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

Fossil Fuels

Forget the Senate, as President Obama is trying to do. Pull the plug on the annual United Nations climate negotiations. Maybe it’s time for investors to save the planet.

That idea has received some attention on the left, through the environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben, and from the center-left through a U.K.-based investment think tank called the Carbon Tracker Initiative. (The right, center or otherwise, still won't have any of it.)

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U.S. Auditors Say Obama Climate Math Checks Out -- Government auditors have taken a close look at a disputed calculation used by federal regulators to assess the long-term costs of carbon pollution. Their verdict: It was all done by the book.

The hotly contested economic calculation, known as the "social cost of carbon," or SCC, sailed through a review by the Governmental Accountability Office, whose audits often feature scathing criticisms of the bureaucracy.

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Irreversible Damage: Today's Top Reads

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Irreversible damage seen from climate change in UN leak (Bloomberg)
  • Obama pursing climate accord in lieu of treaty (NY Times)
  • If you have allergies, talk to your doctor about cap and trade (CityLab)
  • Do dams destroy rivers? (Guardian)
  • In Beijing, you can pay for train rides with plastic bottles (Fast Company)
  • Tell me the one about Ebola: How jokes spread awareness (Bloomberg)
  • Whale-watching found to stress out whales (Scientific American)
  • A deadly epidemic of violence against women (Atlantic)
  • Can birds be protected from huge solar plants? (Climate Central)
  • Government auditors say 'social cost of carbon' is by the book (Inside Climate News)

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Bloomberg BNA -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a final rule Aug. 26 declaring that continued storage of spent nuclear fuel on the site of a commercial power plant is safe if properly managed.

The rule addresses the storage of used fuel between the end of the reactor's licensed term and its final removal for disposal.

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Bloomberg BNA -- A Pennsylvania contractor has pleaded guilty in a federal court to falsely certifying that he had properly plugged abandoned oil wells in the vicinity of a proposed injection well as required under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the Justice Department said.

Ronald A. Wright, a contractor who conducted abandoned well plugging operations for a Pleasantville, Pa., company on behalf of ARG Resources Inc., pleaded guilty Aug. 25 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to one count of making false statements.

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U.S. Coal Exports to South Korea Would Reduce CO2: Study

Bloomberg BNA -- Even as the shale-gas boom has dramatically changed America's energy mix and pricing, the U.S. still burns a lot of coal. Because the fleet of domestic coal-fired power plants includes many aging facilities, it isn't burned efficiently.

A study by researchers at Duke University and the University of Calgary has compared coal burning in the U.S. and South Korea and proposed a novel way to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions. Given the “superior energy efficiency of South Korea's newer coal-fired power plants,” says Duke's Dalia Patiño-Echeverri, co-author of a paper published recently in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Korea derives far greater energy per ton of coal burned.

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The Incognito Caterpillar: Today's Top Reads  

Good afternoon! Here are today's top reads:

  • Comet harpoons and cosmic sunsets: This summer in outer space (Bloomberg)
  • Tasmania prepares to tear up forestry peace deal (Guardian)
  • Incognito caterpillar threatens U.S. border (Scientific American)
  • Drought is causing the Western U.S. to rise like an uncoiling spring (CityLab)
  • E-cigarettes may help smokers quit, heart group says (Bloomberg)
  • We've already used up our ecological budget for 2014, and it's only August (Fast Company)
  • The Jargonaut: What's a Rossby wave? (Climate Central)
  • 'Widespread methane leakage' from ocean floor off U.S. coast (BBC)
  • Winged warnings: Build for survival, birds in trouble from pole to pole (Environmental Health News)
  • China touts itself as winner in high-speed rail stakes (NY Times)

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'Freedom From Everything'

We live in an era of constant distraction. The missions of our space explorers -- often in the works for a decade or more -- remind us that the great legs of humanity march at a different pace.

The explorers have been busy: A robot is preparing to harpoon a comet, a private company is making regular deliveries into space, and the International Space Station has its own 24-hour reality show. Space is even getting some pretty fancy landscaping.

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The Sexiest Space Mission

The Rosetta spacecraft "woke up" in January after a record 957 days in hibernation. It rendezvoused with the... Read more »

Still Truckin' on Mars

The first sample of powdered rock. The image was taken after the sample was transferred from the drill to the rover's scoop. The primary Mars mission:... Read more »

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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