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

Deadly Heat: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today’s top reads:

  • Climate forecast: A heat more deadly than the U.S. has ever seen (Bloomberg)
  • On NC’s Outer Banks, scary climate-change predictions prompt a change of forecast (Washington Post)
  • If poachers and illegal loggers strike, this forest phones it in (Scientific American)
  • Plastic stones, melting snails: Three new ways to maim a planet (Rolling Stone)
  • Crumbling U.S. grid gets jolt in smart Houston power system (Bloomberg)
  • Taking effective action against the unstoppable (NY Times)
  • Syngenta seeks ‘emergency’ exemption to use banned insecticide on U.K. crops (Guardian)
  • How Denver is becoming the most advanced transit city in the west (CityLab)
  • New report puts price tag on climate change in U.S. (Climate Central)
  • What’s holding back impact investing? (Fast Company)

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Why the U.S. Needs Business to Save It From Congress

Climate Report

It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for a climate bill to move through the United States Congress.

That's why the Obama administration is threading its climate policy through the Environmental Protection Agency instead of Capitol Hill, where it tried and failed in 2010. And it's why a group called the Risky Business Project yesterday published a report for U.S. businesses and investors that converts the relentless conclusions of climate science into dollars, a currency much easier to understand.

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Heat Waves in the United States

It’s not the heat. It’s the humidity. And the U.S. is on a path to regularly experience a deadly combination of the two the likes of which have only been recorded once on planet Earth.

That’s one of the findings in a report published today called “Risky Business,” commissioned by some of America’s top business leaders to put price tags on climate threats. For example, by the end of the century, between $238 billion and $507 billion of existing coastal property in the U.S. will likely be subsumed by rising seas, and crop yields in some breadbasket states may decline as much 70 percent.

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Bloomberg BNA — A Houston man who allegedly sold more than $29 million in fake renewable fuel credits to ConocoPhillips, Tesoro Corp., Citgo and other oil companies was indicted by the Justice Department on 68 charges, including wire fraud, money laundering and mail fraud.

Philip Joseph Rivkin sold about 45 million fake renewable identification numbers representing millions of gallons of non-existent biofuel to oil companies that were required to buy them under federal energy law, according to charging documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas June 19.

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Bloomberg BNA — Defense Department spending on biofuels, electric vehicles, solar panels and other “green energy” programs advocated by the Obama administration would be prohibited under a $570 billion bill funding Pentagon operations for fiscal year 2015 that the House passed June 20.

The prohibition, adopted as an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 4870), restricts the DOD from complying with executive orders and laws that require it to “squander billions” of dollars on clean energy programs, according to its author, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

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Bridge Collapse

Americans like low taxes and cheap gas. So the idea of raising the federal gasoline tax should be, and generally has been, a double no-brainer. The levy per gallon hasn't budged in 20 years.

Two U.S. Senators upended this logic yesterday by calling for a 12-cent per gallon rise in the federal gasoline tax in the next two years. If the low-tax, cheap-gas orthodoxy continues to prevail, they argue, then the country will have to either borrow more money than it already does or stop building roads. Neither option sounds desirable to anyone who thinks the U.S.’s credit cards are already overdrawn. Or anyone who relies on highways for personal transportation or for the delivery of goods to nearby stores.

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Hungry as a Honey Bee: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Russian $8.2 trillion oil trove locked without U.S. technology (Bloomberg)
  • As robotics advances, worries of killer robots rise (NY Times)
  • A massive global map of where all the cattle, pigs and other livestock live (Fast Company)
  • German beermakers look like winning their battle to stop fracking (Guardian)
  • The EPA doesnt kill coal jobs. Better mining does (Bloomberg)
  • Clean power plan exempts major CO2 emitters (Climate Central)
  • All the food, using half the water (Scientific American)
  • California is feeding its bees artificial nectar to keep them from starving (National Journal)
  • How face wash pollutes water (Atlantic)
  • Cubans find preparing for climate change hard, expensive and essential (ClimateWire)

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The EPA Doesn't Kill Coal Jobs. Better Mining Does

Barges loaded with coal outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

In the two weeks since President Obama proposed new rules to regulate power-plant carbon emissions, legislators from from coal states have rallied around a cry to save jobs. But job-killing environmental regulation historically doesn't kill as many jobs as mechanization and low natural gas prices.

The U.S. has lost more coal jobs since 1978 than it has today, and climate policy isn't the reason. There wasn't any. Coal companies are in the business of producing coal, not jobs. Between 1978, when the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration started collecting data, and 2013, the U.S. shed more than 132,000 coal jobs, or nearly 52 percent of its workforce, according to MSHA data.

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Coal's Great Year: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Coal's share of world's energy demand at highest since 1970 (Bloomberg)
  • Grass is greener for the future of biofuels (Climate Central)
  • China official rebuked for blaming lead poisoning on pencils (Guardian)
  • Australia sees Obama climate change plan as all talk, no action (Bloomberg)
  • “Thinking of ways to harm her” (NY Times)
  • Sustainability doesn’t mean less profit, it means profit forever (Fast Company)
  • Gentoo penguins thrive, while Adelies and chinstraps falter in a climate changed world (Scientific American)
  • Head injuries didn’t rise in bike-share cities. They actually fell (CityLab)
  • Deforestation leaves fish undersized and underfed (BBC)
  • Researchers hope ‘super banana’ will combat Vitamin A deficiency (Time)

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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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