GM Rocks the Automotive World with EV Vows; Shark populations are falling; 15 redwood bushes fell


President Biden wants to strengthen the electric vehicle market by redesigning the federal fleet of 645,000 fossil fuel vehicles with electric vehicles. Not just any electric vehicles, but those made in America by unionized workers. One problem: Nobody who fits this calculation does it. While Tesla launched several models totaling nearly half a million electric vehicles in 2020, the company’s employees are not unionized. And although it has been unionized since 1937, General Motors was just selling 20,754 electric vehicles in 2020 with more than 50% parts manufactured abroad. That’s not the government-set threshold for an entire car considered made in America. On the other hand, the conversion of the federal fleet will probably take a decade, as only around 60,000 vehicles are exchanged each year. And GM is projected to produce millions of electric vehicles by the mid-20s, if the 2035 zero-emission target is expected to be met for all passenger and light commercial vehicle production. And by then there might be a union at Tesla. “Do I think GM and Tesla will twist each other to gain access to a large US government market? Yes, I do, ”said Scott Sklar, director of sustainable energy at George Washington University’s Environment & Energy Management Institute. “You follow the money.”

The report concludes that air pollution can cause permanent vision loss

Science News reports that the study, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, found an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from air pollution. People who live in the most polluted areas were at least 8% more likely to have the disease, which is progressive and irreversible. The researchers initially received data too 115,954 study participants aged 40 to 69 who had no eye problems at the start of the study in 2006. In follow-up examinations of 52,602 participants in 2009 and 2012, they found structural changes in retinal thickness and / or the number of light receptors present – both indicators of AMD. The officials also collected statistics on air pollution, traffic, land use and topography. “Even relatively low levels of exposure to air pollution appear to affect the risk of AMD, suggesting that air pollution is an important modifiable risk factor affecting the risk of eye diseases for a very large number of people,” said lead author Paul Foster of UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. “Here we have identified another health risk from air pollution, which reinforces the evidence that improving the air we breathe should be a major public health priority. Our results suggest that living in an area with polluted air, especially particulate matter or combustion, related particulates that come from road traffic could lead to eye diseases, “he said. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over 50 in high-income countries. The affected population is expected reach 300 million by 2040. Other risk factors for AMD include smoking and genetic makeup.


Dan Gearino, a longtime clean energy reporter who is now Inside Climate News, mocked Rep. Lauren Boebert, the second worst new member of Congress. Before Donald Trump announced in 2017 that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, he stated: “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Shortly after President Biden initiated the re-entry process on his first day in office, Boebert mimicked Trump:


I work for the people of Pueblo, not for the people of Paris.

– Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 22, 2021

Despite being in the same district, Boebert’s home area is Rifle, nearly 300 miles from Pueblo, and she doesn’t seem to have spent much time where the majority of voters said no to both Donald Trump and her in November. She obviously doesn’t understand Pueblo. As Gearino writes:

The Pueblo City Council voted in 2017 Committing the city to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035, which proponents say was part of a wider adoption of clean energy.

Utility company Xcel Energy is helping with a plan announced in 2018 to shut down 660 megawatts at a coal-fired power station in Pueblo and build 650 megawatts of solar power and 225 megawatts of battery storage projects in or around the city.


In the worst storm in nearly a quarter of a century, winds toppling 15 giant sequoias at 100 miles per hour in the Mariposa Grove of Yosemite National Park, California after the two previously announced authorities fell. Scott Gediman, a park spokesman, said the damage to the park was “millions and billions of dollars”. None of the most iconic trees like the Grizzly Giant – a 2,700 year old specimen that is the 25th largest living giant sequoia, weighing an estimated 2 million pounds – was knocked down by the storm that also shattered 20 staff and automobiles’ homes Visitor cabin, s and caused damage to other parking facilities. As sad as the loss of these trees may be, Gediman said: “Yosemite National Park is a wild place by definition. Natural events such as fires, floods, rockfalls and wind events occur. It’s part of the park’s history. We are grateful that no one was hurt. We hope that new trees will germinate. It’s part of the park’s ever-changing nature. “Yosemite officials expect the park to reopen on Monday. The storm wasn’t the only ailment causing giant sequoias lately. In August, lightning-induced fires burned hundreds of trees in approximately 20 forests in Sequoia National Forest.

The shark population has deteriorated 71% over the past half century

Sharks are at the top of the food chain, a predator essential to the health of other ocean species. But a study published in the journal nature says their numbers have fallen by nearly three quarters since then 1970s. The radiation populations are also falling. The blame, say the authors, lies mainly in overfishing, and while they are not there yet, the prospect of some species of shark becoming extinct worries scientists deeply. One of them is Nicholas Dulvy, a professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia. “Overfishing of oceanic sharks and rays threatens the health of entire ocean ecosystems and the food security of some of the world’s poorest countries,” he said. The researchers examined 31 oceanic species of sharks and rays. Of these, the International Union for Nature Conservation has classified 24 as threatened. Three of them – the oceanic whitetip shark, the scalloped hammerhead shark, and the great hammerhead shark – are classified as critical endangered. This paints a bleak picture, but scientific data such as that contained in the study may help shark and ray populations recover. Shark Advocates International president Sonja Fordham said great white sharks are already recovering on data that influenced a downward revision of catch limits. “Relatively simple safeguards can help save sharks and rays, but time is running out,” said Fordham. “We urgently need conservation Actions around the world to prevent innumerable negative consequences and to ensure a better future for these extraordinary, irreplaceable animals. “

A new report states that the U.S. power grid and related guidelines require an overhaul


A new 92-page report from the Americans for a Clean Energy Network – Planning for the Future – concludes that the guidelines for controlling the planning and investment of the US transmission network are out of date and the gigantic clean energy expansion being promoted by climate hawks will not be able to support. With all of the electric cars to come and the pursuit of net zero emissions from the energy sector, ACEG isn’t the only critic considering how to upgrade the grid for this task. The authors, who have been pushing for changes to the grid and its policies for years, say the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should implement a new paradigm to entice investors into pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into a new grid for the 21st century . They write:

Numerous studies and the experience of regional planning units show that a more robust interregional infrastructure is required to ensure system stability and reliability. This would bring significant consumer benefits and help customers get affordable building prices. The combination of an aging transmission system and a changing mix of resources increases the need for proactive planning of regional and interregional transmission infrastructure. While a large amount of the transmission infrastructure built in the 1960s and 1970s will need to be replaced, simply rebuilding that infrastructure is inefficient in the face of a changing mix of resources and changing demand patterns. In any case, wind and solar resources will make up a much larger part of the resource mix in the future, and the electrification of transportation and buildings will increase demand significantly. These trends reinforce the benefits of building a large regional and interregional transmission infrastructure to connect resource-rich areas to load centers.

“Not only yes, but fucking yes,” said James Hoecker, FERC chairman from 1997-2001, in a webinar on Wednesday that presented the report, about the need for greater investment in new transmissions. Aside from the need to absorb the country’s growing share of wind and solar power, the grid will likely “need to double in size to support electrification of transportation, heating, and more industrial processes ”as the nation decarbonizes the US economy. “There is no serious climate plan that does not provide a significant regional transmission improvement,” said Pat Wood III, CEO of Hunt Energy Network and FERC chairman from 2001 to 2005, at the event.


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