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World’s Largest Companies Decoupling Emissions, Business Growth

Greenhouse gas emissions data from the world’s 500 largest companies shows that for the first time, the Global 500 are beginning to grow their businesses and manage their emissions at a rate that follows the global scientific consensus on the risks of climate change, according to a Thomson Reuters report. These businesses currently represent about 28 percent of the world’s GDP and collectively emitted 10 percent of global GHG emissions over the last five years. Global 500 Greenhouse Gas Performance 2010-2015: 2016 Report on Trends was written in collaboration with BSD Consulting, a global sustainability consultancy. It looked at self-reported GHG emissions data from businesses as well as est

Nation’s First Solar Roadway Coming to Historic Route 66

Solar Roadways’s hexagonal solar panels feature LED lighting and smart technology that allows them to “communicate” with each other. Photo credit: Solar Roadways Missouri’s Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has announced plans to install solar panels at a rest stop alongside the iconic Route 66 as part of the department’s “Road to Tomorrow Initiative.” The Historic Route 66 welcome center in Conway, Missouri will receive the nation’s first solar roadway panels on a public right of way. “… part of why we picked this location is because of the the historic Route 66 concept,” Laurel McKean, MoDot assistant district engineer, told KY3. “You know, here’s one of the main roadways that’s iconic

A Meteorologist Explores Survival Skills and Climate Change as a ‘Heat Dome’ Sears the Southwest

On Monday, the first day of summer, it was hard not to focus on the scorching Southwest, where 110-degree-plus temperatures spilled far outside their typical geographic range for this time of year, in part thanks to an atmospheric feature called a “heat dome.” (Back in 2011, this phrase had an earlier headline moment, deconstructed at the time by Erik Eckholm for The Times.) This Twitter item from Ryan M. Maue says much about the heat, centered in Arizona but spreading far and wide: A Twitter item from meteorologist Ryan Maue at the peak of the heat spike in the Southwest on Monday, June 20. Credit Ryan Maue Maue, a meteorologist for Weatherbell Analytics, a company doing advanced analysis o

Oil bust leaves states with massive well cleanup

Pump jacks sit idle on a South Texas ranch near Bigfoot. Deserted drilling wells are the relics of every oil bust, and Texas is pitted with more than any other place in the U.S. (Source: Eric Gay, Associated Press) BIGFOOT, Texas — The worst oil bust since the 1980s is putting Texas and other oil producing states on the hook for thousands of newly abandoned drilling sites at a time when they have little money to plug wells and seal off environmental hazards. As U.S. rig counts plunge to historic lows, and with at least 60 oil producers declaring bankruptcy since 2014, energy-producing states are confronting both holes in their budgets and potentially leaking ones in the ground. In Texas alon

GE sets Guinness World Record at plant in France

GE Power CEO Steve Bolze in France on Friday making the announcement about the HA turbine Executives from GE Power in Schenectady were in France Friday to declare that a power plant using the company’s new HA gas turbine had set a Guinness World Record for efficiency. The combined cycle power plant, which uses both a gas and steam turbine, is located in Bouchain, France, is owned by the energy company EDF and can power 680,000 homes. “Today we are making history with this power plant for the future,” said Steve Bolze, CEO of GE Power. “We are thrilled to be acknowledged by Guinness World Records for powering the world’s most efficient combined-cycle power plant, and we are also very proud of

Greenland was hotter than New York City last week

Credit: Shutterstock Greenland, the Arctic nation that is basically one huge ice cube, is feeling rather balmy lately. The island experienced the highest temperatures ever recorded on June 9, when air temperature in Nuuk, the capital city, soared to 75 degrees F. While that may seem like no sweat, the average high for this time of year between 1961 and 1990 was just 44 degrees F, and even Greenland’s hottest month rarely broke 50. But that was then. That record-breaking day in June was hotter in Nuuk than it was in New York City, while a heat wave in April saw warmer weather in Greenland than in Boston. All this hot air caused Greenland’s sea ice, which is the size of Texas, to begin thawing

New York Links Power Lines to Bring Renewables From Upstate to Downstate

An example of how to accommodate new renewables without building out a lot of new grid infrastructure. New York has an ambitious goal of getting 50 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030. To get there, the state will need to expand grid infrastructure to deliver renewable power from rural areas to load centers. But the state won't always have to build new infrastructure -- it can do more with what it has. The New York Power Authority and New York State Electric & Gas have just finished the first project that shows what is possible using existing infrastructure. NYPA completed a $120 million transmission upgrade, called the Marcy South Series Compensation Project, that wi

CO2 Levels Hit Record High As Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low

Last month saw the biggest year-over-year jump in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide on record — 3.76 parts per million. And that, reports NOAA, took May 2016 to the highest monthly levels of CO2 in the air ever measured — 407.7 ppm. At the same time, the National Snow and Ice Data Center reports the warming-driven death spiral of Arctic sea ice hit a staggering new May low (see figure). May 2016 saw Arctic sea ice extent drop “about 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) below any previous year in the 38-year satellite record.” “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” explained NSIDC director Mark Serreze. “It’s way below the previous record, very far below it

Interior Announces Milestone for New York Offshore Commercial Wind Energy

Department proposes New York offshore wind lease sale for more than 81,000 acres; Public comment sought on associated environmental assessment Credit: BOEM WASHINGTON — Furthering progress on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to create American jobs, develop domestic clean energy sources and cut carbon pollution, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the proposed lease sale for 81,130 acres offshore New York for commercial wind energy leasing. “This is another major step in broadening our nation’s energy portfolio, harnessing power near population centers on the East Coast,” Secretary Jewell said. “Offshore wind power marks a new frontier in renewable energy develop

The New York Assembly Just Passed The Nation’s Most Ambitious Climate Bill

Albany Capitol Building. Credit: Shutterstock The New York State Assembly has passed the most ambitious climate bill in the country, one that would require the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from major sources to zero by 2050. The bill was passed Wednesday night with support from a broad coalition of organizations, including labor groups, environmental groups, and community leaders. The bill seeks to codify into law certain climate goals put forth by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has said in the past that he wants the state to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. In December, Cuomo mandated that the New York Department of Public Service begin estab

Higher renewable capacity additions in AEO2016 reflect policy changes and cost reductions

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Annual Energy Outlook (2015 and 2016 editions) Projections for renewable electricity capacity in the U.S. Energy Information Administration's most recent Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) are significantly higher than the projections in AEO2015. The December 2015 enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, which extended certain tax credits for renewable generation technologies, and the August 2015 promulgation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's final Clean Power Plan (CPP) are policies that have a significant effect on projected renewables deployment. Reductions in technology costs and some changes in state policies on renewab

Benchmark: U.S. Solar Job Growth Outpaces Traditional Energy Sector Employment

U.S. renewable energy employment rose 6% in the U.S. during 2015, largely surpassing job growth in traditional energy sectors such as oil and gas extraction and coal mining. image via IRENA Renewable energy employment in the U.S. increased by 6% in 2015, according to a report recently released by the United Arab Emirates-based International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA. The report, Renewable Energy and Jobs –Annual Review 2016, documents job growth in renewable industries for countries worldwide, including the U.S. Globally, more than 8.1 million people are employed in the renewable energy industry, a 5% increase year-over-year. “This increase is being driven by declining renewable ener

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