The Race to End Fossil Fuel Based Vehicle Emissions is On — Tesla Model 3 to hit 500,000 Preorders, Dutch Motions to Ban Petrol, and Shell’s Shilling for Biofuels

This week Shell and Volkswagon banded together in a big EU lobbying push. Their goal — to promote biofuels as a ‘bridge fuel’ to EVs in what some say has become a rather obvious bid to delay the entry of electric vehicles in large numbers to fleets across Europe. An effort that some analysts are concerned may represent yet one more push to kill the electric car.

(Unofficial Tesla advertisement streamed over a famous speech by Nikola Tesla. A combination of increasingly accessible electric vehicles and renewable energy sources like wind and solar provide hope that human beings can rapidly reduce carbon emissions over the coming years. But the still powerful and established fossil fuel industry continues to attempt to delay progress through its vast monetary power and equally vast legislative, advertising, and public relations based influence. Can we free the captive fossil fuel consumer? Video source: Not a Dream.)

According to analyst for the Transport and Environment’s Carlos Calvo Ambel:

Carmakers, oil companies and biofuels producers are making a desperate bid to dissuade Europe from undertaking fuel efficiency standards for cars, vans and trucks, a push for electric vehicles and many of the other badly needed actions in the transport sector.

Shell recently acquired an interest in Brazil based biofuels industries and it appears that Shell may be using its new biofuels interests as leverage to divide support for a rapidly expanding access to zero-carbon emitting electrical vehicles. If this is true, it wouldn’t be the first time that the fossil fuel industry has lobbied against renewables, attempted to play divide and conquer with renewable energy supporters, or conducted deceptive advertising and public relations campaigns in an effort to retain energy market dominance — negative climate consequences be damned.

In what has become an ever-expanding context of industry deception and manipulation, Exxon Mobile is now under increasingly intense investigation over its active funding of climate change denial organizations in an effort to confuse the public even after its own scientists identified threats posed by fossil fuel emissions as far back as the 1960s. The Koch Brothers, who are heavily invested in oil pipelines, are identified as funding yet one more multi-million dollar advertising attack on renewables — this time against electric vehicles. And in the legislative bodies throughout the western world, politicians receiving the highest levels of campaign funding support from fossil fuel industry sources are the ones most likely to deny the existence of human caused climate change and to oppose legislative efforts promoting renewable energy expansion and related carbon emissions reductions.

Nethernlands Motion to Ban Petrol and Diesel, Germany Promises 1 Billion Euros For Electric Vehicles

The new Shell/Volkswagon effort comes as the lower house of Parliament in the Netherlands is pushing a measure to ban both petrol and diesel use in that country by 2025. The measure would rely on a rapid transition to electric vehicles and would basically outlaw fossil fuel based automobile use by that time.

A low-lying nation, the Netherlands stands to lose much if sea level rise due to a human-forced warming of the globe starts to rapidly ramp up. A risk that grows as more carbon is emitted into the atmosphere. And with about 50 percent of household carbon emissions coming from vehicle use, a transition to electric vehicles powered by renewable energy could help to dramatically curb both individual and national emissions totals. Currently, the Netherlands is one of the regions of the world featuring the highest rates of EV sales — with ten percent of all automobile sales taken up by electric cars in early 2016.

In Germany, a country to which Netherlanders displaced by sea level rise may be forced to migrate, news was much the same as Parliament approved a 1 billion euro subsidy to support increased sales of electric vehicles there. An ambitious effort that it is hoped will push Germany’s current 50,000 car EV fleet to more than 1 million by 2020.

Tesla Model 3 Preorders Expected to hit 500,000 This Year

Among the world’s big car producers, there’s only one major automaker that sells only all-electric vehicles and that’s Elon Musk’s Tesla. A company that is now known not only for its ability to field cutting-edge electric automobiles, but also for its track-record in producing some of the highest quality, highest performance vehicles in the world. Not only do all Tesla cars require no oil, gas or other fossil fuels to run, not only do they produce zero tailpipe emissions or provide the opportunity to produce zero driving emissions when their batteries are charged by renewables like wind and solar, but Tesla autos are also some of the fastest, most luxurious vehicles in the world.

And until now this seemingly contradictory combo of sustainable systems and consumer oriented products has been very pricey. The Model S, Tesla’s flagship offering, starts at $70,000 — a price that puts it in competition with top of the lines Mercedes, BMWs, and Audis. Include all the frills, and a Tesla Model S could sell for well over $100,000.

Tesla's supercharging network

(Tesla’s charging station network provides free EV charging to Tesla owners. It’s a network that continues to expand along major travel routes in North America. Image source: Tesla Supercharger.)

Sales for Tesla’s high-price, high-quality electric cars have been very respectable. Last year, Tesla sold more than 50,000 EVs worldwide. And while these sales rates are enough to make any luxury vehicle manufacturer envious, Tesla is driving for a huge market expansion over the coming years. Its strategy for triggering this expansion hinges on the success of the economically more accessible Model 3. A vehicle that’s half the starting price of the S at around $35,000. That’s still not a cheap car. But with Tesla providing all the vehicle fuel for free in the form of an increasingly widespread network of EV charging stations, with many nations around the world providing EV incentives in an effort to reduce both emissions and oil dependency, and with Tesla as one of the highest quality and performance vehicles around, the price often presents a very tempting offer.

Use of direct sales allows Tesla to gauge customer interest by offering its models for pre-order. And at the time of the Model 3’s launch in early April, CEO Elon Musk is reported to have expected about 100,000 pre-orders (requiring 1,000 dollars to hold a Model 3 reservation) in total. But the enthusiasm surrounding the Model 3 defied all expectations. The 100,000 pre-order mark was breached in just one day and by now Model 3 preorders are estimated to have hit about 400,000. Overall, Musk now expects pre-orders to easily reach 500,000 by later this year. That’s half a million expected sales of just one single electric vehicle model.

The Race Against Catastrophic Climate Change is Now On

Though Tesla is not the only major manufacturer of electric vehicles, it is the notable leader. That said, a number of other manufacturers are entering increasingly competitive options into the race. Chevy, for example, is producing the 200 mile range Bolt EV for sale this year and its Volt plug in electric hybrid now gets more than 50 miles on a single change before switching to gasoline. Nissan will be again upgrading its Leaf to exceed a 200 mile range in the next two years. And along with the 215 mile range Model 3 there are an expanding number of additional high quality, long range EV options now becoming available. Taking the expanse of new offerings into account, it appears that a tipping point in EV quality and access will be reached during the period of 2017-2019.

As a synergy exists between low cost, high power and efficiency batteries used to run electric vehicles and energy storage options used for renewable energy sources like wind and solar, there is growing hope that these energy sources can be used to more and more rapidly replace current fossil fuel based energy systems. Wind, solar, and battery systems have all been shown to improve in price and efficiency with economies of scale. So expanding use of these energy systems makes it easier and easier for more and more people to access them. A synergy that has a potential to snowball renewable energy access during a time in which rapid reductions in carbon emissions are now desperately needed.

With the effects of catastrophic climate change now starting to ramp up, it appears that the world is in a very real and dire race between the crucial mitigating influences of renewable energy systems and the expanding and worsening impacts of global warming. Any delays to a necessarily swift energy transition that are achieved by the fossil fuel special interests will result in more and more climate harm being locked in. So action by Shell and Volkswagon this week to delay European EV expansion efforts are very counter-productive to any push to fully and swiftly address the problem of human-forced warming.

Links:

Shell and Volkswagon Try to Block Push for Cleaner Cars

Netherlands Lower Parliament Pushing for Petrol and Diesel Ban by 2025

Germany Pushing for 1 Million Electric Vehicles by 2020

Tesla has Received 400,000 Model 3 Preorders So Far

DCI Group Subpeonaed in Expanding Exxon Mobile Climate Change Denial Investigation

CO2’s Role in Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry’s Radar Since the 1960s

The Kochs are Plotting a Multi-Million Dollar Assault on Electric Vehicles

Non-Official Tesla Ad Crosses Mad Max with 1984

The Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model 3

The Chevy Bolt

The Chevy Volt

Nissan Leaf to have 200 Mile Range in 2017

200 Mile Electric Cars We’re Looking Forward to

Hat Tip to Cate

Hat Tip to DT Lange

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment

268 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  April 29, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. vardarac

     /  April 29, 2016

    Biofuels, assuming they’re actually carbon neutral (or at least substantially less net emissive than fossil fuels), would still be useful transitionally in other niches, like jets, high temperature burning, construction and mining equipment, etc, particularly considering that we still use fossil fuels to make renewables. But absolutely get the ICE off our roads as soon as possible.

    I’m debating whether to put down money for a Tesla 3, but I’d probably not get it until 2019+ and would clean all my savings😉

    Reply
    • Good, salient points here. Yeah, the 35,000 dollar price is still high for most of us. But this coming gen of EVs has the potential to drop fossil fuel based vehicle consumption worldwide by 5-10 percent and really start to leverage battery economies of scale. I think the generation following the current model 3 will be far more widely accessible. Will keep fingers crossed.

      Reply
      • Understanding this approach may not work for many … we have a Mitsubishi EV with about 28,000 miles on it. It has a 60-mile range, and we plug it in overnight in the garage (had to spend an extra $200 to have an outlet installed). With the trade-in of a gas-fueled vehicle worth about $10,000, it cost us $12,000 (financed over 4 years with a zero-interest loan). AND we qualified for a $7,500 federal tax credit. We also have a solar system, so our marginal cost for fuel is very low.

