President Biden wants to goose the electric vehicle market by transforming the federal fleet of 645,000 fossil-fueled vehicles with EVs. Not just any EVs, but ones made in America by unionized labor. One problem: nobody who fits that bill makes them. While Tesla cranked out several models totaling nearly half a million EVs in 2020, the company’s workers aren’t unionized. And although it’s been unionized since 1937, General Motors, which sold just 20,754 EVs in 2020, did so with more than 50% foreign-made parts. That doesn’t meet the government-set threshold for a whole car being considered American-made. On the other hand, changing over the federal fleet is likely to take a decade since only about 60,000 of its vehicles are replaced each year. And by the mid-’20s, GM will presumably be turning out millions of EVs if it expects to meets its 2035 zero-emission goal for its entire production run of cars and light trucks. And by then, maybe there will be a union at Tesla. “Do I think GM and Tesla will contort to access a big U.S. government market? Yes I do,” said Scott Sklar, director of sustainable energy at the George Washington University’s Environment & Energy Management Institute. “They follow the money.”
Science News reports that the study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology ties an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) from air pollution. People living in the worst polluted areas were at least 8% more likely to report having the disease, which is progressive and irreversible. The researchers initially obtained data on 115,954 study participants aged 40-69 who had no eye problems when the study got underway in 2006. In follow-ups of 52,602 participants in 2009 and 2012, they found structural changes in retina thickness and/or the number of light receptors present — both indicators of AMD. Officials also gathered statistics on ambient air pollution, traffic, land use, and topography. “Even relatively low exposure to air pollution appears to impact the risk of AMD, suggesting that air pollution is an important modifiable risk factor affecting risk of eye disease for a very large number of people,” said lead author Paul Foster of the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. “Here we have identified yet another health risk posed by air pollution, strengthening the evidence that improving the air we breathe should be a key public health priority. Our findings suggest that living in an area with polluted air, particularly fine particulate matter or combustion-related particles that come from road traffic, could contribute to eye disease,” he said. AMD is the leading cause of irreversible blindness among people over 50 in high-income countries, with theaffected population expected to reach 300 million by 2040. Other risk factors for AMD include smoking and genetic make-up.
Dan Gearino, a long-time reporter on clean energy now on staff at Inside Climate News, ridiculed Rep. Lauren Boebert, the second-worst new member of Congress. Before announcing in 2017 that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate agreement, Donald Trump declared, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Soon after President Biden initiated the rejoining process on his first day in office, Boebert mimicked Trump: