Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Tag: Fuel Efficiency

China’s Power Problems Expose a Strategic Weakness

China’s Power Problems Expose a Strategic Weakness

Business
BEIJING — A bread company can’t get all the power it needs for its bakeries. A chemicals supplier for some of the world’s biggest paint producers announced production cuts. A port city changed electricity rationing rules for manufacturers four times in a single day.China’s electricity shortage is rippling across factories and industries, testing the nation’s status as the world’s capital for reliable manufacturing. The shortage prompted the authorities to announce on Wednesday a national rush to mine and burn more coal, despite their previous pledges to curb emissions that cause climate change.Mines that were closed without authorization have been ordered to reopen. Coal mines and coal-fired power plants that were shut for repairs are also to be reopened. Tax incentives are being drafted f...
Ford’s Truck of the Future Looks Pretty Familiar

Ford’s Truck of the Future Looks Pretty Familiar

Technology, World
Advertisements have always told us that by buying one new product, we can improve our lives. Increasingly, though, they’re promising something different. Now they suggest we can buy our way to maintaining the lifestyle we already have, armed with products made from new materials (steel straws, hemp T-shirts) or redesigned so they don’t belch offensive exhaust (electric vehicles). The status quo, they promise, can stay — without so much ecological damage.“Make It Revolutionary” joins this tradition and helps us to see its blind spots. It’s no accident that Zhao gives more screen time to pickups than any other car, even though Ford’s first electric pickup doesn’t go on sale until next spring. In America, the company’s F-series pickups have outsold every other vehicle, of any type, for 39 yea...
Building a More Sustainable Car, From Headlamp to Tailpipe

Building a More Sustainable Car, From Headlamp to Tailpipe

Technology, World
In the 1970s, Chrysler’s TV commercials played up its vehicles’ “rich Corinthian leather.” That meaningless phrase, dreamed up by marketers and cooed by the actor Ricardo Montalbán, became emblematic of what defined a luxury vehicle.Fifty years later, those words have been replaced by elements that are creating a new concept of automotive luxury: recycled PET bottles, coffee grounds and tree fiber.“The definition of a premium automobile is changing,” said Rüdiger Recknagel, Audi’s chief environmental officer. “It’s now who’s using the best materials with the least environmental impact.”As companies around the world turn their attention to reducing the effect their products have on the environment, carmakers are turning away from traditional materials that are hard to recycle, such as leath...
California Recall Vote Could Weaken the State’s Aggressive Climate Policies

California Recall Vote Could Weaken the State’s Aggressive Climate Policies

Technology
Follow our latest updates on the California Recall Election and Governor Newsom.California has long cast itself as a leader in the fight against global warming, with more solar panels and electric cars than anywhere else in the nation. But the state’s ambitious climate policies now face their biggest reckoning to date.Voters in California are deciding whether to oust Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom ahead of a Sept. 14 recall election. Many of the Republicans vying to replace Mr. Newsom want to roll back the state’s aggressive plans to curb its planet-warming emissions, a move that could have nationwide implications for efforts to tackle climate change given California’s influence as the world’s fifth-largest economy.Under the rules of the election, Mr. Newsom would be removed from office if m...
Climate Change Reporter Covers a Mix of Angst and Ambition

Climate Change Reporter Covers a Mix of Angst and Ambition

Technology, World
Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.The United Nations recently released a major scientific report concluding that a hotter future is certain but that there is still a chance to prevent the most dire outcomes. Brad Plumer, a climate reporter for The New York Times, says there is a consensus among scientists on what must happen to limit global warming: Nations need to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In an interview, Mr. Plumer, who focuses on the policy and technology efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions, discussed the significance of the U.N. report, how he approaches a subject that can be upsetting to readers and his own environmentally conscious efforts. This interview has been...
Toyota Led on Clean Cars. Now Critics Say It Works to Delay Them.

Toyota Led on Clean Cars. Now Critics Say It Works to Delay Them.

