News Links 11-20-2019: Retail Apocalypse Edition

More than 9,100 stores are closing in 2019 as the retail apocalypse drags on — here’s the full list: “The staggering rate of store closures that rocked the retail industry over the past couple of years is expected to continue in 2019, with more closures expected this year. Retailers closed a record 102 million square feet of store space in 2017, then smashed that record in 2018 by closing another 155 million square feet, according to estimates by the commercial real-estate firm CoStar Group.”

Long-Term Wear Found on PG&E Line That Sparked Camp Fire: “Photos obtained by NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit reveal that several hooks on the Caribou-Palermo transmission line after the Camp Fire last year show significant long-term wear — besides the hook that failed and sparked the fire. Experts who reviewed the photos say some wear was so extreme it should have been readily evident during any detailed inspection. The company relied mostly on aerial and ground patrols of the line before the fire, not climbing inspections.”

Secretive energy startup backed by Bill Gates achieves solar breakthrough: “The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. In other words, carbon-free sunlight can replace fossil fuels in a heavy carbon-emitting corner of the economy that has been untouched by the clean energy revolution.”

The Next Syrian Refugee Crisis Will Break Europe’s Back: “This brings us to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the threat he issued last week to “open the gates and send 3.6 million refugees” over the Aegean Sea and into Europe if it tries to interfere with Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria—with Greece being the logical first stop. The threat is effective because it raises uncomfortable questions about Europe’s readiness for a new refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East.”

‘Alarm has sounded’ after scallop die-off of 95 to 100% in some areas: “After a “near-unprecedented” scallop die-off in Peconic Bay, Suffolk County legislators on Thursday outlined efforts underway to investigate the cause… ‘We are seeing reports of die-off of 95%, up to 100% in some pockets,’ Mr. Gregory said.”

The Climate Crisis Will Kill Women First: “Two Canadian non-profit organizations want to talk about the gender dimensions of climate change in front of the Supreme Court of Canada. Last week, the National Association of Women and the Law and Friends of the Earth asked the court permission to intervene in the controversial and highly publicized carbon tax case being appealed to the Supreme Court by Saskatchewan and Ontario.”