Corn in a changing climate

first_imgThe past year has not been kind to corn.Though it has long been the nation’s largest crop, the one-two punch of historic drought and record-high temperatures in July and August combined to damage U.S. corn crops, which fell by as much as 13 percent. Previous studies have suggested that weather-related damage is linked to climate change, and have warned that losses like those of the past year could become the norm by 2030. But the effects of weather and climate can differ because the latter can be adapted to more readily.Through analyzing U.S. corn yields and weather variability, graduate student Ethan Butler and Peter Huybers, professor of Earth and planetary sciences, found that corn is well adapted to local climates, with hot temperatures in the deep South reducing yield only half as much as the same temperatures in the far North. They found that a 2-degree Celsius warming would reduce yields by 14 percent without adaptation, but that if today’s adaptation is used as a surrogate for the future, losses are reduced to only 6 percent. Their work is described in a Nov. 18 paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. “As an enterprise, agriculture is all about humans understanding their relationship to the environment, so it seems unreasonable to think farmers won’t make these types of changes,” Butler said. “But that’s not to suggest there is nothing to worry about. A 6 percent loss is still worse than 2 percent, or no loss. This does show, however, that adaptation by farmers can lead to substantially reduced damages.”To lessen that potential damage, Butler and Huybers first set out to understand how sensitive corn crops are to temperature changes.“What we’re trying to get at is how adaptable corn is,” Butler said. “The first step in that is to understand how well the crops react to the conditions they experience, or how sensitive they are to the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days.”In general, Butler said, the ideal temperature for growing corn is about 29 degrees Celsius. If temperatures stay below that threshold, the plants benefit; much above it, they wither on their stalks. By combining U.S. Department of Agriculture data on corn yields and weather data, Butler was able to build a model that predicted how weather affected yields, based on previous experience.The next step, Butler said, was to determine whether geography played a role in crops’ sensitivity.“Our expectation was that maize is adapted to where it’s grown, and that’s exactly what we found,” he said. “Relative to Southern maize, Northern maize is more sensitive to temperature. It gets a bigger boost from the good days, but also gets hit harder by the bad days.” That makes sense given that Northern maize has a shorter season in which it must mature and is less likely to experience heat.“Our assumption is that this relationship between the climatology of hot days and the sensitivity to hot days is due to differences in the variety of maize — called maize cultivars — that are grown in different parts of the U.S.,” Butler said.“Everyone is interested in getting the most out of the land that they can,” he said, “and it can be expected that as temperatures continue to rise, farmers will shift cultivars toward being more heat tolerant.” For instance, farmers in the Northern part of the country may need to adopt varieties with traits more like those in the South.These results suggest that the effects of climate change on crop production may not be as bad as earlier analyses suggested, but there are other factors to consider. “If future climate change only entails a 2-degree rise in mean temperatures,” Butler said, “our analysis indicates that most of the damages to yield can be averted. But if mean temperature rises much more — or comes along with more heat waves, droughts, and extreme wind events — the consequences for yield will be more dire.”last_img read more

