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New York City midtown illuminated at dusk. Bim / E+ / Getty Images

Wealthy nations could dramatically cut energy use without compromising their well-being, a new study from Stanford University published Tuesday in Ecosphere finds.

Researchers measured energy consumption and well-being benchmarks across 140 countries and found 75 gigajoules (GJ) is the ‘magic number’ above which quality of life generally stops improving.

Wealthy nations could dramatically cut energy use without compromising their well-being, a new study from Stanford University published Tuesday in Ecosphere finds.

Researchers measured energy consumption and well-being benchmarks across 140 countries and found 75 gigajoules (GJ) is the ‘magic number’ above which quality of life generally stops improving.

“That suggests to me that we could nudge energy use downwards in a bunch of hyper-consuming countries and not just make a more equitable world, but perhaps make ourselves healthier and happier,” lead author Rob Jackson told NPR.

Energy consumption is wildly unequal worldwide — people in the U.S. use 284 GJ per year, more than 23 times the average person in Senegal.

As reported by NPR:

Globally, around 759 million people lived without electricity and 2.6 billion without clean cooking fuel in 2019, according to the World Bank. That comes at an enormous human cost. Around 4 million people die each year from conditions caused by indoor air pollution from cooking fires, according to the World Health Organization. Access to electricity is critical for providing medical services and powering modern economies.

For a deeper dive:

NPRAxiosBloomberg

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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A family leaves Sunday church services surrounded by chemical plants in Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley.” Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating whether the Louisiana state departments of Environmental Quality and Health illegally discriminated against black residents in permitting decisions regarding two chemical plants and a grain export terminal.

Petitions to the EPA seeking an investigation allege the state departments failed to provide proper notice and comment opportunities to residents and also failed to review, renew, or strengthen air pollution requirements in a manner that discriminated against Black residents of the area.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating whether the Louisiana state departments of Environmental Quality and Health illegally discriminated against black residents in permitting decisions regarding two chemical plants and a grain export terminal.

Petitions to the EPA seeking an investigation allege the state departments failed to provide proper notice and comment opportunities to residents and also failed to review, renew, or strengthen air pollution requirements in a manner that discriminated against Black residents of the area.

The Denka Performance Elastomers and the proposed Formosa Plastics Sunshine plant are part of what is known as “Cancer Alley” for its high concentration of air pollution and highest in the nation prevalence of cancer.

Next month, Sharon Lavigne, founder of Rise St. James and one of the activists leading the fight against environmental racism in Cancer Alley, will receive Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal. “Why would they put the [Formosa Plastics Sunshine] plant over here? Because they knew that people weren’t going to speak up,” Lavigne, a lifelong member of St. James Catholic Church, told Notre Dame. “And they were right. The people weren’t going to speak up. That’s when God touched me and told me to fight — and that’s what I did.”

For a deeper dive:

NOLA.comAPE&E; Lavigne: AP

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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A dark street in San Juan, Puerto Rico after a major power outage hit the island on April 6, 2022. RICARDO ARDUENGO / AFP via Getty Images

Puerto Ricans remain without power (both electrical and in Congress) after an island-wide power outage plunged the disenfranchised colonial territory into darkness Wednesday evening.

Every customer on the main island lost electricity when "all the generating units went offline," Josue Colon, Puerto Rico's lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters, and more than one-third of Puerto Rican power customers were still in the dark Friday morning.

Puerto Ricans remain without power (both electrical and in Congress) after an island-wide power outage plunged the disenfranchised colonial territory into darkness Wednesday evening.

Every customer on the main island lost electricity when “all the generating units went offline,” Josue Colon, Puerto Rico’s lead telecommunications and infrastructure engineer, told reporters, and more than one-third of Puerto Rican power customers were still in the dark Friday morning.

The initial failure was caused by a fire at the Costa Sur power plant outside Guayanilla. Puerto Rico’s grid was decimated by Hurricane Maria and has been plagued by unreliability as efforts to modernize the grid have struggled under the private U.S.-Canadian company that took over Puerto Rico’s grid last year.

Despite poor service, residents of Puerto Rico pay almost twice as much for electricity as customers on the U.S. mainland. “This is horrible,” Luisa Rosado, a San Juan mother of two told NBC. “To increase bills when you don’t provide a perfect service… the level of impunity is absurd.”

For a deeper dive:

CNNE&EThe Wall Street JournalBloombergThe New York Times; Grid modernization failures: NBC; Climate Signals background: Hurricane Maria

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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