Climate 411

The introduction of Ford’s electric F-150 pickup truck is a big milestone in the race to zero-emission vehicles

We’re about to get a glimpse of what Ford Motor Company envisions for the future.

Ford is planning to reveal its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck tomorrow. President Biden will visit the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn Michigan ahead of the announcement.

The unveiling of the F-150 Lightning is the latest in a steady drumbeat of announcements about investments in electric vehicle production and new model offerings – by Ford and nearly every other automaker.

Environmental Defense Fund has sponsored the development of an Electric Vehicles Market Report by MJ Bradley and Associates to track the dynamic landscape around vehicle electrification in the U.S. and globally. In the report’s April 2021 update, the authors found that the number of electric models available to U.S. consumers would increase from 64 to 81 between 2021 and 2023, and that globally, automakers had committed to spending $268 billion through 2030 to develop zero-emitting solutions. Announcements in the last month, since the report came out, have further increased those numbers. For instance, at the end of last week Hyundai announced plans to invest $7.4 billion in the U.S. in electric vehicle manufacturing by 2025.

But in this veritable sea of announcements, the electric F-150 Lightning stands out. Ford CEO Jim Farley has compared the significance of the vehicle to the Model T, the Mustang, the Prius and the Tesla Model 3. For good reason. The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for the last 40 years and it has generated more revenue than companies like Nike and Coca-Cola.

And it is a truck. Nothing could more completely shatter any remaining misconceptions about what electric vehicles were in the past, and make clear what they are today:

  • More capable – Ford has said the electric F-150 will be its most powerful in the series and able to power a home during an electrical outage
  • Less costly – EDF analysis shows that someone who purchases a new battery electric vehicle in 2027 will save $5,300 over its lifetime compared to a gasoline vehicle
  • Zero-polluting – These vehicles will eliminate harmful tailpipe emissions that destabilize the climate and harm public health

Ford’s announcement is also an important step toward a future where we have eliminated harmful pollution from cars and trucks. It comes at a pivotal moment when we urgently need ambitious action to protect our climate and public health, to save consumers money, and to safeguard and strengthen the American auto industry.

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Also posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Green Jobs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Jobs / Leave a comment

California Accelerates Toward Zero-Emission Vehicle Standards That Will Save Lives, Save Money, Create Jobs

California just moved further down the road toward cleaner cars and vital air pollution reductions.

The state’s Air Resources Board hosted a public workshop on the development of its Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) program last week, where it announced that it intends to propose multipollutant standards that will ensure all new cars sold in California are zero-emitting vehicles by 2035.

At the workshop, the Air Resources Board for the first time laid out a proposed trajectory for the ACC II program, charting a course for ensuring 60% of new vehicles sold in 2030 are zero-emitting and 100% of new vehicles sold by 2035 are zero-emitting.

Slide from Air Resources Board workshop presentation, available here

The ACC II program will build from California’s long history of advancing vehicle pollution reductions under Clean Air Act authority. If adopted, the draft standards described at the workshop will reduce health-harming pollution and climate emissions from new passenger vehicles beyond the 2025 model year and increase the number of zero-emission vehicles for sale. They will also reduce climate pollution, deliver jobs, save Californians’ money, and – most important – save lives.

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Also posted in California, Cars and Pollution, Cities and states, Green Jobs, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Health, Jobs, Policy / Comments are closed

Maximizing the historic job creation opportunity waiting in our nation’s old and leaking oil and gas wells

By Adam Peltz, Senior Attorney, Energy

After over 150 years of boom and bust oil and gas development, there are over a million inactive, unplugged oil and gas wells across the country. A new study published in the journal Elementa describes how, when not properly plugged, these wells can contaminate groundwater and emit methane as well as harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that endanger the economy and public health in communities where they are found. It also provides suggestions for how to maximize the environmental benefits of efforts to plug these wells.

There are 57,000 documented “orphan” wells across the country, meaning they have no owner of record, at least not one that’s still in business, and hundreds of thousands more orphan wells that are not documented. State, federal and tribal governments are left with the responsibility of plugging these wells – some of which have been abandoned for decades.

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Climate action is a top priority in the 21st Century Latino Agenda

By: Sindy Benavides, CEO of LULAC, and Esther Sosa, Project Manager at EDF

In the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed inequities in nearly every aspect of life, illustrating the frustrating reality that today, national crises affect everyone but do not impact everyone equally. Similarly, climate change poses a more devastating threat to Latino families. Threats are already felt and cannot be ignored: hurricanes displaced millions in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, fieldworkers face job and food insecurity due to historic droughts, extreme climatic conditions pose a threat to our archaic energy system. In Texas, a winter storm left millions without power and clean water. These climate disasters disproportionately impact the wellbeing, health, and future of Latino families.

As the Biden-Harris Administration works with Congress to rebuild our economy, they must prioritize policies that address the health, economic, and environmental needs of the Latino community. That is why our organizations – the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) – recently joined forces with Corazón Latino, Hispanic Access Foundation, Hispanic Federation, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, and GreenLatinos to host one of a series of conversations to help us build a 21st Century Latino Agenda.

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How climate change is worsening drought

Spring is in full swing across the U.S. – flowers are blooming, pollen is blowing – and this means that the 2021 heat wave, hurricane, and wildfire seasons are just around the corner.

After the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season produced a record number of named storms and record-breaking wildfires ravaged the Western U.S., vulnerable communities are bracing for more. However, another extreme weather event linked to climate change has been quietly afflicting the U.S. year-round with no signs of letting up and at risk of becoming permanent – widespread drought.

Drought conditions have been ongoing since early summer 2020 – and have persisted, worsened, and expanded dramatically – across vast portions of the continental U.S. Since October 2020, almost all of the High Plains and Western regions and more than half of the South have been experiencing some level of drought. More than 50% of Western drought conditions are categorized as either extreme or exceptional drought. Even more drastically, extreme and exceptional drought have comprised more than 75% of drought conditions across the Four Corners region (Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico) since late autumn.

NOAA predicts that these widespread dry conditions are likely to continue and spread throughout the spring, especially in the Southwest. This poses major threats to the region, including increased risks of wildfires, parched rangelands, stressed irrigation systems, and crop failures.

Just as climate change has worsened many extreme weather events, it has also impacted droughts. The excess heat now trapped in the climate system draws out more moisture from soils, thereby worsening drought conditions. Reduced snowpack volumes, earlier snowmelt, and changing precipitation patterns – also linked to climate change – exacerbate the water stress induced by droughts. And for numerous individual events across the world, scientists have attributed the increased likelihood and severity of droughts to human-driven climate change.

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Also posted in Agriculture, California, Cities and states, Economics, Extreme Weather, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science / Read 2 Responses

How Biden’s climate summit can accelerate global ambition

iStock

Tomorrow is Earth Day, and it is a pivotal one for global climate action. On Thursday and Friday, President Joe Biden will host a virtual Leaders Summit on Climate, fulfilling a pledge he made on the campaign trail.

The ultimate measure of the Summit’s success will only become clear later this year, at the COP26 conference scheduled for November in Glasgow. The Biden administration has been in office fewer than 100 days, and diplomacy takes time; some of the administration’s efforts will undoubtedly only bear fruit in the coming months. Nonetheless, the Summit is a critical first milestone for a president who has pledged to make climate change a top priority. Here’s what to expect from the Summit – and what we are looking for. Read More »

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