Diversity director encourages inclusion

first_imgEric Love, director of staff diversity and inclusion, presented to leaders and volunteers from nonprofit organizations Tuesday as part of the University’s Nonprofit Breakfast Series. The series, presented by the University’s Office of Public Affairs and the Mendoza College of Business, is designed to help nonprofit organizations learn from human resource experts to better manage employees. Love’s presentation was the third in the four-part series and focused on the benefits of diversity and how to better serve all constituents. “Inclusion is what we do with diversity,” he said. “If we really value diversity, if we really think it’s important, that inclusion is so important. We can only get the benefits of diversity if we give each other a voice and allow them to speak and share their perspective. “So together, diversity and inclusion are policies and practices of inclusion that promote understanding of cultural differences and encourage cooperation across the boundaries of diverse co-workers.” The benefits of diversity, according to Love, include enhanced critical and complex thinking, greater academic and work success and “greater engagement in the lifelong learning of understanding people and cultures in order to develop a more democratic community and equitable society.”“When we start working with people who are different from us, we start to care about them, we care about their communities,” he said. “We start to care about other communities outside of our own.”The first step to becoming more inclusive, Love said, is to focus on yourself. “I strongly believe awareness is the first step — the more comfortable we are with ourselves, the more comfortable we are with other people,” he said. “If you know who you are, it doesn’t really matter who someone else is, because you’re secure with yourself. You’re comfortable with whoever else someone might be.” When addressing organizations, Love said leaders should aspire to be “multiculturally competent.” “An organization is multiculturally competent when its members, majority and minority, have knowledge of, respect for and the skills necessary to interact with people from other cultures, within an international and domestic context,” he said. When striving for multicultural competency, Love said microaggressions, which he defined as “brief and commonplace” indignities that communicate “hostile or negative slights or insults,” are a crucial part of communication to be aware of. “They are reminders that recipients are not in the majority,” he said. “They can happen to women, to people of color, to people with disabilities and they add up to a pattern of exclusion. One microaggression is like a paper cut — it might sting a little bit, but ultimately it’s not that big of a deal. But multiple microaggressions every day, every week, over time can really start to add up.”While it is important to be inclusive, the fear of “saying something wrong” shouldn’t prevent important conversations from happening or questions from being asked, Love said. “Political correctness had noble intentions and it started to get us communicating in a more civil way,” he said. “But terminology changes and it can be hard to keep up. We all make mistakes; I’m the diversity guy and I make mistakes.”Tags: Diversity, eric love, mendoza college of business, Nonprofit Breakfast Serieslast_img read more

