Sustainability Blog - The Grid
InsideClimate News -- Thanks to climate change, extreme weather disasters have hammered the United States with increasing frequency in recent years—from drought and wildfires to coastal storms and flooding.
It is perhaps surprising, then, that the U.S. agency in charge of preparing for and responding to these disasters, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), doesn't account for climate change in most of its budget planning and resource allocation or in the National Flood Insurance Program it administers.
Q: When isn't ice ice? A: When it's made of methane, not water.
This photo shows white towers of methane, frozen in water-ice and under Russia's Lake Baikal.
Covering business and climate change often reminds me of the bird that used to sit on a tree branch outside my parents' house and fly into a window. A moment of freedom punctuated by a thud. Whee! Thud. Every day, all summer long.
Whee!: Global companies want to stave off potential unpleasantness in the years ahead, from increased competition for fewer resources and from meteorological disruptions. To cite only one articulation of this trend, the World Economic Forum last week extolled the potential of the "circular economy," a trillion dollar opportunity (it says) to decouple economic growth from resource use, resulting in less waste of materials, energy and labor. "Linear consumption" -- which sounds like a euphemism for traditional economic growth -- "is reaching its limits," WEF authors write.
- Canada natives block energy projects: 'We own it all' (Bloomberg)
- IPCC hearing brings U.K. closer to U.S. polarization on climate change (Guardian)
- The good, the bad, and the ugly of natural gas (National Journal)
- Pope Francis preps tome on the environment (The Hill)
- Texas Panhandle drought on record streak (Amarillo Globe-News)
- How business has stepped up the opportunity of sustainability (Guardian)
- Remembering Google's dream, by way of Star Trek (Slate)
- Wood car takes automakers back to future in mileage quest (Bloomberg)
- Rain falling on mountains speeds CO2 removal (Climate News Network)
- Is it immoral to watch the Super Bowl? (NYT Magazine)
Elon Musk, maker of sports cars, solar farms and space ships, tends to make dramatic claims that challenge popular wisdom, and he’s often right. Not always.
Bloomberg News recently published a story about Musk’s sniping at car regulators for using the term “recall” to describe Tesla modifications to prevent overheating. (Musk hates the word “recall.”) During the reporting of the story, the billionaire co-founder of Tesla pushed back against the flak the Model S has taken after several accidents resulted in fires:
Bloomberg BNA -- The Environmental Protection Agency is working with states and will continue to do so to prevent or investigate groundwater contamination from shale gas drilling, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy told a prominent environmental advocate.
McCarthy in a letter Jan. 10 was responding to a September letter from Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who accused the EPA of “a troubling trend of abandoning investigations of hydraulic fracturing before they are completed.”
- China bank regulator said to issue alert on coal loans (Bloomberg)
- Do middle-managers and finance block progress towards sustainability? (Guardian)
- Davos: How can companies leave a lighter footprint? (World Economic Forum)
- En route to Davos: Four business leaders talk about global problem-solving (Huffington Post)
- Chemical-related hospital visits still rising (Charleston Gazette)
- China maintains solar target after record installations (Bloomberg)
- Visualizing the companies that have created the most climate change (Fast Company)
- China: Where marathon mania and epic air pollution levels collide (Atlantic)
- Creating tastier and healthier fruits and veggies with a modern alternative to GMOs (Scientific American)
- Sonoma strives to become first 100 percent sustainable wine region (GreenBiz)
Good morning from New York, where the weather outside is frightful. Here’s what we’re reading today:
- Is it hot in here or is it just me telling you it’s hot in here? (The Grid)
- 2013 ties as fourth warmest year on record (NOAA)
- EU calls for 40% reduction in greenhouse-gas output by 2030 (Bloomberg)
- Is Europe’s Renewables Mandate Bad for the Environment? (CFR)
- Storebrand puts palm oil on blacklist with tobacco (Bloomberg)
- Bee deaths may stem from mutated tobacco virus (NY Times)
- Australia should probably get used to these devastating heat waves (Atlantic)
- Desert encroachment fuels nigerian religious fight over land (Bloomberg)
- Bananas are chemicals, too (Dot Earth)
- Will electric cars kill utility grids? No, study says. (Christian Science Monitor)
How about you?
These statements are caricatures of debate, and obscure the real and persistent way that weather actually does make climate change confusing.