Tagged: , Construction
FRANKFURT U.S. missile maker Raytheon’s (RTN.N) cybersecurity unit could thrive were it to be listed separately, the head of the unit, Forcepoint, told German business daily Boersenzeitung in an interview published on Saturday.
“Raytheon has undertaken that Forcepoint will achieve for civilian cyber defense what Raytheon does for the defense of nation states, and we think that we could unleash enormous potential in our company via a stock exchange listing,” Matthew Moynahan said.
He said it was a little early to contemplate such a move, though, according to the newspaper.
Raytheon bought an 80 percent stake in Forcepoint, then known as Websense, from private equity firm Vista in 2015 for $1.9 billion and combined it with its own cybersecurity operations. Vista owns the other 20 percent.
Vista retains the right to exit the joint venture, including by requiring Raytheon to buy its 20 percent stake or by Forcepoint’s pursuing an IPO.
Forcepoint made sales of $566 million and operating income of $51 million in 2016.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; editing by John Stonestreet)
(NewsUSA) – Which jobs will be in demand in the coming years?
It’s a question that’s taken on greater urgency as the cost of higher education continues to rise much faster than incomes. And while no one’s recommending choosing a career based solely on market factors, a lot more philosophy majors might be employed today if they’d paid attention.
“Not all (college) degrees are created equal,” a report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce concluded.
One career that’s considered golden: doctors of chiropractic.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Handbook, chiropractic employment is expected to rise 28 percent through 2020 — much faster than the average for all jobs.
For those unaware, today’s chiropractors are at the frontline in providing non-invasive, drug-free relief from everything from back pain to migraines to a host of lifestyle issues. And while there’s a high degree of both personal and patient satisfaction, the educational requirements are among the most stringent of all health care professionals.
The typical applicant at an accredited chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, physics, psychology, organic and inorganic chemistry, and related lab work. He or she is then looking at four or five years of professional study in the healing sciences that in some cases — including anatomy, physiology, rehabilitation and nutrition — are even more intensive than that of medical doctors.
There’s also a minimum one-year, clinical-based program involving actual patient care. “That’s because of the hands-on nature of the profession and the intricate adjusting techniques that must be learned to help patients,” says Gerard Clum of the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress.
For more information, visit www.considerchiropractic.org, or watch this video at http://youtu.be/wC1Nf0prgGs.
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World amazing modern Agriculture Heavy Equipment and mega machines, tractor, harvester, ditcher, trencher, rammer, mower, reaper, automatic hay bales collector, loader, Sod Installer, excavator, device for collecting fruits, corn, rice, gathering leaves etc. Agriculture equipment, latest farming technology machines, Mechanical Engineering. USA, Germany and other countries of Europe and Asia.
Удивительные современные мега машины и сельское хозяйство: трактор, комбайн, траншеекопатель, трамбовщик, газоноукладчик, косилка, автоматический сборщик тюков сена, погрузчик, экскаватор, жатка, приспособление для листьев, кукурузы, риса, трусилки для деревьев и многое другое. США, Германия и другие страны Европы и Азии.
Getting connected on a jobsite was once a matter of trying to find a decent cellphone signal. But innovations in wireless mesh networks, sensor technology and data analytics now can offer a new level of intelligence and contextual awareness to workers on the site. And some contractors are diving right in, running pilot projects with the latest smart devices.
“This wave of connected jobsite technologies is one of the most exciting opportunities we’ve had in recent years,” says David Burns, director of field solutions for McCarthy Building Cos., which has been testing advanced sensor technology on its jobsites.
But putting a sensor on everything isn’t a solution in itself, notes Burns. “There have been a number of situations that arose as we were piloting where we had to dig a bit deeper into what specifically was being tracked,” he says. Burns recently oversaw a pilot project, run by McCarthy, that used sensors to record ambient and environmental data across the jobsite. “It’s very much a learning experience for us,” he says.
McCarthy deployed wireless environmental sensors from tech start-up Pillar Technologies on an expansion project at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis. The mounted sensors measure ambient qualities, such as temperature, humidity and dust-particulate levels, as well as noise and vibration. But the data is not simply logged for future records. Burns and his team receive real-time alerts when a wireless sensor detects something amiss on the site. “Sometimes it’s driven by a contract requirement for noise or vibration, but the platform could also be used to mitigate risk,” notes Burns. “It can detect smoke or a rise in temperature, provide an early indicator of damage to materials and avoid the need for rework.”
