🌎 A swift exit from Credit Suisse

Plus: Are EVs really better for the environment?
🌎 A swift exit from Credit Suisse

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Credit Suisse lost a major shareholder. US-based activist investor Harris Associates began its exit after the Swiss bank raised $4.3 billion in a Saudi-led funding round last year.

China set its lowest economic growth target in decades. Beijing settled for a roughly 5% rise in GDP while seeking to boost its military spending.

Tesla cut the cost of two of its most popular models in the US. Model S and Model X are now 4% to 9% cheaper after investors failed to be impressed by the company’s plans for growth last week.

Funko is sending $30 million worth of plastic figurines to the landfill. The toymaker’s unsold stock costs more to store than to throw away.

UN members agreed to protect biodiversity in the high seas. It took more than two decades to finally approve a framework to safeguard marine life in territories outside of national waters.

What to watch for

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)’s coffers need replenishing, but proposed changes to the cost of various visa applications which, in some cases, would more than double , have been described as “simply unfair,” “outrageous,” and “untenable.”

The proposal’s public consultation period was due to close today (Mar. 6), but has been postponed to Mar. 13 after a glitch last month prevented the submission of comments for several hours. Some commentators speculated that the deadline extension might give time to garner more positive feedback amid a deluge of negative responses .

The proposal has received more than 4,000 comments so far, some of which reflect how such increases would impact workers and businesses in sectors from farming to entertainment. Many end with the same plea: “I urge you to reconsider.”

Are EVs really better for the environment?

Electric vehicle sales have been accelerating , but while the cars may be emissionless, their manufacturing process certainly isn’t.

But if the elements in an EV take such a heavy ecological toll, are they really so much cleaner than gas-fueled internal combustion engines? Compare the two options wheel-to-wheel, you’ll see a pretty clear winner .

A bar chart showing the life-cycle carbon emissions intensity of internal combustion engine vehicles vs. electrics vehicles.
Graphic : Clarisa Diaz and Mary Hui

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The future of Escobar’s cocaine hippos

The muddy waters of Pablo Escobar’s abandoned ranch are home to a herd of 3,000–pound problems: invasive hippopotamuses.

While the hefty mammals love Colombia’s ecosystem, the environment doesn’t love them back. The natural habitats of the country’s manatees and capybaras are paying the price for Escobar’s cocaine pets. But the hippos may finally be getting a new home .

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Surprising discoveries

Come on down to fungus town. A community in Tennessee has whiskey to blame for a pesky black mold that’s coating homes and trees.

All aboard the escape-your-daily-life cruise. For $30,000 a year, a ship could be your new home.

Ford is working on cars that could repossess themselves. If repo is too expensive, they’ll just drive themselves straight to the junkyard .

Deep boreholes could solve our nuclear waste problem... They’d keep waste much farther away from groundwater, for one thing.

… and clean energy could also bring us clean water. Nuclear fusion power could finally make desalination reality—we just need to make fusion power a reality first. Episode 2 of the Quartz Obsession takes the plunge into our fusion powered future.

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