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Climate Action Hawk Arnold Schwarzenegger Brings Conan Sword Down Upon Trump Enablers

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January 10th, 2021 by Tina Casey 


Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger got the stink-eye from environmentalists for promoting GM’s gas-guzzling Hummer back in the day, but my how things have changed. GM is electrifying the Hummer and everything else in its fleet, and Schwarzenegger has been focusing his media firepower on climate action. His advocacy has taken on new significance this week, in the aftermath of the attempted takeover of the US government by armed insurrectionists.

climate action Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger has become a leading voice for climate action and now he has some to say about Trump enablers, too (screenshot via Twitter).

Climate Hawk Aims Arrow Of Democracy At Trump Enablers

Everyone is buzzing about a new video that Schwarzenegger circulated on Sunday, in which he excoriates Trump and his enablers in Congress, but to put that into perspective first let’s go back to January 5, one day before Trump actively incited a riot that enabled heavily armed, trained, and prepared men to storm through the Capitol Building with murderous intent.

On January 5, Schwarzenegger — who is a lifelong Republican — published an op-ed that slammed Trump for lying about the results of the 2020 General Election.

Drawing on his own experiences as child in Austria in the years following World War II, Schwarzenegger wrote that “we should remember the dire consequences that choosing selfishness and cynicism over service and hope can have.”

“President Donald Trump’s actions to destroy faith in our elections and throw centuries of American principles out the window must be met with universal condemnation from all political leaders, regardless of party,” he emphasized.

More to the point, Schwarzenegger did not let Trump’s enablers off the hook. Far from it. He placed full responsibility on his fellow Republicans to push back against Trump’s lies.

That was quite a heavy lift. On top of all the other enabling that went on before and after Election Day, more than 140 Republican Senators and House members had pledged themselves to support Trump’s efforts to throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings of January 6, when the Vice President and all of Congress would gather to certify the Electoral College vote.

In his op-ed, Schwarzenegger called them all to account. He warned that “our grandchildren will know your names only as the villains who fought against the great American experiment and the will of the voters. You will live in infamy.”

Referencing John F. Kennedy’s book Profiles in Courage, Schwarzenegger re-emphasized the complicity of Trump enablers in Congress.

“If our politicians go down this road and ignore the voters, we will need a sequel to that book called ‘Profiles in Cowardice,’ about the leaders who chose party over country, conspiracy over democracy, and one man over 81m voters.”

Know Their Names “Only As The Villains”

To nobody’s surprise, the op-ed had no effect. After the insurrection was quelled, the Electoral College vote finally resumed on the night of January 6, and almost all of the Republican Senators and House members followed through on their pledge. As a group, they barely acknowledging that the entire US Congress avoided a massacre just hours before (no, really — an actual massacre).

What it amounts to is this: on the night of January 6, 140-odd Republicans objected to the results of a free and fair democratic election in the immediate wake of a failed insurrection to overturn those very same results, an act of violence that cost five people their lives and could have easily cost many more.

Climate Hawk Takes Aim At Congressional Insurrectionists

Now that the full implications of January 6 have resolved into sharp focus, Republicans in Congress are eager to put the whole thing behind them. They have spent the last several days scrambling to push a “unity” message on the American public.

Aside from papering over their own role in the failed insurrection, the togetherness blitz is aimed at avoiding another impeachment on Trump’s record, which would make them members of the party behind the first and only President in US history to be impeached twice.

Well, Schwarzenegger is having none of it. And they can’t say they weren’t warned.

On Sunday morning, Schwarzenegger deployed his media firepower to circulate an intense, seven-minute video message in which he identified the insurrectionists and their supporters in Congress with the Nazi takeover of Germany. He specifically referenced the infamous Kristallnacht wave of coordinated violence against Jews on November 9, 1938. The date is widely seen as a turning point that concentrated and formalized government policy into a genocidal killing machine.

Schwarzenegger’s most famous quote from the video will probably be this one:

“President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever.”

However, the most important lines, and the ones of greatest consequence to the scores of Republicans in Congress who objected to the Electoral College vote, occur in a passage in which he again refers to the book Profiles in Courage:

A number of members of my own party, because of their own spinelessness, would never see their names on such a book. I guarantee you. They are complicit with those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.”

Later in the video he emphasizes the need for action to prevent any such occurrence in the future, and one of those actions involves accountability.

“We need to hold accountable the people that brought us to this unforgivable point … and put our democracy first,” he says.

Sure looks like one prominent Republican is not ready to move on.

