Monday, 29 October 2018

Investopedia/Richard Roush: What are the best investment options for a short-term, two-year investment if I want to grow my money to pay off my student debt?

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What are the best investment options for a short-term, two-year investment if I want to grow my money to pay off my student debt?

I have a good amount of student loan debt. But, I have saved up about $10,000. I want to try and grow that money through investments and have enough to pay off the debt completely in about two years. What kind of approach or investments should I consider for this situation?
Debt, Investing
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3 days ago
Richard Roush
Roush, Richard
Fresno, CA

With a two-year time horizon, it is usually not recommended to invest the assets in anything other than CDs or savings accounts.  However, the yield on these instruments will probably be less than the loan is currently accruing at.  It would be my advice to take those funds and apply them to the loans now.  If it does not cover all of them then apply it to the ones with the highest interest rate first.
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Rosemary Frank
Frank, Rosemary
Brentwood, TN

You don't say if you are still a student or if you are in repayment mode. If still a student, then I suggest remaining safe and put the money into the best CD you can find. Your time window is really too short to take on any investment risk. If you are repaying at this time, and your interest rate is more that what you could earn with a CD, which it most likely is, then simply apply your savings to the debt now. For instance, if your interest rate is 7%, by reducing the debt by $10,000 you will have effectively just "made" 7% on your money. Through it all, keep in mind the necessity of always having an emergency fund. If this is your only savings, I do not recommend tying it up in a CD or using it to pay off debt, as you really do need to keep it accessible.
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3 days ago
Andrew Rosen
Rosen, Andrew
Wilmington, DE

Cash is your answer unfortunately.  If your time horizon is 2 years and it is for debt payoff I recommend nothing except cash. There are high yield savings accounts like the one at live oak bank which I am a fan of.  These today are paying 2% interest which is excellent.  I just think the risk is too high and the importance of getting these loans paid off is too great for you to start taking equity risk with it.  Just think the equity markets are off like 10% this month alone.  I wouldn't be concerned if long term investments but for something this short term you have to play it safe.
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4 days ago
Joe Arns
Arns, Joe
Princeton, NJ

Keep in mind that all stock portfolio can only be expected to return 7-9% annually right now.  And that's simply an expectation.  It is possible for an all-stock portfolio to lose nearly half of its value over a two-year period.  If your timeframe is limited to 2 years, the best strategy is simply to take the $10K and pay down the loans with the highest interest rate.
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5 days ago
Levi Sanchez
Sanchez, Levi
Seattle, WA

2 years is a short amount of time in the investment world and I'd be hesitant to invest in equities with that short of a time frame. Markets are unpredictable in the short term. Instead, you may consider looking at CD's or a high yield savings account. As interest rates have continued to rise, high yield savings are starting to pay increasingly higher interest rates (1.95% was highest I could find at time of this answer). They're FDIC insured as well.

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The Washington Post/Rick Noack: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is ready to hand over leadership of her Christian Democratic Party, German media reports say

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel ready to step down from party leadership

German Chancellor Angela Merkel listens to a question during a press conference after talks with Czech Republic's Prime Minister Andrej Babis in Prague, Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. (Petr David Josek/AP)
By Rick Noack
October 29 at 6:01 AM

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Monday that she was ready to hand over the leadership of her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) later this year, according to German media reports citing sources close to her.

Merkel has been CDU chairwoman since 2000 and while her departure would not automatically result in her stepping down as German chancellor, the move is an acknowledgment of her increasingly volatile position.

Merkel herself has said in the past that the chancellor should also be the leader of the ruling party. But according to German public radio, Merkel wants to stay on even after handing over the party leadership.

The announcement comes one day after her party suffered massive losses during regional elections in the state of Hesse, that has long been a bellwether for the nation. The election for the state parliament in Hesse — home of Frankfurt, the heart of German finance — gave Merkel’s center-right CDU 27 percent of the vote, according to projections based on partial returns Sunday night.

That was good enough for first place, but down 11 percent since the state last voted, in 2013, and represents the party’s worst performance there in more than half a century. The party’s state leader, Volker Bouffier, called the outcome “very humbling.”

Backing for Merkel’s coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), also plummeted, falling from 31 percent to 20 percent — a low not seen in 72 years. The Social Democrats’ weak performance in regional elections this year in Hesse and Bavaria has added pressure on their national leadership to force Merkel into more concessions.

 Griff Witte and Luisa Beck contributed to this report. 

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Merkel’s troubles mount as her party stumbles in German regional elections

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Rick Noack is a foreign affairs reporter who covers Europe and international security issues from The Washington Post's Berlin bureau. Previously, he worked for The Post from Washington as an Arthur F. Burns Fellow and from London. Follow
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InsideCimate News/Nicholas Kusnetz: Children's Climate Lawsuit Trial Delayed Until U.S. Supreme Court Rules

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Children's Climate Lawsuit Trial Delayed Until U.S. Supreme Court Rules
The Trump administration wants the high court, now with Brett Kavanaugh as a justice, to throw the case out. The trial had been scheduled to start on Monday.
Nicholas Kusnetz
By Nicholas Kusnetz
Oct 26, 2018
Plaintiffs in the children's climate lawsuit want the federal government to act on climate change. Credit: Robin Loznak

The young plaintiffs in the children's climate lawsuit are suing to force the federal government to take action on climate change. Credit: Robin Loznak

A federal judge in Oregon has delayed a lawsuit brought by 21 children and young adults to force government action on climate change, pending a decision by the Supreme Court on whether to dismiss the case before trial. Opening arguments had been set for Monday.

The government has repeatedly tried to halt the case. Last week, the Supreme Court agreed to a temporary stay while it considers the Justice Department's argument that a trial would cause the government "irreparable harm." The decision to delay the case at this early stage was highly unusual.

The plaintiffs and their lawyers say the government is trying to deprive them of their right to a fair hearing.

"Since the early days of the Republic, our judiciary has grown to be the last line of defense against governance that threatens the public good and destroys the lives of our people," Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "These young people deserve that chance to present their case against those who govern and let the light fall where it may."

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If successful, the lawsuit could result in a court order that the federal government develop and implement a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions. If the plaintiffs ultimately lose, a trial would still present a public forum on climate change and the grave risks it poses to the nation. A trial could also force the Trump administration into the embarrassing position of publicly admitting the facts about climate change while arguing that it need not address the problem.

The government's lawyers haven't contested the children's central claims—that climate change is real and is causing them harm. Instead, the lawyers have argued that the federal government is not responsible and that the court has no place ordering political branches what to do.

The Supreme Court is now considering those questions. In July, the court denied an earlier attempt by government lawyers to halt the case. It's unclear why the court changed its position now.

David Bookbinder, chief counsel for the libertarian Niskanen Center, which filed a brief supporting the youths' case, said the only thing that has changed is the replacement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who retired, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's controversial pick whose record as a federal judge includes ruling against some environmental regulations.

"They're willing to step in and look at this earlier than the court normally would because it's a climate case," he said. One of the few other cases in which justices have issued such a ruling at this stage, he said, was when they halted implementation of President Barack Obama's proposal to limit emissions from the electricity sector. "Climate is just different."

