Sustainability Blog - The Grid
InsideClimateNews.org -- It is probably the most influential paper on climate science today. But few outside scientific circles even know it exists.
Though just six pages long, its dense, technical writing makes it largely incomprehensible to non-experts. And yet this paper is transforming the climate change debate—prompting the financial world to rethink the value of the world's fossil fuel reserves and giving environmental activists a moral argument for action.
Like a regular SUV, Hyundai's fuel-cell-powered Tucson lets you cover about 370 miles on a single tank. Its silent power system and familiar six-speed automatic transmission make highways and city streets quieter than ever. In fact, there's not much you can't do with the hydrogen-cell Tucson that you can't do with a regular Tucson -- except fill'er up. And, for the moment, afford 'er.
This isn’t the model found at dealerships. Not yet. But Hyundai is already leasing hydrogen-powered vehicles to city fleets, Copenhagen for one, and it plans to begin marketing to consumers by 2015.
TIOGA, N.D. -- The North Dakota winter is relentless. Air temperatures hover around zero degrees Fahrenheit. Yet that’s easy to forget here, inside a network of steel mobile homes opened in 2011 in the state’s northwestern corner. Guys walk around in flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts. They eat ice cream at regularly available opportunities and then sweat it off on a treadmill.
And they are nearly all guys. This is Tioga Lodge, the sprawling barracks that are home to men at the heart of the North American oil fracking boom. The compounds are known as “crew-camps”, or more often, as “man-camps.”
Inside Climate News -- When the nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade system, agreed last week to dramatically limit power plant emissions, they ushered in a stricter phase of carbon regulation for the Northeast. But they also paved the way for a boom in clean energy investment for the region.
According to a recent analysis, the amount of money generated from the tougher scheme is projected to more than double by 2020, sending an additional $2.2 billion of RGGI money to state coffers—much of that to clean energy industries.
InsideClimateNews.org -- When the federal government released updated flood maps for the New York City region last week, residents were shocked to find that the number of houses and businesses in the region's flood zone had doubled since the maps were last revised, in 1986.
But it now appears that those maps might have underestimated the extent of New York's flood risk, because they don't factor in the effects of future climate change. Scientists say that by the 2080s, sea levels off the city's coast could rise by as much as five feet from melting glaciers, making storm surges more severe and causing floods much further inland than the new maps indicate.
Bloomberg BNA -- More than one-third of companies are reporting a profit from their sustainability efforts, a 23 percent increase from the previous year, according to an annual study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston Consulting Group.
A total of 37 percent of companies surveyed reported profits from their sustainability efforts, compared to 31 percent the previous year, according to the 2012 research report, The Innovation Bottom Line, which was released Feb. 5.
Cross posted from Bloomberg.com's Political Capital blog.
And another thing…
The headlines were alarming: "Drought Could Reverse Flow of Chicago River," hailed the website of WLS-TV, the local ABC News affiliate. "Ongoing Drought Could Send the Chicago River Flowing in Reverse," read Smithsonian magazine's normally sedate web pages.
It turns out, a backwards flow may be the least of the river’s concerns.
InsideClimateNews.org -- One of the biggest unknowns in the unfolding Keystone XL debate is the role the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency might play.
Because the Canada-to-Nebraska oil pipeline crosses an international border, the State Department, not the EPA, will decide whether to give the project the federal permit it needs. But the EPA will weigh in during the review, and its opinion will carry new weight now that the Obama administration has vowed to make climate change a national priority.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, I was struck by how often the issue of water risk was raised by business executives. As the global economic turmoil is receding, many CEOs and global leaders are turning to other threats—and water is high on the list. For the second year in a row, water crises were named among the top four global risks at the WEF.
It’s easy to see why. More than 1.2 billion people already face water scarcity. By 2025, two-thirds of the world population will experience water stress. That’s largely due to population increase and climate change, but also behavior patterns: Water use grew twice as fast as population growth in the 20th century. The “food-water-energy nexus” was one of the top four megatrends to watch in the recently released Global Trends 2030 report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council.