Posts belonging to Category Climate change



A look at Biden’s first executive orders in office

In his first official acts as president, Joe Biden is signing executives orders on a broad range of issues, from the coronavirus pandemic to climate change and immigration, to fulfill campaign promises. Biden is requiring the use of masks and social distancing in all federal buildings, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors. Consistently masking up is a practice that science has shown to be effective in preventing the spread of the coronavirus, particularly when social distancing is difficult to maintain. He is challenging all Americans to wear a mask for the first 100 days of his administration. That’s a critical period, since communities will still be vulnerable to the virus even as the pace of vaccination increases in pursuit of Biden’s goal of 100 million shots in 100 days.
Biden also is directing the government to rejoin the World Health Organization, which Donald Trump withdrew from earlier this year after accusing it of incompetence and bowing to Chinese pressure over the coronavirus. Symbolizing Biden’s commitment to a more prominent global role, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will deliver a speech Thursday to the WHO as head of a U.S. delegation. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, will lay out how the administration intends to work with the WHO on reforms, supporting the coronavirus response and promoting global health and health security

Biden will sign an executive orders to rejoin the Paris climate accord, fulfilling a campaign pledge to get back into the global climate pact on Day One. Trump, a supporter of oil, gas and coal, had made a first priority of pulling out of global efforts to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel emissions. It will take 30 days for the U.S. to officially be back in.

Ending ban on Muslim travelers: Biden is ending what is variously known as the “travel ban” or the “Muslim ban,” one of the first acts of the Trump administration. Trump in January 2017 banned foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entry into the country. After a lengthy court fight, a watered-down version of the rule was upheld by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision in 2018. The new administration says it will improve the screening of visitors by strengthening information sharing with foreign governments and other measures.

Biden is immediately ending the national emergency that Trump declared on the border in February 2018 to divert billions of dollars from the Defense Department to wall construction. He also is halting construction to review contracts and how wall money might be redirected. Despite Trump’s repeated promises that Mexico would pay for the wall, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says Americans have committed $15 billion for more than 700 miles (1,120 kilometers). It is unclear how many miles are under contract and what penalties the government would have to pay for canceling them. The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments Feb. 22 on the legality of Trump’s diverting Defense Department funds for counter-narcotics efforts and military construction projects to wall construction.

Biden will order his Cabinet to work to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has shielded hundreds of thousands of people who came to the country as young children from deportation since it was introduced in 2012.  Trump ordered an end to DACA in 2017, triggering a legal challenge that ended in June when the Supreme Court ruled that it should be kept in place because the Trump administration failed to follow federal rule-making guidelines in undoing it. But DACA is still facing legal challenges.

In his presidential proclamation, Biden is calling on Congress to adopt legislation that gives DACA recipients permanent legal status and a path to citizenship. There are currently about 700,000 people enrolled. Biden is revoking one of Trump’s first executive orders, which declared that all of the roughly 11 million people in the country illegally are considered priorities for deportation. The Department of Homeland Security will conduct a review of enforcement priorities. Biden’s campaign site says deportations will focus on national security and public safety threats. The order says nothing about a 100-day moratorium on deportations that Biden promised during the campaign. Susan Rice, who is tapped to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, says any decision on moratoriums would come from Homeland Security.

Biden is reversing a Trump plan to exclude people in the country illegally from being counted in the 2020 Census. The once-a-decade census is used to determine how many congressional seats and Electoral College votes each state gets, as well as the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending each year. Biden’s team says the new administration will ensure the Census Bureau has time to complete an accurate count for each state and that the apportionment is “fair and accurate.” Biden is also proposing legislation that would grant green cards and a path to citizenship to anyone in the United States before Jan. 1, 2021, an estimated 11 million people. Most would have to wait eight years for citizenship but people enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for young immigrants and with Temporary Protective Status for fleeing strife-torn countries would only wait three years. Other provisions lessen the time that many people have to wait outside the United States for green cards, provide development aid to Central America and reduce the 1.2-million-case backlog in immigration courts.