Climate Action & The Sword Of Conan

As of this writing, the Democratic-controlled House is on track to issue articles of impeachment within days if not hours, and Democrats are pushing back vigorously against any notion that anyone should be let off the hook for fostering an insurrection.

The Republican Party is now in a lose-lose situation, with some registered members leaving due to the extremism on display on January 6, while extremists are leaving because the Republican Party “withered at the moment of victory.”

That leaves the field open for President-elect Joe Biden to move forward on his climate action plan.

In that regard, Schwarzenegger may be the gift that keeps on giving. CleanTechnica has been following his advocacy for climate action over the past several years. One significant development occurred in 2019 when he partnered in the launch of the climate initiative “World War Zero,” described as “an all-out communications blitz to neutralize disinformation and redefine the narrative to be about job growth, national security, and eliminating pollution.”

World War Zero is in a perfect position to promote the climate action goals of the Biden administration, including an emphasis on climate justice. Not coincidentally, the Biden team has announced the nomination of Michael S. Regan, a North Carolina regulator who focused on cleaning up pollution in low-income and minority communities, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

The bigger picture is that the Republican Party has effectively slammed the window shut on its own fingers where the warm pie of climate action is concerned. For that matter, even during the Trump administration, there was important progress in key areas including energy storage, offshore wind, and universal access to affordable solar power in addition to emerging momentum in newer fields like green hydrogen and green ammonia.

In closing his video message, Schwarzenegger displayed the sword he used as Conan the Barbarian to illustrate a point about the resiliency of democracy. The same point applies to climate action. Despite the efforts of Trump and his enablers to revive dark periods in human history, the years ahead will prove that past can be prelude to progress.

Follow me on Twitter.

Image (screenshot) via @Schwarzenegger, Twitter. 
 


 


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Selling Teslas in 2012 vs. 2021


Tags: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, climate action, College Republicans, Congress, Donald Trump, Republicans, united states, US


About the Author

Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/01/10/climate-action-hawk-arnold-schwarzenegger-brings-conan-sword-down-upon-trump-enablers/

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Waymo CEO Krafcik Steps Down — Does It Mean Anything?

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The longtime CEO of Waymo, John Krafcik, has been leading what many consider to be the leading autonomous driving company since 2015 — 6 years. Though, the news is that Krafcik and/or higher-ups at Alphabet decided it was time for him to find a new passion. He is stepping down as CEO and Waymo will now be led by co-CEOs, Dmitri Dolgov, previously Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and Tekedra Mawakana, previously Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The top question is: does this mean anything? Is Krafcik stepping down because he has failed to deliver on key targets? Is commercial rollout going too slowly? Are autonomous capabilities progressing too slowly? Has Krafcik accomplished what he set out to accomplish and is now ready for either new challenges or early retirement?

Notably, Krafcik recently got into a little communications tussle with Tesla. Krafcik claimed that Tesla’s “full self-driving” system isn’t the right approach toward a fully autonomous vehicle. He considers it a dead end.

“It is a misconception that you can simply develop a driver-assistance system further until one day you can magically jump to a fully autonomous driving system,” Krafcik said in an interview with Manager Magazin.

Naturally, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sees it differently. He expects that the only way to get to truly useful self-driving vehicles is through the vision + deep machine learning system it is continuously improving. It must feel like a frantic race to solve a giant puzzle to many of the members of these teams — that’s certainly what it looks like from the outside. With the different approaches, though, it’s not just a race — one of the companies may be putting the puzzle together in the wrong way.

(NNs = neural networks.)

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/03/waymo-ceo-krafcik-steps-down-does-it-mean-anything/

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The Fossil Fuel Industry Used Deception To Conceal Damage To BIPOC — NAACP Report

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) just published a report titled Fossil Fuel Foolery, which identified 10 tactics that the fossil fuel industry used as excuses for not accepting accountability for its impacts on the environment and human health. DesmogBlog noted that the industry used a long list of deceptive tactics that concealed environmental destruction harming Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as low-income communities. Not surprising — the fossil fuel industry only cares about money, and if the planet and human health stand in the way of that, so be it.

The article gave a snapshot of the report findings, and one of the most disturbing things I took notice of was the common tactic that the NAACP described as “co-opt community leaders and organizations and misrepresent the interests and opinions of communities,” sometimes with financial support, to “neutralize or weaken public opposition.”

In short, fossil fuel companies and utilities pour donations on churches, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations to pretty much secure the local community buy-in on projects that generate pollution. The article said it plainly: “to stifle the push towards renewable energy.” And that also includes misrepresenting the community through one or two hired hands.

