Learning for all: millions attending school do not achieve proficiency in reading, writing and doing math. Education standards and methods need to improve

By Catherine Benson Wahlén, Human Development, Human Settlements and Sustainable Development (US), 28 Sep 2017, World Bank Report Warns of “Learning Crisis” The World Bank’s World Development Report 2018 finds that millions of children, particularly in low and middle-income countries, attend school but do not achieve proficiency in reading, writing and doing math. At the same time, the report stresses that, …

Western climate news, thanks to the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the 7.9 million acres burned so far this year nationwide exceed the 2006-16 average by more than 50 percent. California, Oregon, and, especially Montana have the most wildfires, with Montana alone having 23 separate large wildfires. Abnormally dry and hot conditions in that state, documented by the September 5th Western regional Drought Monitor produced by the U.S. …

A green roof could save $200,000 over its lifetime, mainly through temperature control of the building on which the roof is located

Researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, have built a “living laboratory” to study hydrology. The building hosts a rain garden, multiple bioretention planters and multiple green roof setups to test water quality performance in green infrastructure systems. There are 20 green roof setups, duplicated to look at runoff from a rooftop with a different mix of lightweight growing media …

Colorado and the West news August 2017

Thanks to the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization! Water and Birds in the Arid West: Habitats in Decline is intended by the Audubon Society to be the first comprehensive assessment of the complex and vital relationships that exist among birds, water management, and climate change in the Southwest, focused on two of the most imperiled and irreplaceable western ecosystems: the Colorado …

Increasing droughts, lower crop yields (just 40% already in Utah and forecast to go to 10%), and increased stress and conflict

A new study by MIT climate scientists, economists, and agriculture experts finds that certain hotspots in the country will experience severe reductions in crop yields by 2050, due to climate change’s impact on irrigation. The most adversely affected region, according to the researchers, will be the Southwest. Already a water-stressed part of the country, this region is projected to experience …

Thermoelectric energy at high risk of blackouts with droughts: Water shortages cost India enough energy to power Sri Lanka

By  Tianyi Luo – WRI  July 26, 2017   A power plant in India. Flickr/Vikramdeep Singh India is making great strides to aggressively expand its renewable energy capacity. But the country’s power sector remains highly reliant on thermoelectric plants, with high demand for water for cooling. That means that droughts, like the one caused last year by weak monsoons, can shut off the power, hampering …

428 planned Amazon dams present major disturbances to Amazon floodplains, rainforests, the northeast coast of South America and the regional climate

Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico. These findings, published in Nature, emerge from a multidisciplinary, international collaboration of researchers from 10 universities, led by scientists at The University of Texas at …

Grid-connected water heaters offer storage capabilities at a fraction of the cost of batteries. The challenge is getting everyone a piece of the returns.

By Herman Trabish, Utility Dive, 20 June 2017 Utilities have always tried to stay out of hot water with their customers. But now, they’re itching to get into it. A wave of interest is building in grid-integrated water heating (GIWH) as a path to system flexibility at a fraction of the cost of battery energy storage. At last count, 53.6 …

Utilities are taking risks when they know of dangers related to fuels and emissions and continue anyway; insurers are resisting

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 15, 2017 More than two dozen insurance companies who previously insured Duke Energy’s coal ash disposal operations say they are not on the hook for cleanup costs because any property damage was “caused intentionally, by or at Duke’s direction.” The 30 insurance companies say they have no liability in the matter because Duke stored …

Deep trouble: how to improve the health of the ocean

The ocean sustains humanity. Humanity treats it with contempt 27 May 2017, The Economist May 27th 2017 EARTH is poorly named. The ocean covers almost three-quarters of the planet. It is divided into five basins: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic and the Southern oceans. Were all the planet’s water placed over the United States, it would form …