        We have two cars–the other is a Prius, and is used when we can’t avoid it.

        So, I urge poking around and trying to better understand what’s available on the market, what you need, and what policies (like the tax credit) apply. A full or partial answer may be less costly than you think.

        Reply
  3. George W. Hayduke

     /  April 29, 2016

    I appreciate all the work you do here Robert, and it’s nice to find good news here from time to time. Our neighbors have a Tesla S that I covet every time they drive by. We also have a Tesla charging station here in our town. This gives me some hope.

    Reply
  4. George W. Hayduke

     /  April 29, 2016

    @Climatehawk1, I’ve lusted after more fuel efficient vehicles for some time (especially EVs). My thought is when I do it, I want my current vehicle recycled, I feel that by going to an EV and selling my current vehicle, the older vehicle is still on the road. I wouldn’t have a problem with this as my older vehicle has almost 200,000 miles on it and I try to ride my bike on as many trips as possible including year round work commutes.

    Reply
    • Good point, George. At the moment, I feel it is critical to create demand for EVs. The car we traded in was also a hybrid that got about 40 mpg (Honda Insight), so I don’t feel toooo guilty.🙂

      Reply
      • George W. Hayduke

         /  April 30, 2016

        Totally agree, until I can afford one I will continue to ride my bike. I always say my commute to work is the best part of my workday.

        Reply
        • Sounds great, I envy you to some extent. May look into an electric bike at some point, as it is quite hilly around here and I am somewhat past my prime. I’d be happy to use one on days when the weather is good.

  5. Wharf Rat

     /  April 29, 2016

    Massive Victory for 7 Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State

    Today, in a surprise ruling from the bench in the critical climate case brought by youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session.

    http://www.desmogblog.com/2016/04/29/massive-victory-7-kids-climate-change-lawsuit-washington-state

    And you, of the tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by,
    And so please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.
    Teach your parents well, their children’s hell will slowly go by,

    Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    Argentina Floods Swamp Soy Crop; Some Must Commute by Boat

    Water levels in the flooded town of Villa Paranacito have risen so much that the best way for residents to commute is by boat.

    The town in eastern Argentina is one of the worst-struck by weeks of heavy rains stemming from the El Nino weather phenomenon. With streets covered by several feet of water from swollen rivers, residents are getting to schools, banks and other town services on boats, the only means of transportation.

    Authorities have evacuated thousands of people across Argentina. Flood waters have reached grazing grounds, drowning livestock in the leading meat producing country. They have also swamped about a third of Argentina’s soy farms, causing big losses to one of the world’s top grains suppliers.

    Argentina’s Rural Society said Thursday that about 4 million metric tons of soy had been ruined. The losses are estimated at up to $1.3 billion.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/argentina-floods-swamp-soy-crop-commute-boat-38773039

    Reply
  7. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    NAIROBI A six-storey building collapsed in Nairobi’s Huruma residential area late on Friday, the Kenya Red Cross said, after days of heavy rains and floods.

    http://www.firstpost.com/world/six-storey-building-collapses-after-floods-in-kenyan-capital-reuters-2757498.html

    Reply
  8. – Infrastructure – Charging Stations etc – “2-degree stress test”

    Utility Companies Could Fail a “Climate Stress Test”

    Investors want utilities to prove they can be profitable under a 2-degree Celsius limit on global warming

    The term “2-degree stress test” has worked its way into investors’ lexicon.

    After the Paris climate agreement in December, stockholders filed a record number of resolutions related to climate change, including requests at electric utilities to simulate—or stress test—how they would operate under the agreement.

    More than 42 percent of shareholders at power company AES Corp. voted this month in support of a resolution for a 2-degree-Celsius test, and, in a guiding document published today, a group of 270 institutional investors said the financial risks of climate change directly threaten the electric utility business.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/utility-companies-could-fail-a-climate-stress-test/

    Reply
    • Loni

       /  April 30, 2016

      It’s about time……sheesh, but good for them.

      Reply
    • Centralized power generation is very vulnerable to climate change. Any plant that requires a large amount of water, that sits on a river or near a lake, or near the ocean. 2 C gets to be pretty rough for a lot of them. Distributed generation does a lot better.

      Reply
  9. Colorado Bob

     /  April 29, 2016

    Austria’s Treasured National Resource, Its Glaciers, Are Melting Fast

    VIENNA—Nearly all of Austria’s 900 glaciers retreated last year amid record-setting heat, according to Austrian scientists. The rapid melting mirrors a trend across the Alps and underscores scientists’ warnings of accelerating, extreme climate impacts caused by human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

    Across the country, the glaciers retreated an average of 72 feet in 2015, more than twice the rate of the previous year, the Austrian Alpine Association said in its annual glacier survey. Three of the country’s glaciers retreated by more than 320 feet. The nonprofit association—which promotes mountain culture, research and conservation— has been conducting detailed glacier measurements since 1927, creating a dramatic record of climate change effects in the alpine region.

    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/27042016/austria-glaciers-melting-fast-climate-change-global-warming-alps-pasterze

    Reply
  10. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    Food System Shock: Climate Change’s Greatest Threat to Civilization

    By: Jeff Masters , 4:00 PM GMT on April 29, 2016

    The greatest threat of climate change to civilization over the next 40 years is likely to be climate change-amplified extreme droughts and floods hitting multiple major global grain-producing “breadbaskets” simultaneously. A “Food System Shock” report issued in 2015 by insurance giant Lloyd’s of London outlined a plausible extreme shock to global food production that could cause rioting, terrorist attacks, civil war, mass starvation and severe losses to the global economy. Their scenario, which Lloyd’s gave uncomfortably high odds of occurring–significantly higher than 0.5% per year, which works out to at least an 18% chance of occurrence in the next 40 years–goes like this:

    Link

    Reply
    • Fantastic article by Dr. Masters here. Regarding risks for this year, there’s a heck of a lot of stress due to drought in India right now. The heatwave could drift north into China as May progresses. US looks OK so far. El Niño years should reduce meridional air flows. This year, however, has seen numerous such instances.

      Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks. Great job by Dr. Masters.

      Reply
  11. Here in Brasil, the biofuel industry (Cosan in the foreground) has lobbied against eletric cars for a few decades, with sucess aplenty. Since their wedding with Shell in 2011 (creating Raizen), they’ve had even more money to curb any and all tries to bring eletric vehicles to Brasil (a few brasilian enterprises, like Gurgel, were trampled in the process).

    Until very recently, the taxes on eletric vehicles were of 60% (comparing with taxes in diesel vehicles of 35%, the second highest). And there are laws forbidding non-juridic people (persons who aren’t enterprises… yep, enterprises may have more rights than people around here, written in law) to directly import vehicles (I actually tried to navigate that maze to see if I could import an Elf, but I gave up), so, if a model isn’t available locally for sale, it’s basically impossible to buy.

    Right now, there are only three fully-eletric models for sale in Brasil: BMW I3, BMW I8 and Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Any one of those is more expensive than what I’ve paid for my house, with no affordable models who can be bought by someone who’s not at least an millionaire, and that’s why there are only 558 eletric cars in Brasil. Most of those are either enterprise cars or taxis (Nissan-Renault is trying to lobby FOR eletric cars, and did some stunts selling Leafs for eletric producers and taxi fleets as marketing). Sales of eletrics are growing, though, despite the hardships. Until 2012, there were less than a 100 eletric cars in Brasil, this number 558 is from August 2015, the most recent number I was able to find.

    There are rumors that other companies will start to sell their models in Brasil (even Tesla… ), and maybe, with the recent changes in taxes (now eletrics pay the same import taxes than gasoline vehicles) maybe that will happen. But I’ll only believe it when it does, those rumors are cyclic and disappointing.

    BTW, you guys probably known Shell better, but Cosan, the other half of the Shell-Cosan company, is as bad as it gets. Brasil once upon a time (before the actual president Dilma, who hopefully will be impeached this month) had a public list of “Slavers”, enterprises that had been caught using slave workers, and who were thus public shamed (not many ways to punish an enterprise, but getting word out of their bad deeds was a very good one).

    Enterprises in the “Slavers” list could be removed from it if they paid their workers all their dues. Cosan found another way of getting out of the Slavers list: let’s sue them. They sued their way out of it, and sucessfully lobbied President Dilma’s government to REMOVE the list from existence. That’s the kind of enterprise Cosan is.

    Just to be fair, Cosan is NOT the only ethanol producer, only the bigger one. There are other enterprises producing ethanol, some even doing it inside the limits of decency (family owned and far smaller Ipiranga comes to mind).

    Reply
    • When I think about how much people, our world, pretty much everything, has been exploited and abused by these corporations, it just makes me so insanely angry. Thank you for letting us know what’s going on in Brazil. And I urge everyone to read Umbrios’s post here. It really shows the lengths to which these corporations will go to ensure people remain captive to the consumption of destructive products.

      Reply
  12. wili

     /  April 30, 2016

    SkS has written an article that indicates that the April GISS will be around 1.2C.

