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EFITA newsletter / 1086 - European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and the Environment

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Before computers: harvesting / Avant l'informatique, la moisson



Weekly newsletters about ICT in Agriculture in English and French
Both newsletters have around 5000 subscribers.

>>> Last weekly EFITA Newsletters in English (created in 1999) Efita Newsletters

>>> Last weekly AFIA Newsletters in French (created more than 20 years ago in 1997) Afia Newsletters

>>> Statistics for the latest efita newsletter

>>> Latest issue of the afia newsletter

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Creation in 1761 of the "Société royale d'agriculture de la généralité de Paris" that will become the French Academy of Agriculture

03/01 - 08/01/2024


03/02 - 08/01/2024


03/03 - 08/01/2024


Voeux de / Best wishes from Michel de Rougemont (Suisse)


Green wishes for our insect friends? / Meilleurs voeux pour nos "amis" les insectes ?

> Video / Autonomy ready tractors on display at Agritechnica 2023
Tractors capable of autonomous, driverless operation were more prominent than ever at Agritechnica 2023.

> Fieldwork wins government grant to accelerate £1.1m BerryBot project
Fieldwork Robotics Ltd. has been awarded a £515k grant to accelerate its £1.1m BerryBot Project.

> Market information: US drone technology firm PrecisionHawk files for bankruptcy
PrecisionHawk, a developer of commercial drones, is shutting down. Last month the company voluntarily filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

> Climate change: Unveiling the Millet Demo Farm: an initiative for climate resilience
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) recently hosted an event in Dubai, UAE, to launch the Millet Demo Farm.

> future farming: 2023 top 5: Most read articles in general
Future Farming offers a lot of articles on general subjects like market information, trade fairs and tools & data. An overview of the most read articles in 2023.

> Future farming / 2023 top 5: Most read articles on field robots
The 5 best-read articles on field robots in 2023 on Future Farming.

> Future farming  / 2023 top 5: Most read articles on drones
The 5 best-read articles on drones in 2023 on Future Farming.

> Future farming / 2023 top 5: Most read articles on autonomy
The 5 best-read articles on autonomy in 2023 on Future Farming.

> Spraying technology / Video / Bayer is also working on a carried spot sprayer
The German company Bayer Crop Science took the opportunity at the Agritechnica trade fair to showcase a prototype of its spot sprayer.

> Future farming 2023 top 5: Videos with the most views
The 5 videos with the most views on our YouTube channel in 2023.

> What robot should become the Ag Robot of the Year 2024?
Future Farming magazine, in collaboration with the Agricultural Robotics Forum FIRA, is organising the second edition of the Ag Robot of the Year competition.

> Humanoids: ‘The Humanoid revolution: A new farmhand with steel muscles?’
Many of us are familiar with the inspiring images of dancing and leaping humanoids from companies like Boston Dynamics.

> Millet Demo Farm / Unveiling the Millet Demo Farm: an initiative for climate resilience
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) recently hosted an event in Dubai, UAE, to launch the Millet Demo Farm.

> Spraying technology: Plant-specific spot spraying to become mainstream
John Deere isn’t the first and certainly not the only company to offer a commercial spot spraying system.
>  Field robots / Video – Modular Tipard 1800 field robot from Digital Workbench
The German engineering company Digital Workbench presents the Tipard 1800 field robot at the Agritechnica trade fair.

> Spraying technology / John Deere See & Spray weeds on fallow land and in crops
After the US$ 305 million acquisition of Blue River Technology, John Deere is now ready to launch John Deere See & Spray in Europe.

> Autosteering / Hands-free steering on headlands with TurnPath from Ag Leader
Automatic steering without hands on the headland is possible with the TurnPath autopilot from the American manufacturer Ag Leader.

> Smart farming / Amazone & FieldView to collaborate on smart farming
Amazone and FieldView start a strategic collaboration for further promoting and simplifying the adaptation of smart farming practices.

> Pest control / ‘Cut pesticide use, but how?’
Successful green innovation requires knowledge of plant cultivation, behavioural science, technology and ecology.


The Little Goose Girl Of Mezy, by Léon-Augustin L’hermitte (1844 – 1925, French)

01 - 08/01/2024


The Little Shepherdess, by Émile Munier (1840 – 1895, FR)

02 - 08/01/2024


‘Cut pesticide use, but how?’

