Show an ad over header. AMP

Tesla faces scrutiny over carbon costs of bitcoin and vehicle range

Tesla is riding high these days, but two developments could create reputational risks for the world's most valuable car company.

Driving the news: Tesla is beginning to face criticism over the climate effects of its big new investment in bitcoin and the decision to accept it as payment — even though electric vehicles are lower-CO2 alternatives to gasoline vehicles.


Why it matters: Bitcoin "mining" to process transactions is very energy-intensive, so promotion of its use could add to its carbon footprint.

What they're saying: Ben Dear, CEO of the sustainable investment firm Osmosis Investment Management, tells Reuters: “We are of course very concerned about the level of carbon dioxide emissions generated from bitcoin mining.”

  • He said Tesla should disclose energy consumption associated with its bitcoin ventures.
  • More broadly, some analysts see Tesla's decision to accept bitcoin as potentially widening its use in transactions more broadly.
  • Reuters says Tesla's bitcoin backing could "turbo-charge global use of a currency."
  • The Verge is also reporting on the climate angle.

Driving the news, part 2: New research from Edmunds finds that five Tesla models they tested showed less range per charge than the vehicles' EPA estimates.

  • The analysis, which Edmunds notes is designed as a "real-world complement to the EPA's laboratory-based process," found the vehicles had 2.5%-17.4% less range.
  • The one with 17.4% less was a 2018 Model 3 Performance edition, which had 256 miles of range instead of 310 in the EPA estimate.

But, but, but: Tesla still had two of the five longest-range vehicles among the 15 models Edmunds tested.

  • The biggest difference between the EPA and Edmunds findings was with the 2020 Porsche Taycan 4S, which went 59% further in the Edmunds test at 323 miles.

Of note: Gasoline-powered vehicles can also underperform their EPA estimates, and in general, mileage and range are influenced by all sorts of conditions and driving styles.

The bottom line: Tesla's on a good run, having become consistently profitable. But the EV market is getting more competitive, so these topics are worth keeping an eye on.

Report: U.S. urges UN-led Afghan peace talks and warns of Taliban "territorial gain" threat

Secretary of State Antony Blinken proposed in a letter to President Ashraf Ghani steps including a UN-facilitated summit to revive stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, Afghanistan's TOLOnews first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Blinken expresses concern in the letter, also obtained by Western news outlets, of a potential "spring offensive by the Taliban" and that the "security situation will worsen and the Taliban could make rapid territorial gain" after an American military withdrawal, even with the continuation of U.S. financial aid.

Keep reading... Show less

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Keep reading... Show less

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has taken the coronavirus vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

Keep reading... Show less

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse: SEC lawsuit is "bad for crypto" in the U.S.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators, it would put the country at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Between the lines: The SEC in December sued Ripple, and Garlinghouse personally, for allegedly selling over $1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple's response is that its cryptocurrency, called XRP, didn't require registration because it's an asset rather than a security.

Pfizer CEO: "It will be terrible" if COVID vaccine prices limit access

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told "Axios on HBO" that it "will be terrible for society" if the price of coronavirus vaccines ever prohibits some people from taking them.

Why it matters: Widespread uptake of the vaccine — which might require annual booster shots — will reduce the risk of the virus continuing to spread and mutate, but it's unclear who will pay for future shots or how much they'll cost.

Keep reading... Show less

Lindsey Graham intends to "lean into" climate change during Biden era

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told "Axios on HBO" he intends to "lean into" climate change and that he has already discussed potential common ground with President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry.

Behind the scenes: In a follow-up interview with Axios, Graham said Kerry called him in November, around the time Kerry's new position was announced, to see if there were openings to work together.

Keep reading... Show less

Lindsey Graham: Trump could make the GOP "stronger" or "destroy" it

Sen. Lindsey Graham told "Axios on HBO" that Donald Trump has a "dark side" but he tries to "harness the magic" because he succeeded where Republican candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney failed.

Why it matters: The South Carolina Republican gyrates between support and criticism of the former president, even after Trump harshly criticized McCain — Graham's longtime friend — and helped spark the Capitol insurrection.

Keep reading... Show less

Senate plots its own earmark comeback

With the Senate done battling over President Biden's coronavirus rescue package, it's preparing to tackle another priority: earmarks.

Driving the news: Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top members on the Senate Appropriations Committee, are expected to work out a deal restoring the congressional spending tool in the coming weeks, committee aides tell Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories