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EU Considering Border Tariffs On Steel, Cement, & Electricity

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According to Reuters, the European Union is considering a draft proposal that would impose tariffs carbon emissions-based tariffs on a variety of imported goods, including steel, cement, and electricity. The news was first reported by Bloomberg last Wednesday. The new tariffs are designed to protect the 27 member nations of the EU from lower cost products made in countries with few or no carbon emission restrictions.

The draft under consideration may be amended before final publication on July 14. The proposed tariffs would be applied in full beginning in 2026, with a potential transitional period starting in 2023. The products subject to the new tariffs include iron, steel, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, and electricity.

Importers would be required to buy digital certificates, with each one representing a ton of carbon dioxide emissions embedded in their imported goods. The price of the certificates will be linked to the cost of permits in the EU carbon market and based on the average price of auctions of EU carbon permits each week.

EU power plants and industrial facilities are already required to buy permits from the EU carbon market to cover their emissions. The price of those permits has soared recently, closing at €51 per ton as of last Thursday. While the European Commission has declined to comment on the proposal, it has made it clear that any such tariffs will be fully compliant with World Trade Organisation rules.

One of the nations likely to be affected the most by the new tariffs is Russia, which still believes it is 1921 and has done next to nothing to curb its national carbon emissions. Nor does it have any active intention of doing so.

By May 31 of each year, importers must report the amount of emissions embedded in the goods they imported into Europe during the previous year and supply the corresponding number of border tariff certificates. If an importer fails to properly report its emissions, or the amount cannot be independently verified, the number of certificates required will be based on default values according to the present draft provisions. Failure to submit a certificate would result in a financial penalty three times the cost of the certificate.

The draft suggests importers may be able to claim a reduction in their carbon border costs if they are based in a country where they already pay a price on carbon emissions. China and California are among the regions already using CO2 pricing systems, although the scope and price level are different from those used by the EU.

The Takeaway

The “free market” crowd should be delighted by this but they won’t be. What they consider “free” is a total absence of government rules and regulations. In their close-minded world, it matters not if manufacturing and commerce destroy the Earth’s ability to support human life just as long as Adam Smith’s “unseen hand” is allowed to guide all business decisions. How they think quarterly sales will continue to increase as the population decreases is a great mystery and one they prefer not to address.

As countries take action to address the issue of an overheating planet (at long last), it is essential that border tariffs such as those proposed by the European Commission be enacted to level the playing field and prevent countries like Australia and Russia from exporting their pollution elsewhere. If those countries want to become festering sinkholes, let them. The wonder is not that the EU is considering such tariffs, but that it has taken this long to propose them.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/07/eu-considering-border-tariffs-on-steel-cement-electricity/

Cleantech

California Legislative Update

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Originally published on NRDC Expert Blog.
By Victoria Rome 

Many bills are working their way through the California Legislature having survived votes in their house of origin and are now moving to policy committee hearings in the opposite house. We’re about half-way through the 2021 legislative session and the legislature is poised for consequential actions — both on the state budget and across dozens of policy bills. Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed revisions to the state budget, announced in May, and subsequent actions by the legislative budget committees would deliver unprecedented investments in COVID-19 recovery, public health, climate mitigation, disaster preparedness, racial justice, and community resilience.

NRDC is working to ensure that the final budget and legislative action reflect important advances for all Californians, like utility bill debt relief, affordable and clean transportation options, wildlife and ecosystem protection, energy efficiency improvements, healthy school food, environmental justice, and more.

Gov. Newsom’s revised budget proposal is incredibly promising, proposing billions of dollars for investments in clean energy, climate resilience, zero-emission vehicles, among other proposed expenditures for environmental and health protection. The proposal demonstrates the Governor’s commitment to addressing the climate emergency and taking real action to deal with it.

With the impacts of climate change now felt year round, most acutely by lower-income workers and communities of color, we’d like to see additional, targeted funding directed toward clean transportation with an emphasis on fully funding programs that are delivering the biggest pollution reductions and air quality benefits (including clean trucks, buses, and off-road equipment). We are also encouraging state officials to make zero-emission passenger vehicles accessible to low-income communities and communities of color — building on and fully funding the Charge Ahead California Initiative — established by Senate Bill 1275 in 2014.