The European Commission wants to halve pesticide use by 2030. On paper, a lot of progress can be booked through smart innovation, and yet change is often slower than hoped. Successful green innovation requires knowledge of plant cultivation, behavioural science, technology and ecology. ‘We want much more of an idea of how farmers think.’

Pesticides have recently become the subject of heated discussions, with the herbicide glyphosate in the spotlight. There are calls across Europe for a ban on this substance. At the same time, the European Union aims to halve the use and the risk of all pesticides by 2030, under the new Regulation on the Sustainable Use of Plant Protection Products. The pressure is on to find alternatives so that pesticide use can be cut.

>>> Sharper criteria

The assessment criteria for pesticides are continually being sharpened up in the light of new research, says Johan Bremmer, senior Plant Health researcher at Wageningen Economic Research. ‘We’ve been going down that path for decades now, for example with DDT in the 1960s following the publication of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962.’ The two groups of pesticides that are currently under the magnifying glass are neonicotinoids, with their negative impact on insects, and glyphosate, with its potential risks for Parkinson’s disease and cancer.

There are various options for reducing pesticide use, as Bremmer shows in the 2021 report The Future of Crop Protection in Europe. ‘You can opt for more resistant varieties, for mechanical weed control, or for decision-supporting software that helps you apply the right amount of a pesticide at the right moment. This enables you to stop spraying by the calendar, as was done in the past. It means going into your fields more often to assess the crop and take measures in good time. This way, you can save a lot on pesticides.’

Young Girl With Goat And Flowers, by Émile Munier (1840 – 1895, FR)

03 - 08/01/2024


Jeune bergère, par Émile Munier (1840 – 1895, FR)

04 - 08/01/2024

> Women in Ag Tech Meeting to Take Place at The VISION Conference in Phoenix
WiAT continues to champion opportunities for women in agricultural technology and fostering a vibrant community.

> The VISION Conference 2024 Executive Primer
The primer is your guide to the technologies, services, and global factors playing a role in advancing agriculture in 2024 and beyond.

> The Rise of Geohazards and the Need for Preventive Measures on Farms
Incorporating technology to monitor land movement and potential hazards enhances the farm’s ability to respond to geohazards proactively.

> Why a Space Technology Company Is Entering the Agriculture Sector
SC Solutions will initially focus on yield prediction for corn growers and vine health monitoring for vineyards.

> Call for Speakers: Submit Your Proposal for 2024 Tech Hub LIVE
We are now accepting presentation proposals for the 2024 Tech Hub LIVE Conference & Expo taking place July 29-31 in Des Moines, IA.

> eAgronom Reaches 1.5 Million Hectares Milestone in Boost to Sustainable Farming
Small and large farms across Europe and Africa are actively benefiting from the company’s Carbon Credit program.

> How a Digital Platform Is Creating Transparency with Brazilian Harvest Data and Bringing Security to Investors
FarmGuide Soy is a pioneering Brazilian platform for collecting data on soy and deforestation areas, which is critical for global investors.

> 5 AgTech Trends to Watch in 2024
Agmatix CEO Ron Baruchi outlines the key trends anticipated in the agricultural industry over the coming year.

> How Gradient Crop Yield Solutions Is Using Data Analytics to Enhance Water Management for California Tomato Growers
Learn how satellite imagery provided by EOS Data Analytics has saved farmers a remarkable up to 15% in irrigation costs.

> Ag Tech Talk Podcast: Topcon Positioning Systems’ Mike Gomes Leads a New Global Sustainability Team
Topcon has long focused on precision ag and recently created a global team designed to take sustainability to the next level.


Gazette de,
portail vitivinicole


CropLife 100 Ag Retailers Are Expecting More from Ag Tech in 2024

Let’s face it – ag tech is hot right now. If you visited any summer or fall trade show this year, chances are there were plenty of examples of new and improved ag technology to check out, writes Eric Sfiligoj at CropLife.

According to the data from the 2023 CropLife 100 survey, ag technology was also a growing sector of the ag retail business during the year. In fact, respondents on the 2023 survey reported that their revenues in this area grew a respectable 2%, from $796.2 million in 2022 to $815.1 million this year.

Furthermore, the outlook for the ag tech sector among CropLife 100 ag retailers is extremely bright. In particular, ag retailers have high hopes that artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous vehicles will revolutionize the ag equipment sector between now and the end of the decade.

