USA: New snowfall on the northeast, cancellation of thousands of flights

The northeastern United States was under the snow on Wednesday, displacing some 2,500 flights at regional airports, road accidents and power cuts for thousands of homes.

Nearly 550 flights – or nearly 42% of the planned total – from or to JFK International Airport had been canceled at about 1900 local time (00:00 GMT), 700 flights – or 55% – for Newark International Airport, and also 700 (60%) for LaGuardia Airport, which primarily connects US destinations, according to the FlightAware Flight Tracking Site.

Boston and Philadelphia airports were also affected, with cancellation rates between 20 and 30%

The intensity of snowfall, sometimes accompanied by thunder and lightning, varied greatly from one region to another.

Only a few centimeters had fallen at the end of the day at JFK, but up to 30 centimeters of snow had fallen altogether in other more central districts of New York, and up to 50 centimeters in the more rural areas of New York. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut states, the National Weather Service (NWS), the national weather forecast, had revised upward by mid-day expected snow.

Temperatures were relatively mild (+2 degrees Celsius in New York) and the NWS provided for "heavy and wet snow, with squalls and floods on the coasts."

In the evening, fog and "conditions close to a "blizzard", with gusts of up to 55 km / h, made traveling in many areas near the US financial capital "very difficult if not impossible," according to the national weather.

– State of Emergency –

New York public schools such as courts or utilities remained open, although many closed earlier than planned to allow employees to return home.

In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy announced Tuesday night the closure of schools and declared a state of emergency.

 Two women walk on snow Wednesday in Hoboken, New Jersey (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP - KENA BETANCUR)

Two women walk on snow Wednesday in Hoboken, New Jersey (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP – KENA BETANCUR)

Such a measure is common in the United States in the face of climatic hazards: it makes it possible to give priority to emergency vehicles and to release funds from the federal government.

In Boston, schools were to remain closed on Thursday

Rail transport was also disrupted. The national carrier Amtrak announced the cancellation of some of the trains running between Washington and Boston.

Last Friday, a storm had already swept the northeastern United States over a wider area from Maryland to Massachusetts, which had killed at least five people, mostly due to windfall trees violent events that had accompanied heavy rains

More than 100,000 households had been deprived of electricity. Several thousands of them were still without power on Wednesday, and other cuts were added, especially in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

In the latter state, some 136,000 people were affected, according to the company FirstEnergy.

Wet snow and lack of visibility also caused many accidents on the roads. Between midnight and 4 pm, the New Jersey State Police reported that they had to respond to 356 accidents, but did not specify their severity.

The snow was not expected to last beyond Wednesday, however, according to weather forecasts, and the state of emergency in New Jersey was to be lifted at night.

USA: political wrangling around the expansion of coastal drilling

The Trump Administration's decision to open much larger areas along US coasts sooner to oil drilling is provoking political clashes and worrying environmentalists.

The NGO Oceana denounced Wednesday the negative economic impact of these new boreholes when the Trump administration completes its first consultations on this project

"The Trump administration's offshore drilling plan threatens more than 2.6 million jobs and equivalent of nearly $ 180 billion of US "GDP, has costed this organization to protect the world's oceans.

And these data are" only for the equivalent of two years worth of oil and just a year gas value at the current rate of consumption (of these energies), "she said.

On 4 January, the Trump administration announced its intention to open almost all coastal waters. American eras at offshore oil and gas operations, including off California, Florida and the Arctic. It said that this would affect 90% of the US coastal waters that are home to 98% of the unexploited resources of oil and gas in the federal field.

On Wednesday, the ministry was to hold new public hearings. And stakeholders have until Friday to comment before drafting a new version of the project.

The final text will not be available for several months for approval towards the end of the year and implementation starting in 2019 as part of a new five-year marine energy resource management program. [19659002] – "Arbitrary" Decision –

Since January, the list of governors, local representatives and associations protesting against this project has continued to grow.

