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

Life Springs Anew in NYC River Post-Detox

Newtown Creek

Newtown Creek, one of the most polluted bodies of water in North America, is showing signs of life.

After more than 150 years of industrial-grade abuse, the 3.8-mile waterway on the Brooklyn-Queens border in New York City is slowly becoming home to wetland plants, fish and waterfowl.

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Hot off the Griddle: November 17

Good morning, and welcome back to The Griddle, a morning menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. Some state officials think the EPA's oversight of natural gas extraction from shale (aka hydraulic fracturing, aka fracking, aka fraccing) is better left to the states. “Fracking has never been regulated by the federal government,” Michael Krancer, secretary of Pennsylvania's environmental agency, told Bloomberg News. “This is a philosophic question that goes back to 1789.” See first opinions here by early blogger James Madison.

And now, today's news:

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Global Temps `Virtually Certain' to Rise: UN

Hurricane Rita

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change whirrs into action this week with a significant assessment of extreme events and disasters. The final report is due on Nov. 18. A draft summary for policymakers obtained by Bloomberg shows the caution and rigor with which scientists approach attributing observed trends to man-made climate change.

The panel says it's “virtually certain” that warm daily temperature extremes will increase in this century. It’s "likely" that human influences have led to a warming of extreme daily minimum and maximum temperatures across the globe, and that instances of heavy rainfall will increase. The report finds the average maximum wind speed of hurricanes is likely to increase, though storm frequency is likely to drop or remain the same.

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Hot off the Griddle: November 16

Good morning, and welcome back to The Griddle, a morning menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. Coffee futures rose the most in three weeks yesterday on higher anticipated demand in the U.S. We can't help but wonder how much of that is our fault, as we gear up for the launch of our new Sustainability page on We'll have more news to share in the next few weeks. 

In the meantime, enjoy these stories with a cup of your favorite morning beverage:

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North Dakota Oil Rivals OPEC Member

North Dakota Oil Production

Surging crude output in the Bakken shale formation is set to make North Dakota a bigger oil producer than OPEC member Ecuador.

The CHART OF THE DAY tracks North Dakota’s production, which has almost doubled in the past two years, as Ecuadorean output has stagnated.

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Hot off the Griddle: November 15

Good morning, and welcome to The Griddle, a morning menu of fortified items for the busy person's media diet. With Bangkok under water and Occupy Wall Street under arrest, the quote of the day comes from SmartPlanet columnist John Rennie: “Global warming’s connection to extreme weather events has always been as diffuse as the economy’s tie to unemployment. The difference is that no one has tried to pretend that the economy is irrelevant." 

And now, the morning news:

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Nissan Leaf May Choke in Hong Kong Smog

Nissan Leaf Unloved in Hong Kong Where Maseratis Rule Smog

Hong Kong is small, rich and cosmopolitan. It’s also choking on smog.

For carmakers like Nissan Motor Co. that should make the city a perfect base from which to launch their electric vehicle strategy on the rest of Asia.

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Keystone Delay Wins Obama Election Support

Thousands Protest Keystone XL Pipeline

Susie Tompkins Buell, a co-founder of the Esprit clothing company, has raised and contributed at least $20 million to Democratic candidates and causes over the last 10 years.

She was reluctant to contribute to President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, until yesterday.

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Solar Costs Drop 'So Suddenly It Hurts'

Solar Panels

The cost of solar cells and microchips has nowhere to go but down because of a supply glut for the commodity they’re made from, a brittle charcoal-colored semiconductor baked in ovens at 600 degrees centigrade.

Polysilicon has plunged 93 percent to $33 a kilogram from $475 three years ago as the top five producers more than doubled output, data compiled by Bloomberg shows. The industry next year will produce 28 percent more of the raw material than will be consumed, up from 20 percent this year, said Robert Schramm-Fuchs and Shai Hill, analysts at Macquarie Group Ltd.

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China's 'Breathable' Pollution Breaks Index


A smoky brown haze settled over Beijing on a recent Saturday night, dense enough to blur buildings viewed across a city street.

Beijing's environmental agency reported "light pollution" and "breathable" air. A $20,000 device sitting atop the U.S. embassy, located blocks from the city's monitor, had different words to describe the evening.

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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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