Sustainability Blog - The Grid
Here’s a trivia question for your drinking buddies: what’s the world’s most popular beer? Bud Light? Budweiser? A decade ago, those answers would be right on the money.
The money is moving.
Bloomberg BNA — With new rules that took effect June 1, North Dakota is aiming to reduce flaring, the burning of natural gas that cannot be used or sold, to 10 percent of natural gas produced at the wellhead, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) said June 12.
Addressing fellow governors at the 2014 annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association, Dalrymple said he was “embarrassed to say” oil and gas companies currently flare about one-third of the roughly 1 billion cubic feet of gas they produce a day in North Dakota's Bakken shale play.
Bloomberg BNA — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to launch July 1 its first satellite dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere.
The $465 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission seeks to provide a more complete picture of human and natural sources of carbon dioxide globally, as well as sinks where carbon dioxide is absorbed.
The White House proposed new rules to govern greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants over a week ago. That, along with aggressive car fuel efficiency standards finalized in 2012, have clearly pushed President Barack Obama ahead of his predecessors in the climate legacy race. Granted, not many entrants in that race, but he could still easily lose.
At least two major questions remain before the case is closed on Obama. Both have to do with how carbon fuels flow across borders.
Pesticide use is surging among U.S. corn farmers who are worried that some insects have become resistant to genetically modified versions of the crop.
That’s an unexpected reversal since one of the promises of engineered corn when it was introduced 17 years ago was its ability to kill pests. The use of soil insecticides for the crop plunged 90 percent through 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The world is on the brink of a serious surge in batteries -- and not just the kind that powers mobile phones, laptops and sports cars. Batteries of the near future will power homes and hospitals and even provide relief for the grid, with in an industry that may be worth $200 billion in 2020.
The battery boom got an extra boost from the Environmental Protection Agency, with new regulations proposed this month to limit power-plant pollution. In a departure from previous rules, the EPA leaves it to individual states to determine how they will cut emissions. Some states will build more efficient buildings, others will shift from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas. An often-overlooked beneficiary is battery makers.
Bloomberg BNA — Pregnant and breast-feeding women, as well as young children, should be careful about eating fish caught in local streams, lakes and rivers that have not been monitored for mercury contamination, under draft recommendations issued June 10 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.
The agencies reiterated their draft advice for women who are pregnant or might be pregnant and women who are breast feeding their children that they eat no more than 6 ounces of fish caught from waters that aren't monitored for mercury levels. For young children, the agencies recommended a dietary intake of 1 ounce to 3 ounces.
InsideClimateNews.org — The morning after I landed in the Brazilian state of Pará, I joined a pair of state government officials heading to an event in a municipality of Terra Alta, located 70 miles inland from the capital of Belém. It turned out they were honored guests, and as we approached we discovered that a parade was literally waiting for them on the side of the road before rolling into town. A man was shooting fireworks out the back of one truck, and a stack of concert speakers belted music out of another.
The occasion? Several dozen properties were formally being entered into the new "rural environmental registry," and the local government was using the occasion to persuade more landowners to register their land and protect their remaining forests. Terra Alta Environment Secretary João Batista do Nascimento told me that the municipality needs to get its environmental documents in order so its producers can remain competitive in a market that punishes environmental negligence.
Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:
- Americans would pay more to curb climate change (Bloomberg)
- How El Nino will change the world’s weather in 2014 (Guardian)
- A fight as U.S. girls face genital cutting abroad (New York Times)
- Clean power plan follows uneven CO2 emissions trend (Climate Central)
- Bees living in cities are building their homes with plastic (Scientific American)
- Google said to plan energy push with tools for utilities (Bloomberg)
- Four years after BP spill, a shallow-water revival (National Journal)
- An interactive air pollution map (Atlantic)
- Whoops: Air conditioning is making cities hotter, not colder (Fast Company)
- So much Arctic ice has melted, we need a new atlas (CityLab)
Visit The Grid for the latest about energy, natural resources and globalbusiness.
Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:
- China's clean-fuel focus tests U.S. coal-export lifeline (Bloomberg)
- Of fish, monsoons and the future (NY Times)
- Exporting U.S. natural gas isn’t as “clean” as you think (Washington Post)
- NASA satellite spies atmospheric double whammy (Climate Central)
- Walmart, Tesco and Costco among retailers responding to revelations of slavery in prawn supply chains (Guardian)
- Buffett ready to double $15 billion solar, wind bet (Bloomberg)
- GMO labeling laws: The writing is on the wall (GreenBiz)
- How Obama’s landmark environmental achievement was eclipsed by the scandal du jour (National Journal)
- Fact or fiction?: Mammoths can be brought back from extinction (Scientific American)
- Tony Abbott seeks alliance to thwart President Obama on climate change policy (Sydney Morning Herald)
- How environmental disaster is making Boko Haram violence worse (Mother Jones)
Visit The Grid for the latest about energy, natural resources and global business.