehicle efficiency, limiting miles traveled, or substituting truly carbon-free fuels such as electricity or hydrogen.Second, we can remove CO2 from the atmosphere more rapidly than ecosystems are absorbing it now. Strategies for “recarbonizing the biosphere” include reforestation and afforestation, rebuilding soil carbon and restoring other carbon-rich ecosystems such as wetlands and grasslands.These approaches will help to protect biodiversity – another global sustainability challenge – instead of threatening it as biofuel production does. Our analysis also offers another insight: Once carbon has been removed from the air, it rarely makes sense to expend energy and emissions to process it into biofuels only to burn the carbon and re-release it into the atmosphere. Carbon flows and the ‘climate bathtub’This result contradicts most established work on biofuels. To understand why, it is helpful to think of the atmosphere as a bathtub that is filled with CO2 instead of water.Many activities on Earth add CO2 to the atmosphere, like water flowing from a faucet into the tub. The largest source is respiration: Carbon is the fuel of life, and all living things “burn carbs” to power their metabolisms. Burning ethanol, gasoline, or any other carbon-based fuel opens up the CO2 “faucet” further and adds carbon to the atmosphere faster than natural metabolic processes.Other activities remove CO2 from the atmosphere, like water flowing out of a tub. Before the industrial era, plant growth absorbed more than enough CO2 to offset the CO2 that plants and animals respired into the atmosphere.Today, however, largely through fossil fuel use, we are adding CO2 to the atmosphere far more rapidly than nature removes it. As a result, the CO2 “water level” is rapidly rising in the climate bathtub.Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, recorded by the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The line is jagged because CO2 levels rise and fall slightly each year in response to plant growth cycles. [Scripps Institute of Oceanography]When biofuels are burned, they emit roughly the same the amount of CO2 per unit of energy as petroleum fuels. Therefore, using biofuels instead of fossil fuels does not change how quickly CO2 flows into the climate bathtub. To reduce the buildup of atmospheric CO2 levels, biofuel production must open up the CO2 drain – that is, it must speed up the net rate at which carbon is removed from the atmosphere.Growing more corn and soybeans has opened the CO2 uptake “drain” a bit more, mostly by displacing other crops. That’s especially true for corn, whose high yields remove carbon from the atmosphere at a rate of two tons per acre, faster than most other crops.Nevertheless, expanding production of corn and soybeans for biofuels increased CO2 uptake only enough to offset 37% of the CO2 directly tied to biofuel use. Moreover, it was far from enough to offset other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during biofuel production from sources including fertilizer use, farm operations, and fuel refining. Additionally, when farmers convert grasslands, wetlands, and other habitats that store large quantities of carbon into cropland, very large CO2 releases occur. RELATED ARTICLES Ever since the 1973 oil embargo, U.S. energy policy has sought to replace petroleum-based transportation fuels with alternatives. One prominent option is using biofuels such as ethanol in place of gasoline and biodiesel instead of ordinary diesel.Transportation generates one-fourth of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, so addressing this sector’s impact is crucial for climate protection.Many scientists view biofuels as inherently carbon-neutral: they assume the carbon dioxide (CO2) plants absorb from the air as they grow completely offsets, or “neutralizes,” the CO2 emitted when fuels made from plants burn. Many years of computer modeling based on this assumption, including work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, concluded that using biofuels to replace gasoline significantly reduced CO2 emissions from transportation. Uncertainties inspire a new lookThese uncertainties spurred me to start deconstructing LCA. In 2013, I published a paper in Climatic Change showing that the conditions under which biofuel production could offset CO2 were much more limited than commonly assumed. In a subsequent review paper I detailed the mistakes made when using LCA to evaluate biofuels. These studies paved the way for our new finding that in the United States, to date, renewable fuels actually are more harmful to the climate than gasoline.It is still urgent to mitigate CO2 from oil, which is the largest source of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the United States and the second-largest globally after coal. But our analysis affirms that, as a cure for climate change, biofuels are “worse than the disease.” The biofuel boom is a climate blunderFederal and state policies have subsidized corn ethanol since the 1970s, but biofuels gained support as a tool for promoting energy independence and reducing oil imports after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2005 Congress enacted the Renewable Fuel Standard, which required fuel refiners to blend 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol into gasoline by 2012. (For comparison, in that year Americans used 133 billion gallons of gasoline.)In 2007 Congress dramatically expanded the RFS program with support from some major environmental groups. The new standard more than tripled annual U.S. renewable fuel consumption, which rose from 4.1 billion gallons in 2005 to 15.4 billion gallons in 2015.Biomass energy consumption in the United States grew more than 60 percent from 2002 through 2013, almost entirely due to increased production of biofuels. (Energy Information Administration)Our study examined data from 2005-2013 during this sharp increase in renewable fuel use. Rather than assume that producing and using biofuels was carbon-neutral, we explicitly compared the amount of CO2 absorbed on cropland to the quantity emitted during biofuel production and consumption.Existing crop growth already takes large amounts of CO2 out of the atmosphere. The empirical question is whether biofuel production increases the rate of CO2 uptake enough to fully offset CO2 emissions produced when corn is fermented into ethanol and when biofuels are burned.Most of the crops that went into biofuels during this period were already being cultivated; the main change was that farmers sold more of their harvest to biofuel makers and less for food and animal feed. Some farmers expanded corn and soybean production or switched to these commodities from less profitable crops.But as long as growing conditions remain constant, corn plants take CO2 out of the atmosphere at the same rate regardless of how the corn is used. Therefore, to properly evaluate biofuels, one must evaluate CO2 uptake on all cropland. After all, crop growth is the CO2 “sponge” that takes carbon out of the atmosphere.When we performed such an evaluation, we found