New York City plans to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue oil companies

New York City is seeking to lead the assault on both climate change and the Trump administration with a plan to divest $5bn from fossil fuels and sue the world’s most powerful oil companies over their contribution to dangerous global warming.

Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell – to federal court due to their contribution to climate change.

Court documents state that New York has suffered from flooding and erosion due to climate change and because of looming future threats it is seeking to “shift the costs of protecting the city from climate change impacts back on to the companies that have done nearly all they could to create this existential threat”.

The court filing claims that just 100 fossil fuel producers are responsible for nearly two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution, with the five targeted companies the largest contributors.

The case will also point to evidence that firms such as Exxon knew of the impact of climate change for decades, only to downplay and even deny this in public. New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, is investigating Exxon over this alleged deception.

New York was badly rattled by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and faces costs escalating into the tens of billions of dollars in order to protect low-lying areas such as lower Manhattan and the area around JFK airport from being inundated by further severe storms fueled by rising sea levels and atmospheric warming. De Blasio’s office said climate change is “perhaps the toughest challenge New York City will face in the coming decades”.

New York’s lawsuit echoes a similar effort on the west coast, where two California counties and a city are suing 37 fossil fuel companies for knowingly emitting dangerous levels of greenhouse gases. One of those firms, Exxon, has complained that it has been targeted by a “collection of special interests and opportunistic politicians” as part of a “conspiracy” to force the company to comply with various political objectives.

The legal action and the divestment draw perhaps the starkest dividing line yet between New York and the Trump administration on climate change. Under Trump, the federal government has attempted the withdraw the US from the Paris climate accords, tear up Barack Obama’s signature climate policies and open up vast areas of America’s land and waters to coal, oil and gas interests.

De Blasio and the city comptroller, Scott Stringer, have come under pressure for several years from activists to rid New York’s pension funds of any link to fossil fuels, with some environmentalists claiming the city has been too slow to use its clout to tackle climate change.

Stringer admitted the divestment will be “complex” and will take some time but said the city’s pension funds could promote sustainability while also protecting the retirement of teachers, police officers and other city workers.

“New York City today becomes a capital of the fight against climate change on this planet,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of climate group

“With its communities exceptionally vulnerable to a rising sea, the city is showing the spirit for which it’s famous – it’s not pretending that working with the fossil fuel companies will somehow save the day, but instead standing up to them, in the financial markets and in court.”

Christiana Figueres, former UN climate chief and architect of the Paris climate agreement, added: “The exponential transition toward a fossil-fuel-free economy is unstoppable and local governments have a critical role to play. There is no time to lose.

“It’s therefore extremely encouraging to see NYC step up today to safeguard their city and exercise their role as investors to protect their beneficiaries from climate-risk.”

New York joins cities such as Washington DC and Cape Town in divesting, along with universities such as Stanford in California and Oxford in the UK. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, notable for its links to the past oil wealth of John D Rockefeller, has also sought to divest.

VW is raising its profits forecast. Has it removed the environment over dieselgate already?

After a bruising 2 yrs, you will find signs that Volkswagen is overcoming the harm to the status, and finances, wrought by revelations it had cheated on emissions tests.

In November, the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer stated it might publish record vehicle deliveries this season and greater annual profits. VW, that also owns Porsche, Audi and Bentley among other brands, stated it expected money than six million Volkswagens this season, boosted with a strong performance in China, Europe and also the US.

$2.8bn (£2.1bn) in criminal fines and $1.5bn in civil penalties.

It’s been a watershed few years for that vehicle industry, as rivals scurry to leap around the electric-power bandwagon pioneered by Elon Musk’s Tesla. VW was late towards the party, however the so-known as “dieselgate” scandal has forced it to simply accept the brand new reality. Governments in France, the United kingdom and also the Netherlands have backed intends to ban the purchase of diesel and gas vehicles between 2025 and 2040 inside a push to wash up polluted metropolitan areas.

under analysis in Germany also it faces investor lawsuits in america and also at home. Oliver Schmidt, formerly VW US compliance executive, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment this month after pleading guilty to 1 count of conspiracy to swindle the united states and the other of violating the Climate Act. Schmidt accepted he was coached to lie about emissions by his bosses at Volkswagen.

