Tesla’s mission is hyperfocused on sustainability and trying to mitigate the effects of climate change. I’ve written about Tesla’s Carbon Impact page before, but a new look shows that Tesla has surpassed a new milestone: over 18 million tons of carbon have been prevented from entering our atmosphere. As of this moment, the exact amount of carbon saved by Tesla vehicles alone is 18,225,155.20 tons. What a coincidence that Tesla was founded 18 years ago today. That an average about 1 million tons a year, but will certainly only grow.

More Work To Be Done, Sadly

Tesla’s achievements are great, but unfortunately, Tesla seems to be alone in its push for sustainability. Yes, we have other corporations going ‘carbon neutral’ and policies in place but I’m sure that those living where there’s extreme heat and extreme weather conditions don’t really care about green labels and promises of a better future.

In the tweet above, Lauren Rowe shared another tweet by The Economist along with the stats of Tesla’s carbon impact. The Economist shared some alarming news that goes to show that although Tesla is doing its part, we, collectively speaking as a global species, need to do much more on our part as well.

The Economist questioned why there’s a heatwave broiling parts of America and Canada. It’s so strange that way up north where some people don’t even have air conditioning, they are having the type of heat that I am used to down here in Louisiana. And in some areas, it’s also extremely dry. Strange, but completely predictable.

The graph Lauren shared compared heatwave characteristics averages across 50 large cities by decade. Most notable are the increases in every category. Heatwaves are more frequent, with longer duration, creating a longer season with increased intensity.

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report titled Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do To Prepare. The EPA stated that extreme heat events will become more common, more severe, and last longer. It also said that more extreme heat events are likely to cause more illness and death.

“Temperatures will continue to rise as people add more heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. As a result, scientists expect heat waves to become more common, more severe, and longer-lasting. More extreme heat will likely lead to an increase in heat-related illnesses and deaths, especially if people and communities don’t take steps to adapt and protect themselves. Even small increases in extreme heat can result in increased deaths and illnesses.”

The report is mostly a how-to guide for preparing for and surviving extreme heat. If you’re new to dealing with this type of heat, I suggest you take a look and plan on more of these extreme events happening. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions shared that the daily record high temperatures have happened twice as often as record lows across the continental U.S. — up from an almost 1:1 ratio in the 1950s.

“Heat waves are becoming more common, and intense heatwaves are more frequent in the U.S. West, although in many parts of the country the 1930s still holds the record for number of heat waves (caused by the Dust Bowl and other factors).”

Last year, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) published an article on how it is too late to undo climate change and that we need technology in order to adapt. The author of this particular article noted that they saw several companies showing off products designed to help humans adapt to climate change — an unsettling reminder that the global warming balance has already been tipped.

“Based on our current carbon dioxide emissions, we can expect warming of up to 1.5 °C by 2033. Even if we stopped spewing carbon today, temperatures would continue to rise for a time, and weather would grow still more erratic.”

The author noted that these companies were presenting at the CES Tech Convention in Las Vegas, and keep in mind that this event took place in January of 2020 — before the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. The author noted that many of the companies at CES recognized that it’s too late to stop climate change and they are now focusing on how to help people adapt to it instead. There was an array of products ranging from clothing to building materials with higher melting points.

One such company that I found pretty neat is Embr Labs, which is building a bracelet that can lower someone’s perceived temperature by a few degrees. It doesn’t actually change their body temperature. Instead, it changes the temperature on their wrist. Kind of like a cooling fan on your wrist. That bracelet, which the author said the company was building, is now available for sale and also has heating options for those who find themselves in a cold environment. Although I don’t plan on spending the $300 to get one at the moment, it’s interesting to think about using technology to adapt in that way.

Climate Change, Carbon, & Adaptation

Tesla is doing wonders by pushing and advancing electric vehicles, but let’s not forget its energy side as well. However, I think when it comes to adaptation, we need to find ways to encourage slow and sluggish companies as well as local, state, and even federal governments to wake up.

Currently in Texas, ERCOT wants people to turn their air conditioning up or off to help balance the grid and prevent unplanned outages. By up, I mean raising the thermostat to higher temperatures such as 78° or even 82°. That may not seem so bad compared to triple digits, but here in the South, 82 plus humidity is similar to 98 without humidity. It’s not pleasant.

Since Tesla has a major presence in Texas, it makes sense for companies such as ERCOT to collaborate in order to decrease their dependence on fossil fuels. This is what I mean by slow and sluggish companies adapting. As for governmental adaptations, I think education is critical. Many in the Deep South believe that climate change isn’t even real, and if so, often link religion as a reason that they don’t have to worry about it. The idea that things are better when you die is silly, in my opinion. We should strive to make the best of our lives here and now.

However, you can’t argue with someone who has their mind closed. The best way to combat that is through an educational experience. Such as showing them the effects of solar or how an EV works.

Yes, Tesla has achieved a lot in its 18 years of existence. However, we, collectively, have a long road ahead of us.

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