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Politics

What Biden’s Budget Proposal Says About Climate Projects

On the president’s funding requests, BYD’s bumpy road, and fake sand dunes

What Biden’s Budget Proposal Says About Climate Projects
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Current conditions: Tropical storm Filipo will make landfall on Mozambique’s coast today • Morel season has begun in parts of the Midwest • It is cold and cloudy in Stockholm, where police forcibly removed climate activst Greta Thunberg from the entrance to parliament.

THE TOP FIVE

1. Climate and energy ‘figure prominently’ in Biden’s budget

President Biden proposed a $7.3 trillion budget yesterday, and his “climate and energy promises figured prominently,” reportedE&E News. Biden requested $17.8 billion for the Interior Department to help with climate resilience, national parks, wildfire management, tribal programs, ecosystem restoration, and water infrastructure in the west. He wants $11 billion for the EPA and $51 billion for the Department of Energy to tackle climate change and help fund the energy transition. The proposal calls for funding toward expanding the “Climate Corps.” Biden also asked Congress to put $500 million into the international Green Climate Fund in 2025, and then more in the following years. And he wants to make this spending mandatory. The budget would also “cut wasteful subsidies to Big Oil and other special interests,” Biden said. As Morning Brewnoted, the budget proposal has “about as much chance of getting passed by Congress as a bill guaranteeing each American a pet unicorn, so it’s mostly a statement of Biden’s priorities.”

2. U.S. EV prices drop 13% year-over-year

EV prices in the U.S. have dropped by about 13% in the last year, according to Kelley Blue Book. The drop “has been led in part by the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, the two most popular EVs in the U.S.,” explained Michelle Lewis at Electrek. However, EVs are still more expensive than “mainstream non-luxury vehicles,” said Stephanie Valdez Streaty, director of Industry Insights at Cox Automotive.

3. Report: BYD struggles to ramp up overseas EV sales

Chinese EV maker BYD has reportedly hit a speed bump on the road to international expansion. Having dominated the Chinese market and established itself as the top-selling EV maker in the world, BYD set an internal goal of selling 400,000 cars overseas this year. But a global slowdown in EV sales growth has hampered that effort, reported The Wall Street Journal. “As of the end of last year, more than 10,000 BYD passenger cars were waiting in warehouses in Europe,” the Journal added, “and the certificates authorizing them to be sold in the European Union are set to expire soon, meaning it may not be possible to sell them in Europe.” At the same time, quality control issues have been cropping up in some vehicles, and higher prices in Europe are making it more difficult for the company to compete with better-known brands.

4. U.K. emissions hit 145-year low

Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK fell last year to their lowest level since 1879, according to analysis from Carbon Brief. The decline is attributed mainly to a drop in gas demand thanks to higher electricity imports and warmer temperatures. As recently as 2014, the power sector was the UK’s largest source of emissions, but now it has been eclipsed by transportation, buildings, industry, and agriculture. “Transport emissions have barely changed over the past several decades as more efficient cars have been offset by increased traffic,” Carbon Brief explained. Remarkably, coal use in the country is at its lowest level since the 1730s, “when George II was on the throne.” The emissions drop is good news but “with only one coal-fired power station remaining and the power sector overall now likely only the fifth-largest contributor to UK emissions, the country will need to start cutting into gas power and looking to other sectors” to meet net zero by 2050. Meanwhile, the British government today announced a plan to build new gas plants.

5. Seaside town’s $500K new protective sand dune washes away in 3 days

Residents in Salisbury, Massachusetts, last week finished building a $500,000 sand dune meant to protect their beachside homes from rising tides and repeated storms. Three days later, the barrier, made of 14,000 tons of sand, washed away when a storm brought historic high tides to the seaside town. “We got hit with three storms – two in January, one now – at the highest astronomical tides possible,” said Rick Rigoli, who oversaw the project. The sea level off the Massachusetts coast has risen by 8 inches since 1950, and is now rising by about 1 inch every 8 years.



THE KICKER

On average, installing a heat pump in your home could cut between 2.5 to 4.4 tons of carbon during the equipment’s lifespan, meaning widespread adoption could result in a 5% to 9% drop in national economy-wide emissions.

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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