that from 2005 through 2013, cumulative carbon uptake on U.S. farmland increased by 49 teragrams (a teragram is one million metric tons). Planted areas of most other field crops declined during this period, so this increased CO2 uptake can be largely attributed to crops grown for biofuels.Over the same period, however, CO2 emissions from fermenting and burning biofuels increased by 132 teragrams. Therefore, the greater carbon uptake associated with crop growth offset only 37% of biofuel-related CO2 emissions from 2005 through 2013. In other words, biofuels are far from inherently carbon-neutral. Mistaken modelingOur new study has sparked controversy because it contradicts many prior analyses. These studies used an approach called lifecycle analysis, or LCA, in which analysts add up all of the GHG emissions associated with producing and using a product. The result is popularly called the product’s “carbon footprint.”The LCA studies used to justify and administer renewable fuel policies evaluate only emissions – that is, the CO2 flowing into the air – and failed to assess whether biofuel production increased the rate at which croplands removed CO2 from the atmosphere. Instead, LCA simply assumes that because energy crops such as corn and soybeans can be regrown from one year to the next, they automatically remove as much carbon from the atmosphere as they release during biofuel combustion. This significant assumption is hard-coded into LCA computer models.Unfortunately, LCA is the basis for the RFS as well as California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard, a key element of that state’s ambitious climate action plan. It is also used by other agencies, research institutions, and businesses with an interest in transportation fuels.I once accepted the view that biofuels were inherently carbon-neutral. Twenty years ago I was lead author of the first paper proposing use of LCA for fuel policy. Many such studies were done, and a widely cited meta-analysis published in Science in 2006 found that using corn ethanol significantly reduced GHG emissions compared to petroleum gasoline.However, other scholars raised concerns about how planting vast areas with energy crops could alter land use. In early 2008 Science published two notable articles. One described how biofuel crops directly displaced carbon-rich habitats, such as grasslands. The other showed that growing crops for biofuel triggered damaging indirect effects, such as deforestation, as farmers competed for productive land.LCA adherents made their models more complex to account for these consequences of fuel production. But the resulting uncertainties grew so large that it became impossible to determine whether or not biofuels were helping the climate. In 2011 a National Research Council report on the RFS concluded that crop-based biofuels such as corn ethanol “have not been conclusively shown to reduce GHG emissions and might actually increase them.” John DeCicco is a research professor at the University of Michigan. This post originally appeared at The Conversation. Ethanol Under FireCorn Ethanol: The Rise and Fall of a Political ForceThe Case Against More EthanolThe Case for More Ethanol Our new study takes a fresh look at this question. We examined crop data to evaluate whether enough CO2 was absorbed on farmland to balance out the CO2 emitted when biofuels are burned. It turns out that once all the emissions associated with growing feedstock crops and manufacturing biofuel are factored in, biofuels actually increase CO2 emissions rather than reducing them.
Depending on a team’s record, playing in a college basketball conference tournament can have a variety of implications. For some, it’s a final opportunity to attain an unlikely spot in the NCAA Tournament. For others, it’s a chance to improve seeding or tune up for a deep tournament run. This year, the Big Ten tournament could serve as something else: a tiebreaker. Michigan State, Michigan and Ohio State each finished with a 13-5 record in the Big Ten, forcing a three-way split of the regular season conference title. Would winning the Big Ten tournament, which will be played Thursday through Sunday, give one of those three teams an unofficial title as the conference’s best? “These tournaments, the regular season champion, tournament champion, they’re a big deal,” said OSU junior forward Evan Ravenel. “It kind of sets you apart from the rest of the pack as far as within your conference.” Although a Big Ten tournament championship by one of the top three teams might offer some clarity within the conference, it might not have a significant impact on the national level. Despite the Big Ten being widely regarded this season as college basketball’s top conference and having five teams ranked 15th or better in the AP Top 25 Poll this week, many projections don’t have a Big Ten team receiving one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tourney. OSU coach Thad Matta said that should the Buckeyes, Spartans or Wolverines win this weekend’s tournament, that team should receive a top seed for the national tournament. “From what I’ve just gone through, I would say yes,” Matta said. “Now you can say, ‘Hey Thad, how would you guys do going through the Big East?’ There’s probably too much hypothetical involved in it, I don’t know the answer. But I know, just lobbying for the Big Ten, the different styles that you face from night to night, the arenas that we play in, that sort of thing, it’s a great challenge. But yeah if one of the three of us wins the conference (tournament) championship I could see validity in (getting a No. 1 seed).” Unlike last season when the Buckeyes went 16-2 in the Big Ten en route to a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the strength of teams in the Big Ten this season ultimately prevented a team from pulling away in the standings. “We did a nice job of beating each other up throughout the course of (this season),” Matta said. “You didn’t have that dominating performance by anyone in the league. I mean 13-5 won it, so it probably just speaks more to top to bottom how good the conference is.” Based on tie-breaking procedures, Michigan State is the top seed, Michigan is the No. 2 seed and the Buckeyes are the third seed in this weekend’s tournament. OSU will play Friday in the quarterfinals against the winner of Thursday’s game between sixth-seeded Purdue and No. 11 seed Nebraska. Matta said conference tournament games give the younger OSU players a preview of what NCAA tournament games are like. “You’re going to a neutral site, you’re playing in a nice arena, you’re playing great competition obviously, and there’s that heightened awareness of second half, score tied, ‘Hey, if we don’t get it done we’re going home,’” Matta said. “So without really saying it, they have that understanding and appreciation for what we have to do at that time. “I will be anxious to see how this team plays in this setting.” Tip between the Buckeyes and either the Boilermakers or Cornhuskers is set for 9 p.m. Friday at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.