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Moon Express Completes First Private Lunar Landing. For the first time ever, a private company has permission to land on the moon.

Moon Express Completes First Private Lunar Landing

The U.S. government has officially approved the planned 2017 robotic lunar landing of Florida-based Moon Express, which aims to fly commercial missions to Earth's nearest neighbor and help exploit its resources, company representatives announced today (Aug. 3). "This is not only a milestone, but really a threshold for the entire commercial space industry," Moon Express co-founder and CEO Bob Richards told Space.com. [Images: Moon Express' Private Lunar Lander] Previously, companies had been able to operate only on or around Earth. The new approval, while exclusive to Moon Express, could therefore serve as an important regulatory guide for deep-space commercial activity in general, Richards said. "Nobody's had a deep-sea voyage yet. Moon Express submitted an application to the U.S. The interagency approval process "took some time, not because anybody was against or averse to this," he said.

China Expands High-Speed Rail Network to 30,000km. December 30th, 2016 by James Ayre China is planning to spend 3.5 trillion yuan (~$503 billion) by 2020 on an expansion of its railway system that will see the country’s high-speed rail network grow to 30,000 kilometers (18,650 miles), according to recent reports that follow a State Council Information Office briefing in Beijing.

China Expands High-Speed Rail Network to 30,000km

To explain those figures better, the achievement of the plans would see 80% of the major cities in China covered by the new high-speed rail network. Also, 30,000 kilometers is roughly 6.5 times the distance between New York and Los Angeles (when traveled by road). So, in other words, it’s a very substantial high-speed rail network. The plans reportedly have the double intent of bolstering growth and cutting down on road travel and associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to better linking the country’s urban centers, of course. Bloomberg provides more: Good news for those in China. Netherlands Bans New Sales of Gas-Powered Cars. Earlier this year, we reported on the Dutch Labour Party’s initiative to instate a ban on new gas and diesel car sales in the Netherlands by 2025.

Netherlands Bans New Sales of Gas-Powered Cars

Since then other countries started discussing similar possibilities to phase out gas-powered cars on a comparable timeline. India recently confirmed that it is evaluating a scheme for all its fleet to be electric by 2030 and the Norwegian government is discussing a similar mandate by 2025. The initiative has since passed in the lower house of the Netherlands’ parliament and it is now seen by some as “likely to become law”. The Dutch politician Jan Vos, a member of the Labour Party, is the main legislator behind the project.

Norway Bans New Sales of Gas-Powered Cars. Norway’s four main political parties have been discussing a possible ban on new gasoline-powered car sales (diesel or petrol) for quite some time, but they were not able to come to an understanding until now, according to a new report from Dagens Næringsliv (Paywall), an important newspaper in Norway.

Norway Bans New Sales of Gas-Powered Cars

The four main political parties, both from the right and the left, have agreed on a new energy policy that will include a ban on new gasoline-powered car sales as soon as 2025 – making it one of the most aggressive timeline of its kind for such a policy. What’s probably most remarkable here is that Norway is currently one of the world’s largest Oil exporters. China Hits Target of 20% Alternate Fuel Vehicles of 35m Annual Sales. Germany Mandates All New Cars Must Be Electric. Hammer, dropped.

Germany Mandates All New Cars Must Be Electric

Dismayed that CO2 emissions from motor transport have not dropped in the country since 1990, Germany is taking what some will consider an extreme measure. Others will think it’s about time. As of 2030, all new cars registered in Germany must be emissions free, according to The Globe and Mail. India's New Cars 100% EV. NEW DELHI: India is looking at having an all-electric car fleet by 2030 with an express objective of lowering the fuel import bill and running cost of vehicles.

India's New Cars 100% EV

"We are going to introduce electric vehicles in a very big way. We are going to make electric vehicles self- sufficient like UJALA. IEA Achieves Goal of 100 Million EVs Worldwide. IEA targets 100 million electric cars by 2030 The International Energy Agency (IEA) is targeting 100 million electric cars on the roads by 2030 in order to avoid potentially damaging global warming.

IEA Achieves Goal of 100 Million EVs Worldwide

Could More EVs Mean More Emissions & Fuel Consumption? Individual tax credits and rebates aren't the only policy levers we use to try and increase the adoption of electric cars and other alternative fuel vehicles.

Could More EVs Mean More Emissions & Fuel Consumption?

The Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration both have quite a lot to say about the matter as well, especially through rules that set fleet-wide standards for both fuel efficiency (the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency, or CAFE standards) and an associated Greenhouse Gas Emission standard. But a new paper from Jeremy Michalek and colleagues suggests that the incentives built into those standards—meant to encourage the uptake of alternative fuel vehicles—might actually increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

New CAFE standards that get stricter over time were announced by the NHTSA in 2015. CAFE mandates fleet-wide targets for car makers, with a formula that takes into account the footprint of each model.