However, most expect the implementation of autonomous vehicles and AI systems into ag equipment to take some time yet. In fact, when asked what role AI might play in the upcoming growing season, half of the respondents (50%) said it was still too early to tell. Another 35% thought AI’s place in the industry would be “small” in 2024. Only 15% foresee such systems playing a “big role” in the nation’s crop fields next year.

Pessl Instruments Adopts Varda’s Global FieldID to Boost Transparency, Profitability for Farmers

Varda, the agtech startup founded by Yara, has announced its partnership with Pessl Instruments, the global manufacturer and leading provider of advanced agricultural technology solutions under the METOS brand.

Varda’s Global FieldID, which establishes a shared geospatial reference framework for the entire agricultural industry, will seamlessly integrate with the entirety of the METOS portfolio – which covers a range of resources including weather stations, AI-powered insect traps and data loggers – to give farmers a range of data-powered insights on their land which have previously not been readily accessible.

Blockchain Streamlines Agriculture in a Big Data World — New eBook Explains How

“Data is as valuable as the crops themselves.” That phrase sums up the role technology plays in the agricultural sector as farmers grapple with new challenges. Even the word “farming” itself is being replaced by others like “agribusiness” and “AgriTech.” Where data is important, blockchain is essential.

To explain the hows and whys of this, reports CoinGeek, the BSV Blockchain Association has published a new ebook by Bryan Daugherty titled “Revolutionising Agriculture in the Digital Age,” available as a free download right now.

Agriculture has always been a science, but for thousands of years, it has existed in the form of traditions and knowledge gained from practical experiences passed down through generations of farmers. In the search for ever-greater efficiencies and from the availability of new technologies, concepts like “precision farming,” IoT, Big Data analytics, sustainability, and resource-scarcity, and robotics have entered the field—along with a few others you wouldn’t immediately expect, like cybersecurity, transparency, and even “democratization of data.”

Technology has mitigated problems related to distance, transportation, and supplies, which have always affected agriculture. However, the modern world has also raised new ones like access to/scarcity of resources, energy efficiency and availability, and requirements to reduce any negative impacts on the environment.

Farmers of the future won’t wake in the morning to discover a fox has been in the chicken house. They’ll hear about it and take steps to deal with it the second it happens. They’ll also have the latest information about chicken health and optimal nutrition for better yields, find out instantly if there are any disease threats and how to manage them, know the latest egg/meat prices worldwide, automate egg collection and bird grading, and mark all product for tracking as it changes hands until it reaches the end consumer (there’s no word on how foxes will fare in this world, but that’s a problem for foxes).


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AgFunderNews / Meet the founder: Verdant Robotics’ Gabe Sibley on NASA rovers, self-driving cars, and ag robots: ‘They have to be insanely robust’, by Elaine Watson, December 22, 2023

There’s always been a prediction of the all-singing, all-dancing general purpose humanoid robot that can solve all of our problems,” says Verdant Robotics cofounder Dr. Gabe Sibley. But if you want to make a more immediate impact—and a profit—the smart money is on bots that provide “specific solutions for specific problems.”

And when it comes to farming, he says, the biggest pain points are typically labor and input costs. “We squarely address both.”

By using smart-spraying systems attached to the back of tractors that can target weeds with remarkable precision using computer vision and machine learning, he says, Verdant Robotics can obviate the need for back-breaking hand-weeding of high-density crops such as carrots, and slash input costs by enabling farmers to use dramatically fewer inputs, whether fertilizer, insecticides, herbicides, or pollen.

By effectively indexing the crop (creating a 3D model of what’s happening in the field over time, and tracking how specific actions lead to better outcomes), the technology “can also enable farmers to develop strategies that lead to higher yields or larger produce—things that increase value as well as just addressing pain points,” he says.

AgFunderNews (AFN) caught up with Sibley (GS) to talk about driving on other planets, self-driving cars, and the ag robotics landscape.
>>> AFN: Describe the latest machines…
GS: Imagine a pair of downward facing cameras, very high resolution, very high frame rate, attached to a tractor moving through a field. They see the ground, the crop, the weeds, so it’s spatial, you have a 3D model of your crop; but also temporal, as you’re tracking it over time.

There’s also some high-speed stabilization that goes at much higher frame rates so you can understand where everything is even while you are waiting for images to be processed, plus there’s the detection and classification of everything the cameras see.

Then you’re layering on top of that the whole decision-making system that’s deciding where to apply inputs. Our bull’s eye metric is 95% of the input was delivered within seven millimeters, and often it’s much much better than that.

