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

Republicans Move to Cut Military's Alternative Fuels

U.S. Navy's Super Hornet Strike Fighter

Legislation in both chambers of Congress would limit the Department of Defense’s ability to buy alternative fuels, reflecting congressional Republicans' criticism of Pentagon efforts to green the military.

A $554 billion defense spending bill approved by the House earlier this month would limit DOD's ability to produce or procure biofuels if the cost exceeds the price of traditional fossil fuel.

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Solar-Powered Airplane Takes Flight: Today's Pic

Solar Impulse Airplane

The experimental "Solar Impulse" lifts off today for its first intercontinental flight to Morocco, from an airbase in Payerne, Switzerland. The aircraft's backers aim to circumnavigate the world powered only by energy harnessed from the sun.

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PepsiCo and Wal-Mart Attempt to Value the Amazon

Lush Amazon Rainforest and Tributary

PepsiCo and Wal-mart have entered into a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and several nonprofit groups to protect Brazil's Amazon rain forest and other ecosystems.

The companies will conduct an ecosystem review to identify ways to profit while protecting or restoring ecosystems and biodiversity.

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Japan's Tsunami Debris Floats East: Today's Pic

Japan's Tsunami Debris Floats East

In the North Pacific Ocean, a Japanese fishing boat, believed to have been washed out to sea during the 2011 tsunami, was sighted drifting 150 nautical miles off the shouthern coast of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, Canada, on March 20.

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A Million Carb-Light Miles Makes Frito-Lay Crave More

Frito-Lay Electric Truck

That bag of salty snacks in the pantry that blows your daily carb budget is helping Frito-Lay stick to a low-carbon diet. The company's fleet of electric delivery trucks surpassed one million miles this month, part of a drive to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption 50 percent by 2020.

The 176 Smith electric trucks have saved the largest snack food maker 200,000 gallons of diesel fuel over the past two years, and Frito-Lay on May 10 ordered 100 more to replace their noisier, polluting cousins.

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How a Change in Perspective Is Changing Capitalism: Books

Standing on the Sun Book Cover

For all the political cacophony about creating American jobs, reviving housing and boosting manufacturing, there is a surprising dearth of insightful conversation about how the U.S. economy is actually evolving.

If policymakers recognized the scope of this transformation, they might better support the market-based changes already in progress. Into this vacuum comes the book Standing on the Sun by Christopher Meyer, written with Julia Kirby.

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Harvested by Hand in Pakistan: Today's Pic

Wheat Harvest in Pakistan

Farmers use a cart to haul a load of wheat during a harvest in the village of Fatehganj in Punjab province, Pakistan, on May 3. Pakistan is Asia's third-largest grower of wheat.

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How to Smear Sunblock on a Planet

NASA Scientific Balloon

Similar to the way a slather of sunscreen can help prevent sunburn, one of its ingredients—titanium oxide—could be injected into the stratosphere to help keep the Earth from overheating, according to a British chemical engineer.

Peter Davidson, former senior innovation adviser to the United Kingdom’s Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, wrote in the May issue of the chemical engineering journal tceToday that TiO2, which is also used in paint and inks, is nontoxic, readily available, and could be a low-cost solution if the planet gets too hot to handle.

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Workers at an Intel Semiconductor Plant

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, gave his daughter some reasonable advice as she finishes up a program in environmental management at Duke University: “Don’t use that word with a lot of people,” he said. “They won’t know what you’re talking about.”

The word he was talking about is “sustainability,” and while the Senator’s observation is correct, so was his daughter’s response: Well, they know what it means at the university, and corporate executives do, too. It's a global company's long-term strategy to thrive amid unprecedented change in population growth, middle-class consumption and resource availability.

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Suntech Power Holdings Solar Factory

(Cross-posted from's Political Capital blog.)

Keep an eye out tomorrow for an announcement from the Commerce Department, which is expected to slap tariffs on imports of some Chinese solar products.

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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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