Like Brown v. Board of Education with school integration or Obergefell v. Hodges, which established a right to marriage for same-sex couples, the case is pushing a novel claim for constitutional rights, legal experts say. It will also test core questions about the separations of powers. The plaintiffs argue that, as in Brown, the Constitution's checks and balances require the courts to step in because the political branches are failing citizens, in this case by neglecting to protect them from climate harm. The government has argued that existing laws and environmental regulations take precedence and any action by the court would overstep its authority.

"For three years, my co-plaintiffs and I have been waiting for our voices to be heard in court," Hazel V., a 14-year-old plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. "But the U.S. government is doing everything it can to silence us, all while we watch it continue to make the climate crisis worse.
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About the Author
Nicholas Kusnetz

Nicholas Kusnetz is a reporter for InsideClimate News. Before joining ICN, he ran the Center for Public Integrity's State Integrity Investigation, which won a New York Press Club Award for Political Coverage. He also covered fracking as a reporting fellow at ProPublica and was a 2011 Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism. His work has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including Slate, The Washington Post, Businessweek, Mother Jones, The Nation, Fast Company and The New York Times.

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BBC News/Roger Harrabin: Rising seas will swamp homes, report says

BBC News
Rising seas will swamp homes, report says
By Roger Harrabin BBC environment analyst

    26 October 2018


Image copyright SPL
Image caption More UK homes will be at flood risk in the future

England’s coastal communities haven’t faced up to the reality of rising seas through climate change, a report says.

An increase of at least 1m is almost certain at some point in the future, the government’s advisors predict.

The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) warns this huge rise may happen over the next 80 years - within the lifetimes of today's children.

A government spokesman said the public would be protected from the impacts of climate change.

But the CCC says current shoreline management plans are unfunded and hopelessly optimistic.

It estimates that by the 2080s, up to 1.2 million homes may be at increased risk from coastal floods.

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Will more people have to abandon leave their homes in future?

The CCC’s chief executive, Chris Stark, told BBC News: “People know sea level is going to rise – but they haven’t grasped how bad this could be for them.”

His colleague Professor Julia King added: “We’ve got to wake up to the fact that we’ve got some very difficult challenges ahead.

“We need local councils to have some honest discussions with people to help them prepare for the difficult choices they’ll face.”

The report says many coastal communities are particularly vulnerable because populations in coastal areas are often poorer and older than the UK average.

It highlights the issue of land-slips on the coast. It says 100,000 cliff-top properties could be at risk from coastal landsliding, but the public don’t have clear and accurate information about the issues and there’s no insurance or compensation for people who lose their homes.

Is it just homes that are under threat?

No, it’s much wider than that. Transport, energy and waste infrastructure are also exposed to coastal flooding and erosion.

Approximately 7,500km of road, 520km of railway line, 205,000 hectares of good farm land, and 3,400ha of potentially toxic historic landfill sites are currently at 0.1% or greater risk of coastal flooding in any given year.

Power plants, ports, gas terminals and other significant assets are also at risk. The report says the government needs to focus on protecting these assets, as well as saving people’s homes.

What’s more, coastal defences are likely to be at risk of failure as sea levels rise. A rise of 0.5m is projected to make a further 20% of England's coastal defences vulnerable to failure. The risk will be even higher if the current rates of deterioration of saltmarshes, shingle beaches and sand dunes continue.

Some more key facts

In England, 520,000 properties (including 370,000 homes) are in areas with a 0.5% or greater annual risk from coastal flooding.

By the 2080s, that figure could rise to 1.5 million properties (including 1.2 million homes). In addition, approximately 1,600km of major roads, 650km of railway line, 92 railway stations and 55 historic landfill sites are at risk of coastal flooding or erosion by the end of the century.

A government spokesperson said: "The government has already committed £1.2bn of investment in coastal erosion and sea flooding projects over the next six years to better protect 170,000 homes.

"We welcome the committee's report which will inform our work to tackle increasing flood and coastal erosion risks, ahead of the publication of our Government Policy Statement on flooding and coastal erosion next year."

Follow Roger on Twitter @rharrabin
Related Topics

    Coastal erosion
    Climate change

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BBC News/Matt McGrath: Climate change: Low cost, low energy cooling system shows promise

Climate change: Low cost, low energy cooling system shows promise
By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

    26 October 2018


Image copyright Yang Lab / University of Colorado Boulder
Image caption The roof array that can cool a house with little energy use

Researchers in the US have scaled up a new low-cost system that could provide efficient cooling for homes while using very little electricity.

The team has developed a roof-top sized array, built from a highly reflective material made from glass and polymers.

In tests, the system kept water around 10C cooler than the ambient air when exposed to midday sunlight in summer.

The approach could also be scaled up to cool power stations and data centres.

The system is based around what's termed a cooling meta-material, which is essentially an engineered film not found in nature.

Last year, researchers at CU Boulder in the US published research on the extraordinary properties of the new film, which reflects back almost all incoming light from the Sun.

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But it also has another cooling trick that makes it quite special. If you use the film to cover water, it allows any heat in the liquid to escape into the air.

So when the heat escapes and is not replaced because the material deflects away sunlight, temperatures drop rapidly.

Now the scientists have improved the system and and built and tested a 13-sq-metre array of panels, that's small enough to fit on most rooftops.

"You could place these panels on the roof of a single-family home and satisfy its cooling requirements," said Dongliang Zhao, lead author of the study from CU Boulder's Department of Mechanical Engineering.
How effective is this material?
Image caption The new material looks like aluminium foil but is slightly thicker

The system has been tested outdoors in a variety of weather conditions. In experiments carried out in the summer of 2017, the reflective system kept a container of water some 12C cooler than the surrounding air in the warmest hours of the day.

"We can now apply these materials on building rooftops, and even build large-scale water cooling systems with significant advantages over the conventional air-conditioning systems, which require high amounts of electricity to function," said Associate Professor Gang Tan, another author of the study from the University of Wyoming.
What makes it work?

The key material is made with glass microspheres embedded into a polymer film, with a thin silver coating.

At just 50 micrometres, it is slightly thicker than aluminium foil.

Another big advantage of the material is that it can be manufactured on rolls, making it easier to apply on residential and commercial applications.
What is it likely to be used for?
Image caption The film can be manufactured cheaply say the authors

The authors say that one of the most effective uses of the new material would be to cool thermoelectric power generating plants. These installations use large amounts of water and electricity to maintain the operating temperatures of their machinery. Using the new material could make them more efficient.
How much cooling does the world need?

In 2016 around 10% of the world's energy use went to power air conditioning. The International Energy Agency says that this rate is set to triple by 2050, with air conditioning (AC) consuming as much electricity as is used in China today.

As well as all the CO2 that is produced as electricity is created to power these devices, AC units also contain potent greenhouse gases in the form of hydrofluorocarbons.

HFCs were introduced to protect the ozone layer, because the previous generation of the cooling chemicals exacerbated the hole over Antarctica that had developed in the 1980s.

While HFCs are less damaging, they have a large global warming potential. In 2016, countries agreed that they would be phased out over the course of the next 15-20 years. If this happens successfully it could have a significant impact on limiting future temperature rises.

