Google announced plans in late 2016 to increase its spending on renewable energy. In fact, Google intended to go 100% renewable. Today, Google announced it met the goal last year of matching all of its global energy usage with purchases of renewable energy.
This does not mean Google’s facilities all run on 100% renewable energy. It’s logistically difficult to get enough power from wind or solar in all locations to only use renewables.
Boston Dynamics put the power of collaborative problem solving on display in a new video today. The 45 second video shows two SpotMini robots working together to achieve a common goal: opening an office door. SpotMini is an 11 kilogram (25 pound) four-legged robot capable of picking up and handling objects using its 5 degree-of-freedom arm and perception sensors. In the video, the first SpotMini approaches the door and appears to scan it before calling in reinforcements. As the second robot comes into view, the first retreats and watches as his “armed” counterpart moves into position, scans the door, and…
Coastal communities all over the world are already facing the double whammy of sea level rise and extreme weather events that in some cases are threatening the very existence of entire island states. Now a new study adds weight to the argument that for the sake of these communities we need to ramp up efforts and achieve what many think almost impossible, keeping global warming below 1.5° C (2.7° F).
A team from Tufts University, Rutgers University, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany found that if countries managed to stabilize global temperatures within this threshold by 2150, the impact of sea level rise would be significantly reduced. The global average sea level would be about 17.7 centimeters (7 inches) less than under a 2° C scenario (3.6° F), which is conventionally considered more achievable. The paper is published in the journal Environmental Research Letters and will be included in the landmark special report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the 1.5° C goal, which will collate the available literature on the topic.
The Paris Agreement controversy
With ratification from over 170 countries, the historic Paris Climate Agreement has been in force since November 2016. Its goals are quite clear: to keep global temperature rise to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5.”
“Some people might argue there will be no sizable difference between the two targets, so we should aim for the higher one, because it’s easier,” lead author Klaus Bittermann, a postdoctoral student in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences at Tufts, said in a United Nations report.
“Those differences turn out to be significant,” Bittermann added. “For example, salt marshes and mangroves can be drowned if the local rate of relative sea-level rise exceeds their ecological ability” for adaptation.
Reaching the Goal
Limiting global average temperatures to well below 2° C — or, even better, to 1.5° C — requires a tremendous amount of effort on the part of the nations that signed the Paris deal. These include various programs that cut down on fossil fuel consumption in favor of renewable energy sources, as well as plans that favor more environmentally efficient means of transportation.
Already, a number of countries have put sweeping programs to this effect. Yet, some worry that reaching the Paris agreement’s goals would be impossible, with one study arguing that the probability is only 5 percent. In a comment piece published in Nature Geoscience, Kevin Anderson, chair of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester in the U.K., says that the 2° C goal is only achievable through mass deployment of negative emission technologies such as carbon capture and storage. These technologies are still in their infancy and nowhere near ready to be rolled out at scale.
Still, others remain hopeful, especially since global emissions have stabilized in the past three years and because carbon emissions have now “decoupled” from economic growth in some countries. That means that lowering carbon emissions no longer affects a country’s prosperity. It’s doable, but it won’t be easy.
Nevertheless, the survival of coastal communities depends on not only reaching but overshooting the Paris deal’s goals.
“To those who want to know what the difference from a global sea level point of view is if you lower the temperature by just another 0.5° C, I think that our paper provides a very clear answer, and I think it is a difference that is worth fighting for,” Bittermann said.
Apple’s Senior Vice President for Vice President Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson granted an interview to an Australian publication, and continued to drive home Apple’s goal towards using 100 percent recycled materials across all of its products, Apple’s "right to repair" philosophy, and Apple’s point of view on the taxes it pays. AppleInsider – Frontpage News
In 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that would see the state committing to renewable energy. The law gave California until 2030 to ensure 50 percent of its electricity came from renewable sources like the Sun and wind. At the time, Brown made it clear that fossil fuels are taking humanity down a dangerous path, despite their impact on getting us this far.
“We’ve got to realize that we are here today because of oil — oil and gas, [and] to a lesser extent, coal,” SFGate reported Brown saying. “What has been the source of our prosperity has become the source of our ultimate destruction, if we don’t get off of it.”