Imagine something about the size of your pinky fingernail. We want a splat pattern [for applying the inputs to the target] of about that size.

>>> AFN: Where does the machine learning (ML) part come in?
GS: In some senses, it’s not very complicated. You need to accumulate a large quantity of labeled data, which is basically human beings saying ‘this is a carrot, whereas this is a weed,’ and then train the computer vision model to detect and classify those as well as each pixel.

Then we refine those models over time to factor in what we call long-tail event. To give you an example, a while back, we went into a field and it had been frosty in the morning and it turned the carrot tops a purple color. Our machine had never seen purple carrots and it went out and classified them as weeds and started happily shooting them [with weedkiller]. Automatic flags went up and it stopped and very quickly, and we were able to say, this is a purple carrot, here’s a bunch of examples of what that looks like, and you’re not going to shoot them ! The model continually refines and takes those long tail events into account.

So [for any given crop] there’s the beginning part where you train models [to distinguish between that crop and weeds, for example] but then there’s improvements over time as we look at different soils, environments, lighting conditions, and so on.

>>> AFN: Which crops are you focusing on and why? 
GS: We’re going after crops where the ROI for the grower can be measured in less than a year. We see the most potential in high density crops like carrots, which might be less than an inch apart, so you might have crews crawling on their hands and knees picking weeds in 110-degree weather.

>>> AFN: What is your business model at Verdant Robotics?
GS: Initially we developed a Robotics as a Service (RAAS) model but we’re now switching to direct sales. Right now, growers are opting mostly for the 20-foot weeding sprayer. There are plans for wider machines, and there are also upgrades coming this year that make these machines significantly faster. Our first deals are being closed right now!

>>> AFN: How robust do these machines need to be?
GS: They have got to be insanely robust, so a huge amount of effort goes into making sure they can deal with shock and vibration. They have also got to be able to withstand high pressure chemical washing, a wide range of temperatures, and a dusty environment, which is a very tall bar for any mechanical and electrical system with delicate sensing computing platforms. You can’t overestimate the difficulty in that.

>>> AFN: Who’s the target customer for Verdant’s smart sprayers?
GS: For farms of 500 acres or more, it’s pretty easy for this to make economic sense. On smaller farms that are in co-ops or in partnerships with other farms, it also makes sense. The value is pretty high for any grower, but it’s higher for growers that have high weed pressure and crops that are difficult to service otherwise, such as garlic, carrots, onions, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, all the specialty crops here in California.

We’ve also done work in almonds, cherries, pears, and apples.

>>> AFN: What’s the competitive set?
GS: You’ve got companies using robotics for mechanical weeding with knives or with lasers. But spraying has broader applications because you can’t apply fertilizer or pollen with a laser or a knife. And so we focused on that because it gives us a much broader canvas. We’re not just doing weeding; it’s just one of maybe 100 or 1,000 applications you can do when you’re talking about inputs.

Second, when it comes to weeding with lasers, it’s always going to be slow because it takes time to burn things. And as you get to increasingly powerful lasers, you require large amounts of power.

We did laser weeding for a while but quickly realized we could be anywhere from 30-50 times faster through the field using spraying versus lasers. And that metric of acres per hour is by far the most important metric that drives so much of the unit economics. You can’t compete on acres per hour if you’re going to use photons to kill weeds.

As for spraying, we’re not aware of any other spraying systems that can work in high density crops like ours. There’s nothing that has the type of precision we have. There are fixed grid sprayers but they have 20-30 times less accuracy.

>>> AFN: What are the potential bottlenecks for you? Manufacturing the sprayers at scale?
GS: We have a variety of contract manufacturers that we work with that are fantastic, that are ready to scale. When we go beyond direct sales, we also need to be thinking about who are our partners for the long term from a sales perspective to allow us to take this technology all over the world. But the manufacturing side of it, we don’t think is the bottleneck.

>>> AFN: How have you funded the business so far?
GS: We’ve raised $48.5 million so far [most recently in a Nov. ’22 $46.5 million series A round led by Cleveland Avenue] and we will start fundraising again next year. If we were to absolutely hit our marks, we’d be cashflow positive without raising money and be raising for growth. And so that’s the Verdant path. The value is pretty clear, so as long as we are demonstrating that to growers, the sales side is pretty straightforward and we have a pretty healthy deal pipeline.

