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Airline travel and more disrupted by global tech outage; Nevada gets OK to sell federal public lands for affordable housing;Science Moms work to foster meaningful talks on climate change; Scientists reconsider net-zero pledges to reach climate goals.

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As Trump accepts nomination for President, delegates emphasize themes of unity and optimism envisioning 'new golden age.' But RNC convention was marked by strong opposition to LGBTQ rights, which both opened and closed the event.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Can e-bikes become a carbon reduction force?

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Monday, July 1, 2024   

Tomorrow Minnesota will reopen online applications for electric bike rebates.

Environmental advocates are closely watching consumer demand for these products, in hopes they'll play a role in emissions reductions.

The state Commerce Department is launching the application period, after a technical issue forced it to shut down the portal last month soon after going live.

The rebates of up to $1,500 are expected to go quickly, and that's welcome news to Lena Reynolds - communications and policy advocate for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

She said having more e-bikes replace gas-powered vehicles for shorter trips bodes well for improving air quality.

"In places that have done e-bike rebate programs like this before," said Reynolds, "I know Denver, their average participant replaced 22 miles of car trips a week. So, that's a lot of gas that they're not burning."

Research is still coming together on just how much of a dent e-bikes would make in reducing transportation emissions.

But the Policy Center says even when factoring in the manufacturing and charging requirements, an e-bike's climate impact is 93% lower per mile than a fossil-fueled car.

While rebate programs are emerging, the purchase price is still seen as a barrier.

Other policy experts think more coordination is needed in crafting regulations to keep riders and those around them safe.

Reynolds agreed that steps like adding off-street trails could bring a level of balance toward this growth.

As for skeptics who say charging an e-bike still creates a carbon footprint, she said it isn't as bad as they might think.

"And in Minnesota, it's even better," said Reynolds. "Renewables generate the largest share of Minnesota's electricity. So, you know, riding an e-bike is even more sustainable in Minnesota than it would be in other states where fossil fuels are a larger portion of the electricity mix."

When looking at the rebates, Minnesota's discount is 50% to 75% of a buyer's qualifying expenses, depending on their income.

The state of Michigan just adopted a similar program. And just like Denver, Reynolds noted that some cities are offering their own rebates - including Columbus, Ohio.




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