Biden is asking the Education Department to extend a pause on federal student loan payments through at least Sept. 30, continuing a moratorium that began early in the pandemic but was set to expire at the end of January. Borrowers, who owe a collective $1.5 trillion, would not be required to make payments on their federal student loans, their loans would not accrue any interest, and all debt collection activity would halt through September. Congress paused student debt payments last March as part of a virus relief package, and the Trump administration extended it twice.
Biden’s order does not include the type of mass debt cancellation that some Democrats asked him to orchestrate through executive action. He has said that action should come from Congress.Housing foreclosures and evictions would be delayed until at least March 31, 2021. Almost 12 percent of homeowners with mortgages are, while 19 percent of renters are behind, according to a Census Bureau survey of households. The federal moratoriums would ensure that people could stay in their homes even if they cannot afford their monthly bills. Biden is also calling on Congress to extend assistance to renters. While the moratoriums have aided several million Americans during the pandemic and helped to contain the disease, they have also meant that billions of dollars in housing costs have gone unpaid.

https://www.pbs.org/

Elon Musk wants to move humanity away from fossil fuels

How society could transition all its energy usage toward sustainable sources

The plan, outlined at the company’s Battery Day on September 22, involves massively increasing battery production. More batteries mean more places to store electricity. That also means more ways to use electricity from intermittent sources like solar and wind. When a solar panel generates electricity during sunshine, or a wind turbine on a gusty day, a battery can help provide that clean energy 24 hours a day. It can then be used in homes and businesses – or even transferred to other batteries, like in electric cars.

“To accelerate the transition to sustainable energy, we need to produce more [electric vehicles], they need to be affordable,” Musk said during the on-stage presentation at the Tesla Design Studio. “And a lot more energy storage, while building factories faster and with far less investment.”

Declaring that “tera is the new giga,” Musk explained how society needs to produce batteries on the order of Terawatt-hours per year. Battery production in 2019, according to Musk, measured 0.1 Terawatt-hours for electric cars and 0.006 Terawatt-hours for other uses. The sources for these figures were electric vehicle database EV-Volumes and analysis firm IHS Markit.

https://www.inverse.com/

European Utility Giant ENEL To Invest $190 Billion In Renewable Infrastructure

80-percent reduction in direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions

Italy’s Enel plans to invest as much as US$190 billion (160 billion euro) by 2030 in boosting renewable power generation, decarbonization, and grid infrastructure as part of a new plan to become a “Super Major” in renewables, Europe’s largest utility said on Tuesday.  Enel also plans to catalyze investments of US$35.5 billion (30 billion euro) from third parties in its plan to accelerate the energy transition.

Of all planned investments, Enel will invest US$83 billion (70 billion euro) in renewables, expecting its total installed capacity in renewables to reach 120 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. This would be 2.7 times higher than its currently installed renewable capacity of around 45 GW. The utility also targets to reach an 80-percent reduction in direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions versus 2017.

https://oilprice.com/

Xpeng, a Chinese Rival to Tesla, Raises $1.5 Billion in U.S. IPO

Shares of electric-car maker jump 41% on the first day of trading in the U.S

Xpeng Inc., one of Tesla Inc.’s Chinese rivals, raised $1.5 billion through an initial public offering in the U.S., more than initially planned, because of high investor demand.

Xpeng sold 99.73 million American depositary shares at an offer price of $15 Thursday. That was more than the 85 million shares that were previously planned, and the offer price was higher than the initial guidance of $11-$13.
Shares  jumped as much as 67% after its U.S. market debut on Thursday, as capital markets continue to reward new listings in what has been one of the best years for IPOs since the dotcom boom.

https://www.reuters.com/

Will a significant part of oil reserves end up totally worthless?

New explorations no more attractive

Booms and bust cycles are very much a part of investing in the fossil fuel sector. In previous energy downturns, prices frequently experienced serious slumps, but oil and gas companies mostly kept faith in their biggest asset: Oil and gas reserves buried deep in the groundBut things are markedly different this time around.

Faced with pandemic-driven demand destruction and a relentless call for climate-conscious and ethical investing, oil executives are resigning themselves to the uncomfortable fact that a significant amount of their vast oil and gas reserves will end up totally worthless.

So much so, that’s it may hardly be worth it to entertain new exploration at this point. And “discovery” news these days doesn’t tempt investors like it once did.

https://oilprice.com/

U.S. Offshore Wind Industry To See Explosive Growth

 US$166 billion in offshore wind investment in the United States by 2035

Offshore wind has the potential to become a major industry in the United States over the next decade, unlocking billions of U.S. dollars of investment and creating thousands of jobs.

From California’s coast to the Atlantic Coast, the U.S. has the resources to support a large offshore wind industry, but so far, the United States has been lagging behind Europe and Asia in the development of offshore wind. The reasons for slower offshore wind development so far in America are not only the costs of technology. The regulatory and political background has also played a role in the U.S. having just 42 megawatts (MW) of installed offshore wind capacity as of today.

Smoother processes of leasing and permitting of offshore wind projects could facilitate up to US$166 billion in offshore wind investment in the United States by 2035, Wood Mackenzie said in recent research commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA), the New York Offshore Wind Alliance, and the University of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Offshore Wind.

https://oilprice.com/

Green Hydrogen Prices Are Set To Drop By 50% During The Next Decades

Three renewable power generation technologies

Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, has been stealing the spotlight from EVs and renewables lately. From a sort of boutique car fuel a couple of decades ago, hydrogen has evolved into one of the clean energy priorities for the future. And this future may be quite bright for it as prices for its production from renewable sources of energy are set to halve. A study commissioned by the International Council on Clean Transportation has found that the average price for a kilo of hydrogen produced through electrolysis using solar or wind power will fall by about 50 percent between 2020 and 2050 in the United States and Europe.

The stuffy examines three scenarios based on whether the electrolyzer—the installation that breaks down water into hydrogen and oxygen—is connected to the grid, to a renewable electricity generator, or is grid-connected but serves as a storage facility. It also looks into three renewable power generation technologies, including utility-scale solar, onshore wind, and offshore wind.

https://oilprice.com/

The pandemic is giving e-bikes a boost

The number of E-bikes worldwide expected to hit 300m by 2023

Vanmoot, a dutch bicycle-maker, is known for sleek designs and clever advertising. In a television spot for its newest model, images of the evils of car culture—accidents, gridlock and pollution—are projected onto the skin of a luxury car, which melts, turning into one of the company’s elegant e-bikes.
Electrically assisted bicycles are not about to replace cars. But they are booming, especially in Europe, where sales rose by 23% in 2019, to 3m units. E-bikes are unlocking even saturated bicycle markets like the Netherlands, where the average person already owns 1.3 pushbikes. Last year Deloitte, a consultancy, estimated the number of e-bikes worldwide at 200m, and expected it to hit 300m by 2023.

https://www.economist.com/

Tesla’s secret batteries

The new “million mile” battery  makes EVs cost the same as gas cars

Electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) plans to introduce a new low-cost, long-life battery in its Model 3 sedan in China later this year or early next that it expects will bring the cost of electric vehicles in line with gasoline models, and allow EV batteries to have second and third lives in the electric power grid.

For months, Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk has been teasing investors, and rivals, with promises to reveal significant advances in battery technology during a “Battery Day” in late May.

New, low-cost batteries designed to last for a million miles of use and enable electric Teslas to sell profitably for the same price or less than a gasoline vehicle are just part of Musk’s agenda, people familiar with the plans told Reuters.

With a global fleet of more than 1 million electric vehicles that are capable of connecting to and sharing power with the grid, Tesla’s goal is to achieve the status of a power company, competing with such traditional energy providers as Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG_pa.A) and Tokyo Electric Power (9501.T), those sources said. The new “million mile” battery at the center of Tesla’s strategy was jointly developed with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) (300750.SZ) and deploys technology developed by Tesla in collaboration with a team of academic battery experts recruited by Musk, three people familiar with the effort said.

https://www.reuters.com/

Have Faith Vitality filed a patent for big ‘refuelable’ batteries

The battery startup Have faith Vitality has been working on lengthy-lasting batteries for years. It has equipped few crucial factors along the procedure. A patent software program the corporate submitted final week showed that it be increasing a “refuelable battery,” seemingly made with an iron-based materials.

Renewable vitality, for all its value, has one big flaw: intermittency. The solar sets, the wind is moody, and rivers equipped with vitality-generating turbines don’t continuously depart along with the slither. The answer is wide lengthy-lasting batteries that might perhaps perhaps vitality the grid when renewable vitality can’t. So it be no surprise that the marketplace for grid-scale vitality storage is determined to explode, increasing by an estimated $50 billion in earnings over the next 15 years.

Source: https://newshimalaya.com/

Trump told Saudi: Cut oil supply or lose U.S. military support

Threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance

As the United States pressed Saudi Arabia to end its oil price war with Russia, President Donald Trump gave Saudi leaders an ultimatum. In an April 2 phone call, Trump told Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that unless the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) started cutting oil production, he would be powerless to stop lawmakers from passing legislation to withdraw U.S. troops from the kingdom, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The threat to upend a 75-year strategic alliance, which has not been previously reported, was central to the U.S. pressure campaign that led to a landmark global deal to slash oil supply as demand collapsed in the coronavirus pandemic – scoring a diplomatic victory for the White House.

