Friday Offcuts – 31 March 2017

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Our lead story this week is a short report from Russ Taylor from International WOOD MARKETS who’s just returned from another market trip into China. An interesting comment from his latest report is the fact that some government companies are buying private firms to control log and lumber supply from source countries. In many cases these purchases include processing assets in China, allowing for a supply chain of logs flowing directly to domestic Chinese sawmills.

There’s also a reported growing interest within China of sourcing alternative, lower-cost logs and lumber to replace the more traditional supplies from Russia, the North American West Coast and New Zealand. Observations on changing log supply dynamics and the potential impact that this could have on local exporters for log pricing and demand out of China can be found in this week’s story.

From New Zealand, we have the results from MPI on tree stock sales for 2016 (and estimates of planting for the year). Planting was up (however, not by much) from 2015 which is heartening with estimates made of 48,000 ha being planted last year compared to 46,000ha of plantings in 2015. The combined area of new planting in 2016 was estimated to be in the order of 3,500 hectares. The planting level though is a far cry from the nearly 100,000 ha of new planting that was recorded back in 1994 and a long way off what the Government needs to meet its future international carbon reduction obligations.

Relating to climate change we have news on the Trump executive order issued on Tuesday as well as the announcement this week in New Zealand of a Climate Action Plan to be put in place with China. In Australia, we’ve got a story on a recent study suggesting that Australia's iconic Eucalyptus forests may not in fact be storing as much carbon as previously thought. This could of course have significant implications on the models being used by international climate agencies. This item is covered in an article and associated video clip below.

Other news includes a look at some innovative new building systems. We’re not talking mid-or high rise timber construction here but rather a hemp house just been built in Western Australia (with others now in the pipeline) and a story of a groundbreaking mobile 3D-printer that’s been able to print an entire 400-square-foot home using a concrete mixture in just 24 hours. It’s pretty small – but it’s also very cheap.

Finally, registrations for the region’s major two-yearly logging event, www.harvesttech.events are flowing in. It’s going to be another record turnout. This year, two field tours have been set up around Rotorua for those registering for the event. As expected, places on these are already filling up fast. If looking to save a place on either tour (as numbers need to be capped), you’ll need to register promptly to avoid disappointment. Enjoy this week’s read.



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Chinese log supply dynamics are changing

A key development of the last month or so has been a rapid, unexpected rise in container rates from the Baltic Sea area (affecting a wide range of exporting countries, e.g., Finland, Sweden, northwestern Russia, the Baltic States, Germany and some in Eastern Europe). Container rates from Finland and Sweden have essentially doubled from less than US$1,000 to ~US$2,000. It is even worse from St. Petersburg: it appears that container rates may have tripled in the last six months (from US$20/m3 to almost $60/m3).

These increases are tied to a number of factors, including a lack of containers flowing from China to the Baltic Sea area prior to the Chinese New Year, as well as reduced shipping capacity following the Hanjin Shipping Line bankruptcy. Most believe this is a temporary imbalance that could be resolved by June, but it is still likely that container rates are on their way up from the record lows of the last few years.

Other regions, including the North American west coast and most of the Pacific Rim, are less affected so far (although small increases have occurred). Thus, the freight advantage remains on the Pacific side to China, as well in the U.S. South and South America.

There also appears to be some consolidation going on in the Chinese supply chain. Some government companies are buying private firms to control log and lumber supply from source countries. In many cases these purchases include processing assets in China, allowing for a supply chain of logs flowing directly to domestic Chinese sawmills.

There is continued interest within China in sourcing alternative, lower-cost logs and lumber (as opposed to more traditional supplies from Russia, the North American west coast and New Zealand). These alternatives include the following:

• Squared logs or cants from Siberia, Ukraine and Belarus;
• Eucalyptus and taeda pine logs and lumber from Brazil and Uruguay;
• Southern yellow pine lumber from the U.S.; and
• Sugi logs from Japan (expected to double or even triple in five years).

Interest is quite high in the first southern yellow (taeda) pine breakbulk shipment to China from Uruguay, for which the delivered cost was well under the price for radiata pine logs. Pine from Brazil is also enjoying strong interest (although the recent strengthening of the Brazilian real may slow some growth). Squared logs or cants from both the Ukraine and Belarus continue to be new developments — a natural response to the log export bans that have taken place in these countries.

