Sustainability Blog - The Grid
Greetings from New York, where we're busy picking out ties for tomorrow's climate and investment conference at the United Nations.
- West Virginia Acknowledges It Had No Plan for Freedom Spill (Charleston Gazette)
- Omnibus Thwarts Obama on Overseas Coal Plant Funding Limits (National Journal)
- China, World's Top Global Emitter, Is Best on Climate Change: Figueres (Bloomberg)
- A Century Later, the Expensive Lesson of Reversing the Chicago River (Atlantic Cities)
- What I Learned from Six Months of GMO Research: None of It Matters (Grist)
- Top iPhone Designer Now Works for the Google Grid (Bloomberg)
- Grappling With Sea-Level Rise, Sooner Not Later (New York Times)
- California Drought: What's Causing It? (San Jose Mercury News)
- The Monster Hurricanes of the Future Won't Be Where You Think (Fast Company)
- Shivering Cattle Signal Higher McDonald's Beef Cost (Bloomberg)
- Should You Drink Coffee Before or After Learning a Task? (Scientific American)
How about you?
Most of our homes are still operated by dumb technology with clumsy on/off switches. There are really only a few mainstream success stories of the so-called “Internet of things,” the idea that plugging our offline worlds into the Internet will make our lives better.
Google just bought one of them, for $3.2 billion.
Governor Chris Christie apologized to New Jersey last week after it was revealed that aides ordered busy commuter highway lanes shut for four days in September to punish a local mayor. The ensuing gridlock paralyzed the town of Fort Lee and, in at least four cases, prevented emergency units from getting to people in need.
The incident has caused moral outrage — for "pettiness and vindictiveness in doses usually relegated to the Facebook pages of Mean Girls," according to Bloomberg View's Francis Wilkinson — and could short circuit Christie's presidential ambitions.
Ask a bunch of New Yorkers where they spend their money: apartments, cars, vacation lodgings, maybe designer handbags. In the new American “sharing economy,” these can all be enjoyed at a fraction of their normal cost. Just not if you’re a New Yorker.
Bloomberg News’s Aki Ito and Jeff Kearns recently wrote about the increasing number of websites where people rent out their stuff. Going away for the weekend? Why not rent out your apartment? Not using your car much? Let someone else. Services like Airbnb, RelayRides and DogVacay are on track to account for “at least a single-digit percentage” of GDP in five years, said Arun Sundararajan, a professor at the Stern School of Business. In America’s $16 trillion economy, that’s enough to make the $2 billion currently invested in such startups seem puny.
Bloomberg BNA -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is setting aside time at his party's weekly caucus lunch in the Capitol to focus solely on climate change, a senior Senate aide said Jan. 9, in hopes of one day reviving a bill to cut carbon dioxide emissions and better defend President Barack Obama's climate efforts from Republican attacks.
Reid reserves “a permanent spot” for the climate issue each week when Senate Democrats sit down for their hour-plus policy lunches, the aide told Bloomberg BNA.
Good morning, evening, afternoon. Here’s what we’re reading today:
- Home Depot Tracks Top Adopters of Energy Efficient Bulbs (Triple Pundit)
- Radio Disney's pro-fracking elementary school tour (Al Jazeera)
- Kraft helps cut 6.4 trillion calories in Obama challenge (Bloomberg)
- How big formula bought china (Reuters)
- We the geeks: 'polar vortex' and extreme weather (White House video)
- Celebrating deep freeze, insect experts see chance to kill off invasive species (NY Times)
- Russia accuses Greenpeace of encouraging Senegal ship detention (Guardian)
- Suburbs are wiping out cities' carbon savings (Business Green)
- Louisiana's plans to rebuild ravaged coastal wetlands (Times-Picayune)
- Keystone snag brings on the rail tankers (Bloomberg)
How about you?
Winter storms strike New York again -- no better time to grab a cup of liquid stimulation and catch up on some reading:
- Buy green, sell stranded (Slate)
- In flight: see the planes in the sky right now – interactive (Guardian)
- Expanding Arctic ocean to get its own shipping rules (Reuters)
- Texas company, alone in U.S., cashes in on nuclear waste (NY Times)
- China exports pollution to U.S. along with Goods (Bloomberg)
- Is climate risking your retirement? (Australian Associated Press)
- Washington is silent on West Virginia chemical spill (Washington Post)
- Backsliding on climate (NY Times)
- Corporate response to climate change is plateauing (Guardian)
- Europe divides over more ambitious pollution limits (Bloomberg)
What's on your list?
The largest non-volcanic landslide in the modern history of North America occurred on April 10, 2013, when two avalanches spilled rock into a famous Utah copper mine. The slide freed enough debris and dust to bury New York City's Central Park 66 feet deep, according to a new University of Utah study that provides the first detailed look at the disaster.
Utahans have mined Bingham Canyon since 1904, excavating a pit three-quarters of a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide. The U.S. park service made it a national historic landmark in 1966. The mine is owned by Rio Tinto-Kennecott Utah Copper.
"Polar vortex" has taken an uncontested lead in the competition for buzzword of 2014. It's brought Arctic chill to the continental United States, disrupted industries and cities, and most, curiously, turned Donald Trump into a climate realist. Sort of.
Here's a thought. What if Trump is right? An alternative, charitable reading of the tweet reveals Trump to be an impassioned climate change policy advocate with up-to-date knowledge of peer-reviewed science as it relates to our current cryogenic state.
Every once in a while, there’s a big idea that forever changes the way we live and the tools we use. Think electric light bulbs, washing machines and, maybe, Amazon’s dream of drone deliveries. Ford’s new concept car with rooftop solar panels looks like it could be next on the list. Don’t bet on it.
Ford is showing off its new C-Max Solar Energi at next week’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The wagon’s solar cells are, on their own, insufficient to power electric driving, so the car comes with a special parking canopy that concentrates the sunlight like a magnifying glass. Throughout the day, the semi-autonomous car moves itself back and forth a few feet to get the most sunshine. It’s a plugin that doesn’t need to plug in.