Announcing the agenda for Extreme Tech Challenge Global Finals presented by TechCrunch

Here at TechCrunch, we’re big fans of startup competitions. From our Extra Crunch Live Pitch-offs all the way up to the world-famous Disrupt Startup Battlefield, we can’t get enough of ’em. So we’re hooking up with Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) to present the Extreme Tech Challenge Global Finals, a startup competition focused on powering a more sustainable, equitable, inclusive, and healthy world.

Extreme Tech Challenge is the world’s largest transformative tech startup competition and forum for the leaders of tomorrow to be able to unleash their full potential. Last year, the competition attracted startups from 87 countries, and the 52 finalists raised more than $167M in venture investment since being selected. 

This year, over 3700 startups applied from 92 countries across XTC’s competition tracks: Agtech, Food & Water, Cleantech & Energy, Edtech, Enabling Tech, Fintech, Healthtech, and Mobility & Smart Cities. Check out the 80 Global Finalists that emerged from this competitive pool. The Category winners and the Special Awards winners will make it to the Global Finals stage. 

Join the Extreme Tech Challenge on 7/22 to meet the world’s best purpose-driven startups making the world better through transformative tech. Network with corporations, VCs, & founders. Get your free tickets here!

Today, we’re excited to share the agenda of the event with you.

Powering the Future Through Transformative Tech with Young Sohn (XTC), Bill Tai (XTC) and Beth Bechdol (Deputy Director-General, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization) 

What are the breakthrough tech innovations transforming industries to build a radically better world? How can business, government, philanthropy, and the startup community come together to create a better tomorrow? Hear from these industry veterans and thought leaders about how technology can not only shape the future, but also where the biggest opportunities lie, including some exciting news about XTC and the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization. 

Going Green with Shilpi Kumar (Urban Us), Jenny Rooke (Genoa Ventures), and Albert Wenger (Union Square Ventures)

Sustainability is the key to our planet’s future and our survival, but it’s also going to be incredibly lucrative and a major piece of our world economy. Hear from these seasoned investors and founders how VCs and startups alike are thinking about greentech and how that will evolve in the coming years.

The Extreme Tech Challenge 2021 Global Finals: Startup Pitches Part 1

The reason we’re all here – the XTC Category and Special Awards Winners get their chance to pitch their transformative tech ideas to a panel of expert judges and hear their feedback. XTC is a global platform that connects exceptional, purpose-driven startups with a network of investors, corporations, and mentors to help them raise capital, launch corporate collaborations, and scale their world-changing startups.

Waste Matters with Leon Farrant (Green Li-ion), Matanya Horowitz (AMP Robotics), and Elizabeth Gilligan (Material Evolution) 

According to the EPA, the U.S. alone produces 292.4 million tons of waste a year. Can technology help this massive – and growing – issue? Leon Farrant (Green Li-ion), Matanya Horowitz (AMP Robotics), and Elizabeth Gilligan (Material Evolution) will discuss their companies’ unique approaches to dealing with the problem.

The Extreme Tech Challenge 2021 Global Finals: Startup Pitches Part 2

The reason we’re all here – the XTC Category and Special Awards Winners get their chance to pitch their transformative tech ideas to a panel of expert judges and hear their feedback, in this second and final round. 

Cutting Out Carbon Emitters with Bioengineering with Aaron Nesser (AlgiKnit), Jennifer Holmgren (LanzaTech) and Patricia Bubner (Orbillion Bio)

Bioengineering may soon provide compelling, low-carbon alternatives in industries where even the best methods produce significant emissions. By utilizing natural and engineered biological processes, we may soon have low-carbon textiles from Algiknit, lab-grown premium meats from Orbillion Bio, and fuels captured from waste emissions via LanzaTech. Leaders from these companies will join our panel to talk about how bioengineering can do its part in the fight against climate change.

Announcement of the Extreme Tech Challenge 2021 Winners

The judging panel will crown the global winner of Extreme Tech Challenge 2021 and also announce the winner of the Female Founder Award.

Networking

Join thousands of investors, corporate executives, startups, and policymakers to network via video chat.

Join the Extreme Tech Challenge on July 22 to meet the world’s best purpose-driven startups making the world better through transformative tech. Network with corporations, VCs, & founders. Get your free tickets here!