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/2c-2016-03.html

    “The first three months of 2016 have now all been blow-out months, all rising above 1°C anomaly over the GISS mid-century baseline. This month came in at 1.28°C. In fact, all of the past 6 months have come in at an unprecedented >1°C over their baseline. In terms of our anomaly over our 1880-1909 preindustrial baseline, this clocks in at 1.528°C and we’ve now marked 13 months where the 12 month average has remained over 1°C. We first crossed that point in February of 2015.
    Reliable sources are telling me April 2016 is coming in about the same, around 1.2°C in the GISS data. The 2015/16 super El Nino is continuing to wane but we probably have a few more months of these extreme global anomalies to come before the surface station data begins to fall back to the long term mean trend line.

    This is some crazy stuff, and we likely will have several more months of the same or similar coming.
    Expect 2016 to be the third year in a row that we beat the record for global mean temperature.”

    See also:
    http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2016/04/hottest-march-on-record-tracking-el.html

    Thanks to ASLR at neven’s forums for links and text.

    Reply
  13. wili

     /  April 30, 2016

    As someone who has owned an EV and spent many hours countering false claims from EV detractors, I have to say that what we even more desperately need is to get as far away from car culture as fast as possible. Moving one 100-200 pound body through space by putting them in a vehicle many times that weight just is really idiotic. Yes, maybe we’re stuck with some version of car culture, but we should mostly be figuring out how to minimize it, not just transform it.

    Cars are coffins!

    Reply
    • 80 million cars are sold each year. Clearly there’s a huge demand, a huge set of enterprises surrounding all that. As tough as it is to take on fossil fuels, I think it’s probably a more rational goal than taking on all of the auto industry too. If you can push for transformation and show that these guys can make it through as more sustainable industries then you’ve put yourself on ground where you’re more likely to succeed. In the US, for example, a car is the only viable mode of transportation to and from work, around town, or for medium distance travel in most areas. It would be great to have more options and we should push for that. But a rapid response to climate change will necessarily involve a push for EVs as well.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  April 30, 2016

        “In the US, for example, a car is the only viable mode of transportation to and from work, around town, or for medium distance travel in most areas. ” Yes, and that was very carefully planned by the auto, oil and concrete industries.

        If corrupt industries can plan and carry out a transportation system (with the help of the feds with the interstate system) that is murderous to individuals, communities and the planet, we can certainly come together and start planning a transportation system that is primarily about getting people where they have to be, not around selling the maximum amount of cars, petrol and concrete.

        But yes, in the mean time, ev’s are a bit better than ICE vehicles, especially if their power can come from renewables.

        Reply
        • What’s murderous in the cars, Wili? It’s the fossil fuel part. And no, EVs are not just marginally better. EVs are a far, far better thing than what we’ve got now.

          Anyone looking at the energy transition has got to be careful about false memes. And one of the worst I’ve encountered is this completely fallacious notion that it takes more carbon to produce an EV than the EV saves in operation. It’s a false frame of reference for 2 reasons. The first is that studies looking at supply chain carbon costs are often prone to over-counting, double counting and are easily manipulated. The worst and most frequently cited have often been funded by fossil fuel based energy interests and suffer heavily from confirmation bias. The second reason is due to the fact that the carbon footprint for production is lowered the less carbon based structures you have in the production chain. So if, for example, a part for an EV is transported by an EV at some point in the supply chain, then those emissions are taken out.

          It’s not marginally better. It’s transformative. It’s systemically better.

          Also, there’s this subtext to our conversation that we should bring to light. And the subtext is this concept of limits that for some appears to have become the basis for a number of false assumptions. So we should be clear to distinguish the difference between what’s possible, what’s desirable, what’s required, and what’s helpful.

          In the context of limits, an energy system that has fossil fuels at its basis cannot exist for very long due to the fact that it has a terrible externality in the form of climate change. If you switch that basis to renewables and especially to the chain of zero carbon sources that include wind, solar, and battery based electrical storage, then you remove that externality from the energy source and that particular externality based limit is gone.

          Some appear to be conflating the climate change boundary limit with other, less tangible and ill-defined limits. This conflation draws people back to behavioral changes that have been proscribed by certain political philosophers. These behavioral changes are things I view as useful, helpful, and desirable. Things like setting rational and moral limits on labor, helping to ensure more equality of wealth, and reducing material throughputs to economies overall as a means to solidify long-term sustainability. In short, these are changes that are helpful and desirable but in the short term do not represent what I would call a center of gravity to the current crisis.

          The other subtext is something that I don’t believe is coming from you, but that tends to predominate subsets of the environmental movement. And this subtext I would identify as an irrational blanket demonization of technology. Human beings are technological creatures for which technology has become necessary for survival. Human language, the medium we now use to share these thoughts, simple eating with a fork or a spoon all involves technology. With technology, we need to make distinction between destructive use of tech and constructive use of tech with low or no externality. In this we should optimize technology to preserve, not to exploit or to dominate. And a failure to develop the preservation tech is simply destructive in that it allows the destructive tech to continue to operate. In this way, those who have band wagoned all tech into the ‘bad’ pile are actually actively serving the destructive legacy interests. And this is in no small part due to the fact that the exploitative, dominating tech fosters harmful economic, social, and survival dependencies.

          So if you really want to confront the ‘murderous industries’ the best way to do so is to develop benevolent industries and systems to replace them.

      • wili

         /  April 30, 2016

        Ultimately, we have to aim for what can only be called a wiser society. I would suggest that in a wise society people aren’t totally obsessed with buzzing back and forth at breakneck or supersonic speeds all the time, rushing about as if to prove to themselves that they are constantly doing important things. A wise society recognizes and lives within limits…

        Even if all cars were EVs and all energy came from alts, we would still need to move towards some such kind of wise society if we were ever going to attain anything like real sustainability, imvho.

        Reply
      • wili

         /  April 30, 2016

        “fallacious notion that it takes more carbon to produce an EV than the EV saves in operation”

        Yes, I have been arguing against this fallacy for years.

        It is this–he waste of putting one person in one relatively heavy vehicle to go usually a relatively short distance that lots of other people are traversing–that I see as the problem with cars.

        And of course there is a large direct death toll on roads. If replace all ICE cars with EVs that go the same speeds in the same way, the death toll on highways will remain at its current high level.

        And, no, you are right, I am not exactly anti-technology. But we do have to finally start to reflect on the fact that, as Einstein already pointed out long ago, the power we have gained over our environs through technology has far outstripped our collective level of wisdom and maturity. It is as if we are five-year-olds with live chainsaws–even if we manage to avoid mangling our own bodies directly, we are going to make a mess of the furniture and even undermine the structure of the house.

        I sometimes ask students to make a graph: first of technological advancement in the last two hundred years or so–the exact units are not particularly important. Everyone basically draws some sort of exponential curve.

        Then I ask them to draw a graph of the increase (if any) in collective human wisdom and maturity over the last 200 years or so–again, using whatever units you want.

        These start in the same place as the tech line, but pretty much stay in the same place.

        What you end up with then is a huge current gap between our current technological capabilities and the wisdom we collectively possess to safely and sagaciously wield them.

        We easily recognize the problem that such a gap produces in other contexts, but mostly we’re not invited to think about the consequences of the gap today. So tech itself is not really the problem, but the gap is something that we should all always have in the forefront of our mind, just as we would want the five-year-old in the illustration above to be aware that he is, in fact, a five year old, and should be very careful about wielding a chainsaw in the house, and should probably start thinking about other more age-appropriate ‘technologies’ to employ for now. If EVs are one step toward moving toward those more appropriate technologies, good. But I think we have further to go after that.

        In any case, the upcoming generation seems to already mostly be starting to walk away from car culture. They will really be the ones making the decisions about what kind of culture and world they want to take responsibility for. We can bloviate about it all we want, but they are the ones who will ultimately be, so to speak, in the driver’s seat! ‘-)

        Reply
        • Of the people who frequent this blog, I’d say probably 80 percent of them own a vehicle of some kind or another. What I’m celebrating is the opportunity for those of us who have vehicles — either for transport that is necessary for our continued life and livelihood in the context in which we now live — to take advantage of that transportation in a manner that is far more sustainable, far, far less harmful than before. And, in purchasing that electric vehicle, to take part in an energy transition revolution by contributing to a powerful economy of scale inherent to the manufacturing, innovation, and social acceptance of these far more beneficial offerings. For every person who now puts solar on their roofs and and electric vehicle in their garage contributes to lowering the cost of those non-carbon energy and transportation sources and increasing access to everyone else. We’re helping to free the captive consumer from contributing wholesale harm that’s building up as a hothouse crisis in every corner of our world. And we should celebrate that and encourage that and push that innovation to occur as rapidly as it possibly can.

    • Mblanc

       /  April 30, 2016

      Apart from ambulances, which are kind of the reverse of coffins!🙂

      I think you are right when you say we should minimise car use, but I think we will always need some form of personal transport. If we paid a realistic amount for energy it would help tremendously, changing the current subsidies for FF powered vehicle users, and encouraging highly efficient alternatives.

      The impressive thing about EV’s is the rate at which the price of batteries is falling. There were some amazing numbers given by GM recently for the batteries in the upcoming Bolt. $145/kwh is the new magic number, dropping to $100/kwh by 2022.

      http://insideevs.com/gm-chevrolet-bolt-for-2016-145kwh-cell-cost-volt-margin-improves-3500/

      This price drop is faster than widely predicted, mirroring the situation we see with solar panel improvements.

      Reply
      • Good point, Mblanc.