Investors are looking at revenue and margins, TAM [total addressable market] and SAM [serviceable addressable market] and trying to understand is this something that’s going to be cashflow positive within line of sight?

>>> AFN: What’s the future of ag robotics?
GS: I think there’s always been a prediction of the all-singing, all-dancing general purpose humanoid style robot coming to solve all of our problems, but if you look at what’s actually happened historically, you see engineering building specific solutions for specific problems.

However, we do live in a time period where we’re seeing pretty radical changes in terms of AI, and many credible businesses are going after essentially that general purpose dexterous humanoid robot, so as they say, the future ain’t what it used to be!

Still, if I were to put money down, I would say that people who are focusing on solving specific problems are going to have an impact more quickly, so very clever mechatronic solutions for harvesting specific crops, for example.

>>> AFN: What about robotics in indoor ag?
GS: There are opportunities for very precise delivery of inputs indoors and outdoors, but I have always been a little skeptical of business models that rely on two cents per kilowatt energy to be cost effective.

Lunch On The Steps, by Émile Munier (1840 – 1895, FR)

05 - 08/01/2024


Girl With Basket Of Oranges, by Émile Munier (1840 – 1895, FR)

06 - 08/01/2024


Good products sell themselves; fear doesn’t need to be an ingredient, by Amanda Zaluckyj, The Farmer’s Daughter USA

Fear-based marketing is almost always bad. It’s a marketing strategy that appeals to consumers’ fears and anxieties in order to motivate them to take a specific action. While effective in the short term, it can cause negative consequences for both consumers and businesses. That’s because it taps into our basic survival instincts. When we’re afraid, we’re more likely to take a certain action to protect ourselves from harm.

UK: Winning R&D partnerships announced for new on-farm innovations

Three successful projects will share £9.13m funding to develop their novel solutions in crop harvesting, cow health and robotics to tackle on-farm issues.
>> The Agri-Opencore project, led by APS Produce, is looking to accelerate the delivery of robotic crop systems for horticulture.

It aims to create the necessary software and hardware for a development platform that receives contributions from stakeholders across the sector to create a system that could bring robotic harvesting to farms sooner.

>> The AG ARC project, led by Garnett Farms Engineering, is developing an autonomous bedding system for cows that will improve its monitoring and dispensing.

It aims to reduce incidences of mastitis in cows by sensing moisture and temperature within cubicles and providing bedding in response, thereby supporting animal health and farm productivity aims.

>> The Potato-LITE project, led by PepsiCo, is exploring new cultivation equipment and systems for potato farming that reduce the impact on soil health and the costs of cultivation.

The project aims to reduce damage from the number, depth and intensity of current techniques in order to improve longer-term resilience in the sector.

Le petit joueur de tambour, de Théophile Emmanuel Duverger (1821 - 1898)

07 - 08/01/2024


A Woman peeling Vegetables, by William Kay Blacklock

08 - 08/01/2024


We stopped taking Ozempic and Wegovy — and regained more weight than we lost, by Brooke Steinberg, Jan. 3, 2024

Drugs designed to treat diabetes have become one of the hottest and most controversial weight-loss crazes.

But some people who hopped on the Ozempic train are starting to regret it, claiming they’ve gained back more weight than they lost when they stopped taking it.

Ozempic and Wegovy, a drug called semaglutide designed for people with Type 2 diabetes, helps the pancreas release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high.

However, both have become widely used as weight-loss drugs.

The Messenger spoke to several dieters who regained the weight they lost — and then some — like Artemis Bayandor, who lost 15 pounds in six months when she started taking Wegovy in August 2021.

Children with a Kitten Duvet Cover, by Heinrich Hirt (1841-1902)

09 - 08/01/2024


Young girl in a blue pinafore, 1914, by William Kay Blacklock (1872-1924, UK)

10 - 08/01/2024


The energy world is set to change significantly by 2030, based on today’s policy settings alone (24 October 2023)

World Energy Outlook shows there are set to be almost 10 times as many electric cars on the road, with renewables nearing half of the global power mix, but much stronger policies needed for 1.5 °C.

Major shifts underway today are set to result in a considerably different global energy system by the end of this decade, according to the IEA’s new World Energy Outlook 2023. The phenomenal rise of clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, electric cars and heat pumps is reshaping how we power everything from factories and vehicles to home appliances and heating systems.

