This year marks a century since Japanese cherry trees first bloomed on the National Mall, in Washington, DC. Over one million people are expected to attend the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2012.
Scientists have begun to study the bloom dates of cherry trees as an indicator of manmade climate change. The "unabated increase" in global temperatures is leading to an earlier onset of spring in many parts of the world. In Washington, DC, 89 of 100 plants studied showed a 4.5-day advance in first flowering between 1970 and 1999, including cherry trees. A study last November in the journal PLoS One predicts that by the middle of the century, peak bloom dates will occur before National Cherry Blossom Festival.Read more »
Today is the United Nations' World Water Day, which we're marking here on The Grid by launching a new daily photo feature.
The Western Hemisphere, Jan. 4, 2012. NASA's Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) orbits the Earth 14 times a day, taking images across both visible and longer-wavelength light bands. This composite is made up of images taken over the course of six orbits. A part of the NASA's Earth Observing System, the satellite's five instruments will monitor the planet's temperature, atmospheric moisture, air pressure, land change and other critical dynamics.Read more »
U.S. gasoline prices averaged $3.87 last week. If economists are right, rising prices will trigger the development of less cost-effective alternatives, such as fuel refined from Canadian oil sands and corn ethanol. And so they have.
However, alternative fuels that are both better for the environment and help reduce dependence on foreign oil, are lagging behind. The U.S. Navy is trying to change that.Read more »
The Pentagon is going on an energy diet.
The agency is facing $1 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade. As any U.S. car driver can tell you, the price of fuel is near record highs. For the Defense Department, there are also non-financial costs: As many as 3,000 U.S. soldiers and contractors were killed in fuel-supply convoys in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2003 and 2007. It's no wonder the Pentagon is taking a hard look at its fuel consumption.Read more »
Global investment in renewable energy climbed to a record $260 billion last year, and the race for clean power is just getting started.
We reported last week how new solar and wind technologies are approaching price parity with traditionally cheaper coal- and gas-burning power plants. Today, the world’s regions go head-to-head. Click here to see how they stack up. For more on this week's Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, visit the 2012 homepage.Read more »
Yesterday a London employee of Goldman Sachs penned a 1,200-word opinion piece in the New York Times alleging that top managers in the company ridicule and take advantage of their clients. Greg Smith wrote of the investment bank where he worked for 12 years that he no longer liked the "trajectory of its culture" and quit his job. The piece sparked a storm of criticism and debate on Wall Street. "People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm” or the trust of its clients "for very much longer," Smith concludes.
The Smith episode lies close to the heart of sustainability, a point echoed in his likely inadvertent word choice. That's because much of sustainability, or responsibility, or whatever companies choose to call it, essentially boils down to corporate governance.Read more »
The world’s wind-power capacity increased 113-fold over the past 20 years. As installations increase, turbines become more efficient and electricity prices decline. For a growing number of countries, this means wind power is now cheaper than conventional energy sources, even without government subsidies.
View this interactive graphic by David Yanofsky to see which countries lead in wind and when wind power will reach price parity with conventional forms of electricity generation.Read more »
As nations install more solar-generated electricity, it becomes less expensive to produce. In several countries, the learning curve has already led to prices competitive with conventional power. See this interactive graphic by our Bloomberg colleague David Yanofsky to see when solar power might reach price parity with conventional forms of electricity generation.
Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability for the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.Read more »
It's a fact of London roads that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists all hate each other at times. And given the standards of cycling, driving and walking in the U.K. capital, there's good reason.
There's also good reason to think drivers could pave over these tensions just by thinking more about their wallets.Read more »