        So this is the way I look at EVs and the auto industry. Right now, we have fossil fuel transport, fossil fuel machines, and mostly fossil fuel based manufacturing. But with low cost batteries, solar and wind you can basically remove fossil fuels from more and more parts of the chain. So not only do tailpipe emissions and fuel based emissions get cut to zero, the supply chain emissions drop the more EVs are used to transport the objects used to manufacture EVs, the more the production machinery is powered by renewables.

        $100 per kWh, can power a broader range of systems. Heavy machinery, even air transport becomes increasingly viable. This is what I mean when I talk about synergy. In other words, we can fight the auto industry or we can leverage its inherent economies of scale to make it work for us.

        Reply
    • DrFog

       /  April 30, 2016

      Though I understand Robert’s pragmatism that one should not try to fight in all fronts but concentrate in the main culprit, i.e. fossil fuels, in here I fully agree with what Wili wrote. Current extreme car usage in most developed western countries epitomises a type of society that was created which, unless it is dismantled, will make drastically reducing CO2 emissions and hence avoiding dangerous AGW, almost impossible.

      It is true that if all vehicles in a city were just EVs then the levels of local pollution will be very much reduced, except maybe for the harmful tyre wearing dust. The problem is that, almost all the components necessary to produce an EV require extensive use of fossil fuels. Considering that more than half of the total CO2 emitted during the average lifespan of a car occurs just during its manufacture, then producing all the EV necessary to replace the current cars based on the ICE will cause CO2 emissions to increase globally, despite locally the air quality getting much better.

      Besides, even with EVs there is the absurdity already mentioned above by Wili of using a 1.5 ton metallic box to move a person weighting about 20 times less. Adidtionally, the Jevons paradox tells us that when people perceive something to be more efficient they will tend use it more often, hence possibly offsetting any gains introduced by the higher efficiency.

      I’ve now been using a bicycle as my main transportation vehicle for almost 20 years in different countries. People keep telling me that riding a bicycle is difficult because it is too hilly, too wet, too cold, too hot, etc., any excuse. I never found all that to be a major problem, the biggest problem really is far too many cars and lorries on the roads, a vicious circle.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  April 30, 2016

        Thanks, DrFog, especially for bicycling!! (Though I do wonder how you are getting around between all those ‘different countries’ ! :))

        But of course the supply chain for EV cars can be largely decarbonized. And of course Jevons paradox is not any kind of absolute and immutable law–just something to watch out for as we try to set up incentives, etc.

        Generally, we have constructed an industrial society, and, whatever it’s fuel source, from an earth-centered perspective, it’s main function has been to transform large and precious sections of the planet from beautiful pearls of creation to local and global ‘waste’ and toxins.

        CO2 (and other GHGs) are the ones that, for those aware, are riveting our attention right now. But even if we totally decarbonized the current industrial society (and also got rid of the non-carbon GHG emissions), we would still have a monstrous industrial society that would still be using most of its wonderful renewable energy to transform natural beauty into the destruction of nature (and so ultimately, the destruction of our children).

        And to the extent that this society was still based on the insane notion of unlimited growth, it would be even more rapidly damaging and annihilating of life.

        We have an urgent obligation to redirect society away from carbon-based fuels and other sources of planet-destroying GHGs. And we should be strategically smart by, for example, delegitimizing the corporations that currently thrive on peddling these omni-cidal fossil-death-fuels.

        But, vast as that effort is, it is not the end or the total of our responsibility.

        Reply
        • Good points Wili.

          Jevons Paradox becomes increasingly irrelevant the more you recycle, the more the supply chain includes renewable systems, and at a threshold where efficiency takes up much of the activity a person can reasonably expected to perform. For example, my behavior for the day involves getting on the computer, making a few phone calls, walking to the grocery store, or driving out if I need to perform a few errands. I live in a modest sized dwelling that uses heat during the winter but very little energy to cool it in the summer. I eat food — primarily vegan. I enjoy books, movies, exercise, a few games, and outdoor activities. If all of these things suddenly used 50 percent less materials and energy, I wouldn’t suddenly do them twice as much.

        • Agreed. Joe Romm has done some excellent stuff on this at Climate Progress. Personally, I’ll just observe that we don’t drive more just because driving is cheaper now that we have an EV and Prius, so it seems there is something wrong about that economic assumption.

          http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/02/16/207532/debunking-jevons-paradox-jim-barrett/

      • DrFog

         /  May 1, 2016

        I meant cycling inside the different countries I moved to, not keep cycling from on country to another🙂 I’ve always managed to have found some accommodation not that far away from work so that commuting by bicycle becomes very feasible.

        I was not thinking as far ahead as you are, regarding the type of society that will emerge after the FF era, as I think that getting to that point will be almost impossible with the type of society that dominates most of the world today.

        But assuming that humans somehow do indeed manage to ban the use of all FFs while still preserving the capitalist system, where ever constant growth is a necessity, then you do have a point about the continued destruction of the few remaining ecosystems, e.g. mining for minerals to build batteries, wind turbines, PV panels, household machines, etc.

        Capitalism requires constant growth, otherwise a society based on it will collapse (no jobs, social unrest, revolutions), but constant growth, as you said, is total insane outside the realm of pure mathematics, i.e., in the real world.

        Regarding the seminal work on the “Limits to Growth” published in 1972, a system level tour de force study on the consequences of the “Exponential Growth” (population, resource extraction, oil production, etc.), Deutsche Welle (DW) TV has produced some months ago a very interesting documentary, interviewing some of its original co-authors: Final Warning: Limits to Growth

        Ironically, the initial study was funded by the VW foundation.

        Reply
        • From Limits to Growth”

          “Sustainability does not mean zero growth. Rather, a sustainable society would be interested in qualitative development, not physical expansion. It would use material growth as a considered tool, not a perpetual mandate. Neither for nor against growth, it would begin to discriminate among kinds of growth and purposes for growth. It would ask what the growth is for, and who would benefit, and what it would cost, and how long it would last, and whether the growth could be accommodated by the sources and sinks of the earth.

          A sustainable society would also not paralyze into permanence the current inequitable patterns of distribution. For both practical and moral reasons, a sustainable society must provide sufficiency and security for all. A sustainable society would not be a society of despon- dency and stagnation, unemployment and bankruptcy that current systems experience when their growth is interrupted. A deliberate transition of sustainability would take place slowly enough, and with enough forewarning, so that people and businesses could find their places in the new economy.

          A sustainable world would also not be a rigid one, with population or production or anything else held pathologically constant. One of the strangest assumptions of present-day mental models is the idea that a world of moderation must be one of strict, centralized government control. A sustainable world would need rules, laws, standards, bound- aries, social agreements and social constraints, of course, but rules for sustainability would be put into place not to destroy freedoms, but to create freedoms or protect them.

          Some people think that a sustainable society would have to stop using nonrenewable resources. But that is an over-rigid interpretation of what it means to be sustainable. Certainly a sustainable society would use nonrenewable gifts from the earth’s crust more thoughtfully and efficiently.”

      • DrFog

         /  May 2, 2016

        Of course, the Jevons paradox is a statistical observation about efficiency improvements in technology and resource usage, some individual cases cannot prove or disprove it.

        Also, it cannot be applied to everything. For example, it is clear that the bicycle is a far more efficient mean of personal transportation than the crappy car. If I then start using my bicycle more often, I will not be consuming more resources or polluting more, maybe will have to eat just a bit more.

        Reply
  14. webej

     /  April 30, 2016

    The situation here in the Netherlands is slightly less encouraging than you give us credit for.
    1. The inhabitants are known in English as the Dutch, not the Netherlanders.
    2. Most of the EV’s being sold are actually hybrids. Car prices are augmented here with a charge for the pollution and wear and tear that they will cause over their life-cycle. These charges (which are a very significant price component) are generally related to the weight of the cars, fuel efficiency, etc., and also goes to pay for roads. 2015 was the last year that hybrids were given huge rebates for these charges, so there was a huge one time boost in the number of people looking to buy a big car without hefty surcharges. In truth, many of these people are just interested in a big car (Prius), drive almost exclusively on the gasoline system, which is also the reason the rebates are being scuttled.
    3. Although what you say is true (the Dutch have a lot to lose to rising sea levels — half the country is below sea level), most people are actually rather complacent. People think that a wealthy country like the Netherlands can improve their infrastructure to keep the sea out, and commiserate with the lot of people living in Bangladesh or Florida or even New York and New Orleans. Most are still relying on very gradual SLR over centuries, and few people are thinking about the threat posed by the possibility of much more rapid collapse of the ice sheets that new research keeps unveiling.

    Reply
    • Anyone who thinks of a Prius as a big car is pretty far advanced in my book. And that move to ban petrol looks like a big deal to me. I’d say go for it, Netherlanders😉

      https://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Netherlanders

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  April 30, 2016

        Holland/the Netherlands/the Dutch… I wish they would make their minds up.

        We here in England, Scotland and Wales/the UK/Great Britain would find it simpler if other countries just kept it simple.🙂

        Norway is another example to use, especially as they are simply Norwegians! They also have issues with the subsidy regime, but the numbers of Hybrids and EV’s are dramatic.

        Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    One of the fine things about this site is it’s far flung readership, and it’s many insights Thanks for the reports.

    “God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland.”

