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

Dominion Energy Plans — In 2008, Virginia resident Ruth McElroy Amundsen took her first stab at using shareholder activism to spur action on climate change—she introduced a resolution that challenged Dominion Resources Inc., Virginia's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to get more of its electricity from renewables.

Since then the 51-year-old NASA engineer and mother of two has helped spark a growing movement to pressure Dominion to respond to global warming concerns. Last month, the informal network of 20 activists achieved its biggest success yet: Shareholders representing nearly a quarter of Dominion's shares voted "yes" on a proposal to require the utility to report to investors on the financial risks that climate change poses to its business.

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Record U.S. Soybean Crop Seen Extending Bear Market

U.S. soybean farmers are planting a record crop that’s poised to double domestic reserves and expand a global surplus after last year’s drought drove prices to an all-time high.

Stockpiles at the end of August 2014 will have gained 116 percent to 7.29 million metric tons in 12 months, according to the average of 30 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. U.S. production will jump 12 percent to 91.74 million tons, adding almost enough extra supply to feed India for a year. The U.S. government updates its estimates tomorrow. Jefferies Bache LLC expects November futures traded in Chicago to plunge 26 percent to $9.88 a bushel by Oct. 1, when harvesting peaks.

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Should U.S. food aid support agriculture abroad?

Bipartisan agreement is so rare in Washington these days that no common ground, however plain, should escape notice: It turns out that both Republicans and Democrats believe that food aid for international emergencies should feed people.

The splits -- which cross partisan boundaries and in the last decade has pit lawmakers against presidents who share their party -- arise over the question of who should the United States buy the food from? Should the U.S. pay its farmers and ship their food overseas, the traditional plan, or should it ship money overseas and pay poorer farmers abroad, as every other major food-producing nation does?

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California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Rule Is Working, Study Says — California is replacing oil with cleaner-burning fuels in cars and trucks, thanks to a landmark low-carbon fuel rule, according to a recent report. But the rule's fate is uncertain amid legal chaos and a shortfall in the production of clean biofuels.

The report, conducted by researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, said California drivers saved more than two billion gallons of gasoline in the two years since the launch of the rule—about as much gas as the state uses in two months. The carbon emissions reduction is equal to taking half a million vehicles off the road.

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Green Mountain College

Bloomberg BNA — Divesting university endowment holdings from fossil fuel companies may be technically and financially difficult, and schools considering doing so in response to student campaigns may want to consider alternatives, investment professionals say.

Colleges and universities that have started divesting from fossil fuel companies say despite the difficulties, it is possible and that doing so is consistent with their schools' values even if the action does not directly affect large electric, oil, and gas companies.

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Dumb Question: Is Environmentalism Annoying?

Mark R. Tercek of The Nature Conservancy

“Is Environmentalism Dead?” This question sent existential despair rippling through the environmental community about nine years ago, when two eco-provocateurs wrote a really, really long essay answering the question. It was really long.

Nearly a decade later few people, if anyone, asks that question. The more apt question today: Is environmentalism annoying?

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Map for Eric

A U.S. effort that will tailor climate-change relief for farmers by region may help build support for efforts to cut carbon emissions tied to global warming, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

Vilsack will introduce U.S. Department of Agriculture programs today to combat the effects of climate volatility. As a Corn Belt drought, the worst since the 1930s, is replaced by the wettest Iowa spring on record, farmers need resources and research to make better choices on planting and dealing with threats from the weather, he said in previewing a speech today at the National Press Club in Washington.

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Companies Need Better Tools to Analyze Climate Data

Bloomberg BNA — Companies need better tools to analyze climate change data in order to use that information to make business decisions, scientists and insurance industry representatives said June 3.

Approximately 15 petabytes of climate data, or 15 million gigabytes, now exist worldwide, primarily from government agencies and academic institutions, said Sharon Hays, vice president of science and engineering at Computer Sciences Corp. The volume of climate data is expected to grow to 350 petabytes by 2030, she said. Hays was speaking at a workshop on climate information needs for financial decision-making held by the American Meteorological Society.

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From Nigeria to New Jersey, Companies Have the Same Enemy

Superstorm Sandy

Question: What do Lagos, Nigeria, and the Jersey Shore have in common?

  • (a) Their rulers both have Facebook pages with well over 100,000 “likes."
  • (b) Their rulers have both launched anti-corruption crusades.
  • (c) Their rulers are comfortable with the phrase “I don’t give a damn.”
  • (d) Their rulers have both declared a state of emergency in the past 12 months.

If you guessed that all of those answers are correct, you’re right! Though, really, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s 111,293 "likes" can't compete with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s 957,849.

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Mac G4 Cube

What would it take for proponents of sustainable capitalism to adopt the late Steve Jobs's obsession with making things that are "insanely great"? Set aside for a moment the glib answers, such as "a miracle" or “give away candy with your white papers.”

Apple changed the world because it suffocated stereotypes and expectations about what a computer could be. Somebody needs to suffocate stereotypes and expectations that sustainability advocates are p.r.-happy, regulation-loving do-gooder nerds.

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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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