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Sparks

Wow, It’s Hot in D.C.

And last week we had snow. What a world.

The Capitol.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The temperature rose to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in Washington, D.C. today. That is weird because it’s currently January 26, and because about four inches of snow fell last week. (Literally, D.C. public schools had a snow day a week ago.) Now the snow has melted and people are walking around in shorts and t-shirts.

While it can be hard to attribute individual weather events to climate change, “freakishly warm winter days” are an exception. Washington’s winters have gotten significantly warmer lately because of climate change. Across the country, climate change is making winters warmer and less snowy.

As a Washingtonian, I’ll add that these warmer days are especially odd because the sun is still at a slanty January angle. At 2 p.m. the sun was less than 30 degrees above the horizon; that’s the same height it would be at, say, 5 or 6 p.m. in June or July. So it looks and feels like a cool summer evening here — but it’s actually a bright winter early afternoon. Global weirding is right.

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Robinson Meyer profile image

Robinson Meyer

Robinson is the founding executive editor of Heatmap. He was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covered climate change, energy, and technology.

Dan Patrick.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Load growth is becoming controversial in Texas, where its isolated, uniquely free market electricity system makes a sometimes awkward fit with the state’s distinctive right-wing politics. They crashed together Wednesday, when the state’s conservative Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who a few weeks ago was attending Donald Trump’s criminal trialin New York City, expressed skepticism of the state’s bitcoin mining industry and the prospect of more data centers coming to Texas.

Responding to “shocking” testimony from the head of ERCOT, which manages about 90% of Texas’s electricity grid, Patrick wrote on X, “We need to take a close look at those two industries [crypto and AI]. They produce very few jobs compared to the incredible demands they place on our grid. Crypto mining may actually make more money selling electricity back to the grid than from their crypto mining operations."

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Sparks

There’s Gold in That There Battery Waste

Aepnus is taking a “fully circular approach” to battery manufacturing.

Lithium ion batteries.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Every year, millions of tons of sodium sulfate waste are generated throughout the lithium-ion battery supply chain. And although the chemical compound seems relatively innocuous — it looks just like table salt and is not particularly toxic — the sheer amount that’s produced via mining, cathode production, and battery recycling is a problem. Dumping it in rivers or oceans would obviously be disruptive to ecosystems (although that’s generally what happens in China), and with landfills running short on space, there are fewer options there, as well.

That is where Aepnus Technology is attempting to come in. The startup emerged from stealth today with $8 million in seed funding led by Clean Energy Ventures and supported by a number of other cleantech investors, including Lowercarbon Capital and Voyager Ventures. The company uses a novel electrolysis process to convert sodium sulfate waste into sodium hydroxide and sulfuric acid, which are themselves essential chemicals for battery production.

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Donald Trump and Jaws.
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Former President Trump wants to know: Would you rather be electrocuted or eaten by a shark?

On Sunday, during a rally in Las Vegas, the Republican nominee floated the question for what is at least the second time this campaign season (an odd choice, perhaps, given that Nevada is hardly shark territory, and therefore his supporters there are unlikely to have given the question much thought).

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