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Electric cars have much lower life cycle emissions, new study confirms


Enlarge / If we’re serious about decarbonizing, the internal combustion engine has to go by 2030-2035, according to a new study. (credit: Reinhard Krull/EyeEm/Getty Images)

If you listen to electric vehicle naysayers, switching to EVs is pointless because even if the cars are vastly more efficient than ones that use internal combustion engines—and they are—that doesn’t take into account the amount of carbon required to build and then scrap them. Well, rest easy because it’s not true. Today in the US market, a medium-sized battery EV already has 60–68 percent lower lifetime carbon emissions than a comparable car with an internal combustion engine. And the gap is only going to increase as we use more renewable electricity.

That finding comes from a white paper (pdf) published by Georg Bieker at the International Council on Clean Transportation. The comprehensive study compares the lifetime carbon emissions, both today and in 2030, of midsized vehicles in Europe, the US, China, and India, across a wide range of powertrain types, including gasoline, diesel, hybrid EVs (HEVs), plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEVs), battery EVs (BEVs), and fuel cell EVs (FCEVs). (The ICCT is the same organization that funded the research into VW Group’s diesel emissions.)

The study takes into account the carbon emissions that result from the various fuels (fossil fuels, biofuels, electricity, hydrogen, and e-fuels), as well as the emissions that result from manufacturing and then recycling or disposing of vehicles and their various components. Bieker has also factored in real-world fuel or energy consumption—something that is especially important when it comes to PHEVs, according to the report. Finally, the study accounts for the fact that energy production should become less carbon-intensive over time, based on stated government objectives.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jonathan M. Gitlin

Dinosaur killer asteroid research says source in solar system

It would appear that we’re a bit closer to the source of the asteroid that killed all the dinosaurs on Earth. Researchers from Southwest Research Institute published a paper this week with research on material samples harvested from the crater dated back to the event that changed the course of life on Earth. Perhaps most surprising among the details shared … Continue reading

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Burns

China plans to build the first ‘clean’ commercial nuclear reactor


Are you intrigued by the possibility of using nuclear reactors to curb emissions, but worried about their water use and long-term safety? There might be an impending solution. LiveSciencereports that China has outlined plans to build the first ‘clean’ commercial nuclear reactor using liquid thorium and molten salt.

The first prototype reactor should be ready in August, with the first tests due in September. A full-scale commercial reactor should be ready by 2030.

The technology should not only be kinder to the environment, but mitigate some political controversy. Conventional uranium reactors produce waste that stays extremely radioactive for up to 10,000 years, requiring lead containers and extensive security. The waste also includes plutonium-239, an isotope crucial to nuclear weapons. They also risk spilling dramatic levels of radiation in the event of a leak, as seen in Chernobyl. They also need large volumes of water, ruling out use in arid climates.

Thorium reactors, however, dissolve their key element into fluoride salt that mostly outputs uranium-233 you can recycle through other reactions. Other leftovers in the reaction have a half-life of ‘just’ 500 years — still not spectacular, but much safer. If there is a leak, the molten salt cools enough that it effectively seals in the thorium and prevents significant leaks. The technology doesn’t require water, and can’t easily be used to produce nuclear weapons. You can build reactors in the desert, far away from most cities, and without raising concerns that it will add to nuclear weapon stockpiles.

China is accordingly building the first commercial reactor in Wuwei, a desert city in the country’s Gansu province. Officials also see this as a way to foster China’s international expansion — it plans up to 30 in countries participating in the company’s “Belt and Road” investment initiative. In theory, China can extend its political influence without contributing to nuclear arms proliferation.