Chautauqua County Reports 32 New COVID-19 Cases; 24 Linked To Tanglewood

first_imgMAYVILLE – Chautauqua County officials have reported 32 new positive cases of COVID-19 Tuesday afternoon with 24 of those cases tied to Tanglewood Manor.Of the 32 new cases, 25 are located in Jamestown, four in Dunkirk, two in Fredonia, and one in Cherry Creek. This brings the total number of positive cases countywide to 904 with 149 cases currently active.The situation at Tanglewood Manor is currently managed by the New York State Department of Health with assistance with county health officials. All residents who had previously tested negative during this outbreak were re-tested on October 19.All of the new cases associated with the adult care facility were identified through this testing event. There are currently 11 active cases among employees of Tanglewood and 79 active cases among residents. There have been 13 recoveries associated with this outbreak. There still remains 18 people hospitalized in the county with 742 recoveries to date and 13 deaths.Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Middlebury College adds solar trackers to its energy mix

first_imgThis spring a solar energy system will join Middlebury College’s biomass plant and wind turbine on campus.College officials have signed an agreement with Williston-based AllEarth Renewables to create a small 143kW solar farm consisting of 34 solar trackers that will produce an average of 200,000 kilowatt-hours annually. The installation’s total kWh will produce enough electricity for a year for one of the college’s residence halls the size of Battell Hall, which houses about 238 students. The solar farm will be located on about 1.5 acres of college land on Route 125, west of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, Middlebury’s science facility.AllEarth manufactures the innovative solar tracker systems, called AllSun Trackers, that feed electricity into nearby power lines. According to David Blittersdorf, CEO and founder of AllEarth Renewables, the solar trackers, which are mounted on poles, use GPS and wireless technology to actively follow the sun throughout the day, producing more than 40 percent more energy than fixed solar panels of the same size. The company constructs the equipment at its Williston facility, using many parts made in Vermont.AllEarth will subcontract the installation of the site to Weybridge-based Backspin Renewables, which will begin work in February and complete the project this spring.‘Middlebury College continues to walk the walk in energy leadership. A product of student research in the college’s environmental studies program, this solar farm will put front and center the benefits of advanced solar technology for one of the leading academic institutions in the country,’ said Blittersdorf. ‘We are pleased that Backspin Renewables, a local Addison County solar tracker installer, will build this project.’‘We’re excited to have this system to explore the potential for additional solar power in the future,’ said Jack Byrne, Middlebury College director of sustainability integration. ‘This is a demonstration project that offers an opportunity for student learning and research as well as one more option to explore as we pursue our goal to become carbon neutral by 2016. Staff will also have the chance to gain an understanding of the operational aspects of a solar energy system.’Byrne added, ‘It’s good to know that we are producing clean energy and putting some of it back into the grid as well.’Solar energy is not completely new to Middlebury ‘ solar panels were mounted on the Franklin Environmental Center in 2008 and on Farrell House in 2003 but the new project is significantly larger than the installations on these two college buildings. Byrne said the new system will produce about 15 times the power of the existing panels.According to Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay, students have expressed an interest in developing a solar energy system at Middlebury for several years in a number of academic courses. Most recently, four students in Professor of Economics Jon Isham’s fall semester ‘Environmental Economics’ class wrote a report, ‘The Cost-Benefit Analysis of a proposed Small Scale Solar Farm at Middlebury College,’ concluding that a project with AllEarth would have a positive economic and social impact. In 2010 students in an environmental studies seminar taught by Professor of Environmental and Biosphere Studies Steve Trombulak also recommended the college commission a solar project with AllEarth.Caleb Elder, an AllEarth Renewables employee and a 2004 Middlebury graduate, had heard about the student interest and approached administrators in 2011 about constructing a solar system. College officials referred back to the students’ work and realized the timing was right for such a project.Based on current and projected electric rates and at a predicted production of 200,000 kWh annually, the system is expected to save the college about $5,000-$10,000 a year. ‘From a financial standpoint, this is a low risk project with a positive impact,’ said Middlebury College Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Patrick Norton. ‘At current rates, we will earn money for every kWh produced and we will retain rights to the clean energy credits.’‘Once again, we are grateful to our students for their energy and commitment to sustainability,’ said Byrne. ‘As with the biomass plant, they provided the initial research and interest that helped make this project possible.’AllEarth Renewables specializes in the design and manufacture of affordable, turnkey grid-connected solar electric systems. AllSun Trackers vastly simplify system design, supply chain management and installation for systems large and small. AllEarth Renewables aims to lessen dependence on nuclear and fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while creating sustainable, well-paying jobs. AllEarth Renewables was named the fastest growing company in Vermont in 2010 and the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year in 2011. Its AllSun Tracker was selected as a ‘Top-10 Green Product of the Year’ by BuildingGreen, Inc and in June 2011, AllEarth Renewables’ CEO was named one of 25 of ‘America’s Most Promising Social Entrepreneurs’ by Business WeekMIDDLEBURY, Vt- January 16, 2012last_img read more