He’s the 2nd worker delivered to prison for taking part in the emissions-cheating plan: James Liang, an experienced VW engineer, was sentenced to 40 several weeks imprisonment in August, getting pleaded guilty to conspiracy and cooperated with prosecutors. He’s appealed against his sentence.

But regardless of the huge legal challenges in the usa, sales of VW cars are up 8.3% year-on-year in america.

“The factor is, they simply make good cars,” Nieuwenhuis stated. “It is really a powerful brand, individuals will say ‘I’m purchasing a Golf because it’s the best value for money’.”

How eco-friendly are planet?

Multiple research has discovered that planet tend to be more efficient, and for that reason accountable for less green house gas along with other emissions than cars powered exclusively by car engines. An EU study according to expected performance in 2020 discovered that an electrical vehicle using electricity generated exclusively by an oil-fired power station would only use two-thirds from the energy of the gas vehicle travelling exactly the same distance.

For each 100km travelled inside a gas vehicle …

… it requires 26 megajoules to obtain gas from the ground and transport it towards the vehicle …

… and also the vehicle itself uses 142 megajoules to maneuver itself around.

For the similar distance within an electric vehicle, using electricity generated within an oil-fired power plant

… it requires 74 megajoules to create and transport the facility towards the vehicle …

… which in turn uses just 38 megajoules to maneuver itself and it is passengers

Although an electrical vehicle powered in this manner continues to be ultimately burning exactly the same fuel because the gas vehicle it replaces, it’s burning significantly less from it. And even though green house gas emissions are similarly dangerous wherever they occur, another emissions that are dangerous to human health are less harmful once they happen in a power plant outdoors the town than in the roadside near schools and houses.

There are various kinds of electric vehicle

The excellence between gas and electric isn’t binary a car’s eco-friendly credentials vary based on whether and just how it uses electricity, and just how that electricity is generated, significant trade-offs for efficiency and range.

Green house gas emissions

Total grams of CO 2 equivalent per km

Getting fuel towards the vehicle
Getting electricity towards the vehicle
Emissions in the vehicle

Gas 125g

Range-extender with electricity from Oil

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from EU-mix

Range-extender with electricity from EU-mix

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Nuclear

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Wind

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from EU-mix

Range-extender with electricity from Nuclear 26g

Range-extender with electricity from Wind

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Nuclear 2g

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Wind

Energy used

Megajoules per 100km

Getting fuel towards the vehicle
Getting electricity towards the vehicle
Fuel energy utilized in the vehicle
Electricity utilized in the vehicle

Gas 169MJ

Range-extender with electricity from Nuclear 166MJ

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Nuclear 155MJ

Range-extender with electricity from EU-mix

Range-extender with electricity from Oil

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from EU-mix

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Nuclear

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from EU-mix

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Oil

Plug-in hybrid with electricity from Wind

Range-extender with electricity from Wind

Pure electric vehicle with electricity from Wind

Energy Idea for Mars Yields an idea for Powering Data Centers


SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Like a researcher employed by NASA within the 1990s, K. R. Sridhar created a contraption that may use the sun’s energy to change the weather from the Martian atmosphere into breathable air or propulsion fuel.

It passed its tests, however a planned pursuit to send it to Mars in 2001 was canceled and Dr. Sridhar managed to move on, searching to use what he’d learned to assist stem global warming on the planet rather.

“I came full circle — I had been attempting to make a very uninhabitable planet habitable,” Dr. Sridhar, 56, stated lately, holding a black-domed prototype from the shelved device at his Plastic Valley office. “I was thinking, ‘I can perform something to create the earth a bit more sustainable.’ ”

Almost 2 decades later, that thought has brought to some number of fuel-cell generators that leave electricity via a chemical reaction. With a current deal for Dr. Sridhar’s company, Blossom Energy, to set up generators in a dozen data centers in California and Nj for Equinix, a number one operator, it’s poised for any major expansion.

K.R. Sridhar, the mind of Blossom Energy, among its processing furnaces. After “trying to create a really uninhabitable planet habitable,” stated Dr. Sridhar, who once labored on the Mars project at NASA, “I was thinking, ‘I can perform something to create the earth a bit more sustainable.’”CreditPeter Prato for that New You are able to Occasions

The purpose of the offer, financed with a subsidiary of the deep-pocketed electric utility, Southern Company, isn’t just to produce a reliable power source for any power-thirsty industry, but additionally to assist validate a technology which has battled to achieve mainstream acceptance.

What’s striking would be that the fuel cells aren’t running on hydrogen, such as the ones lengthy seen as an promising source of energy for cars. Rather, they will use gas, that has become plentiful following a production boom during the last decade.

While they consume non-renewable fuels, the gas-powered cells have attracted the interest of some atmosphere-minded policymakers, investors and entrepreneurs simply because they release a smaller amount of heat-trapping gases like co2 than conventional plants. And they’ve been gradually finding fans among energy-conscious corporations — in Walmart stores, eBay data centers and Morgan Stanley’s corporate headquarters.

Scott Samuelsen, director from the National Fuel Cell Research Center in the College of California, Irvine, stated data centers turn into an essential marketplace for fuel cells since the industry “appears to wish to be more eco sensitive but more reliant by themselves sources.”

Area of the ecological appeal is based on their efficiency. Fuel cells are usually placed on site, so that they don’t need to burn extra fuel to pay for energy lost over lengthy transmission lines. Additionally, they will use less fuel per watt of power than conventional plants simply because they don’t burn fuels to heat water or air to spin turbines.

Which means they are quiet, that has demonstrated an unexpected barrier for their acceptance among prospective customers, Professor Samuelsen stated. “It’s challenging for anybody to think that they’re coming to a power,” he stated. “It’s nothing like a jet engine.”

The innovations at Blossom originate from Dr. Sridhar’s focus on NASA’s Mars exploration program as he was director from the Space Technologies Laboratory in the College of Arizona. Trained like a mechanical engineer in the native India, Dr. Sridhar showed up in the lab after you have a doctoral in the College of Illinois.

Bloom’s fuel cells are fused together, then loaded into metal casings which are enclosed in banks about how big a fridge.CreditPeter Prato for that New You are able to Occasions

Around the Mars project, he centered on using electricity to fuel chemical reactions among elements located on the Red Planet, even creating dirt able to germinating a seed. Working he will be able to turn back process, he founded Blossom and labored on converting chemical energy to electricity using easily available fuels and conductors.

Eventually, he and the team stumble on a version of the present style of roughly 5-inch-square fuel cells fused together in stacks — each about how big one half-loaves of bread and able to powering a typical home. The stacks are loaded into tubular metal casings prior to being enclosed in banks about how big a fridge that may then be arrayed on the floor or perhaps a roof to operate large facilities.

The gear, created at the organization headquarters here with final set up in a factory in Delaware, is concurrently high- and occasional-tech. Each cell is made of a skinny ceramic wafer that’s mainly zirconia — a family member from the gemstone substitute. Inside a process reminiscent of highschool art class, the wafers are screen printed with chemical inks on every side within an automated sequence after which fired in kilns. They’re sandwiched between metal plates, and also the resulting structure is really a solid oxide fuel cell that may operate at high temperatures, about 800 levels Celsius, or 1,472 levels F.

At this temperature, when gas combined with steam flows more than one top of the cell while oxygen flows within the other, a reaction leads to the discharge of electricity, steam that’s recycled with the process and co2.

Equinix tested the Blossom cells in a data center in San Jose for 18 several weeks before committing to the present arrangement, that tends to buy the power within 15-year power purchase agreement. The organization, which runs greater than 185 data focuses on five continents, works as a type of cloud and network broker. It builds and operates facilities that offer space, power and cooling in addition to work rooms, showers and an alarm system featuring a number of locked chambers like something from “Get Smart.” The customer companies bring their very own servers along with other hardware to plug into greater than 1,000 systems that connect these to customers and also to one another.