The new study has been published in the journal Joule.
Related Topics

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The Saturday Paper/Mike Sercombe: Climate change claims its first mammal extinction

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Edition No. 228 October 27 – November 2, 2018

Liberal moderates, corporations and the voters of Wentworth have all called on the Morrison government to act on climate change. But the country’s top scientists say its effects are already wreaking havoc across Australia. By Mike Seccombe.

Climate change claims its first mammal extinction

The Bramble Cay melomys was not, frankly, a particularly prepossessing creature, as one might gather from the little native rodent’s other name, the mosaic-tailed rat.

In life, it had none of the iconic appeal of those more charismatic species that bring popular support to environmental causes. Only by the manner of its extinction is the melomys distinguished: science believes it to be the first mammal species whose demise can be attributed directly to climate change.

The melomys was previously the only mammal endemic to the Great Barrier Reef. Its entire population was confined to the single Torres Strait island for which it was named, a cay inhabited by no people or introduced predators, about four hectares in area and less than three metres above sea level at its highest point.

The last of the melomys are thought to have died somewhere between 2007 and 2009, although it was not until 2014 that the Queensland government released a report conceding that despite a determined effort by scientists, using traps, cameras and old-fashioned foot searches, there were none left.

That report confirmed sea level rise, coupled with increasingly frequent and intense storms and higher storm surges, as the probable cause. The species was washed away while no one was looking.

The announcement caused a brief flurry of interest in the media and prompted a comment piece in the prestigious journal Nature, suggesting the fate of the melomys should serve as a call to heed the science and act urgently to implement policies that mitigate the threat of climate change.

The melomys is the only extinction we know of so far, but things are grim for many other living things.

About 600 kilometres south of Bramble Cay is the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Extending in a 450-kilometre-long rugged ribbon from just south of Cooktown to just north of Townsville, the 890,000-hectare heritage area is Australia’s most biologically diverse terrestrial environment.

The way things are going, says Stephen Williams, professor of ecology and climate change at James Cook University, about half the endemic vertebrate species of the wet tropics could be extinct by the end of this century. Most of the rest would be expected to be critically endangered.
“We are a mega-diverse country, meaning we have a lot of wildlife that occurs nowhere else on Earth. Endemic species with limited dispersal options and small ranges are particularly vulnerable to extinction from climate impacts.”

“We have a World Heritage Area rapidly losing the things that made it a World Heritage Area,” he says.

“The reason the Wet Tropics is so special is that it’s a relict of what once existed right across the country, before Australia warmed and dried over the past few million years.

“Overall, we have about 700 species of vertebrates. Of those, about 300 are rainforest species, and about a third of those are found nowhere else in the world. The WHA was created because of those endemic species. But in the past 15 years, about 50 per cent of them are showing significant declines in total population.”

In a sense, the mountains of the Wet Tropics are islands – islands of cooler, wetter climate, surrounded by a rising tide of heat as the climate warms. While the many endemic animals are thought of as tropical species, Williams says, “they can actually only live up in the mountains, in that cooler, wet environment”.

And as the climate heats up – the Wet Tropics have warmed about 1 degree Celsius over the past 100 years, with about half of that happening in the past 15 years – those creatures are being forced ever higher up these mountains.

“We used to see lemuroid ringtail possums down at about 600 metres elevation until about a decade ago,” he says. “About five years ago, they had also disappeared at 700 metres. Now there are indications they are declining at 800 metres.”

The pattern is similar across other species that Williams and his colleagues have monitored over that time. They are being pushed about 100 metres uphill every five years.

“The scary bit is, I look at the data ... and see all of the things we care about retracting up the mountain, on the basis of about half a degree warming in the last 15 years. What’s four degrees going to do? Because the fact is, we’re tracking for about four degrees this century.”

Most of the mountains in the Wet Tropics are under 1200 metres above sea level. Two go up to 1600 metres. In a few decades, these species will reach the top of the mountain and have nowhere else to go.

That is, if they last that long.

On top of the problem of increasing average temperatures is that of extreme heat events, which climate scientists tell us also are becoming more frequent and intense.

Williams cites an example, from 2007, relating to the ringtail lemuroids, which are acutely vulnerable to even moderate heat. They will die if the temperature goes above about 29 degrees for even a relatively short time.

In the summer of 2005, maximum temperatures in some northern areas of the World Heritage Area went over the possum’s physiological tolerance for 27 days in a row. The population crashed. Tourist operators and others reported large numbers of dead possums.

“In that situation,” Williams says, “you can actually have all the individuals of that species die, on that day. Bang. Dead. Lying on the ground.”

Part of the reason we know as much as we do about the effects of climate change is that in 2008 the previous Labor government set up a body called the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) with funding of $50 million.

It studied a wide array of issues, such as health, infrastructure, social impacts and natural ecosystems.

“I was director of its Natural Ecosystems Network, involving some 2500 scientists and people from government agencies,” Williams says. “We had pretty good coverage across Australia, of marine, freshwater, terrestrial ecosystems.”

But the current conservative government progressively cut NCCARF’s funding, down to nothing this year. Another program, the National Environmental Research Program, funded Williams’ specific work in the Wet Tropics. But that money dried up, too.

“So our monitoring largely stopped, as of about a year ago,” he says.

There is every reason to suspect the current government would rather people didn’t know too much about the consequences of climate change. The climate sceptics of its right wing were instrumental in removing Malcolm Turnbull from the prime ministership. The Morrison government has abandoned any meaningful action on climate change, on the premise – the false premise, in the view of most experts, environmental, business and industry groups – that such action is incompatible with affordable electricity.

Ignoring reality, however, does not change reality. The voters in the Wentworth byelection recognised that last weekend. An exit poll of more than 1000 voters conducted for The Australia Institute found 78 per cent said climate concerns had some influence on their vote, 47 per cent said it had a lot of influence and 33 per cent said it was the main thing.

The release during the campaign of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a synthesis of more than 6000 research papers, reflecting the overwhelming consensus the world’s climate scientists, no doubt sharpened the voters’ appreciation of the pressing reality. One degree more of global warming and the world’s coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, will be all but gone.

Even so, “fair dinkum power” – Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coded slogan for more coal-fired electricity – remains the government’s big focus. The IPCC report was not telling us what to do, Morrison said.

But thanks to the work of the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology, NCCARF, the Climate Council, and many others, we know quite a lot about the impacts of climate change in this country.

We know which areas of the natural environment will be particularly hard hit. The Wet Tropics is one. So are the very biodiverse border ranges of New South Wales and Queensland, where species face a similar problem to those of the Wet Tropics – nowhere to go but uphill. Likewise, the alpine areas of NSW and Victoria. A report to the Victorian government earlier this year found that by mid century that state’s high country could have natural snow cover for all but a handful of days each year.

The World Heritage wetlands of Kakadu could be wiped out by rising sea levels. The south-west of Western Australia, which has particularly high plant diversity, also is exceptionally vulnerable. The climate modelling suggests winter rainfall – and most of the rain in that part of the country comes in winter – could decline as much as 50 per cent by 2090, in a worst-case scenario.

Across south-eastern Australia, cool season rain is projected to decline 10 to 20 per cent. Droughts will become more frequent and severe, not only because of declining and less regular rainfall but because evaporation rates increase with temperature. Fire seasons will lengthen.

