From Oil to Solar: Saudi Arabia Plots a Shift to Renewables

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Life in Saudi Arabia has long been defined by the oil that flows from the kingdom. Over decades, the vast wealth it pumped out paid not just for gleaming towers and shopping malls but also for a government sector that employs a majority of working Saudis.

Now, Saudi Arabia is trying to tie its future to another natural resource it has in abundance: sunlight.

Dying Waters: India Struggles to Clean Up Its Polluted Urban Rivers

Read the full story from e360.

India’s booming population and rapidly expanding urban areas have exacted a huge toll on its rivers, which are badly polluted and choked by development. But in cities across India, activists are heading to court to force municipalities and states to take action.

Leaked U.N. climate report sees ‘very high risk’ the planet will warm beyond key limit

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

draft United Nations climate science report contains dire news about the warming of the planet, suggesting it will likely cross the key marker of 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, of temperature rise in the 2040s, and that this will be exceedingly difficult to avoid.

EPA data reveals dramatic decrease in enforcement of polluter fees

Read the full story in The Hill. See also in The Hill: EPA penalties for polluters cut in half under Trump, study finds.

Under President Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has fined far fewer polluters for breaking emissions rules than the Obama administration.

Numbers released Thursday by the EPA in its annual enforcement report revealed that polluters were fined a total of $1.6 billion in penalties in fiscal year 2017 — about a fifth of the $5.7 billion EPA penalties collected the year prior, under President Obama.

The federal fiscal year goes from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017.

‘I’m not involved in any of those decisions,’ EPA’s Pruitt says of extensive first-class travel

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday attributed his habit of taking taxpayer-funded, first-class flights to his personal security detail and chief of staff, saying he plays no role in his travel arrangements.

SIU receives 115-pound black carp specimen for invasive species study

Read the full story from Southern Illinois University.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale researchers this weekend received what is believed to be the largest specimen of the invasive fish species black carp ever brought in for scientific analysis.

National nonprofit launches a Children’s Environmental Health Movement initiative

Read the press release.

This month the Children’s Environmental Health Network (CEHN) launched an education-to-action monthly series as a key initiative of a Children’s  Environmental Health Movement (CEH Movement). The CEH Movement goals are to: increase awareness and understanding of children’s environmental health; mobilize action on children’s environmental health concerns; and establish/expand the community and network of partners working on children’s environmental health issues. These efforts are born out of the recommendations and priority actions set forth in the Blueprint for Protecting Children’s Environmental Health: An Urgent Call to Action (“Blueprint”). The Blueprint is a resource developed, with input from federal partners and leading experts across multiple disciplines, to guide and align efforts so that all children across the nation have access to clean air, clean water, safe and healthy food, and safe toys and products for reaching their optimal health and development.

Introducing Onomics: Create and Embed Data Tables

Read the full story at Priceonomics.

We use a lot of charts on Priceonomics, but there is one kind of chart we use the most – the data table…

We currently create most of our charts using Excel, but the formatting for tables is inconsistent and a lot of information is lost when you use an image of a chart and instead of an embedded version. In the past we’ve tried custom D3 tables (absolutely beautiful, but hard to maintain over time and require programming knowledge to create) and Google Spreadsheets (not suited to pretty tables or adding your logo). Why is it so hard to make a nice looking data table?

So, today we launch Onomics, our tool for creating and embedding data tables based on the D3 data visualization library. You can give it a try here and play around with sample data.

Trump seeks clean energy cuts, $2 billion nuclear spending boost for Energy Dept.

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

The Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget might never become law, but it’s a declaration of intent, and it would reshuffle priorities at the Energy Department, boosting outlays on nuclear security and slashing spending on renewables and energy efficiency.

Converting tobacco fields into solar farms can save half a million lives a year

Read the full story at JSTOR Daily.

As demand for solar energy grew in recent years, so did the need for land for solar farms. Homeowners’ roof installations proved to be efficient enough to power individual houses and even supply electricity back to the grid, but transforming the energy industry to rely on the power of the sun requires solar power arrays installed over big swaths of land. “To completely eliminate the need for burning fossil fuels, solar technology requires large surface areas,” explains Joshua Pearce, materials science and engineering professor professor at Michigan Technological University—and that may not be an easy problem to solve…

Pearce and his colleague Ram Krishnan, who designs large solar systems, believe that the answer may be in converting tobacco plantations into energy generators.