Discover more from Callaway Climate Insights
New Delhi's new car ban a taste of imposed sacrifices to come
Welcome to Callaway Climate Insights. We're gearing up for the big APEC meeting in San Francisco next week, where President Biden meets China's Xi Jinping.
Today’s edition is free. To read our insights and support our great climate finance journalism five days a week, subscribe now for full access.
A new order to impose mandatory auto cuts in New Delhi next week to cut pollution is a signal of things to come for Western nations dragging their feet on climate mitigation efforts. Increasingly, as global warming bites, governments will need to impose restrictions for public health rather than incentivize, as most do now.
Delhi said it will limit cars on odd days next week to those with odd registration numbers, and even days with even numbers. It’s been done multiple times there in the past few years, especially around this time in the calendar, when low winds ahead of winter combine with the city’s normal toxic mix of fumes and the added emissions from fireworks set off to celebrate the Hindu Diwali festival of light this weekend.
The economic effects will be severe, as federal authorities have already imposed cuts on public construction works and empty trucks (although the cricket matches are apparently still on). China, which ranks up with India as one of the most polluted countries in the world, has also imposed mandatory work and commuting cuts in the past to cut emissions. Experts have warned these cuts do more to reduce traffic then they do to cut emissions, which are already in the atmosphere.
It’s important to track these developments, especially at a time like this, when United Nations climate delegates are planning to meet in Dubai in a few weeks to discuss reducing emissions and helping poorer countries handle climate costs.
We tend to see climate change as a long-term phenomenon punctuated by brief spikes of environmental disasters that come and go, but in reality it’s a slippery slope with measurable points of slippage. And the move from voluntary actions to mandatory orders is certainly one of those points.
Breaking news: Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Thursday in a video posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) that he will not run for reelection in 2024. But he said he will stay active in politics. “I have made one of the toughest decisions of my life, and decided that I will not be running for reelection to the United States Senate.” Manchin added that he plans to travel the country, “speaking out to see if there is an interest in creating a movement to mobilize the middle and bring Americans together.” That, some publications said, is fueling speculation about whether he plans on mounting a third-party White House bid. Others noted that Manchin’s decision will deal a blow to Democrats and could cede his seat to the GOP.
Don’t forget to contact me directly if you have suggestions or ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow us . . . .
Here’s why we should invest in polluters to save the climate
. . . . Can investing in shares of Exxon Mobil XOM 0.00%↑ or Royal Dutch Shell SHEL 0.00%↑ be a green strategy? When compared with divesting, or selling shares to protest fossil fuels, a popular form of strategy, actually investing and engaging with the companies directly has proven a better way to get them to lower harmful emissions, writes Mark Hulbert. Citing a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Hulbert also says that among forms of engagement, persuasion and collaboration were found to be more effective than adversarial tactics, such as proxy fights. . . .
Thursday’s subscriber insights
U.S. carmakers' longtime price formula may be a bust when it comes to EVs
. . . . Ford and GM have signaled that they are slowing down on EV investing because sales growth is stagnant. But could it be that their products are too expensive? After all, in China, where electric vehicles are much more modest and less expensive, sales are booming. Read more here. . . .
What do make of Rivian’s increased production guidance
. . . . Electric vehicle startup Rivian RIVN 0.00%↑ became a curious outlier among the gang of EV makers who have cited slowing demand recently when it said this week that it was increasing its production guidance for the full year because of improved demand.
Rivian said it was raising production estimates by 2,000 vehicles to 54,000, following three straight quarters of keeping those numbers steady even as other companies, such as Ford F 0.00%↑, GM GM 0.00%↑ and as of this week, Lucid LCID 0.00%↑ have cited lower demand and pulled back on estimates.
Part of the change is that Rivian is small and even tiny orders can make meaningful changes to production estimates, as compared to Ford and GM (but not Lucid). Part of it might also be that EV sales in the U.S., now estimated to be about 17% of all auto sales, can be fickle, and change from market to market, which wouldn’t reflect in Ford’s numbers but might for Rivian, which is very popular in California, for example.
As we note in the item above, China continues to see growth in its EV market, so it’s not the technology per se. If anything, it’s a combination of a slowing economy and continuing range anxiety among would-be buyers that have kept demand lower than perhaps the big automakers expected when they ramped up production last year.
For Rivian, whose shares popped on the news but are still down about 9% for the year, it is another strong indicator that the tiny EV startup might still make it among the big dogs by the sheer strength and popularity of its product. Demand numbers rise and fall, but you have to be there when they come, after all. . . .
U.S. faces a winter of electricity woes: It's all about the grid
. . . . It’s a double whammy. Not only are the nation’s electricity grids not capable of handling the increasing amounts of renewable energy, but they also are lacking when it comes to heating the population when winter arrives. Read more here. . . .
Editor’s picks: U.S., UK work together on fusion tech; plus, Forest Service plans CCS
U.S., UK will partner for fusion tech development
The U.S. and the UK have announced a major new partnership in fusion technology, advancing the “shared goal of ending the climate crisis,” officials said. According to a report from The Independent, the plan is for fusion scientists on both sides of the Atlantic collaborate on R&D, share knowledge and access to facilities in an attempt to make fusion commercially viable. The announcement came out of the U.S. Department of Energy and the UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero during a meeting in Washington on Wednesday. It follows the big breakthrough last year from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which achieved a first-ever net energy gain, producing more energy in a fusion reaction than was used to ignite it.
Forest Service wants to allow CCS projects
The U.S. Forest Service wants to allow carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects on national forest land, according to a proposed rule published by the agency on Friday. Reuters reports that the proposed rule would amend existing Forest Service regulations by allowing “exclusive and perpetual use” of national forest land and pore space beneath it for approved CCS projects. According to the report, creating such projects on forest land is consistent with the Biden Administration’s climate goals. However, some are opposed on the basis it is like privatizing public land. “Our nation’s forests should not be a dumping ground for polluters,” Jim Walsh, policy director of the environmental group Food & Water Watch, told Reuters.
Explain that: How AI helps combat climate change - UN
Watch the video: The AI for Good Neural Network is designed to help users build connections with innovators and experts, link innovative ideas with social impact opportunities, and bring the community together to advance the SDGs using AI.
. . . . Artificial intelligence, or AI, is already making inroads worldwide in health, education and industry, but how can this technology help the world combat and mitigate the effects of climate change? A recent UN report citing the World Meteorological Organization, says AI-driven technologies offer previously unheard-of capabilities to process enormous volumes of data, extract insightful knowledge and improve predictive models. That means access to improved modeling and predicting climate change patterns that can help communities and authorities to draft effective adaptation and mitigation strategies. “On the ground, enhanced data can be a game-changer. For instance, the MyAnga app helps Kenyan pastoralists brace for drought. With data from global meteorological stations and satellites sent to their mobile phones, herders can plan ahead, better manage their livestock and save hours of scouting for green pastures,” the UN says. As extreme weather events unfold with more frequency and intensity, AI can help communities around the world to better brace for climate disasters. AI-driven initiatives are targeting high-risk areas and feeding into local and national response plans. For areas susceptible to landslides, for example, mapping can help local authorities plan and implement sustainable development measures, reduce risks and ensure the safety of residents in vulnerable communities.
Words to live by . . . .
“Restoring the land without restoring relationship is an empty exercise. It is relationship that will endure and relationship that will sustain the restored land … It is medicine for the earth.” — Robin Wall Kimmerer, American author and botanist.