Technology, World
On paper, Toyota’s approach to zero-emissions vehicles, the hydrogen fuel cell, is a dream: Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, these cars carry hydrogen tanks and fuel cells that turn the hydrogen into electricity. They refuel and accelerate quickly, and can travel for several hundred miles on a tank, emitting only water vapor. And hydrogen, theoretically, is abundant.But a high sticker price, as well as lack of refueling infrastructure, has hampered the growth of a hydrogen economy, at least for passenger cars.But Toyota has sold only about 11,000 of its Mirai fuel cell cars since introducing the vehicle in 2014. Honda, another hydrogen pioneer, said recently that it was killing its hydrogen model. Many analysts say that hydrogen technology is more suited for long-haul trucks or fo...
Europe Rolls Out Ambitious Climate Change Plan, but Obstacles Loom

Europe Rolls Out Ambitious Climate Change Plan, but Obstacles Loom

Technology, World
BRUSSELS — In what may be a seminal moment in the global effort to fight climate change, Europe on Wednesday challenged the rest of the world by laying out an ambitious blueprint to pivot away from fossil fuels over the next nine years, a plan that also has the potential to set off global trade disputes.The most radical, and possibly contentious, proposal would impose tariffs on certain imports from countries with less stringent climate-protection rules. The proposals also include eliminating the sales of new gas- and diesel-powered cars in just 14 years, and raising the price of using fossil fuels.“Our current fossil fuel economy has reached its limit,” the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said at a news conference in Brussels.The effort, pushed by the European ...
Here’s How Biden Aims to Increase Electric Car Sales

Here’s How Biden Aims to Increase Electric Car Sales

Technology, World
But if a final infrastructure package includes little or no spending on electric vehicles, a tougher tailpipe rule would likely face opposition from automakers, who would be forced to build and try to sell costly electric cars. And autoworker unions are also likely to fight a rapid federal push toward electric vehicles absent any help from the government. That’s because many economists estimate that manufacturing electric vehicles requires a third fewer workers than building conventional vehicles.“My concerns are, and she understands, that whenever we have technology shifts in the industry, it takes a lot of investment, and it doesn’t always work and take hold,” said Rory Gamble, president of the United Auto Workers, in an interview in March, speaking of his conversations with Ms. McCarthy...
Flying and Climate: Airlines Under Pressure to Cut Emissions

Flying and Climate: Airlines Under Pressure to Cut Emissions

Technology
The worst of the pandemic may be over for airlines, but the industry faces another looming crisis: an accounting over its contribution to climate change.The industry is under increasing pressure to do something to reduce and eventually eliminate emissions from travel, but it won’t be easy. Some solutions, like hydrogen fuel cells, are promising, but it’s unclear when they will be available, if ever. That leaves companies with few options: They can make tweaks to squeeze out efficiencies, wait for technology to improve or invest today to help make viable options for the future.“It’s a big crisis, it’s a pressing crisis — a lot needs to be done soon,” said Jagoda Egeland, an aviation policy expert at the International Transport Forum, a unit of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and D...
Electric Pickups Could Make or Break Biden’s Infrastructure Plans

Electric Pickups Could Make or Break Biden’s Infrastructure Plans

Technology, World
“The F-150 is generally driven by guys who have a certain image of driving around in a truck — and that image includes noise, gasoline, a muscle engine. We don’t know anything about consumer uptake of eclectic trucks. We don’t know if they’ll want to drive this.”A study published this year found that about 20 percent of people who purchased electric passenger vehicles were dissatisfied with them — in part because they worried about the lack of electric vehicle charging stations — and returned to driving traditional vehicles.But White House officials say the pickup Mr. Biden drove on Tuesday could help tip that calculation. The F-150 “has really been a high-performing work vehicle and leisure vehicle, and now you can get it without the expense of all of that gasoline,” Gina McCarthy, the Wh...