The latest edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO), the most authoritative global source of energy analysis and projections, describes an energy system in 2030 in which clean technologies play a significantly greater role than today. This includes almost 10 times as many electric cars on the road worldwide; solar PV generating more electricity than the entire US power system does currently; renewables’ share of the global electricity mix nearing 50%, up from around 30% today; heat pumps and other electric heating systems outselling fossil fuel boilers globally; and three times as much investment going into new offshore wind projects than into new coal- and gas-fired power plants.

All of those increases are based only on the current policy settings of governments around the world. If countries deliver on their national energy and climate pledges on time and in full, clean energy progress would move even faster. However, even stronger measures would still be needed to keep alive the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

The combination of growing momentum behind clean energy technologies and structural economic shifts around the world has major implications for fossil fuels, with peaks in global demand for coal, oil and natural gas all visible this decade – the first time this has happened in a WEO scenario based on today’s policy settings. In this scenario, the share of fossil fuels in global energy supply, which has been stuck for decades at around 80%, declines to 73% by 2030, with global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions peaking by 2025.

“The transition to clean energy is happening worldwide and it’s unstoppable. It’s not a question of ‘if’, it’s just a matter of ‘how soon’ – and the sooner the better for all of us,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “Governments, companies and investors need to get behind clean energy transitions rather than hindering them. There are immense benefits on offer, including new industrial opportunities and jobs, greater energy security, cleaner air, universal energy access and a safer climate for everyone. Taking into account the ongoing strains and volatility in traditional energy markets today, claims that oil and gas represent safe or secure choices for the world’s energy and climate future look weaker than ever.”

As things stand, demand for fossil fuels is set to remain far too high to keep within reach the Paris Agreement goal of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to 1.5 °C. This risks not only worsening climate impacts after a year of record-breaking heat, but also undermining the security of the energy system, which was built for a cooler world with less extreme weather events. Bending the emissions curve onto a path consistent with 1.5 °C remains possible but very difficult. The costs of inaction could be enormous: despite the impressive clean energy growth based on today’s policy settings, global emissions would remain high enough to push up global average temperatures by around 2.4 °C this century, well above the key threshold set out in the Paris Agreement.

The WEO-2023 proposes a global strategy for getting the world on track by 2030 that consists of five key pillars, which can also provide the basis for a successful COP28 climate change conference. They are: tripling global renewable capacity; doubling the rate of energy efficiency improvements; slashing methane emissions from fossil fuel operations by 75%; innovative, large-scale financing mechanisms to triple clean energy investments in emerging and developing economies; and measures to ensure an orderly decline in the use of fossil fuels, including an end to new approvals of unabated coal-fired power plants.

“Every country needs to find its own pathway, but international cooperation is crucial for accelerating clean energy transitions,” Dr Birol said. “In particular, the speed at which emissions decline will hinge in large part on our ability to finance sustainable solutions to meet rising energy demand from the world’s fast growing economies. This all points to the vital importance of redoubling collaboration and cooperation, not retreating from them.”

At a time when rising geopolitical tensions in the Middle East have refocused attention on energy security concerns once more and when many countries are still contending with the impacts of the global energy crisis that erupted last year, the WEO-2023 examines the evolving range of energy security challenges. The fraught situation in the Middle East comes 50 years after the oil shock that led to the founding of the IEA, creating further uncertainty for an unsettled global economy that is feeling the effects of stubborn inflation and high borrowing costs.

The WEO-2023 highlights that one area of global energy markets that was hit particularly hard by the global energy crisis is set to see pressures ease in a couple of years. Natural gas markets have been dominated by fears about security and price spikes after Russia cut supplies to Europe, and market balances have remained precarious. But an unprecedented surge in new liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects coming online from 2025 is set to add more than 250 billion cubic metres per year of new capacity by 2030, equivalent to around 45% of today’s total global LNG supply.

The strong rise in capacity will ease prices and gas supply concerns, but also risks creating a supply glut, given that global gas demand growth has slowed considerably since gas markets’ “golden age” of expansion during the 2010s. As a result, Russia will have very limited opportunity to expand its customer base. Its share of internationally traded gas, which stood at 30% in 2021, is set to drop to half of that by 2030.

The WEO-2023 considers in detail a major variable for energy markets in the coming years. China, which has an outsize influence on global energy trends, is undergoing a major shift as its economy slows and undergoes structural changes. China’s total energy demand is set to peak around the middle of this decade, the report projects, with continued dynamic growth in clean energy putting the country’s fossil fuel demand and emissions into decline.