#agtech, #albert-wenger, #bill-tai, #entrepreneurship, #environmental-protection-agency, #food, #greentech, #health, #healthtech, #ion, #jennifer-holmgren, #private-equity, #startup-company, #startups, #tc, #union-square-ventures, #united-states

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E.P.A. to Review Rules on Soot Linked to Deaths, Which Trump Declined to Tighten

The Biden administration says it will consider tougher limits on a deadly air pollutant that disproportionately affects low-income and minority communities.

#air-pollution, #american-lung-assn, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #harvard-university, #lungs, #medicine-and-health, #regan-michael-s-1976, #respiratory-diseases, #trump-donald-j

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Biden Administration to Restore Clean-Water Protections Ended by Trump

The Environmental Protection Agency announced it would repeal a Trump-era rule that weakened pollution controls for wetlands and streams.

#agriculture-and-farming, #clean-water-act, #democratic-party, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #united-states-politics-and-government, #water-pollution, #wetlands

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Here Are America’s Top Methane Emitters. Some Will Surprise You.

Oil and gas giants are selling off their most-polluting operations to small private companies. Most manage to escape public scrutiny.

#carbon-dioxide, #conocophillips, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydraulic-fracturing, #methane, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #private-equity

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E.P.A. to Modify Trump-Era Limits on States’ Ability to Oppose Energy Projects

In recent years, states have used the Clean Water Act to block pipelines and other fossil fuel projects. The Trump administration tried to curb that power.

#clean-water-act, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #regan-michael-s-1976, #united-states-politics-and-government, #water-pollution

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Supreme Court Gives Big Oil a Win in Climate Fight With Cities

But in the case, filed by the city of Baltimore, the high court gave the fossil fuel industry far less than it had asked for.

#environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #supreme-court-us

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Biden Administration to Repeal Trump Rule Aimed at Curbing E.P.A.’s Power

The cost-benefit rule limited the way the E.P.A. could justify clean air regulations. Its repeal will take effect within 30 days.

#air-pollution, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regan-michael-s-1976, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j

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Climate Change Is Making Big Problems Bigger

New data compiled by the E.P.A. shows how global warming is making life harder for Americans in myriad ways that threaten their health, safety and homes.

#allergies, #disasters-and-emergencies, #environmental-protection-agency, #floods, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #lyme-disease, #regan-michael-s-1976, #wildfires

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People of Color Breathe More Hazardous Air. The Sources Are Everywhere.

Researchers uncovered stark disparities between white people and minorities across thousands of categories of pollution, including trucks, industry, agriculture and even restaurants.

#air-pollution, #asian-americans, #black-people, #bullard-robert-d, #california, #census, #environmental-protection-agency, #factories-and-manufacturing, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #hispanic-americans, #income-inequality, #minorities, #population, #race-and-ethnicity, #research, #roads-and-traffic, #science-advances-journal, #united-states

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Senate to Reinstate Obama-Era Controls on Climate-Warming Methane

Senate Democrats on Wednesday will use a once-obscure law to resurrect Obama-era regulations on methane that the Trump administration had wiped away.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #methane, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Gina McCarthy Leads Biden Climate Push

Gina McCarthy, Barack Obama’s E.P.A. chief, could only watch as the Trump administration dismantled her climate work. Now, she’s back with another chance to build a lasting legacy.

#american-jobs-plan-2021, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #infrastructure-public-works, #mccarthy-gina, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Why the Gowanus Canal Is a Litmus Test for NYC Development

The Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn is notorious for its century-old filth. Now that the cleanup of the waterway has begun, a thorny question emerges. Who gets to live there?

#affordable-housing, #area-planning-and-renewal, #de-blasio-bill, #environmental-conservation-department-nys, #environmental-protection-agency, #gowanus-brooklyn-ny, #lander-brad, #water-pollution, #zoning

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Biden infrastructure plan proposes spending $174B to boost America’s EV market

President Joe Biden has earmarked $174 billion from his ambitious infrastructure plan to build out domestic supply chains for electric vehicles, noting the imperative for United States automakers to “compete globally” to win a larger share of the EV market.