Now, only two years later, California is seemingly ahead of its own schedule. A recently released annual report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) reveals the state is on track to meet its goal by 2020 — a full 10 years before the established deadline.
California Exceeds Expectations
According to the Renewables Portfolio Standard report, California’s three biggest utility providers — Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) — all surpassed the 25 percent requirement for 2016. Renewables accounted for 32.9 percent of PG&E’s electricity; SCE reached 28.2 percent, while SDG&E reached 43.2 percent. Going forward, all three companies predict “they will meet or exceed their 2020 RPS compliance period requirements.”
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, California has been pushing renewable energy since 2002, with both Governor Brown and former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger steadily raising the requirements over the years. Since 2008, California’s emissions have been on a decline, and it’s only expected to continue. It helps that the prices of both solar and wind contracts have dropped considerably, making it cheaper for companies to invest in renewables.
“The RPS program has helped achieve large reductions in cost for renewable electricity: between 2008 and 2016, the price of utility scale solar contracts reported to the CPUC have gone down 77%, and between 2007 and 2015 reported prices of wind contracts have gone down 47%.” In 2008, solar contracts were $ 135.90, but as of 2016 they’re priced at $ 29.17; in 2007, wind contracts were $ 97.11, but were as low as $ 50.99 as of 2015.
In 1993 PC maker IBM posted the then-biggest loss in America’s history, $ 8 billion. By 2013 they became the no. 1 seller of enterprise server solutions in the world. Nintendo Koppai was founded in 1889 as a playing card company, in 1985, when NES console was released, it launched the best-selling video game franchise of the next three decades. In the 1990s National Geographic started losing readers fast as young people dismissed it. Then its CEO, John Fahey, spearheaded an effort to reinvent the National Geographic brand across all media platforms and launched the National Geographic Channel in 2001. All those success stories are about…
Success? The NYT is on track to hit $ 579 million in digital revenues this year — and $ 900 million by 2020.
Hey, journalists — some good news (finally, maybe).
The paper of record is getting very close to its goal of building an $ 800 million digital business. That’s astounding, given where The New York Times started just six years ago — embarking on an existentially fraught plan to charge readers for online access for the first time.
What’s happened since? The Times’ digital business (advertising and subscriptions) jumped 30 percent through September of this year. That’s a startling expansion, especially considering its online sales had been growing at an average clip of about 16 percent prior to 2017. If the paper keeps pace, it’ll hit about $ 579 million in digital revenue this year, and over $ 900 million by 2020 (more on that later).
Speaking of which, the stellar reporting this year from Emily Steel and Michael Schmidt on Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, and Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey on Harvey Weinstein were rare superlatives in the world of deadwood sports. Their stories exposed how these powerful men had settled claims of sexual assault, sparking further disclosures of sexual harassment within a range of industries.
Everyone is talking about the Times’ reporting, which is the real prize.
But there’s no way the Times maintains what appears to be a time-lapsed sales chart going into next year (even under a continued Trump Administration), or for an extended period thereafter.
Instead, the Times now has a much bigger business to jump from, and reverting back to a 16 percent growth rate still means the paper will top $ 903 million in digital revenue by 2020 — that would be an impressive milestone after less than a decade of selling online subscriptions.
If we take the more modest 12 percent rise it has seen over just the last few years, the paper will still generate $ 813 million by 2020.
By either measure, the Times will win.
CEO Mark Thompson and executive editor Dean Baquet can spike the ball and shimmy out of the stadium.
But the publisher isn’t there yet. The gains are coming from a combination of things — a surge in subscribers at a time of massive political confusion; the growth in its native content shop, essentially an in-house ad agency; the viability of mobile advertising; and the addition of its affiliate marketing business courtesy of its acquisition of The Wirecutter.
Missteps in any of these areas could upset the paper’s trajectory. Businesses also tend to slow as they sign up as many customers as they can, and it’s entirely possible the Times hits its subscription ceiling in the next few years.
But some context: Early on, when the publisher was preparing to build its paywall, it hired a consulting firm to calculate how many people would pay to access the Times, and the firm spit back a number — less than a million in the U.S.
