Crude oil, which is extracted from pipelines to boost international cocaine trade, is tearing oozing, poisonous holes in western Colombia’s forests, Reuters reported.
In the forests, human traffickers and paramilitaries brew homemade gasoline from oil stolen from pipelines, according to the outlet.
The illegal gasoline brewed in secret refineries is used to extract cocaine from coca leaves, an important first step in refining the drug.
Previous reports suggest that the cocaine trade is responsible for at least a quarter of annual forest loss in some Central American countries.
As Colombia’s cocaine exports soar to record numbers, oil theft at two major pipelines has tripled to almost 3,500 barrels per day in the last four years, Reuters reported.
Much of this stolen product goes to crude refineries in the jungle, which typically dump around two thirds of the oil they receive into the ground, police told Reuters.
This poisons about a square mile around the refinery by clogging the tiny pores in the land, through which oxygen can reach the underground world of roots, ants, and earthworms.
“The damage is extreme. The animals, the trees — everything is completely burnt,” Colonel Johan Pena, commander of a unit that tracks oil thieves on the Ecuadorian border, told the outlet.
Welcome to Equilibrium, a newsletter that follows the increasing global battle for the future of sustainability. I am Saul Elbein. Send tips and feedback. Subscribe here.
Today we’ll see why Tesla’s rebates this week caused the stock price to crash, followed by a warning from a leading regulatory authority about the limits of sustainable investing. Plus: purify your home’s air for less than $100.
Programming note: Equilibrium will be taking a break next week. Happy holidays!
Tesla offers discounts in light of falling share prices
Tesla stock fell further this week when it announced that it would offer discounts on its two best-selling models.
- The share of the manufacturer of electric vehicles (EV) has lost almost 20 percent of its value this week alone.
- Tesla’s share price has fallen by almost 70 percent since the beginning of the year.
On Thursday, US regulators announced that they would also be investigating two other accidents involving Teslas that may have been powered by automated driving systems.
Double discount: Tesla announced on Wednesday that it would double discounts for all Model 3 or Model Y delivered before the end of the year.
- This meant an increase from $3,750 — announced on December 1 — to $7,500.
- The company also offered to offer 10,000 miles of free high-speed charging this month.
What analysts are saying: The fact that Tesla appears to be “cutting prices to increase delivery volumes doesn’t increase confidence,” Craig Irwin, senior analyst at ROTH Capital Partners, told Reuters.
This is a particular problem, “at a time when we are seeing increasing competition,” Roth added.
Musk’s opinion: Elon Musk said in a Twitter Spaces audio chat on Thursday that he expected “a severe recession” in 2023, which would cause consumers to postpone larger purchases.
Strategic concerns: Tesla’s discount decision is a “disturbing” example of how short-term appearances are prioritized over long-term results, financial advice site MotleyFool reported.
- If Tesla waited until January 1, 2023, the government would offer its own $7,500 deal as a result of the new financial rules, as we reported.
- Instead, Tesla is footing the bill for this discount itself — and the government will offer it free of charge in a week.
Why? : “Tesla’s willingness to discount its electric vehicles suggests that it’s more about meeting Wall Street’s expectations for any quarter-end delivery volume than getting an additional $7,500 for the same vehicle,” wrote The MotleyFool.
- The drop is another sign of problems for the pioneering electric vehicle company given the continued consequences of its chief executive’s controversial takeover of Twitter.
- Musk, for his part, is not apologizing: “I’m not going to suppress my views just to boost the stock price,” he said on Twitter Spaces, according to Reuters.
Bad mood: The doomsday risk for Tesla is that all the intangibles that helped make the brand feel cool and futuristic disappear into thin air and the company is traded like just another automotive company, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
Where is the damage to that? If investors treated Tesla like Ford and General Motors — companies that pour billions into new electric vehicle supply chains — company shares could fall even more significantly, Business Daily reported.