The funds are just one part of Biden’s plan, which calls for an ambitious $2 trillion infrastructure investment across multiple sectors. The Fact Sheet for the plan includes six references to China – one of these in reference to the size of the Chinese EV market, which is two-thirds larger than the domestic U.S. market. Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, Apple’s main supplier, said in February it was considering producing EVs at its Wisconsin plants – just weeks after tentatively agreeing to manufacture an EV for startup-turned-SPAC Fisker.

To ensure Americans actually purchase these domestically manufactured EVs, Biden also plans to establish sales rebates and tax incentives for the purchase of American-made EVs, though the size of the credit has not been released. Customers can already cash in a $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs, but it is not available to automakers that have sold more than 200,000 electric cars – people looking to purchase a Tesla, for instance, would not qualify for the credit. It’s unclear whether the new tax credit would raise or abolish the sales limit for automakers.

The plan also proposes using some of the funds to build a national EV charging network of 500,000 stations by 2030. A recent survey from Consumer Reports found that the availability of public charging stations was a major concern deterring people from looking into an EV for their next vehicle purchase.

On the transit side, Biden’s administration said the funds will also go towards replacing 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrifying at least 20 percent of school busses, through a new program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The plan places a huge emphasis on providing good-paying jobs to American workers, but it still has a long way to go. It must be approved by Congress before becoming law.

#automotive, #battery-electric-vehicles, #charging-station, #china, #congress, #consumer-reports, #electric-car, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #environmental-protection-agency, #foxconn, #green-vehicles, #joe-biden, #president, #transport, #transportation, #united-states, #wisconsin

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E.P.A. to Review Attacks on Science Under Trump

The agency said it would carry out an accounting of political interference in science, an usually public act that Biden administration officials said was needed to restore trust in the agency’s decisions.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #science-and-technology, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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BMW takes the wraps off the i4, its first all-electric sedan

BMW plans to have 25 electrified cars in its lineup by 2025 and it’s taking a few more steps in this direction this year with the launch of the all-electric iX SUV and the i4 sedan. Today, for the first time, the German automaker shared a few more details of what we can expect from the i4, its first fully-electric sedan, in addition to sharing the first exterior shots of the new model.

At the top end, the i4 will have a power output of 390kW / 530HP. Going from zero to 100km/h will take four seconds.

BMW promises up to a 300 miles range, according to its own preliminary tests based on the EPA’s test procedures. Enough to go from L.A. to Las Vegas. That’s the same range as the iX will be able to cover on a single charge and a slight increase in horsepower compared to BMW’s new SUV. And while that range is less than what Tesla and some other competitors can offer, it’s still more than what’s possible with comparable all-electric Porsche and Audi models like the eTaycan and e-tron GT, which are in the lower 200s.

Image Credits: BMW

“With its sporty looks, best in class driving dynamics and zero local emissions, the BMW i4 is a true BMW. It makes the heart of the BMW brand now beat fully electric,” said Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Customer, Brands, Sales.

For now, we don’t have any pricing details or additional specs for the i4. It will become available later this year, so we’ll likely see more details in the summer.

“The iX is purpose-built, it’s spectacular and it’s a completely new BMW X product,” Frank Weber, BMW’s head of development, said at a press event earlier this week. “But what people are longing for is to see that we have a sport sedan that is fully electric. […] And the i4 has everything it takes to have a real sporty sedan from BMW that is fully electric.”

And indeed, unlike the somewhat quirky i3, BMW’s first all-electric car, the i4 is a standard, four-door sedan (with real passenger doors, unlike the i3) — something that buyers in the market for a sporty yet roomy electric car from BMW in the spirit of the existing 4-series will likely appreciate.

Earlier this week, BMW also announced version 8 of its iDrive operating system, which will feature a new dashboard layout and visual design, with two curved screens. It will make its debut in the i4 and iX.

#automotive, #bmw, #bmw-i, #cars, #environmental-protection-agency, #i3, #idrive, #las-vegas, #operating-system, #porsche, #sedans, #tc, #tesla

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New EPA Head, Michael Regan, Says Agency Has Climate Regulations Underway

Michael Regan says the E.P.A. is already working on new rules to control planet-warming emissions from cars and power plants.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regan-michael-s-1976, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

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New E.P.A. Head Says Agency Has Climate Regulations Underway

Michael Regan says the E.P.A. is already working on new rules to control planet-warming emissions from cars and power plants.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regan-michael-s-1976, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Senate Confirms Biden’s Pick to Lead E.P.A.