While tracking on-site conditions with basic sensor packages is nothing new, Burns began to refine the data once McCarthy started collaborating more directly with Pillar Technologies. “When we start to look to an ‘internet of things’ [IoT], we have to ask ourselves, what is it that we’re tracking and how is it useful?” he says. “OK, we can track dust particulates, but to what degree? We found that Pillar was very responsive in building out sensors that fit our needs.”
Burns says that, once the Pillar team fine-tuned the sensors to what the project managers needed to know on the site, work started to accelerate on the hospital project. “Their agility really impressed me. As they rewrote the software and firmware, we saw the chance to adjust sensors to fit any type of project we might be working on—hospitals, solar farms—really, anywhere we self-perform work and know what we want to know.” Once more projects begin to record rich data on every aspect of the job, the benefits from analysis will begin to stack up, Burns says. “Over time, we’ll aggregate this data, and what’s not a problem today may actually be an indicator of a problem tomorrow,” he says.
Sensors that can send an alert when they notice something amiss are the low-hanging fruit of connected jobsites. Some firms and manufacturers are aiming quite a bit higher. From November 2016 to February 2017, Mortenson Construction ran a connected jobsite pilot on a project at the Penn State campus, State College, Pa., in which it ran trials on a comprehensive wireless mesh network with IoT capabilities.
While building an expansion to one of the university’s athletic facilities, the team deployed a prototype of a jobsite wireless connectivity solution, made by the tool company DEWALT. Using a series of relays, the system generated a wireless mesh network across 100,000 sq ft of the jobsite, providing high-speed internet access to everyone on site without the need for cell or satellite signals. Linked to a high-speed, wired connection in the jobsite trailer, the system required only one or two nodes per floor, driven by external power or DEWALT battery packs.
“It was the first time we’ve blanketed the jobsite from corner to corner with a WiFi mesh,” says Taylor Cupp, technologist at Mortenson Construction. “We needed that connectivity, and now we had it. The object is to keep our people in the field, instead of making trips to the trailer to get the latest information.” Foremen and superintendents were able to quickly download the latest construction documents and project management files. “We opened it up to our subcontractors—mechanical, electrical—using BIM 360 Glue for the VDC and BIM, and they were able to have constant access to the model,” says Cupp. “For the project management side, we were able to use Procore anywhere on the site to get the latest project information.”
DEWALT has been quietly developing a jobsite connectivity solution for some time, and while it is new territory for the company, it is also a natural extension of its brand, says Tony Nicolaidis, vice president of marketing for DEWALT. “First step is a wireless mesh network, ruggedized for the jobsite,” he says. “But down the road, we’ll launch our IoT platform. Then, we’ll be able to track where assets are—our products or anything that’s tagged—across this mesh network down to a floor or specific zone.” DEWALT is looking into not just providing real-time updates but also automatically generating summary reports tailored to team members’ requirements.
With a site blanketed in DEWALT’s WiFi, Nicolaidis imagines a scenario in which Bluetooth-enabled DEWALT tools, tagged materials and even workers with badges will be passively tracked. During the pilot at Penn State, Cupp saw the earliest stages of this vision. “We tested out some of the IoT features,” he says. “There are so many opportunities to track data and collect it in the field. I can’t think of anything on a jobsite that doesn’t rely on locational awareness.”
Cupp says the real value of the system was having a single solution for tracking and wireless, as the team should have as few layers of software and log-ins as possible to access the data. DEWALT’s in-development system sent out alerts and push notifications, and even the basic analytical data it generated showed promise. “It was very interesting when we started to overlay where people were versus equipment and started to take a lean approach—how to avoid wasted movement and underutilization of equipment,” Cupp says.
While the system used on the Penn State site was very much a work-in-progress version, Nicolaidis says the ready-for-deployment wireless solution is near. DEWALT plans to announce more details about its product at ENR’s FutureTech conference in San Francisco, held from May 29 to June 1.
Worker tracking can be used for more than improving efficiency. Tech start-up Triax Technologies is starting to get its belt-mounted sensor out in the field (ENR 11/7/16 p. 99). Now it is seeing how data gathered while tracking workers can improve safety. Based on a local mesh network, the device, whose batteries last a year, logs worker movements only while they’re on site.
The firm’s “spot-r” system clips to a worker’s belt and features accelerometers and gyroscopes that can detect sudden falls or motions. It has an alert button for workers to signal for help or when they see an unsafe condition.