Cyclones may not become more frequent, but will likely be more intense and blow further south. Because warmer air can hold more moisture, when it does rain it will likely be more intense. Australia’s extremes of climate, its “drought and flooding rains”, will be exacerbated.

The science indicates different effects of climate change in different parts of the country. Some, particularly in the north-west, will get wetter, while others will get drier. The common factor, though, is that everywhere it will get hotter. While some species may benefit, whole ecosystems and their component species will shift or expire.

“We are a mega-diverse country,” says James Trezise, a policy analyst with the Australian Conservation Foundation, “meaning we have a lot of wildlife that occurs nowhere else on Earth. Endemic species with limited dispersal options and small ranges are particularly vulnerable to extinction from climate impacts.

“The fact that we have the first documented mammal extinction globally due to climate change in the 21st century should ring alarm bells.

“As a safeguard, we need to be planning out where species and ecosystems will be moving and tailoring our conservation actions to meet that challenge. This means establishing new protected areas and connecting habitats to ensure we have a climate-smart safety net for nature, looking at protecting critical habitats such as climate refugia and building climate adaptation into our management actions.

“All of this requires substantial government investment, but sadly we’ve seen huge cuts to environment and climate programs, including the axing of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.”

Perhaps, though, instead of talking about the intrinsic value of the natural environment we should talk in terms governments understand: money.

The cost of the current drought could be up to $12 billion, according to a recent estimate by Commonwealth Bank. Even the once reliably conservative rural sector now accepts climate change is playing a part in this disaster. Like native species, agriculture will have to adapt and shift with the new climate reality.

One might question, for example, the wisdom of continuing to grow thirsty crops such as cotton on the increasingly water-starved Darling River basin. Large areas of formerly marginal crop land, as in the wheat belt of Western Australia, will likely become unviable.

Most of Australia’s population is concentrated near the coast, and will retreat as sea level rises and amid greater storm surges. A report a few years ago by the Climate Council assessed the costs of coastal flooding from sea level rises of 40 centimetres and one metre over the next century, and estimated it could be as much as $200 billion dollars.

One industry that keeps a close eye on such costs is the insurance industry.

The basic metric for it is simple.

“Extreme weather leads to loss, which leads to claims, which leads to higher premiums,” says Karl Sullivan, general manager for policy, risk and disaster planning at the Insurance Council of Australia.

“We have been working hard at identifying where the red dots are on the map, where a property already has an acute level of weather risk, and what can be done to bring risks down.”

Their work on identifying risk, he says, goes down to individual addresses and premiums are set accordingly. He provides an example of what happens when the risk is seen as just too great.

“Roma in Queensland had three one-in-a-hundred year floods in three successive years. One insurer had $124 million of losses for only $8 million of premium income. Most of the market stopped underwriting in Roma as a result.”

Then a levee was built, at a cost of some $20 million.

“The day the ribbon was cut insurance prices fell an average of 35 per cent and some by 73 per cent.”

But in many other places, mitigation action has not happened. He cites Lismore, in northern NSW.

“It has a completely inadequate flood defence system. Flood risks are extremely high and people who want to protect themselves are paying very high premiums,” Sullivan says.

As in Roma, mitigation would require tens of millions to be spent on a levee.

“You can apply that in a broader sense to climate change. In 50 years’ time, we know some of those risks are going to be so high that either people won’t be living there anymore, or we won’t be able to provide products that people can conceivably afford. If you start mitigating now, insurance can remain affordable and available.”

Sullivan points to research done by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities, an industry group set up in 2012 in response to an unprecedented series of floods, storms and bushfires.

It found that the Australian government invests only about $50 million each year on mitigation measures, but more than 10 times that on post-loss recovery.

There are other costs, too. Professor Kingsley Faulkner, an eminent surgeon and chair of Doctors for the Environment, ticks off some of the health consequences:

“First, heatwaves. Every single city in this country will have many more days each year over 35 degrees. Over the past 100 years, more people have died of heat-related causes than any other natural problem.

“Then, changes in disease patterns. Things like malaria, dengue, Ross River virus, will likely move south with increasing temperatures. Many bacterial diseases are aggravated by heat and more common in tropical and subtropical areas.

“There also are effects on air quality and the emissions from fossil fuels. There’s an estimated 3000 deaths per annum from air pollution in Australia.”

The cost of air pollution due to the burning of coal in Australia is estimated at some $2.6 billion a year.

And there are mental health costs associated with the increased incidence of “natural” disasters. Increased suicide rates among drought-stricken farmers, children traumatised by the destruction of their homes.

Faulkner echoes the views of former Liberal leader John Hewson, who campaigned against his old party in Wentworth.

“No party should be elected without a credible climate policy,” Faulkner says.

“The latest IPCC report shows the absolute urgency of the issue. We wasted a decade, and this report says the next decade will be absolutely crucial. Unfortunately, in spite of the Wentworth result, this lot don’t seem to have learnt. They are still talking about subsidising coal, and having no strong emissions policy. They are appallingly inept.”

And the current sloganeering around “fair dinkum” power amounts to “stupidity”.

“We are playing around with the lives of our children and grandchildren – we really are,” Faulkner says.

On the upside, since Wentworth some of the more enlightened members of the Morrison government – Western Australian Senator Dean Smith most recently – have joined the growing chorus of voices – including BHP, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Business Council of Australia, Australian Industry Group, Australian Council of Social Service, St Vincent de Paul and others – advocating serious policy.

Smith set out the issue in political terms. The conservative parties could either shift their position or lose a whole generation of voters.

But the likes of Smith are still in the minority in this government. And the polls all suggest that six months from now, maybe less, the Morrison government will go the way of the Bramble Cay melomys: washed away by the rising tide.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Oct 27, 2018 as "Droughts and flooding rains". Subscribe here.

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Edition No: 228   October 27 – November 2, 2018



The national apology and what comes next Martin McKenzie-Murray

Turnbull used to head off regional distrust Karen Middleton

No apologies after Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen's release Alex McKinnon

Asylum seekers homeless in Indonesia Nicole Curby

Climate change claims its first mammal extinction Mike Seccombe

Trump returns to the nuclear barricades Hamish McDonald


Running against Tony Abbott in Warringah Jane Caro

Morrison and the tide of Wentworth Paul Bongiorno

Gadfly: A rake’s progress Richard Ackland

Letters & Editorial

Geoff Pryor cartoon, October 27 2018 Geoff Pryor

Fair bunkum

No justice on Manus Island


‘Triple threat’ Maya Rudolph Donna Walker-Mitchell

Wanderlust Helen Razer

Steven Rhall's objects Andy Butler

Artistic director Nici Cumpston Claire G. Coleman


Killing Commendatore Reviewer: ZC

The Fragments Reviewer: DD

One Good Turn Reviewer: KR


Spring linguini on pea purée Annie Smithers

Catalonia’s Concurs de Castells Robert Kidd

Best medicine: Verity Charles, 27, netballer Cindy MacDonald

The Quiz

Which member of the British royal family married this month at Windsor Castle? Cindy MacDonald

This week


The national apology and what comes next

Martin McKenzie-Murray After years of struggle, Chrissie Foster this week watched the prime minister apologise to victims and survivors of institutional child abuse. Now a new fight begins for redress. I just hope that that’s not all there is. It’s not the end. There’s work to do.


