🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE
Apple’s latest iOS update pulls local forecasts for carbon emissions of your local power grid in an attempt to maximize phone charging during periods of cleaner energy production. It also learns your charging habits to ensure your phone is fully charged when you need it, and operates only at home and at work; if your charging habits are variable, for instance while traveling, the feature doesn’t operate. Clean Energy Charging is a US-only feature for now.
UN Special Rapporteur Ian Fry declared climate change to be the “largest” and most “pervasive” threat facing the world, highlighting the adverse impacts to human rights including life, sanitation, sexual exploitation, slavery, and more. While G20 members account for 78% of carbon emissions over the past decade, most of the burden — and inability to cope — falls upon the poorest people and nations of the world.
The European Environmental Agency places at €145 billion the total cost of climate-related events such as extreme weather including heat waves, floods, and storms over the past decade, with a 30-year moving average showing a 2% annual increasing trend. In 2020 alone, some €12 billion climate-related losses were estimated, while 2017 recorded the highest losses of €27.9 billion. While economic losses averaged €27 per EU inhabitant, Greece suffered the worst climate-related economic losses at €91 per capita, followed by France (€62) and Ireland (€42).
🔋 CLEAN ENERGY
The Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania hosted some 6000 experts from 30 countries and focused discussions on nuclear energy and the hydrogen economy. The central issue is that most hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels; one cleaner proposed alternative is hydrogen produced from nuclear power.
A patch of trees growing on top of a garbage fill of what was once Houston, Texas’ largest trash incinerator will soon get a new lease on life: a 52 MW solar farm will replace the trees and cover the existing garbage patch, joining an ever-growing list of projects converting landfills to solar farms across the US. This will be the largest urban solar farm in the US.
Singapore has committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, while also bolstering its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions to reach 60 million tons, a reduction of 5 million tons as previously targeted. Nevertheless, emissions will still continue to rise through the end of this decade before finally dropping towards the 2050 goal. Decarbonization strategies include carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS), solar roofs, and a “zero-growth policy” for cars and motorcycles. A carbon tax will also be raised more than 10x from the current S$5 per ton to up to S$80 by 2030.
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🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Chinese EV maker Xpeng debuts most advanced semi-autonomous driving system to rival Tesla (quick read)
Xpeng’s newest ADAS (advanced driver assistance system), XNGP, is touted as being the last step “before full autonomous driving is realized,” and is positioned as Xpeng’s counterpunch to Tesla’s Autopilot. XNGP is Xpeng’s successor to Xpilot; available on the G9 Max SUV, its features will be slowly deployed over the next two years.
Effectively playing catchup in the EV race, BMW is ramping up battery production with a new battery assembly plant in Leipzig, with first production going to the Mini EV, slated to debut in 2023.
After five years, Tesla now aims to produce some 50,000 of its new electric semi trucks by 2024. If Tesla succeeds, it would be one of the largest class 8 truck manufacturers. Instead of utilizing Tesla’s new 4680 battery cells, it is rumored to rely on the same 2170 battery cells widely used in Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y vehicles.