The Grid: Energy, Resources, Environment, Sustainability | Bloomberg

America Is Winning a Race That It Never Signed Up For

Carbon Intensity of the U.S. Economy, 1949-2012

When it comes to reaching international deals on climate change, the U.S. hasn’t had much success. No one has. That’s too bad, because when it comes to cutting greenhouse-gas emissions, America ranks among the best in the world.

The chart above shows the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy since 1949. The blue line shows metric tons of carbon dioxide produced per million dollars of economic output.

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Oil Production from Tar Sands

The phrase “unburnable carbon” has gained currency among climate-minded investors, popularized by a U.K.-based nonprofit called the Carbon Tracker Initiative. It refers to the vast fossil-fuel reserves that, if burned, would probably push the global climate into the danger zone.

Some investors are concerned that stock-market valuations would plummet if oil companies continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on exploration while the world lunges away from oil. Last week, a coalition of 70 large investors representing more than $3 trillion in assets said they had dispatched letters to 45 of the largest fossil-fuel companies and utilities, asking them to explain how they plan to deal with the risk. This morning, Al Gore and Generation Investment Management co-founder David Blood published a paper on the topic.

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Gore: I Tried to Buy Twitter, Still Very Bullish

The United States has no national tax or price on carbon dioxide pollution. That doesn't mean it doesn't cost investors anything there or elsewhere, says former Vice President Al Gore. He and David Blood, co-founders of Generation Investment Management, this morning published a new paper explaining the evolution of their thinking on "sustainable capitalism," and how investors can lessen their financial risks from climate change. Gore and I spoke on Oct. 17.

Q: What are the hidden costs of carbon?

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Wal-Mart Now Draws More Solar Power Than 38 U.S. States


Solar power and keg stands have one thing in common: Wal-Mart wants to profit from them.

In the race for commercial solar power, Wal-Mart is killing it. The company now has almost twice as much capacity as second-place Costco. A better comparison: Wal-Mart is converting more sun into energy than 38 U.S. states.

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The Ages of Energy

I hope you're sitting down. Republicans and Democrats agree on something, at least nominally. It's called an "all of the above" energy policy. That phrase occurs in both White House policy pronouncements and the 2012 Republican platform, meaning basically that the U.S. should pursue all of the energy options favored by whoever's in power. The parties differ on details, but, you know, "details."

Bipartisan agreement is a rare thing, and yet it's still not nearly as rare as the notion of having multiple energy choices in the first place. For 200 years the world burned wood, then coal, then oil. Now toss in gas, nuclear, hydropower and renewable power generated from wind, sun, water and earth. Judging by the projections of Citi Research, above, these options will be with us for some time.

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Investor Group Presses Oil Companies on 'Unburnable Carbon'

Fossil Fuel Producers — A well-heeled coalition of investors is asking top fossil fuel companies to calculate the risks of plowing billions into new oil, gas and coal projects. They fear that carbon emission limits and slowing demand will turn them into bad investments that leave investors worse off.

The requests, contained in letters sent to 45 companies last month, are part of an initiative aimed at persuading oil producers and others to rein in their quest to stockpile more carbon energy. They hope to do so by tapping into growing concerns that climate policies and market factors could prevent companies from selling all of their reserves of fossil fuels, which are still growing fast.

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Women in Business and Financial Leaders — Janet Yellen, Christine Lagarde and a handful of U.S. senators notwithstanding, women are still underrepresented in the world of finance.

So it was a reversal earlier this month to be one of the few men among nearly 100 women investors, wealth advisors, bankers and analysts gathered to reshape global financial markets through a “gender lens.”

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Mystery of the 'Missing' Global Warming

Mystery of the 'Missing' Global Warming

Have you heard the one about how global warming stopped in 1998? It’s been called a “pause,” a “hiatus,” a “slowdown” and a “siesta.” Above all, it’s a red herring, and it isn’t difficult to find where some of the ‘missing’ heat has gone.

First, in case you haven’t been paying attention: 97 percent of climate scientists agree about global warming and its man-made causes, now with 95 percent certainty, according to a report this month by the IPCC, the world’s most authoritative body of climate scientists. Greenhouse gases trap heat, which melts ice, raises seas and floods cities; this fundamental equation is not in doubt.

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Colleges Cut Waste by Tossing Trays

Trays started disappearing from university cafeterias several years ago. Not for the usual reason, to be used as sleds in winter, or for the best reason, for college-age secret agents to slip under their jackets as impromptu torso protection against enemy shivs or poisoned blow darts.

Trays have been on their way out just because they hold too much food. If you're walking through a cafeteria line, all that real estate is a cue to take more food than you might want to eat.

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Can't Make Enough Food? Make Fewer People

Can't Make Enough Food? Make Fewer People

Solve the world's future food needs? That's easy. Make more food or make fewer people. Pick one.

Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute and author of a new memoir, Breaking New Ground, suggests we think about fewer people.

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About The Grid

Nations and companies face rising competition for strategic resources — energy, food, water, materials — and the technologies that make best use of them. That's sustainability. It's about the 21st-century race for wealth, health and long-term security, across the global grid.

Analyses or commentary in this blog are the views of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloomberg News.

Eric Roston, Editor

Tom Randall, Deputy Editor

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