[Nov 23-Nov 29 2020] Hybridgate
Welcome to this weeks edition of The Weekly Climate! 🎉
Announcement: Launching act.weeklyclimate.com
After gathering feedback for the new format for some weeks now I’ve decided to go back to the news focussed format for the newsletter and then keep the actions that we as individuals can do on a separate blog: act.weeklyclimate.com. I want to make sure that the newsletter coupled with the blog gives you my dear reader a way to act on the news items that you read. For instance if you read a story about something negative the fossil fuel industry did, then it should be very clear what you can do to act on that. That’s why I decided to move the action part to a separate blog because I figured that these action items is timeless. It doesn’t really matter whether you switch out your gas stove this week or next week as long as you do it at the latest at end-of-life of the appliance. So the newsletter and action part will be linked. Meaning that for each negative news item that I bring I will link to the appropriate place in the action blog where you can read about how to act on that thing. I think this makes the primary purpose of the newsletter (to bring you the most important and interesting climate news from the past week) more clear and it will also make the podcast part of the newsletter better as I don’t think it worked very well with the new format. I hope you like this change and let me know in the comments below or via e-mail.
Here are the full changes:
All action related articles will now be hosted on act.weeklyclimate.com. This blog will slowly be developed over the coming months and weeks.
Each negative news item will feature a link back to the action blog where you can read how to act on that thing. However, as I’m still developing the blog this will slowly expand to include more and more types of news items.
The newsletter will open with a deep dive into one news item for the past week followed by a news summary and then the good ol’ “In the news” deep dive.
Finally, I set up the newsletter on its own custom domain. So you can now find it on weeklyclimate.com 🤓
So far there’s still a lot of actions missing on act.weeklyclimate.com, but I will continually add these over the coming weeks. If you want to help, ping me.
🚗The ’hybridgate’ scandal is rolling
If you have a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) chances are that you bought it because you thought (as the advertising and carmaker data told you) that they’re better for the climate than a regular fossil fuel based car. A new study has found that real world emissions of the most sold PHEVs in 2020 are much higher than reported. With fully charged batteries PHEVs emits 89% more CO2 than reported. When batteries are empty they emit up to 8x more than reported. The report found that for instance a BMW X5 is advertised to emit around 30 gCO2/km. Even in electric mode that number comes in at around 50 gCO2/km and obviously on engine mode it comes in a lot higher at more than 250 gCO2/km. In fact, already in June Bosch CEO was out urging the car industry to prevent a “hybridgate” which appears to be what is happening right now.
This must really suck if you own a PHEV and thought you did the right thing. If you own one the best advice is to make sure the battery is charged as much as possible (not using the engine to charge it). If you’re thinking about getting rid of it and go all electric perhaps now is the time.
Joe Biden picked John Kerry to be special climate envoy who will now go on to sign the Paris agreement for the second time. The drop in CO2 emissions this year represents a tiny blip that’s hardly measurable in the atmospheric levels of CO2. So it’s “great” that we keep up wasteful games such as Bitcoin which starves entire cities in developing countries of electricity and, you know, buying tons of stuff that we don’t need at Black Friday. And the EU has gotten a series of well-deserved bad press this week such as for running an ad that urges people to become ‘beefatarians’ 🤦♂️.
🕵️♂️Stories we follow
🇺🇸 U.S. Presidential Election
Joe Biden picked John Kerry to be special climate envoy. It was John Kerry who in 2016 signed the U.S. on to the Paris Agreement which he now has to do again. Heated brought an interview with John Kerry.
Biden’s to do list just keep on growing. Everyone hope that he will shut down the much hated Keystone XL pipeline as well as the Dakota Access pipeline, but the much bigger job is probably to restore America’s credibility in the world.
Finally, Ivanka Trump brags that good ol’ dad lowered emissions by 9.2% 🙄… by completely failing to stop COVID from running amok.
☠️ BPs climate aspirations
BP has announced that it will slash oil production by 40%. If history teaches us anything it is that this will be just another load of bullcrap just like Beyond Petroleum were 20 years ago. But we will see. By putting the story up top here we aim to track it carefully.
BP continues to invest in Middle East oil despite their renewable shift. In a recent interview, BPs Senior VP of Middle East said that they will continue to invest in these areas. It’s interesting how even a top industry publication such as WorldOil calls bullshit on BPs plans.
📰 In the news
Here are the most interesting and important news items from last week!
👩🔬Climate & Science
We all heard that COVID is expected to have reduced our global emissions by 4.2-7.5% however, CO2 levels in the atmosphere seems largely unaffected by that. The World Meteorological Organization says this represents but a tiny blip in the CO2 atmospheric levels.
On November 21 temperatures in the Arctic reached 12C higher than in 1990. Some days during the past year has been more than 20C warmer. The Arctic is warming 3x faster than anywhere else.
A new study published in Science reveals that the Mongolian Plateau is caught in a dangerous cycle of heatwaves and droughts which could one day turn it into an arid wasteland.