first_imgBlind Hiker Trevor Thomas (aka Zero/Zero) was first profiled in Blue Ridge Outdoors in April 2009, after he completed a rib-cracking thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, during which he fell more than 3,000 times and racked up eight hospital visits. We’re happy to report that Trevor’s still hiking, and, with the help of hard-won experience and his guide dog Tennille, falling down a whole lot less. He started the Team FarSight Foundation to help get blind kids into the wilderness, and recently teamed with Asheville’s A Brighter Path Foundation to sponsor an Outdoor Adventure Camp for the blind. We caught up with Trevor in early June, as he was gathering snow-melt reports in preparation for a solo thru-hike of the Colorado Trail.When Blue Ridge Outdoors last checked in with you, you had just completed the Appalachian Trail as the second blind thru-hiker. Can you give us an update on what’s happened since then?TT: A lot of miles, a lot of trails, and a lot of great expeditions. Currently we’re preparing to go out and through-hike the Colorado Trail, which is 500 miles from Denver to Durango. It’s high-altitude work and I’ll be doing it solo with my guide dog, Tennille. This season we’re pretty excited because I will now be going over 20,000 through-hiking miles on some of America’s most rugged and remote long trails. After we get done with the C.T., we’ll be going to Kentucky to hike the Sheltowee Trace trail. That’s about 318 miles through Kentucky and eastern Tennessee, and is the original route that Daniel Boone took into the wilderness. Kentucky is one place that I’ve never hiked before, and I’m looking forward to that.When you through-hiked the AT, you did it without a dog, but now you have Tennille. Tennille is unique in the guide dog world. She is trained, like every other guide dog, to assist me in everyday life, when I’m in town. But she is also [trained as a trail dog], the only one of her kind. When we hike, she doesn’t just come with me as a companion; she actually works. She finds things for me. She’s very good at finding water. She finds trail signs. She’ll find rocks that could hurt me, and my personal favorite: she knows how tall I am. So if there’s something that’s going to smash me in the head, she knows to alert me as well. We work one hundred percent as a team. She finds things that I need, and then I figure out what we need to do at that point to continue down the trail.When I did the A.T., I did it solo, just like every other hiker does. But the thing about the AT is that there are so many people on it that it’s actually pretty hard to hike the trail alone. And one of my goals as a blind person, and one of the things I originally wanted to get out of hiking was to get my independence back. And it took me a long time to get to that point. Three years ago, I had hiked over ten thousand miles—on the A.T., the PCT, the John Muir—I’d done quite a few trails. But I’d always had a partner with me. It was an accomplishment, yes, but it wasn’t the accomplishment I wanted. So I sat down after a failed attempt on the Colorado Trail because my partner didn’t show, and I decided to reinvent myself as a hiker, to change my hiking style, get a guide dog, and put a lot of new elements together. I wanted to see if it would be possible for a blind person to through-hike the lesser-traveled of the long trails, and do it alone. And that’s what I’ve done, and that’s what Tennille has enabled me to do. The treks that I’m doing these days I would never be able to attempt without the assistance of Tennille, with her unique skills.You’ve reported that you fell over 3,000 times when you first through-hiked the AT.Yes.Which led to four broken ribs and eight visits to the hospital. Has hiking gotten a little less precarious now that you have Tennille?Thanks to her, it’s a rarity that I fall anymore.What’s something else that was hard for you at first but is easy now?I never would have dreamed when I first started that I would be able to navigate without having anybody around. I don’t have a GPS. I don’t believe in them for what I do. I don’t want to be reliant on something that could break. Instead I rely on my skills in echolocation, and I rely on Tennille. I have very, very hyper-accurate directions that we write before I go out and have them sent to my iPhone, which can read them to me. I keep track of my cadence, which tells me how fast I’m hiking, and I keep track of time. Together that gives me distance. And there’s only about two or three times, maybe four, during an average day, where definitively I can say one hundred percent I know where I am. Say my map tells me that 2.5 miles into my hike that day, there will be a stream. When I get to that stream, I can say ‘Yes, I know where I am.’ So for me it’s like connecting the dots. One point to the next point to the next point.How have your experiences in the backcountry changed you?I think that, since I went blind later in life, and I started hiking as a way to regain some of that independence that I had as a sighted person. It’s given me the confidence to attempt just about anything that confronts me. I’ve fallen a lot in the back country. That taught me that it’s okay to fail, and that it’s how you recover from those failures that’s going to make you grow as a person.And what are your favorite moments in the woods?I’ve always said that a bad day on the trail is better than a good day in town. In the backcountry is where I feel normal. It’s where I feel the most alive, and it’s where I’m just like everybody else. It’s very invigorating, very freeing. My best moments aren’t the summits that I’ve sat on top of that nobody thought I could reach… but every single moment after some sort of disaster, moments where we thought through the problem, we embraced it, solved it, we succeeded, and we were able to continue on forward.Tell me about the Team FarSight Foundation.The sighted community often consider blind people as third-class citizens. I got disgruntled about the unemployment rate for blind adults in America [nearly 70% by some estimates – Ed.]. I figured that if I could give blind kids the experiences that I’ve had in the backcountry, it could change their lives dramatically. So I founded TeamFarSight. I wanted blind kids to be able to fall back on these experiences that they would have in the backcountry the next time somebody said, ‘No, you can’t do this because you’re blind.’ And they could say, ‘Well, wait a minute. I think that I can, because I did this: I climbed a rock face, I hiked a long trail. People said I couldn’t do that, but I did.’last_img read more