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    webej
    Don’t sell yourself short , you guys invented these –

    Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    This Chart Will Warm Your Heart If You Want America To Use Less Coal

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/04/29/3774027/coal-use-declining/

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching: Top Australian scientists reveal man-made climate change may kill reef in 20 years

    Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science have rung the death knell for Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. They have released their latest research paper early as the reef is in a terrible shape and may become dead in another 20 years. ……………………….
    “Our research showed this year’s bleaching event is 175 times more likely today than in a world where humans weren’t emitting greenhouse gases. We have loaded the odds against the survival of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders,” Dr. Andrew King, lead author and scientist from ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, said on Friday.

    Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who also leads University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute, predicted the death of coral by 2040 way back in 1999. He said that the new research confirms what he predicted so many years back. He was also involved with this new project.

    The scientists had to release the paper early as the findings are extremely grave and action needs to be taken right away. Time is of essence here and time is exactly what the reef does not have.

    Link

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    Prolonged drought pushes Somali communities to the brink

    Mohamed Omar, 80, used to have plenty of goats. But when we met him and his family in Habasweyne (“huge dust”) in his village on the outskirt of Hargeisa, he had only two left. He led us to see the two remaining goats. Both were kneeling on the ground, showing no interest in the corn kernels purposely sprinkled around them. They were too weak to stand or eat.

    “I am 80 years old,” said Mohamed. “In the 80 years of my life this is the first time that I have seen a drought this bad. It has killed so many animals and caused so much hunger. Our lives are in danger.”

    Link

    Reply
  20. Mblanc

     /  April 30, 2016

    Dunno if this has already been posted, but the link between Greenland and unusual UK weather patterns is starting to be published.

    https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/news/nr/climate-change-arctic-extreme-weather-uk-study-1.571126

    Reply
    • It’s good to see the science is starting to catch up with observations😉
      Seriously, though, folks in the UK and Europe need to be made well aware of what’s coming. Rough weather on the way.

      Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    Workers feeling the heat as climate change slashes productivity

    Climate change is exposing millions of workers to excessive heat, risking their health and income and threatening to erase more than $2.0 trillion in annual productivity by 2030, a UN report warned Thursday.

    More than one billion workers in countries hard-hit by global warming are already grappling with increasing severe heat, according to the report: “Climate Change and Labour: Impacts of Heat in the Workplace.”

    Read more at: Link

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    I love irony, it is a great teacher.
    World’s Largest Atom Smasher, the Large Hadron Collider, Reportedly Shut Down by Rodent

    A weasel-like rodent shut down the world’s most powerful atom smasher after it apparently gnawed through a power cable, facility officials said today.

    Reply
  23. Loni

     /  April 30, 2016

    You’d of thought they could have afforded a cat.

    Great post, Robert. We’ve got a long way to go, but this really helps.

    Reply
  24. redskylite

     /  April 30, 2016

    Robert thanks for this bit of optimistic news, the Tesla Gigafactory is amazing and I might just be lucky enough to witness an amazing technology leap in my lifetime. (I love the overused term paradigm shift). So much grim stuff, this is like a breeze of fresh air to my spirit.

    Slowly but surely, good things are happening in public transport too. . . The whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

    One of the leading electric bus firms in the US, Proterra, has won the majority of the vehicle supply contracts accompanying the awards supplied through the Federal Transit Administration Low or No Emission Vehicle Deployment Grant, according to a new press release.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/28/proterra-surpasses-150-electric-bus-orders/

    Reply
    • It’s really good to see. And I absolutely hope that public transport keeps seeing gains.

      Reply
    • redskylite “I might just be lucky enough to witness an amazing technology leap in my lifetime.”

      I think we might. This video goes all out for EVs – and a whole lot besides. But the _very_ best thing about it is the first couple of minutes showing a real leap from horse-drawn to ICE vehicles within a decade. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_NmWB-D7-Y

      Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  April 30, 2016

    Had a bit of a go at a denier tonight , same old claims . Back to my same old rebuttals. I when back to John Tyndall ……yet again

    And I wrote some things that may be of help when one deals with the usual suspects.

    All of this is well understood , for example the USAF when they developed the heat seeking air to air missile , confirmed the Co2 finding by the Irish physicist, John Tyndall.

    Tyndall explained the heat in the Earth’s atmosphere in terms of the capacities of the various gases in the air to absorb radiant heat, also known as infrared radiation. His measuring device, which used thermopile technology, is an early landmark in the history of absorption spectroscopy of gases.[7] He was the first to correctly measure the relative infrared absorptive powers of the gases nitrogen, oxygen, water vapour, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, etc. (year 1859).

    Wiki

    Not one experiment, or paper has EVER over turned his work, published in 1859.

    That’s 157 years of people testing it.

    All of this is well understood , for example the USAF when they developed the heat seeking air to air missile , confirmed the Co2 finding by the Irish physicist, John Tyndall.

    “The capacities of the various gases in the air to absorb radiant heat, also known as infrared radiation.”

    The first sensors developed by USAF were completely blinded by the Co2 in the atmosphere. It was reflecting heat back to the sensor as much as the flame as rocket motor. Now it may be a “trace gas”, but in Nature small things have big muscles. Take phytoplankton for example, 80 percent of the gas that keeps you alive is made from these very tiny creatures.

    Reply
    • – Good stuff, Bob.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  April 30, 2016

        That guy also went to this well :

        149. jimsandstrom
        2:53 AM GMT on April 30, 2016

        You couldn’t sell us global warming years ago so you re-branded your scare to climate change.

        Que the Frank Luntz memo :

        This is to the Bush Admin. 13 years ago –

        The US Republican party is changing tactics on the environment, avoiding “frightening” phrases such as global warming, after a confidential party memo warned that it is the domestic issue on which George Bush is most vulnerable.

        The memo, by the leading Republican consultant Frank Luntz, concedes the party has “lost the environmental communications battle” and urges its politicians to encourage the public in the view that there is no scientific consensus on the dangers of greenhouse gases.

        “The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science,” Mr Luntz writes in the memo, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based campaigning organisation.

        “Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.

        “Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”

        The phrase “global warming” should be abandoned in favour of “climate change”, Mr Luntz says, and the party should describe its policies as “conservationist” instead of “environmentalist”, because “most people” think environmentalists are “extremists” who indulge in “some pretty bizarre behaviour… that turns off many voters”.

        http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2003/mar/04/usnews.climatechange

        Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  April 30, 2016

        DTL –
        Thanks, over years they never change. The same old. fur balls hacked up day after day.

        It’s “Ground Hog Day” in real life.

        Reply
      • … “frightening” phrases” — language and lexicon as instruments of persuasion on a battlefield of life and death. In an age of rapid fire mass communication no less.

        Reply
  26. – Music break for ‘Suzanne’ — a beautiful poetic song…

    Reply
  27. – AK – Fairbanks – Snow cover – April 2013 vs April 2016

    Reply
  28. – USA – FF – Bakken Poison lasts for a long time:
    – Selenium too.

    Persistent Water and Soil Contamination Found at N.D. Wastewater Spills

    A new study of spills in the Bakken oil field found metals and salts left behind at those sites even after lengthy cleanup efforts.

    A new study shows high salt levels, metals and even radioactive material have lingered for months and even years in the water and soil near four oil-and-gas wastewater spills in North Dakota. The researchers from Duke University also believe the lasting threat of such spills could be pervasive across the Bakken Formation, one of the nation’s most active oil fields.

    The results “indicate that the water contamination from brine spills is remarkably persistent in the environment,” Duke scientists wrote in their study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The contamination included high levels of selenium, known to be toxic to fish and wildlife, and radioactive radium.
    http://insideclimatenews.org/news/29042016/north-dakota-wastewater-spill-water-soil-contaminiation-radium-selenium-bakken-oil

    Reply
  29. redskylite

     /  April 30, 2016

    When I first learnt about the threat of global warming/climate change it seemed a long way away. Suddenly it is staring us in the face and becoming an increasingly urgent problem.

    “We will have climate refugees,” Jewell said. “We have to figure out how to deal with potentially relocating villages. There’s real tangible support we need to do from a government basis, working alongside indigenous communities as they make very difficult choices about what is right for them.

    “We can’t turn this around. We can stem the increase in temperature, we can stem some of the effect, perhaps, if we act on climate. But the changes are under way and they are very rapid.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/29/climate-change-refugees-arctic-obama-administration-warning

    Reply
  30. redskylite

     /  April 30, 2016

    Simple info-graphics from global possibilities that say a lot about climate change . . .

    NOT A PRETTY PICTURE: CLIMATE CHANGE AND HEALTH IN FOUR INFOGRAPHICS

    http://www.globalpossibilities.org/not-a-pretty-picture-climate-change-and-health-in-four-infographics/

    Reply
  31. redskylite

     /  April 30, 2016

    We had stink bugs in Siberia, slugs in Britain . now scorpions in Arizona

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/29/us/lured-by-early-warm-weather-scorpions-emerge-to-swarm-arizona-homes.html?_r=0

    Reply
  32. redskylite

     /  April 30, 2016

    I have to say it, this forum is the best place to say it, Colorado Bob nailed it with John Tyndall, USAF and the Bush administration. This is a great report by the Sydney Morning Herald, but sadly shows our short term thinking.

    Do we really need to be spurred and shocked by every El Nino from now on to eternity ?. Tyndall knew it 157 years ago. Imagine the next extreme El Nino and the next and the next and the next. Think long term. Our brains are capable of it. They are a great instrument given by natural selection in Earth’s deep and long history. We can do this.