“Now that we’re collecting data on a larger scale, we’re starting to see new ways to improve worker safety,” says Chad Hollingsworth, Triax co-founder and president. “There’s been excitement among workers about using the alert to point out hazards on the site.”
The system’s logs of worker movements also brought new insights into safety practices. “On one job, we saw a lot of small falls around where they were doing the rebar for concrete,” recalls Hollingsworth. “Turns out, the guys were jumping into the pit instead of using the ladder, and the safety manager was able to tell them to use the ladder, based on that aggregated data.”
While sensor technology has gotten cheaper and more durable, processing the mountains of data generated by connected sites remains an issue.
DPR Construction has run its own pilot projects for sensors, but it also is developing the back end that will help to make sense of the information. “We don’t necessarily know what’s going to happen with IoT, but we’re working on the back-end platform in Microsoft Azure so data from any sensor can be ingested and analyzed,” says Kyle Shipp, MEP coordinator for DPR Construction. “If we can develop that capability and tie it to our display dashboards, we’ll be well ahead.”
Shipp has been leading DPR’s sensor pilots, even building from scratch some of his own environmental sensors. But the bulk of the work has been in Microsoft Azure’s cloud-computing environment and PowerBI’s dashboard visualization platform so that meaningful insights can be gleaned from new information.
“There are no limits on the type of data you can collect,” says Kaushal Diwan, head of innovation for DPR. “The next step is applying machine learning to get predictive analytics and make smarter systems.”
DPR has begun integrating BIM 360 into its PowerBI dashboard. Also, it is looking to bring in data from worker-tracking systems. “The goal is for any sensor data to flow into the real-time analytics system,” says Diwan.
With more and more data coming into DPR’s back end system, Diwan says he is looking beyond the construction phase to the whole life cycle of a building. “On one side, it’s understanding the micro-ecosystem of the project, being more aware of the specific dangers of that site and climate,” he says. “But if we can tie this data into what we hand over to the owner when we close out projects, it becomes the handover of a smart building.”
Originally posted 2017-05-24 17:14:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
A University of Oklahoma Civil Engineering and Environmental Science Professor Robert Nairn and his co-authors have conducted a collaborative study that suggests exposure to trace metals from potatoes grown in soil irrigated with waters from the Potosi mining region in Bolivia, home to the world’s largest silver deposit, may put residents at risk of non-cancer health illnesses.
“In this high mountain desert, water is a critically precious resource and the use of metal-polluted waters for irrigation may have substantial detrimental impacts on the lives of subsistence farmers,” said Bill Strosnider, researcher on the project.
Potatoes are the primary dietary staple in the surrounding communities. The lack of water for quality irrigation throughout this arid region results in farmers using contaminated waters, leading to health risks from contaminated potatoes eaten locally or shipped to outlying areas. For children, ingestion of arsenic through potatoes was 9.1 to 71.8 times higher than the minimum risk level and ingestion of cadmium was 3.0 to 31.5 times higher than the minimum risk level.
“The fact that the hazard quotients of risk were so high through only one exposure route is concerning,” said Robin Taylor Wilson, Penn State College of Medicine professor and lead epidemiologist for the study. “Children in this region are exposed to contaminants through routes other than potatoes. If we consider these additional routes of exposure, the estimated risks will likely be much higher, but without further research, there is no way of knowing how much higher these risks might be.”
The hazard quotient is the ratio of estimated specific exposure to a single chemical over a specified period to the estimated daily exposure level at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. Hazard quotients about one suggest the possibility of adverse non-cancer health risks. The minimum risk levels are established by the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
“Our findings allow the research community insight into the potential human and environmental impact that vast active and abandoned mining operations may pose all across the Andean region,” said Alan Garrido, researcher on the project.
Originally posted 2017-05-24 17:11:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Now that construction has finally begun, crews are making rapid progress on the long-planned Loop 202 freeway in metropolitan Phoenix. The project features an incentivized approach to right-of-way acquisition and a non-linear construction schedule that will build last the center portion of the $1.7-billion project.
Also known as the South Mountain Freeway, Loop 202 will add a 22-mile connection to the eastern and western portions of metro Phoenix to relieve pressure on existing freeway corridors and local streets.