California’s residential and commercial buildings are a large source of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Legislature should ensure that funding is available to help people improve the energy efficiency of their homes and work toward transitioning completely from natural gas appliances. These investments will lower utility bills, spur the adoption of clean technologies, reduce housing and solar costs, and support a transition to healthy, zero-emissions homes for all.

Additionally, NRDC’s priorities for the state budget, include:

  • Ensuring sufficient funds for drought mitigation, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and for the Coastal Commission to address sea level rise.
  • Ensuring that utility customers who struggled to pay their water and power bills during COVID continue to receive services and are relieved of all utility debt.
  • Supporting a just, resilient and healthier food and farming system — including improving access to healthy foods with farm-to-school programs; a tiered “mill assessment” or pesticide fee to support the transition away from toxic pesticides to safer pest management; protections for communities impacted by harmful pesticides; and increased air monitoring and enforcement of pesticide use.
  • Supporting active transportation programs to promote biking and walking, grants to expand affordable housing in infill areas, and support for the state’s successful but oversubscribed Low-Income Weatherization Program.
  • Ensuring greater accountability and oversight of the Department of Toxic Substances Control, making progress in fully replacing lead service lines, and providing funding to address PFAS contamination in drinking water, including expanded monitoring and cleanup.

Moving into the second half of the legislative session, NRDC and our partners aim to pass critical policy bills including:

  • AB 118 (Kamlager) to establish the Community Response Initiative to Strengthen Emergency Systems Act, or CRISES Act grant pilot program to allow for alternative approaches to emergency response.
  • AB 416 (Kalra) California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act to ensure the state’s procurement contracts protect boreal and tropical forests and fundamental Indigenous rights. The destruction of tropical and boreal forests is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, threatening wildlife, and infringing on Indigenous community rights while decreasing carbon storage capability.*
  • AB 525 (Chiu, Cunningham, Friedman) to advance responsibly developed offshore wind. The bill, coupled with the recent announcement from the Newsom administration and the Interior Department will jump start California’s process for offshore wind as part of the state’s clean electricity mix.
  • AB 794 (Carrillo) to ensure that state funding for the purchase of clean vehicles will create high-road, high-quality domestic jobs for disadvantaged workers in the manufacturing and trucking industries.
  • AB 962 (Kamlager) to allow for returnable and refillable bottles to flow through the state’s Beverage Container Recycling Program so that they can be washed and refilled.
  • AB 1200 (Ting) Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act would protect our food, health, and environment by banning the use of toxic “forever” PFAS chemicals in paper-based food packaging and require disclosure of chemicals like PFAS and bisphenols in cookware.*
  • AB 1276 (Carrillo and L. Gonzalez) expands upon the state’s straws upon request law to include other single-use food accessories such as utensils and condiment packets.
  • AB 1395 (Muratsuchi and C. Garcia) to establish in law the state’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2045.
  • AB 1401 (Friedman) to eliminate parking requirements for homes and commercial buildings near transit.
  • SB 222 (Dodd) to establish a framework for a statewide water and wastewater affordability assistance program, like programs in place for low-income electricity and telecommunications customers.
  • SB 343 (Allen) prohibits the use of the chasing arrows symbol on plastic products unless they are truly recyclable. SB 343 would help consumers make informed choices about the products and packaging they buy.
  • SB 596 (Becker) requires the State Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy to reduce the carbon intensity from cement use by 40 percent from 2019 levels by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality in this sector no later than 2045.*
  • SB 796 (Bradford) to allow the County of Los Angeles to return land in Manhattan Beach, known as Bruce’s Beach, to the living descendants of the owners from whom that land was wrongfully taken in the 1920s simply because of their race.

