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

Singapore Haze

Overheard in the Bloomberg newsroom in Singapore…

Colleague 1: You know what? It feels like I’m in Beijing.
Colleague 2: You know what? Beijing’s better than here!

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The B Team

Businesses need focus only on increaing their profits, as long as they stay "within the rules of the game, which is to say, engage in open and free competition without deception or fraud," wrote Milton Friedman in his iconic Sept. 13, 1970, New York Times Magazine essay, “The Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits.”

Darn it if the game doesn’t keep changing, though, expanding "open and free competition," if not deception and fraud, to now include the big brands’ ongoing social responsibility beauty contest.

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Chevron Oil Company Spill in Salt Lake City — Since 2010, at least three ruptured pipelines have spilled oil into U.S. neighborhoods, forcing officials to decide quickly whether local residents would be harmed if they breathed the foul air. But because there are no clear federal guidelines saying if or when the public should be evacuated during an oil spill, health officials had to use a patchwork of scientific and regulatory data designed for other situations.

As a result, residents of the three communities received different levels of protection.

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Free Solar Electricity Service Could Unplug Electron Thievery

Street Charge Solar Chargers

Coffee shops and retail stores still tolerate one of the last forms of socially acceptable stealing, to the relief of mobile users everywhere: electricity theft

More than half of Americans have smartphones, and many are as dependent on them as Caitlin MacCrate, 24, a student in New York. "I use it for everything, from my alarm clock, to my calendar, social connectivity, assignment tracking, to my to-do list. It's my all-encompassing tool," she said.

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Why a Painted Up Texas Drilling Vehicle Spells Trouble for Gas

Gardendale, Texas, sits on the Permian Basin, the largest oil province in the United States. That makes it an unlikely site of anti-fracking protests and an even more unlikely bellwether for shale gas drilling activity in Europe and Asia. And yet it is.

About 15 residents in the town, population 1,574, are waging an anti-drilling crusade against Berry Petroleum. They have tried to turn Gardendale into an official municipality, which would give them more control over gas exploration and production near their homes. They launched a website to chronicle Berry's alleged misdeeds, and a YouTube channel with short "Berry Tales" videos. They have, if nothing else, painted a drilling trailer which they playfully call the “Gardenhell scar" and dumped it near a group of oil storage tanks (see above).

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Nike Partners with Swiss Company to Boost Sustainability

Bloomberg BNA — Global clothing and shoe manufacturers have jointly released an updated “road map” detailing their plans to list chemicals targeted for phaseout, international workforce training programs, and other actions they will take as part of their previously announced effort to encourage use of safer chemicals by 2020.

The Joint Roadmap: Version 2, announced June 14, includes numerous deadlines by which the adidas Group; Esprit; Nike Inc.; and the other global footwear and textile manufacturers that make up the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Group said they will accomplish these goals.

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Germany's Renewable Energy — The grand old building in downtown Berlin has seen some of the worst of German history: aerial bombing in World War II, a close-up view of the Berlin Wall, service as communist East Germany's highest court. But on May 24 an ornate conference room in the Ministry of Economics and Technology served as the setting for the delivery of a report card on a new and more hopeful chapter in Germany history: the country's ambitious effort to run its economy on non-polluting energy.

Germany has gone farther than any other large industrial economy in decarbonizing its power sector. Already it derives more than 20 percent of its electricity from clean sources, and it's aiming to reach 80 percent by 2050. But the sheer scale of its Energiewende, or "energy transition," has caused skeptics here and abroad to question whether those goals are really attainable.

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Barclays, MSCI Issue Fixed-Income Sustainability Indices

Barclays’s Redshaw Said to Resign as Head of Carbon, Coal Trade

Bloomberg BNA — Barclays and MSCI Inc. launched a family of fixed-income indices June 11 based primarily on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors, which could spur growth in sustainable investing by bond investors, the organizations said.

The set of ESG indices is the first of its kind for bonds, Barclays and MSCI said in a statement.

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Carbon Offset Projects Look for Exit As UN Prices Crash 98%

Carbon projects leaving UN program

A 98-percent drop in the value of official UN-backed carbon credits is pushing sellers of emission offsets into the voluntary market, where prices are as much as 30 times higher.

The trend is a signal that many companies not required by law to cut their pollution are doing so anyway to bolster their corporate sustainability credentials.

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Dominion Energy Plans — In 2008, Virginia resident Ruth McElroy Amundsen took her first stab at using shareholder activism to spur action on climate change—she introduced a resolution that challenged Dominion Resources Inc., Virginia's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to get more of its electricity from renewables.

Since then the 51-year-old NASA engineer and mother of two has helped spark a growing movement to pressure Dominion to respond to global warming concerns. Last month, the informal network of 20 activists achieved its biggest success yet: Shareholders representing nearly a quarter of Dominion's shares voted "yes" on a proposal to require the utility to report to investors on the financial risks that climate change poses to its business.

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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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