The Arizona Dept. of Transportation in December 2015 selected design-build-maintain entity Connect 202 Partners under the state’s first public-private-partnership agreement on a highway project. The joint venture brings together Fluor, Granite Construction and Ames Construction, plus maintenance contractor DBi Services. Lead designer Parsons Brinckerhoff is working with AZTEC Engineering, Stanley Consultants, Kleinfelder Group and AMEC. The P3 includes a 30-year maintenance contract.
Connect 202 Partners says contractors began work in September and have completed 22% of the project in terms of design, construction, right-of-way acquisition and utilities. The P3, which manages both construction and right-of-way acquisition, is in the final stages of acquiring residential and commercial properties.
Design should be finished by August or September, says Walter J. Lewis, Connect 202 project manager.
To date, ADOT and Connect 202 Partners have completed negotiations on acquiring more than 270 parcels, with 92 parcels left to be acquired, says Dustin Kugel, ADOT public information officer.
“One item that is unique on this project is incentivizing procurement to mitigate the right-of-way component. If we minimize the right-of-way footprint, the state ends up sharing on the right-of-way savings,” Lewis says. The 1,387 acres acquired as of April represent 90% of the total area needed.
So far, crews have begun median work at I-10 and construction near Elliot Road and the Salt River. “We’d like to be farther along, but are restrained by right-of-way,” Lewis says.
The freeway includes the state’s first use of diverging diamond interchanges to reduce right-of-way space and increase efficiency at intersections.
The freeway’s center portion—about five miles—will skirt over a portion of South Mountain and be built last, mainly due to ongoing litigation, according to ADOT and Connect 202 Partners.
Kugel says the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is expected to make a final decision in mid-2018.
Construction will not begin unless the court rules to allow it.
As of now, ADOT and Connect 202 Partners have not made contingency plans in case the court orders against construction. Earlier this year, that same court rejected the Gila River Indian Community’s motion for an injunction, pending appeal.
If completed as planned in 2019, the freeway will have four lanes in each direction, including an HOV lane. Crews will excavate more than 21 million cu yd of earth and construct about 78 bridges.
Construction comprises $916 million of the total cost, while $572 million will pay for rights-of-way, says Rob Samour, ADOT project manager. The remaining budget will pay for utilities and construction engineering. Routine maintenance will cost around $3 million annually.
The freeway was first proposed as part of the region’s transportation plan in 1985. Since then, all the other freeways in the plan have been completed.
Originally posted 2017-05-24 17:02:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
Dam engineers and safety experts say the drama that unfolded in February at California’s Oroville dam, when trouble with the main and emergency spillways led to the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents, could be a good thing for dam safety in the U.S.
“The Oroville event represents an opportunity,” says Martin McCann Jr., director of the National Performance of Dams Project and a civil engineering professor at Stanford University. “The dam didn’t fail. The spillway didn’t fail. No one got killed. So, let’s count our blessings and seize the opportunity.”
An expert panel of engineers this fall will present a forensics analysis to pinpoint the likely causes of the spillway failures. The more pressing concern is the lack of money to upgrade the 81,051 smaller, state-regulated dams, say dam engineers and officials.
In 2015, following a record rainfall, 51 of these smaller dams failed in South Carolina. Of the 90,000 dams in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ National Inventory of Dams, 58,000 are privately owned, and some, as in the state of Alabama, are not regulated at all. The Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) estimates the cost exceeds $64 billion to rehabilitate the nation’s non-federal and federal dams.
The combination of these factors—not just the threat of big dams such as Oroville—led the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to give dams a D grade in its latest report card. “We watch our federal dams really well,” says Dusty Myers, president of the ASDSO and chief of Mississippi’s dam program. “Our states are really stressed.”
Dam engineering and regulation has come far since the 1970s, when a series of failures killed dozens of people and caused billions of dollars in damage. Subsequent reviews showed that dam safety laws and regulations were inadequate. In response to those reviews, ASDSO was created in 1984.
Oversight is “definitely stronger,” says Mark Ogden, a technical specialist at ASDSO who helped to write ASCE’s dam report card. “Some states didn’t have a program back then.” Since about 2010, ASDSO has put a new focus on learning lessons from previous dam failures. Along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the group has created damfailures.org to share information about past failures. They expect that the Oroville case will yield a wealth of new information.
“You want to know the physical cause of the problem” but also what human factors may have contributed, says Mark Baker, chairman of ASDSO’s dam-failure committee.
