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States want Biden to phase out gas vehicle sales by 2035

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States want Biden to phase out gas vehicle sales by 2035

WASHINGTON — The governors of a dozen US states including California, New York, Massachusetts and North Carolina called on President Biden on Wednesday to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, a dramatic shift away from fossil fuels.

Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan calls for $174 billion in spending and tax credits to boost electric vehicles (EVs) and charging networks but does not call for phasing out gasoline-powered passenger vehicles.

In a letter that was seen by Reuters, the governors, which also include those of Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington State and Rhode Island, urged Biden to set standards “to ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.”

They argued that “by establishing a clear regulatory path to ensuring that all vehicles sold in the United States are zero-emission, we can finally clear the air and create high-road jobs.”

The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.

The White House did not immediately comment on the governors’ letter.

States and some lawmakers hope that Biden’s endorsement of a phase-out date will speed the transition to EVs by users and automakers. EVs currently make up just 2% of US vehicle sales.

A number of US lawmakers have urged Biden follow California’s lead, which in September said it planned to end sales of new gas-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. Biden’s campaign said last fall he did not support California’s phase-out plan.

In March, a group of 71 House Democrats urged Biden to set tough emissions rules to ensure 60% of new passenger cars and trucks sold are zero-emission by 2030, while 10 US senators urged Biden “to set a date by which new sales of fossil fuel vehicles will end entirely.”

General Motors said in January it was setting a goal to end all gasoline passenger car and truck sales by 2035. Volvo, a unit of Zhejiang Geely Holding, said its entire car line-up will be fully electric by 2030 and Ford’s European lineup will also be fully electric by 2030.

In their letter, the governors said they want Biden to boost fuel economy standards rolled back under President Donald Trump and provide states “substantial funding for investment in charging and fueling infrastructure.” They also urged removal of or raising the EV tax credit limits per manufacturer.

But not everyone has backed a phase-out plan.

Rory Gamble, the president of the United Auto Workers union, has expressed caution about the shift to EVs, noting it takes fewer workers to build EVs than gas-powered vehicles and said “workers will disproportionately suffer if we do not get it right.”

He said last month the government must ensure the transition to EVs “is stable, reliable and creates quality union wage jobs and flexible to market demand not relying on a one-size fits all solution.” 

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Former President Obama’s dog Bo dies

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Former President Obama's dog Bo dies

Former President Obama’s dog Bo died Saturday, the ex-commander in chief revealed in a Twitter thread.

The cause of death was cancer. He was 12 years old.

“Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives — happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between,” Obama wrote.

“He tolerated all the fuss that came with being in the White House, had a big bark but no bite, loved to jump in the pool in the summer, was unflappable with children, lived for scraps around the dinner table, and had great hair,” Obama continued. “He was exactly what we needed and more than we ever expected. We will miss him dearly.”

Bo, a Portuguese Water Dog, moved into the White House shortly after Obama took office, and was colloquially known as the first dog. He was joined by a second canine of the same breed named Sunny in 2013.

The former president’s post swiftly went viral on Twitter, where it was met with an outpouring of sympathy from Bo fans.

“It always made the day incalculably better to see Bo wandering around the west wing,” said former Obama administration Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes.

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New Zealand trying to eradicate hedgehog ‘killing machines’

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New Zealand trying to eradicate hedgehog 'killing machines'

Everyone loves the hedgehog – except for New Zealand.

The creature that inspired Beatrix Potter’s “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle” and the popular video game character Sonic was introduced to the country decades ago when New Zealand was still a British colony to remind the colonizers of their gardens at home. But with no natural predators on the island nation, the hedgehog population soared and is now a scourge of “killing machines.”

“Unchecked by the food chain, they meander blissfully through forests and gardens, hoovering up an astonishing number of native creatures,” the Guardian reports.

 “It’s increasingly coming to light how much damage they can do,” Nick Foster, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Otago who is researching hedgehogs, told the paper. A single, dedicated hedgehog will consume numerous native lizards, bird eggs, and wētā – a kind of large flightless cricket found only in New Zealand. One study found 283 wētā legs in a single hedgehog stomach. “That means in a 24-hour period this hedgehog has guzzled up 60 or so animals,” Foster said. “It’s a banquet.”

New Zealand is now trying to eradicate the animals by 2050, by way of trapping, hunting, and poisoning them — a plan that is despised by some locals due to the “cuteness” of the animals.

Foster told the Guardian there is “a bit of a psychological barrier” when it comes to hedgehog eradication. “It has been proposed to ship them all back to the UK. European hedgehogs aren’t doing so well in Europe. Still in good numbers, but they are declining.”

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Melting glacier reveals ‘open-air museum’ of World War I relics

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Adamello White War Museum, Temu, Valle Camonica, Lombardy. Image shot 08/2014. Exact date unknown.

Thawing ice has revealed a treasure trove of previously hidden World War I artifacts in the Italian Alps. 

Last month, a team from the Stelvio National Park White’s War Museum excavated a cave shelter, built by Austrian soldiers, atop Mount Scorluzzo and acquired 300 “exciting” artifacts, ranging from coins to corpses, helmets and weapons. 

No one had been inside the space, which was hidden and closed off by ice, in nearly 100 years. But as a result of rising temperatures, a glacier preventing access to the shelter had sufficiently melted in 2017 to allow researchers into what they’ve discovered to be a goldmine of items.

As the ice melted, relics — including bodies — have continued to appear in the area summer after summer. 

“A corpse is found every two or three years, usually in places where there was fighting on the glacier,” museum staffer Marco Ghizzoni told The Guardian.

“The findings in the cave on Mount Scorluzzo give us, after over a hundred years, a slice of life at over 3,000 meters above sea level, where the time stopped on November 3, 1918 when the last Austrian soldier closed the door and rushed downhill,” according to a museum press release, CNN reported. 

Inside, a world last accessed close to a century ago has offered researchers an abundance of antiques from a bygone era. Some of the recovered artifacts will be part of a collection set to open at the museum next year.

“It’s a sort of open-air museum,” historian Stefano Morosini told CNN of the northern Italy cave, where 20 servicemen lived their “very poor daily” lives while fighting Italian troops during the war. “Soldiers had to fight against the extreme environment, fight against the snow or the avalanches, but also fight against the enemy,” he went on. “The artifacts are a representation, like a time machine, of … the extreme conditions of life during the First World War.”

Italy’s White War Museum.

Alamy Stock Photo

Adamello White War Museum, Temu, Valle Camonica, Lombardy. Image shot 08/2014. Exact date unknown.

An upcoming exhibit here will display some of the findings from the cave expeditions.

Alamy Stock Photo

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