Climate Policy News–Biden Forms Cool New Federal Climate Agency, Lab-Grown Wood, Green Latinos Organize, Land Rover/Jaguar Goes All-Electric by 2025!
Biden Forms Cool New Federal Climate Agency, Lab-Grown Wood, Green Latinos Organize, Land Rover/Jaguar Goes All-Electric by 2025!
CLIMATE POLICY: ADVANCED RESEARCH PROJECTS AGENCY–CLIMATE (ARPA-C)
Hey, Grace—have you heard of DARPA?
You mean Dharma? Like Dharma and Greg, that wacky 1990s sitcom? (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). DARPA actually invented the internet, not a famous politician and climate change champion who shall remain nameless. DARPA has also invented some other really cool technology. Well, the Biden administration has formed a working group to help set up another cool technology agency, except to fight climate change. It’s called the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Climate (ARPA-C), and its mission will be to accelerate progress in tough technical areas, likely including technologies that can capture, remove, and store carbon dioxide as well as heating and cooling products that don’t rely on highly potent greenhouse gases.
In addition, the Department of Energy plans to provide $100 million in funding for low-carbon energy projects through the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), a group funded in the first Obama administration to support clean energy technologies that aren’t far enough along to form businesses or attract traditional venture capital.
This is significant because more federal money for research and development promises to drive down the cost of clean technologies, which makes it cheaper and more politically feasible to combat rising climate risks in the U.S. and beyond. Between ARPA-C, ARPA-E and the $100 million dollar commitment, the Biden administration is honoring its pledge to create a market for affordable green tech.
DEEPER DIVE: WhiteHouse.gov
NEW RESEARCH INTO LAB-GROWN WOOD
A team of researchers at MIT are working to develop wood-like plant tissue in the lab, which have the potential to reduce the environmental footprint from deforestation and agriculture. The team’s research could also be expanded to one day grow lab-grown wood, fiber and other biomaterials.
Published in the Journal of Cleaner Production and reported by Wired News, the team’s work concentrates on research at the cellular level. Unlike traditional agricultural production, the lab-grown material would only produce the valuable portions of plants and wouldn’t depend on climate pesticides or land to crop yields.
In an interview with Wired News, lead author and a mechanical engineering PhD candidate at MIT Ashley Beckwith said, “the hope is that, if this becomes a developed process for producing plant materials, you could alleviate some of [the] pressures on our agricultural lands. And with those reduced pressures, hopefully we can allow more spaces to remain wild and more forests to remain in place.”
While scaling the production will take time and further studies, plans to continue research are underway and the Climate Daily will keep you up to day on any new developments.
DEEPER DIVE: Wired, Tunable plant-based materials via in vitro cell culture using a Zinnia elegans model
Because we’re a news organization, we do get press releases. The latest one that came across my desktop announced that several Latinx environmental justice advocacy groups from across the country sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris, calling for his administration to address the disproportionate impacts of tailpipe pollution on communities of color. Investing in zero-emission transportation, advocates say, will help deliver significant air quality benefits and help save thousands of lives annually in Latinx communities.
What is Green Latinos?. It is a national non-profit organization that convenes a broad coalition of Latino leaders committed to addressing national, regional and local environmental, natural resources and conservation issues that significantly affect the health and welfare of the Latino community in the United States.
Green Latinos was started by Mark Magaña. He is the first Latino to have served as senior staff at both the White House and in Congressional leadership – as Special Assistant to President Clinton for White House Legislative Affairs and Senior Policy Advisor to the House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Robert Menendez. Mark also served as a Presidentially appointed Congressional Liaison at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Eighteen additional environmental and equity groups signed the letter in solidarity to support an equitable transition to electric transportation. Why is Green Latinos important to us? At the very least because it advocates for and represents over 30 LatinX environmental justice advocacy groups and another 18 POC environmental groups. And at the most, because the fact that Green Latinos and 35 other such LatinX environmental justice groups exist proves combating climate change ain’t just for white folks no mo.
DEEPER DIVE: GreenLatinos.org, Undark.org, Hispanic Federation, LaMadreTierra.org
LAND ROVER/JAGUAR BRAND PLUGS INTO AN ALL-ELECTRIC FUTURE BY 2025
Land Rover’s Jaguar brand will become all-electric by 2025. This is pretty big news because the announcement comes ahead of other luxury vehicle manufacturers and market adoption of battery-electric vehicles. The British multinational car manufacturer plans to transition Jaguar models into electric vehicles as part of its corporate mission to phase out gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles to reach zero-emissions across the supply chain, product and operations by 2039.
Reported by The Hill, the luxury vehicle corporation also plans to release its first all-electric Land Rover model in 2025, followed by five other electric vehicles remodeled or retrofitted as electric. Jaguar electric vehicles are already in the development stage. Jaguar Land Rover corporation is preparing to test hydrogen fuel cell prototypes over the next year.
DEEPER DIVE: The Hill