    “Water shortage is a problem and climate change is going to be intensifying the drought and flood cycle,” he said, noting that water demand is increasing. “Australia faces a really perilous water security challenge in the future.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/perilous-bureau-of-meteorology-boss-rob-vertessy-exits-with-climate-warning-20160429-gohwu6.html

    Reply
    • Until Murdoch, Kochs, Exxon, and the crank tanks they and their radical buddies fund and own are truly marginalized, it’s a very tough fight. Getting the Republican party to stop slavishly following their line will help. The politicians will be the first to cave when they start losing their jobs–with luck, we may see some of that this November. (The two Republican House members who have joined the new climate caucus are the first straws in the wind.) MHO.

      Reply
  33. Cate

     /  April 30, 2016

    Eric Holthaus writing in Columbia Law School Magazine:

    “The humanitarian crisis phase of climate change has officially begun.”

    “The current horrific situation in Europe is a fraction of what’s going to be caused by climate change…”

    “As the Marshall Islands and several other small island states around the world struggle with saltwater intrusion into their fields and a dwindling fresh water supply, a future abroad is beginning to creep into the minds of local residents. “One thing I’ve learned in the work that I’ve done is that a place becomes uninhabitable well before it’s submerged,” says Gerrard. And, in total, climate change may displace up to a quarter-billion people by 2050, according to research cited by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. That means, within our lifetimes, climate change could become a human rights emergency that grinds global governance to a halt. How the global community chooses to address this seemingly inevitable problem will help define international relations for the rest of this century.”

    http://www.law.columbia.edu/magazine/613512/the-rising-tide

    Reply
  34. Griffin

     /  April 30, 2016

    That was a fascinating article. I am curious as to some of the variables used by Lloyds to reach the conclusion. For example, in their scenario, how quickly did the Arctic go ice free and what were the consequences in regards to atmospheric circulation? How quickly did the Arctic warm as a result of albedo loss as the ice disappeared? What were the extent of tundra fires used and how quickly did permafrost melting accelerate?
    I could go on all day with the questions obviously. My point is that as a regular reader of this blog, I was not surprised by the conclusion but actually wondered if the prediction was under-estimated as to the likelihood of this shock manifesting itself. As I sit and think of the major climate areas of discussion, I cannot think of one where the current observed conditions are lagging the best scientific estimates of where we should be at this point.
    To my online companions, who have helped me to learn so much here, I would be very interested in hearing some of your thoughts on this.
    (It was kinda sad that the commenters on Dr. Masters’ blog just breezed right past and kept discussing thunderstorms and politics despite his blog post about a real threat to civilization itself)

    Reply
  35. Nancy

     /  April 30, 2016

    A good example of how quickly things are changing…..I live in Southwestern New Hampshire and drive a Volt. There are only a couple of other Volt owners in my area, and I’ve never seen a Tesla on the local roads. We enjoy dining at the Hancock Inn in Hancock NH, which is a very charming tiny New England village. The innkeepers did some renovations in the past few months, and surprise, surprise, they installed two charging stations…one for Tesla and one generic charging station! So if you’re driving through New England this summer in your EV, be sure to stay or dine at the Hancock Inn. The innkeepers are the nicest people and the food and drinks are great. Plus you can charge your car for free.

    Reply
  36. dnem

     /  April 30, 2016

    Robert- I really appreciated your back-and-forth with wili above, and similar, thoughtful and in-depth comments you made to me a few posts back. Of course you, wili and I (and basically everyone else here) are all on the same team. But, I think wili and I (and several others) are more impatient for a true revolutionary change to the prevailing social and economic order than you, and I am coming to believe that we will be in deep, deep trouble without one. I’d guess part of your reticence not to “go there” is strategic: you have decided that you can have a bigger impact by pushing hard against the fossil fuel hegemony than by discussing pie-in-sky changes to the social order.

    I can’t fault you, but I still worry. Above you say “But with low cost batteries, solar and wind you can basically remove fossil fuels from more and more parts of the chain.” True, but this is the essence of a bootstrap problem. We need to massively scale up renewables to be able to build out the needed massive renewable build-out, or else we’re building the build-out on fossil fuels. That’s the bootstrap problem. Obviously, the devil is in the details and there are lots of interesting analyses out there that address this issue.

    To mind mind, the best way out of this paradox is to reduce the “massive” part of the equation. Or as wili says “We need a wise society.” Amen to that.

    Reply
    • I’ve looked at the bootstrap problem in depth. And yes, the best way to rapidly respond to climate change is to both transition the energy infrastructure and to reduce carbon based consumption. Strategically, how do you do that? Well, if you’re looking at most effective actions, the first thing to do is to discredit and overcome the big economic and political power that’s preventing those effective responses. Right now, that’s the fossil fuel industry. Want a carbon tax? It’s opposed by the fossil fuel industry. Want incentives to reduce carbon based consumption? It’s opposed by the fossil fuel industry.

      So while I think that all the actions that Wili and you describe are good and necessary, I think that there’s a little naïveté going on. It’s kind of a chicken and egg problem. If you want the consumption behavior change, in my view, the first thing to do is to take out the powerful political and economic interest that is basically standing in the way. So the first step is to use renewables to take down the fossil fuel interests. After that then the revolutionary changes become possible because the economic rationale for opposition has basically lost all supports. This is what I mean when I say center of gravity. I don’t understand why people seem to have so much trouble getting it. Because from a strategy standpoint it’s all very basic.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  April 30, 2016

        I agree that discrediting ff corporations is key.

        Reply
      • I agree, as one might guess. Hard enough to get to Step 1. Maybe halfway through, the weather will be so bad, we will decide collectively to skip it and go directly to Step 10, as others suggest is needed (I don’t disagree). Right now, we still have Americans lining up to buy SUVs because gas is cheap.

        Reply
        • We have an amazing opportunity at this time. But we’ll need to fight for it with everything we’ve got. We really can’t afford to lose focus or to stop fully supporting the energy switch. It’s a critical aspect of our resiliency and one that will degrade and then completely remove the dangerous and deleterious political power the fossil fuel industry has enjoyed for so long. It will open the door to a sustainable world if we have the courage to choose to build it.

    • Spike

       /  May 1, 2016

      I think it’s the old shades of green problem. Light, dark or bright?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright_green_environmentalism

      I think it’s fruitless and unproductive to get bogged down in taxonomy though, and our opponents will always try to scare the public away from deeper engagement by referring to the potential problems along the road to a deeper ecological transformation, using the usual abusive terms so beloved of them.

      I tend towards the deeper shades of green, seeing much of the way society is governed and organised currently as being problematic, but it will take a long time to switch people out of the current mindset. Time is what we don’t have, so I’m happy to cooperate with lighter greens to push clean technology and true sustainability whilst watching the older mindset as it slowly crumbles under its inherent contradictions.

      Reply
      • The thing that concerns me most is that it’s pretty easy to play divide and conquer when you start getting people’s imagined perfect world scenarios involved. That, and I see a lot of people tending to spread mysanthropy and along with an implication human lives don’t matter. If we’re going to fight to reduce harm, we need to approach it from the standpoint that all lives matter — humans and the living creatures of our world. And we need to think factually and practically about leveraging our strengths to generate that reduction and elimination of harm.

        I think the anti-technology view is counter productive. I think that we need a clear headed discernment of what works and what does not from a standpoint of harm reduction when confronting global warming. In my view the human system is now capable of generating a far smaller footprint than a shift back to agrarianism and muscle power would result in. There’s not enough forests in the world to sustain that and billions more animals used for transport in such a scenario would be unsustainable as well. In fact, given the fact that fossil fuels can be replaced, given the fact that we can recycle and produce steel without carbon emissions if we set the incentives right, given the fact that we can produce concrete and other materials that are carbon negative if we set the incentives right, I think that we are absolutely capable of confronting this crisis if we act well and responsibly. We should recognize that we are capable of producing cities that heal the world and we should do everything to work in that direction.

        Reply
  37. Oldhippie

     /  April 30, 2016

    Personal motor transport requires concrete. And asphalt. And land, lots of land. Entire landscapes. It is not just a question of fuel. Not to mention the huge amount of time that disappears to earn money to buy the things, maintain them, obsess over them. And the dead hours sitting driving around in your own personal coffin.

    I have spent my entire life in Chicago, once unambiguously one the world’s great cities. It is moribund now, people are leaving. In living memory most people did not own cars, or want to own cars. My grandparents never had cars. They could afford them, they just had no reason to own one. My mother never learned to drive, it did not affect her quality of life at all. People walked, or took the trolley, the streetcar, the bus, the train. Life was rich and full in every ward and every neighborhood, there was little reason for relentless travel. We actually felt sorry for those who did the long commute to work in the skyscrapers downtown. Nearly all,of those travelled on public transport.

    For the record I own a 2010 Prius. Have had it just over three months now and have driven it all of 700 miles. Newest and most elaborate car I’ve ever owned. Crazy thing comes with over a thousand pages of documentation and two DVDs. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of features I will never explore. It is huge and it is very heavy. My partner will not drive it, she correctly says it is heavy as a truck. It feels like a truck. A strange and peculiar fetish object.

    Ordering our lives to indulge mechanical fetishes is not sane.

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 30, 2016

      In the first world, many, if not most, expect—and are expected—to fly off on “adventures” every few months. No-one goes on ordinary holidays any more of course. The silly, self-absorbed phenomena of bucket-listing and destination-collecting spur a kind of competition among tourists (who now, with a sniff of superiority dub themselves “travellers”) and drive this aspect of the “relentless travel” you so perfectly characterise.