Michael S. Regan has said he intends to act aggressively in carrying out the president’s agenda of fighting climate change.

#air-pollution, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #presidential-transition-us, #regan-michael-s-1976, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Justice Amy Coney Barrett Issues Her First Majority Opinion

The 7-to-2 ruling rejected an environmental group’s Freedom of Information Act request.

#appeals-courts-us, #barrett-amy-coney, #decisions-and-verdicts, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #environmental-protection-agency, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #fish-and-wildlife-service, #freedom-of-information-act, #national-marine-fisheries-service, #sierra-club, #supreme-court-us

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‘Climate Change’ Is Back, ‘Illegal Alien’ Is Out. New Administration Changes the Language of Government.

“The president has been clear to all of us — words matter, tone matters and civility matters,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #bureau-of-land-management, #citizenship-and-immigration-services-us, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #homeland-security-department, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #interior-department, #language-and-languages, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Let’s Not Forget Trump’s Failure to ‘Take Care’

His administration subverted that constitutional mandate by undermining core missions of the government.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #housing-and-urban-development-department, #presidential-transition-us, #supreme-court-us, #trump-donald-j

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The Task Ahead for Biden on Climate

The new president has shown a welcome interest in combating climate change. But more will need to be done.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

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A Consensus Builder for E.P.A. When Some Want a Fighter

President Biden’s pick to lead the E.P.A. knows how to reach out to Republicans, but in a polarized Washington, some worry he doesn’t know how to fight them.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regan-michael-s-1976, #united-states-politics-and-government

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The Government Agencies That Became Smaller, and Unhappier, Under Trump

The total federal civilian work force is slightly larger than four years ago, as a few agencies grew even as others shrank. In some places, morale also took a hit.

#agriculture-department, #environmental-protection-agency, #federal-budget-us, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars

Every carmaker is trying to figure out how to make the leap before governments force it and Tesla and other start-ups lure away drivers.

#automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #dingell-deborah, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #environmental-protection-agency, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #tesla-motors-inc, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #volkswagen-ag

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Once the Gowanus Canal Is Rid of ‘Black Mayonnaise,’ Who Will Benefit?

Developers have promised affordable housing along Brooklyn’s toxic canal. But the rezoning could end up favoring luxury apartments.

#affordable-housing, #area-planning-and-renewal, #environmental-protection-agency, #gowanus-brooklyn-ny, #public-and-subsidized-housing, #real-estate-and-housing-residential, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #zoning

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Toxic ‘Black Mayonnaise’ Seeps Into Gowanus Bay After Barge Accident

As Brooklyn residents voiced concern, the Environmental Protection Agency said it appeared little toxic material had been released into the bay.

#canals, #environmental-protection-agency, #gowanus-brooklyn-ny, #gowanus-canal-brooklyn-ny, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #water-pollution

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Biden Team Rushes to Take Over Government, and Oust Trump Loyalists

President Biden named nearly all of his cabinet secretaries and their immediate deputies before he took office, but his real grasp on the levers of power has come several layers down.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #citizenship-and-immigration-services-us, #defense-department, #environmental-protection-agency, #foreign-service-us, #health-and-human-services-department, #homeland-security-department, #housing-and-urban-development-department, #immigration-and-customs-enforcement-us, #justice-department, #national-security-agency, #national-security-council, #state-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-agency-for-global-media, #united-states-politics-and-government, #veterans-affairs-department, #voice-of-america

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Comparing Biden and Trump’s Cabinet Picks

President Biden has chosen policymakers, while President Donald J. Trump valued cabinet secretaries he saw as deal makers.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #housing-and-urban-development-department, #state-department, #treasury-department, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #white-house-council-of-economic-advisers

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Restoring Environmental Rules Rolled Back by Trump Could Take Years

President Biden has promised to reinstate more than 100 rules and regulations aimed at environmental protection that his predecessor rolled back. It won’t happen overnight.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #executive-orders-and-memorandums, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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One of Biden’s first climate actions looks at fuel efficiency rollback

US President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021.

