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Climate

Where Hurricane Beryl is Headed Next

On weekend weather, the U.K.’s election, and China EV tariffs

Where Hurricane Beryl is Headed Next
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Rain storms prompted China to evacuate 240,000 in the east • A heat wave is breaking records in Moscow • Beachgoers along the Gulf of Mexico are cautioned to beware dangerous rip currents this weekend.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Fires rage in California as ‘very dangerous’ heat wave hits western states

More than 100 million people in the United States remain under heat alerts. A dangerous heat wave is baking the West, with temperatures expected to peak today and tomorrow. In some desert areas, temperatures could reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit. “It’s not your typical heat wave,” said Joe Sirard, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “This is a dangerous heat wave, this is a high-end heat wave. Very dangerous.” The heat, combined with high winds and dry conditions, have increased the risk of wildfires across California, where firefighters are already battling blazes. The Thompson Fire in Northern California scorched 3,700 acres and forced nearly 30,000 people to evacuate. “Oppressive” heat and humidity will also plague the Southeast today and tomorrow.

The Thompson Fire burns in Butte County. CAL FIRE

2. Hurricane Beryl makes landfall in Mexico

Hurricane Beryl is lashing Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula after devastating Jamaica. The system, which is currently a category 2 storm, has wind speeds of up to 110 miles per hour and is expected to bring a lot of rain and dangerous storm surge. Parts of southern Texas could feel the storm’s effects this weekend. At least 11 people have died in the hurricane and many buildings across several Caribbean islands remain without power.

3. Labour Party wins UK general election

The Labour Party won a landslide victory in the U.K.’s general election, which means that Keir Starmer is the new prime minister and 14 years of Conservative rule have come to an end. Starmer has vowed to transform the U.K. into a “clean energy superpower.” Here are some of his environmental pledges:

  • Establish a publicly owned clean energy firm.
  • Fully decarbonize the power sector by 2030.
  • Double onshore wind, triple solar power, and quadruple offshore wind by 2030.
  • Upgrade the grid and speed up clean energy projects.
  • Deny new licenses for exploring new oil and gas fields in the North Sea.
  • Ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars by 2030 and increase charging access for EVs.

The Green party saw its best election results ever, and quadrupled its representation in government.

4. EU raises tariffs on Chinese EVs

The European Union confirmed yesterday it will impose new tariffs of up to 38% on Chinese EV imports. When added to the existing duty of 10%, the tax could be nearly 50%. The move is intended to protect EU car manufacturers from an influx of cheap EVs but could also increase EV prices across the bloc because, while “Chinese EVs are a relatively rare sight on U.S. roads,” they're quite common in the EU, the BBC noted.

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  • 5. Germany makes balcony solar power a legal right

    Germany passed reforms that will guarantee people living in apartments have the right to install solar systems on their balconies. The new rule means landlords or other authorities will not be able to block the installations except for in exceptional circumstances. “The right to harvest solar power is thus legally enshrined,” Carsten Körnig, the head of the BSW solar power association, said in a statement. “This is tangible climate protection and is likely ot further increase acceptance of the energy transition.” More than half of Germany’s population lives in rented housing, Reutersreported, and demand for balcony solar-power systems soared in 2023.

    THE KICKER

    Scientists discovered three plant species in South America that are closely related to the tree that produces cocoa beans. The discovery could help researchers produce climate-resistant cacao trees, and protect chocolate production.

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    Jessica  Hullinger profile image

    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.

    Technology

    Florida’s Climate Tech Hub Has a Florida Problem

    One of the most vulnerable states in the U.S. wants nothing to do with “climate change.”

    A Florida postcard.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    The Biden administration loves a hub. There are the hydrogen hubs, the direct air capture hubs, and now there are the tech hubs. Established as a part of the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, the $10 billion program has so far seeded 12 such hubs across the country. Four of these are focused on clean energy and sustainability, and one is located in the great state of Florida, which recently passed legislation essentially deleting the words “climate change” from state law.

    The South Florida ClimateReady Tech Hub did not, in the end, eliminate climate from its name. But while Governor Ron DeSantis might not approve, the federal government didn’t seem to mind, as the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration awarded the hub $19.5 million to “advance its global leadership in sustainable and resilient infrastructure.”

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    Climate

    America Wasn’t Built for This

    Why extreme heat messes with infrastructure.

    Teton Pass.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    America is melting. Roads are buckling everywhere from Houston to Aurora, Colorado, and in June caused traffic jams in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Last week, a New York City bridge that had opened to let a ship pass got stuck after expanding in the heat, forcing thousands of commuters to detour. The mid-June heat wave led to thousands of flight delays; more recently, even Toronto’s Pearson International Airport warned travelers to brace for heat-related complications. Commuters along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor have been harried by heat-induced delays for weeks.

    The train delays have affected an especially large population. The Northeast Corridor is the most trafficked commuter rail system in the country, with over 750,000 daily commuters. In late June, Amtrak notified customers that trains in the corridor could face delays of up to an hour in the coming weeks as heat interfered with tracks and overhead power lines. Since it issued that warning, tens of thousands of people have experienced heat-related delays.

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    Climate

    AM Briefing: Turbine Troubles

    On broken blades, COP29, and the falling price of used electric vehicles

    Vineyard Wind Is Having Turbine Troubles
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    Current conditions: Torrential rain brought flash flooding to Toronto • A wildfire on the Hawaiian island of Kauai has been contained • Parts of southern Spain could hit 111 degrees Fahrenheit this week.

    THE TOP FIVE

    1. Intense heat waves and thunderstorms torment millions of Americans

    The extreme heat wave over the East Coast may very well break a record in Washington, D.C., today that was set during the 1930s Dust Bowl: the longest stretch of days with temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The mercury yesterday hit 104 degrees, after similarly scorching numbers on Monday and Sunday, tying the existing record of three days. The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 98 degrees for Wednesday but The Washington Post said there’s “an outside chance that it hits 100 (or higher).” Either way, with humidity at 55%, it will feel torturously hot, with a potential heat index of 110 degrees. An “Extended Heat Emergency” is in effect in the city through today. Nearly 75 major cities across the Northeast, South, and Southwest are currently facing dangerous heat levels, according to The New York Times.

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