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

Inside DOE, One of World's Biggest Clean Energy Finance Shops -- At the U.S. Department of Energy's Washington, D.C. headquarters, the fourth floor feels like any other nondescript outpost of the federal bureaucracy. But the no-frills landscape of desks and cubicles belies the immensity of the job at hand.

Each day nearly 200 staffers scour loan applications, track billion-dollar debts and manage borrowers' credit risk as part of the department'sLoan Programs Office—one of the biggest clean energy finance shops in the world.

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Edible Crickets

Where can you go to find in the same room a ping-pong tournament, a brick manufacturing company, T-shirts saying “kale is the new meat” and a wide ranging conversation about trends in institutional investing?

One place only, and that’s the exhibition hall at South by Southwest’s Eco conference.

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What Do 'Sustainability' Executives Do? Let Us Know: Survey

Many companies now have chief sustainability officers or the equivalent. What roles do they play? That's the question we're asking today as we launch a new survey.

In less than a decade, sustainability has gone from a feel-good buzzword most people associate with environmentalism or community involvement to a movement among global companies to secure natural resources and top employees for their long-term survival.

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Delaware Welcome Center Travel Plaza

Sustainability is everywhere. Even in the men's room.

Drive about halfway from Washington, D.C., to New York along Interstate 95 and keep your eyes open for a building with a gently curving red roof and glassy facade, amid an asphalt moat crawling with cars. Inside is a 42,000-square-foot hall built with architectural niceties unusual for a highway rest stop. It's a low bar -- visiting most rest stops is as inspiring as crawling into a cardboard box.

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Scientific Body Reports 'Human Influence on Climate Clear'

Wildfire — In its latest landmark assessment of the future of the planet under global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations concluded that it is "extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."

The panel, which released its first batch of findings on Friday, said the evidence for its conclusion has grown stronger due to "better observations, an improved understanding of the climate system response and improved climate models."

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Climate Economists Deftly Tackle Their Second Hardest Question

Among economists, "What's the future worth?" has been one of the most chewed over questions since the U.K. released a major assessment of the costs of climate change in 2006. There are plenty of answers that the question brings up in ordinary life, from the emotional ("Every bit as much as the present!") to the practical ("How will answering this question help my re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives?")

In the world of climate change, though, it's a hard numbers question: how much should we spend now to head off climate disaster in the future? It depends on how much you think the value of money will change over large spans of time. Economists talk about the value of the future in terms of a "discount rate": how much we value a dollar's worth of goods or resources X years in the future compared to today.

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Sustainability Indicator: $12.3 Billion Water Savings

$12.3 Billion

Today's sustainability indicator, $12.3 billion, is the estimated annual savings that emerging markets would receive from implementing smart-water efficiencies to reduce leaks and curb scarcity issues.

And there's more...

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Climate-Friendly Companies Have More in Common Than Carbon Cuts

If your facilities need water, and projections call for drought, here’s some advice: Use less water.

If some companies are following this advice, and others aren't, the former might deserve more investor consideration.

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Draft IPCC Report Supports Case for Action On Climate

Bloomberg BNA -- A draft working group report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change due Sept. 27 will reinforce the case for urgent action to address global warming, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Sept. 23.

Kim was among several speakers at the opening session of the annual Climate Week NYC event in New York City suggesting that the IPCC draft should put to rest the scientific questions about the role of human activity and present a challenge to action.

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Yes, Actually, It Is a War on Coal: Chart

CO2 Emissions From Electricity Generation

There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about whether President Barack Obama is waging a so-called war on coal. It’s a loaded phrase, especially in coal-rich states like Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Today the Environmental Protection Agency issued draft rules that would limit power-plant emissions of carbon dioxide, the most consequential greenhouse gas, meeting a deadline Obama set out in an address on climate change in June. The regulations, which apply to new facilities, will surely add heat to the political coal fire.

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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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