Following a torrid rise in housing prices in 2016 (especially in tier 1 cities), housing prices are likely to be cooler in 2017. The construction market — by far the largest end-use segment for logs and lumber — will show similar growth rates to 2016, e.g., 5%–6% (close to GDP). The furniture/decoration markets grew at about twice the rate of the construction market last year, and a similar trend is expected for 2017, propelling growth in higher grades of kiln-dried lumber for the furniture and decoration markets.

By Russ Taylor, President (following a one-week China market trip)

Source: International WOOD MARKETS Group Inc., www.woodmarkets.com



Open up forests to save Heyfield mill

Forests locked up to protect the Leadbeater's possum could be opened for logging under a federal plan to save Victoria's Heyfield mill from closure. Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has written to Premier Daniel Andrews with an offer of immediate access to protected forests and a review of the possum's endangered status.

The Gippsland-based mill will close in September 2018 after VicForests cut its timber supply and its owners, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods, rejected an AU$4.7 million, three-year operational subsidy from the state government.

"It just seems that the possum's not so much endangered as the timber worker is, we're just losing more and more and more of these areas," Mr Joyce told 3AW on Monday. About 250 jobs are on the line at the mill and Mr Joyce urged the state government to step in to keep people in work.

They can bring forward the forward years of coupes that are available, and say we'll make them available for you now," he said. But Victoria says opening up more coupes, parts of the forest to be harvested, and forests will not work.

"Mr Joyce's reckless suggestions including the bringing forward of timber harvesting, would put the entire forestry sector at risk, including the many hundreds of jobs at Australian Paper," a Victorian government spokesman said. "Mr Joyce would be better served learning the basics of the forestry industry such as how timber volumes are measured, rather than offering false hope in an area he knows little and has limited Commonwealth responsibility for."

Mr Andrews says the government will buy the mill if a sale to a commercial operator does not happen. But ASH says it never knew an offer to buy the facility was on the table and would prefer to move the mill interstate.

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s intervention in the timber supply crisis in Victoria which could provide a lifeline for Australia's largest hardwood sawmill, Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH). Their release from earlier in the week is attached.

Source: 9news.com.au, AFPA

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NZ and China Climate Action Plan announced

New Zealand’s Climate Change Minister, Paula Bennett has released details of a Climate Action Plan to be put in place with China. The announcement this week coincides with a visit to New Zealand by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and forms part of a package of bilateral initiatives released yesterday.

As part of the plan, China and New Zealand have decided to share ETS learnings, information on the role of afforestation, and to share knowledge and best practice on measuring, reporting and verifying livestock greenhouse gas emissions.

The announcement is also the latest in many signals from government that New Zealand intends - and needs - to rely strongly on international carbon markets in order to meet our Paris Commitments.

“Both our countries are serious about responding to climate change and this arrangement will assist both of us in delivering on our long-term commitments under the Paris Agreement,” Minister Bennett said, in her press release. “China is a key player in the global response to climate change and the implementation of China’s commitments under the Paris Agreement will be critical for its success.”

“New Zealand has ambitious climate change targets backed by an emissions trading scheme that we are currently reviewing. China is rolling out its own emissions trading scheme, by far the largest ETS in the world, and is potentially an important future carbon markets partner.”

The journey towards an actual linkage could be a long one, but China would certainly be a natural partner, and could potentially represent deep capacity to deliver offsets into New Zealand, having been the biggest supplier of offsets under the CDM. In turn it is also conceivable that NZ forest owners might one day find a home for their NZUs in China.

China already has 7 pilot ETS schemes and is expected to launch a national ETS later this year. China's top official for climate change, Mr Zhang Yong, also visited NZ last month.

China's national ETS, once implemented, is expected to be by far the largest in the world, at perhaps 4 billion tonnes per annum. New Zealand's by contrast will be in the order of 40 million tonnes by 2019. But who says a dragonfly can't co-exist happily with a dragon?

