Optimistic Signs of the Times
September 10, 2021
First, the good news. Europe has told automakers that all new cars must be electric by 2035–which has implications on both sides of the Atlantic. Currently, about 3 percent of US auto sales are EVs, though that number crept up during the pandemic; in Europe, it’s about 7 percent. Of course just making EVs isn’t enough --there needs to be infrastructure to charge them, and it has to be subsidized so that everyone can both afford to buy them and charge them. All that is part of Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan to invest $7.5 billion in equitable infrastructure.
Speaking of infrastructure legislation, we are working to merge the Zero Emissions Home Act (ZEHA) – which seeks to make household electrification easy and affordable through consumer rebates for modern, electric appliances – with the Hope for Homes Act, which offers grants for training and rebates for energy efficiency. You can still show your support for this legislation by signing this form. The combined legislation will offer robust support for equitable electrification, from jobs and training in the field to rebates that make electric appliances affordable the next time you have to replace, say, your gas stove with an electric induction cooktop.
Clean Energy for America
Next Tuesday, September 14th at 8 pm EST, please join our advisor Dr. Leah Stokes from Evergreen Action and our CEO, Ari Matusiak, for a conversation on “Clean Energy & the Build Back Better Agenda,” moderated by Audrey Lee, a clean energy leader and CE4A Board member. Register for the event here.
While we’re on the topic of electric induction cooktops, the idea that chefs don’t like them because they don’t spew enough BTUs they need or offer the delicate temperature control of gas stoves is outdated, nearly medieval. Modern induction cooktops have about as much in common with those old resistance coil electric stoves as an electric go-kart has with a falcon-wing Tesla. Induction cooktops heat up really fast–they boil water in half the time of a gas stove on high. They’re easy to clean, and you can touch them and not burn yourself (unless you’re wearing a ring). Plus, you can buy one burner for around $100 – not a big barrier to entry. Here’s a video of chefs swearing by this technology.
Consumer Reports did a review of gas vs. electric smoothtop stoves, and found those electric models performed better in every category than gas: high heat, low heat, baking, and broiling. We'll have a lot more to say in the coming weeks about the air quality impacts of gas stoves, but for now, electric is the winner on sheer cooking performance, which is a pleasant surprise.
Electrify! Starred Kirkus Review
Our founder Saul Griffith’s new book, Electrify: An Optimist’s Playbook for our Clean Energy Future (MIT Press), got a rare starred review from the often curmudgeonly Kirkus Review, which librarians, reviewers, and bookstores rely on to know what books to buy or read. “Positive news on climate change from an expert...Surprisingly optimistic, realistic, and persuasive.” You can pre-order it now (and get a signed copy!) from Kepler’s.
Finally, tomorrow is the anniversary of 9/11. While we live through the profound grief and life alterations of a global pandemic, we’d like to take a moment to remember people we lost 20 years ago, and the families and friends whose lives were forever changed in its aftermath.