FBI: ESG is not “getting out of jail for free”
Potential environmental, social or governance (ESG) benefits won’t stop the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) from preventing an illegal transaction, the head of the agency, Lina Khan, wrote in a guest post in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
- “Some American companies seem to believe that the FTC won’t challenge an otherwise illegal deal if we approve its ESG impact,” Khan wrote.
- “You’re wrong.”
Main goal: Antitrust — The FTC only has one mandate, Khan warned executives: Avoid anticompetitive mergers.
- Her job is to ensure that consumers have “meaningful choices” and business owners and workers have “real opportunities,” she wrote.
- According to a 1963 Supreme Court decision, an illegal business “is not saved because it can be considered beneficial in a final calculation of social or economic burdens and loans.”
A GOOD YEAR FOR ESG — BUT CRITICISM IS GROWING
While the Russian invasion of Ukraine drove up fossil fuel consumption, 2022 is an outstanding year for launching the ESG business, Reuters reported.
Three highlights: According to Reuters, renewable energy has become the cheapest form of new energy, and national and international regulators have introduced new rules and supervisory tools for sustainable investments.
- The world is on track to use more renewable energy by the end of the decade than in the last 20 years.
- The Securities and Exchange Commission introduced climate-related regulations to disclose financial data, joining regulators in the UK, EU and Asia.
- The USA passed 370 billion US dollars to finance clean energy this year.
Risk and opportunity: Given the rapid rise of ESG, asset managers must proactively assess the sustainability of their investments — before investors start asking, wrote Debra McCoy, partner at Bain Capital, this week.
- Around 19 percent of investors in utility companies have already set limits for the amount of CO2 emissions they are willing to finance, she found.
- “Don’t take the risk of investors evaluating your ESG results in front of you and acting accordingly,” McCoy added.
On the horizon: The UN Biodiversity Summit in Montreal last month suggested that companies would be well advised to start tracking their impact on all of nature — not just on CO2 emissions, Eva Zabey, managing director of the Business for Nature business coalition, told Reuters.
- “Those who haven’t yet assessed and disclosed their risks, effects, and dependencies need to be prepared,” Zabey said.
- Regulators recognize that “business as usual is economically short-sighted, will destroy values in the long term and will no longer be accepted,” she added.
Is it all a buzzword? While ESG and sustainable investing are popular concepts that can be converted into lucrative investment products, there is still a big difference between marketing and reality, economics professor Hans Taparia from New York University told The New York Times.
- “A real change in terms of E.S.G. would mean a drop in profits for many companies,” said Taparia.
- For this reason, “we are witnessing a mix of tiny changes and greenwashing,” says Taparia.
World Bank approves $500 million green industry loan
Brazilians in the Amazon may soon find it easier to get paid to preserve their forests as part of a new international credit program.
The World Bank announced on Thursday that it is lending Brazil half a billion dollars to meet its climate goals and build new sustainable industries.
- The money will help set up an environmentally friendly loan program through Banco do Brasil, one of Latin America’s largest banks.
- It will also pay off to help carbon-sequestering Brazilian companies sell their goods on international carbon markets.
Große Versprechen: Die Weltbank schätzte, dass das Programm 90 Millionen Tonnen Kohlendioxid von der Atmosphäre fernhalten würde.
- Dies wird unter anderem dadurch erreicht, dass es der Banco do Brasil dabei hilft, zuverlässige Technologien und Methoden zur CO2-Nachverfolgung zu finanzieren, berichtete Reuters.
- Diese werden zunehmend benötigt, um „hochwertige“ Kredite auf internationalen Freiwilligenmärkten zu verkaufen.
Schlüsselposition: Die Banco do Brasil ist laut Weltbank einer der größten Geldgeber des brasilianischen Agrarsektors.
According to environmental news site Mongabay, this sector — in particular animal husbandry — is by far the biggest contributor to deforestation in the Amazon region.