Source: Carbon Match




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Logging field tours filling fast for HarvestTECH 2017

“Feedback from the 450 or so logging contractors and forest managers that came into Rotorua for the HarvestTECH 2015 event told us that rather than contractors setting up their own site visits in and around the conference, field tours to local logging operations should be set up to capitalise on those travelling into Rotorua” says Brent Apthorp, FIEA Director.

“At this stage for HarvestTECH 2017 which is running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 June 2017, two one-day field tours have already been planned”.

Note: Places to both tours are filling up fast.

1. The Future Forests Research Tour. It runs the day before the conference, Monday 19 June 2017. Visits will be to a local logging contractor demonstrating an array of innovative products and equipment that have been recently developed by equipment manufacturers in conjunction with FFR and local logging contractors designed to improve both safety and productivity on steeper slopes.

The demo site is Ian Harvey’s logging operation in FPNZ Ltd’s Gammons forest, 25km North West of Rotorua. The harvesting operation consists of a Thunderbird 6355 swing yarder along with ground based operations.

Equipment to be demonstrated includes:

- Skyshifter twin winch tail hold carriage (Awdon Technologies Ltd)
- New model CutoverCam hauler vision system (Cutover Systems Ltd)
- Alpine Grapple Carriage (Logpro Ltd)
- HarvestNAV machine navigation system (Margules Groome Ltd)
- Teleoperation of a feller-buncher (Cutover Systems Ltd)
- Teleoperation tail-hold machine (Cutover Systems Ltd)
- Automatic quick coupler (Doherty Engineered Attachments Ltd)
- New UAV (‘drone’) technology (Interpine Group)


A marquee will be set up to display the drone view of the harvesting operation, the CutoverCam view of the grappling site, and other video of products which are part of the Steepland Harvesting Programme.

2. The AB Equipment Harvesting Tour. The second tour, runs the day after the conference on Thursday 22 June 2017. Visits will be made to two logging sites in the Tokoroa region of the central North Island including;

- Baird Logging (Gaza Baird) where the Tigercat LS855C leveller tethered machine along with skidders and excavator will be demonstrated, and
- Fast & Evans Harvesting Ltd's (Jess Evans and Mike Alexander) operation with the T-Mar Log-Champ 550 swing yarder operating along with skidders, processors and excavators.


As we've mentioned, numbers will need to be limited to both. By early planning, logging contractors and their crews can really maximise their time during the harvesting week being planned. Registrations to both are being taken on a first in-first served basis. Registrations can be made on the event website, www.harvesttech.events.

This is the largest tech update for wood harvesting operations in New Zealand since 2015. Plan to be in Rotorua, New Zealand with your team in mid-June, 2017.



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Potential new fumigation treatment for export logs

STIMBR’s research programme has identified Ethanedinitrile (EDN) as a possible alternative to methyl bromide for fumigating export logs. Draslovka, the manufacturer of EDN, intends to make a registration application to the New Zealand Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) in July 2017. The EPA should hopefully make a decision before the end of 2017. The application will be supported by dossiers prepared by Draslovka for a similar application to officials in the Czech Republic as part of the company’s application for EDN registration in the EU.

STIMBR is working closely with Draslovka preparing the application for submission in New Zealand. Once the application is lodged with the EPA, the EPA will call for submissions. It is important that the forest industry and log exporters make submissions in support of the application for registration when these are called.

Unlike methyl bromide, EDN is not an ozone-depleting gas, nor is it a greenhouse gas. EDN disperses quickly when released to the atmosphere. EDN does not remain in the environment accumulating as harmful residues in the soil, or in plants, or animals. It breaks down to form common compounds such as ammonia, nitrates, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

Efficacy testing is underway to provide scientific data for the Ministry for Primary Industries to negotiate the use of EDN as a phytosanitary treatment for logs with our key markets. This research is evaluating EDN’s effectiveness against the different life stages of three forest insects: burnt pine longhorn; and the two bark beetle species Hylurgus ligniperda and Hylastes ater to determine treatment rates and efficacy.

The initial results from the tests being conducted by Plant and Food Research, Palmerston North are promising. Once completed, the data will be presented by MPI to government officials in China and India seeking their approval to allow the use of EDN on timber products imported from New Zealand.

STIMBR is Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction Incorporated. For more information on their work visit: www.stimbr.org.nz.

Source: STIMBR


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The best drones for smaller commercial operations

Commercial drone operators are a big market for drone manufacturers – and the market is growing fast. While industrial applications for drones are also expanding rapidly, the FAA says that 90% of new drone businesses are small businesses, having one or two employees. What drones do these businesses choose? We surveyed our huge global network of licensed drone operators at our sister site, drone job marketplace JobForDrones, to find out.

While the network of drone operators represents a large variety of skills, most offer services related to aerial imagery. Whether they are taking shots for marketing, art, events, real estate, film, or insurance claims; the majority of drone jobs are based around a camera. Forget the high priced industrial drones flying over large scale agriculture – those represent a small subset of drone operators with a specialty. For the vast majority of small business operators, prosumer drones are the tool of choice. And these drones are an investment – drone businesses are unlikely to upgrade their equipment with every new release, generally adding a new drone when they need one for specific functionality or when they take on more staff.

Boasting a huge percentage of the market (the exact number seems to depend upon who you ask) DJI is undisputedly the leading global drone manufacturer. It’s no surprise, therefore, that 3 out of our 5 listings are manufactured by DJI – and a close running number 6 is the Mavic Pro, despite the fact that it’s only been on the market a few months. You can check out the top five drones listed for smaller commercial operators on the new ForestTECH website.

Source: dronelife.com

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2017 Australian Timber Design Awards now open

Now in their 18th year, the Awards are distinguished by a proud heritage of innovation and achievement. The Awards Promote and Encourage Outstanding Timber Design in Australia.

The Australian Timber Design Awards are open to builders, designers, architects, engineers and landscapers: to anyone involved in the design or building of structures that feature timber. A Rising Star Award is available to students and entrants aged 35 or under.

The Australian Timber Design Awards and Competition offers a unique system for build environment professionals and students to showcase their outstanding application of timber based design in their built projects The Awards also provides an online showcase system for competition participants.

Winners are featured permanently on the Australian Timber Design website. Nonetheless whether you win or not, you will be acknowledged either as a runner up with the winners’ feature or listed as a participant in the yearly Awards eBook. The Awards website will display your project’s summary profile, create an online photo gallery of your entry, and acknowledge your Award accolade.

For more information and registration details visit the new awards website.




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HewSaw's latest technology at Ligna 2017

For a look at what's new in sawmilling, stop by HewSaw's stand at Ligna 2017. There will be lots to see and talk about from the Finnish manufacturer, including the company's revolutionary dx-sawing, which offers faster feed speeds and thinner kerf saws.

The HewSaw stand at Ligna 2017 will be over 150 square metres and will include a HewSaw cant saw unit complete with the new patent pending HewSaw dx sawing technology, which offers faster feed speeds and a thinner saw kerf. Developed by HewSaw's engineering department at the company's factory in Mäntyharju, Finland, the basic principle behind dx-sawing is to replace the standard double arbour sawing technique currently used by HewSaw with a four arbour system.

The first set of arbours will house the saws for an initial or pilot cut in the cant, while the second set of arbours will house a second set of saws that will finish the cut, just as in existing HewSaw sawing technology. This allows for a smaller depth of cut, resulting in thinner kerf saws and faster feed speeds.

In a typical HewSaw dx sawing scenario, the log is presented in the usual way to the HewSaw scanning conveyor, and following scanning, it is then positioned for the HewSaw with the company's highly accurate log positioner followed by four-sided chipping. The next step is where it gets interesting, as the first set of saws penetrates part way into the cant, making the preliminary or initial cut. Then downstream is a second set of saws on a second set of arbours, which completes the sawing process. This is combined with the edging of sideboards.

For more information on the HewSaw stand at Ligna or the new HewSaw dx sawing technology, click here.




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NZ forest planting levels grow in 2016

Each spring the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in New Zealand undertakes a survey of tree stock sales from commercial forestry nurseries. This information is then modelled to estimate total sales, and to generate estimates of planting by species or species groups, and the total area planted. In 2016, 28 commercial forestry nurseries completed the survey, a response rate of 100 percent.

