Sustainability Blog - The Grid
Okay, fine. You're persuaded that climate change is a problem. So if we can work out the costs and benefits of reducing carbon emissions, we'll be able to decide on the cheapest course of action, right?
Not so fast. The two numbers that you'd need to do that apparently shouldn't be compared, under penalty of lectures from either climate scientists or economists. Both numbers come from separate draft reports that are still being finalized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
When the Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals take the field in Cincinnati Monday afternoon, they help kick off a Major League Baseball season that starts about five weeks earlier than the first Opening Day. At the inaugural opener of the American Association in May 1882, the Red Stockings lost to the Pittsburgh Alleghenys, 10-9.
Spring itself is starting earlier, too, though it can't keep pace with spring training. Leaves unfurl in the United States on average just three days earlier than they used to, a week earlier in parts of the Southwest and Southeast, according to Climate Matters. CM is a project of the nonprofit science and journalism group Climate Central that dozens of broadcast meteorologists turn to for up-to-date, TV-friendly information about global warming.
Good morning! Here are today's top reads:
- Raise a glass of Scottish wine to global climate changes (Bloomberg)
- In ocean of mud, a plea: Leave me and find my wife (NY Times)
- Can text messaging solve Karachi's incredible water bill problem? (Atlantic Cities)
- This could be the priciest baseball park in the whole Atlantic Ocean (Bloomberg)
- Maryland Democrats at war over Chesapeake Bay project (E&E Daily)
- Why oil drilling is both safer and riskier since Exxon Valdez (NPR)
- David Cameron: Britain has a 'duty' to frack (Telegraph)
- Here's how Vladimir Putin got involved in a Colorado Senate race (National Journal)
- The healthiest (and least healthy) places in the U.S. (Fast Company)
- Danish zoo that killed Marius the giraffe puts down four lions (Guardian)
Visit www.bloomberg.com/sustainability for the latest from Bloomberg News about energy, natural resources and global business.
Something odd happens to the neighborhood around Marlins Park, Miami’s new $650 million baseball stadium, when you overlay 21st-century sea-level rise projections. It sinks below the waterline.
It’s a shame. The park has a retractable, cloud-white roof to shield players and spectators from the summer sun. It recycles, sips energy and water, and is plugged into public transit. It has 27 flood gates, and was built one foot higher than floods are supposed to reach in once-in-500-year storms. The total, publicly financed package, with debt servicing, could cost Miami $2.4 billion by 2049.
If the Atlantic inches in as projected, eventually it might not matter how many flood gates there are. Oceans are swelling as they absorb heat, and ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica have been melting faster since the early 1990s. Sea-level rise estimates for later this century have been revised upward, to a global average of a foot and a half to three feet by 2100, without aggressive carbon-cutting, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
South Florida is a national leader in understanding the changing world. But politics and even policy change much more quickly than bureaucracy. That makes Marlins Park a symbol for cities in transition, a future relic from a time when the people who could build really cool things worked more or less independently from the people who monitored how fast the seas were rising.
The same potential problem exists wherever cities are laying down infrastructure expected to last into the second half of the century. Boston’s “Big Dig” highway project, a generation in the making, wasn’t driven by late 21st-century storm surge considerations. Oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have never been built with permanent sea-level rise in mind. Another newish baseball stadium, Nationals Park, stands yards from Washington’s Anacostia River.
"Cities can't wait for the next crisis," said former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, by email. He is now chairman of The Sustainability Exchange, a business that works with cities to identify more affordable and enduring infrastructure projects. "They need to plan today for what we know we will have to deal with tomorrow."
Bloomberg BNA — China hopes to deal a “heavy blow” to businesses that illegally discharge wastewater, Premier Li Keqiang said in a special State Council meeting on energy savings and emissions reduction, in remarks posted on the body's website March 24.
Li said the government would “crack down hard” on such activities by businesses and on local officials who have “ignored basic social responsibility and legal liability” by failing to provide adequate oversight of wastewater discharge activities of companies in their jurisdictions.
Good morning! Here are today's top reads:
Bloomberg BNA — Virtually all of the water flushed down toilets and sent down drains in U.S. homes and businesses goes to wastewater treatment plants where it is cleaned up and then discharged into rivers, lakes, streams and oceans.
Only a small percentage is directly reused.
For years, Exxon Mobil has walked around with an environmentalist target on its chest. So it was news when the world’s biggest oil company by market value agreed to share its plans for dealing with climate change. A look at what we already know about Exxon’s climate strategy shows why disclosure may be a savvy move.
The chart below shows how companies estimate the future cost of carbon pollution. Right now, few countries outside Europe regulate it. That’s changing and is likely to intensify in the lead-up to key UN climate negotiations in 2015. Some companies use a so-called shadow price to anticipate the future cost from climate policy when planning new projects. Of 30 U.S. companies that use a shadow carbon price, Exxon’s is among the most aggressive.
Bloomberg BNA — Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to publish a report describing its plans for a future in which market forces and stricter climate regulation may leave some of its carbon reserves unburnable.
Exxon Mobil is the first oil and gas producer in the U.S. to commit to reporting on its risks of stranded assets due to climate change.
Bloomberg BNA – In recognition of the increasing possibility of oil exploration in Arctic waters, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) has introduced a bill to increase the Coast Guard's ability to prevent and respond to offshore oil spills.
The Coast Guard Arctic Preparedness Act (S. 2131) would require the spill response plans developed by facility owners and operators and approved by the Coast Guard to be updated at least every five years. The plans would need to incorporate best commercially available technology and methods to prevent, contain and remove a worst-case spill, the bill says.