You can’t literally get away with alleged murder if you’re a U.S. diplomat in the UK anymore, sorry. Also, the U.S. is worried about plane pollution, FCA and Waymo are partners for life, and more in The Morning Shift for Wednesday, July 22, 2020.
When it comes to cars, U.S. emissions standards have been promising but weak, if we really want to curb tailpipe emissions. But for too long the airplane industry has suffered little blowback from the U.S. government about plane emissions. This week that’s expected to change.
In 2016, the U.N. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) agreed on global airplane emissions standards aimed at makers of small and large planes, including Airbus SE (AIR.PA) and Boeing Co (BA.N), which both backed the standards.
The EPA-proposed regulation would align the United States with the ICAO standards, officials said, and would apply to new type designs as of January 2020 and to in-production airplanes or those with amended type certificates starting in 2028. They would not apply to airplanes currently in use.
Aircraft account for 12% of all U.S. transportation greenhouse gas emissions and 3% of total such U.S. emissions. They are the largest source of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions not subject to standards.
So is the EPA doing this out of the kindness of its own heart? Of course not. It’s so global businesses keep buying the planes we build here.
EPA officials said it was crucial that the U.S. adopt the standards, because countries could ban U.S.-assembled airplanes if they do not meet ICAO standards. The EPA had said it would propose rules “at least” as stringent as the ICAO’s.
Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a U.S. diplomat formerly stationed at RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, was charged with “causing death by dangerous driving” back in December, when she allegedly killed motorcyclist Harry Dunn in a hit and run and subsequently fled the country.
Sacoolas then claimed diplomatic immunity through a strange loophole, and has not faced trial for her alleged crimes, so the UK has gone and plugged up the loophole so it can’t happen again.
From the BBC:
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the new arrangements had “closed the anomaly that led to the denial of justice in the heartbreaking case of Harry Dunn”.
He said he appreciated the changes “won’t bring Harry back” but hoped they may “bring some small measure of comfort” to his family.
The US State Department said the amendment was a “reflection of our especially close relationship” with the UK.
Northamptonshire Police said it would continue working with British prosecutors to ensure Mrs Sacoolas was returned from the US to face court proceedings.
Mrs Sacoolas, 42, was charged with causing death by dangerous driving in December.
A Home Office extradition request was refused by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in January, and American officials said the decision was final.
It is believed Mrs Sacoolas was driving on the wrong side of the road when Mr Dunn was killed.
Evidently a previous “secret” arrangement between the UK and U.S. from 1995 is what led to Mrs. Sacoolas escape, which has now been terminated.
FCA has locked down Waymo for its planned Level 4 self-driving system for passenger cars, and they’re going to throw the tech into the ProMaster cargo van, too. From Automotive News:
Waymo and FCA said Wednesday they will deepen their relationship and build commercial vehicles for transporting cargo. They initially will integrate Waymo’s self-driving system onto the Ram ProMaster van, which the companies say is a “highly configurable platform that will enable access to a broad range of global commercial customers.”
On the passenger-vehicle front, FCA CEO Mike Manley said the automaker has chosen Waymo as its exclusive provider of Level 4 self-driving systems for passenger vehicles.
All this effectively means is FCA is no longer working with any other companies on self-driving tech, at least for now. Level 4 self-driving tech is still a ways off.
Speaking of, FCA may want to make sure it’s not installing any sort of emissions-cheating devices on its vehicles in Europe, because authorities seem to think there’s something to sniff for, from Auto News:
German prosecutors said on Wednesday they were searching offices at Fiat Chrysler and CNH Industrial as part of an international fraud investigation over emissions.
The investigation targets potentially illegal emissions software found in engines used in Fiat Chrysler’s (FCA) Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Jeep vehicles and in CNH Industrial’s Iveco trucks.
Potentially illegal software has been detected in the 1.3 litre Multijet and 1.6 litre Multijet engines used in Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat engines as well as in commercial diesel engines used in Iveco and Fiat commercial vehicles, the Frankfurt prosecutors said.
Why would the company that owns Jeep need to stress about passing emissions tests?
China has been investing heavily in infrastructure across the African continent for decades as it hopes to build up mining and production resources and keep the local populations happy along the way. The problem is none of that infrastructure is cheap, and it’s all built on debt.
Zambia started to take out loans from Chinese banks for airports, hospitals, housing projects, and the roads connecting them. Chinese credit has grown to about a third of Zambia’s external debt, which has surged sevenfold over the past decade, forcing the government this year to ask creditors to reschedule loans. Patel, now a real estate investor, is challenging in court the legality of billions in foreign money Zambia has borrowed without what he says was required consent from Parliament. “Nobody other than the government knows the terms,” he says. The government says it didn’t need parliamentary approval.
Patel is among a growing number of African activists and policymakers questioning the deluge of Chinese credit—some $150 billion in 2018, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University—that has fueled a debt crisis aggravated by the new coronavirus. Nigerian lawmakers are reviewing Chinese loans they say were unfavorable. Activists in Kenya are demanding the government disclose the terms of Chinese credit used to build a 470-kilometer (292-mile) railway. And Tanzanian President John Magufuli calls an agreement his predecessor made with Chinese investors, to build a $10 billion port and economic zone, a deal “only a madman would sign.”
Bloomberg’s data shows nearly $40 billion in Chinese loan commitments over the last 20 years has gone to transportation alone. Any defaulting on the debt could see the first major shift in Chinese relations in the region in decades. We’ll just have to see how China manages the situation.
Today I learned the old airfield in Brooklyn I photograph cars at sometimes has some history.
You have a Ram ProMaster van with a self-driving system that doesn’t exist in our reality yet. What are you going to do with it?