The energy industry is under increasing pressure from environmental groups, the courts and even its shareholders to start moving away from fossil fuels. As it sheds some of its dirtiest assets, they end up in the hands of private equity firms.
New research shows the extent of these investments. Since 2010, the private equity industry has invested at least $ 1.1 trillion in the energy sector, twice the combined market value of three of the world’s largest energy companies, Exxon, Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell.
Only about 12 percent of investments in the energy sector by private equity firms went to renewable energy, such as solar or wind, since 2010, although those investments have grown at a faster pace. You can read the details in my story today.
Why it matters: One effect of sales to private equity investors is the transfer of those assets, their emissions and other environmental risks, away from the public eye.
Look: Inside the battle against a giant fire
In the past two years, California has been hit by fires bigger than ever recorded. Our interactive feature takes a look at military-style operation to combat one of them: the Dixie fire nearly one million acres.
Listen: Which cities are worth saving?
Extreme weather and rising seas caused by the climate crisis are forcing Americans to face a heartbreaking question: How do vulnerable communities decide which homes to protect and which to abandon? Listen as Christopher Flavelle of the NYT climate team talks to The Daily host Michael Barbaro.
Bidens climate plan depends on 2 bills. Both are insecure.
President Biden has said this will be the year when the United States takes major action against climate change. But whether that will actually happen may depend on the fate of the two major spending bills now pending in Congress.
As I wrote this week with my colleague Winston Choi-Schagrin, included within these bills are the measures that may constitute the most significant climate action ever undertaken by the United States. There are provisions that would turn most of the nations electricity grid into clean energy, create huge incentives for electric vehicles, and provide the largest ever infusion of money to prepare communities for extreme weather.
But the clock is ticking. If Congress fails to pass any legislation this year, it could be years before another opportunity for climate action emerges a delay that climate scientists say the planet cannot afford.
By numbers: A recent analysis found that larger climate provisions in the legislation would lead the United States halfway to Mr. Bidens’ goal of reducing emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Join us in Glasgow climate talks
World leaders will meet in Scotland in November for COP26, the next round of international climate negotiations, and you too can be there. Join us at The New York Times Climate Hub, in person or online, to explore one of the most pressing questions of our time: How to adapt and thrive on a changing planet? Tickets at nytclimatehub.comwith
Planning for major climate disruptions
Less food. More traffic accidents. Extreme weather hits nuclear waste sites. Immigrants rush to the United States, fleeing even worse disaster in their home countries.
Under President Biden’s orders, officials in every government agency have spent months considering the key climate challenges facing their agencies and how to meet them. I have written about the results of climate change work plans from 23 agencies, including the departments of Energy, Defense, Agriculture and National Security, and what they say.
Quotable: Almost every service the government provides will be affected by climate change sooner or later, said Jesse Keenan, a professor at Tulane University who focuses on climate adaptation.
What to expect next: The phrase now comes the hard part is a cliché in Washington, but, in this case, it fits. Can the Biden administration, with a federal workforce of climate experts that has become so impoverished after four years of cuts, translate these plans into current steps that will better protect against the accelerating effects of climate change?
If you have the latest version of Google Maps on your phone, you may notice something new: A small green leaf that indicates the most fuel efficient route for your trip.
We on the climate team ask ourselves: How effective can this change actually be?
Given the reach of Google Maps, with more than a billion people using the app each month, the company estimates the new feature could save more than a million tons of carbon emissions a year if everyone gets their green way. suggested each time. That would be equivalent to removing 200,000 cars from the roads.
Transportation accounts for nearly one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Cars and trucks make up more than 80 percent of those emissions.
I spoke with Jeffrey Gonder, a group manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, who provided tools and support to Google Maps for this initiative. A previous study from the energy lab found that Google Maps already guided people on the most fuel efficient route two-thirds of the time. But that meant, a third of the time, there was a more efficient way. For those trips, the fuel efficient road would have used 10 percent less energy than the recommended route.
It is not the final solution to combat global warming, Gonder said. But it can be a piece of pie because it is a relatively easy thing to do.
So how exactly is Google doing these calculations? Google Maps already has a large repository of information about road features, everything from road slopes to speeds based on current traffic, all of which can affect fuel consumption. For its calculations, the Google team relies on RouteE power labs, which can estimate fuel usage based on speed-by-second speed trajectories on those different characteristics.
Its part of a broader promotion of sustainability in the company. Google Flights, for example, will include carbon emissions data for flights, and purchase searches will provide suggestions for energy-efficient home appliances.
Other companies are also thinking about maximizing route efficiency. UPS, for example, has said that road optimization policies for its delivery trucks, such as avoiding left-hand turns, which can increase downtime while drivers wait for future traffic, save the company 10 million liters. fuel and up to 100,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
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