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

Conflict-Free Solar: Today's Top Reads

Good morning! Here are today's top reads:

  • Does climate change stand a chance against the oil boom in U.S. Elections (Scientific American)
  • These things are so pretty. They must be useful, too. Right? (Bloomberg)
  • From mines to megawatts: The promise of ‘conflict-free Big Solar’ (GreenBiz)
  • Severe drought plan would move California salmon by truck (Fresno Bee)
  • Senate democrats’ all-nighter flags climate change (NY Times)
  • Japan’s giant tsunami wall fails to stop atomic power fears (Bloomberg)
  • Ethical farming dilemma: Should we be helping the chicken or fixing the egg (Guardian)
  • This drug won’t stop the heroin epidemic. But it can help (National Journal)
  • The monitored man (NY Times)
  • U.N. wars food security a risk to Asia-Pacific (Reuters)

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Did Spate of Wet Weather Fuel the Reign of Genghis Khan?

Genghis Khan

Climate Central — During the early 1200s, Genghis Khan and his Mongol warriors swept across much of Asia, massacring populations wholesale — by one estimate killing 40 million in just 20 years. Historians have long thought that part of their motivation for expansion had to do with climate. A new analysis in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues that this theory is literally all wet.

Arid conditions in Genghis Khan’s home territory of northern Mongolia, goes the story, drove him and his hordes outward in search of better land. But the new research suggests that the local climate at the time he began his murderous conquests was the wettest it’s been in roughly the past 1,100 years.

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Equilateral Polyhedrals

Having a young daughter brings you into daily contact with things that aren't immediately useful but are "real pretty." It's just like covering sustainability.

3D-shapes week in kindergarten rolled by recently, and a colorful menagerie of flattened polyhedra came home in the school folder.

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EPA Issues Guidance for Cities on Managing Sewer Overflows With

Bloomberg BNA – Environmental Protection Agency guidance released March 7 describes how communities can incorporate green infrastructure—such as porous pavement, green roofs and strategically placed grassy swales—to manage sewer overflows during heavy rains.

These techniques can be incorporated into the long-term control plans as another means for reducing combined sewer overflows, the agency said in “Greening CSO Plans: Planning and Modeling Green Infrastructure for Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Control”. Many older U.S. cites have sewer systems in which both domestic sewage and stormwater are conveyed in a single pipe. These systems are designed to overflow during heavy rains to keep excess flows from overwhelming the treatment plant.

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Third-World America: Today's Top Reads

Good morning! Here are today's top reads:

  • After Fukushima, utilities prepare for worst (NY Times)
  • Keystone foes try flattery to sway Kerry against pipeline (Bloomberg)
  • Mysterious new man-made gases pose threat to ozone layer (BBC)
  • Senate hearing puts Keystone pipeline in spotlight (National Journal)
  • Democrat senators to stage all-night session of climate change speeches (Guardian)
  • Climate change threatens energy infrastructure (Climate Central)
  • 'Mom, I'm scared' as child traumas compound Syrian war cost (Bloomberg)
  • Richard Branson tells climate deniers to 'get out of the way' (Guardian)
  • The fattest states in America (Fast Company)
  • Six ways America is like a third-world country (Rolling Stone)

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Energy Department Advisory Group Urges ‘Full Disclosure' of Frac

Bloomberg BNA – An Energy Department advisory board recommended “full disclosure of all known constituents” in fluids used for hydraulic fracturing, according to a draft report released March 6.

The “Task Force Report on FracFocus 2.0” from the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board (SEAB) said state and federal regulators should adopt standards for companies making trade secret claims for fracking fluid ingredients and establish a compliance process and challenge mechanism.

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Warming by Any Other Name: Today's Top Reads

Good morning! Here are today’s top reads:

  • Aging El Nino Buoys get fixed as weather forecast at risk (Bloomberg)
  • Providers of medical marijuana face new fears (NY Times)
  • Semantics will matter in debate on President’s climate fund (National Journal)
  • Get ready for the next climate phenomenon: El Nino (Climate Central)
  • The radiation leak site that wants more nuclear waste (BBC)
  • China calls on rich nations to give $490 billion for climate (Bloomberg)
  • Sustainability vs. the growth conundrum (GreenBiz)
  • Global warming is a misleading term because it actually sounds quite nice (Guardian)
  • Malaria climbs mountains as the climate warms (Time)
  • Republicans use carbon tax as a wedge in Alaska (National Journal)

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House Passes Energy Efficiency Bill for Commercial Buildings

House Passes Legislation to Promote Energy Efficiency in Commerc

Bloomberg BNA – The House passed legislation March 4 that aims to boost the energy efficiency of commercial buildings leased to tenants on a strong 375-36 vote.

The Better Buildings Act, sponsored by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and David McKinley (R-W.Va.), would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a Tenant Star program to promote energy efficiency in commercial spaces leased to tenants. That program would be similar to the existing Energy Star energy efficiency labeling program for appliances.

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President Proposes Cut To EPA Funding for Fiscal Year 2015

President Proposes 3.8 Percent Cut To EPA Funding for Fiscal Yea

Bloomberg BNA – President Obama's fiscal 2015 budget request includes $7.89 billion in funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, a cut of approximately $310 million, or 3.8 percent, compared to the agency's current funding level of $8.2 billion.

The budget request, released March 4, proposes to increase funding for categorical grants awarded to states and tribes and provide additional funding for various other agency programs, including the hazardous substance superfund program.

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Exploding Trains: Today's Top Reads

Good morning! Here are today's top reads:

  • California looks to the desert as Cadiz proposes tapping aquifer (Bloomberg)
  • Senator wants climate to play key role in presidential race (National Journal)
  • America could soon face more days of 'extreme rainfall' (Atlantic Cities)
  • Too much propane could be a factor in exploding oil trains (Inside Climate News)
  • Bulwark in Revolutionary War, town in Vermont faces heroin scourge (NY Times)
  • Angels and demons vie for momentum in energy transition (Bloomberg)
  • Unusual allies on green legislation (Wall Street Journal)
  • Coal firm to pay record penalty and spend millions on water cleanup in 5 states (NY Times)
  • Tasmania: A death warrant against pristine forests Abbott has never seen (Guardian)
  • What can venture capitalists do for recently-released prisoners? (National Journal)

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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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