Enlarge / US President Joe Biden sits in the Oval Office as he signs a series of orders at the White House in Washington, DC, after being sworn in at the US Capitol on January 20, 2021. (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the first official actions taken by President Joe Biden after his inauguration on January 20 means the almost-certain demise of a Trump-era plan to weaken future fuel efficiency regulations. Among Biden’s instructions to federal agencies was an “Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis.”

This executive order tells federal agencies that environmental justice is a priority—one that will now be guided by scientific evidence. Additionally, the heads of each agency will have to review any regulations, policies, or other actions taken between January 20, 2017 and January 20, 2021 that are inconsistent with that goal. And there’s a particular call-out for the US Environmental Protection Agency’s recent actions to weaken US fuel efficiency standards over the coming few years, as well as the agency’s attempt to neuter California’s power to regulate air pollution.

The previous administration’s attack on clean air and fuel efficiency began almost immediately and culminated with a pair of actions over the past 16 months. In September 2019 the EPA announced that it was revoking a waiver that has allowed California to set and enforce its own tougher air pollution standards within the state’s borders. Then in March 2020 the EPA published a new fuel efficiency rule for passenger cars and light trucks for model years 2021-2026 that significantly weakened fleet efficiency targets mandated by the Obama administration.

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#california-air-resources-board, #cars, #climate-change, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-economy, #fuel-efficiency, #president-joseph-biden, #us-epa

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Toyota fined $180 million for 10 years of noncompliance with EPA regs

Toyota fined $180 million for 10 years of noncompliance with EPA regs

(credit: Toyota)

On Thursday, Toyota reached a settlement with the US government over a decade of noncompliance with Clean Air Act reporting regulations. Under the law, defects or recalls that affect vehicle emissions equipment have to be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

But, says EPA assistant administrator Susan Bodine, “[f]or a decade Toyota failed to report mandatory information about potential defects in their cars to the EPA, keeping the agency in the dark and evading oversight.  EPA considers this failure to be a serious violation of the Clean Air Act.”

Manufacturers are supposed submit emissions defect information reports if they know of an emissions defect that affects at least 25 or more vehicles (or engines) of a particular model in a given model year. They also have to submit voluntary emissions recall reports when beginning a recall to fix an emissions problem, as well as quarterly reports on the progress of the recall.

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#car-emissions, #cars, #department-of-justice, #environmental-protection-agency, #toyota

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A Plan Made to Shield Big Tobacco From Facts Is Now E.P.A. Policy

The E.P.A. has finalized a so-called transparency plan that it says will improve the credibility of science. Scientists say it is designed to stop new public health protections by limiting what research the agency can consider.

#environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #science-and-technology, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Climate Change Legislation Included in Coronavirus Stimulus Deal

The legislation calls for cutting the use of powerful planet-warming chemicals common in air-conditioners and refrigerators.

#air-conditioning, #alternative-and-renewable-energy, #chemicals, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #hydrofluorocarbons, #law-and-legislation, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change

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Biden Announces Climate Team, Including Gina McCarthy, Deb Haaland and Michael Regan

The president-elect said he has chosen a team that prioritizes making clean energy jobs and environmental protection the cornerstone of his economic plans.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #federal-lands, #global-warming, #green-new-deal, #haaland-deb, #kerry-john, #mallory-brenda-1957, #mccarthy-gina, #politics-and-government, #presidential-transition-us, #regan-michael-s-1976, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry

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In Last Rush, Trump Grants Mining and Energy Firms Access to Public Lands

The outgoing administration is pushing through approval of corporate projects over the opposition of environmental groups and tribal communities.

#bernhardt-david-l, #bhp-billiton-ltd, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #bureau-of-land-management, #conservation-of-resources, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #federal-lands, #forest-service, #interior-department, #land-use-policies, #native-americans, #resolution-copper-mining-llc, #rio-tinto-plc, #ross-wilbur-l-jr, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wilderness-areas

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Biden to Pick Michael Regan, North Carolina Environment Regulator, to Head E.P.A.

Mr. Regan, a former air quality specialist at the Environmental Protection Agency, is secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #north-carolina, #regan-michael-s, #united-states-politics-and-government

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The 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E disappoints in our first drive

This is not a review of the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E Sport SUV.

