Nobody likes being told what to do, but for the EV industry in the UK and United States, it’s working out so far.
The Inflation Reduction Act included stringent rules requiring EVs sold in the U.S. to use battery components sourced domestically in order qualify for a maximum $7,500 credit. Many in the EV industry feared those rules would undercut the credit, but the response from manufacturers so far has been a wave of investment in new stateside factories.
Ford, Hyundai, GM and Toyota are among the automakers to announce multi-billion dollar facilities in Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. This year alone, car companies have put up $13 billion for domestic EV manufacturing along with $24 billion for batteries.
The expansion of domestic EV production is also a recognition that American demand for electric cars is strong and growing. Input costs for batteries and EVs have risen sharply this year, but that hasn’t stopped EV start-up Rivian from meeting production targets, while Chevrolet announced it is expanding production of the electric Bolt.
Onshoring battery may become doubly important since the Biden Administration added Chinese lithium-ion batteries to its list of goods known to use child labor last week. The list doesn’t carry any formal sanctions but could foreshadow future action against Chinese battery imports.
Meanwhile in London, air quality is finally on par with other major cities in the three years since it levied stiff penalties on gas/diesel-powered cars in the city center while EV adoption in the city is flourishing.
London’s ban on unpermitted vehicles is precisely the kind of measure that voters often say they hate, and is what led to the coinage of the much feared iron law of climate policy. But since the ban, the number of licensed EVs in London has quadrupled, while the proportion of diesel cars has dropped by a quarter.
The ban has also led London streets to prepare for more EVs in the future. London is now Uber's leading city for rides taken in EVs and the city is adding 260 charging stations every month.
The Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is a little-known agreement that allows fossil fuel companies to sue European and Eurasian countries that pass laws to phase out fossil fuels. They’re allowed to sue not just for the money already invested in a project, but also for potential future profits they would have made if the project were completed.
And sue they have. Just this August, British oil & gas firm Rockhopper won an eye-watering €190 million ruling against the Italian government, which cancelled the firm’s 2014 permit to drill off the coast of Abruzzo after it outlawed offshore drilling in 2015.
The drilling ban was partially a response to citizen outrage at seeing Rockhopper’s oil rigs emerge on the horizons of picturesque seaside villages that depend on tourism dollars.
The bad news for Spain is that the Abruzzo ruling came a full six years after Italy left the Energy Charter. That’s because the treaty has a sunset provision of twenty years, meaning countries can be sued for phasing out fossil fuels two whole decades after opting out of the ECT.
First, the suit may have a chilling effect on climate-focused European countries daunted by the prospect of paying out millions to cancel each oil, coal and gas concession within their borders. One (brilliantly researched) study estimates that as much as €345 billion of fossil fuel infrastructure in Europe is covered by the ETC. And don’t forget the future profits.
Second, the Abruzzo suit netted fabulous earnings for Rockhopper’s investors, which turned a €38 million investment into a €152 million profit without pumping a single drop of crude. Maintenance and operation costs are the biggest drag on profits for fossil fuels. Offering big pay-outs without having to take on any of those costs will likely invite more ECT suits, not fewer.
Third, the ETC raises serious questions about the fossil fuel industry’s incursions into national sovereignty. A system where party countries with the temerity to reduce emissions are sued for ungodly sums by foreign investors, in a tribunal based in Washington, D.C., is one which small countries like Slovenia pay dearly if their energy plans happen to conflict with outside interests.
Spain, which has almost phased out coal, is aiming to end all fossil fuel production by 2042 and appears to be unfazed by the threat of lawsuits in spite of the roughly €8.3 billion of fossil fuel infrastructure covered by the ECT under Spanish jurisdiction.
Check out some of the latest featured jobs below. If you don't see anything that speaks to you, you can always go to Climatebase to explore thousands of other opportunities.
"Cement is responsible for about the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as all of the cars on the road today worldwide. Cement has been widely considered one of the most difficult materials to decarbonize and has even been called out as the reason why we need point-source CCS. We have invented a way to make carbon-negative Portland cement that ..."
"Scale Microgrid Solutions (“Scale”) is a fully integrated distributed energy platform focused on designing, implementing and financing innovative distributed clean energy solutions. ..."
"Trove Research offers an exciting, fast-paced work environment, working with a dynamic and driven team. Our goal is to bring new levels of analysis and insight to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy. ..."
"Earthmover is an all-remote, early-stage startup whose mission is to empower our customers to use scientific data to address our planet’s most urgent challenges. We’re building a new data platform for multidimensional arrays with metadata based on open standards and open source software. ..."
"Coho is a global climate adviser dedicated to helping clients navigate complexity and take ambitious steps on their climate journey. We provide deep market insight, analytical problem-solving, and change management expertise so that clients can switch to renewable energy and make other large-scale climate and water resiliency investments with confidence and internal alignment. ..."
"Supercharging commercial EV adoption via software to connect vehicles, chargers, and utilities. ..."
"Agritecture is an advisory services and technology firm focused on climate-smart agriculture, particularly urban and controlled environment agriculture (CEA). ..."
"Altus Thermal is a Boston-based startup rethinking home energy use. We’re developing a smart hardware product that will drive higher efficiency, provide greater comfort, deliver a more modern user experience, and increase benefits to the electrical grid. ..."
"The Blue Climate Initiative is a multi-year program engaging innovators, community leaders, scientists, investors and global experts to harness research and innovation to accelerate ocean-based strategies to protect our oceans and combat climate change. ..."
"AeroShield is making the next generation of energy-efficient windows possible by manufacturing the first ultra-clear, super-insulating aerogel sheets. ..."
"Sequoia Climate Foundation is a new philanthropy that seeks to decarbonize the world economy at a speed and scale equal to the challenge. We support bold strategies and efforts that will have both near-term impact and the greatest probability of long-term success. ..."
"Equilibrium Energy is a well-funded, Series A clean energy startup backed by some of the most prominent institutional investors in climate. We are building a digital native power company operating at the intersection of grid variability, market volatility, economic optimization, commercial structuring, and risk management, across the end-to-end power value chain. ..."
"Founded in 2014, Project Drawdown is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help the world reach “Drawdown”— the future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline. ..."
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"We believe in the power of technology to improve communities and our planet. Since 2001, we have been stretching the possibilities of geospatial technology to enable our clients to answer complex questions in a wide range of domains: urban ecosystems, water, infrastructure planning, economic development, public transit, elections, public safety, energy, and cultural resources management, to name a few. ..."
"Future makes it easier for people to take meaningful action to fight climate change and reduce emissions, giving them incentives to do the right thing. We are on a mission to democratize climate-smart living and make it easy to do what’s right for the planet, inspiring the shift to low-carbon products and services with outsized financial incentives. Good for your wallet. ..."
"RER Solutions, Inc. is a minority, woman-owned business. Leading platform delivering insight-driven advisory and responsive support services to meet clients' needs. We have been serving federal clients for 25+ years. ..."
"Gradient’s mission is to cool the world by transforming every home to be more comfortable and healthy for the people who inhabit it — without compromising the environment. Today, heating and cooling equipment emit more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector, and expansion in the use of cooling is projected to double these emissions in the next 30 ..."
They are hiring across the following departments:
"Spoiler Alert is a Boston-based software company helping perishable CPG brands manage excess and slow-moving inventory. ..."
"Powerhouse is an innovation firm that works with leading global corporations to help them find, partner with, invest in, and acquire the most innovative startups in clean energy, mobility, and climate. ..."
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