The Southern Company, located in Atlanta, makes their bond since it has unregulated companies that sell power nationwide. Within this situation, Southern buys the fuel-cell generators from Blossom after which, via a subsidiary known as PowerSecure, sells the output to Equinix within 15-year agreement.

The Blossom cope with Equinix and Southern is probably the largest ever for any fuel-cell business, but Blossom faces competition using their company providers, like Fuel Cell Energy, that is located in Danbury, Conn., and it has a partnership with Exxon Mobil. It’s won numerous recent contracts, including installing and operating three fuel-cell projects for that Lengthy Island Power Authority and something which will supply power for that Navy submarine base in Groton, Conn.

Indeed, the U . s . States government has already established a hands within the technology’s development through grant programs in the Energy Department along with a federal tax credit that expired in the finish of this past year.

Natural-gas fuel cells provide some ecological advantages over traditional power plants running on non-renewable fuels: They will use little water and release very little dangerous smog emissions. The Blossom cells may also operate on biogas or hydrogen, which may make sure they are much more eco-friendly, given a stable way to obtain individuals fuels.

The effectiveness of natural-gas fuel cells in lessening green house gas emissions is dependent on some debate, however. Some environmentalists and public-utility officials repeat the fuel cells’ emissions might be understated and wonder if their carbon reductions are sufficient to warrant public subsidies.

Randy Eoff, a producing specialist, cleaning from the latest model at Blossom headquarters.CreditPeter Prato for that New You are able to Occasions

Still, their emissions are very well underneath the average for coal-fired plants. Blossom puts the emissions of their natural-gas cells in the plethora of 679 to 833 pounds of co2 per megawatt-hour, while coal plants released 2,252 pounds of co2 per megawatt-hour within the second quarter of the year, based on the Power Sector Carbon Index, an analysis printed through the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon College. They’re much nearer to individuals of natural-gas plants, which, based on the index, averaged 938 pounds per megawatt-hour throughout the same period.

Though companies searching to power energy-hungry data centers have frequently searched for out hydroelectric power, which doesn’t rely on non-renewable fuels and it is generally affordable, fuel-cell technologies are gaining traction, specifically for customers who require an very steady power even during storms. For Tom Fanning, leader of Southern Company, their bond with Blossom belongs to an offer to benefit from the technological advances which are upending the electrical industry by permitting people to make their very own power, referred to as distributed generation.

“For a century, we’ve were built with a business design predicated around the perception of making, moving and selling electricity, basically up to and including meter,” he stated inside a telephone interview. “We began seeing this make-move-and-sell model relocating to the client premises. And thus we made the decision to get involved with this space.”

G.O.P. Delays Tax Election Over Cost Concerns

  • Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, stated the Senate will reconvene tomorrow morning to start voting on amendments towards the bill before your final election later within the day.
  • Though Republicans sounded positive, party leaders still don’t have firm commitments from enough senators to guarantee the bill will pass.

Matt Lauer Offers Apology (Having a Caveat)

  • “There is sufficient truth during these tales to create me embarrass myself and ashamed,” Mr. Lauer authored inside a statement.
  • By Thursday, NBC had received a minimum of three complaints associated with Mr. Lauer, including from the former worker who stated the anchor sexually assaulted her in the office in 2001.

An Era Is Facing a Lonely Dying in Japan

In postwar Japan, just one-minded concentrate on rapid economic growth helped erode family ties. Now, an era of seniors Japanese is dying alone.

White-colored House Envisions Tillerson Ouster From Condition Dept.

  • The White-colored House is promoting an agenda to exchange Secretary of Condition Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, over the following several days.
  • Mr. Pompeo could be substituted with Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas who is a key ally from the president on national security matters.

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A change championed by President Trump and Republican leaders could reshape healthcare, education and social services.


As German Election Looms, Politicians Face Voters’ Wrath for Ties to Carmakers

FRANKFURT — It is sometimes difficult to tell in which the German government ends and also the auto industry begins.