Bitcoin miners are starving entire cities of electricity for instance in the city of Sukhumi in Georgia which forces residents to use polluting diesel generators instead.
Utility scale battery installations are getting bigger, smarter and are increasingly doing what the fossil alternatives can’t do. A battery in Australia is replacing a 250MW gas plant, by doing a better, cheaper and more flexible job.
Tasmania is now powered 100% by renewable electricity. The mix is mainly hydro, but a recent growth in wind power has enabled Tasmania to produce 10741 GWh annually, which is more than the 10500 GWh they use on average.
Stripe, the online payment processor, may raise more money for carbon removal than anybody else.
Vestas is launching a Vestas Ventures, a venture arm that wants to invest in cleantech early stage startups. In particular it wants to focus on long duration storage, grid flexibility and power-to-x technologies aiming to decarbonize heavy industries.
The Board of Directors approved the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) roadmap, which among other things will increase direct investments in green investments to 50%, invest 1 trillion € in climate investments during the next decade and more. Great, however, please remember that EIB still funds fossil gas pipelines as a part of this.
The Comptroller of Currency in the US (basically, organisation that oversees all banks in the US as far as I can understand) proposed a new rule in an attempt to ‘stop weaponization of banks”, that would prevent banks from lending money to big categories of lawful businesses, such as weapon manufacturers, fossil fuel industry and more.
Former U.N Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres says that green recovery funds is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Countries around the world face a moral imperative to not squander the COVID19 recovery funds.
⛽️Major Carbon Emitters
The fossil fuel indutry wants you to believe it’s good for people of color, despite the fact that the climate crisis which it literally fuels disproportionately affects people of color. In a series of recent events LA Times document the fossil fuel industries attempts to fakely claim the moral high ground on race. One such attempts calls out Alaska’s government for calling their banks racist because they didn’t want to lend money for drilling in the Arctic.
Free returns costs the climate 15.000.000 tons of carbon emissions every year in the US alone and many of these returns ends up in a landfill further increasing emissions. In a year where we bought much more online than earlier due to COVID it’s very important to think about this. Black Friday in the UK alone is expected to add more than 400.000 tons of CO2 emissions.
A power company in the US buys up land in order to not having to clean-up coal ash on the land. It overpaid for several pieces of land to avoid this.
An oil refinery owned by Equinor in Norway has been forced to carry out a thorough assesment after an oil leak was discovered.
Water on fire in China reveals fossil gas leak.
The European Commission have backed an ad that urges people to become ‘beefatarians’. Yes. That seems very intelligent. 🚨 Sarcasm alert!
EU picks Blackrock — the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels — to advise on environmental regulation of banks. That seems very intelligent too. 🚨And we have another sarcasm alert going off!
India doubles down on domestic solar manufacturing efforts aiming for 220 GW by 2022. Just a reminder that the entire EU aimed for 300 GW by 2050 (i.e. 28 years later than India).
3 billion people are affected by water shortages. Data shows that the water available for each person has dropped by 20% over the past two decades. About 1.5billion people are suffering from severe water shortages.
Wildfire smoke is poisoning kids. A moving look at how wildfire smoke is affecting kids in California.
Climate activists demand damages for climate victims during mock-COP26. Frustrated by the delay of COP26 by 1 year youth campaigners have organized their own.
An ancient people with a climate plan. A look at how the Swinomish tribe has taken a lead in protecting and improving their lands. And they’re not the only tribe doing that. An additional 50 American Native tribes have joined in with their own climate strategies to repair and adapt to the changing climate. Boy, we have so much to learn from native people.
📕All we can save bookclub and other books
Heated All we can save bookclub week 8 — same link as I posted earlier about John Kerry and his double signing of the Paris agreement.
Survey shows that some people stop or regret having kids because of the climate crisis. 96% of the people surveyed was very or extremely concerned about the wellbeing of their potential future children in a climate changed world.
A new report analyzes how advertising industries indirectly affects climate change. The promotion of materialism, and the industry’s role in pushing sales of beef, tobacco, high-polluting SUVs and flights, are all part of that indirect role. Clean Creatives recently launched to try and fight this.
And relevant to my rant about gas stoves last week: Scaring people might not be the best tactic. Instead a conversational approach might work better.
A bit slow podcast week with only one release from my usual list. Fortunately, I discovered a two new ones! Phew, my playlist was getting empty, NOT!
First new one: The Countdown by TED. Here’s a link to their trailer. TED’s Countdown series is there series of talks focussed on climate change.
Second new one: Temperature Check by Grist. Here’a a link to their trailer. It’s a show about climate change, race and culture and how they overlap.
How to save a planet — If Miami will be underwater, why is construction booming? Within 80 years the Miami beachfront will be underwater, but construction of new beachfront properties is booming, why?
That’s it for this week folks! If you feel like I’m missing something, please let me know.
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See you all next week 👋