Heat pumps for everyone, and fake Twitter accounts in China

gettyimages 1442958272 crop.jpeg
gettyimages 1442958272 crop.jpeg

The news: Heat pumps, which use electricity to both heat and cool homes, are now just as common in low-income households in the US as they are in wealthier ones. This bucks the trend among consumer climate technologies, many of which are much more likely to be adopted by the wealthy.

Why it matters: Heating buildings is a huge climate problem—roughly 10% of global emissions come from our efforts to keep our indoor spaces comfortable. But while governments are eager for people to adopt new appliances that could replace systems that burn fossil fuels, historically, such changes haven’t been distributed equally. Heat pumps, at least in the US, seem to be different. That’s good news.

The big picture: The number of households that rely on heat pumps is still small, and there’s no guarantee that they will continue to be adopted at equal rates by households with different incomes. But financial incentives could help to bring the cost savings and climate progress associated with heat pumps to everyone, not just the rich. Read the full story.

—Casey Crownhart

The Twitter accounts that impersonate Chinese celebrities for clout and cash

A growing number of Twitter accounts have been impersonating outspoken Chinese intellectuals or celebrities. Their posts, which frequently criticize the Chinese government, often draw hundreds of thousands of followers before the deception is publicly exposed.

Although Twitter has been banned in China since 2009, more Chinese users have been accessing the platform with VPN tools in recent years. It’s also become a place rife with spam, scams, and content farms, which has only gotten worse under Elon Musk’s reign. But the emergence of accounts that impersonate Chinese celebrities who don’t have a Twitter presence—likely to farm followers—is a new, and worrying, trend. Read the full story.

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