#41. ⚖️ Climate change migrants' legal protections | 🔋 New Li-ion-beating battery | 🥶 Cold temperature on EV range
Plus: Acidic lakes | climate change's many effects | $1.5B clean-energy SPAC | California's 2045 carbon neutrality | more EV school buses | TuSimple lays off hundreds
🌡 CLIMATE CHANGE
The Great Lakes and other large lakes around the world may be getting more acidic, which could make them less hospitable for fish and plants. A sensor network is being built to spot trends in Lake Huron water chemistry in a bid to create a system that would track carbon dioxide and pH in all five Great Lakes over multiple years. Acidification could disrupt aquatic life and habitat, as well as potentially deteriorate hundreds of wooden shipwrecks believed to be resting on the bottom of the lakes. The only solution is a global one, requiring everyone to cut their emissions, according to Galen McKinley, a Columbia University environmental sciences professor.
Climate migrants, or those who move due to extreme weather events and other effects of climate change, are not protected under international law and there is no consensus on how to legally define them. Recent documents, such as the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), provide a framework for handling climate migration, but do not offer special legal protections. Governments are responsible for protecting internal climate migrants, but there are few instances in which they are required to protect those crossing borders. Advocates argue for similar protections as refugees for climate migrants.
A study by ecologists at the University of Konstanz found that the number of simultaneously acting global change factors, including light pollution and pesticide accumulation, negatively impacts plant community diversity regardless of the nature of the factors. As the number of global change factors increases, biomass production in plant communities also increases, but species diversity decreases. The study suggests that new effects can arise when multiple global change factors act simultaneously and it is important to better study these "multifactorial processes" to avoid unpleasant surprises as the number and intensity of simultaneously acting global change factors is likely to increase in the future.
🔋 CLEAN ENERGY
This is a press release of a clean energy SPAC — special purpose acquisition company — established by four law firms to raise $535M in cash from the transaction, with an eye on towards the estimated $150B clean energy market.
A new type of room-temperature sodium-sulfur (RT Na-S) battery, developed by researchers at the University of Sydney, has the potential to solve the renewable energy storage problem by providing a low-cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries. The RT Na-S battery has four times the storage capacity of a lithium-ion battery and an ultra-long life cycle, retaining about half of its capacity after 1,000 cycles. The researchers plan to focus on scaling up and commercializing the technology, which could take several years.
California regulators approve plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 (long read)
The California Air Resources Board has approved a plan to make California carbon neutral by 2045 by moving to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. The Scoping Plan aims to reduce fossil fuel usage to less than a tenth of current consumption by decreasing demand for liquid petroleum by 94% by 2045, largely through a move away from gas-powered vehicles. The plan also aims to cut air pollution by 71% and gas emissions by 85% to below 1990 levels, create four million jobs and save Californians $200 billion in health costs for pollution-related illnesses by 2045.
🚗 AUTONOMOUS & ELECTRIC VEHICLES
The Hardin County Community Unit School District #1 (CUSD #1) in Illinois is upgrading some of its buses to clean Blue Bird electric school buses with the help of Highland Electric Fleets. The school district has ordered 12 Blue Bird Type C electric school buses from Highland, which is offering an electrification-as-a-service solution that allows districts and external fleet managers to adopt environmentally-friendly student transportation without incurring upfront expenses and complexity. The Blue Bird and Highland partnership is partially funded by a $4,740,000 subsidy from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 2022 Clean School Bus Rebate Program.
This is a really great discussion on the effects of weather — specifically, temperature — on EV performance, including range and battery health. It includes a an excellent chart for various EVs’ estimated range versus their cold weather range.
Autonomous trucking company TuSimple (Crunchbase) is reportedly planning to lay off a significant portion of its workforce, potentially affecting at least 15% of its employees. The layoffs are rumoured to be related to the end of TuSimple's deal with Navistar (Crunchbase) to co-develop autonomous trucks and the termination of offers to intern applicants. TuSimple has also faced several executive shake-ups and an internal probe into ties with China-backed hydrogen-powered trucking company Hydron, which is the subject of ongoing federal investigations. The company reported $113m losses in Q3 on $2.7m revenue, while its stock price has dropped 95.63% since January.
🎉 THAT’S ALL FOR TODAY!
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