Zinc: A Life Saving Commodity – Visual Capitalist

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The following content is sponsored by the Teck
zinc: a life saving commodity – visual capitalist
Zinc is crucial for body growth, brain development, and helps fight dangerous infections, especially in children.
However, the reality is that millions around the world lack sufficient zinc in their diets in order to live healthy lives.
This graphic, sponsored by Teck, shows how zinc supplementation could save millions of lives.
Zinc is a nutrient that plays many vital roles in human life. In fact, zinc is the second-most-abundant trace mineral in our bodies—after iron—and is present in every cell.
The mineral is required for numerous processes in the body, including:
Zinc is commonly added to some nasal sprays, lozenges, and other natural cold treatments.
Because the body doesn’t naturally produce zinc, we must obtain it through food or supplementation.
Fortunately, zinc is naturally found in a wide variety of both plant and animal foods, including meat, poultry, seafood, and nuts. We can also take zinc supplements or multi-vitamins which provide zinc. A diet that is too low in zinc however can cause several health issues.
Zinc deficiency affects 1.2 billion people worldwide today, according to UNICEF. In fact, one in four children are malnourished and at the risk of stunted growth and impaired development.
Furthermore, over half a million children die of diarrhea every year in developing countries in Asia and Africa, where clean drinking water, sanitation, and access to urgent medical care are limited.
Combined with oral rehydration salts (ORS), zinc can reduce the duration and severity of diarrheal episodes and may also prevent future episodes for up to three months. Therapeutic zinc treatment costs less than $0.50 per patient.
In addition, zinc offers highly cost-effective measures to reduce widespread micronutrient deficiency by using the following strategies:
The UN has labeled zinc a “life-saving commodity” due to the fact that increased access to zinc could prevent up to 200,000 childhood deaths annually.
Teck is a founding member of the Zinc Alliance for Child Health (ZACH), a public-private-civil society alliance created to develop and sustain zinc treatment programs.
The first partnership under ZACH is a $15 million commitment by the miner, the Nutrition International, and the Government of Canada, aimed at scaling up therapeutic zinc and ORS as a diarrhea treatment in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and Senegal.
They have also invested $5 million in a partnership with UNICEF Canada under ZACH to improve the use of and access to therapeutic zinc and ORS to treat childhood diarrhea in India.
The partnership aims to save the lives of more than 100,000 children by helping get zinc to those who need it most, and 50,000 lives annually going forward by strengthening healthcare systems in India.
To date, Teck’s Zinc and Health program has reached more than 160 million people or 13% of those impacted worldwide.
As one of the world’s largest producers of zinc, Teck is committed to helping solve the global health issue of zinc deficiency through therapeutic zinc, zinc supplementation, food fortification, crop nutrition, awareness, and advocacy.
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This infographic traces the history of U.S. energy independence, showing the events that have shaped oil demand and imports over 150 years.
Energy independence has long been a part of America’s political history and foreign policy, especially since the 1970s.
Despite long being a leader in energy production, the U.S. has often still relied on oil imports to meet its growing needs. This “energy dependence” left the country and American consumers vulnerable to supply disruptions and oil price shocks.
The above infographic from Surge Battery Metals traces the history of U.S. energy independence, highlighting key events that shaped the country’s import reliance for oil. This is part one of three infographics in the Energy Independence Series.
Oil was first commercially drilled in the U.S. in 1859, when Colonel Edwin Drake developed an oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania.
Twenty years later in 1880, the U.S. was responsible for 85% of global crude oil production and refining. But over the next century, the country became increasingly dependent on oil imports.
Here are some key events that affected America’s oil dependence and foreign policy during that time according to the Council on Foreign Relations:
The U.S. economy’s increasing reliance on oil imports made it vulnerable to supply disruptions. For example, in 1973, in response to the U.S.’ support for Israel, Arab members of the OPEC imposed an embargo on oil exports to Western nations, creating the first “oil shock”. Oil prices nearly quadrupled, and American consumers felt the shock through long lineups at gas stations along with high inflation. Combined with rising unemployment rates and flattening wages, the increase in prices led to a period of stagflation.
Despite the energy crisis, U.S. oil production fell for decades, while the country met its increasing energy needs with oil from abroad.
Here’s how U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum products has evolved since 1950 in comparison with consumption and production. All figures are in millions of barrels per day (bpd).
