Bloomberg: The Freakish Year in Broken Climate Records
The annual State of the Climate report is out, and it’s ugly. Record heat, record sea levels, more hot days and fewer cool nights, surging cyclones, unprecedented pollution, and rapidly diminishing glaciers.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issues a report each year compiling the latest data gathered by 413 scientists from around the world. It’s 288 pages, but we’ll save you some time.
Here’s a review, in six charts, of some of the climate highlights from 2014.
Fortune: Tesla Reveals New Model S Options Including 'Ludicrous Mode'
While the world waits for electric-car maker Tesla to deliver its next car, the Model X, CEO Elon Musk on Friday announced three new options for the company’s Model S electric car.
They include a longer battery range, a lower priced car, and “Ludicrous mode” for faster acceleration.
Drivers will be able to upgrade their Model S from an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack to a 90-kilowatt-hour battery. The new extended range will increase the pack energy by 5% and add about 15 miles of range.
Motor Trend: New Electric Car Company Emerges
There’s a new EV car company called Faraday Future that was founded at some point in 2014 in California. FF -- as they prefer to be called -- currently resides in the former Nissan research and design building in Gardena, California.
FF currently has 200 employees and is hiring about 10 a week. They claim they’ll have 300 employees by 2016. They also claim that their first car will be “out by 2017.” "Out" as in you will be able to buy one and park it in your garage in 2017. This is a tenuous claim at best, as FF hasn’t even secured a factory location yet. However, all signs point to the first FF model being built by a U.S. contract manufacturer, though some major components might be built in other countries. FF won't say who.
Popular Mechanics: India's Ingenious Solar Canals
For the thousands of miles of canals in India, evaporation is a major concern. And for many citizens of India, inconsistent power is just a fact of daily life. Enter a new project in India's Gujarat district: covering canals with solar panels.
Working in partnership with SunEdison India, the Indian government plans to cover the more than 19,000 kilometers (or about 11,800 miles) of canals in Gujarat with solar panels. For right now, the project is limited to a small pilot project, with just 750 meters covered, producing 1 megawatt of energy. But if the project could indeed cover the entire canal, India believes it could produce 2.2 gigawatts of energy -- a tremendous boon to a country still undergoing an energy crunch.
New York Times: Coal Miners Struggle to Survive in an Industry Battered by Layoffs and Bankruptcy
Since January, six domestic coal producers have filed for bankruptcy, including Patriot Coal, which applied for Chapter 11 for the second time.
The decline has taken a heavy toll in Wayne County and the surrounding area in West Virginia and Kentucky, where roughly one in three of the nation’s 80,000 coal miners work.
They are at the center of a layoff epidemic that has reduced their numbers by roughly 5,000 annually over the last four years in the two states alone. And the wave of layoffs is spreading, with Murray Energy, one of the nation’s largest coal producers, recently announcing it would cut its work force in Ohio and Illinois, as well as West Virginia, by more than 1,800 miners.