One example noted in the article is Florida Power & Light’s donation of around $225,000 to the NAACP’s Florida state chapter between 2013 and 2017. Just after these donations, the Florida chapter began repeating industry talking points against the growth of solar energy. This helped accelerate the NAACP’s Initial 2019 report. In addition, the fossil fuel industry and its allies shift the blame onto the very communities affected the most by pollution to distract from the impact of industry operations. This sounds like a narcissistic abuser. Hurt someone and then blame them and convince them it’s their fault.

Last month, President Biden brought attention to a common nickname that encompasses my own city, Cancer Alley. In Louisiana, Cancer Alley is an area along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge (where I live) and New Orleans — the River Parishes of Louisiana where numerous industrial plants are located. This area has clusters of cancer patients and the constant coverage by the media led to the nickname.

President Biden spoke out about the petrochemical facilities that dump out the large quantities of toxic pollution onto predominantly Black communities, and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) accused the President of slamming our area. Considering Senator Cassidy’s stance in favor of fossil fuels, this isn’t surprising. Earlier this year, President Biden signed executive orders to transform our nation’s heavily fossil-fuel-powered economy into a clean-energy one and paused oil and gas leasing on federal land. President Biden also targeted removing subsidies for those industries. Senator Cassidy and Senator Kennedy spoke out against the President’s orders and in favor of the fossil fuel industry.

“Biden’s executive orders are counterproductive. They eliminate jobs and send them overseas to countries with worse environmental standards, increasing global emissions. We don’t need symbolism — we need solutions. So far, all we are seeing from this administration is an ‘energy’ agenda that betrays the working Americans who thought that this President was going to work for them.” — Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

DeSmogBlog noted that when United Nations human rights official issued a statement last month calling ”the development of petrochemical complexes” in the region “a form of environmental racism,” Senator Cassidy had some words to say about this. It should be noted that Senator Cassidy received around $600,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2020 election season. The fossil fuel-addicted senator pointed to obesity and cigarettes as the causes of cancer instead of the rampant pollution.

Late last year, I went down to the riverfront and was fortunate to have had my N95 mask — the chemicals from the plant across the river not only created a haze but made the air foul. That smell was well worse than cigarette smoke. I wrote about it here because it was so striking.

The Top 10 Fossil Fuel Industry Tactics

The NAACP listed the top 10 fossil fuel industry tactics that shift the blame and responsibility of its impact on BIPOC communities. They are as follows:

  1. Invest in efforts that undermine democracy.
  2. Finance political campaigns and pressure politicians.
  3. Fund scientists and scientific research institutions to publish biased research.
  4. Say government regulations hurt the economy and low-income communities.
  5. Deny or understate the harms polluting facilities cause to people and the environment.
  6. Deflect responsibility–shit blame to the communities they pollute.
  7. Co-opt community leaders and organizations and misrepresent the interest and opinions of communities.
  8. Exaggerate the level of job creation and downplay the lack of quality and safety in jobs.
  9. Praise false solutions while claiming that real solutions are impractical, impossible, or harmful for BIPOC and poor communities.
  10. “Embrace” renewables to control the new energy economy.

Some Key Highlights From The Report

The highly detailed report actually has information that is highly disturbing. For example, in 1980, ALEC founder Paul Weyrich stated: “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

In 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission determined that limited political spending by corporations restricted their constitutional right to freedom of expression. This shifted the political power away from citizens to corporations and special interest groups.

Also, leading up to the 2020 election, the American Petroleum Institute spent over $5 million in lobbying practices. The group funneled money to campaign contributions — mostly financing the Senate Leadership Fund, which is a super PAC that supports the Republican Party. From the report:

“With financial support from the fossil fuel industry, politicians actively support destructive energy practices, falsely claim that emissions, not fossil fuels, are the enemy and draft diluted environmental agendas that focus on planting trees instead of shutting down industrially polluted, cancerous alleys.”

E = MC2: Enviro-lies = Manipulaiton X Ca$h

In this section of the report with the clever above headline, it noted that the Center for American Progress identified over 50 research agreements in a 2010 report. These agreements were between universities and major energy companies, where the companies donated a range between $1 million and $500 million toward energy-related research.

Another example cites a 1997 study by the National Centre for Cancer Institute which found that the chemical benzene, which is found in crude oil and gasoline, was connected to the development of chronic diseases in workers exposed to it. Following this report, several petrochemical companies gave nearly $40 million to fund scientific research “designed to protect member company interests.” One example of this type of research is the Shanghai Research Project which published research that supported the petrochemical companies’ practices.