Credit unions adapt to pot regulations

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr After reading the federal expectations and guidelines on how financial institutions could offer banking services to marijuana businesses, Jennifer Roberts, COO of the $207 million Obee Credit Union, never expected the Tumwater, Wash.-based cooperative would be able to serve the cash-rich pot industry.“I read the Cole Memo and thought, there is no way our small credit union can do anything in this arena to comply, so we decided we were not going to get involved,” Roberts recalled. continue reading »last_img read more

Trump’s Pick for Commerce Secretary May Have the Biggest Conflicts of Them All

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York By Derek Kravitz, ProPublicaMany of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet picks are titans of industry with significant potential business conflicts of interest.But there is one in a class by himself: Commerce secretary choice Wilbur Ross.Ross has made a fortune in the steel industry — an industry of which the Commerce Department has significant oversight. Indeed, government transition documents show that the Commerce Department is slated to make no fewer than five decisions about steel trade soon after the inauguration which will directly affect businesses that Ross has a stake in. “It’s on a different order of magnitude and complexity than any other cabinet pick,” said Norman Eisen, the White House’s chief ethics lawyer in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2011. “Now it’s up to him to figure if he can do this job and, if so, how he can do it given his entanglements.”Transition briefing documents, which ProPublica obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, show how closely the Commerce Department is focused on enforcing and monitoring global steel supplies and demand. They make clear how the department’s decisions could greatly benefit ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel producer, where Ross retains a stake and has long sat on the board (he was re-elected to a three-year term in 2015).Among the impending decisions are rulings on unfair pricing investigations of steel imports from Belgium, France, Germany and Italy. The rulings are due within the first 100 days of the new Trump administration. (See the Commerce Department presidential transition briefing documents here.)Ross has other potential conflicts. While Ross talks tough on China, he is an equity investor in a shipping company with a Chinese sovereign wealth fund. He has also invested in the China Huaneng Group, a state-owned power generator run by the eldest son of Li Peng, the former prime minister.Ross sits on the boards of five publicly traded companies. Among them is the Bank of Cyprus, where he is vice chairman, and where he has been an investor along with Russian oligarchs.“His business contacts are deep and wide,” said Kurt Schulzke, director of the Corporate Governance Center at Kennesaw State University. “Life could be very complicated for Wilbur Ross if he chooses to hang onto those interests.”Ross did not respond to requests for comment and Trump’s transition team referred questions to the Commerce Department, while noting that the department’s briefing documents were crafted under the outgoing Obama administration.The most obvious potential conflict, experts say, is between Ross and Commerce’s International Trade Administration, which oversees trade laws and agreements with other countries. The agency is working on how to stop China’s government-supported steel industry from encroaching on U.S. markets and has wide purview over monitoring and enforcement.“It’s never happened that a Commerce secretary has been so directly involved in the fallout, and rewards, from previous trade deals,” said Gary Hufbauer, a former Treasury Department official who specializes in trade policy as a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.Despite Ross’ considerable fortune, lawyers and Senate committee officials say there is a path for him to avoid thorny ethics issues. It entails liquidating many of his financial holdings, recusing himself on matters where he might have a personal vested interest, and potentially putting his financial holdings in a blind trust.Those moves would likely dwarf divestitures made by previous cabinet members. Hank Paulson, the former Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush, sold nearly $600 million worth of stock before entering public office in 2006. Penny Pritzker, the Chicago billionaire and Hyatt Hotels executive, stepped down from her position with the hotel chain when she took the Commerce secretary job in 2013.The Republican-led Senate Commerce Committee, which is tasked with vetting the president’s appointee for the cabinet position, has repeatedly likened Ross’ case to that of Pritzker, who divested from 221 companies and resigned from her job at Hyatt, as a precedent for navigating slippery business conflicts. “As has been the practice with past nominees, the Commerce Committee will carefully scrutinize Mr. Ross’ proposal for avoiding conflicts of interest,” the Senate committee said in a statement to ProPublica. “In the recent past, candidates with large portfolios have addressed concerns about financial conflicts and achieved Senate confirmation through recusals, divestment, and other steps as outlined in an ethics agreement.” (The Senate Commerce Committee has not yet received Ross’ ethics agreement proposal.)But Ross’ situation may be different. “There are a lot fewer trade conflicts with hotels than the steel industry. That’s a pretty qualitative difference,” Hufbauer said.What’s clear is that Ross plans to rely on his experience with foreign trade in his new public-sector job. In a policy paper published in September with Peter Navarro, a business professor from the University of California at Irvine, about the Trump economic plan, Ross cited his purchase of Pennsylvania’s Bethlehem Steel as proof of a broken trade-enforcement system:“As another problem, it takes a long time to adjudicate trade cases. In the interim, American companies go bankrupt, cheaters take over the market, and the court ruling becomes moot. This happened a few years ago to Bethlehem and 30 other steel companies that went bankrupt waiting for relief.” Bethlehem Steel was one of several U.S. steel companies purchased by Ross and packaged into a $4.5 billion deal with ArcelorMittal in 2005. Ross and his investors net gain on the deal: $260 million.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. 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The new Aura Display Village on the Sunshine Coast cuts living costs

first_imgStockland’s $5 billion masterplanned community, Aura, has just opened its display village in its first suburb Baringa.NEW standards for sustainable community design are being set by Stockland’s $5 billion masterplanned community, Aura on the Sunshine Coast.The newly opened Aura Display Village is the first in Australia to feature a display home with Tesla Powerwall 2, the next generation solar home battery system that offers homeowners the ability to save money on their energy bills.Stockland regional manager Ben Simpson said Aura was the first community to be designed and constructed to the world’s highest environmental and sustainability standards, achieving 6 Star Green Star-Communities rating.“The Aura Display Village is a jewel in the crown of Aura’s first suburb, Baringa, and these cutting-edge technologies are paving the way for the outstanding quality, design excellence and sustainable living options set to become the hallmark of this future city.” Integrale Homes director Murray Riley said the company was experiencing a surge in interest about the Tesla Powerwall 2, now on display in its Oakvale 189 home. “The Tesla Powerwall 2 is proving to be a huge drawcard for potential buyers weary of being on the receiving end of endless price hikes in energy bills,” Mr Riley said. More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this home2 hours agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor2 hours ago“With double the storage of the Tesla Powerwall 1, this battery should power a home from dawn to dusk.” Other hi-tech innovations in the display village include an electric car charge station and the installation of smart LED street lighting, using 50 per cent less energy than standard street lights.“These features are highlighted throughout the village, and potential buyers can do a walking tour to see each technology in action,” Mr Simpson said.The largest display village on the Sunshine Coast, Aura features 40 new homes, designed by 24 of Australia’s leading builders and designers. Each display home has achieved a 7 Star NatHERS rating, making the display village one of the most environmentally friendly in Australia. Current land sizes at Aura’s first suburb, Baringa, are priced from $203,400 to $344,150 and range from 250sq m to 716sq m. The Aura Display Village is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm and is located beside the Aura Sales and Vision Centre at 1 Lukin Terrace, Bells Creek.last_img read more

Dutch pension funds hail DC switch

first_imgThe four largest Dutch pension funds are enthusiastic about the outline for a new pensions system that was presented this week. However, there are concerns about the possibility of pension cuts in the years leading up to 2026, when the new system will be fully operational.“The agreement that has now almost been concluded means pension funds can finally say goodbye to this nasty discount rate for liabilities,” director Peter Borgdorff of healthcare fund PFZW wrote in a blogpost.“Because interest rates just kept going down, we haven’t been able to increase pensions for years, even though our assets under management have more than doubled in the past 10 years. We were even close to having to cut pensions. But with this agreement, interest rates are no longer relevant”, Borgdorff added.The PFZW director added that expected pensions will now be higher for everyone because pensions will be able to move up and down with the economy. He considers the introduction of personal pension pots a positive too. “If everybody can see how much pension is available for them, nobody will have to worry anymore about not having a pension upon retirement,” he said.This is a concern widely shared among young people, Borgdorff noted.ABP, PMT and PMEOther pension funds are also positive. The metal industry scheme PME voiced its “wholehearted support” for the plans. “It’s a good step in the direction of the changes that are badly needed,” a spokesperson said.The other metal industry scheme, PMT, called the deal “good news”. “This is an improvement of the system because we are no longer dependent on discount rates for liabilities or coverage ratios,” a spokesperson said.“This offers a perspective for pensions that can preserve purchasing power.”Civil servants fund ABP said the new pensions system is “realistic” and hails the fact scheme members will profit more directly from investment returns.The Dutch pension federation’s interim-president José Meijer said it’s “especially gratifying there now is a perspective for a future-proof pensions contract, one that can be executed in practice and shows participants more clearly how their pension is created.”Pension funds are “looking forward to implement this contract,” she added.Pension rights cutsIn a critical note, consultancy Aon said it expects the conversion of existing defined benefit (DB) pensions to defined contribution (DC) arrangements will lead to “painful measures” because of the current funding shortfalls of many pension funds.In the years until 2026, funds will have to repair their deficits to avoid pension cuts.“To avoid pension cuts younger people will have to carry the burden of deficits completely, pensioners’ allowances need to be adjusted,” the consultant said in a press release. “We believe there is too little attention for this in the current plans.”ABP was the only pension fund to note in its reaction that there are no rules as of yet to govern possible pension cuts in the run-up to the introduction of the new pensions system.The civil servants fund believes these yet-to-be-made rules should be designed “in the spirit of the new system”.“This means we wouldn’t find it logical if we were to continue to cut pensions according to current rules, because they were designed for the old system,” a spokesperson said.ABP had a coverage ratio of 84.5% at the end of May, the lowest such figure of all four large funds.Looking for IPE’s latest magazine? Read the digital edition here.last_img read more

House Judiciary Committee Approves Two Articles Of Impeachment Against Trump

first_img(Washington, DC) — The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump.Trump is accused of abusing power and obstructing Congress in the Ukraine scandal.Both articles were approved in party-line votes on the Democratic-led committee.The articles of impeachment are being referred to the full House, which is expected to debate and vote on them next week.last_img