Sustainability Blog - The Grid
Bloomberg BNA — Car buyers in the southern city of Shenzhen could be required to purchase carbon quotas along with their vehicles as early as next year if the city's pilot carbon trading program is expanded, a city official said.
Shenzhen, which is among a half dozen areas of China that are experimenting with carbon trading, could add private vehicles and other parts of the transportation sector to the carbon trading mix as early as next year, Vice Mayor Tang Jie said June 11.
It isn’t always easy cutting the cable cord. Most countries offer full World Cup soccer broadcasts for free. In the U.S., Disney, through its ESPN network, wants you to pay.
But for the devout cord-cutter unwilling to pay even for the best television (I’m looking at you, Game-of-Thrones hackers), there is an answer. This one is free and legal, and you don’t have to jump through a bunch of computer-security hoops to do it.
Here’s a trivia question for your drinking buddies: what’s the world’s most popular beer? Bud Light? Budweiser? A decade ago, those answers would be right on the money.
The money is moving.
Bloomberg BNA — With new rules that took effect June 1, North Dakota is aiming to reduce flaring, the burning of natural gas that cannot be used or sold, to 10 percent of natural gas produced at the wellhead, Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) said June 12.
Addressing fellow governors at the 2014 annual meeting of the Western Governors' Association, Dalrymple said he was “embarrassed to say” oil and gas companies currently flare about one-third of the roughly 1 billion cubic feet of gas they produce a day in North Dakota's Bakken shale play.
Bloomberg BNA — The National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to launch July 1 its first satellite dedicated to measuring carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere.
The $465 million Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission seeks to provide a more complete picture of human and natural sources of carbon dioxide globally, as well as sinks where carbon dioxide is absorbed.
The White House proposed new rules to govern greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants over a week ago. That, along with aggressive car fuel efficiency standards finalized in 2012, have clearly pushed President Barack Obama ahead of his predecessors in the climate legacy race. Granted, not many entrants in that race, but he could still easily lose.
At least two major questions remain before the case is closed on Obama. Both have to do with how carbon fuels flow across borders.
Pesticide use is surging among U.S. corn farmers who are worried that some insects have become resistant to genetically modified versions of the crop.
That’s an unexpected reversal since one of the promises of engineered corn when it was introduced 17 years ago was its ability to kill pests. The use of soil insecticides for the crop plunged 90 percent through 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The world is on the brink of a serious surge in batteries -- and not just the kind that powers mobile phones, laptops and sports cars. Batteries of the near future will power homes and hospitals and even provide relief for the grid, with in an industry that may be worth $200 billion in 2020.
The battery boom got an extra boost from the Environmental Protection Agency, with new regulations proposed this month to limit power-plant pollution. In a departure from previous rules, the EPA leaves it to individual states to determine how they will cut emissions. Some states will build more efficient buildings, others will shift from coal to cleaner-burning natural gas. An often-overlooked beneficiary is battery makers.
Bloomberg BNA — Pregnant and breast-feeding women, as well as young children, should be careful about eating fish caught in local streams, lakes and rivers that have not been monitored for mercury contamination, under draft recommendations issued June 10 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration.
The agencies reiterated their draft advice for women who are pregnant or might be pregnant and women who are breast feeding their children that they eat no more than 6 ounces of fish caught from waters that aren't monitored for mercury levels. For young children, the agencies recommended a dietary intake of 1 ounce to 3 ounces.
InsideClimateNews.org — The morning after I landed in the Brazilian state of Pará, I joined a pair of state government officials heading to an event in a municipality of Terra Alta, located 70 miles inland from the capital of Belém. It turned out they were honored guests, and as we approached we discovered that a parade was literally waiting for them on the side of the road before rolling into town. A man was shooting fireworks out the back of one truck, and a stack of concert speakers belted music out of another.
The occasion? Several dozen properties were formally being entered into the new "rural environmental registry," and the local government was using the occasion to persuade more landowners to register their land and protect their remaining forests. Terra Alta Environment Secretary João Batista do Nascimento told me that the municipality needs to get its environmental documents in order so its producers can remain competitive in a market that punishes environmental negligence.