The Grid: Energy, Resources, Environment, Sustainability | Bloomberg

The Biggest Threat to the Economy Is From Outer Space

Coronal Mass Ejection

Threats to the electric grid are coming from everywhere: saboteurs, weather and, as silly as it sounds, from outer space. The danger is significant and growing, and business risk managers are taking it seriously.

The latest warning comes from Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., a $24.8 billion hedge-fund firm based in New York. Singer warned investors, in a letter obtained by Bloomberg News, of what he sees as the gravest threat: an electromagnetic pulse from the Sun that knocks out the grid for months or longer.

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EPA Should Address Emerging Risks From Fracking: GAO

Bloomberg BNA — The Environmental Protection Agency should review emerging risks related to safeguards for hydraulic fracturing wells used for oil and gas production, according to a report released July 28 by the Government Accountability Office.

Overall, safeguards in place at the wells—known as class II wells—are effective in preventing contamination of underground water sources and very little has occurred, EPA and state officials told the GAO.

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Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Ten U.S. cities where flooding is much more common (Bloomberg)
  • White House report presses economic case for carbon rule (NY Times)
  • If a bike can make it here, it can make it anywhere (Fast Company)
  • Farmers say GMO corn no longer resistant to pests (Scientific American)
  • How trees can improve your quality of life (CityLab)
  • Why I want to save the leopard that killed my dog (Guardian)
  • What would Jesus do (about climate change)? (Boston Globe)
  • How your cereal causes climate change (National Journal)
  • Lightning at Venice Beach? California faces really weird — and deadly — weather (Daily Climate)

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Candy Crush Style Oilfield App Helps Engineers Feel Hip

When Joel Tarver noticed workers at Baker Hughes relaxing during breaks playing the hugely popular smartphone game Candy Crush, he figured he could put their play to work.

Tarver, senior manager for digital marketing at Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI), convinced his bosses to let him build an oilfield version of the game. That way workers could still enjoy their game break, yet also get a little on-the-job training. The games could also help spread the idea that the oil business has evolved into more of a high-technology industry that requires the kind of computer-savvy workers who might normally head off to Silicon Valley.

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Ten U.S. Cities Where Flooding Is Much More Common

Nuisance Flooding

Those who dismiss global warming projections might at least note that change has already become a nuisance.

Sea-level rise is making many U.S. cities more susceptible to regular flooding, potentially putting roads, rails, drains and tunnels at risk, according to a new report released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Bloomberg BNA —Leaking pipelines were responsible for $192 million worth of lost natural gas in 2011, and a voluntary Environmental Protection Agency program to reduce methane leaks has only provided limited emissions reductions, the Inspector General said in a report.

The Inspector General's July 25 report, “Improvements Needed in EPA Efforts to Address Methane Emissions From Natural Gas Distribution Pipelines,” also found the emissions factors that the EPA uses to calculate methane emissions from the oil and natural gas system are based on a 1996 study that has a high level of uncertainty. The report recommends the EPA work with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as it considers regulating methane emissions from pipelines.

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Old MacDonald Had a Rooftop Farm: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Moms’ marijuana-for-kids campaign seeks to quiet epilepsy (Bloomberg)
  • Orica fined more than $750,000 for pollution incidents (Guardian)
  • Heard on the street: E-I-E-I-O (NY Times)
  • Extreme weather hits poorest hardest (Scientific American)
  • Thanks to us, Antarctica has lead poisoning (CityLab)
  • Roadside land offers huge carbon-storage potential (Climate Central)
  • Cleaning up polluting mines with plants — plants that then turn into precious metals (Fast Company)
  • Two U.S. citizens get Ebola as Liberia crossings close (Bloomberg)
  • Seven charts tell the story of a changing energy landscape (GreenBiz)
  • Looks like we'll be blessed with a little more rain (Daily Climate)

Visit The Grid for the latest about energy, natural resources and global business.

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Whole Raw Chicken

A company that supplies meat to McDonald’s restaurants in China recalled its beef, chicken and pork yesterday after accusations that it was repackaging old meat as new.

The president of the company, OSI Group LLC, called problems at its Chinese operations “absolutely inconsistent with our internal requirements,” Bloomberg News reported today. The company will bring more stringent oversight to the unit.

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California Drought

Water is becoming so precious in the drought-stricken U.S. West that -- why not -- states are even taking steps to figure out how much of it they have.

California governor Jerry Brown in January challenged towns and state agencies to cut their water use by 20 percent. Now they're trying to measure what 20 percent means. It's hard. Cities and the state in some cases are coming up with estimates that differ by up to 10 times.

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Asteroid Threat

The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was as wide as San Francisco and taller than Mount Everest. It slashed through the atmosphere 150 times faster than the average passenger jet, hitting the Yucatan Peninsula with a force 2 million times more powerful than the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated.

Humanity has watched similar-sized asteroids and comets pass harmlessly by for millennia. It's only in the last 50 years or so that we've had missiles and spaceships to help prevent a city-size rock from taking out, say, Paris.

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor

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