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Net-zero carbon emissions could cost Asia trillions: ING



An overpass during the rush hour in the north district of Qingdao City, in China’s Shandong province.

Cheunghyo | Moment | Getty Images

Three of Asia’s largest economies will spend an estimated $12 trillion to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in their transport industries, according to Dutch bank ING.

China, Japan and South Korea account for almost two-thirds of all carbon dioxide emissions in Asia-Pacific, and approximately a third of global emissions, said the bank.

Both Japan and South Korea have pledged to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and China by 2060. Net-zero emissions refer to removing more greenhouses gases from the atmosphere than produced.

The $12.4 trillion cost estimate is “equivalent to more than 90% of China’s 2020 GDP,” according to Robert Carnell, ING’s Asia-Pacific head of research and author of the report.

It will cover the electricity generating capacity needed by countries to supply new fleets of battery electric vehicles, electrified rail, hydrogen-powered trucks, sustainable aviation fueled planes, and ammonia-burning ships, he wrote.

The $12.4 trillion price tag doesn’t include infrastructure spending to replace existing vehicle fleets, install electric vehicle charging points, or store new fuels in the industry, he noted.

With up to 30% of total energy consumption coming from the transport systems of the three countries, they would need to act fast and adopt sustainable solutions to ensure their goals are within reach, said ING.

If China, Japan and South Korea start their energy transition process today and spread out their efforts over the next 30-40 years, the cost to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in transportation will be manageable, the bank said.

China’s race to net-zero

China is the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter and achieving net-zero carbon emissions will cost its transportation sector $11 trillion — or “1.8% of GDP per year through to 2060,” the report said.

Citing the 2020 China Renewable Energy Outlook, ING pointed out that passenger car transport in China will more than double to 450 million by 2050 — from 220 million vehicles in 2018.

China has seen rapid growth in the electric vehicle space, and ING predicts that if the country fully adopts battery plug-in electric vehicles by 2060, the total energy demand from passenger vehicles by 2050 could decrease significantly.

China’s marine industry would require the most investments to achieve net-zero carbon, ING said, adding that the demand for sea freight is estimated to grow to around 120% of today’s levels by 2060.

However, it would be impossible to achieve carbon neutrality without substituting diesel and liquefied natural gas with green ammonia, hence incurring extra cost of $3.7 billion and an additional 433 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity.

Japan and South Korea’s carbon neutral goals

Both Japan and South Korea have set their sights on 2050, and aim to reach their carbon neutral goals by then.

It will cost Japan $1 trillion to transition to a net-zero plan for its transport system, in terms of the electricity generating capacity required, according to ING’s forecast. This accounts for “about 20% of current Japanese GDP” — but that number can fall to “0.6% GDP per annum when spread between now and 2050.”‘

The report said Japan has made little progress in decarbonizing its economy as fossil fuels still make up more than two-thirds of the country’s primary energy supply. In a positive light, this means “Japan has a lot of low-hanging fruit to exploit in the transition process offering the prospect of rapid progress.”

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

ING estimated that the total green energy capacity costs for transforming South Korea’s transport sector toward a net-zero carbon future would cost around $400 billion, or 0.6% of today’s GDP per year when spread over the next 30 years.

Although the cost countries will have to spend on transitioning their transportation systems can be “immensely depressing,” it’s important to remember that “all of this spending is going to show up as GDP,” Carnell wrote.

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Xpeng launches XPILOT 3.5 semi-autonomous driving features



A new Xpeng P7 car is shown in the Xpeng Motors flagship store in a shopping mall. Xpeng P7 is one of the two popular models of Xpeng motors.

Zhang Peng | LightRocket | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China — Chinese electric car start-up Xpeng released updates for its semi-autonomous driving system as its looks to up its challenge to Tesla in China.

Xpeng released XPILOT 3.5, the latest version of its advanced driver-assistance system, or ADAS. This refers to a driving software system with some autonomous features but where a driver is still required.

With XPILOT 3.5, the company will be launching a feature called City NGP, which stands for navigation guided pilot. The system allows Xpeng’s cars to change lanes, speed up or slow down, or overtake cars and enter and exit highways. Previously the system was designed just for highways, but now Xpeng will be releasing this feature for driving in cities.

XPILOT 3.5 will be available to owners of Xpeng’s P5 car, which was launched this year. The upgrade will be rolled out to customers in the first half of 2022.

Xpeng also announced details of the next-generation ADAS called XPILOT 4.0. The company said that it has upgraded the hardware that will power XPILOT 4.0 and will include features including vehicle switch-on to assisted parking.

XPILOT 4.0 is slated for rollout in the first half of 2023.

XPILOT is Xpeng’s rival to Tesla’s ADAS called Autopilot. Competition in China’s electric vehicle market continues to heat up. Automakers are looking to launch features and vehicles to differentiate themselves and stand out in what is becoming an increasingly crowded market.

Xpeng also launched a new charger for its cars. The company says that with just five minutes of charging with the new charger, the car’s battery will have a range of 200 kilometers. 

