• Japan says it will ban sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles in the mid-2030s: This plan is similar to that of California and many European nations. An exception would be made for gas-electric hybrid cars after 2035 under the plan. Giants like Toyota, Honda Motor Co., and Nissan make gas-powered and hybrid vehicles. Toyota President Akio Toyoda rejects the move. Moving too fast, he said, speaking for an auto industry association, which means “the current business model of the auto industry will collapse”. He also said the power grid cannot handle that many electric vehicles, pointing out that Japan currently generates 80% of its electricity from coal, natural gas and oil. Government officials said automakers need to change this business model. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga noted the contradiction between Toyoda’s objections to the plan and Toyota’s support for the government’s goal of a climate-neutral Japan by 2050. Reducing carbon emissions should be approached as a growth strategy and not as a restriction on growth. “Said Suga.
158 years ago today, the largest mass execution in US history took place on the orders of Abraham Lincoln. On December 26, 1862, the day after Christmas, 38 Dakota warriors were hanged in Mankato, MN. # Dakota38 pic.twitter.com/6hypLM7vRS
– Ruth H. Hopkins, BS, MS, JD (@ Ruth_HHopkins) December 26, 2020
• China will overtake the US economically in 2028, years earlier than predicted: The UK-based Center for Economic and Business Research postponed the date when China will outperform the US as the world’s largest economy by 2028 in its annual report released on Saturday. Only last year did it forecast 2033-4. The CEBR stated: “For some time now, the economic and soft power struggle between the United States and China has been an overarching issue in the world economy. […] “The COVID-19 pandemic and its related economic impact have undoubtedly sparked this rivalry in China’s favor.” The advisory group analyzed growth prospects in 193 countries and found that China had declined from the effects of COVID-19 and fell 2% in 2020 That is less than half the level of growth that China saw at its lowest year-to-date increase in gross domestic product since 1992. Experts believe the US economy has contracted about 5% this year, slightly more than the global GDP decline of 4.4%. Douglas McWilliams, Vice Chairman of CEBR, said: “The big news in this forecast is the pace of growth in the Chinese economy. We expect it will become a higher income economy in the current five year plan period (2020-25). And we expect it to overtake the US five years earlier than it was a year ago. “At the start of the decade, which starts in six days, Japan is expected to slide from third to fourth place behind India, with Germany slipping to fifth and the UK to sixth.
• Queen Elizabeth’s deepfake message on UK Channel 4 sparked debate: The broadcaster says a video showing a digitally altered monarch making remarks about Prince Harry and ending with some sort of dance is meant to be a warning of fake news, the broadcaster said.
• There is a blueprint for carbon neutral buildings, but few are being built: For almost a dozen years, the American Institute of Architects has urged its members to design climate-friendly with the goal of: “Net zero” building in just 10 years. Progress is unbearably slow. In 2019, only 27 of AIA’s 19,000 building design firms said they had hit their annual mark. Globally, the United Nations reports that around 38% of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by lighting, heating and the construction of buildings, which is roughly the same as in the USA at 40%. Around 10% of these emissions come from the construction itself. The problem that AIA has discovered is that architects find it difficult to persuade companies to design buildings that few of their customers want. Mike Fowler, a senior associate at Mithun Inc., a Seattle-based architecture firm that hit the bull’s eye, told the Wall Street Journal, “The architectural profession tends to give what the client wants, and the vast majority of clients do is not there. Don’t ask “about green structures. Mithun is introducing at least one energy-efficient design option to its customers and trying to educate them about climate benefits and possible cost savings, he said. However, builders are wary of the 2-3% additional upfront cost and the lack of extensive contractor experience building highly efficient buildings. “We have standard technology to do this,” said Christoph Reinhart, director of the building technology program in the Department of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Those investments in energy efficiency – like additional insulation and solar panels – will pay off in about seven years, but most commercial investors want a faster return. Further evidence that the market is unable to carry out our required energy transition without regulations that require the standards required to do so.
• President-elect Joe Biden urges Trump to sign a pandemic relief package: Trump has given mixed messages on whether he will sign the $ 892 billion package approved by Congress and attacked it for not providing enough aid to unemployed Americans. While Trump was playing golf on Friday (despite his staff claiming he had business meetings and phone calls all day), the auxiliary bill was flown to Mar-a-Lago for signature. So far, however, there has been no indication that he plans to sign it. Biden said, “It’s a day after Christmas and millions of families don’t know if they can make ends meet because President Donald Trump refuses to sign an overwhelmingly bipartisan Congressional bill on economic relief from that waiver responsibility is devastating. Today, about 10 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance benefits. In just a few days, government funds will run out, jeopardizing vital services and paychecks for military personnel. In less than a week a eviction moratorium expires, putting millions at risk. to be evicted from their homes during the holidays. “