Trump delivered the message to the crown prince 10 days before the announcement of production cuts. The kingdom’s de facto leader was so taken aback by the threat that he ordered his aides out of the room so he could continue the discussion in private, according to a U.S. source who was briefed on the discussion by senior administration officials.

https://www.reuters.com

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Oil Prices Hit $15

First Time In 21 Years

A gruesome combination of crumbling demand for crude and global storage filled to its brim has pushed oil prices to levels not seen in over two decades.

U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, has fallen to the $15 range as global economies remain on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, crushing crude demand. To add insult to injury, global oil storage is reaching its limits. The situation is so dire, in fact, that the Department of Energy is even considering paying domestic oil producers to keep crude in the ground.

Just. this Wednesday, the International Energy Agency reported a record 19 million barrel increase in domestic crude oil supplies.

Not even OPEC has been able to provide any relief for the ailing industry. While the cartel and its global partners were able to agree upon a 9.7 million barrel per day cut, the market clearly thinks it’s not enough.

https://oilprice.com

Could Oil Really Fall To $0?

Analysts are now watching global storage capacity

The outlook for U.S. shale continues to darken with WTI testing sub-$20 territory. The supply glut could grow worse as the contraction in demand continues to deepen. On Sunday, President Trump extended the social distancing guidelines through the end of April, retreating from his plan to “open up” the economy by Easter. And before the ink was even dry on the $2 trillion stimulus, Congress has already started preparing the fourth emergency coronavirus legislation.   As of now, 193 million people in the U.S. and a staggering 2.3 billion people worldwide are living under some sort of lockdown order, according to Raymond James.

In early March, a few forecasters suggested that oil demand may be slightly negative in 2020, dipping by a mere 220,000 bpd. The call was somewhat provocative at the time. By the middle of the month, some forecasters said the demand hit could be as large as 10 million barrels per day (mb/d) in the second quarter. A few days later, another set of analysts put it at 13-14 mb/d. By last week, the IEA warned demand could fall by 20 mb/d. The negative revisions could keep on coming. Oil prices dropped sharply during midday trading on Monday. “For us, this is simply reflecting the increasing awareness that oil demand is breaking away, probably by much more than the 20% we have currently in our books for April/May,” JBC Energy said.

The market has fallen apart rather quickly. Some areas are seeing catastrophically low pricing, including prices dipping into negative territory in areas far from takeaway infrastructure. “Estimates for the demand side are being revised downwards on an almost daily basis, while on the supply side there is still no sign of any reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Russia,” Commerzbank said in a note on Monday. Analysts are now watching global storage capacity, which could fill up in weeks or months at most. The contango for Brent between May and November has widened to a record $13.45 per barrel, a reflection of the massive short-term glut.

https://www.oilprice.com/

World’s richest man pledges $10bn to fight climate change

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos wants to mitigate global warming

The world’s richest man said the money would finance work by scientists, activists and other groups. He said: “I want to work alongside others both to amplify known ways and to explore new ways of fighting the devastating impact of climate change.”

Writing on his Instagram account, Mr Bezos said the fund would begin distributing money this summer. Mr Bezos has an estimated net worth of more than $130bn, so the pledge represents almost 8% of his fortune.

Some Amazon employees have urged him to do more to fight climate change. There have been walkouts and some staff have spoken publicly. Also, Mr Bezos is financing the Blue Origin space programme. Compared to some multi-billionaires, Mr Bezos had done only limited philanthropy. His biggest donation before Monday’s pledge is thought to have been $2bn in September 2018 to help homeless families and fund schools.

He has also been criticised for not signing the Giving Pledge, under which the super-rich promise to give away half of their wealth during their lifetimes.

https://www.bbc.com/

The American Dream is best achieved in Nordic countries

Look at how the United States compares to Finland on economic and well-being indicators

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin is a big believer in the “American Dream,” and she thinks it’s a lot easier to achieve now in her country than in the United States.

“I feel that the American Dream can be achieved best in the Nordic countries, where every child, no matter their background or the background of their families, can become anything,” Marin told The Washington Post in an interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last month.

“We feel that the Nordic model is a success story,” said Marin, who became prime minister in December at age 34, making her briefly the youngest world leader (she lost that title in January when 33-year-old Sebastian Kurz returned to power as Austrian chancellor).

https://washingtonpost.com/