Climate Change ☀️
Electric bikes could get much cheaper under a new proposal from two House Democrats
  • A new proposal from two House Democrats could dramatically cut the cost of buying a new e-bike.
  • The E-BIKE Act aims to make e-bikes more accessible and to cut the country's carbon emissions.
  • It would provide up to a $1,500 credit to subsidize 30% of the cost of a new e-bike.
There are plenty of reasons to buy an e-bike. They offer all the benefits of a normal human-powered bike, but with considerably less sweating and much more utility. Plus, for certain people, they can replace car trips, cutting down on congestion and curbing harmful emissions.

But one major hurdle to widespread e-bike adoption remains: cost.

... "E-bikes are not just a fad for a select few, they are a legitimate and practical form of transportation that can help reduce our carbon emissions," said Rep. Panetta in a statement. "My legislation will make it easier for more people from all socio-economic levels to own e-bikes and contribute to cutting our carbon output."

According to the lawmakers, the environmental impact of such a program could be huge. If 15% of car trips were replaced by an e-bike — an ambitious goal — carbon emissions could drop by 12%, they said in a press release, citing an October study out of Portland State University. That makes sense, given that the transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse-gas emissions in the US, and passenger cars are the biggest polluter within that category.

The proposal isn't without precedent. It resembles a federal tax credit program that gives buyers of certain low- and zero-emission cars a rebate worth up to $7,500. Some politicians and advocates have long argued that a similar incentive should be extended to electric bikes.

... Bicycling and sustainability groups welcome the policy.

"Incentivizing electric bicycles makes them a competitive transportation option for more Americans and supports a national effort to lower carbon emissions," Jenn Dice, CEO of advocacy organization PeopleForBikes, said in a statement. "The E-BIKE Act positions rightfully electric bicycles as a critical part of a larger solution to climate change and equitable mobility."

President Joe Biden's sweeping plans to transition the US away from fossil fuels — and the fact that Democrats control both chambers of congress — mean that the E-BIKE Act may not be such a stretch. Biden also aims to electrify the federal government fleet, establish half a million new charging stations, and support EV research.
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It's Not Just Texas. The Entire Energy Grid Needs An Upgrade For Extreme Weather
The Texas blackout is another reminder that more frequent, climate-driven extreme weather puts stress on the country's electricity grid. It came just months after outages in California aimed at preventing wildfires. Compounding this, electricity likely will be even more important in coming years amid a push to electrify cars and homes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That has many grid experts saying it's time to upgrade the country's electricity infrastructure.

That includes wires, power plants, big transmission towers and local utilities – everything that gets electricity to you. And much of that infrastructure was designed for a different era.

"We planned this grid for Ozzie and Harriet weather and we are now facing Mad Max," says energy consultant Alison Silverstein.

The pop culture references are her way of saying that the grid was designed for technology and weather that existed in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Now, she says, it needs to be updated for a future that includes climate change.

"Everybody has always designed these systems looking in the rear-view mirror," says Silverstein.

That made sense at the time. Planners would identify the worst-case weather scenario from the past and make sure they could handle that in the future. But climate change is delivering weather that hasn't been experienced before.

The number of weather disasters with losses over a billion dollars is increasing, according to NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. And the group Climate Central says that since 2000 there's been a 67 percent increase in major power outages from weather and climate related events.

... As expensive as upgrading the country's electricity grid sounds, the Texas experience shows there's also a cost to not preparing for more extreme weather, both in dollars and in lives.
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'Run The Oil Industry In Reverse': Fighting Climate Change By Farming Kelp
In the race to stall or even reverse global warming, new efforts are in the works to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and put it somewhere safe.

One startup in Maine has a vision that is drawing attention from scientists and venture capitalists alike: to bury massive amounts of seaweed at the bottom of the ocean, where it will lock away carbon for thousands of years.

The company is called Running Tide Technologies, and it's prototyping the concept this winter. On a recent day in the Gulf of Maine, boat captain Rob Odlin says the task itself isn't much different from any other in his seafaring career, whether chasing tuna or harvesting lobster.

"We're just fishing for carbon now, and kelp's the net," he says.

Running Tide CEO Marty Odlin — the boat captain's nephew — comes from a long line of Maine fishermen, and once imagined he would continue the tradition. But he watched as the warming climate drove major shifts in fish populations, while regulators put a lid on how much could be taken from the sea.

... The kelp will soak up carbon — gigatons of it — via photosynthesis. Months later the mature plant blades will grow too heavy for their biodegradable buoys.

"So the kelp will sink to the ocean bottom in the sediment, and become, essentially, part of the ocean floor," Odlin says. The ultimate goal is that it will stay there, sequestrated for millions of years, turning back into oil.
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How Fast Are Oceans Rising? The Answer May Be In Century-Old Shipping Logs
Off the coast of England, there's a tiny, wind-swept island with the remains of a lifeboat rescue station from the mid-1800s. The workers who once ran the station on Hilbre Island did something that, unbeknownst to them, has become crucial for understanding the future of a hotter climate: They recorded the tides.

The data, scrawled in long, handwritten ledgers, is just one example of the tens of thousands of pages of tidal measurements stored in archives around the world. Now, scientists and historians are racing to digitize them in an effort to understand how fast oceans are rising. The aging notebooks establish a historical baseline to compare with today's changing world.

Sea level rise is accelerating around the globe, likely to displace millions of people who live in coastal communities. Forecasts show between 3 and 6 feet of rise by the end of the century, or potentially more, depending on how much heat-trapping pollution humans emit.

Knowing exactly how much inundation to expect and how fast it's happening in each city can be tricky. Sea levels rise at different rates in different places due to the movement of the Earth's crust and ocean currents.

Long-term historical data, diligently tallied when the shipping industry was king, provide a window into these geologic processes and help improve the complex computer models scientists use to forecast the future. Those forecasts are crucial for helping cities prepare, whether it's building infrastructure to protect themselves or moving people out of harm's way.

Still, the vast majority of these historical records come from Europe and the U.S., leaving a glaring data gap in the Southern Hemisphere. That has researchers scouring archives of the Global South, including the ledgers of former colonial powers.

"If we really know what happened in the past, it can really help us to help people with better projections," says Thomas Frederikse, climate scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Even one single record can really help us out in understanding what's going on."
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Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations