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

Satellite View of the Americas on Earth Day

NASA’s long-confused mission was evident today -- Earth Day 2014 -- when Administrator Charles F. Bolden Jr. keynoted a conference about Mars, the red planet, before zipping across downtown Washington to give a speech about the blue-green one.

The search for NASA's singular post cold-war or even post-Nixon identity has been op-ed fodder for years -- be it "black hole budgets" (2008), post-Moon wins (1998) or skewed priorities in (1981), to name just three. It's still lively to talk about. The writer Charles Seife took a bite out of the agency in February, asking "What Is NASA for?" at

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Communities Not Prepared for Worst-Case Rail Accidents: NTSB

Bloomberg BNA — Deborah Hersman, the outgoing chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said April 21 that U.S. communities are not prepared to respond adequately to worst-case accidents involving trains carrying crude oil and ethanol.

Answering questions following her farewell address at the National Press Club in Washington, Hersman said U.S. regulators are behind the curve in addressing the transport of hazardous liquids by rail. She said federal regulations have not been revised to address the increase in rail transport of crude oil and other flammable liquids—an increase of over 440 percent since 2005.

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Shale Boom Winners and Losers: Today's Top Reads

God morning! Here are today's top reads:

  • The new winners and losers in America's shale boom (Wall Street Journal)
  • Wichita Falls is first U.S. city to reuse sewer water (Bloomberg)
  • 'Oldest living things in the world' tell a tale of climate (Climate Central)
  • Ice or molten salt, not batteries, to store energy (NY Times)
  • World's top serial bird killers put infamous windmills to shame (Bloomberg)
  • Corn biofuels worse than gasoline on global warming in short term - study (Guardian)
  • What the latest Keystone XL delay really means (InsideClimate News)
  • An ingredient of pot may help people with epilepsy (Scientific American)
  • Malta criticized for mass shooting of migratory birds (BBC)
  • Has Manhattan become too 'Manhattanized' (Atlantic Cities)

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Green Business Will Be Popular When It's No Longer Green

The most recognizable companies in the world every week boast about how sustainable they are. Day to day, it's not always exciting. Yet it's hard to deny that they add up to something big.

None of these changes -- like last week's commitments to recycle toothpaste tubes (Colgate Palmolive) and develop vegetarian meatballs (Ikea) -- by themselves signal a noteworthy break with the history of business. Yet at some point in the last 10 years, one has occurred. Environmentalists no longer need to make "the business case" for resource efficiency to companies. The latter know it's in their best interests, for both the costs it saves and the halo it sets atop their brand.

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Bird Deaths

Pity the birds.

As if cats weren’t bad enough, humans have invented all sorts of torture devices for our winged friends. We’ve paved over their nesting sites to make room for Olive Gardens and have broken up their skyscapes with glass buildings and radio towers.

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When A Mountain Moved in 10 Minutes: Today's Pic

Landslide in Washington State

Investigators have identified three more victims from last month’s Oso, Washington, mudslide. Four people are still missing, the Associated Press reports.

Ten million cubic yards of rock and sediment slid seven-tenths of a mile on March 22, burying a community and a state road, and damming the North Fork Stillaguamish River. The river pooled after the event and has begun pushing through across the blockage.

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Toilet Water to Quench Your Thirst?: Today's Top Reads

Here are today's top reads:

  • Brazilian heat portends a hard future for farmers (Bloomberg)
  • U.S. GHG emissions at lowest level in 20 years (Climate Central)
  • Plants that practice genetic engineering (NY Times)
  • Coal: The fuel of the future, unfortunately (Economist)
  • Keystone foes woo celebrities to make their case (Bloomberg)
  • Population growth in dense U.S. cities: Short-term correction or long-term trend? (Atlantic Cities)
  • How UC Berkeley MBAs beat the market with socially responsible fund (Guardian)
  • Amid drought, California warms to toilet water (National Journal)
  • Animals with human rights will be more than a pet peeve for researchers (Scientific American)
  • What do you need to know about microgrids? (GreenBiz)

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Palestinian Water Shortages Intensify Due To Drought

Bloomberg BNA — The current water shortage in Arab East Jerusalem is only the latest water crisis facing Arab areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, representatives from regional security, environmental and human rights organizations told Bloomberg BNA.

Its solution need not wait for progress in the currently stalled Middle East peace talks, they said. Nor should it.

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Court Upholds Key EPA Mercury Standards for Power Plants

Bloomberg BNA — A federal appeals court handed the Environmental Protection Agency a significant victory April 15 by upholding stringent mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, which are among the costliest regulations the agency has promulgated.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected argument after argument that industry petitioners made, saying the EPA's decisions were reasonable and the agency deserves deference.

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Resetting the Climate Change Debate: Today's Top Reads

Good morning! Here are today's top reads:

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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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