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Truck makers lobby to weaken U.S. climate policies, report finds

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The transportation sector makes up 27% of U.S. greenhouse gasoline emissions. Of that share, medium and heavy obligation vans — every thing from supply vans to huge rigs –- make up 26% in line with a listing of greenhouse gasoline emissions by the EPA.

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Truck producers and an trade commerce group privately lobbied to weaken U.S. local weather insurance policies whereas publicly selling zero-emissions vans, in line with a brand new report from a assume tank that tracks company affect on local weather coverage.

Local weather watchdog InfluenceMap discovered commerce group the Truck and Engine Producers Affiliation (EMA) and firms Volvo, Daimler Truck, Volkswagen (Navistar), and PACCAR opposed local weather coverage on the federal and the state degree whereas publicly selling zero-emissions fleets.

Nationally, truck producers lobbied towards the U.S. Environmental Safety Company’s necessities to cut back greenhouse gasoline emissions from heavy-duty truck fashions. The company began phasing in new compliance and emissions requirements in 2011. It is now creating new greenhouse gasoline necessities for heavy-duty engines and vans that might be utilized to mannequin yr 2030 vans.

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On the state degree, the EMA led a lobbying marketing campaign in a number of states to oppose the adoption of the Superior Clear Truck rule (ACT), which originated in California. The rule steadily will increase the proportion of electrical truck gross sales over the approaching years. California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have adopted the ACT.

The transportation sector makes up 27% of U.S. greenhouse gasoline emissions. Of that share, medium and heavy obligation vans — every thing from supply vans to huge rigs — make up 26% in line with a listing of greenhouse gasoline emissions by the EPA.

In November, the U.S. signed a non-binding international settlement committing to 100% new zero-emission medium and heavy-duty gross sales by 2040.

InfluenceMap discovered that whereas producers privately oppose bold local weather guidelines, they publicly promote zero-emissions fleets. The group’s report notes that Ford Motor and Basic Motors disclosed “much less on local weather coverage than the opposite EMA truck makers analyzed.”

Findings confirmed Ford and GM didn’t be part of an EMA lawsuit towards the California Air Assets Board that might delay emissions from heavy-duty vans. The 2 firms have been the one ones analyzed within the report that didn’t be part of Companions for a Zero Emission Car Future. That is a coalition of truck producers, retailers, and trucking associations that opposes what it calls “a patchwork” of state rules for attending to zero emissions.

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The extent of lobbying

InfluenceMap analyst Kalina Dmitriew wrote the report based mostly partially on beforehand unseen lobbying paperwork, together with personal emails and letters acquired by 33 public information requests throughout 11 states.

Dmitriew says she knew lobbying was happening however the “sheer scale” and the extent of it was shocking. She says such an endeavor “actually seems to be a strategic, and coordinated effort throughout a number of U.S. states.”

InfluenceMap’s report recognized the Truck and Engine Producers Affiliation as spearheading lobbying efforts particularly on ACT guidelines.

In an e-mail, EMA President Jed Mandel wrote that his group is “dedicated to a zero-emissions future for the U.S. trucking trade, which is why producers are investing billions of {dollars}, creating groundbreaking zero-emission applied sciences and industrial automobiles, and dealing to make sure that federal and state rules are workable and efficient.”

Truck producers are responding to regulatory calls for. Federal coverage requires the discount of greenhouse gasoline emissions from diesel automobiles. States which have adopted the ACT rule require producers to construct zero-emissions vans.

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Patricio Portillo, a senior advocate on the Pure Assets Protection Council, says the report exhibits some truck producers cannot be trusted. “The hypocrisy is frankly fairly outrageous,” he says.

“What’s unlucky about that is that state and federal policymakers actually look to (truck producers) as valued stakeholders with essential enter,” Portillo says.

Maine and Colorado have delayed adopting variations of California’s ACT rule, and Portillo believes lobbying from truck producers performed a task.

“Quite than spending these hundreds of thousands to oppose clear truck guidelines, they need to be investing (in) them,” Portillo says. “Construct the manufacturing and provide chains which might be truly wanted to get these automobiles to market into fleets and into these states that wish to see the large vital advantages that may accrue from this rule.”

Portillo says the rules aren’t simply good for the local weather, however for native air high quality. Medium and heavy obligation vans, he says, cross extra often by low-income communities and communities of shade, producing air pollution.

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Bob Ramorino is president of Roadstar Trucking in Hayward, California, and he desires so as to add electrical vans to his fleet of about 25 automobiles. He thinks the brand new rules on the federal and state ranges are difficult for truck makers to handle on the similar time.

“They have to satisfy the problem,” Ramorino says, but “they have to stay worthwhile.”

For Carlos Morales, who owns and operates a tractor-trailer in Richmond, California, stricter requirements within the state might drive him to depart the trade he is been part of since 2003. Over time Morales has upgraded his car and acquired new ones to satisfy altering emissions necessities.

“This can be my final truck,” he says in Spanish. “The legal guidelines are very strict and actually affect us.” Morales says he is involved he will not have the ability to purchase an electrical car when the time comes.

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An unusually high number of whales are washing up on U.S. beaches

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People look at a dead gray whale at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Calif., in May 2019, a year when 122 gray whales died in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last year, 47 of the whales died.

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People look at a dead gray whale at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Calif., in May 2019, a year when 122 gray whales died in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Last year, 47 of the whales died.

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Researchers are trying to figure out a mystery: Why are so many humpback whales, right whales, and other large mammals dying along the U.S. East Coast? One possible explanation is a shift in food habits. And while theories are circulating that blame the growing offshore wind industry, scientists say there’s no proof to support that idea.

Since Dec. 1, at least 18 reports have come in about large whales being washed ashore along the Atlantic Coast, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. The losses are hitting populations that were already under watch, due to ongoing rises in unexpected deaths.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a period of several years where we have had elevated strandings of large whales, but we are still concerned about this pulse” in deaths that’s now been going on for weeks, as Sarah Wilkin, the coordinator for the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, said on a recent call with journalists.

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Scientists are particularly concerned about the recent spike in deaths, Wilkins said, because the increase is being seen in “a relatively tight geographic area,” and over a short timeframe.

Here’s a look at what’s happening, and some of the possible reasons:

Which whale species are seeing spikes in deaths?

On the East Coast, two whale species — the humpback and the North Atlantic right whale — have each been suffering a spike in deaths over the past six or seven years, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The agency declared an unusual mortality event, or UME, for both types of whale. It defines a UME as an unexpected stranding that “involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population” and requires an immediate response.

Since 2016, 180 humpbacks have been reported to be stranded on the coast of U.S. states from Florida to Maine. At least seven strandings have already been reported in 2023, including four in New Jersey — equaling the state’s 2022 total.

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For right whales, more than 20 percent of the population has been affected by the UME that’s been documented since 2017, an alarming statistic for an endangered species that was last estimated to have 350 whales remaining. The UME figure includes whales that were found dead, injured, or ill.

On the West Coast, NOAA has been tracking a UME involving gray whales. Since early 2019, 303 gray whale strandings have been reported in the U.S. If Mexico and Canada are included, the overall number rises to 608. More than a third of those deaths occurred in the first year of the UME; the numbers have fallen sharply since.

All three of the whale species in question have previously been hunted close to extinction. And while the gray and humpback whales have rebounded, right whales remain an endangered species, with more deaths than births each year.

What about disruptions from offshore wind farms?

Even early in the unexpected humpback strandings, questions were being raised about the possible harm done to whales by wind farms. Those questions have grown during the current surge, as interest is surging in offshore wind energy projects that require using powerful devices to map the ocean floor.

The questions have only grown louder in the past two months, as crews perform surveys off of New York and New Jersey to learn details about the seafloor, both to learn where facilities could be located and where cables could be run.

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The New Jersey-based group Clean Ocean Action has called for a halt to ocean wind projects and an investigation into the potential harm done to whales. Local and state officials have joined that effort, along with several members of Congress.

But officials from NOAA and other agencies are pushing back on suggestions that wind farms might somehow be contributing to whale deaths.

“There are no known connections between any of this offshore wind activity and any whale stranding regardless of species,” Benjamin Laws, deputy chief for the permits and conservation division at NOAA Fisheries, said in a briefing call.