IN SHORT: A TOUGH ROAD TO ZERO DEFORESTATION
neu gewählte brasilianische Präsident Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva hat versprochen, die Entwaldung im Amazonasgebiet zu beenden.
However, the ongoing land rush on the edges of the vast Brazilian forest makes fulfilling these promises a major challenge, The Associated Press reported.
In a western family of rubber tappers, which traditionally rely on intact forests, only one daughter wants to enter this trade.
Her two sisters “want to cut down the forest, plant grass and raise cattle.”
Read the full story here.
Reinigen Sie die Luft Ihres Hauses mit diesem Filter zum Selbermachen
a new study, a cheap homemade filter is highly effective in purifying indoor air from viruses and pollutants.
- Die sogenannten Corsi-Rosenthal-Boxen senken die Konzentrationen potenziell für immer gefährlicher Chemikalien und Phthalate um bis zu 60 Prozent, heißt es in dem am Freitag in Environmental Science & Technology veröffentlichten Artikel.
- Die Boxen können „schnell für etwa 100 Dollar pro Einheit mit Materialien aus dem Baumarkt“ gebaut werden, sagte Hauptautor Joseph Braun von der Brown University in einer Erklärung.
Give me a picture: The boxes are a simple device that uses a box fan to push air through a filter and capture floating impurities.
- Das Design, das das Brown-Team untersuchte, erforderte vier MERV-13-Filter, einen 20-Zoll-Boxventilator, eine Pappschachtel und Klebeband, um alles zusammenzukleben.
- Wenn Sie daran interessiert sind, Ihr eigenes zu bauen, schauen Sie sich diesen Leitfaden des University of California College of Engineering an.
Irgendwelche Nachteile? In erster Linie Lärm — die Geräte erhöhen den Umgebungsgeräuschpegel
um 5 bis 10 Dezibel, was ausreichen könnte, um abzulenken, stellten die Forscher fest.
A bit of context: According to an information sheet published by the non-profit International Noise Awareness Day, ten decibels is the volume of a person breathing nearby.
Follow-up on Friday
Catch up on stories from the beginning of the week.
Die schlechte Woche des Flugverkehrs wird schlimmer
- Ein riesiger Wintersturm führte am Donnerstag zu 2.600 Flugstornierungen — mitten in einem der größten Reisewochenenden des Jahres. Der anhaltende Ansturm des Sturms hat dazu geführt, dass an diesem Wochenende Tausende von Passagieren auf Flughäfen gestrandet sind, da die Zahl der Stornierungen am Freitagmorgen auf 3.200 gestiegen ist — 500 allein an den Flughäfen von Chicago, berichtete unsere Kollegin Julia Shapero.
Hundreds of thousands face frost without heat
- böigen Winde des Wintersturms erreichten 70 Meilen pro Stunde, als er über die Ostküste wehte. Dabei fielen Stromleitungen aus und es kam zu Stromausfällen, berichtete The Associated Press. Da die Temperaturen unter dem Gefrierpunkt lagen, waren laut der Tracking-Website Poweroutage.us 170.000 in Maine, 130.000 in North Carolina, 120.000 in Virginia und 110.000 in New York ohne Strom.
In der Haushaltsvorlage haben die Demokraten die Natur im Stich gelassen: Interessenvertretung
- Wir berichteten darüber, wie der neue Omnibus-Gesetzentwurf in Höhe von 1,7 Billionen Dollar der Environmental Protection Agency eine Gehaltserhöhung bescherte und wie er den Atlantischen Glattwal zum Scheitern verurteilt haben könnte. Insgesamt haben die Demokraten ihre Chance vertan, erhebliche Mittel für die EPA, den Fish and Wildlife Service oder einen vorgeschlagenen 14-Milliarden-Dollar-Gesetzentwurf zu finden, um Amerikas am stärksten gefährdete Wildtiere zurückzubringen, argumentierte Stephanie Kurose vom Center for Biological Diversity in einem Gastbeitrag für CNNBreakingNews.
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