Sustainability Blog - The Grid
A Bizarro World political map of the United States might look something like the above. Blue states are red! Red states are blue! Cats and dogs living together!
It's not a political map — but it is bizarre. It's the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's June 2013 U.S. Climate Update. It's a picture of a hot, wet America -- half a Fahrenheit degree and almost a full inch above the 20th century averages for temperature and precipitation.
InsideClimateNews.org -- Tucked into letters the State Department has received from people seeking to influence its review of the northern segment of the Keystone XL pipeline are pleas from local officials, largely from Montana, who see the project as a lifeline for their strapped budgets.
Several mention offers by TransCanada, the pipeline operator, to help rebuild local bridges or other infrastructure projects. Others want the tax revenue or jobs the project would bring, even if those benefits might be temporary.
InsideClimateNews.org -- The 1940s-era construction process that ExxonMobil said caused an oil pipe to rupture in Arkansas earlier this year is a common and well-documented problem the pipeline industry has battled for decades—and one the industry believes can be detected and controlled with appropriate vigilance.
"With proper inspection and maintenance, these catastrophic events can be prevented," said Mohammad Najafi, a pipeline construction expert and engineering professor at the University of Texas at Arlington. "As pipelines exceed their design lives, they need more maintenance and a proper asset management strategy to prevent or minimize these ruptures."
Climate Central -- Wildfire trends in the West are clear: there are more large fires burning now than at any time in the past 40 years and the total area burned each year has also increased. To explore these trends, Climate Central has developed this interactive tool to illustrate how warming temperatures and changing spring snowpack influences fires each year.
In our 2012 report, Western Wildfires, we analyzed federal wildfire data stretching back to the 1970s to see how fires have changed in the American West. In some states, like Arizona and Idaho, the number of large fires burning each year has tripled or even quadrupled. And in other states, including California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming, the number of large fires has doubled.
President Barack Obama spoke in Tanzania today, ending his visit to sub-Saharan Africa by highlighting what the U.S. and other countries are doing to alleviate poverty among the world’s hungriest nations.
While it’s true that the aid programs have been successful to a degree, they are unable to address the core contributor to worsening hunger in the area: population growth that is undoing gains in other areas. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only major region of the world where the proportion of people living on less than 2,100 calories a day, the commonly accepted hunger threshold, is on the rise, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report released Thursday.
InsideClimateNews.org — For nearly two years, refineries in the Midwest have been buying crude oil at steep discounts thanks to a glut of U.S. and Canadian oil. But drivers in the Midwest haven't seen a corresponding decrease in gasoline prices. In fact, they sometimes pay more at the pump than people in other parts of the country, even as windfall profits flow to BP, Koch Industries Inc. and other large Midwestern refiners.
"It's good to be a refiner," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, a company that tracks energy markets. "For 20 years, the rule of thumb was that if you made $5 a barrel east of the Rockies, that was a good profit for a refinery. Recently, we saw a period in the Midwest where refiners were making $40, or $50, or even $60 a barrel on gasoline."
Cross-posted from the Bloomberg.com blog, Political Capital.
California Republican Duncan Hunter has proposed a measure that would force the White House to seek comment on its use of its estimate of the economic costs of climate change in proposed regulations.
Transcript of President Barack Obama's speech at Georgetown University announcing his new climate-change policy:
On Christmas Eve, 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 did a live broadcast from lunar orbit. So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders -- the first humans to orbit the moon -- described what they saw, and they read Scripture from the Book of Genesis to the rest of us back here. And later that night, they took a photo that would change the way we see and think about our world.
One thing that makes so many people queasy about sustainability is that its advocates don't always put their money where their mouths are. Are corporate pension funds as "green" as executives swear their global manufacturing supply chain is? Are university endowment investments as diverse and inclusive as their freshman classes? Do foundations make investment choices as if it were part of their mission?
Not everyone is in a position to take a stance as strong as Tom Steyer, 55, the San Francisco billionaire who recently retired from Farallon Capital Management LLC. Farallon, the $20 billion hedge fund Steyer founded in 1986, manages university endowments, foundation investments and other assets.