Under pressure, the Minister of Natural Resources Ryan Zinke had decided on Jan. 9 not to apply the decision to Florida, a state run by a Republican governor, Trump's party. He explained that he had taken into account that "Florida is unique and its coastline is economically very dependent on tourism".

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York State has also urged the Trump administration to exempt his shoreline for similar reasons, to no avail so far.

"Drilling offshore would devastate the economy and the environment of New York, would cause irreparable damage to the ecosystems of our coasts ", he had pleaded in a letter addressed to Ryan Zinke mid-January.

He further considered that the Minister's decision to remove Florida from the list of States involved in the project even before its services conducted their consultation and investigation process "seems arbitrary".

Chris Smith, Republican Congressman, was optimistic last week after a meeting with Ryan Zinke. "If the project does not rule out New Jersey, that will not be long," he had tweeted. New Jersey is close to New York State.

"From ocean views disfigured by drilling rigs to the industrialization of our coastal cities to the risk of new disasters such as BP Deepwater Horizon, expanding offshore exploitation threatens coastal economies and dynamic tourism, recreation, fishing that depend on oil-free beaches and healthy oceans, "insisted Wednesday Oceana Campaign Director Diane Hoskins.

In 2010, Florida, whose ribs Westerners border the Gulf of Mexico, had been affected by a huge oil spill, caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, operated by British BP

– Drilling against wind turbines –

"Ribs clean and healthy oceans are the promise of jobs and revenue year after year while oil and gas are resources that are not inexhaustible, "observed Ms. Hoski ns.

The relaunch of offshore drilling is part of President Donald Trump's desire to accelerate US crude oil production, boost industrial employment and ensure the energy independence of the United States.

API, the American federation representing oil industry, estimates that by 2035, new drilling would contribute to the US economy for more than 70 billion dollars a year and create nearly 840,000

This project has the support of other governors, such as Republican Paul LePage (Maine, Northeast), while several others are part of a coalition that is favorable to the development of coastal drilling, particularly those of the United States. Alaska in the Arctic, and Louisiana and Texas on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

Beyond political differences, Governor Cuomo put forward the battle of energies. "The plan undermines New York's efforts to combat climate change by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energies, such as offshore wind turbines," he said.

USA: Renewable energies could provide 80% of electricity

Solar and solar resources could provide 80% of the electricity demand in the United States, US researchers reported in an article published February 27, 2018 in the journal Energy & Environmental Science . But managing electricity demand with 100% solar and wind energy remains difficult, as it would require improved storage systems (especially batteries) in order to maintain electricity for several weeks despite adverse weather conditions. " The sun goes down and the wind does not always blow ", summarized in a statement Steven Davis, co-author of the study and professor of earth system science University of California-Irvine. Solar and wind are indeed intermittent sources of renewable energy.

35 years of meteorological data being sifted

He and his team analyzed 35 years (from 1980 to 2015) of meteorological data US. " We observed the variation of solar and wind energy in both time and space and compared it to US demand for electricity ," said Steven Davis. " We have determined that we could reliably obtain about 80% of our electricity from these renewable sources by building a continental transmission grid or facilities that can maintain the equivalent of twelve hours of domestic consumption. electricity "he continued. This would require an investment " very important, but not inconceivable ," noted researchers, also from the California Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

The United States remains the biggest polluter behind China

The United States currently generate about two thirds of their electricity with fossil resources (natural gas, coal, oil) which contributes to the rise in global temperature by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And a fifth comes from nuclear power plants. Renewable energies represent only 15% of the energy mix: wind contributes 7%, solar energy 1%, ahead of other sources such as hydro, according to the American Energy Information Authority. The researchers want the United States, the second largest polluter behind China, to finally consider developing energy sources with low greenhouse gas emissions.

USA: Financial regulator looks at business loans from Jared Kushner's family

The Financial Services Regulator of New York (DFS) has asked three banks for information on loans related to the real estate business of the family of Jared Kushner, the son-in-law of President Donald Trump was learned Wednesday, February 28 from a source close to the file. DFS boss Maria Vullo sent letters last week to Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank, asking for details of the various loans or financial arrangements made or requested by Kushner, the company said. source to AFP

She gave them until March 5 to respond. The DFS services refused to comment on this information, as did Deutsche Bank, which granted millions of dollars in loans to the Kushners.

"We have not received a copy of any letter from the Financial Services Regulator. New York State, "a spokesman for Kushner Companies told AFP. He added: "Our company is a multi-billion dollar company and extremely financially sound.Before the voluntary resignation of our CEO ( Jared Kushner ) to serve our country, we never had received such a request.This type of request appears as harassment for political reasons. "

On Wednesday evening, the New York Times stated that Kushner Companies had received large loans from the Apollo Global Management Fund. and Citigroup Bank, after Jared Kushner received representatives of the two American groups in the White House.

Jared Kushner reportedly met with Joshua Harris, one of the founders of Apollo, several times in 2017 and He reportedly spoke with him about a post at the White House, which he never got off the hook, according to the newspaper that quotes several anonymous sources. In November 2017, the fund would have authorized a loan of $ 184 million to Kushner Companies, "one of the largest received last year," says the New York Times.

The son-in-law of the president would also have met the Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat in the spring of 2017 shortly before Kushner Companies receives another $ 325 million loan.

In the spotlight

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband , has become a pillar of the White House since the arrival of his father-in-law to the presidency of the United States. A graduate of Harvard and New York University in law, he took the reins of the family business before announcing in January 2017, just before his appointment as top advisor to the new US president, that he was retiring

While Jared Kushner voluntarily left high-level positions in more than 200 entities related to his family's real estate empire, he retains shares in most of these companies, likely to earn income, according to documents released by the White House in April 2017. This is not the first time that Kushner, which owns real estate assets in the states of New York and New Jersey, among others,

In May 2017, she apologized for mentioning Jared Kushner during a presentation of one of her projects to Chinese investors, in a possible sprain conflict of interest rules.

Various US regulators, including the New York State Attorney, have recently requested information from the Kushner family and their business partners, according to the US press. At the end of December, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York, asked Deutsche Bank for information on the former headquarters of the New York Times acquired in 2015 for $ 296 million by the Kushner following a line of credit granted by the bank. According to the New York Times,

Requests from regulators to institutions doing business with the Kushner are independent of the investigation by the Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. December financial documents to Deutsche Bank on his business relations with Donald Trump's family empire.

(With AFP)

USA: wind and solar can provide 80% of electricity demand (study)

Wind and solar resources could provide 80% of the electricity demand in the United States, provided improvements are made in transmission and storage, scientists said Tuesday.

These renewable energies were considered only a few years ago, being able to meet only 20 to 30% of American electrical needs, according to a study published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

The United States currently generates about two-thirds of their electricity with fossil resources – natural gas, coal, oil – which contributes to the rise in global temperature by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And a fifth comes from nuclear power plants.

Renewable energies account for only 15% of the energy mix: wind contributes 7%, solar 1% and other sources such as hydraulics bring the balance, According to the US Energy Information Authority

To determine the potential contribution of sustainable energy in the future, researchers analyzed US weather, hour by hour, between 1980 and 2015. [19659002] "We observed the variation of solar and wind energy both in time and space and compared it to US demand for electricity," said Steven Davis, professor of system science. at the University of California-Irvine

"We have determined that we could reliably obtain about 80% of our electricity from these (renewable) sources by building a continent-wide transmission network. u facilities that can maintain the equivalent of twelve hours of national electricity consumption, "he continued.

These requirements would require an investment" very important, but not inconceivable, "noted the researchers, also from California Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution for Science.

They called for the United States, the second largest polluter behind China, to consider developing low-carbon energy sources while waiting for these facilities to be built.

" Options could include nuclear and hydroelectric power generation as well as demand management, "said Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution for Science.