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Climate

Hybrid Sales Are Booming

On car sale trends, South Fork Wind, and fighting the dengue crisis

Hybrid Sales Are Booming
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Deadly tornadoes ripped through Ohio and Indiana overnight • Thai tourist hotspot Chiang Mai is the most polluted city in the world today • The Indian Wells tennis tournament in California was suspended after a swarm of bees descended on the court.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Construction is complete on South Fork Wind farm

The first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States is finally up and running. South Fork Wind’s 12th and final turbine was installed last month, and the project is now delivering power to the Long Island grid, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced yesterday. At full capacity, the 130-megawatt farm can generate enough power for about 70,000 homes. Construction on the project took about two years to complete. “This is just the beginning of New York’s offshore wind future,” Hochul said. The offshore wind sector has faced economic setbacks in the last year, with major projects delayed or canceled due to supply chain problems and rising costs. But there’s “every indication that there’s developer confidence in the sector,” Theodore Paradise, an attorney specializing in offshore wind at the law firm K&L Gates, told Canary Media. Two more projects – Massachusetts’ Vineyard Wind farm and Rhode Island’s Revolution Wind farm – are expected to be completed in coming months. States in the Northeast are planning to solicit proposals for new projects amounting to 6 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity and are developing cheaper and more efficient regional transmission infrastructure. “Overall, we see the industry is moving forward,” Paradise told Canary.

Orsted

2. U.S. hybrid sales are booming

Hybrid car sales in the U.S. grew five times faster than those of fully-electric vehicles last month, according to Morgan Stanley. The rise in hybrid demand is fueled by customers who may be interested in making the leap to an electric vehicle but still have reservations about things like price, design, and range. Whatever the reason, though, car makers and suppliers are responding accordingly: Reutersreported that Ford plans to double the share of hybrid F-150s to 20% of its sales. Toyota plans to increase its hybrid offerings and overall hybrid sales. German supplier Schaeffler will invest $230 million in an Ohio factory to increase production of hybrid components. Hybrid production in the U.S. could rise to as much as 20% of total light-vehicle production by 2025, compared with 14% for EVs. “The industry shift toward hybrids challenges the Biden administration's pro-EV climate policies, and environmental groups that want automakers to phase out CO2-emitting internal combustion engines as quickly as possible,” Reuters said.

3. Heatmap poll: Biden’s climate policy remains popular

As President Biden prepares to run for re-election, one fact has eluded much notice: His climate change policies are pretty popular. An exclusive Heatmap poll of 1,000 Americans conducted by Benenson Strategy Group late last year found that most respondents backed the core ideas behind Biden’s climate policies. They expressed the most support of ideas meant to beef up the country’s manufacturing economy and build more renewable electricity. Some key takeaways:

  • Nearly 90% of Americans support encouraging domestic manufacturing.
  • 85% support using tax incentives to make homes more energy efficient.
  • 81% support funding research into carbon dioxide removal.
  • 80% support investing in public transit.
  • 78% support implementing policies that address environmental injustices.
  • A majority support a carbon tax.

“At first I doubted the veracity of these results,” said Heatmaps Robinson Meyer. And he’s probably not alone. Most Americans underestimate public support for pro-climate policies. But Heatmap’s results largely match other polling. And that is despite the overwhelming public disappointment in Biden, whose approval rating has fallen to 37%, an all-time low of his presidency. “At first glance,” Robinson wrote, “Biden’s climate policy might seem to pose a paradox: It’s really popular (at least facially), but nobody has seemed to notice. That may persist through the November election. But it will not be able to last for too long after that.”

4. EU expected to back track on green agriculture policies

After months of disruptive protests by angry farmers, the European Union looks poised to weaken its climate proposals aimed at the agriculture sector, Bloombergreported. The new rules, expected as early as today, would reportedly let farmers off the hook for things like promoting biodiversity, preventing soil erosion, improving soil health, and reducing reliance on chemical pesticides. “Taken together, they would enable farmers to get EU subsidies even if they don't meet the most basic environmental standards,” Politicoexplained. Farmers have argued the bloc’s environmental policies are too burdensome at a time when their own operational costs are on the rise and food prices have fallen. Last week the European Environment Agency released a report warning that the EU is unprepared for climate change, singling out agriculture as a sector where urgent action is needed “if the Continent is to avoid catastrophic floods, years-long droughts and scorching heatwaves,” Politico said.

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  • 5. Brazil uses bacteria-infected mosquitoes to fight dengue crisis

    Six cities in Brazil are releasing bacteria-infected mosquitoes in an effort to control the nation’s dengue emergency. The mosquito-borne virus is on the rise in South America; already more than a million Brazilians have been infected in 2024. While it is often asymptomatic, in some cases the disease can cause extreme joint pain, and more than 35,000 people die from infections each year. Climate change is making the dengue crisis worse by raising temperatures and increasing rainfall in some areas, expanding mosquitoes’ breeding grounds.

    The new program in Brazil involves breeding mosquitoes infected with a bacteria called Wolbachia. “Wild females that mate with Wolbachia-infected males produce eggs that don’t hatch,” explainedMIT Technology Review. “Wolbachia-infected females produce offspring that are also infected. Over time, the bacteria spread throughout the population.” As one official put it: “We’re essentially vaccinating mosquitoes against giving humans disease.”

    THE KICKER

    “At the risk of repeating a cliché, it tastes a lot like chicken.”Daniel Natusch of Macquarie University in Sydney, co-author of a new study published in Scientific Reports that suggests “python farming may offer a flexible and efficient response to global food insecurity.”

    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

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