Sustainability Blog - The Grid
The word of the week is "anomaly."
Two high-profile accidents in the aerospace industry have reminded us of something too often forgotten in this age of Internet everywhere, hundreds of high-def channels, and cars that last 200,000 miles: Technology is hard.
It’s quiz time, people. Let’s start with an easy one: What percentage of working-age Americans are unemployed and looking for work?
If you guessed about 6 percent, give yourself a pat on the back. You have a pretty good understanding of the unemployment rate, one of the basic measures of economic well-being. If, on the other hand, you guessed 32 percent -- which would rank America among the most desperate nations on Earth -- then you guessed just like the average American!
Early next week the group drops the last of four massive tomes that together make up its fifth report in a quarter century. In essence, next week's edition is a synthesis of the thousands of pages of synthesis that started coming out last fall.
Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change.
After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year.
This election is supposed to be all about energy. Billionaire oilmen are spilling their wallets, and environmental groups are spending record amounts. The New York Times joined others last week with a story declaring “an explosion of energy and environmental ads.”
If that’s the narrative you’re looking for, there’s plenty of evidence. There are climate and environment ads like this, this and this, and pro-coal ads from both parties like this and this. So far, there have been 125,000 Senate TV ads mentioning energy and the environment, according to Kantar Media/CMAG, which tracks campaign ads. That’s the highest level in at least the last four election cycles.
There are 8 million stories in the naked city and at the moment they’re all themed “Ebola.” Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and public health officials are trying to slim the number of stories down to one. It goes like this.
Craig Spencer, 33, is a New York City doctor who contracted Ebola while in Guinea volunteering with Doctors Without Borders. His diagnosis, the first in New York City, has brought the disease to the nation’s most densely populated region.
Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:
- Jakarta's $40 billion plan to stop sinking into the ocean (Fast Company)
- India's largest dam given clearance but still faces flood of opposition (Guardian)
- There's a surprisingly strong link between climate change and violence (Washington Post)
- Burden of Germany's shift to renewable energy falls on taxpayers, but energy rates are close to U.S. range (ClimateWire)
- What will winter hold for drought-plagued California (Climate Central)
- Motor chills EV drivers' anxiety about going the distance (Scientific American)
- South Florida wants to be the 51st state because of climate change worries (National Journal)
- 'Extreme Whether' explores the climate fight as a family feud (NY Times)
Visit The Grid for the latest about energy, natural resources and global business.
Few will be surprised that teens can be struck dumb by heavy pot smoking. What's interesting is the question that new research raises: Can kids under 16 get baked every now and then without limiting their long-term brain power?
Sixteen-year-olds who regularly enjoy marijuana show somewhat diminished grades, according to a new analysis of data on 2,235 British children born in 1991 and 1992. What the study considers moderate users -- teens who have smoked cannabis fewer than 50 times -- showed no similar losses on exams.
Why can't we buy electricity the way we buy peanut butter?
It's very easy, apparently, to buy 35-pound tubs of peanut butter. Just search for "peanut butter" on Google Shopping. They cost $51.99 each.
Oil profits are being tested. Crude prices have face-planted to their cheapest level since 2010, threatening the balance sheets of companies and the budgets of nations.
Take Canada’s controversial oil sands. With crude prices teasing $80 a barrel for the first time in years, about 25 percent of the synthetic crude produced from the sands is no longer profitable, according to the International Energy Agency.