In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • New research analysis says that we are headed for a large increase of EVs by 2040.
  • The University of California has divested from all fossil fuels.
  • Here’s what happened when the Senate questioned the EPA head about rollbacks yesterday.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

EVs win in the long run

New analysis from research firm BloombergNEF says that in the long run, electric vehicle adoption is going to grow. According to the International Energy Agency, electric vehicles currently make up more than 2% of global car sales. That is expected to increase to 58% by 2040. Electric models will then make up 31% of all of the cars on the road.

In the short term, research firm Wood Mackenzie predicted a 43% drop in global EV sales by the end of 2020. BloombergNEF, in turn, predicted a more modest 18% drop. Unsurprising either way, since driving and car purchases aren’t on the top of everyone’s priorities due to the pandemic.

When it comes to other electric vehicles besides passenger cars, Grist reports:

The outlook is even brighter for electric buses, expected to make up 67% of all buses on the road by 2040, according to the analysis, as well as two-wheeled vehicles like mopeds and motorcycles, which are expected to be 47% electric by that year.

Fossil fuels are out at UC

The University of California has divested from all fossil fuels, it announced on Tuesday. They are the largest educational system in the US to do so. The system has a $126 billion investment portfolio and 285,000 students.

Richard Sherman, chair of the UC Board of Regents’ investments committee, said in a statement:

As long-term investors, we believe the university and its stakeholders are much better served by investing in promising opportunities in the alternative energy field rather than gambling on oil and gas.

The UC system’s decision is significant because of its size: It has sold more than $1 billion in fossil fuel assets and exceeded its five-year goal of investing $1 billion in clean energy projects. Environmental goals were set in UC’s investment framework in 2015.

Wheeler’s Senate grilling

As Electrek reported yesterday, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Andrew Wheeler was questioned by members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today about rolling back environmental regulations during the coronavirus pandemic.

As Electrek reported in March, the EPA announced a suspension of the enforcement of environmental rules, saying it “will generally not seek stipulated or other penalties for noncompliance with such obligations” during the coronavirus outbreak. Democratic senators accused Wheeler of allowing companies to increase their pollution.

Wheeler rejected that accusation, saying, “No one, anywhere in this country, is allowed to increase their emissions under our enforcement discretion.”

As Bloomberg Law reports, “The EPA has proposed or finalized eight rules and guidance documents that would increase air pollution since the pandemic struck.”

Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), who, along with Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), sent a letter on April 3 to Wheeler, demanding that the agency explain its decision to suspend environmental rules, said to Wheeler:

You should be ashamed of yourself. Your agency should be ashamed of itself. Your job is to protect the public health, and you are taking actions that will make this crisis worse.

Markey referred to a report that committee ranking member Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) had released earlier in the day that asserts that there is early that reports a correlation between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality.

The reports recommends that the EPA reverse its rollbacks and take a number of steps to protect the country from air pollution and address the climate crisis. Those steps are listed as bullet points and can be found in the report here.

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