Turnbull used to head off regional distrust

Karen Middleton Malcolm Turnbull’s relationship with the Indonesian president is being used to shore up free trade negotiations as Scott Morrison hopes to convey stability abroad.


No apologies after Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen's release

Alex McKinnon The case of Mohamed Kamer Nizamdeen, released after a month in prison when terrorism-related charges were dropped because of mistaken evidence, is the latest in a string of dubious arrests and defamatory accusations in the media against Australian Muslims.


Asylum seekers homeless in Indonesia

Nicole Curby With few people-smuggling boats in operation, asylum seekers in Indonesia now face living on the streets as detention centres close their doors following Australia’s funding cuts, in what appears to be the latest deterrence strategy.


‘Triple threat’ Maya Rudolph

Donna Walker-Mitchell

Known for her masterful Saturday Night Live impersonations and starring role in the comedy hit film Bridesmaids, Maya Rudolph is now tackling the subject of married mundanity in the new series Forever. But while her own life is far from dull, her priorities for work and family remain very simple. “For me, when I became a mum, I changed, and my needs changed. I didn’t want to be away from my kids … If something I’m loathing is taking me away from my kids, then I shouldn’t be there.”


Running against Tony Abbott in Warringah

Jane Caro I keep asking myself what I have done by putting up a tentative hand as a possible independent candidate for the seat currently held by former prime minister Tony Abbott. And, more to the point, why exactly have I done it? Do I really have anything worthwhile to offer the people of Warringah? Am I the right person for this job?


Morrison and the tide of Wentworth

Paul Bongiorno Voters don’t like Shorten, or trust him, because, among other negatives, ‘he knifed two prime ministers’. But a new book by respected press gallery journalist David Speers, On Mutiny, casts serious doubt on Morrison’s ‘plausible deniability’ that he had nothing to do with the decapitation of Turnbull. Speers writes that Morrison’s closest supporters, Alex Hawke and Stuart Robert, had been on the phones ‘for more than twenty-four hours, albeit without a declared candidate’. We are expected to believe they were doing this without Morrison’s approval.

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BusinessGreen/Madeleine Cuff: Church of England Pensions Board challenges firms on climate lobbying



Church of England Pensions Board challenges firms on climate lobbying

    Madeleine Cuff
    Madeleine Cuff
    29 October 2018

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More than 50 companies have been urged to overhaul corporate lobbying habits that have been blamed for stymieing climate progress

The Church of England Pensions Board and Swedish Pension Fund AP7 are today leading an investor charge against companies using their corporate muscle to lobby against more ambitious climate action.

A $2tr group of investors have written a joint letter to 55 high-carbon European companies, urging them to better align their lobbying stance with the aims of the Paris Agreement to limit warming to less than 2C.
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The initiative is also supported by the IIGCC, the European forum for investor collaboration on climate action which boasts over 160 investor members that have €21tr in assets collectively under management.

The 55 firms targeted in the letter were assessed by NGO InfluenceMap according to their overall position on climate policy, their influence on policy makers, and whether their public corporate climate policies are in line with those of the trade associations acting on their behalf.

The investors will now aim to use their influence to try and encourage the firms to reform their lobbying practices and adopt a more climate-friendly stance, starting with the seven companies that are deemed to be the worst-performing.

"Misleading and misaligned corporate lobbying practices undermine the ability of governments to act on climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement," said Adam Matthews, director of ethics & engagement at the Church of England Pensions Board. "The influence of trade associations is often exerted behind closed doors and can be deeply insidious to public policy making on climate change. As the recent report from the IPCC clearly highlighted, the stakes are high and time is against us. It is therefore right that investors are challenging Europe's most high-emitting companies to ensure consistency in their lobbying practices."

The letter, which has been sent to the chair of each company, requests the firms align with a set of 'investor expectations' on lobbying and review their relationships with key trade associations and lobbying organisations.

"We would ask you to review the lobbying positions being adopted by the organisations of which you are a member," the letter reads. "If these lobbying positions are inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, we would encourage you to ensure they adopt positions which are in line with these goals. More generally, we would ask you to ensure that your lobbying practices align with the ‘Investor Expectations' document you have been sent, and that you are transparent about your own policy positions and how you ensure these are implemented in your direct and in-direct lobbying activities."

The investors warn that failure to align corporate lobbying practice with the goals of the Paris Agreement increases regulatory risk for firms, exacerbates systemic economic risks climate change poses, and makes firms vulnerable to reputational risks if consumers, investors or other stakeholders identify hypocrisy in a lobbying position.

It follows a leaked letter, published in September by Greenpeace's Unearthed, which suggested lobby group BusinessEurope is planning to oppose EU attempts to raise the bloc's carbon reduction targets.

Europe is currently considering boosting its carbon reduction ambitions to deliver net zero emissions by 2050.

A raft of companies that are nominally supportive of more ambitious climate policies have been accused of sending conflicting signals by remaining members of trade bodies that then lobby against such policy moves.

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    Topics Investment lobbying climate risk BusinessEurope Europe

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Dr. Mercola: Your Body's Warning Signs May Be Your First Clue of This Deficiency
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"Up to 80 Percent of Americans May Not Be Getting Enough of this Essential Nutrient. Where Do You Stand?"*

Many people dread growing older because it can be synonymous with occasional forgetfulness, loneliness and a general decline in cognitive and physical capabilities.

Despite being in my 60s, I am the fittest I have ever been.

I may have been able to run faster when I was younger, but I would never trade that for the muscle strength, flexibility and knowledge that I have today.

You may not aspire to reach the same level of fitness as me. I just want you to know that it is never too late to start implementing healthy lifestyle strategies to enhance your physical and mental well-being. There are many different steps you can take…

And those so-called “senior moments?” They are not inevitable. You have more control over your aging than you likely realize!
But there is one thing that goes along with aging that greatly concerns me, and it should you, too.
The Invisible Deficiency That Eludes Even Doctors
Magnesium Level Test
There's no reliable blood test deficiency

As time marches on, your body becomes less efficient and effective in absorbing important vitamins and minerals.

So, despite a healthy diet rich in fresh organic vegetables, you may still come up short in certain nutrients.

One nutrient in particular concerns me. And surprisingly, it may not be one you hear much about.

Yet the number of Americans – and many middle aged and above – potentially not getting enough of this nutrient is high. Some experts believe it may be as high as 80 percent!

That’s a pretty staggering number.

And here’s one of the biggest problems about this nutrient… very little of it actually resides in your blood, so there’s no accurate blood test for measuring levels.

Out of sight, this is probably why this potential nutrient deficiency doesn’t fall on too many doctors’ radar…
Why You Don’t Ever Want to Be Short on Magnesium

Magnesium is not a nutrient you want to run low on, despite it being so commonly overlooked.

Here are some key reasons why I feel it's so important for you to pay special attention to Magnesium...