Even as improvements have been made, dams are posing an increasing risk because they are getting older—in the U.S., the average age is 56, and about 4,400 are more than 100 years old. Further, the dams were not built to today’s seismic standards, and real-life storms and new storm models show many dams are inadequate to handle heavy rainfall. Dam owners’ responsibility for public safety has expanded with the growing number of people building and living in the dam-failure flood path. In the national inventory, the number of dams considered “high hazard,” or exhibiting the potential for fatalities after a failure, has grown to 15,500 in 2017 from 10,213 in 2005.
“It’s not because we are doing anything wrong,” says Bob Beduhn, director of dams and levees for HDR. “It’s that we are allowing people to live within the flood plain of the dam.” Beduhn adds that there’s a disconnect in the national flood insurance program, which doesn’t necessarily require flood insurance in dam flood plains.
To tackle the ever-increasing number of dams that need work, federal agencies, utilities and a growing number of states are turning to a risk-based approach to analyze and address problems at the nation’s dams. “It would be impossible to rehabilitate all the dams at once,” says Roger Adams, chief of dam safety for Pennsylvania.
By employing a risk-based approach to its 700 dams, the Corps of Engineers has avoided $7 billion of work, says Eric Halpin, deputy for dam and levee safety for the Corps. “We couldn’t afford not to do it,” he says.
Major work is ongoing at several dams, including the Corps’ Isabella Dam in California, which was created in the 1950s in a remote area of the state, but now puts more than 300,000 people downstream in Bakersfield at risk. A risk analysis determined the dam needed seismic updates, had seepage issues and could be overtopped.
Other federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates the Oroville Dam, are currently incorporating risk-based practices.
States and individual owners have been slower to adopt a risk-based approach because of costs and resistance from owners.
The cost issue may be a red herring. Dan Wade, director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s water improvement program, says the risk-based analysis doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. Where a large dam might have a 100-page risk-management plan, a small dam may need a three- to five-page plan. “It needs to fit the project,” Wade says. “We need to get past the concerns about cost.”
However, after the problems have been identified, the biggest problem of all—funding—comes next. “We can issue orders, but what happens if they can’t come up with the funding, especially on private dams? Those are the biggest struggles,” says Jon Garton, who manages the dam safety program in Iowa. Only about half the states have some type of low-interest loan program to help pay for rehabilitation.
The Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation bill, signed into law last year, established a $445-million fund to remediate high-hazard dams, but Congress has yet to appropriate any money for the fund. “The only way that work is going to uptick is if funding is provided some way,” says Craig Harris, western water division director for MWH, a unit of Stantec.
That’s not to say that work isn’t occurring. Communities that use their dams for water and recreation, utilities and states are spending billions to upgrade and maintain their dams.
“Many communities consider their dams forever after and spend a lot of money to make sure they are operated safely,” said Mike Manwaring, business development director for Stantec’s water and dam division
For the past decade or more, new seismic modeling has driven much of the dam work. Even before Oroville, there was a great emphasis on spillway work. Most dams and spillways were built based on old weather data. Now, more recent information shows that dams don’t have adequate capacity for downpours or their spillways are undersized.
While it may be impossible to build all dams to withstand the 1,000-year event that occurred in South Carolina in 2015, dams can be built to be more resilient, says Hermann Fritz, a Georgia Tech civil engineering professor who led the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance team that analyzed the South Carolina dam failures. For the most part, South Carolina provided a model for what is not being done in dam management, design and operations. For example, Fritz says, there were old, unknown materials that created seams and points of failure in dams. Turbines couldn’t be operated because power failed; gates had to be opened manually in the deluge; spillways weren’t designed properly; stop logs, meant to be removed in the event of a storm, had been cemented in.
“It showed all of the challenges of operation of these smaller dams,” he said.
In the end, the international team that has come together to analyze and learn the lessons from Oroville represents the path forward for national dam safety and the mind-set that supports it.
Says James Demby, senior technical policy adviser for FEMA’s National Dam Safety Program, “Dam safety is really a shared responsibility.”
Originally posted 2017-05-24 16:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
If you’ve been on the Internet lately, you’ve probably seen a cat selfie. Now, a Field Museum expedition to the Peruvian Amazon has elevated the animal selfie phenomenon to a whole new level. Earlier this year, a team of 25 scientists trekked to the unexplored reaches of Medio Putumayo-Algodón, Peru and spent 17 days conducting a rapid biological and social inventory of the area. As part of their efforts to document the region’s biodiversity, the team set up 14 motion-activated camera traps and used a drone to capture aerial footage of the rainforest. The results are amazing.
