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

14 Smart Inventions Inspired by Nature: Biomimicry

Companies seeking breakthrough products tend to ignore the greatest invention machine in the universe: life’s more than three-billion-year history of... Read more »
Janine Benyus

Evolution has handed down to us in the form of plants and animals — for free! — more than 3 billion years of design and engineering research.

That's the theme throughout the work of Janine Benyus, a biologist whose 1997 book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, makes the argument that inventors, designers and engineers should scour the natural world for useful and adaptable innovations. The book led to the creation of her consultancy, Biomimicry 3.8, and a nonprofit that educates students and trains professionals to seek design solutions in nature.

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London's Battersea Power Station Site

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz told reporters earlier this month that "there is no war on coal."

Read it as you like — as a true statement, or as exactly what you'd expect someone to say who's waging a war on coal. Either way, political warfare is preceding literal explosions, as utilities count demolition and redevelopment as options in a future projected to have reduced reliance on coal, the carbon-based fuel most dangerous to the climate.

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UBS Banker Launches New Company to "Accelerate the Velocity of M

While activists and industry compete for the president's ear over fracking or the oil sands pipeline, while courts clear the books of laws preventing marriage equality, some financial professionals say markets can steer the world toward a cleaner, more equitable, healthier and more profitable future.

Erika Karp, who recently left her post as head of global sector research at UBS, on Friday launched a new company, Cornerstone Capital Inc., designed to work toward that goal. The company has several missions, which include helping small and medium-size businesses access capital more reliably, and advocating for the inclusion of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data into investment analysis.

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Most Investors See Climate Change as Risk

Bloomberg BNA — Climate change remains a material risk for a majority of investors and, in many cases, it is increasingly influencing their investment activities, according to a report released Aug. 5 by a coalition of global investor groups.

About 81 percent of asset owners and 68 percent of asset managers said they view climate change as a material risk across their entire investment portfolio in the third annual Global Investor Survey on Climate Change. Most of the remaining respondents identified climate risks only for certain asset classes, such as real estate and infrastructure.

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A Climate Catch-22: How a Carbon Tax Could Save Coal

American Coal Industry

Here's coal's Catch-22: A tax on carbon dioxide emissions, which are driving global climate change, would raise the costs of coal-fired power, negating the fuel's price advantage over cleaner sources, like wind and solar power, and reduce its use.

On the other hand, a tax could provide the impetus for investing in technologies to capture and store carbon that have largely floundered in the marketplace. That could save coal.

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SASB Issues First Sector-Specific Standards for Reporting

Bloomberg BNA — The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) July 31 released its first set of sector-specific standards for reporting on environmental, social, and governance issues, starting with the health care sector.

Health care is one of 10 sectors for which SASB has been developing voluntary standards for disclosing nonfinancial information as part of mandatory U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filings, such as annual 10-K reports.

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Ernest Moniz

Bloomberg BNA — Coal and other fossil fuels will be “a major part of our energy future for decades,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said July 29 during a speech in which he said research on the development of clean coal technologies is needed to combat climate change.

“No discussion of U.S. energy security and reducing global CO2 emissions is complete without talking about coal—and the technologies that will allow us to use this resource more efficiently and with fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” Moniz said, according to excerpts of prepared remarks made available by the Energy Department.

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Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben published The End of Nature in 1989, one of the first popular books to explain global warming. In recent years, he has turned to climate change activism, founding in 2008 with seven undergraduate students to build "a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis," according to its website. The group now has about 50 employees and works with voluntary organizers in approximately 190 countries. McKibben is one of the most visible activists fighting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver Canadian oil sands crude into the U.S., if approved by the Obama administration.

McKibben answered writers and editors' smart questions at a Bloomberg Government breakfast this morning. And this dumb one.

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GM Sings the Body Electric as Consumer Tastes Evolve

Chevy Volt

High oil prices and the push for cleaner energy are luring car buyers toward smaller, more efficient vehicles. Trouble is, these cars can have lower profit margins than larger sport utility vehicles and light trucks. General Motors is just going with it.

That’s one conclusion from Charging Ahead: When Customers Drive Sustainability, GM’s 2012 sustainability report, released last week. It expands on themes included in, for example, the company’s most recent 10-K filing.

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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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