    It is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body
    Exists in over 300 different bodily enzymes
    Is found primarily in your bones (half of your total body magnesium)
    Plays a role in your body’s detoxification processes*
    Aids your energy metabolism and protein synthesis*
    Helps guide a large number of physiological functions*
    Is required by glutathione (the “master antioxidant”) for synthesis* 
    Is especially valuable for supporting your brain health*

This should give you a good picture of why I believe magnesium is so important. So how can you know if you’re getting an adequate supply?

Some early signs of a potential lack of magnesium in your body include...

    Loss of appetite and headache
    Nausea and vomiting
    Fatigue and weakness

As you can see, many of these symptoms are pretty general and can result from a variety of different conditions. If you suspect you’re low in magnesium, your first course of action is to consult with a healthcare professional.

But there are also some steps you can take to help make sure you don’t fall into the potential majority who may be deficient…
First, Look to Your Diet

There are a number of foods that supply plentiful magnesium, but not everyone includes these in their daily eating.

Organic green, raw vegetables, such as spinach, are excellent choices because the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which provides green veggies their brilliant color) contains magnesium.

Chlorophyll is like a plant's version of our hemoglobin. They share a similar structure but chlorophyll has magnesium plugged in the middle instead of iron.

To help get adequate amounts of magnesium, focus on eating a variety of foods that contain high levels of the mineral. Juicing green leafy vegetables can also be an excellent strategy for obtaining magnesium from food.

Here's a handy chart of specific foods that contain abundant amounts of magnesium for every 100 grams (just over 3 ounces) you consume...
Food (100 grams)     Magnesium Content (mg)
Seaweed, agar, dried     770 mg
Coriander leaf (spice), dried     694 mg
Pumpkin seeds, dried     535 mg
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened     499 mg
Basil, dried     422 mg
Flaxseed     392 mg
Cumin seed (spice)     366 mg
Brazil nuts, dried     376 mg
Parsley, freeze dried     372 mg
Almond butter     303 mg
Cashew nuts, roasted     273 mg
Whey, sweet, dried     176 mg
Leeks, freeze dried     156 mg
Kale, scotch, raw     88 mg
Spinach     79 mg
Why You Still May Not Be Getting Enough

While some people may be able to maintain healthy levels of magnesium by regularly consuming foods rich in the mineral (like those foods in the chart above), there are certain factors that may prevent you from getting enough:

    Time – Over time your body faces challenges that can lead to a decrease in absorption of magnesium.
    Types of food you eat – If you consume mostly non-organic foods, their magnesium levels may be depleted due to chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Levels of magnesium in the soil determine what’s in the food. 
    Medication – Certain medicines can contribute to a shortage of magnesium within your body.
    Practicality – For various reasons, it may not be possible for you to consume enough foods rich in magnesium due to availability or personal preferences.

If any of these factors apply to you and you're concerned about maintaining adequate levels of magnesium, you might want to consider a high-quality supplement.

But “high-quality” is the absolute key when deciding on a magnesium supplement. There's such a wide variety of options available to you, it can not only be confusing, but certain supplement combinations can affect the absorption and bioavailability of the magnesium nutrient.

And that's why I decided to take the guesswork out of finding a high-quality magnesium formula and put my team to task to find the best solution for you.
My Must-Haves for a High-Quality Magnesium Supplement

My preferred approach when recommending any supplement is to first compile a list of the essential requirements. With magnesium, here's the list my team and I put together:

For a high-quality magnesium supplement, make sure it:

    Avoids magnesium stearate – Magnesium stearate is not a source of magnesium. Rather, it is an unnecessary processing aid with no nutritive value, so I prefer to avoid it.
    Delivers a high-absorption formula – It’s not just about the amount of magnesium found in the supplement. The formula must have high-absorption capabilities.
    Incorporates high-penetration characteristics – Absorption of magnesium is crucial but it’s also important that the nutrient is capable of penetrating key tissues and cells to be effective.
    Helps avoid potential discomfort – Many magnesium products are used as laxatives and antacids. Since this is not the primary focus of what I consider the ideal magnesium supplement, I recommend avoiding any that are specific to stool-softening and so-called indigestion aids.
    Provides practical, easy-to-take servings – Supplement servings must be practical to fit into anyone’s busy schedule. Serving size should be straightforward with well-defined guidelines.

Magnesium Supplements – A Minefield of Choices

When searching for a high-quality magnesium supplement, there's such a wide variety available that it can be confusing as to which one is really best for you.

Even more confusing is the fact that there's no such thing as a 100 percent magnesium supplement. Magnesium must be bound to another ion and that substance can affect magnesium's absorption and bioavailability.

Let's take a closer look at the different types of magnesium supplements available out there and how they compare to one another…
Checklist requirement    
Magnesium glycinate     A chelated form of magnesium that tends to provide effective levels of absorption and bioavailability.
Magnesium oxide     A non-chelated form of magnesium bound to an organic acid or fatty acid. Contains up to 60% elemental magnesium and has stool-softening properties.
Magnesium chloride/Magnesium lactate     Contains only about 12% elemental magnesium but tends to have better absorption capabilities than magnesium oxide which has 5 times the magnesium.
Magnesium sulfate/Magnesium hydroxide     These are typically used as laxatives. Milk of Magnesia is an example of this type of magnesium. Since magnesium hydroxide can have up to 42% elemental magnesium, caution is required here not to take too much.
Magnesium carbonate     This form of magnesium has antacid properties and can contain from 29 to 45% elemental magnesium.
Magnesium taurate     This contains a combination of magnesium and taurine (an amino acid) that together may provide a calming effect on the body and mind.
Magnesium citrate     This is a form of magnesium with citric acid which has laxative properties. This can contain up to 16% elemental magnesium.
Magnesium L-Threonate     This newer, emerging type of magnesium supplement has shown great promise in absorption, as well as potential tissue and cell membrane penetration.
Confused About Elemental Magnesium? You’re Not Alone!

Possibly the most confusing thing about magnesium supplements is the amount of magnesium in each product.

"Elemental" magnesium refers to the actual amount of magnesium in each supplement form. However, this is by no means the whole story.

It really depends upon what you want from your magnesium supplement…

Just because the supplement contains more elemental magnesium doesn't necessarily mean it's formulated for high-absorption. Plus, there are some types of magnesium supplements that may provide good absorption, but they may also have stool-softening properties that many people dislike.

Magnesium L-Threonate contains the optimal balance of elemental magnesium as it is formulated for absorption and not as a laxative!

Absorption is the key when it comes to this potent mineral that offers exceptional support for your brain, detoxification, energy production and cellular health.*

For every 3-capsule serving, you receive a full 2,000 mg of Magtein™ Magnesium L-Threonate, including 144 mg of elemental magnesium.
What’s so Special About Magtein™ Magnesium L-Threonate?
Brain Health Offers
Magtein offers potential for your brain health*

Magnesium plays an important role in many of your brain's functions, however, most forms of magnesium have low levels of brain bioavailability.

Recently, a group of scientists from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), including a Nobel Prize laureate, discovered a unique compound called Magtein™.