This year’s WEO also explores the potential for stronger growth of solar PV this decade. Renewables are set to contribute 80% of new power generation capacity to 2030 under current policy settings, with solar alone accounting for more than half of this expansion. However, this scenario takes into account only a fraction of solar’s potential, according to the WEO analysis. By the end of the decade, the world is set to have manufacturing capacity for more than 1 200 gigawatts (GW) of solar panels per year, but it is projected to actually deploy only 500 GW in 2030. If the world were to reach deployment of 800 GW of new solar PV capacity by the end of the decade, it would lead to a further 20% reduction in coal-fired power generation in China in 2030 compared with a scenario based on today’s policy settings. Electricity generation from coal and natural gas across Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East would be a quarter lower.

Midday rest, 1915, by William Kay Blacklock (1872-1924, UK)

11 - 08/01/2024


The Shepherdess, not dated, by William Kay Blacklock (1872-1924, UK)

12 - 08/01/2024


Bad Joke

2023 Tech Forecast: Build a recession-proof tech workforce

See what the latest data says about where the largest skills gaps (still) exist and how organizations can develop the technology skills to stay ahead.
Innovation and growth can happen, even with smaller teams and tighter budgets. But how do you continue to innovate in an iffy economy?

2023 in EU economic policy: The year Germany went French – and back, by Jonathan Packroff |, 25 déc. 2023

Faced with the fear of deindustrialisation, Germany sought to adopt a French-style industrial policy in 2023, including massive subsidies and protectionist ‘Buy European’ clauses – but was caught up by its constraints sooner than expected.

Before 2023 even began, Germany’s Economy Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) rightly predicted what would be dominating the year’s economic policy agenda.

“The next year will definitely be dominated by industrial policy,” he said at an industrial conference in November 2022.

Scientists race to save ancient cave paintings

Some of the oldest pictures in the world were drawn more than 45,000 years ago in caves on the southwestern peninsula of Sulawesi in Indonesia. Despite having lasted so long, they’re now disappearing as the surface of the cave walls is peeling off from the white limestone underneath. No one knows exactly why, but researchers point to pollution, climate change, human exhalations and the dust and vibrations produced by mining as possible causes. Scientists are scrambling to solve the mystery before the paintings are lost for good.


Ill-informed AI use fuels irreproducibility

The naive use of artificial intelligence (AI) is driving a deluge of unreliable, useless or wrong research. This has happened, for example, when researchers report that algorithms can reliably classify images or even diagnose diseases, but fail to realize that their systems are really only regurgitating artefacts in the training data. “AI provides a tool that allows researchers to ‘play’ with the data and parameters until the results are aligned with the expectations,” says computer scientist Lior Shamir. There are checklists that can help scientists to avoid common problems, such as insufficient separation between training and test data. Many argue that the way forward is to make all code and data available for public scrutiny.


Most scientists don’t enjoy writing grants. Here’s how to change that...

Specialists share how to make the experience more enjoyable and foster a sense of belonging.
By Courtney Peña, Amber R. Moore & Crystal M. Botham, 05 December 2023

“Done right, grant writing can reconnect you with the joy that led you to become a scientist in the first place.”

By reframing grant writing as a way to rediscover your purpose, practise your writing and build community, the ‘necessary evil’ can actually become fun and fulfilling, say trainers Courtney Peña, Amber Moore and Crystal Botham.

Essai de l’eau, par Émile Munier (1840 – 1895, FR)

13 - 08/01/2024


ChatGPT already useful to help solving "light" problem?

01 - 08/01/2024


Yen Up and Down

02 - 08/01/2024


Increasing GDP per Capita

03 - 08/01/2024


Investing in Greece is more profitable than investing in Turkey

04 - 08/01/2024


Hot waters

05 - 08/01/2024


US Defense Spending Declines

06 - 08/01/2024


Election vs Democracy?

07 - 08/01/2024


US political risk as seen by investors

08 - 08/01/2024


Warmer US winter

09 - 08/01/2024


Warmer Europe

10 - 08/01/2024


Battleship Gap

11 - 08/01/2024


Will Taylor Swift save Singapore tourism?

12 - 08/01/2024


Death rates from cardiovascular diseases have declined in many countries

The number of deaths from cardiovascular diseases is increasing, but — as this chart shows — the death rate has declined in many countries.

This means that the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases now is lower than in the past among populations of the same size and age.

In many countries, the decline in death rates has been quite large.

