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Economy

EV Earnings on Deck

On the Mona Lisa, EU red tape, and a bold Chicago ordinance

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Current conditions: Warm temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and Central Plains could set daily records • Jet stream to dump “extended” rain on California • It’ll hit nearly 60 degrees today in Kansas City, whose Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years to face the San Francisco 49ers.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Earnings calls continue — and with them, EV insights

Earnings season continues this week with 106 S&P 500 companies on deck to report to investors in the next five days. Upcoming calls with automakers in particular could offer additional insight into the purported “slowing” of the electric vehicle market. Here is where things currently stand:

  • General Motors reports Tuesday. In December, the company halted sales of its 2024 Chevrolet Blazer EV over issues with software and charging, and it postponed a $4 billion electric truck plant in Michigan last year as well. GM says it sold 19,469 EVs in Q4, down slightly from the quarter before.
  • Ford reports next week. The company has significantly reduced production of its F-150 Lightning.
  • Polestar’s Q4 results won’t be released until the end of February, but the Volvo-owned brand “cut about 15% of its global workforce [last week] in response to what it described as ‘challenging market conditions’ and lower volume expectations in 2025,” The Wall Street Journalreports.
  • Last week, Tesla projected “notably slower” growth for the year ahead. The company “is clearly trying to figure out what to do next,” wroteHeatmap’s Matthew Zeitlin.

2. EU climate chief warns against ‘false narrative’ that climate action and business interests are at odds

The European Union’s climate commissioner, Wopke Hoekstra, said that the energy transition will mean a “heavy change” for industries on the continent but warned against the “false narrative” that climate action comes at the cost of business and innovation, The Financial Timesreported Monday. Hoekstra’s comments came ahead of an intended proposal by Brussels that the EU cut emissions by 90% of 1990 levels by 2040.

While the aggressive proposition would need to be agreed upon by EU governments before becoming law, environmental regulations have already rankled farmers in Germany, Poland, Romania, Belgium, and France — where farmers even threatened to put Paris “under siege” on Monday — while right-wing politicians have attacked green policies and industrialists have blamed “red tape” for holding up innovation. “We need to stand on two legs: one leg is climate action, the other leg is the just transition, competitiveness, and a thriving business community, because both are needed,” Hoekstra said.

3. Food sustainability activists chuck soup at the Mona Lisa

On Sunday, a pair of activists threw soup at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre museum in Paris — although Leonardo da Vinci’s painting, which has seen this kind of thing before and resides safely behind fortified glass, was not damaged.

The demonstrators identified themselves as belonging to Riposte Alimentaire, which The Washington Postdescribes as a “food security protest group” under the umbrella of the A22 Network, which also includes the climate groups Just Stop Oil and Last Generation. “Farmers are squeezed by the pressures of mass distribution, going so far as to make them sell at a loss,” Riposte Alimentaire said in French, according to the Post. “Our agricultural and food system also has extremely worrying environmental consequences.”

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  • 4. Chicago faces uphill battle to ban gas from new construction

    Last week, Chicago Mayor Mayor Brandon introduced an ordinance that would ban natural gas for cooking and heating in most new construction. “This is a critical first step for [Chicago] to take towards a planned transition away from fossil fuels,” Leslie Perkins, the chief of staff and policy director for the city’s Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy, toldUtility Drive at the time. However, the ordinance faces an uphill battle, The Chicago Tribune argued in a Sunday editorial. “Better to wait and see what the statewide policy is on the future of natural gas,” the authors wrote, stressing examples like Berkeley, California, which has been unable to enforce its version of a gas ban after a federal appeals court ruled the city doesn’t have the authority. Additionally, “much of the power keeping lights on in Chicagoland comes from nuclear energy (which doesn’t emit carbon) and, ironically enough, gas (which does),” the op-ed authors pointed out. “It’s not economically feasible to build new nuclear plants at present, so any increased electricity demand will be met mostly by burning gas.”

    5. Maui County identifies 100th and final Lahaina wildfire victim

    Over the weekend, Maui police identified the 100th victim of the August 8 Lahaina wildfire as Lydia Coloma, 70. She was also the last unidentified victim and was ID’ed using “the context of the location where the remains were found,” rather than by DNA or other methods, The Associated Pressreports.

    Coloma is one of nine members of her family who died in the wildfire, as well as the first victim to be identified since November 11. Police said three other people still remain unaccounted for, down from more than 1,000 in the immediate aftermath of the fire.

    THE KICKER

    “What lies for the future for the Osage? Energy is the front end of our business. The other part of it is the environmental stewardship of this reservation.” —Everett Waller, chairman of the Osage Minerals Council, who also plays Paul Red Eagle in Killers of the Flower Moon. A federal judge has sided with the Osage Nation against Italian utility Enel, which has been ordered to remove 84 wind turbines from tribal land found in violation of the Osage mineral estate.

    Jeva Lange

    Jeva is a founding staff writer at Heatmap. Her writing has also appeared in The Week, where she formerly served as executive editor and culture critic, as well as in The New York Daily News, Vice, and Gothamist, among others. Jeva lives in New York City. Read More

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    THE TOP FIVE

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

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