Other key bills are on hold for this year, but can be revisited next year, including AB 1087 (Chiu), the Environmental Justice Community Resilience Hubs Program, which would fund upgrades to critical facilities that environmental justice communities depend on for vital support services; SB 502 (Allen) to improve and modernize the Safer Consumer Products Program; SB 342 to add environmental justice representation to the South Coast Air Quality Management District; and SB 449 (Stern), which would require financial institutions and insurers to assess and report climate-associated financial risks.

See here for a full list of the bills that NRDC supports or opposes.

As California emerges from the pandemic and looks toward a return to normalcy, the climate crisis, and its effects; drought, wildfires, and heatwaves continue to pressure us to act. But Governor Newsom and the California Legislature, working together with stakeholders over the next several months, can better position our state to tackle climate change and build up resilience and equity in our communities.

* NRDC is a sponsor or co-sponsor of this bill


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/15/california-legislative-update/

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New Tesla Model S Plaid Gets AAA Gaming Experience Thanks To New AMD RDNA 2 GPU

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Originally posted on Tesla Oracle & EVANNEX

One of the coolest things about the new Tesla Model S Plaid is its immensely powerful processing that can run AAA games like Cyberpunk 2077 in 60 fps. This gives a car, for the first time ever, PS5-level gaming capability. How is this possible? It turns out that there were some early clues (and salient details) provided a few weeks ago at Computex 2021.

At Computex 2021, AMD CEO Lisa Su revealed that the gaming capability in the new Tesla Model S and Model X will be powered by the AMD RDNA 2-based graphics processing unit (GPU). The supplier of the GPU behind the new Tesla Model S/X 10 teraflops of gaming power was unknown until AMD’s announcement.

According to the AMD CEO, there are two AMD processors in the new Model S and Model X cars. The AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) runs the normal operations of Tesla’s Media Control Unit (MCU / infotainment system) — like maps, vehicle display renderings, camera displays, music, and other basic touchscreen functions.

As soon as the user starts gaming, the AMD RDNA 2 GPU kicks in to smoothly render next-gen games like the Witcher III Wild Hunt that Tesla has featured prominently in prior promotions.

Xbox X|S and Playstation 5 are also powered by the AMD RDNA 2 GPU architecture — this makes next-gen Tesla in-car entertainment on par with the latest gaming consoles. Such a radical shift for in-car entertainment was (quite likely) not anticipated by traditional automakers. This could serve as another distinct edge for Tesla moving forward.

According to the AMD RDNA 2 official webpage, “AMD RDNA 2 architecture is the foundation for next-generation PC gaming graphics, the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X consoles. The groundbreaking RDNA architecture was first introduced at E3 2019, and since then has continuously evolved to spearhead the next generation of high-performance gaming. It’s the DNA that powers your games, the DNA that brings your games to life, the DNA that keeps evolving.”

At Computex 2021, AMD CEO Lisu Su revealed, “You might be surprised to learn the next place you’ll find RDNA 2 graphics. It’s actually on the road, in the electric vehicle market, [inside] the new Tesla Model S and Model X. So we have an embedded Ryzen APU powering the infotainment system of both cars, as well as a discreet RDNA 2-based GPU that kicks in when running AAA games, providing up to 10 teraflops of computing power.”

“We’re thrilled to be working with Tesla to bring the power of Ryzen and Radeon to their newest flagship cars and looking forward to giving gamers a great new platform for AAA gaming,” the AMD CEO said. I’m sure those who just took delivery of the first Model S Plaid vehicles will agree.

Top Video: AMD RDNA™ 2 Architecture (YouTube: AMD). Bottom Video: Presentation by AMD CEO Lisa Su at Computex 2021 (reveals Tesla GPU at 11:22 in the video) (YouTube: AMD).


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/15/inside-the-amd-rdna-2-gpu-that-allows-new-tesla-model-s-plaid-to-have-aaa-gaming-experience/

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U.S. Energy Department Announces Winners of Annual Collegiate Wind Competition

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) joined universities and wind energy experts from across the country on Friday to announce the winners of the Collegiate Wind Competition. Over the course of the academic year, thirteen undergraduate teams designed, built, and tested model wind turbines, developed project plans, collaborated with industry experts, and engaged with their local communities — preparing them for careers in the growing wind and renewable energy workforce to support President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Wind energy is an essential part of our fight against the climate crisis, and that means one thing for talented and driven young people like these students: jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With their help, I have no doubt that we’ll propel the wind industry to sky-high heights, and send a gust of growth from coast to coast that lifts every American community into a cleaner, healthier, more prosperous future.”

