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Electric Vehicles

Tesla Just Recalled Nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks

On sticky accelerators, Alaskan oil, and sinking cities

Tesla Just Recalled Nearly 4,000 Cybertrucks
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions: Unseasonably heavy rainfall killed at least 130 people across Pakistan and Afghanistan • Temperatures will soar to 111 degrees Fahrenheit today in Mali • It will be cool and cloudy in NYC, where thousands of high school students are expected to leave class to join a climate strike.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Tesla recalls Cybertrucks over sticky accelerator pedals

Tesla is recalling 3,878 Cybertrucks due to potentially faulty accelerator pedals. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “the accelerator pedal pad may dislodge and become trapped by the interior trim,” causing the vehicle to accelerate unintentionally. Or, as Rob Stumpf at Inside EVs put it, this issue “could potentially turn the stainless steel trapezoid into a 6,800-pound land missile.” The recall affects every single Cybertruck that has shipped so far,according toTechCrunch. Owners will be notified by mail, and Tesla will replace or repair the accelerator pedal at no charge. The news caps off a rough week for the embattled EV maker that started with mass layoffs.

2. Biden finalizes plan to limit new oil drilling and mining in Alaska

The Interior Department today moved to wall off huge swathes of the Alaskan wilderness to new drilling and mining activities. The plan will limit oil leasing and development across 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, and block new leasing completely across 10.6 million acres, plus the entire U.S. Arctic Ocean. “The move puts nearly half of the NPR-A’s 23 million acres off limits to oil drilling,” Politicoreported. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also recommended against the construction of a 211-mile mining route known as the Ambler Road that would have allowed for copper and zinc mining. The move would protect undeveloped land but has the downside of limiting access to critical minerals essential for the clean energy transition. Local Native tribes cheered the decisions; fossil fuel and mining groups condemned them.

In a separate decision, the BLM yesterday finalized a rule to help protect and restore public lands by recognizing and prioritizing conservation as an essential part of land management. The rule puts conservation “on equal footing” with other activities like grazing and energy development, and will help BLM “improve the health and resilience of public lands in the face of a changing climate,” the bureau said. Mining groups slammed the rule, while House Republicans called it “a classic example of overreach” and vowed to fight to have it rescinded.

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  • 3. Biden administration to unveil some recipients of clean energy tax credits

    Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is expected to announce the recipients of about $2 billion in clean energy tax credits today during a visit to a Siemens Energy facility in Raleigh, North Carolina. Among the grant winners are Siemens Energy Inc. and Danish electrolyzer manufacturer Topsoe A/S, according to Bloomberg. The Biden administration restarted the tax credit program last year thanks to injection of funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. The “Advanced Energy Project Credit,” as it’s called, provides a 30% tax credit for clean energy projects that “expand domestic manufacturing, reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, or help create a domestic supply chain for critical minerals.” The first round of funding will total $4 billion in credits for more than 100 projects. One source told Bloomberg that Topsoe will receive $136 million to put toward building a green hydrogen electrolyzer plant in Virginia.

    4. Heat-related ER visits rose substantially last year

    Nearly 120,000 heat-related visits to U.S. emergency departments were recorded last year, a substantial increase compared with previous years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Men under the age of 65 were the most likely demographic to show up in the ER with a heat-related health concern. The report notes that last year’s warm season (May through September) was the hottest ever recorded in the U.S. It calls for continued monitoring of health implications to help inform prevention measures as heat waves worsen. “Heat-related illness will continue to be a significant public health concern as climate change results in longer, hotter, and more frequent episodes of extreme heat,” the CDC said.

    5. Study: Many of China’s major cities are sinking

    Nearly half of China’s major cities are shrinking due to a combination of climate change and land subsidence, according to a study published in the journal Science. The researchers analyzed nationwide satellite data and found that 45% of urban lands are sinking at more than 3 millimeters per year. In total, one in 10 coastal residents in China could be living below sea level within a century. The subsidence is caused by water extraction and “the sheer weight of the built environment,” Reuterssaid. It’s exacerbated by rising sea levels due to climate change, a trend reflected across the world’s coastal regions. “By 2040, almost one-fifth of the world’s population is projected to be living on sinking land,” according toNature.

    THE KICKER

    Investment in renewable energy reached a record $88 billion in the U.S. last year.

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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.

    Bitcoin becoming the sun.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    Categorizing Crusoe Energy is not easy. The startup is a Bitcoin miner and data center operator. It’s a “high-performance” and “carbon-negative” cloud platform provider. It’s a darling of the clean tech world that’s raised nearly $750 million in funding. The company has historically powered its operations with natural gas, but its overall business model actually reduces emissions. Confused yet?

    Here are the basics. The company was founded in 2018 to address the problem of natural gas flaring. Natural gas is a byproduct of oil extraction, and if oil field operators have no economical use case for the gas or are unable to transfer it elsewhere, it’s often simply burned. If you, like me, have spent time sourcing stock images of air pollution, you’ve probably seen the pictures of giant flames coming out of tall smokestacks near oil pump jacks and other drilling infrastructure. That’s what flaring natural gas looks like, and it is indeed terrible for the environment. That’s largely because the process fails to fully combust methane, which is the primary component of natural gas and 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.

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    Climate

    AM Briefing: Displacement Fears

    On the Biden administration’s carbon removal investments, the climate refugees of Brazil, and more

    Wednesday sunrise.
    Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

    Current conditions: More storms and possible tornadoes are forecast to hit Texas and the Plains, where millions of people are still without power • Cyclone Remal, the first tropical storm of the season, killed at least 23 people in India and Bangladesh • Brazilian authorities are investigating up to 800 suspected cases of waterborne illness following unprecedented flooding over the past month.

    THE TOP FIVE

    1. Biden administration invests in carbon removal

    The Department of Energy on Tuesday gave $1.2 million to companies competing for a chance to sell carbon removal credits to the federal government. These 24 semifinalists, which were each awarded $50,000, include nine direct air capture projects, seven biomass projects, five enhanced rock weathering projects, and three marine-based projects. Up to 10 of them will be offered federal contracts amounting to $30 million. “The Department of Energy hopes that by selecting 24 companies that have been vetted by government scientists, it’s sending a signal to the private sector that there are at least some projects that are legitimate,” Heatmap’s Emily Pontecorvo writes, referencing struggles in the broader carbon credits marketplace.

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    Technology

    Carbon Removal’s Stamp of Approval

    The Department of Energy is advancing 24 companies in its purchase prize contest. What these companies are getting is more important than $50,000.

    Heirloom DAC.
    Heatmap Illustration/Heirloom Carbon

    The Department of Energy is advancing its first-of-a-kind program to stimulate demand for carbon removal by becoming a major buyer. On Tuesday, the agency awarded $50,000 to each of 24 semifinalist companies competing to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere on behalf of the U.S. government. It will eventually spend $30 million to buy carbon removal credits from up to 10 winners.

    The nascent carbon removal industry is desperate for customers. At a conference held in New York City last week called Carbon Unbound, startup CEOs brainstormed how to convince more companies to buy carbon removal as part of their sustainability strategies. On the sidelines, attendees lamented to me that there were hardly even any potential buyers at the conference — what a missed opportunity.

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