      As part of wili’s wise society, I think we need to break this destructive and consumer-based race to tramp over every part of the planet and to invade the space of every other creature and culture in the name of expanding our own minds and oh, bringing world peace or something.

      We need to relearn how to value stillness and how to bloom where we are planted,

      Reply
      • June

         /  April 30, 2016

        I like that last sentence Cate…bloom where we are planted. Instead of looking at the decision not to fly as a sacrifice, look at it as an opportunity to do things close to home. When I retired a couple of years ago friends would ask me if I planned to travel, and were kind of taken aback when I said not any more. They seem to think if you aren’t flying about everywhere that it must be boring. Not so!

        Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 1, 2016

        June, I can’t take credit for it, nor do I know the origin of the quote, but it’s a good one. As a retired person, I have made a conscious choice to minimise travel, especially by air, for “green” reasons. An unexpected benefit of this is time to give back to my community as a volunteer, something that my high-flying friends haven’t time for! I guess we all have to answer the question for ourselves: is “the good life” your best life? 🙂

        Reply
      • vardarac

         /  May 2, 2016

        “is time to give back to my community as a volunteer, something that my high-flying friends haven’t time for! I guess we all have to answer the question for ourselves: is “the good life” your best life?”

        I don’t feel fulfilled by this sort of thing. Is that weird?

        Reply
    • Hippie —

      A Prius is nowhere near as heavy as a truck. But, in any case, if you don’t need a car then, by all means get rid of it and use a bike. But in purchasing a Prius you helped to advance electric vehicles and make them more accessible to everyone else. In essence, you helped those who basically have no choice but to own a car to buy something that is far, far less harmful than a current ICE.

      And yes, an EV drastically reduces total carbon emissions, especially when that EV is directly plugged into a wind or solar based energy source. If the entire transport and energy production and manufacturing/materials production chain were made up of systems like wind, solar, and batteries, then global carbon emissions would fall by around 80 percent. Even with concrete, the portion of emissions that come from fossil fuel burning to create the heat is around 40 percent. If you run concrete on solar thermal, then you’ve already cut the emissions to 2 billion tons CO2 per year. And if you use a variety of methods to recyle the carbon into carbonate, or if you use different materials for cement, then you can make concrete that is net carbon negative.

      The issue here is that the big fish is the fossil fuel emission, the fossil fuel burning that now occupies so many links in the chain and that is now increasingly easy to remove. Once we’ve removed those links, then it becomes far more easier due to lack of opposition by the replaced fossil fuel interests themselves do things like enact a carbon tax and to set other policies to build sustainable cities, to relocalize, and to pull carbon out of materials and food production. But the big dog in this fight is oil, gas, and coal. And it needs to go. And in replacing it, EVs are a big link in that solution.

      Reply
  38. – Also, warmer temps to the North:

    Reply
  39. – USA – Hidden Food Costs –

    The True Cost of a Cheap Meal

    … Consumers today pay less than half of what we would expect to pay based on historic prices.

    … most Americans, didn’t realize that we currently spend a smaller percentage of our income on food than ever before. While on its face that may seem beneficial, this system of cheap food relies on billions of dollars of externalized costs that are kept hidden from consumers.

    Externalized costs are negative effects of producing or consuming a good that are imposed on a third party and not accounted for in the sticker price of an item. Among food products, there is no greater discrepancy between printed cost and true cost than with animal products. When we take a closer look at meat, dairy and eggs, externalized costs become apparent in four primary areas: animals, health, social justice and the environment.

    Nine billion land animals are raised and killed for food every year in the U.S. Of those billions of animals, 99 percent are raised on factory farms. Technically known as “concentrated animal feeding operations” or CAFOs, factory farms are defined by dense quantities of animals kept in intensive confinement for their entire lives.

    A single facility will house tens of thousands animals, often in cages or crates so small that they cannot even turn around. The animals are unable to engage in the most basic of natural behaviors; the only time they see sunlight or breathe fresh air is when they are shipped to slaughter. Increasingly, even brands that label themselves “organic” or “cage-free” raise thousands of animals in factory farming conditions.

    http://ecowatch.com/2016/04/30/true-cost-cheap-meal/

    Reply
    • – Related in our current time, as well:

      Sinclair wrote ‘The Jungle’. It’s about the meat packing industry in early 20th century Chicago.
      And Oil — about: ‘the early days of the California oil industry in a highly entertaining story featuring a cavalcade of characters including senators, oil magnets, Hollywood film starlets, and a crusading evangelist. ‘ – Amazon review.

      Upton Sinclair and the Democrats’ Dirty Tricks

      After decades of asserting his independence from the two capitalist parties in the U.S., one of the best-known socialists in the country registers as a Democrat to run in the party primaries. He campaigns on a program of pro-working class policies, taxing the rich and putting the unemployed to work. He wins mass support, with thousands of first-time voters coming out to cast a ballot for him.

      No, this article isn’t about Bernie Sanders. It’s about Upton Sinclair, the famed muckraking author of The Jungle, The Flivver King and Oil!, who ran for governor of California as a Democrat in 1934 and won nearly 1 million votes. His frank left-wing message resonated amid the Great Depression, and he easily won the Democratic nomination to run for governor.

      But what happened next is a telling example of how the Democratic Party actually works — and of the lengths its leaders will go to keep the party from becoming a vehicle for a radical political program.

      http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35818-upton-sinclair-and-the-democrats-dirty-tricks

      Reply
    • From the EcoWatch piece:

      Spy Drones Expose Smithfield Foods Factory Farms

      Reply
  40. June

     /  April 30, 2016

    The “big picture” values for creating a wise society can help guide and inform strategies for eliminating fossil fuels. It’s really one vision. Because we have wasted so much time, it is urgent to focus on fossil fuels. But we must use the renewables transition to assist in transforming societies rather than just replacing energy sources. The great thing is that renewables really lend themselves to helping do that.

    Reply
  41. Jay M

     /  April 30, 2016

    More heavy weather grinds along gulf coast area:

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  May 1, 2016

      It’s very hard to look at those pictures, the norrendous double devastation of it—oil-slicked flood waters over farmland….

      Reply
  42. Griffin

     /  April 30, 2016

    But this is absolutely tragic. The horror of what our storms are now capable of unleashing is heartbreaking.
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/latest-woman-grandchildren-killed-texas-flooding-38785459

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  May 1, 2016

      7 inches of rain in under an hour is some going – I can’t even imagine what that must be like. A power shower perhaps?

      Reply
  43. Bill H

     /  April 30, 2016

    Robert, very informative article. Battery storage looks as if it will continue to fall in price, and increase in power density,, but there are also encouraging developments in other storage technologies, which I think will ultimately work out cheaper as a solution to the problem of renewables intermittency, mainly because of much longer lifetime of the storage facilities in comparison with batteries, which are likely to need frequent replacement.

    One to watch is Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES), which takes the better known Compressed Air Energy Storage to its limiting case. Electricity from the grid is used to liquefy air, which then powers Rankine (piston) engines as it re-vaporises, thus generating electricity. The idea was patented way back in the late 19th century, but has been dogged by very low efficiencies, due to the rapid cooling that accompanies the expansion. About ten years ago an Englishman called Peter Dearman, while tinkering in his garage (a bit like Colorado Bob??), came up with the solution of adding antifreeze to the vaporising air, ensuring something close to constant temperature (isothermal) expansion, and greatly improved the efficiency. The idea was taken up by a number of UK universities, and a company called High View has been running a pilot 250 kW power station using the technology, with efficiencies of greater than 50%. Now a 5 MW station is being commissioned, and, any day now, will start providing significant grid balancing.
    Battery storage does give higher efficiency, but batteries degrade. By contrast LAES plant lifetime is expected to be far longer – of the order of several decades, so potentially considerably cheaper.

    More info: http://www.highview-power.com

    Reply
  44. Shawn Redmond

     /  April 30, 2016

    Absolutely right RS get rid of FF. I live off grid and have for ten years now. No issues at all. Leaving the grid is taking money directly away from FF. I live in Nova Scotia in my second off grid. The first was to be my last but a divorce threw a wrench in that plan. The electric grid is continent wide, our utility buys from New England and sells to New England as well as others. It does not matter where you live you’re supporting the fossil fuel industry by using electricity. I have 5.4 kw of pv and it runs our house no worries. Internet, 50 inch tv, dishwasher, coffee maker, all the creature comforts one needs and then some. We do use propane for hot water and cooking and clothes dryer when we can’t wait for the sun. Yearly propane consumption about 700 litres. Two cords of hardwood for heat last winter (18-23c). 1340 sq.ft. home more than adequate. First home 1.5 kw pv 1k wind turbine.The math said the turbine would more than supply the home needs. Ha! Mother nature didn’t take math! Anyhow get off the grid, it’s easy and it’s helpful in many ways. Become children of the sun. I love this blog and all the info on it . Keep it coming !

    Reply
  45. Reply
  46. -Totally Off Topic — Mideast — Baghdad, Iraq — But this big and may get bigger.

    Reply
    • State of emergency declared in Baghdad as protesters take Iraqi parliament

      … U.S. officials have expressed concern that the unrest could affect the battlefield as Iraq also struggles with an extreme budget crisis caused by a plunge in oil prices.
      https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/protesters-storm-iraqi-parliament-in-baghdad/2016/04/30/0862fd3a-0ec1-11e6-8ab8-9ad050f76d7d_story.html

      Reply
      • – Mosul Dam and it’s spotty coverage. – It’s been hard to figure out just what the situation is.
        Now this:

        Mosul Dam engineers deride US warnings of collapse

        US warnings that the Mosul Dam in Iraq is on the verge of collapse are mostly propaganda, local engineers say who have worked on it for years. Judit Neurink reports from Mosul Dam.

