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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Spin, the Ford-owned electric scooter company, said Wednesday that it will find a way to cut more carbon emissions than it creates by 2025.

Why it matters: It's a fairly quick time frame, which means lots of tangible stuff needs to happen soon. It also comes as "micro-mobility" services are emerging as a wildcard in urban carbon emissions.

The big picture: In theory, electric scooters and bikes can enable avoided car trips. But they have their own emissions footprint — think energy used by vehicles that move them around for charging and maintenance, as well as scooter manufacturing and supply chains.

How it works: Pillars of Spin's emissions plan include...

  • Transitioning the vans that move the scooters around to plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles.
  • Recharging scooters with only renewable power.
  • Recycling and reuse of scooters no longer in the fleet.
  • Encouraging the use of scooters in a way that displaces car travel.

Threat level: A peer-reviewed 2019 study in Environmental Research Letters shows why there's work to do.

  • It found that a majority of the time, emissions linked to dockless scooters are greater than using diesel buses with high ridership and electric or regular bikes (and, of course, walking).
  • The study also showed that only about 34% of scooter trips in Raleigh, North Carolina, displaced travel by personal cars or ride-hailing, while 49% of riders would have walked or biked and 11% would have taken the bus.

What they're saying: Spin intends to "better quantify to what extent Spin is replacing automobile trip miles in cities."

  • "A critical aspect of achieving our carbon negative goal is accelerating mode shift. Spin looks forward to continuing to work with cities to create streets that are better designed for mobility outside of cars," said Kay Cheng, Spin's director of policy initiatives.

Go deeper: Electric scooters aren’t as green as they seem

Go deeper

Nov 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Wall Street is searching for electric vehicle gold

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Wall Street speculators are flocking to electric vehicle startups, assigning gigantic valuations to companies that have yet to produce any vehicles, much less any revenue or profits.

Why it matters: Searching for the next Tesla is a risky proposition. It's still unclear how quickly the electric vehicle market will develop, or how large it will ultimately become — and some of the new electric vehicle players are likely to fail.

Exclusive: White House meeting with members of Problem Solvers Caucus

Members of the Problem Solvers Caucus discuss the COVID-19 relief bill in December. Photo: Oliver Contreras/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Top White House officials will meet Wednesday with a bipartisan coalition of House lawmakers as the administration tries to enlist moderates to support the president's infrastructure proposal.

Why it matters: The meeting is something of an olive branch after President Biden's team courted groups of progressives to back the $2.2 trillion package.

1 hour ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.

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