Daimler and Volkswagen’s top lobbyists were once close aides to Chancellor Angela Merkel. The foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, accustomed to take a seat on Volkswagen’s supervisory board. Ms. Merkel herself once buttonholed the governor of California to complain concerning the state’s strict emissions standards.

Individuals close relations between public officials and vehicle manufacturers were considered once vital economic insurance policy for Germany’s most significant export. Now, they’re a political liability.

Days before national elections, voters more and more begin to see the government as complicit with carmakers inside a widening diesel crisis that threatens the German economy. While Ms. Merkel continues to be heavily favored to win, the chancellor and her political rivals think about the automakers toxic and have started to distance themselves from their store.

The backlash continues to be building since 2015, when U . s . States regulators uncovered prevalent emissions cheating by Volkswagen, Europe’s largest automaker. The broadening situation, that has also ensnared BMW and Daimler, has known as focus on the dangerous results of nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel vehicles. Metropolitan areas across Europe are thinking about diesel bans, and purchasers of diesel engines are plummeting.

“I’m just like angry concerning the fraud while you,Inches Ms. Merkel stated within an interview using the magazine Der Spiegel printed Sept. 2, illustrating her recently critical attitude toward the. But she’s not completely abandoned the. Ms. Merkel is scheduled to talk in the opening ceremony for that Worldwide Motor Show in Frankfurt on Thursday.

Interactive Feature Why Diesel Grew to become Very Popular in Europe During the last twenty years, diesel cars took a powerful hang on the ecu market, thanks mainly to rules that built them into cheaper to fill than gasoline-powered cars.

For many years, the German government is a crucial ally for carmakers, operating like a de facto lobbyist for that industry.

Using the active support of officials, automakers used their political clout in The city to bar stricter emissions rules and also to promote subsidies for diesel. German leaders, including Ms. Merkel and her predecessor, contended against tough emissions rules and pressed for much better terms for that country’s carmakers abroad.

Most lately, Germany brought several auto-producing countries in weakening European emissions testing procedures that would prevent the type of deceptiveness committed by Volkswagen. New cars must pass road tests. Formerly, they’d to pass through only laboratory exams, which Volkswagen along with other carmakers could game. But, at German insistence, cars can emit double the amount legal limit of nitrogen oxides but still be accepted.

German political leaders and automakers have labored together to advertise diesel technology because the 1990s. Ms. Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, was proud to become referred to as “auto chancellor.”

Germany has taxed diesel fuel in a lower rate than gasoline because the 1980s, initially to create truck transport, that is predominantly diesel, less costly. The aim, based on a 2011 study by Transport and Atmosphere, an advocacy group in The city, ended up being to lower costs to assist German manufacturers compete worldwide.

Within the 1990s, the car industry preserved the subsidies by convincing politicians that diesels were better for that atmosphere than gasoline engines, a dubious claim because of the other pollutants that diesel spews. For a long time, environmentalists’ calls to boost diesel taxes have met opposition in the country’s largest political parties, including Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Individuals regulations and tax breaks have ensured that diesel is considerably cheaper in the pump, resulting in a stable increase in the recognition of diesel-powered cars. Until lately, they sold more copies than their gasoline-powered counterparts around Europe.

German carmakers and politicians involved in an identical fight in The city, fighting for a long time to bat away tougher emissions rules. In 2013, Germany used its clout because the European Union’s largest economy to intervene once the bloc’s executive arm desired to tighten limits on co2 emissions.

Matthias Wissmann, mind from the German Association from the Automotive Industry along with a former transportation minister, authored instructions to Ms. Merkel, warning the new standards would hurt sales of German luxury cars. For the reason that letter, he addressed Ms. Merkel as “du,” the informal German word for “you” used only between close buddies.

Ms. Merkel then personally known as Pm Enda Kenny of eire, who held the rotating presidency from the European Council, and convinced him to obstruct a choice. The factors were eventually watered lower.