Tree stock sales reported in 2016 totalled 52.7 million seedlings, compared to 49.5 million seedlings sold in 2015. The main increase was in radiata pine where sales increased by 3.5 million (8%), and in particular in radiata pine with a Growth and Form (GF)1 of greater than 19 (20%).

The total area of forest planting in the winter of 2016 is provisionally estimated from the nursery survey data and associated modelling to be 48 000 hectares, up from the estimates for 2015 of 46,000 ha (see Figure 1). The full report from MPI can be viewed here.





The annual National Exotic Forest Description report (NEFD; published in January 2017) provides a provisional estimate of new planting in the 2016 calendar year of 2000 hectares. This is based on responses to a survey of larger-scale forest owners and managers. A further 1500 hectares are estimated to have been established by smaller-scale owners under the Afforestation Grant Scheme. The combined area of new planting in 2016 is estimated to be in the order of 3500 hectares.

Replanting of harvested areas is provisionally estimated to be 44 500 hectares in 2016. This is the residual area from the estimated total area of planting (48 000 hectares) minus the estimated area of new planting (3500 hectares).

The 2016 nursery survey asked nursery managers whether they expect sales in 2017 to be similar to, lower, or higher than 2016. Of the 20 commercial forestry nurseries that responded, one indicated that they expect sales to be lower, nine indicated they expect sales to be at similar levels, and ten indicated they expect sales to be higher in 2017.

Comment on the planting figures from the Forest Owners Association and New Zealand Farm Forestry Association can be viewed here.

Source: MPI

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Trees' carbon storage now in doubt

The ability of trees to offset carbon emissions has been questioned after a Western Sydney University study found common Australian trees are unable to store as much carbon as previously thought. Published in the Nature Climate Change journal, the research found that Australia's iconic Eucalyptus forests are likely to need additional soil nutrients in order to grow and take advantage of extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.



The findings have significant implications for models used by international climate agencies, many of which assume that rising carbon dioxide will fertilise trees and result in more growth and capture of CO2 from the air.

"The world pays a lot of attention to climate change modelling, including predictions on the amount of carbon that will be stored in trees," explains lead scientist, Professor David Ellsworth, from the University's Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. "These reports are based on models and data taken largely from temperate forests where nutrients are in adequate supply, meaning that estimates on carbon absorption do not account for nutrient shortages on forest productivity.

"Since many of the world's sub-tropical and tropical forested regions exist on low-nutrient soils, our results indicate that global estimates of carbon storage in forests could be too high." The research was conducted at Western Sydney University's Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, at the world's only Free Air CO2 Experiment in native woodland, the innovative EucFACE facility.

The EucFACE climate experiment exposes large tracts of remnant native eucalypt forest to treatments of elevated CO2 at 550ppm, which is around 150ppm more than the air that is breathed today. The research is in stark contrast to similar experiments in the United States and Europe, where researchers added extra CO2 to plots in temperate forests and found that trees increased their growth by around 23 per cent. At EucFACE, however, the researchers found that while photosynthesis levels increased consistently by 19 per cent under elevated CO2, it did not translate into increases in wood, stems and leaves over the three-year measurement.

When the researchers added phosphorus to trees under elevated CO2, they found a consistent increase in tree growth of 35 per cent, demonstrating how Australian eucalypts would probably store more carbon from the air if they had access to enough nutrients. Because CO2 levels are gradually rising, scientists believe that within thirty to fifty years the air will contain 550ppm or more of CO2, resulting in potentially massive changes to the climate and the ecosystems that support life on Earth.

"Many greenhouse crops such as tomatoes, cut flowers and cucumbers are given added CO2 to make them grow bigger, faster and yield more fruit," says Professor Ellsworth. "Yet out in Australia's native forests, conditions for plants are not quite so ideal. Australia's soils are very old and weathered by millions of years of sun and rain, meaning soils are very low in nutrients, and most of the available nutrients are tied up inside wood, leaves and roots. It means that our soils simply lack the available nutrients that would let trees take advantage of the extra CO2 they find in the air."

