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Electric Vehicles

Biden’s War on Chinese EVs is Heating Up

On 100% tariffs, Canadian wildfires, and fossil fuel finance

Biden’s War on Chinese EVs is Heating Up
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Indonesia’s Mt. Ibu erupted this morning • Flash floods in Afghanistan killed at least 300 people • Gulf Coast states could see severe storms and hail today.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Biden expected to announce 100% tariffs on Chinese EVs

President Biden is expected to announce tomorrow that tariffs on electric vehicles made in China will quadruple – from 25% to 100%. The move is an attempt to stop cheap EVs from flooding the U.S. market. The news was reported by The Wall Street Journal Friday, and reaction has been mixed:

  • “A quadrupling of this tariff rate … would more effectively shield U.S. auto manufacturers from unfairly traded Chinese vehicles before they can gain a foothold in the US market.” –Wendy Cutler, a former trade official and vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, speaking to the Financial Times.
  • “Instead of just de facto banning the competition from giving Americans access to affordable hot new EVs, the U.S. should instead try making affordable hot new EVs itself.” –Jameson Dow at Electrek.
  • “The dearth of affordable electric vehicles in the U.S. is partly contributing to a slowdown in sales. And that could imperil Biden’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions attributable to transportation.” –Andrew J. Hawkins, transportation editor at The Verge.

2. U.S.-China talks end with an agreement to collaborate on climate issues

Despite the tensions on tariffs, talks between U.S. climate adviser John Podesta and his Chinese counterpart, Liu Zhenmin, concluded amicably last week. The nations agreed to “collaborate on phasing down coal consumption and boosting the deployment of renewable power,” Bloombergreported. “Even as our overall relationship between our two countries has increasingly been characterized by fierce competition, we have an obligation to our citizens and the people of the world to communicate, cooperate, and collaborate where we can to tackle the climate crisis,” Podesta told reporters.

3. Canadian wildfires prompt air quality alerts in Minnesota

The entire state of Minnesota is under an air quality alert today due to smoke from Canadian wildfires. The alert first went out yesterday as a band of very heavy smoke moved in, making the air quality unhealthy. Montana and the Dakotas were also affected. These are Canada’s first major wildfires of the season. Nearly 150 fires have spread over about 25,000 acres and prompted evacuations. Forty remain out of control as of this morning.

About 40 fires are out of control in Canada.CIFFC

Half of Canada is in a drought, with dry conditions expected to persist in many regions through the month of May. B.C. Wildfire Service official Cliff Chapman told reporters that the fuels surrounding one of the fires are “as dry as we have ever seen.” “The prospect of another active wildfire season simply drives the point home: we must take more action to combat and mitigate climate change and adapt to its very real and costly impacts,” said Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change. “This is not a future problem. It is here now.”

A report released earlier this year from research group First Street found that, by mid-century, 125 million Americans could be exposed to unhealthy air due to wildfire smoke.

4. Report: Big banks have given $7 trillion to fossil fuel firms since Paris agreement

In the eight years since the adoption of the Paris climate agreement, the world’s biggest banks have funneled nearly $7 trillion into the fossil fuel industry, according to a new report from a coalition of campaign groups. The 15th annual Banking on Climate Chaos report, published today, found that U.S. banks were the biggest financiers, accounting for 30% of the 2023 total of $705 billion. JPMorgan Chase was the biggest lender, both last year and since the Paris agreement. Japanese bank Mizuho came in second, and Bank of America came third. Many of the banks on the list responded by highlighting their investments in clean energy while also pointing to the need for ensuring energy security. One interesting trend in the report, as noted by the Financial Times, was an overall shift toward more financing for companies focusing on liquified natural gas. Campaign groups behind the report include the Sierra Club, the Rainforest Action Network, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and others.

5. EU approves 2040 rule to cut heavy-duty truck emissions

Trucks produce a quarter of Europe’s road transportation emissions, but that will soon have to change. A new CO2 emissions rule approved by EU countries today means manufacturers will have to sell mostly zero-emissions heavy-duty trucks by 2040, Reutersreported. In the nearer term, manufacturers will have to cut their fleets’ emissions by 45% by 2030, and 65% by 2035. Also by 2035, all new city buses sold in the EU must have zero emissions.

THE KICKER

A new report finds that the growing regions for avocados could shrink by up to 40% by 2050 due to shifting climates.

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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.

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