German leaders campaigned for carmakers farther afield, too. On a holiday to California this year, Ms. Merkel were not impressed with the state’s strict limits on nitrogen oxides throughout a ending up in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

“She stated, ‘Your nitrogen oxide limits are extremely strict, and that’s hurting our German diesels,’” Mary Nichols, the chairwoman from the California Air Sources Board as well as an attendee in the meeting, stated in testimony towards the German Parliament in March. “She was there, it appeared, as spokeswoman for that auto industry.”

Interactive Feature Engineering a Deceptiveness: What Brought to Volkswagen’s Diesel Scandal In September 2015, Volkswagen was charged with evading emissions standards within the U.S. The scandal has hit the organization hard.

The text between politicians and automakers endured despite the Volkswagen scandal erupted.

Stephan Weil, pm of Lower Saxony, home of Volkswagen, conceded in August he had permitted company lobbyists to vet a 2015 speech concerning the emissions deceptiveness. The condition of Lower Saxony owns a 20 % stake in Volkswagen, and Mr. Weil sits around the carmaker’s supervisory board.

Mr. Weil, part of the Social Democrats, denied making significant changes towards the speech after it had been proven to Volkswagen. Thomas Steg, mind of presidency relations for that carmaker, stated Volkswagen looked just for factual errors.

The situation, first as reported by the newspaper Bild am Sonntag, helped spur a turnaround in public places perceptions of diesel, once an item of national pride.

The diesel engine, such as the automobile, would be a German invention, and also the country’s carmakers leveraged their know-how you can achieve dominance within the European luxury vehicle market. The car industry, including suppliers, presently employs a couple of percent from the German work pressure, based on Commerzbank.

Against that backdrop, deep political ties were forged.

German carmakers have frequently employed government insiders to represent their interests. Mr. Steg of Volkswagen used to be a spokesman for Ms. Merkel. Eckart von Klaeden, accountable for Daimler’s relations with governments worldwide, offered under her like a junior minister.

All the country’s primary parties, the environmentalist Vegetables, have lengthy histories of amiable relations using the auto industry. Joschka Fischer, an old foreign minister who for several years was standard-bearer for that Vegetables, now functions as a consultant to BMW, although the carmaker states he doesn’t inflict lobbying.

While money plays a significantly smaller sized role in election campaigns in Germany compared to the U . s . States, the car companies nonetheless make their presence known. Daimler, for instance, contributed 100,000 euros, or about $120,000, each to Ms. Merkel’s party and also to the Social Democrats, based on documents filed in the German Parliament. The carmakers also aid to invest in party occasions and loan cars free of charge to elected officials, activities that they’re not needed to reveal.

BMW stated inside a statement it had tightened its rules on interactions with politicians, making certain, for instance, that parties report using vehicles like a financial contribution. Daimler didn’t react to a request comment.

Mr. Steg, the Volkswagen lobbyist and former aide to Ms. Merkel, stated a detailed relationship between carmakers and politicians was of common interest. Others reason that lobbying helps auto executives comprehend the workings of presidency, and public officials comprehend the vehicle business.

“The government features its own positions,” stated Mr. Wissmann, the mind from the auto industry association. “It hasn’t simply adopted the positions from the auto industry blindly.”

Because the finish of The Second World War, Mr. Steg stated, “politicians usually have were built with a huge curiosity about the well-being of the profession and the development of jobs.”

Because the scandal’s focus expanded, German officials have discovered on their own the defensive.

The government’s own study this past year demonstrated that almost all makers of diesel cars had flouted emissions limits, but Ms. Merkel’s ministers didn’t impose penalties. Germany now faces a suit through the European Commission over failures to enforce the bloc’s climate rules.

The German government has additionally rejected calls to want carmakers to set up better emissions equipment in older diesel vehicles. Britain and France have guaranteed to ban car engines beginning in 2040, but Germany hasn’t done exactly the same.

“They go ahead and take type of industry,” stated Julia Poliscanova, manager of unpolluted vehicles and quality of air at Transport and Atmosphere, an advocacy group in The city, “instead of citizens and public health.”