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A 10K house 3D-printed in 24 hours

Building a house typically takes months, exacerbating the housing crisis so many people face worldwide. Apis Cor, a San Francisco-based company that specializes in 3D-printing, decided to tackle that crisis with a groundbreaking mobile 3D-printer that can print an entire 400-square-foot tiny home in just 24 hours. What’s more, doing so costs just over $10,000 – a steal compared to most modern homes.

On their website, Apis Cor says the construction industry may be sluggish now, but they will persevere in disrupting that industry “until everyone is able to afford a place to live.” Their revolutionary mobile 3D-printer is small enough to be transported, so assembly and transportation costs can be slashed. Although their mobile printer only needs a day to print a home from a concrete mixture, the company says their buildings will last up to 175 years.

Not only is their process speedy, but environmentally friendly and affordable too. The Russian house offers a promising beginning. Located at the Apis Cor test facility in Stupino, around 60 miles south of Moscow, the home was printed as a whole rather than assembled with pre-printed pieces. Apis Cor printed components like the building envelope, self-bearing walls, and partitions right on location.

Winter couldn’t even stand in the little mobile printer’s way. Apis Cor printed the home last December, which was no big deal for their printer because it can function in temperatures down to negative 31 degrees Fahrenheit. The concrete mixture does require temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit, however, so Apis Cor erected a tent over the tiny house site to plunge forward in cold weather.

White decorative plaster finished the tiny home’s exterior, allowing the team to paint it in bright colors. The interior is bright and furnished with modern appliances from Samsung. In total, the house cost $10,134, or around $275 per square meter.

Source: inhabitat.com



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Local timber on show at Royal Easter Show

Ten truckloads of timber from Badja, Bago and Yambulla State Forests are making their way to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Sales and Distribution Supervisor Andy Costello said 4,017 chopping blocks and 107 tree poles would be used in wood chop competitions over the two-week event.

“The wood chop events at the Sydney Royal Easter Show attract many thousands of visitors each year and Forestry Corporation has been supplying sustainable timber from local State forests for the competition for many years,” Mr Costello said.

“According to the Royal Agricultural Society, the Royal Easter Show attracts some 850,000 visitors each year, so this is arguably the most-high profile wood chop competition in Australia. There are 240 entries for the Royal Easter Show’s wood chop events this year requiring 4,017 chopping blocks and the organisers have exacting standards when it comes to the timber they want for this prestigious event.

“Every one of these 4,017 blocks was harvested in State forests around Tumbarumba by local contractors who have carefully selected logs with exactly the right qualities required for the wood chop events. These were then delivered to the Axeman’s Association’s Peter Knight in Eden who individually wrapped each log in plastic to ensure they don’t dry out ahead of the competitions.

“Most of the championship blocks this year are Silvertop Ash from Yambulla State Forest near Eden and the blocks for the non-championship events are Alpine Ash harvested from Bago State Forest near Tumbarumba.

“The woodchop competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show always draws a crowd and Forestry Corporation of NSW is proud to support the event by supplying certified sustainable NSW timber.”

Image: Crew working in Tumbarumba with the Easter show chopping blocks. Tumbarumba crew (L-R): Luke McAuliffe, Peter Haenig (Forestry Corporation), Bede McAuliffe, Daniel Heinecke, Peter Burgess and Paul Vrbiak

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Trump moves to dismantle Obama's climate legacy

Donald Trump launched an all-out assault on Barack Obama’s climate change legacy on Tuesday with a sweeping executive order that undermines America’s commitment to the Paris agreement.

Watched by coalminers at a ceremony at the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, the president signed an order to trigger a review of the clean power plan, Obama’s flagship policy to curb carbon emissions, and rescind a moratorium on the sale of coalmining leases on federal lands.

But the move was swiftly condemned by environmentalists as a “dangerous” and “embarrassing” attempt to turn back the clock that would do little to revive the US coal industry while threatening cooperation with major polluters such as China and India.

In a speech before he signed the order, Trump promised “a new era in American energy and production and job creation”. He said: “The action I’m taking today will eliminate federal overreach, restore economic freedom and allow our workers and companies to thrive and compete on a level playing field for the first time in a long time. I’m not just talking eight years.”

Trump promised the measures would be “bringing back our jobs, bringing back our dreams and making America wealthy again”. Trump’s climate blitzkrieg is unlikely to herald the end of civilization, but it risks US geopolitical dominance and could help ‘make China great again’. Read more.