A few weeks back, I spent two short hours in Ford’s upcoming EV. I don’t feel comfortable declaring a conclusion with just a couple of hours behind the wheel. I need more time with the Mach-E, and after Ford reads this article, I’ll probably be last in line for long-term tests.

During my short time with the Mach-E, one thing became clear: The Mach-E should not be called a Mustang, and it should not be called an SUV.

By calling the Mach-E a Mustang SUV, Ford is selling buyers an experience not found in the Mach-E. This isn’t a fight over semantics. The Mach-E isn’t a sporty SUV in a traditional manner. For that, look at the Audi E-Tron Sportback or Tesla Model X. Those offer several key characteristics missing from the Mach-E SUV. They’re sturdy, stout and powerful, whereas the Mach-E feels small, loose and sloppy.

There are several areas of concern. I found the vehicle dynamics questionable. The throttle is nauseating, and the rear end has a hard time keeping traction. The range is poor compared to competitors; the AWD version gets 50 miles less than a comparable Tesla. And what’s more important in an electric vehicle than driving characteristics and electric range?

Early impressions

A few weeks back I took a 2021 Mustang Mach-E AWD around a familiar route in lower Michigan. Every auto journalist knows this area by Hell, Michigan. Despite the name, it’s a lovely area with old-growth hardwoods lining gentle winding roads where cars can breathe. And for fun, turn off the main road for a bit of dipping and diving on gravel roads. This area was not kind to the Mach-E.

The test was short, but I was still left with several impressions.

The Mach-E bumbles around like an economy crossover. There’s nothing confident or reassuring about the ride or handling. Even with the Mustang name, the Mach-E doesn’t drive like a Mustang (hold your jokes; the latest Mustangs are fantastic). The Mach-E isn’t a car that can be thrown into a corner and expect to emerge safely. The body rolls, rear tires break loose and you lose respect for the Mustang name.

The throttle is touchy and over-expressive. Tap the peddle and Mach-E leaps forward. Combined with aggressive regenerative braking, the Mach-E takes some getting used to. I found the powertrain nauseating. Electric vehicles are an exercise in finesse. The electric motors need to provide power in a smooth, predictable fashion that’s exciting and confident without being overbearing. It’s a hard formula and something that few automakers have gotten right the first time.

I was immediately taken aback by the AWD Mach-E’s poor handling. Most modern EVs drive so well they’re boring. Not the Mach-E. The rear end is too lively for a pedestrian-vehicle, and not in a sporty manner. This is just sloppy and nauseating. The tires easily break free on everyday turns. Press down on the accelerator, turn the wheel and the vehicle often has to engage traction control to keep the rear wheels from spinning.

By insisting on marketing the Mach-E as sporty, Ford set the expectations on the capability outside of its technical ability. Things get loose when the driver leans into the performance aspects of the Mach-E. During my time with the Mach-E, there were several times I was rounding a normal corner and the back tires became unpredictable or took the car too wide. This is exaggerated with additional speed. I’m curious how the AWD system handles snow and ice. Several times during my test drive it struggled on gravel.

I later asked a Ford engineer about the tremendous amount of oversteer, and he replied, “Yeah, only if you drive it that way.” That stuck with me because I don’t think it was my fault. I don’t think I was driving the Mach-E around Ann Arbor, Michigan in an aggressive fashion, but even still, the roads were dry, and the traction control kicked on several times during my short drive. That shouldn’t happen.

The Mach-E performs better in a straight line. The acceleration is quick. With the go-pedal mashed to the floor, the Mach-E rears on its back legs and jumps forward with enthusiasm. Is it quicker than a Tesla? No, but it’s still quicker than most vehicles in its price range and plenty fast enough to speed away from a stop light.

The Mach-E has three driving modes. In the standard and economy mode, the throttle delivers power in a more refined method than the performance mode, which seems messy and crude. All three modes offer one-peddle driving through aggressive regenerative braking.

The electric range is another factor to consider with the Mach-E. The AWD version tops out at an EPA-estimated 270 miles compared to the 326 miles found in Tesla’s AWD Model Y. The RWD-only version of the Mach-E tops out at 300 miles per charge.