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A neuroscientist shares the 4 brain-changing benefits of exercise—and how much she does every week



When we think about the benefits of exercise, we usually think of better sleep, more energy, maintaining a healthy weight, stronger muscles or a healthier heart.

These are all true. But we rarely consider the immediate effects that physical activity can have on the most important organ in our bodies: the brain.

Through my years of research as a neuroscientist, I’ve found that exercising is one of the most transformative things you can do to improve cognitive abilities, such as learning, thinking, memory, focus and reasoning — all of which can help you become smarter and live longer.

How exercise boosts your brain health

1. It decreases feelings of anxiety

Studies have shown that every time your move your body, a number of beneficial neurotransmitters, including dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin and acetylcholine, gets released into your brain.

These substances can decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. (Think of them as a neurochemical “bubble bath” for your brain.)

It only takes between 10 and 30 minutes of daily physical activity to instantly life your mood. No gym membership? Take a short walk, or use the stairs instead of the elevator.

When I’m crunched for time, I’ll simply pace a few laps around my dining room table.

2. It improves your focus and concentration

In one of my lab experiments, I found that a single workout can help improve your ability to shift and focus attention.

This is an immediate benefit that can last for at least two hours after 30 minutes of exercise. I recommend activities that increase your heart rate, such as brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling, playing tennis or jumping rope.

Studies have also shown that one workout session can improve your reaction times — which means, for example, that you’re going to be much faster at catching that cup of coffee before it falls off the table.

3. It promotes the growth of new brain cells

One of the most significant benefits of exercise, scientists have found, is that it promotes neurogenesis, or the birth of new brain cells. This is essential to improving cognitive function.

Researchers have shown in rats and mice that running ramps up the creation of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a small seahorse-shaped part of the brain devoted to memory formation and storage.

Exercise also can improve the health and function of the synapses between neurons in this region, allowing brain cells to better communicate.

4. It protects your brain from aging and neurodegenerative diseases

Imagine your brain as a muscle: the more workout you put into it, the stronger and bigger it gets.

Longitudinal studies in humans suggest that regular exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, both of which are susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

So while exercising won’t completely prevent or cure normal cognitive decline in aging, doing it consistently can help reduce or delay the onset of it. In many ways, exercise is like a supercharged 401(k) for your brain — and it’s even better, because it’s free.

You don’t have to become a triathlete

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Elon Musk reposted 28-year-old’s meme, it sold as an NFT for $20,000



It’s no secret that billionaire Elon Musk loves memes. He frequently reposts them on Twitter, where he has 61 million followers.

Though some dislike his reposting, as he often neglects to give the original meme creators credit, others have profited from Musk’s practice, including self-proclaimed “hobby artist” Eva Beylin.

Beylin was thrilled when Musk reposted her meme on Wednesday. “The ultimate prize of memeology is for the ultimate meme lord to use your meme,” Beylin, 28, tells CNBC Make It.

Even though Musk didn’t give her any attribution, “I am over the moon,” she says, adding that she’s a big fan of Musk.

Beylin’s meme, which she named “Love in The Time of Web3,” depicts a cartoon couple admiring the prices of bitcoin and ether, which are $69,000 and $4,200, respectively, in the meme. While the price of bitcoin hasn’t hit $69,000, the numbers are an obvious nod to meme culture.

As the director of The Graph Foundation, which supports blockchain data protocol The Graph, Beylin is passionate about Web3, which is the decentralized iteration of the internet that powers blockchain-based applications like NFTs.

“Love in The Time of Web3” got a lot of attention following Musk’s tweet. That night, Beylin listed it as an NFT, or nonfungible token, on marketplace Zora, and two days later, it sold for five wrapped ether, which is about $19,800 at current pricing, to an anonymous buyer.

“It is surreal,” Beylin says.

Though it was Beylin’s idea to create the meme, she did not design the image of the cartoon couple or edit the prices of bitcoin and ether.

Beylin was inspired to create the meme after seeing a post by another Twitter user who edited the cryptocurrency prices and tweeted it as a joke.

To compensate the user, who is known as @shegenerates, Beylin gave her 20% of the proceeds from the NFT sale. Shegenerates was fine with Beylin using her edit, she tells CNBC Make It.

“Personally, I have [Musk] blocked on Twitter, so I only saw it after Eva [Beylin] posted about him sharing it. I wish I got all those likes myself because I can only imagine how much serotonin my brain would make with all that attention, but memes are permissionless, so it’s just cool to see things I shared around,” Shegenerates says.

Beylin doesn’t know the creator of the image depicting the cartoon couple. And because of the legal gray area that NFTs exist in, it’s not clear whether the use of this image infringes on any potential copyright laws.

With her cut of the sale, Beylin plans to reinvest in other artists by buying their NFTs.

“As a hobby artist, I’d never be able to reinvest in art or have my art paid for [without NFTs]. So, my thing has always been reinvesting back into NFTs,” she says.

The buyer of “Love in The Time of Web3” has already relisted the meme for 69.42 wrapped ether, or about $275,000. Though it’s less than the buyer’s asking price, a bidder already offered 6.94 wrapped ether, or about $27,500, for the meme.

If it resells, Beylin will earn a 15% royalty, she says.

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