To continue reading

Create a free account or sign in to unlock more free articles.

By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy

Climate

AM Briefing: BYD vs. Tesla

On quarterly EV sales, 2024 weather, and a darker shade of red

AM Briefing: BYD vs. Tesla
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: States in the Northeast are bracing for a major winter storm • Two months’ worth of rain fell in just three days in eastern Australia • Major floods brought parts of Saudi Arabia to a standstill.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Fewer cars eligible for 2024 EV tax credit

The number of electric vehicle models that are eligible for the government’s $7,500 tax credit has been more or less cut in half after new battery sourcing rules came into effect on January 1. Thirteen models now qualify, including the Tesla Model Y, the Chevy Bolt EV, and the Ford F-150 Lightning. Under the new rules, cars that use battery components made by Chinese manufacturers are disqualified, a move meant to wean the U.S. market off the Chinese supply chain. And the restrictions will become even tighter in 2025, targeting raw materials like lithium. U.S. automakers are working to expand their domestic manufacturing capabilities but this won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, propsective EV owners could consider leasing rather than buying, which will let you “skirt much of the red tape,” notesHeatmap’s Andrew Moseman.

2. BYD closes in on Tesla’s global EV lead

Tesla is expected to release its fourth quarter sales figures today and the big question is whether it will hold onto its position as the world’s top-selling EV maker. Yesterday Chinese automaker BYD announced it had sold 526,409 fully electric vehicles in the final three months of the year; analysts forecast Tesla’s sales to come in at around 483,200. BYD has been closing in on Tesla for a while, and if it takes the top spot, “it will be both a symbolic turning point for the EV market and further confirmation of China’s growing clout in the global automotive industry,” explainsBloomberg Green. Both BYD and Tesla are facing increasing competition from legacy automakers racing to catch up to their leads.

3. 2024 expected to bring more record-breaking weather

While 2023 was the hottest year ever recorded, experts predict 2024 will bring more extreme weather driven by a combination of man-made global warming and the El Niño weather pattern. The United Kingdom’s Met Office says the average global temperature for 2024 is forecast to be between 1.34 degrees and 1.58 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average. “We expect two new global temperature record-breaking years in succession, and, for the first time, we are forecasting a reasonable chance of a year temporarily exceeding 1.5 °C,” says the Met Office’s Dr. Nick Dunstone.

Get Heatmap AM in your inbox every weekday morning:

* indicates required
  • 4. ‘Warming stripes’ updated for 2023

    One of the researchers behind the iconic “warming stripes” – a visual representation of annual global temperatures over time – has updated the graphics to include 2023. Climate scientist Ed Hawkins says last year was so warm, he may need to update his color palette:

    X/ed_hawkins

    5. U.S. property catastrophe reinsurance rates jump 50%

    A rise in extreme weather and natural disasters in the U.S. is prompting a big hike in so-called reinsurance rates, which is likely to trickle down to propery insurance costs. As Reutersexplains, “reinsurers provide insurance for insurers and the prices they agree at the beginning of each year set the trend for the cost of insurance for the next 12 months.” On January 1, U.S. property catastrophe reinsurance rates jumped by as much as 50% for policies that previously experienced natural disasters, according to broker Gallagher Re. The U.S. experienced at least 25 climate-related weather disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The annual average between 1980 and 2022 is about 8 events.

    THE KICKER

    “Solar is quietly eating the world. This is what an energy transition looks like.” –Eric Wesoff at Canary, on reasons to be optimistic about the energy transition


    Yellow

    Jessica Hullinger

    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 More

    Read More

    To continue reading

    Create a free account or sign in to unlock more free articles.

    By continuing, you agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge our Privacy Policy

    Climate

    Why Clean Energy Projects Are Stalling Out on Native Lands

    The urgency of the green transition hasn’t made tribal concerns any less important.

    The Colorado River.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images, Library of Congress

    It’s windy in the Great Plains and it’s sunny in the Southwest. These two basic geographic facts underscore much of the green energy transition in the United States — and put many Native American tribes squarely in the middle of that process.

    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that “American Indian land comprises approximately 2% of U.S. land but contains an estimated 5% of all renewable energy resources,” with an especially large amount of potential solar power. Over the past few months, a spate of renewable energy projects across the country have found themselves entangled with courts, regulators, and tribal governments over how and under what circumstances they are permitted on — or even near — tribal lands.

    Keep reading...Show less
    Yellow
    Economy

    Is This the End of American Polyester?

    New federal safety regulations could push PET plastic-makers out of the country for good.

    An x-ray and a clothing tag.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    There are an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 chemicals used commercially today worldwide, and the vast majority of them haven’t been tested for human safety. Many that have been tested are linked to serious human health risks like cancer and reproductive harm. And yet, they continue to pollute our air, water, food, and consumer products.

    Among these is 1,4-dioxane, a chemical solvent that’s been linked to liver cancer in lab rodents and classified as a probable human carcinogen. It’s a multipurpose petrochemical, issuing from the brownfields of defunct industrial sites, chemical plants, and factories that use it in solvents, paint strippers, and degreasers. It shows up as an unintentional contaminant in consumer personal care products, detergents, and cleaning products and then goes down the drain into sewer systems.

    Keep reading...Show less
    Blue
    Electric Vehicles

    AM Briefing: Volkswagen’s Nostalgia Push

    On Volkswagen’s Scout revival, an IRA status report, and carbon removal rules

    Can Nostalgia Help Sell EVs?
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    Current conditions: Canada’s Alberta province has declared an early start to wildfire season • The air quality is “unhealthy” today in Milan, recently named the world’s third most polluted city • It will be 50 degrees Fahrenheit and sunny in National Harbor, Md., for the kickoff of the Conservative Political Action Conference.

    THE TOP FIVE

    1. New report finds the IRA is starting to work, but not exactly as expected

    A year and a half ago, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, which will spend an estimated $500 billion in grants and tax credits to incentivize people and businesses to switch from burning fossil fuels to using cleaner, zero-carbon technologies. Is it working? In the third episode of Heatmap’s podcast “Shift Key,” hosts Robinson Meyer and Jesse Jenkins dive into a new report from a coalition of major energy analysts — including MIT, the Rhodium Group, and Jenkins’ lab at Princeton — that looks at data from the power and transportation sectors and concludes that yes, the law is starting to decarbonize the American economy. But it isn’t working in the way many people might expect. While the transportation sector came in at the upper end of what modelers projected for this year, the power sector is lagging behind largely because of a drop in new onshore wind projects. As a result, the power sector is not on track to cut emissions 40% by 2030, as compared to 2005 levels, as the bill’s supporters have hoped.

    “Unfortunately, we're just not building out at the pace that would be economically justified,” Jenkins told Meyer. “And that is really an indicator that there are a substantial number of other non-economic frictions or barriers to deployment of wind in particular at the pace that we want to see.”

    Subscribe to “Shift Key” and find the episode on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

    Keep reading...Show less
    Yellow
    HMN Banner
    Get today’s top climate story delivered right to your inbox.

    Sign up for our free Heatmap Daily newsletter.