With such a short test, I’m unable to dive deep into the real-world battery range of the Mach-E. I need to live with the car and use it for a variety of tasks, both around town and long distance. All I can report is the results from my 2 hour drive: I average 2.7 miles to kilowatt-hour, I returned it with 112 miles remaining on the battery, which the vehicle says is 56%. I was driving the AWD model with the extended range battery. The EPA and Ford says this version is good for 270 miles per charge.

The Mach-E’s pricing is competitive with a starting price of $42,895. The AWD, extended-range version starts at $54,700 and heads north depending on options. Most U.S. buyers are eligible for a $7,500 tax credit. The Tesla Model 3 starts at $37,990. The long-range, AWD Model 3 that starts at $46,990; the Model Y crossover costs $49,990.

Competitors have downsides, too. The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are novel vehicles with class-leading range, but they’re not without flaws, including questionable build quality. Other vehicles like the Polestar 2 are fantastic but have less electric range and a higher starting price of $59,900.

 

The Mach-E’s interior is fantastic, and that was not a surprise. Ford builds some of the nicest interiors in its class, and the inside of the Mach-E is lovely.

Like most EVs, Ford took great steps to replace traditional automotive components with modern equivalents. Instead of a gauge cluster, a small, narrow LCD screen sits in front of the driver. It’s classy and efficient. A large LCD screen sits in the center stack for media playback and climate controls. A rotating knob is glued onto the screen at the bottom and provides physical volume control. I really like the volume knob.

The seats seem fine. I was only in them for two hours.

The inside is a bit cramped, but it’s acceptable for a small crossover. The driver sits in a commanding position, which could be the reason for the SUV designation. Two adults can sit in the back for a cross-town jaunt, but I wouldn’t want to sit back there for an extended amount of time, as legroom is lacking.

I’m frustrated about the vehicle’s dynamics, which overshadow fun features found within the Mach-E. Owners can use their smartphone as a key and preprogram navigation routes through a robust road-trip app. The doors are operated by a button, allowing for a cleaner exterior. Ford is even adding hands-free driving through an over-the-air-update, too. But these items hardly matters. Who cares if the cake’s pretty if it tastes like sadness?

TL;DR

My first impressions of the Mach-E are poor, and I went into this short test with excited optimism. For me, this Ford Mach-E was supposed to bring the joy of electric vehicles to the masses through a familiar nameplate and legacy manufacturer. I’m a Ford guy who lives in Michigan and looks at the Mach-E development with local pride. I’m disappointed.

Right now, based on first impressions, I can only recommend shoppers try competitors before buying the Ford Mustang Mach-E. I don’t think this vehicle is good enough to buy over a Tesla.

#automotive, #electric-vehicles, #environmental-protection-agency, #ford, #ford-motor-company, #mustang-mach-e, #tc, #tesla

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Mary Nichols Appears to Be Out of Running to Lead E.P.A.

The president-elect’s transition team is scrambling to find a new candidate for the E.P.A. after advocates objected to Mary D. Nichols.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nichols-mary-d, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Joe Biden Should Build on Common Ground

There is progress to be made on policies most Americans support.

#agriculture-department, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environmental-protection-agency, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #house-of-representatives, #infrastructure-public-works, #labor-and-jobs, #law-and-legislation, #pelosi-nancy, #polls-and-public-opinion, #senate, #united-states-politics-and-government

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New Trump Rule Would Downgrade Health Benefits in Air Pollution Decisions

By lowering the value of pollution controls in health and safety calculations, the Trump administration appears to be moving to safeguard its deregulation efforts in court.

#air-pollution, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #presidential-election-of-2020, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Trump Administration Declines to Tighten Soot Rules, Despite Link to Covid Deaths

Health experts say the E.P.A. decision defies scientific research showing that particulate pollution contributes to tens of thousands of premature deaths annually.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government, #wheeler-andrew-r

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New York Waterway Ferry Company Accused of Dumping Sewage into Hudson

Two former workers claim New York Waterway fouled the river with unfiltered waste from boats’ toilets. The firm denies the allegations.