Magtein™ is the only magnesium compound that has been shown to effectively raise the brain's magnesium levels.*

While other common magnesium compounds generally do not improve brain magnesium levels, studies show that higher magnesium concentrations in the brain and improved cognitive ability occur with Magtein™.*

Animal studies show this can lead to enhanced learning abilities, improved working memory and better short- and long-term memory in both young and aged animals.*

I believe this recent research holds tremendous potential value for your cognitive function.
Magtein™ Magnesium L-Threonate – How This Formula Exceeded My Expectations

For a high-quality magnesium supplement, I strongly recommend Magnesium L-Threonate. Here’s a chart showing the details behind why I think this is such an exceptional formula and how it exceeded my expectations by surpassing the checklist requirements:
Checklist requirement    
Completely avoids magnesium stearate?      Yes – I made certain this compound was not part of the formula whatsoever. It's just not a healthy substance you should be putting in your body. Plus, this formula does not contain any genetically engineered (GE) ingredients as well.
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Provides practical, easy-to-take servings?      Yes – Food is not required for absorption so taking it with meals is not necessary. It's always a smart choice to double-check and consult with a healthcare professional when taking any supplement. With our new formula, you only need 3 capsules instead of 4! You can take all 3 at night, or take 2 at lunch and 1 at bedtime with plenty of water, it's easy to take.

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Dr. Mercola: Here's the Latest on Longevity Nutrients
Super Fuel
Here's the Latest on Longevity Vitamins
Written by Dr. Joseph Mercola

    October 29, 2018


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Story at-a-glance

    A review of more than a decade of research in nutritional science suggests most American diets are deficient in certain vitamins, minerals and other compounds prized for their role in promoting longevity
    The 41 nutrients identified are believed to be useful in the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as neurodegenerative conditions
    The study highlights the value of vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc, for optimal health and long life
    Also called out for their role in promoting health and longevity were compounds such as astaxanthin, ergothioneine and pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)
    Because it’s best to obtain as many nutrients as possible from food, I recommend eating a balanced, whole-food diet similar to the one presented in my nutrition plan

A review of more than a decade of research in nutritional science suggests most American diets are deficient in certain vitamins and minerals now believed to play a role in promoting longevity. These vital nutrients are also believed to be useful in the prevention of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as neurodegenerative conditions.

The study calls out vitamins A, C, D, E and K, as well as minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. The researchers also highlight the usefulness of compounds like astaxanthin, ergothioneine and pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ).

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can oftentimes be difficult to identify because you may not develop symptoms until the deficiency has become quite pronounced. One of your best strategies to promote health and longevity is to eat a balanced, whole-food diet.
Research Suggests Nutrient Deficiencies Contribute to Aging

A review published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA1 by Bruce Ames, Ph.D., senior scientist at Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) and Professor Emeritus of biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley, flags specific nutrients as the keys to longevity and disease prevention.

Ames is a prolific author of 555 scholarly papers, some of which have focused on uncovering strategies to reverse aging, including research on mitochondria. He is also the creator of the Ames test, a system for cheaply and easily testing the mutagenicity of compounds such as flame retardants. In the current review, Ames analyzed more than a decade of research conducted at the CHORI laboratory and elsewhere, applying what he calls the "triage theory."

As discussed in the featured video, the triage theory suggests moderate deficiencies in one or more essential nutrients can lead to DNA damage that accelerates aging.2 In a 2011 interview published in Life Extension magazine, Ames explained the theory, which borrows the term "triage" from the field of urgent medical care, in which patients are treated in priority order to ensure the best possible chances of survival, stating:3

    "Our bodies evolved to do pretty much the same thing. Faced with limited nutritional resources, the human physiology must 'decide' which biological functions to prioritize in order to give the total organism — and the species — the best chance to survive and reproduce.

    Under this scenario, the body will always direct nutrients toward short-term health and reproductive capability — and away from regulation and repair of cellular DNA and proteins that increase longevity."

Are You Deficient in Any of These 'Longevity Vitamins'?

In the current research, Ames arrived at a list of what he calls "longevity vitamins," noting the nutrients (i.e., proteins and enzymes) you need to stay healthy can be classified as either "survival proteins" or "longevity proteins."4

Like Ames, who will celebrate his 90th birthday later this year and has enjoyed an illustrious research career spanning seven decades, I see value in paying attention to your nutrient levels. Below is a list of the particular vitamins called out by Ames for their role in extending longevity.5

Vitamin A — Nearly half of American adults and teens are at risk for insufficiency or deficiency of vitamin A.6 Your body needs a daily dose of this fat-soluble vitamin to maintain healthy bones, cell membranes, immune function, skin, teeth and vision.

The best source of vitamin A your body can actually use is found in animal products such as grass fed meat, pastured poultry and wild-caught salmon, as well as raw, organic dairy products like butter.7

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) — Thiamine supports important tasks such as the flow of electrolytes in and out of your nerve and muscle cells, as well as enabling your body to use carbohydrates as energy. B1 is found in grass fed beef and liver, nuts, oranges and peas.8

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) — B2 helps break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins and plays a role in maintaining your body's energy supply. Good sources of riboflavin include almonds, avocados, grass fed beef and leafy greens like spinach and mushrooms.9

Vitamin B3 (niacin) — B3, which is available in more than one form, supports your digestive system, nervous system and skin. Among the foods rich in niacin are green vegetables, organic pastured eggs, raw milk and wild-caught fish.10

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) — B5 is found in many foods, making deficiencies rare. B5 helps convert food into glucose, synthesizes cholesterol and forms red blood cells. It is found in avocados, grass fed beef, pastured chicken and sunflower seeds.11

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) — B6, which is found in chickpeas, bananas, pastured chicken and potatoes, is important for normal brain development. It also promotes the health of your immune and nervous systems. People suffering from kidney disease or a malabsorption syndrome are at increased risk of B6 deficiency.

Vitamin B7 (biotin) — B7 is particularly important for pregnant and nursing mothers and promotes hair, nail and skin health. Sources of biotin include almonds, cauliflower, leafy greens like spinach, organic pastured egg yolks and raw cheese.12

Vitamin B9 (folic acid) — B9, which is called folic acid in its synthetic form and folate when it naturally occurs in food, is needed for proper brain function. It also plays an important role in your emotional and mental health.

B9 joins with B12 to help make red blood cells and regulate the use of iron. Food sources of folate include asparagus, avocados, beets, Brussels sprouts and turnips.13

Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) — Vitamin B12 is known as the energy vitamin, and you need it for blood formation, DNA synthesis, energy production and myelin formation. Nearly 40 percent of the American population may have marginal vitamin B12 status14 — not low enough to qualify as deficiency, but low enough to introduce neurological symptoms.

Vitamin C — Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, boosting your immune system and helping to protect your cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It is found in vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, as well as all citrus fruits.15

Vitamin D — An estimated 1 billion people worldwide have low vitamin D levels, with deficiencies noted across all age and ethnic groups.16 It works synergistically with calcium, magnesium and vitamin K2 to promote bone growth, among other roles. The optimal vitamin D level for general health and disease prevention is 60 to 80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml).

Vitamin E — Vitamin E is an important fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant designed to combat inflammation and make red blood cells. It also helps your body use vitamin K, which is important for heart health. Seventy-five to 90 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin E.17 It is found in leafy greens, nuts and seeds.