The kind of equipment being used in the area isn’t as problematic as projects such as marine oil and gas exploration, said Erica Staaterman, a bioacoustician at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s Center for Marine Acoustics.

“Those in oil and gas are called seismic air guns, and they’re specifically designed to penetrate kilometers into the seafloor. So they’re very high energy, very loud sources,” Staaterman said. In contrast, she added, the tools used to prepare for offshore wind sites are “high resolution geophysical sources, and they’re typically smaller in the amount of acoustic energy they put into the water column.”

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“Many of them are used for very short periods of time with a long quiet time in between,” Staaterman said, adding that some of the instruments also produce “a very narrow cone of sound,” rather than blasting it in all directions.

“I just want to be unambiguous,” Laws stated, “there is no information that would support any suggestion that any of the equipment that’s being used in support of wind development [to perform surveys] could directly lead to the death of a whale.”

So, what is killing the whales?

Overall, experts say that human interactions are a leading factor in whale deaths, through ship strikes or entanglements from ropes and other fishing gear.

That’s a particular threat this winter, when animals that are typically the whales’ prey have reportedly come close to shore, NOAA officials say. That shift leads humpbacks and other whales to follow along, creating more overlap where whales and ships share the same waters.

And as Wilkin notes, whale population growth could be a factor. “As whale abundance increases, we will get more whales in different places,” she said.

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For right whales, the agency says human interaction is the leading cause of death. Around half of the humpback whales that have died in the recent spike have had some level of necropsy exam, NOAA says. Of that number, about 40 percent showed evidence of a vessel strike or entanglement.

Causes of whale deaths can be determined in only a fraction of cases, partly because of the difficulty of examining a whale that dies in the wild, from their huge size to the various states of decomposition that might have occurred.

For the UME affecting gray whales in the Pacific Ocean, the cause is still undetermined, although researchers note that of the dead whales that were examined, several of them showed “evidence of emaciation.”

One thing the ongoing UMEs on both sides of the coast have in common is their broad scale: While historically some UMEs have been very localized, tracking maps show that the humpback, gray and right whale strandings have happened up and down the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines.

That’s a sharp contrast to previous clusters of deaths, like the 14 humpback whales that died from a biotoxin in 1987 — all of them in an area around Cape Cod, Mass. In that case, the deaths were attributed to saxitoxin, which is produced by red tide algae and can accumulate in mackerel — which the whales then eat.

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Silent Suffering

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Menopause, for a lot of ladies, is an unknown — a complicated tunnel to go by, with restricted signage for what to anticipate.

However one efficient therapy has been neglected for many years, signaling that girls’s struggling is extensively considered unimportant, in accordance with the quilt story in at the moment’s New York Occasions Journal. I spoke with Susan Dominus, who wrote the article, about her reporting and the reactions it has received from ladies.

Lauren: I realized extra out of your story than I’ve ever realized about menopause. It has been so absent from public discourse.

Susan: I too knew virtually nothing going into this. I instructed a good friend I used to be engaged on a narrative about menopause. Her eyes went large and he or she simply mentioned, “Thanks.” And I might inform that what she meant by that was: That’s good, as a result of I do know nothing.

After I received up to the mark, I used to be always bringing the topic up at dinner events, asking my pals, “Hey, how is your menopause going?” You’d suppose that will be actually inappropriate — besides that virtually the entire ladies round my age I spoke to had been bewildered, actually struggling and keen to speak about it. But a whole lot of them simply accepted their uncomfortable actuality: years of horrible scorching flashes, evening sweats, sleeplessness, despair and mind fog as their our bodies approached their final menstrual cycles.

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However you clarify that these signs might be managed — that there’s a therapy for menopausal struggling that’s typically neglected. Why do you suppose so many within the medical group don’t readily provide it?

It’s known as menopausal hormone remedy, an estrogen and progesterone prescription that is available in numerous formulations: drugs, patches or vaginal rings. It’s the single simplest therapy for warm flashes.

The remedy does carry some threat, as do many medicines folks take to alleviate critical discomfort. However many ladies, in the event that they’ve even heard of this therapy, regard it as vaguely harmful. I do know I did. We’ve made that evaluation on the premise of what I’d name deceptive data.

Within the early 2000s, researchers who studied the remedy discovered that it might damage ladies’s coronary heart well being and enhance the chance of stroke, clotting and breast most cancers. They introduced the dangers earlier than creating a transparent sense of the way it affected ladies of various ages. Most menopause consultants now imagine that for wholesome ladies below 60 affected by bothersome scorching flashes and evening sweats, the advantages of the remedy outweigh the dangers.

What do you see as different components which have contributed to our aversion to speaking about menopause?

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In 1966 there was this blockbuster e book known as “Female Eternally,” and the creator, a gynecologist named Robert Wilson, talked about menopause as a type of castration — the beginning of a lady’s desexualization, decline and undoubtedly her inevitable distress.

That disgrace has held. I keep in mind being 45 and asking an older good friend about menopause, and he or she received actually uncomfortable. I used to be shocked as a result of we had been so shut. And she or he simply mentioned: “I don’t need to discuss it. It feels too private.”

Ladies additionally really feel reluctant to speak about signs as a result of they don’t need it held in opposition to them within the office. That awkwardness and aversion flows by conversations with medical practitioners as properly.

Some folks might say sexism is the response to the query: Why is menopause so understudied? However is the reply extra sophisticated than that?

It’s vital to notice that menopause shouldn’t be life threatening. It’s a part of life. A lot power has been put into learning being pregnant and childbirth, which might be very harmful and even deadly.

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However I do additionally suppose that there’s some sexism at play. To paraphrase Rebecca Thurston, a number one determine in menopause analysis, we have now a excessive tolerance for ladies’s struggling. She considers it one of many nice blind spots of drugs.

Bewilderment is the operative phrase for a lot of ladies, of all ages, attempting to know their our bodies with restricted data. We play roulette with contraception uncomfortable side effects and hope they are going to be manageable. We get blindsided by the violence of being pregnant and menopause. Do you see indicators of change?

Should you’re good at something by the point you’re a 50-year-old girl, it’s coping.

However I believe that, since we went by the collective trauma of Covid, many individuals have change into extra open about their well being on the whole. And I’ve the sensation that speaking about menopause extra is probably going a part of that.

I’ve been moved by what number of ladies have written to me to say they really feel seen, or they really feel empowered to get assist, moderately than simply undergo. However in a approach, probably the most highly effective emails I’ve acquired have been from medical doctors expressing remorse about what they didn’t know all these years — and saying they’re encouraging their colleagues, in numerous fields, to be taught extra about it.

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Susan Dominus is a employees author at The New York Occasions Journal. Her pursuits are wide-ranging, however she steadily covers the intersection of science and tradition.


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Covid has change into endemic, and ending the emergency will assist public well being officers focus sources on the individuals who stay most susceptible, The Washington Put up’s Dr. Leana Wen argues. However it should in all probability additionally restrict entry to exams, vaccines and coverings, particularly for uninsured Individuals, The Atlantic’s Katherine Wu notes.

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  • The Grammys are tonight. Beyoncé leads with 9 nominations.

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  • President Biden will ship his State of the Union tackle on Tuesday.

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Investors pile into market rally as economic slowdown risk ebbs

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Traders’ fears of an financial slowdown are quickly ebbing, fuelling a rally which is boosting the riskiest asset courses specifically because the “concern of lacking out” that dominated inventory markets earlier than final yr’s sell-off returns in pressure.

The S&P 500 US share index is up 8 per cent for the reason that begin of the yr and the Nasdaq Composite, which is weighted in direction of America’s tech giants, has rallied 16 per cent. They had been down by a fifth and a 3rd respectively final yr.

Friday’s blockbuster US jobs report helped bolster buyers’ confidence in regards to the power of the American economic system, regardless of the chance that it may prod the US Federal Reserve to maintain financial coverage tighter for longer because it makes an attempt to subdue still-high inflation. Markets closed up on the week regardless of dipping after the roles report was printed.

“Markets are pricing ultimately of the inflation drawback and . . . very closely discounting the chance of a tail occasion,” mentioned Nitin Saksena, head of US fairness derivatives analysis at Financial institution of America, referring to unlikely however excessive influence occasions which can be troublesome to mannequin.

“The chance of a extreme recession, a coverage mistake, or a second wave of inflation is turning into an afterthought,” he mentioned.

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Cboe’s Vix index, which tracks investor expectations of volatility over the following month and is also known as Wall Road’s “concern gauge”, has plunged for the reason that begin of the yr. It has been under its long-term common of 20 for 2 consecutive weeks, the longest stretch of low volatility for the reason that starting of final yr.

The one-year Vix, which tracks expectations of inventory market swings over the following yr, this week touched its lowest degree for the reason that onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This tells you there’s some actually robust reassessment of the longer term, not simply the following month,” mentioned Saksena.

Property that had been among the many most beaten-up in final yr’s sell-off at the moment are the most effective performers. Bitcoin has jumped over 40 per cent, whereas Cathy Wooden’s ARK Innovation fund — which is dominated by high-growth tech shares — is up 46 per cent.

Analysts and buyers at giant banks and asset managers resembling Morgan Stanley, UBS and BlackRock have repeatedly argued that markets have been too optimistic, however shares have thus far largely shrugged off weak fourth quarter company outcomes. That is regardless of the very fact the S&P 500 is on observe to report its first yr on yr earnings decline for the reason that top of the pandemic.

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They’ve additionally ignored the Fed’s insistence that it’s going to maintain rates of interest at an elevated degree for a very long time reasonably than shortly pivot to cuts.

The sudden enchancment within the international financial outlook has bolstered the optimists’ argument. As lately as the beginning of this yr, the IMF was warning {that a} third of the world confronted a downturn; however this week it raised its forecasts and mentioned the world was “properly away from any [sign of] international recession”.

Traders have gotten more and more assured that the Fed can subdue inflation with out inflicting a significant recession.

On a number of events final yr, Fed chair Jay Powell helped to finish comparable market rallies by warning that the central financial institution didn’t need monetary circumstances to ease too quickly. This week, nonetheless, he appeared relaxed in regards to the latest good points, noting that “our focus isn’t on short-term strikes” and declaring for the primary time that “the disinflationary course of has began”.

The extent of the rally has been exacerbated by elements starting from timing to investor psychology.

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For some hedge funds and quantitative buyers, a drop within the Vix has a mechanical impact on threat calculations that leads them to extend leverage and add publicity to shares. For a lot of wealth managers, in the meantime, tax incentives created further promoting stress in December and the possibility to select up bargains within the new yr.

“If you happen to had something you had been considering getting out of, December was the time to do it,” mentioned Randy Frederick, managing director of buying and selling and derivatives at Charles Schwab. “As soon as these tax loss harvesting alternatives go away, folks have cash to spend and a chance to purchase all the pieces 20 per cent off.”

As soon as costs have began to rise, it turns into more and more troublesome for different buyers to withstand, even when their views on the financial outlook haven’t basically modified.

Mike Lewis, head of US fairness money buying and selling at Barclays, mentioned: “There may be loads of money on the sidelines after final yr and that creates a conundrum [for investors] — folks don’t wish to miss a rally . . . you get a bit little bit of FOMO [fear of missing out].”

Lewis mentioned the latest outperformance of property like lossmaking tech shares is “not what sustainable rallies are manufactured from” however there have been few apparent occasions on the horizon that would set off a reversal.

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Nonetheless, even some optimists imagine the extent of the rally has change into excessive.

Jonathan Golub, chief US market strategist at Credit score Suisse, mentioned there have been “a lot of causes to construct a constructive narrative, and I believe the bears are ignoring that there’s a lot of excellent information” however “the market is behaving as if we’re on the opposite aspect of a recession that hasn’t even occurred but”.

Lewis steered that financial knowledge can be extra necessary than Fed commentary in altering buyers’ minds in regards to the outlook for rates of interest — however that would take a number of months.

“The factor that would create a threat hiccup is that if we don’t begin seeing some slack within the labour market [by the time] we method the summer season,” he mentioned. “It may result in a tricky second half, however that’s a good distance away.”

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