Fossil Fuel Emissions Kill

The report noted that around 63,000 Americans are killed each year by air pollution and these Americans are disproportionally BIPOC and low-income community residents. Senator Cassidy can blame fat people and cigarettes all day, but it won’t change the fact that 40% of communities of color and low-income communities live within three miles of power plants that emit particulate matter that taints our air quality. Last year when the Exxon plant had that explosion — and, yes, despite what officials said, there were reports of an actual explosion (I was less than five miles away from the explosion) — who knows what was pumped into our air?

You can read the NAACP’s full report here.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/02/the-fossil-fuel-industry-used-deception-to-conceal-damage-to-bipoc-naacp-report/

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Reports: Tesla Plans To Start Building 5 Semi Trucks A Week

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Tesla is building a low-volume Tesla Semi production line, and once it’s complete, Tesla reportedly plans to produce 5 Tesla Semi electric trucks on a weekly basis, reports Yahoo! Finance. The article noted that the low-volume production line is being built in a new building in the industrial park where the Nevada Gigafactory is located. Tesla is also still planning for volume production of the Semi trucks to be manufactured at Giga Texas once it’s able to ramp up battery production there.

On Monday, Tesla received a new order for 10 of its Semi EVs along with two Megachargers. Benzinga reported that this was backed with almost $2 million in federal government support. The Mobile Source Air Pollution Review Committee is investing in a clean transportation initiative on California’s southern coast. As a part of this investment, it awarded MXS Leasing LLC, which is a logistics company based in California, $1.8 million for the deployment of 10 Tesla Semi Class 8 semi trucks and an additional $560,000 for the deployment for two overhead electric cranes.

Momentum, the company that assisted MHX with its application for the funding, said that the deal includes two Megachargers at MXH’s Fontana, California, site. Just after that news broke, Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted that Semi demand isn’t a problem, but that near-term cell supply makes it hard to scale the Semi. He also noted that this limitation will be less onerous next year.

Although many seem to view this as another delay, it should be noted, as Teslarati pointed out, that Elon Musk was talking about the difficulties of scaling the Semi’s manufacturing. The idea of Tesla actually producing its first few Semis in 2021 still seems possible.  This thought seems backed up by the new report noting that Tesla plans to produce 5 of its Semis on a weekly basis once the low-volume production line is completed.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/02/reports-tesla-plans-to-start-building-5-semi-trucks-a-week/

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Chevy Bolt Sales Jump 53.7%

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The Chevy Bolt is not the most exciting or flamboyant electric car on the market — it’s not a Tesla or the Ford Mustang Mach-E. However, it is the electric vehicle I see most often on the roads around me aside from all of Tesla’s models. It’s exciting and uplifting to see them, even if the car never put a tingle in the back of my neck.

One thing the Bolt does have in common with the Mach-E is that, love it or not, its sales are pretty weak. That’s not going to change, because it’s a vehicle class that is just not that popular in America. However, the good news is that things are looking up for the little Bolt EV.

In the first quarter of 2021, the Chevy Bolt EV’s sales rose 53.7% over its sales in the first quarter of 2020. In fact, it was the Bolt EV’s best first quarter in history. (Admittedly, it’s not a very long history, but the Bolt EV was the first long-range, semi-affordable electric car on the US market.)

The Bolt EV had 9,025 US sales last quarter, up from 5,873 sales in the first quarter of 2020. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Bolt EV had just 9,025 US sales last quarter. Multiply that by 4 and you don’t even get to 40,000 sales a year. Heck, you don’t even get to 37,000 sales a year.

You’re not going to cut enough emissions, GM, with under 40,000 electric vehicle sales a year in the 2020s. Tesla likely scored more than 22,000 first-quarter Model 3 sales in the US and 43,000+ first-quarter Model Y sales here. GM needs to understand why its EV of a similar age does so much worse, and how the company could get closer to Tesla’s numbers. The electric revolution is not going to slow down, and a model getting under 100,000 — let alone under 40,000 — annual sales is not going to be seen as a leader for long.

“What about the Bolt EUV? It’s bigger than the little Bolt EV.” Well, we’ll see. …

Chevy Bolt EUV fleet ready for test drives. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Chevy Bolt EUV with attractive backdrop. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Inside a Chevy Bolt EUV. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/02/chevy-bolt-sales-jump-53-7/

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