Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A drone flying in Los Angeles. Photo: Ronen Tivony / NurPhoto via Getty Images

A new study in Nature concludes that using battery-powered drones for consumer package deliveries can be more climate-friendly than diesel trucks under certain circumstances.

Why it matters: The analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from competing delivery methods comes as corporate giants like Amazon, Google and UPS are exploring use of drones.

What they did: The article modeled total emissions under different drone sizes; package weights, transportation fuels for ground-based deliveries, energy needs for additional warehousing to support increased drone use, and—crucially—the electricity source in the regions modeled.

They compared estimated emissions from trips in California—where natural gas, renewables and nuclear energy provide the electricity mix—to deliveries in Missouri, where coal is the dominant power source.

Expand chart
Adapted from Stolaroff et al., 2018. "Energy use and life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of drones for commercial package delivery", Nature; Chart: Axios Visuals

What they found: Deliveries with small drones used to carry lighter packages (they modeled 0.5 kilograms) have substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to ground-based diesel freight.

  • It's 54 percent lower than using diesel trucks in California, and 23 percent lower in Missouri.

For larger drones carrying heavier packages (they modeled 8 kg), the gain is harder to achieve—the climate advantage is only evident in a low-carbon power mix, and even there, electric trucks and vans are better options.

  • “If you want to get an environmental benefit from drone delivery, you have to consider the whole system and the whole lifecycle. Looking at any one piece of the picture won’t give you the right answer,” co-author Joshuah Stolaroff of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory tells Axios.

Go deeper: Stolaroff said regulators and companies have a chance to ensure that use of drones for package delivery occurs in an environmentally beneficial way.

  • “There is a rare opportunity to understand the impacts of a technology before it is widely deployed,” he said.
  • “It is maybe a quirk of air traffic being so regulated that we actually have some time here to decide how this system should look before we put it on the market,” Stolaroff said.

Bottom line: Regulators should consider limits on drone and package size, while his advice for companies in the emerging drone delivery space is that "the easiest thing is to make sure your drones are charged with low-carbon electricity," concluded Stolaroff.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

Treasury begins dispersing $350 billion in COVID relief funding to states and localities

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Treasury on Monday began giving state and local governments access to $350 billion in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan, the department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Though the money is aimed at helping state, local, territorial and tribal governments recover from the pandemic's economic fallout, the administration will generally give them wide latitude on how they can use the funds.

Game developers break silence around salaries

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Developers are sharing their salaries on Twitter under the hashtag #GameDevPaidMe to encourage pay transparency in their industry.

The big picture: The hashtag started circulating last year, but has returned periodically as developers fight for better working conditions. Salary sharing is a way to equalize the field. By removing the secrecy, as well as the stigma, around discussing pay, workers have more power to advocate for themselves when negotiating salaries and raises.

2 hours ago - World

Jerusalem crisis: Hamas fires rockets, Israel begins military campaign

Palestinian protesters and an Israeli police officer near the Damascus Gate. Photo: Amir Levy/Getty Images

Days of tension in Jerusalem escalated into an exchange of fire on Monday, as Hamas fired dozens of rockets toward Israel and the Israeli military responded with strikes of its own and said it was preparing for a military operation that could last several days.

Why it matters: This is the first time Hamas has fired rockets at Jerusalem since 2014, and it's the most serious escalation between the Israelis and Palestinians in many months. It comes during the most sensitive days on the calendar — the last days of Ramadan and the Jerusalem Day commemoration on Monday — and as political crises roil both the Israeli and Palestinian governments.