Net oil imports quadrupled between 1960 and 1980, marking the two biggest decadal jumps. Given that production was falling while consumption was booming, it’s clear why the U.S. needed to rely on imports.
Imports peaked in 2005, with net imports accounting for a record 60% of domestic consumption. Both imports and consumption fell in the years that followed. In 2009, for the first time since 1970, U.S. oil production increased thanks to the shale boom. It ascended until 2019 to make the U.S. the world’s largest oil producer.
As of 2021, the U.S. was a net exporter of refined petroleum products and hydrocarbon liquids but remained a net importer of crude oil.
Oil and fossil fuels have long played a central role in the global energy mix. The U.S.’ reliance on other countries for oil made it energy-dependent, exposing American gas consumers to geopolitical shocks and volatile oil prices.
Today, the global energy shift away from fossil fuels towards cleaner sources of generation offers a new opportunity to use lessons from the past. By securing the raw materials needed to enable the energy transition, the U.S. can build a clean energy future independent of foreign sources.
In the next part of the Energy Independence Series sponsored by Surge Battery Metals, we will explore the New Era of Energy and the role of electric vehicles and renewables in the ongoing energy transition.
Roughly 25% of all GHG emissions come from electricity production. See how the top 30 IOUs rank by emissions per capita.
Approximately 25% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) come from electricity generation.
Subsequently, this means investor-owned utilities (IOUs) will have a crucial role to play around carbon reduction initiatives. This is particularly true for the top 30 IOUs, where almost 75% of utility customers get their electricity from.
This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council ranks the largest IOUs by emissions per capita. By accounting for the varying customer bases they serve, we get a more accurate look at their green energy practices. Here’s how they line up.
The emissions per capita rankings for the top 30 investor-owned utilities have large disparities from one another.
Totals range from a high of 25.8 tons of CO2 per customer annually to a low of 0.5 tons.
PNM Resources data is from 2019, all other data is as of 2020
Let’s start by looking at the higher scoring IOUs.
TransAlta emits 25.8 tons of CO2 emissions per customer, the largest of any utility on a per capita basis. Altogether, the company’s 630,000 customers emit 16.3 million metric tons. On a recent earnings call, its management discussed clear intent to phase out coal and grow their renewables mix by doubling their renewables fleet. And so far it appears they’ve been making good on their promise, having shut down the Canadian Highvale coal mine recently.
Vistra had the highest total emissions at 97 million tons of CO2 per year and is almost exclusively a coal and gas generator. However, the company announced plans for 60% reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to be carbon neutral by 2050. As the highest total emitter, this transition would make a noticeable impact on total utility emissions if successful.
Currently, based on their 4.3 million customers, Vistra sees per capita emissions of 22.4 tons a year. The utility is a key electricity provider for Texas, ad here’s how their electricity mix compares to that of the state as a whole:
Despite their ambitious green energy pledges, for now only 1% of Vistra’s electricity comes from renewables compared to 24% for Texas, where wind energy is prospering.
Based on those scores, the average customer from some of the highest emitting utility groups emit about the same as a customer from each of the bottom seven, who clearly have greener energy practices. Let’s take a closer look at emissions for some of the bottom scoring entities.
Groups with the lowest carbon emission scores are in many ways leaders on the path towards a greener future.
Exelon emits only 3.8 tons of CO2 emissions per capita annually and is one of the top clean power generators across the Americas. In the last decade they’ve reduced their GHG emissions by 18 million metric tons, and have recently teamed up with the state of Illinois through the Clean Energy Jobs Act. Through this, Exelon will receive $700 million in subsidies as it phases out coal and gas plants to meet 2030 and 2045 targets.
Consolidated Edison serves nearly 4 million customers with a large chunk coming from New York state. Altogether, they emit 1.6 tons of CO2 emissions per capita from their electricity generation.
The utility group is making notable strides towards a sustainable future by expanding its renewable projects and testing higher capacity limits. In addition, they are often praised for their financial management and carry the title of dividend aristocrat, having increased their dividend for 47 years and counting. In fact, this is the longest out of any utility company in the S&P 500.
Altogether, utilities will have a pivotal role to play in decarbonization efforts. This is particularly true for the top 30 U.S. IOUs, who serve millions of Americans.
Ultimately, this means a unique moment for utilities is emerging. As the transition toward cleaner energy continues and various groups push to achieve their goals, all eyes will be on utilities to deliver.
The National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource to learn how utilities can lead in the path towards decarbonization.
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