Halloween Week Climate Scares

Halloween may be over, but the climate frights this week continue. Here are the scary highlights:

  • Electric vehicle incentives in trouble: the Republican tax plan would eliminate the $7500 tax credit for EV purchases, which would likely torpedo sales for all but the luxury EVs in the short term. States might be able to dig deep to make up some of the difference, and the tax credit is set to phase out anyway for automakers over certain sales amounts, but nonetheless this would be a big blow to demand.
  • Infill tax credits at risk: the Republican tax plan also targets federal programs that help revitalize infill neighborhoods. It would eliminate key programs like New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC), Historic Preservation Tax Credits (HTC), and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. As Smart Growth America and their infill group Locus writes in a newsletter today, “community development projects almost invariably rely on federal programs like these to fill a critical financing gap, often making the difference between a go and a no-go decision for a project penciling out.”
  • Tesla Model 3 stuck in production “hell”: Tesla’s third-quarter earnings call brought bad news about the Model 3, the $35,000 mass-market EV that is struggling to meet its production targets. The company’s goal of producing 5,000 units a week by the end of 2017 has slid to the first quarter of 2018. The normally upbeat Elon Musk was apparently in a bad mood, per E&E News [paywalled]:

    The Model 3 is stuck in production “hell” per Elon Musk

The call’s tone was a swing to the dark side for Musk, who on quarterly earnings calls often minimizes problems and instead trumpets the company’s successes, or announces or at least hints at some bold new initiative.

  • Earth passes a carbon milestone: scientists report that the rate of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere accelerated at an unprecedented pace last year, reaching levels not seen in 800,000 years. Per E&E news [paywalled]:

Current levels of CO2 correspond to the Pliocene period from 3 million to 5 million years ago, when the climate was 3.5 to 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit warmer, the report found. At that time, the ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica were melted. Sea levels were 30-60 feet higher than they are now.

I’d say this is not a good time to invest in ocean-front property. Happy Frightful Friday!