Apr 12, 2019

The climate stakes of Uber's IPO

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber's big new IPO prospectus touts the company's green ambitions as it prepares for its multibillion dollar offering — and acknowledges that environmental policy is a risk factor.

Why it matters: Uber is going public amid growing scrutiny of ride-hailing's carbon footprint as research shows it can boost emissions by cannibalizing mass-transit and increasing miles driven.

Threat level: A line tucked into the global company's filing with securities regulators caught my attention. In the lengthy section about various risks, Uber acknowledges...

"[B]ecause a substantial portion of our business involves vehicles that run on fossil fuels, laws, regulations, or governmental actions seeking to curb air pollution or emissions may impact our business."

Where it stands: The filing says Uber aspires to play a "meaningful role in creating a sustainable, low-carbon future and addressing environmental challenges."

  • "We believe that a transportation system based on personal car use is inefficient and unsustainable," it states.
  • The document touts several of the company's environmental and anti-congestion initiatives in the U.S. and internationally.
  • For instance, it notes work with regulators in German cities to deploy electric vehicles and dockless electric bikes.

Between the lines: The role of ride-hailing and new mobility services generally is something of a wildcard in the future of urban carbon emissions.

  • A number of experts say it's increasingly important for regulators to take more steps to ensure the explosive growth of ride-hailing doesn't bring a corresponding jump in CO2.
  • Transportation is already the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

What they're saying: Populus CEO Regina Clewlow, whose company provides a transportation data analytics platform for local governments, says it's up to cities to keep the environmental effects of mobility companies in check.

  • "[C]ities need to require access to data from mobility operators, as well as invest in their own data collection efforts to measure the impacts of Uber and other services," she adds.

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Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know so far

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery complex on Wednesday, including the shooter, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

What's happening: Police said "there is no active threat" just before 6 pm ET, but noted the scene remains active. Police chief Alfonso Morales told reporters that officers have "more than 20 buildings we have to secure" at the complex and they do not currently have all employees accounted for, as more than 1,000 were at the complex during the shooting.

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Live updates: CDC confirms possible community spread of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

U.S. clinicians have found the novel coronavirus in a person who did not recently return from a foreign country nor have contact with a confirmed case, the CDC said Tuesday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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Trump assigns Pence to lead U.S. coronavirus response

Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump announced at a press briefing Wednesday evening that he'll be putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to the coronavirus.

The big picture: In the wake of a market sell-off and warnings from health officials that there's a real threat of the coronavirus spreading in the U.S., Trump sought to reassure the nation and Wall Street that the U.S. is "ready" for whatever comes next.

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