11/16/2019

News

Berkeley Is the First City In America To Ban Gas From New Homes

The fight to kick natural gas out of homes and businesses is intensifying. In a vote late Tuesday, Berkeley — the city near San Francisco long known for its progressive politics — banned the use of the heating fuel in most new buildings. Environmentalists are hailing it as the first city to enact such a […]

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Did Elon Musk Forget About Buffalo?

Tesla has presented the Buffalo operation as a sort of sequel to the Gigafactory, the company’s enormous battery plant near Reno, Nev. But where that factory employs more than 7,000 people and has helped Musk transform Tesla into a major automotive manufacturer, large portions of Gigafactory 2, as this place is known, resemble an empty […]

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PG&E Testifies Against Trump’s Rollback of Auto Emission Rules

California’s biggest electric utility wants the U.S. government to keep its current auto emission standards, which it says is critical to advance the adoption of electric cars. PG&E Corp. plans to invest $360 million to support electric car charging infrastructure and “we want a stable environment for our investors and customers,” Anna Brooks, senior manager […]

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Germany’s Failed Climate Goals, A Wake-Up Call for Governments Everywhere

Germany, the nation that did more than any other to unleash the modern renewable-energy industry, is likely to fall short of its goals for reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over 500 billion euros ($580 billion) by 2025 to overhaul its energy system. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is grappling with the implications of failing […]

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Old-Style Combustion Engines Get More Patents Than Electrics

The rev of combustion engines will be around for a while if patents are any indication of staying power. Automakers were granted more protection last year on innovations to the 140-year-old technology than for electric cars, according to analytics platform Cipher. While the gap is narrowing, closing it will take another decade. . . . […]

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California Agency Says Coffee Doesn’t Need a Cancer Warning

The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment proposed Friday to exempt coffee from a state regulation that require businesses to warn consumers about carcinogens in their products. “OEHHA has determined that exposures to Proposition 65-listed chemicals in coffee that are produced as part of and inherent in the processes of roasting coffee beans and […]

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California Cities Keep Declaring Fiscal ‘Emergencies,’ and Investors Are in on It

“When is a fiscal emergency not an emergency? When it’s in California. The phrase may trigger images of desolate streetscapes and fiscal pain, or evoke a new risk for investors who buy municipal bond funds in search of tax-exempt income. But for many Golden State cities, the words signal opportunity. Because of rules designed to […]

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California, Texas Face Summer Power Shortage, Grid Watchdog Says

Power companies are shutting so many generating plants in Texas and California that the two most populous U.S. states may struggle to keep the lights on this summer. Texas is facing a generation shortfall in part because there are 5,000 megawatts of power plants that have been retired in the past year, according to a […]

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U.S. Judge Blocks Oakland Port’s Ban on Coal Shipments

A federal judge struck down a local ban prohibiting companies from transporting coal though an Oakland, California, export terminal that U.S. miners see as a key link to overseas markets. The ban enacted by the city in 2014 violates a development agreement, U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said Tuesday in a 37-page ruling. As demand […]

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Electric-Car Era Threatens Firefighters With New Road Risks

Firefighters doused the blazing Tesla Inc. Model X’s battery pack, and then company engineers removed about one-quarter of its power cells before the vehicle was deemed safe to tow off of a California freeway. That didn’t prevent the powerful and highly flammable lithium-ion battery cells from reigniting. The car caught fire twice more within 24 […]

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California Warns of a Second Energy Crisis

California’s chief utility regulator is warning that the state could find itself in the throes of another energy crisis if it doesn’t address the droves of customers defecting from utilities. The state is going to find it increasingly difficult to ensure it has enough electricity to keep the lights on as more Californians leave utilities […]

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How California Taught China to Sell Electric Cars

California wants 5 million emission-free cars on the road by 2030. China, with a far larger population, wants 7 million electric vehicles by 2025. California has a cap-and-trade program to limit emissions from power plants, factories and fuel suppliers. China is launching a cap-and-trade system to lower fuel consumption and cut reliance on oil imports. […]

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Why Energy-Rich Australia Suffers the World’s Priciest Power

A bungled transition from coal to clean energy has left resource-rich Australia with an unwanted crown: the highest power prices in the world.

New Yorkers pay half as much as Sydneysiders to keep the lights on, despite Australia boasting among the world’s largest coal and natural gas reserves, as well as ideal conditions for clean power generation. A decade of political dithering and climate policy missteps have set its patchwork power system adrift, ratcheting up manufacturing costs and hurting consumers with a doubling in electricity prices since last year and rising risks of blackouts.

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California Considers Following China With Combustion-Engine Car Ban

Governor Jerry Brown has expressed an interest in barring the sale of vehicles powered by internal-combustion engines, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. The earliest such a ban is at least a decade away, she said.

Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, would be replicating similar moves by China, France and the U.K.

“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”

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Union Power Is Putting Pressure on Silicon Valley’s Tech Giants

Organized labor doesn’t rack up a lot of wins these days, and Silicon Valley isn’t most people’s idea of a union hotbed. Nonetheless, in the past three years unions have organized 5,000 people who work on Valley campuses. Among others, they’ve unionized shuttle drivers at Apple, Tesla, Twitter, LinkedIn, EBay, Salesforce.com, Yahoo!, Cisco, and Facebook; security guards at Adobe, IBM, Cisco, and Facebook; and cafeteria workers at Cisco, Intel, and, earlier this summer, Facebook.

The workers aren’t technically employed by any of those companies. Like many businesses, Valley giants hire contractors that typically offer much less in the way of pay and benefits than the tech companies’ direct employees get. Among other things, such arrangements help companies distance themselves from the way their cafeteria workers and security guards are treated, because somebody else is cutting the checks. Silicon Valley Rising, a coalition of unions and civil rights, community, and clergy groups heading the organizing campaign, says its successes have come largely from puncturing that veneer of plausible deniability.

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