That was clearly wrong. The Times now has 1.3 million paying subscribers to its news site, and altogether it has 1.5 million when including its Cooking and Crossword apps. (It’s still unclear, by the way, how many of the 1.3 million are only in the U.S., but it’s likely at least a million.)
There was a reason for the $ 800 million mark, an ambition outlined by Thompson and Baquet two years ago. That target seemed like folly at the time, but it was a necessary metric — the idea was/is that an $ 800 million digital business would be big enough to support the kind of journalism (see the bad guys above) that readers (and by its legacy, history) had come to expect of the Times as its print business fades away. No dumb traffic for the Gray Lady.
But even at $ 800 million, that’s less than half of the $ 2 billion business the Times used to be as recently as a decade ago.
The Times will still have to be different, if a bit shaved down — perhaps a svelte newsroom.
In addition to the current leadership, there’s a new crop about to take rank — the fifth generation of the Ochs-Sulzberger clan that controls the Times, led by the newly appointed deputy publisher Arthur Gregg Sulzberger and his cousins, Sam Dolnick and David Perpich.
And now that we know the Times’s online operations will become an $ 800 million business fairly soon, we should paper up a bigger bull’s-eye for the coming leadership and ask: When will the Times become a $ 2 billion digital business?
For those of you who haven’t heard about it, PowerUp makes smartphone-controlled paper airplanes. They’re relatively inexpensive, with a basic PowerUp 3.0 costing $ 24.99, and they work pretty well which has led to them becoming incredibly popular. The last time PowerUp used Kickstarter to launch a product, it closed on $ 1.2m after asking for only $ 50,000. This time around, the goal is just $ 25,000. It’s not hard to see where this is going.
The Welsh government has set a new goal for the percentage of electricity the country gets from renewable sources: 70 percent by 2030. According to the BBC, the current figure is 32 percent. However, while the nation does have a ways to go to meet its target, its percentage is already more than twice that of the United States, which generates 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Wales’ ambitious renewable energy goals were announced by Environment Secretary Lesley Griffiths. “Wales must be able to compete in global low-carbon markets, particularly now we face a future outside the EU,” she told Assembly members on Tuesday. “The ability to meet our needs from clean energy is the foundation for a prosperous low carbon economy.”
The 70 percent renewables by 2030 wasn’t the only target set by Griffiths. She also said she wants to increase the locally owned renewable electricity capacity in the country to one gigawatt by 2030. Additionally, she plans for all new renewable energy projects to have elements of local ownership by 2020, as opposed to relying solely on foreign investment.
U.K. Going Clean
Other countries in the United Kingdom are also making significant pushes to rapidly expand renewable energy investment.
The battle against climate change can only be won through worldwide cooperation and commitment. The efforts underway in the U.K. and elsewhere are an excellent start, but until fossil fuels are no longer used, any progress has the potential to be erased.
The electric vehicle manufacturer delivered a little more than 22,000 vehicles in Q2 of 2017.
Tesla delivered 22,000 vehicles in the second quarter of 2017, bringing its total deliveries for the first half of the year to 47,100. That’s the low end of its original estimate for the first half of this year.
The stock seesawed in early trading, falling 2.5 percent after the company released its delivery numbers and erasing an earlier spike on a late Sunday announcement Tesla would begin delivering the Model 3, its first mass-market vehicle, by the end of July.
Last quarter, the company delivered a record of 25,000 cars and aimed to nearly double that number by the end of the quarter and ship between 47,000 and 50,000 cars. The company attributed delivery issues to shortfalls with battery production, which fell 40 percent below needed production levels.
“The major factor affecting Tesla’s Q2 deliveries was a severe production shortfall of 100 kWh battery packs, which are made using new technologies on new production lines,” the company wrote in a statement. “The technology challenge grows exponentially with energy density.”
CEO Elon Musk often sets ambitious production targets, but the company has previously missed many of those deadlines. The company faces a new challenge in producing the Model 3. Reservations for the car have reached 300,000.
Tesla has an aggressive timeline for ramping up production of its Model 3, from 100 cars a month starting in August to about 20,000 a month by December.
Model 3 passed all regulatory requirements for production two weeks ahead of schedule. Expecting to complete SN1 on Friday