The Guardian on how climate change affects British wine Trevor Baker reports on a Mark Driver, a winemaker in England who is preparing for progressively higher temperatures, which is expected to affect the rest of the nation: "Experts believe that climate change will force farmers to abandon previously reliable crops. Geologist and viticulture expert Professor Richard Selley ... claims that, if temperatures continue to rise, within a generation or so the Drivers or their successors will have to start thinking about replacing their current vines with varieties better suited for a warmer climate. He's produced a speculative wine map of Britain in 2080 showing chardonnay grown mostly in northern England, the Welsh mountains and Scotland, merlot in much of the rest of the country, with the south coast of England fit only for raisins." Here's that map:
National Journal on the difficulty of regulating carbon "President Obama is serious about fighting climate change in his second term, but his only real weapon for doing so is a 23-year-old law that wasn’t written with climate change in mind. This is not how he wanted to do it. It’s actually his last resort," writes Coral Davenport, about the legacy of the Clean Air Act, which was passed initially in 1963 and amended throughout the following decades. She continues: "An overly ambitious interpretation of what the Clean Air Act allows will invite a hailstorm of legal attacks from industry that could succeed in overturning the rules. But a too-cautious interpretation could make the rules legally defensible—but environmentally toothless."
The Daily Beast on who works where in the energy sector "Are there really more solar employees than coal miners?" asks Matthew Zeitlin, who considers a recent study claiming so. "Well, it depends on which data series you look at. ... There isn’t a great apples-to-apples comparison for coal and solar jobs. If we use the most generous survey of solar jobs and the rough midpoint of government surveys of coal jobs, the two seem to be roughly comparable." Still, their futures are likely to diverge: "Coal is not much of a growth business—especially when it comes to electricity production. ... Although solar is still a small portion of the nation’s energy portfolio, it is one of its fastest-growing components."
The Nation on New York City's fracking threat Allison Kilkenny reports on Occupy the Pipeline, an effort to oppose "a massive new pipeline that will carry hydrofracked gas ... being constructed in New York City. The pipeline, built by subsidiaries of Spectra Energy, will carry the gas from the Marcellus Shale, a bed that lies under Pennsylvania and New York State, into New York City’s gas infrastructure." One anti-fracking activist tells Kilkenny, "We believe that installing a thirty-inch [diameter] pipeline that carries highly flammable gas at pressure greater than that of water through a fire hose directly below the street in neighborhoods as densely populated as the West Village and Chelsea is nothing short of unbridled hubris."
The New York Times Magazine on the economics of food trucks "In the past few decades, food in New York City has gone through a complete transformation, but the street-vendor market, which should be more nimble, barely budges," writes Adam Davidson. "houldn't there be four Wafels & Dinges trucks for every hot-dog cart?" Davidson blames regulatory mazes for quashing the food truck market: "The city has a right to weigh the interests of food-market owners (who don’t want food trucks blocking their windows) and diners (who deserve to know that their street meat is edible, and harmless). But many of the rules governing location were written decades ago. ... The one group that clearly suffers from the current system — the ticketed vendors — are often poorly paid immigrants without legal status and virtually no power. This sort of dynamic more or less sums up the economies of the third world."
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