In the United States, for example, the age-standardized death rate from cardiovascular diseases was over 500 per 100,000 people in 1950, but declined to less than 150 by 2020. This represents a reduction of almost three-quarters.

What’s been responsible for this positive decline?

A major driver has been the dramatic decline in smoking. We've also achieved major medical advances in screening, diagnosing, monitoring, and treating cardiovascular diseases.

We recently published a new page on cardiovascular diseases where you can explore all of our data, visualizations, and writing on the topic.

01 - 08/01/2024 - See


The world faces two energy problems: most of our energy still produces greenhouse gas emissions, and hundreds of millions lack access to energy

The world lacks a safe, low-carbon, and cheap large-scale energy infrastructure.

Until we scale up such an energy infrastructure, the world will continue to face two energy problems:

Hundreds of millions of people lack access to sufficient energy
The dominance of fossil fuels in our energy system drives climate change and other negative health impacts, such as from air pollution
To ensure everyone has access to clean and safe energy, we need to understand energy consumption, its impacts around the world today, and how this has changed over time.

To aid this understanding, we published a new page on energy where you can find all of our data, visualizations, and writing on the topic.

02 - 08/01/2024 - See


More progress can be made against childhood tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is still common in many parts of the world. It tends to be serious in children because their underdeveloped immune systems make them more vulnerable to the disease, especially if they are undernourished.

The BCG (Bacillus Calmette-Guérin) vaccine was developed by Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin in 1921 to protect infants and young children from severe tuberculosis. Since then, it has become one of the most widely used childhood vaccines worldwide.

Yet, as the map shows, tens of thousands of children still die from the disease, and it is one of the major causes of death in children.

One reason is that the vaccine’s efficacy tends to be lower in some parts of the world.

Children also remain at risk for other reasons; for example, there is a lack of medication and diagnostic testing developed for children. In addition, many children, especially in Africa, also suffer from HIV/AIDS, which makes them more vulnerable to tuberculosis.

We published a new page on tuberculosis where you can explore all of our data, visualizations, and writing on the topic.

03 - 08/01/2024 - See


Wild mammals are making a comeback in Europe thanks to conservation efforts

The European bison, the continent's largest herbivore, was once abundant across the region. But over time, deforestation and hunting caused its numbers to decline dramatically. By the early 20th century, the European bison had gone completely extinct in the wild, with only tens of individuals surviving in captivity.

The bison is no outlier, and many other animals have suffered similarly. But it doesn’t have to be this way — and the bison shows it.

The European bison has made an impressive comeback over the last 50 years. Successful conservation efforts have seen their numbers rebound, and Europe is now home to nearly 10,000 of them.

In this article, we look at the change in mammal populations across Europe and find that many species are making a comeback. Once on the brink, iconic animals such as the European bison, Brown bear, and elk are thriving once again.

04 - 08/01/2024 - See


Four rabbis are having a debate

Four rabbis are debating scripture out in the garden, and one of them notices he's continuously outvoted by the other three even though he's absolutely certain he's right. At a certain point, his frustration gets the best of him and he stands up, raises his hands and and says "My Lord, you must know that this is the right way, gives us a sign to let us know!"

As soon as he has spoken, a cloud materializes out of nowhere, moves in front of the sun and dissolves again.

The other three look at him, at each other, go "Well... That was certainly unusual, but the weather's been acting up a bit lately, so this does not really mean anything", and just continue with the discussion unmoved.

The fourth rabbi, increasingly desperate, again stands up and calls out "My Lord, they continue to defy your word, please send another sign to help them see the error of their ways!"

This time, it's not just one cloud, but the entire sky darkens, a thunderclap sounds and a bolt of lightning hits *just* next to the other three rabbis. They're startled, but after catching their breath conclude that no, you don't see that every day, but it's late summer, thunderstorms can come in surprisingly quickly, we're out in an open garden, there's no lightning rod on top of the synagogue even though there *really* should be, etc. So this still doesn't mean anything, we'll stick with our viewpoints thank you very much.

Now absolutely livid and still outvoted, the fourth rabbi gets up one final time, stamps his feet, raises his hands and shouts "Oh Lord, you who created all, for the love of your people and the ways of the world, make your will known, so that it must be clear even to these stubborn mules!"

And a booming voice fills the sky, "**HE IS CORRECT**"

The other three rabbis look up, look down to their colleague, and finally one says:

"That's still three against two"


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