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Volkswagen Ups Its EV Production, Aims to Be Carbon Neutral by 2050
Volkswagen plans to go carbon neutral by 2050, the word's current largest vehicle maker announced at a news conference Tuesday where CEO Herbert Diess acknowledged that the company's cars caused one percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, The New York Times reported.
"We aim to reduce this to zero," he said.
As part of its efforts to decarbonize, the company is supercharging its production of electric vehicles. The company will produce almost 70 new electric models by 2028, up from the 50 previously planned, bringing total projected electric vehicle production by that date up from 15 to 22 million, the car-maker announced in a press release.
Volkswagen sold a record 10.8 million vehicles in 2018, but only 40,000 were electric and 60,000 were hybrids, CNN reported.
"Carmakers around the world regard the demise of the internal combustion engine as only a matter of time, and many have set ambitious targets for sales of electrics and hybrids. Yet they are starting from a very small base," CNN's Charles Riley wrote.
One thing carmakers are trying to do to ease the transition is to work together to research and develop electric cars. To this end, Volkswagen said it would share its Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) with other automakers.
In addition to increasing its electric fleet, the company's decarbonization plans also include powering factories with renewable energy, compensating for unavoidable emissions and working on reducing the emissions of the entire production cycle, from supplies to recycling.
In a company webpage on decarbonization, Volkswagen acknowledged that an electric vehicle was only as sustainable as the energy that powers it. The site pointed to the need to address factors such as the current energy intensity of cell production and the use of coal-powered energy to charge electric cars.
"The strategic goal of becoming the leading worldwide provider of e-mobility can make the focus on consistent decarbonization a strong competitive edge," Volkswagen's independent sustainability advisory board spokesman Georg Kell said. "In any case, it offers the best way for setting a common course for a secure and economically successful future on a planet worth living on."
- Volkswagen Group to Offer Electric Version for All 300 Models by 2030 ›
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- VW maps plan to overtake Tesla in electric cars - MarketWatch ›
- VW plans 27 electric cars by 2022 on new platform ›
- VW's electric future: Here's how it's going to go down ›
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.