#bathrooms-and-toilets, #boats-and-boating, #carpenito-craig, #clean-water-act, #environmental-protection-agency, #ferries, #fines-penalties, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #hudson-river, #imperatore-arthur-e, #imperatore-arthur-jr, #manhattan-nyc, #new-jersey, #new-york-waterway, #pohan-armand, #rivers, #sewers-and-sewage, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #waste-materials-and-disposal, #whistle-blowers

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Meet Biden’s Energy and Climate Cabinet Contenders

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s energy and environment team will have the difficult task of crafting climate policies that can bypass Congress and survive judicial review.

#biden-joseph-r-iii, #energy-department, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #interior-department, #presidential-transition-us, #united-states-politics-and-government

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Aftermarket truck mods pollute as much as 9 million extra pickups

A pickup truck emits a huge black cloud of soot from an exhaust cut into its hood.

Enlarge / A thoughtful soul decides to poison the air as he drives through the infield at Daytona International Raceway during the 2016 Rolex 24 race. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

I remember the first time someone rolled coal on me. It was 2006, and I was driving to work at the University of Kentucky. It was a bright, sunny day in Lexington, and I had the roof down and was stopped in traffic behind a large pickup truck with decidedly non-standard exhaust pipes exiting straight up behind the cab. Whoever was driving the pickup evidently noticed the Miata in his mirror and enveloped me in a thick cloud of soot when the lights changed.

As automotive subcultures go, intentionally modifying your truck’s diesel engine to make extra pollution is one of the more antisocial ones out there. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, diesel trucks with disabled emissions controls are far more widespread than you might think and emit more pollution than the diesel engines that got Volkswagen such hefty fines.

In 2016, Volkswagen agreed to a pair of court settlements totaling nearly $16 billion after it was caught selling diesel vehicles fitted with emissions defeat devices. In total, the VW scandal affected more than half a million cars and SUVs sold in the US, which produced up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxides (NOx) when in daily operation.

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#air-pollution, #cars, #defeat-device, #diesel-trucks, #environmental-protection-agency, #epa, #nox

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Top Contenders for Biden’s Cabinet Draw Fire From All Sides

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#attorneys-general, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-department, #energy-department, #environmental-protection-agency, #homeland-security-department, #interior-department, #justice-department, #liberalism-us-politics, #national-economic-council-us, #office-of-management-and-budget-us, #presidential-transition-us, #united-states-politics-and-government

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E.P.A.’s Final Deregulatory Rush Runs Into Open Staff Resistance

As President Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency rushes to complete its regulatory rollbacks, agency staff, emboldened by the Biden victory, moves to stand in the way.

#air-pollution, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-transition-us, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #united-states-politics-and-government

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The Volkswagen ID.4 electric crossover gets its EPA range certification

The ID electric vehicles are the future for Volkswagen.

Enlarge / The ID electric vehicles are the future for Volkswagen. (credit: Volkswagen)

On Wednesday, Volkswagen announced that its forthcoming electric vehicle now has an official range. The US Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that the ID.4 crossover will travel 250 miles (402km) on a single charge.

At launch, the ID.4 will only be available in two configurations; the 1st Edition, and the ID.4 Pro. Both of these use a single motor-generator unit that drives the rear wheels and an 82kWh lithium-ion battery. However, we believe that only 77kWh is usable. The EPA also rated the ID.4 at a combined 104mpge in the city, 89mpge on the highway, and a combined 97mpge.

For comparison, the extended-range, rear wheel drive Ford Mustang Mach-E we wrote about on Monday, which has an EPA range of 300 miles (483km), comes packed with 98.9kWh. Tesla does not publish the kWh capacity of its battery packs—there’s belief that for model year 2021 this will be 82kWh total capacity, like the ID.4—but the EPA has rated the long-range Model Y crossover at 326 miles (524km).

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#cars, #environmental-protection-agency, #us-epa, #volkswagen-id-4

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Illegal Tampering by Diesel Pickup Owners Is Worsening Pollution, E.P.A. Says

An E.P.A. investigation has found that the owners of more than half a million diesel pickup trucks have installed devices to defeat emissions controls and boost pollution.

#air-pollution, #automobiles, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #international-council-on-clean-transportation

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G.M. Drops Its Support for Trump Climate Rollbacks and Aligns With Biden

General Motors said it would no longer back President Trump’s lawsuit seeking to strip California of the power to set fuel economy standards.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-efficiency, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government

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