The camera traps revealed remarkable biodiversity in the area, showing animals like ocelots, giant armadillos, currassows, giant anteaters, tapirs, peccaries, and pacas up close and personal in their native habitat. Meanwhile, the aerial drone footage helped paint a picture of the overall landscape, sharing a never-before-seen look at the vast forest, which is only accessible by helicopter.
“No scientists have ever explored this area, let alone document it with cameras and drones,” explains Jon Markel, The Field Museum’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist.
“These images are the first time this remote wilderness and the species that call it home are being recorded for science.”
During the inventory, biologists encountered an astonishing amount of wildlife, recording 1,820 plant, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal species, including 19 species believed to be new to science. The team documented the largest number of frogs and snakes of any Field Museum rapid inventory, discovered large peat deposits, and found clay licks that provide salt essential to the health of local wildlife.
The social team worked with the nine indigenous groups living in the region to understand their use of the landscape and their aspirations for the future. They have a clear vision of wanting to protect these lands. However, the area is under threat from illegal mining and logging, as well as a proposed road.
“You can’t argue for the protection of an area without knowing what is there,” said Corine Vriesendorp, Director of The Field Museum’s rapid inventory program. “We discovered an intact forest inhabited by indigenous people for centuries and teeming with wildlife. We want it to survive and thrive long after our cameras are gone.”
Materials provided by Field Museum. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
Originally posted 2016-04-22 15:55:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter
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Global campaigns such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to bring more transparency to the oil and gas sectors in an effort to alleviate the resource curse have yet to live up to their promises, a new study finds.
Analyzing the performance of the first 16 countries that comply with the EITI standard over the period 1996-2014, the study finds that in most metrics EITI countries do not perform better during EITI compliance than before it, and that they do not outperform other countries. Published in the journal World Development, this is the first mixed methods, longitudinal estimation of whether the EITI’s transparency standard actually improves governance and development outcomes in its member countries compared to reference classes of other countries, including those mired in poverty as well as members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Many researchers have long sought for cures for the so-called “resource curse” — the fact that resource-rich countries often suffer from political and economic ailments, in spite of their research wealth. Since the turn of the millennium, global campaigns have been launched to make such states and oil, gas and mining companies “publish what they pay.”
Professor Benjamin Sovacool, Director of the Sussex Energy Group at the University of Sussex, explains: “The basic idea is that more transparency about the revenues from oil and gas production would lower the chances of corruption and graft, and hence improve governance and development.”
The EITI offers an innovative approach for assessing the value of transparency, if any, on the international stage. The EITI operates on the principle of having free, full, independent, and active assessments of the ways that extractive industries companies interact with government and impact communities and society. Initially proposed by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2002, EITI has developed a voluntary standard for revenue transparency for the extractive sector.
In response, some 50 countries and over 90 major companies involved in oil, gas, and mining have disclosed payments and revenues worth some $1.67 trillion. More than 90 of the largest oil, gas, and mining corporations actively participated in the EITI process along with 84 global investment institutions that collectively managed an additional $16 trillion in energy infrastructural assets.
But does the EITI make a difference? Does the transparency engendered by the EITI actually result in better governance and development outcomes in EITI compliant countries? The new study by Sovacool and colleagues from Germany, Belgium and Canada finds that the EITI has yet to deliver on its promises.
As Thijs Van de Graaf, one of the study’s coauthors, explains: “Some supporters of the EITI have hailed transparency as the magic bullet to bring about good resource governance and sustainable development in resource-rich countries. The results of our analysis should be approached with caution, yet they clearly offer grounds to be skeptical about that claim.”
The study also postulates some explanations for the ostensible weakness of the EITI: the EITI’s limited and its voluntary nature, resistance by the public and corporate sector, and the absence of a strong civil society in many resource-rich countries.
“In the broader scheme of things, our finding should lead us to be modest about the potential utility of global governance, particularly voluntary ‘soft’ norms, to deliver public goods,” adds Nathan Andrews, one of the study’s co-authors.
Such insights suggest that while transparency and accountability are admittedly important for global efforts to minimize corruption and misappropriation in the energy sector, they remain insufficient to fully tackle the complexity of the resource curse.
Originally posted 2016-04-14 13:57:14. Republished by Blog Post Promoter