Source: theguardian.com

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Hemp house in WA completed

Construction of the first hemp house in WA has just been completed, sparking calls to build a local processing plant so local farmers can supply the building industry reports ABC News. The hemp plant's woody stem is shredded, mixed with a lime render and tampered into place inside a timber frame.

Builder Gary Rogers said hemp is a high thermal insulator. He used some locally grown and milled hemp to build the Margaret River home but he could not source enough product for a house. At the moment, processed hemp needs to be imported from the east coast and Europe.

"We can import building materials to try and get it going and that's what we're doing at the moment, working with a couple of builders to import it so we can actually build interest in the industry," Colin Steddy, director of the The Hemp Corporation, said.

But local hemp growers said they could grow hemp plants but just needed a processing plant in WA because their product was going to waste. Gail Stubber, a South West hemp grower, said “I'd like the government to give us a hand, be it with a grant or something, to actually get a processing mill here in the South West. It's closed a lot mills, a lot of paper and pulp mills, but maybe we can turn one of those mills, whether it be at Kirup or Nannup or something into a hemp mill and produce material for housing."

Mr Rogers said he already had several more clients lined up to build their homes from hemp.

Source: ABC News



No Ongoing Training? No Problem? No Sawmill!

We’ve brought you another sawmill blog from Udo Jahn of Modern Engineering, Canada.

“I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about his experience in sawmills. The more we spoke, the more the same issue kept coming up. It reminded me of my first experience driving in European roundabouts. The infamous six lane roundabout circling the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, as a matter of fact. I was in the centre of it.

It was a mistake to even consider taking that route in the first place, but being stuck in the centre of a six-lane roundabout is an even bigger mistake. It took me over an hour to get from the centre to the outside lane to be able to get out. Needless to say, it was incredibly frustrating and I thought my nervous system would collapse as soon as I got out.

The issue that kept coming up in conversation with my friend reminded me of my Paris roundabout adventure. In my opinion, many of the common problems that occur in sawmills are due to a lack of training. Lack of proper training is a huge factor in downtime.

I’ve written how much sawmill downtime costs in the past, and it definitely adds up to a high number. Some people say the costs aren’t that high, but the simple fact is that downtime is expensive and bad, no matter how you look at it.

The good news is that training is much cheaper than downtime.

Without proper training, your mill will run like my car in the Arc de Triomphe roundabout – around and around it goes until you have the proper training to get out. I think some sawmills have been stuck on the inside of the roundabout for decades.

Sawmill Downtime Isn’t Normal

Some mills don’t know they’re stuck. The ones happily circling the roundabout for decades think that downtime problems are normal, because they keep happening. And because they keep happening, they think it’s normal. See a problem there?

Because regular downtime seems like the status quo, no one questions it. They accept it as part of the business. More >>.

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Jobs


Buy and Sell


...and one to end the week on ... how to adapt
























A cowboy, who just moved to Wyoming from Texas, walked into a bar and ordered three mugs of Bud. He sat in the back of the room, drinking a sip out of each one in turn. When he finished them, he came back to the bar and ordered three more.

The bartender approached and told the cowboy, "You know, a mug goes flat after I draw it. It would taste better if you bought one at a time."

The cowboy replied, "Well, you see, I have two brothers. One is in Arizona, the other is in Colorado. When we all left our home in Texas, we promised that we'd drink this way to remember the days when we drank together. So, I'm drinking one beer for each of my brothers and one for myself."

The bartender admitted that this was a nice custom, and left it there.

The cowboy became a regular in the bar, and always drank the same way. He ordered three mugs and drank them in turn.

One day, he came in and only ordered two mugs. All the regulars took notice and fell silent. When he came back to the bar for the second round, the bartender said, "I don't want to intrude on your grief, but I wanted to offer my condolences on your loss."

The cowboy looked quite puzzled for a moment, then a light dawned in his eyes and he laughed.

"Oh, no, everybody's just fine," he explained. "It's just that my wife and I joined the Baptist Church and I had to quit drinking."

"Hasn't affected my brothers though."






And on that note, have a great weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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