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

SASB Issues First Sector-Specific Standards for Reporting

Bloomberg BNA — The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) July 31 released its first set of sector-specific standards for reporting on environmental, social, and governance issues, starting with the health care sector.

Health care is one of 10 sectors for which SASB has been developing voluntary standards for disclosing nonfinancial information as part of mandatory U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, such as annual 10-K reports.

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Ernest Moniz

Bloomberg BNA — Coal and other fossil fuels will be “a major part of our energy future for decades,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said July 29 during a speech in which he said research on the development of clean coal technologies is needed to combat climate change.

“No discussion of U.S. energy security and reducing global CO2 emissions is complete without talking about coal—and the technologies that will allow us to use this resource more efficiently and with fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” Moniz said, according to excerpts of prepared remarks made available by the Energy Department.

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Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben published The End of Nature in 1989, one of the first popular books to explain global warming. In recent years, he has turned to climate change activism, founding in 2008 with seven undergraduate students to build "a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis," according to its website. The group now has about 50 employees and works with voluntary organizers in approximately 190 countries. McKibben is one of the most visible activists fighting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver Canadian oil sands crude into the U.S., if approved by the Obama administration.

McKibben answered writers and editors' smart questions at a Bloomberg Government breakfast this morning. And this dumb one.

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GM Sings the Body Electric as Consumer Tastes Evolve

Chevy Volt

High oil prices and the push for cleaner energy are luring car buyers toward smaller, more efficient vehicles. Trouble is, these cars can have lower profit margins than larger sport utility vehicles and light trucks. General Motors is just going with it.

That’s one conclusion from Charging Ahead: When Customers Drive Sustainability, GM’s 2012 sustainability report, released last week. It expands on themes included in, for example, the company’s most recent 10-K filing.

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Blue State, Red State, Dry State, Wet State

January - June 2013

A Bizarro World political map of the United States might look something like the above. Blue states are red! Red states are blue! Cats and dogs living together!

It's not a political map — but it is bizarre. It's the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's June 2013 U.S. Climate Update. It's a picture of a hot, wet America -- half a Fahrenheit degree and almost a full inch above the 20th century averages for temperature and precipitation.

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Small-Town Economic Woes Revealed in Keystone Public Comments

Public Comments on Keystone Project Reveal Economic Woes of Smal -- Tucked into letters the State Department has received from people seeking to influence its review of the northern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline are pleas from local officials, largely from Montana, who see the project as a lifeline for their strapped budgets.

Several mention offers by TransCanada, the pipeline operator, to help rebuild local bridges or other infrastructure projects. Others want the tax revenue or jobs the project would bring, even if those benefits might be temporary.

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Exxon Secrecy Over Ruptured Pipeline May Mask National Danger

Exxon's Secrecy Over Ruptured Pipeline Could Mask Dangers -- The 1940s-era construction process that ExxonMobil said caused an oil pipe to rupture in Arkansas earlier this year is a common and well-documented problem the pipeline industry has battled for decades—and one the industry believes can be detected and controlled with appropriate vigilance.

"With proper inspection and maintenance, these catastrophic events can be prevented," said Mohammad Najafi, a pipeline construction expert and engineering professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. "As pipelines exceed their design lives, they need more maintenance and a proper asset management strategy to prevent or minimize these ruptures."

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Rising Temps, Shrinking Snowpack Fuel Western Wildfires

Arizona Wildfires

Climate Central -- Wildfire trends in the West are clear: there are more large fires burning now than at any time in the past 40 years and the total area burned each year has also increased. To explore these trends, Climate Central has developed this interactive tool to illustrate how warming temperatures and changing spring snowpack influences fires each year.

In our 2012 report, Western Wildfires, we analyzed federal wildfire data stretching back to the 1970s to see how fires have changed in the American West. In some states, like Arizona and Idaho, the number of large fires burning each year has tripled or even quadrupled. And in other states, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming, the number of large fires has doubled.

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Sustainability Indicator: 4,500 Tons Hauled by Wind

4,500 Tons

Today's sustainability indicator, 4,500 tons, is the cargo capacity of a hybrid wind-powered shipping vessel under development by Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc. The last age of sail ended 150 years ago, when steamships supplanted sailboats.

And there's more...

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Barack Obama

President Barack Obama spoke in Tanzania today, ending his visit to sub-Saharan Africa by highlighting what the U.S. and other countries are doing to alleviate poverty among the world’s hungriest nations.

While it’s true that the aid programs have been successful to a degree, they are unable to address the core contributor to worsening hunger in the area: population growth that is undoing gains in other areas. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only major region of the world where the proportion of people living on less than 2,100 calories a day, the commonly accepted hunger threshold, is on the rise, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Thursday.

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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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