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Fun With Lasers: Today's Top Reads

Here are today's top reads:

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Bloomberg BNA – In a decisive split with federal regulators, the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) said it would conduct a detailed environmental analysis of cumulative and indirect impacts of a proposed coal export facility—including greenhouse gas emissions from combustion of U.S. coal in Asia.

In a Feb. 12 media briefing, Ecology officials laid out the scope of the state environmental impact study for Millennium Bulk Terminals, one of three proposed coal export facilities in the Northwest that cumulatively would more than match the total of 107 million tons of coal exported from the U.S. in 2011. The controversial proposals have sparked intense opposition from grassroots groups, tribes and environmental organizations; Ecology received 215,000 comments in the Millennium scoping process alone.

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CO2 Capture Could Raise Wholesale Energy Price 80 Percent

CCS Technologies Could Increase Wholesale Price of Energy

Bloomberg BNA – Requiring the use of carbon capture and sequestration technologies at coal-fired power plants could increase the wholesale price of electricity between 70 percent and 80 percent, an Energy Department official said.

Julio Friedmann, deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the Energy Department, told the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee the first generation of CCS technologies have a captured cost of carbon dioxide of between $70-90 per ton for wholesale electricity production but said a second generation of technologies could drop that cost to $40-50 per ton.

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White Roofs Could Offset Summer Warming by 2100

Homes Cool Roofs

Climate Central — Painting building roofs white could cool some major cities baking in the intensifying heat of a changing climate. How much benefits white roofs could bring depend on the region of the country they’re installed in and the season, new research shows.

Keeping cities cool in the summer is becoming increasingly important as more people move to urban areas, which currently house over 80 percent of the country’s population. In the U.S., cities currently cover a total of 106,386 square miles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency expects the country’s urbanized area to double by 2100.

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Wind Power Is Boring; This Isn't

Mapping the Nation’s Wind Turbines

Wind is a boring industry. We build towers, the wind blows, we harvest the energy. Unlike the rock-em sock-em world of oil drilling, where billion-dollar rigs can go down in flames and ice-breakers are deployed to find new supplies, wind power comes with few surprises. In energy production, that's a good thing.

Wind has become so predictable and commonplace that it's hard to imagine where all the U.S. turbines could be hiding -- currently enough to power more than 12 million homes. Fortunately, we don't have to imagine anymore.

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Con Edison to Calculate Economic Benefits Of Preparing

Bloomberg BNA – Electric utility Con Edison will conduct an economic analysis to quantify the benefits of preparing its infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, a company official said Feb. 10.

Stuart Nachmias, Con Edison's vice president of energy policy and regulatory affairs, said the analysis will build on the company's $1 billion post-Hurricane Sandy plan to fortify its electric and gas infrastructure against future flooding and other potential effects of extreme weather events.

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Dealing With a 'Toxic Inheritance': Today's Top Reads 

Good morning. Here are today's top reads:

  • Johannesburg's golden legacy includes radioactive dump (Bloomberg)
  • Freezing out the bigger picture (New York Times)
  • Senators and scientists play climate dating game (National Journal)
  • If ocean heat pump switches on, expect to feel it (Bloomberg)
  • A giant bubble fort to give polluted city residents a safe place to breathe (Fast Company)
  • The Forest Trust: Greening or greenwashing? (GreenBiz)
  • Bright ideas for the developing world: Cheaper, superior lighting design (Guardian)
  • Sustainable companies want to be transparent -- but not too transparent (Bloomberg)
  • NYC's de Blasio lays out his vision for a more equitable city (Fast Company)
  • Is there a role for wildlife trade in fighting wildlife trafficking? (New York Times)

Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability for the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.

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Sustainability presents company legal departments with something of a paradox.

The movement encourages companies to become ever more transparent with their "stakeholders" -- investors, employees, communities, regulators, customers -- about topics traditionally left unaddressed. These include environmental footprints, records on social issues, and corporate governance protections.

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If Ocean Heat Pump Switches On, Expect to Feel It

Sea-surface temperatures

Scientists are chipping away at a question that has dominated public climate change discussions in the U.S. the last few years: Where's the heat? Despite unchecked carbon pollution, warming felt on the Earth's surface has slowed since 1998.

Clues keep pointing to the Pacific Ocean, and a new paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) predicts that the temperatures will rise again toward the end of this year.

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Keystone Consultant Disclosed Work Leading to Alleged Conflict A

Bloomberg BNA – The consulting firm that wrote a largely favorable environmental review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline disclosed to the State Department work it did that led to allegations of a conflict of interest after it won the contract, according to newly released documents.

The firm, Environmental Resources Management, part of London-based ERM Group Inc., has come under fire from environmental groups led by Friends of the Earth for not disclosing the work that one of its subsidiaries did on a project jointly owned by TransCanada Corp., the company that is seeking permission to build Keystone.

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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
eroston@bloomberg.net

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor
trandall6@bloomberg.net

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