#40. 🛰️NASA cancels climate satellite | ☀️Eight 0-emission countries | 🏭iPhone factory to build EVs
Plus: Climate change harms mental health | Holiday snowfall and climate change | 0-emission heat engine | Australia's offshore wind | NHTSA probes GM's Cruise | Waymo's Phoenix airport rides
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🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is having negative impacts on health, according to the seventh annual The Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change report. The report, authored by nearly 100 experts from over 50 academic institutions and agencies, tracks the impact of climate change on global health and found that it is undermining health in every region of the world every year. One person, a PhD student at the University of Florida, has experienced worsening of their psoriasis due to longer and hotter summers in Florida. Climate change has also been linked to an increase in lung cancer rates due to factors such as wildfire smoke, higher temperatures, and increased greenhouse gases.
The GeoCarb mission was scrubbed because of “technical concerns, cost performance and availability of new alternative data sources.” Costs had ballooned to $600 million, up from an original estimate of just $170.9 million.
This is a fairly decent look into the decreasing likelihood of white Christmases around the world along with the increasing risk of severe winter storms. In general, milder places will indeed to continue to see a reduction of snow around Christmas; indeed, snowy Christmases were more frequent in the 18th and 19th centuries according to the UK Met Office.
🔋 CLEAN ENERGY
Israeli startup Luminescent (Crunchbase) has developed a liquid-based isothermal engine that captures and stores waste heat. Their seed round was led by Grove Ventures, with participation from Extantia Capital. Luminescent's engine uses isothermal processes to transform heat sources of 100-550℃ into electricity and can double the efficiency of existing operations while providing up to 70% more power. The company will initially offer two products: a small open cycle gas turbine for use in compressor stations along gas pipelines, which has the potential to generate 20 GW of green energy in North America, and a renewable energy storage system with a capacity of 8-20 hours.
This is a nice summary of the following countries’ journey to net-zero: Bhutan, Comoros, Gabon, Guyana, Madagascar, Niue, Panama, Suriname.
The farm, located in the Bass Strait between Victoria and Tasmania, could produce up to 10 GW, or about five coal plants’ equivalent.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is launching an investigation into self-driving technology used by General Motors' San Francisco-based robotaxi fleet, Cruise. The probe follows three reported accidents involving Cruise vehicles, in which the self-driving cars reportedly braked hard or became immobilized in traffic, creating unanticipated obstacles for other vehicles and resulting in rear-end collisions. NHTSA will conduct a preliminary evaluation to determine the scope and severity of the issue and assess the potential safety concerns posed by the incidents. The agency has not provided a timeline for the release of its findings.
Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, which assembles a range of popular devices including the iPhone, is looking to design and manufacture cars for established automakers and EV start-ups. In October, the company's chairman said Foxconn aims to make 40-45% of the world's EVs, replicating its success in electronics. The company has already signed deals with Lordstown Motors, Fisker, Indi EV, and Taiwan's Yulon Motor, and is reportedly in talks with Volkswagen. Foxconn has expertise in purchasing components in large volumes and has the advantage of knowing how to manufacture internet-connected and computerized vehicles. Its entry into the market will be welcomed by EV start-ups that don't have the capital to build their own factories.
Waymo has announced that customers flying in and out of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport will now be able to hail one of the company’s “rider only” autonomous vehicles. The expansion into airport pickups is a sign that Waymo is willing to take on more risk as it seeks to bolster the case for a fully autonomous taxi service. Waymo is also expanding the size of its service area in Phoenix, with the downtown area more than doubling to 41.2 square miles.
🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!
Thank you so much for reading, see you tomorrow!-Marc