Grist List

Infrastructure

287 coastal energy facilities at risk from sea-level rise

Sea levels are rising, which means that there’s a greater risk of floods that reach well over the high tide mark. By 2030, the risk that coastal floods will go four feet or more over high tide will have doubled, Climate Central reports. And in that zone lie 287 energy facilities — power plants, natural gas facilities, and oil and gas refineries — that now stand a greater chance of getting an unexpected bath. The state most likely to be screwed by this state of affairs is, of course, Louisiana. Not only is it full of oil and gas infrastructure, …

Critical List: Climate bill passes Mexico’s senate; Bill Clinton tells enviros to ‘chill out’

The Mexican Senate passed a climate change bill that’s all set to become law. Reuters reports it was “non-controversial.” No wonder Republicans are so set on keeping Mexican immigrants out of the country — they might bring in science. Bill Clinton has a message for sustainability advocates: “Chill out – sometimes this stuff takes years.” (Unless you’re in Mexico, apparently.) Two years after the BP oil spill, offshore drilling for oil is still a risky business. And BP is still fighting with the government over how much it will have to pay for damages.

Climate & Energy

Plants are secret geniuses

Annalee Newitz at io9 has collected 10 pieces of evidence that plants are smarter than you think, and it might make you look at your potted ficus in a new light. It turns out there’s reason to believe that plants can communicate, remember, recognize related plants, and measure time. Let’s hope nobody finds out they can feel pain, or the vegans will all starve.

Living

Website shows you your place in the universe (and yes, you are very very small)

The Scale of the Universe is a web-based Total Perspective Vortex that will make you feel very very small — or very very large — with the swipe of a mouse. You start at the scale of humans/dodos/giant earthworms, and from there you can zoom up to galaxies and down to quarks, or you can slow down and take in some surprises along the way. (A neutron star: much smaller than Rhode Island! Silk fiber: not much wider than a white blood cell! Gomez’s Hamburger: an actual thing in space!)

Climate Change

Did climate change cause the Salem witch trials?

A little ice age around the time of the 1692 Salem witch trials led to crop failures and shortages of fish, which put everyone in a mood to find a scapegoat, says a newly resurfaced 2004 Harvard thesis by economist Emily Oster.

Pollution

Super-polluted city tries to clean itself with smog-eating paint

Manila is one of the world’s five dirtiest cities, but graffiti? That’s not a problem. It’s not that people don’t paint on the walls in the hyper-polluted Philippines capital, because they do. But they do it with a paint that actually eats smog out of the air.

Cleantech

Chair-dance-worthy indie rock video explains why plastics don’t have to suck

It's like Threadless and the Arcade Fire teamed up with BASF to talk about green chemistry and the threat of peak oil.

Climate Change

People sitting in warm rooms are more likely to believe in global warming

All this time we’ve been trying to make the public understand climate change using science and logic, and it turns out we could have just made everyone wear sweaters. People’s beliefs about climate change are closely tied to the temperature they’ve recently experienced — so much so that, as Justin Gillis of the New York Times explains, people sitting in warmer rooms are more likely to say that global warming is a problem: Some people answered the questions in a cubicle at a normal room temperature, and some in a cubicle that had been heated up 10 degrees with a …

Critical List: New rules for fracking’s air pollution; prehistoric microbes live

Natural gas companies have to work on sending less methane and other hazardous compounds into the air, according to new EPA rules. The House passed that new Keystone XL provision. Oregon towns on the coast are toying with the idea of becoming major coal export ports. But it’s maaaaybe not the best idea.

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