Vitamin K — Vitamin K refers to a group of fat-soluble vitamins prized for their role in blood clotting, bone metabolism and regulating your blood calcium levels. Dark leafy greens are the best source of this vitamin, which is also found in grapes and natto.18

Animal-based omega-3 fats — Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory and vital for supporting your brain function, joints, skin and vision, as well as your heart.19,20 While available from plants, I recommend you focus mainly on animal-based sources, such as anchovies, salmon and sardines. You can also take a krill oil supplement. Learn more in "The Crucial Differences Between Omega-3 Fats From Plants and Marine Animals."
Minerals That Promote Health and Longevity

Following is a list of the minerals Ames and his team have called out as being important to your health and longevity:21

Calcium — Beyond its contribution to strong bones and teeth, your body needs calcium for blood clotting, your heartbeat and muscle contractions. It is the most abundant mineral in your body. Sources: collard greens, goat's milk, sesame seeds, sardines, spinach and yogurt.

Chloride — Necessary for fluid regulation and electrolyte balance, chloride also helps maintain your blood pressure. Sources: celery, olives, salt and seaweed.

Chromium — Chromium is an essential trace mineral your body needs in very small amounts. It can be useful to improve your insulin sensitivity and also enhances your metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Sources: broccoli, green beans, nuts and organic pastured egg yolks.

Cobalt — As a key component of vitamin B12, cobalt is useful in making red blood cells and maintaining your nervous system. Sources: broccoli, leafy green vegetables, nuts and oats.22

Choline — Choline supports the functioning of your liver, brain, muscles, nervous system and overall metabolism. It is critical during fetal development. Sources: cauliflower, organic pastured egg yolks and wild-caught salmon, as well as organic, grass fed beef liver.

Copper — Copper is useful for bone growth, hormone secretion and nerve conduction. Sources: Beans (but be mindful of lectins), nuts, potatoes and shellfish.

Iodine — Iodine is necessary to make thyroid hormones, which control your metabolism and other vital functions. Sources: cheese, sea vegetables, strawberries and yogurt — as always, raw, grass fed, organic sources are best.

Iron — Iron is essential for life because it transports oxygen in your body, helps regulate cell growth and maintains your brain function, metabolism and endocrine system. However, iron overload is actually far more common than iron deficiency, but is rarely checked. Sources: grass fed beef and liver, pumpkin seeds, quinoa and spinach.

Magnesium — Magnesium is important to the heath of nearly every one of your cells, playing a role in over 600 different reactions in your body, including reducing your risk of hypertension and heart disease. Sources: avocados, Brazil nuts, cashews, dark leafy greens, raw cacao and seaweed.

Molybdenum — This little-known trace element is crucial to nearly every life form on earth mainly because it is an essential catalyst for enzymes. Molybdenum helps metabolize carbohydrates and fats and facilitates the breakdown of certain amino acids in your body Sources: cheese and leafy greens.

Phosphorus — Phosphorus, which is the second most abundant mineral in your body, helps utilize carbohydrates, fats and proteins for cell growth, maintenance and energy. Sources: raw, organic dairy products, nuts, organic pastured eggs and seeds.

Potassium — Potassium balances low blood sugar, helps your muscles contract, lowers your blood pressure, regulates your body fluids and transmits nerve impulses. Sources: avocados, bananas, broccoli, cantaloupe, oranges and spinach.

Selenium — Selenium protects you from oxidative damage and plays a role in DNA synthesis, reproduction and thyroid hormone metabolism. Sources: Brazil nuts, chicken, grass fed organ meats, sardines and sunflower seeds.

Sodium — Symptoms of sodium deficiency may include cramps, heart palpitations, muscle fatigue and spasms. These symptoms are likely to disappear after you add more salt to your diet, particularly if you are in the habit of eating whole, unprocessed foods.

Sulfur — Sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body and it plays important roles in hundreds of physiological processes. Sources: broccoli, grass fed meat, homemade bone broth, organic pastured eggs and wild-caught Alaskan salmon.

Zinc — Zinc is an essential trace mineral that plays a vital role in your immune system and preserving your DNA strands. Sources: Alaskan crab, cashews, chickpeas and oysters.
Important Compounds That Can Help Your Body Age Gracefully

Ames and his team also highlighted 11 compounds — including amino acids, carotenoids and micronutrients — as useful for promoting graceful aging. They are as follows:23

Alpha carotene






Beta carotene



Beta cryptoxanthin


While all of these compounds called out by Ames are important, three of notable interest, which are readily available in supplement form, include:

• Astaxanthin — Commonly called "king of the carotenoids," astaxanthin is a naturally occurring substance found in a specific type of microalgae, as well as certain seafood. Its red color is responsible for turning the flesh of crab, lobster, salmon and shrimp pink.

Astaxanthin is a potent anti-inflammatory and may be useful for treating joint problems like carpal tunnel syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis. It also supports healthy vision and can be used as an "internal sunscreen."

• Ergothioneine — Found in porcini mushrooms, ergothioneine appears to play a specific role in protecting your DNA from oxidative damage. Along with glutathione, it may offer protection against age-related conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, cancer and heart disease.

• PQQ — Particularly important for the health and protection of your mitochondria, PQQ has been shown to protect against Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It also works synergistically with CoQ10, producing better results than when either one is used alone. Celery, parsley and kiwi are dietary sources of PQQ.
Eating a Healthy Diet Is a Good Place to Start

Based on his findings, Ames underscores the value of adhering to a balanced, healthy diet. "Diet is very important for our long-term health, and this theoretical framework just reinforces you should try to do what your mother told you: Eat your veggies, eat your fruit [and] give up sugary soft drinks and empty carbohydrates," he says.24

While I agree with Ames' advice, especially with respect to eating more vegetables (preferably organic) and giving up sugary beverages and empty carbs, because fruit contains fructose, I suggest you limit your total fructose intake to 25 milligrams (mg) or less per day if you are healthy and less than 15 mg if you are dealing with a chronic illness like cancer or diabetes.

That said, even when you eat a balanced, whole-food diet similar to the one presented in my nutrition plan, you may still fail to get the right balance of vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal health. Because many factors contribute to your body's ability to derive nutrients from the food you consume, you can eat a healthy diet and still lack proper nutrition.

Changes in animal feed, climate, farming and food-processing methods, soil conditions, water quality and weather patterns, as well as the increased use of genetic engineering and toxic pesticides, can have a negative effect on the quality of food available to you.

Beyond that, your age, genetics and health conditions — such as digestive issues — also impact your body's ability to absorb nutrients from your food. Often, vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be difficult to identify because you may not develop symptoms until the deficiency has become quite pronounced.

All this to say: Do the best you can. As often as you can, eat fresh, organic whole foods, especially vegetables, as well as healthy fats and moderate amounts of grass fed protein. Your style of eating and the timing of your meals also play a role. Now is a great time to learn more about the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting, two approaches to eating I believe can revolutionize your health.

If you need help tracking your intake of nutrients from food and supplements, you may want to check out Cronometer, a free tool I highly recommend. As noted by Ames, "Because nutrient deficiencies are highly prevalent in the [U.S.] (and elsewhere), appropriate supplementation and/or an improved diet could reduce much of the consequent risk of chronic disease and premature aging."25
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