Each year, the Collegiate Wind Competition integrates a new challenge into the contest that reflects real-world wind industry needs. Taking the COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of supply chain disruptions into account, the 2021 challenge tasked teams with developing projects for deployment in highly uncertain times, with a significant degree of unknown risks and delays. This year’s competition also featured a new “Connection Creation Contest,” which challenged students to engage with industry professionals, their local communities, and local media outlets, in order to broaden their understanding of the workforce and educate new audiences about the benefits of wind and renewable energy.

The full list of winners is below:

  • Overall First Place: Pennsylvania State University
  • Overall Second Place: Johns Hopkins University
  • Overall Third Place: California Polytechnic State University
  • Turbine Prototype Contest: Kansas State University
  • Project Development Contest: Pennsylvania State University
  • Connection Creation Contest: Virginia Tech University

“Congratulations to the students at Virginia Tech for winning the Connection Creation Contest in the Department of Energy Collegiate Wind Competition,” said U.S. Senator Mark R. Warner. “Virginia is proud to be a leader in renewable energy and I look forward to seeing the extraordinary work these students continue to do in the jobs of tomorrow.”

“Congratulations to the students of Virginia Tech’s Collegiate Wind Competition team on their victory in the Connection Creation Contest. Their accomplishment showed an impressive understanding of the wind power industry and an ability to engage the community in their goals. This achievement shows once again how Virginia Tech leads the way in the STEM field and equips young people for the challenges of the future,” said U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith.

“Congratulations to Cal Poly’s Wind Energy Team for their recognition in the 2021 Collegiate Wind Competition! They embodied the ‘learn by doing motto,’ tackling this real world project with dedication and determination. We know renewable energy is the future, so it is imperative that we have a workforce that is prepared for these future-oriented jobs. We will need smart people, like the members of the Cal Poly Wind Energy Team, to lead the way,” said U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal.

The 2022 Collegiate Wind Competition is scheduled for May 16–19, 2022, at the American Clean Power Association’s CLEANPOWER 2022 Conference & Exhibition in San Antonio, Texas. For more details about Collegiate Wind Competition, visit the CWC website.

Article courtesy of the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/15/u-s-energy-department-announces-winners-of-annual-collegiate-wind-competition/

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Extreme Heat + Broken Gas & Coal Plants Threaten Texas Grid

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Dangerously high temperatures are gripping the West, with more to life- and grid-threatening heat expected in the coming days.

Phoenix hit at least 113°F over the weekend and temperatures from the Southwest to Northern Rockies are forecast to be 15–25°F above average.

Texas officials are already asking customers to conserve electricity, as the extreme heat, combined with multiple gas and coal plants broken down and offline for repairs, have created an unusual early electricity shortfall just months after widespread blackouts led to hundreds of deaths across the state.

Climate change makes extreme heat and heatwaves longer, more frequent, and more intense. Combined with the current climate-fueled megadrought, wildfire danger is also exceptionally high.

Nearly 40 million people as far north as the Canadian Border could see triple-digit highs this week, and some parts of Arizona, including Phoenix, could see overnight lows in the 90s, which are often more dangerous because the human body is deprived of its nocturnal cool-down period and and cooling shelters for those without air-conditioners are closed. The heat will also be especially deadly for those who work outside like farmworkers and cannot escape the heat without risking loss of income.

Sources: Washington Post $, EartherNBCAxios; Texas gas & coal breakdowns: ForbesBloomberg $; Climate Signals background: Extreme heat and heatwavesDroughtWildfires

Originally published by Nexus Media.


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/06/15/extreme-heat-broken-gas-coal-plants-threaten-texas-grid/

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