Jessica Hullinger is a freelance writer and editor who likes to think deeply about climate science and sustainability. She previously served as Global Deputy Editor for The Week, and her writing has been featured in publications including Fast Company, Popular Science, and Fortune. Jessica is originally from Indiana but lives in London. Read MoreRead More
AM Briefing: Chevy's New Electric SUV
On the Blazer EV reviews, Trump's latest climate target, and oil demand
Current conditions: More than 125 highways are closed in China due to a record-setting winter storm • Tropical Cyclone Jasper downed trees in parts of Queensland in Australia • The Geminids meteor shower will peak tonight.
THE TOP FIVE
1. Trump promises to revoke U.S. pledge to Green Climate Fund if re-elected
Former President Donald Trump told a crowd at an Iowa campaign event yesterday that he would cancel “all climate reparation payments” immediately should he be re-elected next year. A campaign aide clarified that Trump was talking specifically about America’s pledge to the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing countries adapt and become more resilient to the effects of climate change. Vice President Kamala Harris recently announced that America would give the fund $3 billion. President Biden’s climate policies have become a “core part” of Trump’s campaign message, saysReuters. In the same speech, Trump also promised to “end Joe Biden’s war on American energy” and “drill, baby, drill.”
2. Chevy Blazer EV first-drive reviews are in
Early reviews of the Chevy Blazer EV, which TechCrunchdescribes as “a vehicle designed to satiate Americans’ never-ending appetites for SUV,” are trickling in. The consensus? It’s good! But with a starting price around $56,000, it’s too expensive. Here’s a quick roundup
- “Chevy has designed and produced an absolutely normal SUV — a welcome relief from the string of novelty EVs that have come on the market in recent years. The big miss is the higher-than-expected price tag.” –Kirsten Korosec at TechCrunch
- “A solid and highly customizable first entry into the market … and we’re particularly impressed by the UI,” but “there’s a lot to be considered when looking at the lower-priced alternatives in the market.” –Jameson Dow at Electrek
- “Not the most compelling electric SUV” but “its slick blend of new-age technology and old-school redundancy provides a compelling lure for hesitant EV buyers.” –Mack Hogan atRoad and Track
The Chevy Blazer EVChevrolet
3. Massive Tesla recall is a ‘win’ ... for Tesla
In other EV news, more than 2 million Tesla vehicles are set to receive over-the-air updates to address failures in the Autopilot system. As Wirednotes, that’s nearly all the vehicles Tesla has sold in the U.S. to date. At issue is the Autosteer functionality, and the recall follows an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (HTWSA) into a series of crashes that may have occurred while Autopilot was in use. The updates will include added safety controls and alerts, and further limit where drivers can use Autosteer, Wired says. The recall is a “win” for Tesla, argues Damon Lavrinc at Heatmap. “U.S. regulators did not conclude the technology itself was unsafe, and also determined that drivers are responsible for using Autopilot safely. This is what Tesla has contended since the beginning, and it’s a rebuke to safety advocates, many local legislators, and lawyers representing accident victims and their families.”
4. IEA and OPEC reports show conflicting projections for oil demand
The Inernational Energy Agency (IEA) released its December Oil Market Report this morning, which says that global oil demand rose in 2023 but that a slowdown has begun and will continue through 2024. This, combined with supply growth from the U.S. (and elsewhere), will “complicate efforts by key producers to defend their market share and maintain elevated oil prices,” the agency concludes. The report is in contrast to projections put forward by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which this week said it still expects demand for oil to grow next year by 2.25 million barrels a day. Oil prices have been plummeting for several weeks now despite OPEC output cuts. The oil cartel blamed this on “exaggerated” concerns about oil demand growth.
5. U.S. forecasters say Christmas snow is unlikely
Weather forecasts for the next few weeks are starting to come into focus, and a white Christmas is looking increasingly unlikely for the continental U.S. “For the second year in a row, models show low chances of snow leading up to and on Christmas, continuing a disappointing trend for snow lovers tied to human-caused climate change,” reportsThe Washington Post.
U.S. temperature outlook for the next two weeksNOAA
PETA has named Apple its 2023 Company of the Year for its move to ditch animal leather in its products.