That might worry the US and other political rivals that are behind on thorium reactors. The US-based Natrium reactor, for instance, is still in development. Even so, it might go a long way toward fighting climate change and meeting China’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2060. The country is still heavily dependent on coal energy, and there’s no guarantee renewable sources will keep up with demand by themselves. Thorium reactors could help China wean itself off coal relatively quickly, especially small-scale reactors that could be built over shorter periods and fill gaps where larger plants would be excessive.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Fingas

Concrete buildings could become rechargeable batteries you can live in

Concrete is the most widely consumed material in the world after water. Now, researchers have been exploring how it can be used to store electricity to eventually transform concrete buildings into rechargeable batteries that we live and work in. The engineers from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology demonstrated a prototype concrete battery that holds 10 times more power than previous approaches, you’d need 200 square meters of concrete batter to “provide about 8 percent of [a typical home’s] daily electricity consumption,” says researcher Emma Zhang. — Read the rest

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The Article Was Written/Published By: David Pescovitz

GM just cut a big deal to tackle EV’s dirty secret

GM plans to use US-sourced lithium in its next-generation batteries for electric vehicles, tapping a new – and potentially less environmentally damaging – supply for the essential but controversial metal. Lithium batteries are a key part of EV expansion, both for GM and indeed all automakers looking to electrification, but the rare metal has some significant drawbacks along with it. … Continue reading

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Chris Davies

Elon Musk suspends Tesla purchases with bitcoin


Consumers can no longer buy Tesla vehicles with bitcoin, CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter Wednesday.

What he’s saying: Musk cited the environmental concerns associated with bitcoin — the cryptocurrency has a massive carbon footprint — as his reasoning behind Wednesday’s decision.

“Tesla has suspended vehicle purchases using bitcoin,” Musk said.

  • “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil; fuels for bitcoin mining and transactions, especially coal, which has the worst emissions of any fuel.”
  • “Cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels and we believe it has a promising future.”
  • “[W]e intend to use it as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy,” he said, adding that Tesla is considering other cryptocurrencies that consume less energy.

Flashback: Musk in March approved the use of the cryptocurrency for Tesla purchases in the U.S. Some critics at the time said the move could tarnish the company’s environmentally friendly image.

Our thought bubble, from Axios’ Ina Fried: The energy issues related to Bitcoin have been long known and less energy consuming options have been available for some time.

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ivana Saric

Marine biologists identify new species of ‘Dumbo’ octopus that lives 7,000m below sea level (PHOTOS)

When searching for hitherto unidentified animals in the darkest depths of the oceans, researchers expect to find grisly, alien-like species but, recently, they encountered an altogether cuter new creature: a Dumbo octopus.

Using almost entirely non-invasive scanning techniques instead of the standard highly invasive and sometimes fatal lab tests and dissections, researchers from the University of Bonn successfully identified the never-before-seen Grimpoteuthis imperator, or Dumbo octopus. 


© Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021

The G. imperator, a new subspecies of an already rare breed of octopus, was discovered in the northern part of the Emperor Seamounts, an underwater mountain ridge in the northwest Pacific Ocean. They live at depths of 7,000 meters (22,966 feet). The researchers suggested the common name for the critter: Emperor Dumbo in English, Dumbo Impérial in French, and Kaiserdumbo in German.


© Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021

Rather than dissecting Dumbo, the marine biologists instead used high-field magnetic resonance imaging and micro-computed tomography scans to ascertain its origin before carrying out minimally invasive gene analysis on tissue samples to verify it was indeed a new species.


© Christina Sagorny et al, BMC Biology, 2021

Measurements and digital photo comparisons with other types of Dumbo octopus – so called because of its two head fins, which resemble the large elephant ears sported by the lovable Disney character – were undertaken to settle the matter.

The researchers were also surprised to encounter a systemic heart in the new deepwater Dumbo, which had hitherto never been described in octopus species before.

Also on

FILE PHOTO. © Pixabay / AnjaScientists capture octopus PUNCHING fish, apparently out of SPITE, in bizarre VIDEO

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The Article Was Written/Published By: RT

First-Ever Observations From Under Antarctica’s ‘Doomsday Glacier’ Are Bad News


Glaciers all over Antarctica are in trouble as ice there rapidly melts. There’s no Antarctic glacier whose fate is more consequential for our future than the Thwaites Glacier, and new research shows that things aren’t looking good for it.

Read more…

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The Article Was Written/Published By: Dharna Noor on Earther, shared by Brian Kahn to Gizmodo

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