The Biden administration launched new climate funding and jobs programs today as world leaders — minus Joe Biden — gather for the Climate Ambition Summit in New York. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $4.6 billion in new funding for state, local, and tribal clean energy programs. Plus, details have finally emerged for a long-awaited American Climate Corps.
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Joe Biden launches climate and jobs programs — but no new pollution-cutting goals
Joe Biden announced new climate initiatives, but will skip a key United Nations summit where leaders are expected to ramp up plans to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
But Biden is expected to skip the United Nations climate summit today, a conspicuous absence since UN Secretary-General António Guterres stipulated that leaders present “credible, serious and new climate action” in order to participate. Biden, who came to New York this week for the UN General Assembly, is reportedly sending climate envoy John Kerry to attend the summit in his place.
Biden is expected to skip the United Nations climate summit today, a conspicuous absence since UN Secretary-General António Guterres stipulated that leaders present “credible, serious and new climate action” in order to participate
Today, the EPA announced two new grant competitions for “programs and policies that cut climate pollution, advance environmental justice, and deploy clean energy solutions across the country.” One will be for Indigenous tribes and territories. The other is to fund states and local governments. Taken together, the $4.6 in competitive grants are less than the $7.5 billion the Biden administration is spending on deploying EV chargers.
The Supreme Court hampered the EPA’s efforts to slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants last year, which had been a major pillar of the Biden administration’s efforts to hit climate goals. Under the Paris climate accord, Biden has pledged to slash US greenhouse gas emissions in half from 2005 levels by the end of the decade. But the Supreme Court decided the EPA, as a regulatory body, doesn’t have the authority to determine whether the US gets its electricity from clean or dirty sources of energy — that would require new legislation.
With a divided Congress and a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, the Biden administration is leaning more on state and local actors to help the US hit its climate goals. “Tackling the global climate crisis requires partnerships and action across the country,” EPA administrator Michael Regan said in a press release. “By investing in America, we’re investing in communities so they can chart their own paths toward the clean energy future.”
To build up the workforce needed to get more clean energy online, the Biden administration is taking executive action to launch a new American Climate Corps today. It’s a training program for careers in clean energy and conservation that activists have been pushing Biden to create for years. The corps will recruit 20,000 people during its first year, White House officials said in a press call yesterday. They launched a website today where people interested in joining can “learn more.” But they’ll have to wait to sign up until an official recruitment website is up and running in “the coming months.”
Other key details are still lacking. The Biden administration didn’t answer reporters’ questions about how much money will go into the program or where it will get the funds. “All American Climate Corps programs will be paid experiences,” a White House fact sheet says.
A new Forest Corps will be “the first major interagency partnership” under Biden’s American Climate Corps, according to the fact sheet. It’s a $15 million five-year partnership between the US Forest Service and AmeriCorps, a federal agency and network of service programs. The plan is to pay 80 young adults roughly $15 an hour next summer and train them in fire prevention, forest management, and “climate resilience” projects.
Separately, Arizona, Utah, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Maryland launched state-based climate corps programs today with public-private partnership funding. They join five other states that already have their own local climate corps programs.
Thousands of climate activists targeted Biden with protests in New York City this week urging the US, the world’s biggest oil and gas producer, to end fossil fuel development. Yesterday, 17 heads of state signed onto a joint statement calling for “a global phase out of fossil fuels.” That includes French President Emmanuel Macron, President William Ruto of Kenya, President David Kabua of the Marshall Islands, and other leaders who have joined the High Ambition Coalition.
While those are big demands, they’re backed by science. The Paris climate accord commits countries to stopping global temperatures from rising much higher than they already have since the Industrial Revolution. Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels need to peak by 2025 and reach net zero by 2050 to stop global warming in its tracks at 1.5 degrees Celsius, researchers have found.
It’s a threshold beyond which climate change-fueled disasters would grow markedly more severe, potentially wiping out virtually all the world’s coral reefs and inundating tens of thousands more people’s homes with sea level rise. Avoiding that outcome requires phasing out fossil fuels, climate research shows.
The author of this story was previously a member of Public Allies and Jumpstart, corps programs that are part of the AmeriCorps network.
A lawsuit alleging privacy violations by OpenAI was dismissed
Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit said OpenAI’s web scraper violated privacy rules. They can refile the case in the future.
Plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit alleging OpenAI violated privacy rights for training data dropped their case against the company. Court documents showed the case was dismissed without prejudice, and the plaintiffs can choose to refile.
The lawsuit, first filed in June this year in the Northern District of California, alleged OpenAI’s web scraper “violated property rights and privacy rights of all individuals whose personal information was scraped and then incorporated through misappropriation into [OpenAI’s] products.” The lawsuit did not name the plaintiffs, who were identified with initials. The Clarkson Law Firm filed the class action suit on their behalf.
OpenAI, like other generative AI companies, scrapes publicly available data from the internet to help train large language models.
Questions about how generative AI companies like OpenAI ingest and use publicly available data to train their models have led to several lawsuits. Most cases revolve around the thorny issue of copyright rather than privacy rights. Comedian Sarah Silverman and authors Christopher Golden and Richard Kadrey sued OpenAI and Meta for allegedly infringing copyright to train GPT-4 and Llama 2.
In July, the Federal Trade Commission opened an investigation into OpenAI for possible consumer harm through data collection and the publication of false information.
In August, OpenAI said website owners can now block its web crawler. Several websites, including news publishers like The New York Times, have blocked OpenAI from scraping its data.
Epomaker’s TH80 Pro mechanical keyboard is down to just $71.99
Epomaker’s TH80 Pro, the step-up version of one of our favorite keyboards, has hit an all-time low. You can also currently save on the 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller and Jabra’s Elite 4 earbuds.
It’s hard to beat the tactile feel and durability of a good ol’ fashioned mechanical keyboard. Fortunately, if you’re someone who’s looking to kick their membrane keyboard to the curb, Epomaker’s TH80 Pro represents a great entry-level model, one that’s on sale at Amazon for $71.99 ($18 off) and comes with your choice of linear, clicky, or tactile switches.
The Epomaker TH80 Pro, like the standard model featured in our guide to the best mechanical keyboards, is a 75 percent mechanical keyboard with a volume knob and hot-swappable switches that let you easily adjust the keyboard’s look and feel. It also offers the same plastic case and steel switch plate, the same PBT keycaps and per-key RGB lighting, and the same great typing experience. The Pro model, however, comes with a bigger 4,000mAh battery and a few other notable improvements — including the ability to automatically detect whether you’re using a Mac or Windows machine — making it a slight upgrade over the base model.
Epomaker TH80 Pro
Epomaker’s compact TH80 Pro is a higher-end version of one of our favorite wireless models, one that comes with a larger battery and a few functionality improvements.
If there’s one thing gamers can all agree on, it’s that stick drift is a scourge of controllers everywhere. Luckily, there are drift-free solutions like 8BitDo’s Ulitmate Bluetooth Controller, which is currently on sale at Amazon in black or white for $62.99 (about $7 off) when you clip the on-page coupon for 10 percent off. Prime members can also pick up either color for slightly less through a third-party retailer, though, in each case, Amazon still fulfills the order.
Unlike some of 8BitDo’s controllers, the wireless Bluetooth Ultimate is compatible with the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, and Windows PCs. Its biggest draw is its drift-resistant, magnetic Hall effect sticks, which aren’t prone to the same false inputs you might experience over time with something like Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers. They also feature two back paddles and a number of pro-grade software features, including button mapping and custom profiles, both of which you can fine-tune in the companion app. The controller even comes with its own charging dock that you can use to stow the included 2.4GHz dongle when it’s not in use — just another reason it’s one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers available.
8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller
The 8BitDo Ultimate Bluetooth Controller comes with its own charging dock, features remappable controls, and is compatible with the Nintendo Switch, Steam Deck, and Windows PCs thanks to its Bluetooth and 2.4GHz connectivity. Unlike the 2.4GHz-only version, it features Hall effect sticks.
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