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Chinese Auto Show Displays a Trend Towards Electric Vehicles

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Auto China 2018, the largest global auto show in the world, opens this week and reflected China's status as the world's largest market for electric vehicles (EVs), The Associated Press reported Sunday.

China has worked hard to increase its role in the EV market in an attempt both to battle air pollution and to compete in emerging technological fields from robotics to renewable energy.


"Just in the last two or three years, China rose from being a very small player in the global EV market to be nearly 50 percent of sales in 2017," Christopher Robinson of Lux Research told The Associated Press.

China's government originally supported that sales jump through subsidies to carmakers and buyers, but, as of 2019, automakers will have to earn credits either by selling EVs or buying them from competitors, and stricter fuel efficiency standards will further encourage automakers to sell EVs in China.

Automakers predict that 35 to 50 percent of their China car sales will be electric by 2025.

Models on display at the 2018 show that reflect this trend will include five EVs from Detroit-based General Motors (GM), among them a Buick SUV that can go 600 kilometers (approximately 375 miles) before needing to recharge.

GM plans to launch 10 EVs and hybrids in China by 2020.

Ford Motor Co. also plans to design 15 EVs for the Chinese market by 2025 and released its first Chinese plug-in hybrid, the Mondeo Energi, last month.

Auto China 2018 comes weeks after Scott Pruitt announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that Obama-era fuel efficiency standards through 2025 should be less strict. Lowering standards was something the big three Detroit automakers pushed for, but the China show demonstrates that automakers can step up to the plate and design for greater fuel efficiency and environmental health.

China has been the world's largest car market since 2009. Last year, 24.7 million sedans, SUVs and minivans were sold in China compared with 17.2 million in the U.S.

China also beats the U.S. as the No. 1 market for EVs.

But while EV sales are growing in China, most car companies still don't turn a profit making them. Instead, they make their cash by selling SUVs, which Chinese drivers see as safe.

Other brands displaying EV models at the show will include Nissan, VW, and China's own BYD Auto, which makes the most EVs worldwide.

The show will take place in Beijing from April 25 to May 4, according to its website.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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