        “Look at the water level; see how far below the normal levels it is.” Marwan points to the markings at the emergency outlet of the lake behind Iraq’s infamous Mosul Dam, that according to American warnings is about to collapse. But standing at the dam overlooking the still blue lake that reaches to the horizon, nothing seems to point to an imminent disaster. Which is exactly the point engineers like Marwan who work at the dam are making.

        Since February US authorities have been issuing warnings that the dam could collapse any day…
        http://www.dw.com/en/mosul-dam-engineers-deride-us-warnings-of-collapse/a-19214468

        Reply
  47. – Crap! — Bit it had to happen sooner or later:

    Reply
    • USA Today link has more photos.

      Reply
    • – This may have been posted earlier in a somewhat different context.

      OIL: Chronic Houston flooding raises the stakes in U.S. ‘energy capital’
      EnergyWire: Friday, April 22, 2016

      HOUSTON — This “energy capital of the world” for years has been staring the threat of a man-made disaster in the face, and city leaders are only now beginning to take that threat seriously, or so they say.

      Energy flood zones

      Exxon Mobil Corp. has just opened a new campus in a part of the city hit hard by the floods.

      Critics of the city government’s lax attitude about repeated flooding events are pointing out that enticing newcomers to Houston, including oil and gas executives and workers, will get more difficult if people fear that their homes will be inundated or they can’t get to work because of flooded highways.

      “The energy companies employ a lot of people, and those people live in the neighborhoods that get flooded,” said Ed Browne, chairman of the local group Residents Against Flooding. “This definitely affects the oil industry, and how they perceive Houston.”

      A year ago, this city and much of Texas were inundated after a month of rain culminated in a major Memorial Day weekend storm (Greenwire, May 27, 2015).
      http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060036086

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  April 30, 2016

      You are so very right DT, we knew that this was coming. Disgusting to see it though. Those places are trashed for a long time now.

      Reply
    • An example in imagery of how fossil fuel infrastructure is so, so vulnerable to the climate disruptions that it’s causing.

      Reply
  48. ‘Giving’ the masses EVs is like placing bigger buckets in steerage on the Titanic

    Reply
  49. – Beaufort Sea Ice — Three years 2014 2015 2016:

    Reply
  50. Study: US oil field source of global uptick in air pollution

    WASHINGTON (AP) — An oil and natural gas field in the western United States is largely responsible for a global uptick of the air pollutant ethane, according to a new study.

    The team led by researchers at the University of Michigan found that fossil fuel production at the Bakken Formation in North Dakota and Montana is emitting roughly 2 percent of the ethane detected in the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Along with its chemical cousin methane, ethane is a hydrocarbon that is a significant component of natural gas. Once in the atmosphere, ethane reacts with sunlight to form ozone, which can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems…
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ETHANE_POLLUTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    Reply
    • ‘The study was launched after a mountaintop sensor in the European Alps began registering surprising spikes in ethane concentrations in the atmosphere starting in 2010, following decades of declines. The increase, which has continued over the last five years, was noted at the same time new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques were fueling a boom of oil and gas production from previously inaccessible shale rock formations in the United States.’

      Reply
  51. Ryan in New England

     /  April 30, 2016

    Flash floods and severe storms hit Texas again, claiming lives and destroying everything. It was reported that some locations saw 7 inches of rain in under an hour! If that isn’t precipitation from a warmer atmosphere I don’t know what is.

    http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2016/04/expect-a-break-in-storms-until-rush-hour-for-dallas-fort-worth.html/

    Reply
  52. Andy in SD

     /  May 1, 2016

    Here is an interesting one….

    I’ll provide a couple of links to Jakobshavn Glacier outlet over the space of a few years so you can see how tough this year is setting up to be.

    Pay attention to the outlet channel, the amount of clear water and break up.

    Here is August 2nd, 2013.

    Permalink: //arctic.io/explorer/8/2013-08-02/9-N69.09521-W51.41166

    Reply
  53. Cate

     /  May 1, 2016

    “Faced with catastrophe, we can change. We have done it before.” Global warming has the power to change us, and for the better: Ulrich Beck.

    This article reviews Beck and others who write on the politics of climate change.

    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23030711-000-can-climate-change-save-the-world/

    Reply
    • Well, it certainly gives us every incentive to change our ‘evil ways.’ However, we should be careful to discern a wise path. And this wise path involves accepting what makes human beings a positive force and removing those aspects that have been so harmful for so long. We really can boil it down to compassion, freedom, equality and innovation vs greed, insularity, elitism, xenophobia, and calcification.

      Reply
  54. Colorado Bob

     /  May 1, 2016

    The Latest: Berkshire investors reject climate change report

    4:15 p.m.

    Berkshire Hathaway shareholders have overwhelmingly rejected a resolution calling for the company to write a report about the risks climate change creates for its insurance companies.

    CEO Warren Buffett says he agrees that dealing with climate change is important for society, but he doesn’t think climate change creates serious risks for Berkshire’s insurance businesses.

    Buffett says the fact that Berkshire generally writes insurance policies for one-year periods allows it to regularly re-evaluate risks, such as climate change.

    The activists who proposed the motion tried to urge Buffett to take a public stance in favor of measures to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, but he resisted.

    Link

    Reply
    • – What is BH — a cult?

      Reply
    • No surprise at all. They are so heavily invested in legacy fossil fuel assets that the company financial statement reads like a statement of ‘we still spend 80 percent of our money to support the carbon emitting industry and climate change denial…’

      Reply
  55. Mark from OZ

     /  May 1, 2016

    Great post R and terrific comments throughout. Wrt the Tesla ‘advance’, the sentiment in OZ for anything that threatens the existing coal / energy industry is attacked with vitriol. Former PM Abbott called climate change ‘absolute crap’ and his view is (sadly) widely accepted.

    Undeterred, I’ve begun to suggest that like other displaced technologies (buggy whip, typewriter, slide rule etc) take up rates will rise when something better or cheaper or smarter appears and can be easily adopted.
    There is no doubt that Tesla is simultaneously seeking to replace ICE autos and assail fuel suppliers that exist for them to function.

    While many (both here and abroad) ‘see’ electric cars as glorified golf carts with limited range and utility, nothing could be more inaccurate. Tesla has deliberately chosen to compete with some of the most expensive and performance oriented luxury / sports vehicles currently made and handily is seriously bruising some very big egos in the automotive world.

    The acceleration of the Tesla PS 85D is well beyond astonishing and this provides a great opportunity to educate the ‘astonished’ (and yet to be astonished) that something far superior to what they’ve ‘known’ with FF cars has arrived and the replacement of their ‘way of life’ is now inevitable. It’s also very entertaining ( read satisfying) to show the ‘petrol heads’ that this new ‘greenie’ technology is humiliating their ‘revered’ champions!

    Below: The Tesla PS 85D goes head to head in a standing start acceleration with locally built Holden (GM) Commodore w/ post factory upgrade kit and against a V8 Supercar which is analogous to a Nascar ride-both equipped with the latest go fast gear.

    Lead.
    Follow.
    Or get out of the way!

    Note: The Tesla has a bonafide ‘Insane’ mode to select on the dash and soon you’ll know what it means!

    Reply
    • Absolutely. We are on the verge of a transformation that will give the world hope, if not of eliminating all the effects of catastrophic climate change, then of rolling them back. This is one of the big advances toward that goal. And considering the fact that almost everyone here owns a vehicle and has an increasing opportunity to replace that vehicle with something that does not burn carbon based fuel, that has no tailpipe emissions, that takes a big step toward knocking out that 80-90 percent fraction of emissions that come from fossil fuels, then we should all be celebrating and pushing this far more sustainable innovation forward.

      Reply
    • Oldhippie

       /  May 2, 2016

      Mark’s link perfectly captures the mindset of Tesla owners. Fantasies of power and speed.

      I was hit by a TeslaS yesterday while riding my bicycle. My antique DL-1, the most stately of bicycles. One block from home, quiet residential street, early Sunday morning. Tesla jackrabbitted away from the curb. They are quiet, I did not hear it coming. I had some small fraction of a second to start moving away, when the Tesla hit I was thrown clear. Landed on another car on the far side of the street. Of course I landed on another car, it is a car car car car car car world. Good thing no oncoming traffic in the other lane. Before I was fully collected the Tesla owner was shaking me, screaming in my face, spattering spittle in my face, demanding that I pay for the scratch on his car. Big guy, 6’3″, 250#, ex-military goon. The police arrived. They saw it as a clear case of a m—–f—— cyclist interfering with the sovereign rights of a rich bastard in a nice car. They liked the car a lot. They started reading me my rights and I was about to be cuffed when the Tesla owner hauled off and sucker punched me. Cop One still thought I deserved arrest, Cop Two had a couple neurons activated. So a bit of a delay. More cops arrived. They are herd animals and they like to gather. A sergeant of detectives appears and he was the first person to ask if perhaps I might wish medical assistance. White-haired senior citizen been hit by a 4000# weapon, sucker punched by a military monster, blood running down his face, yeah, it might be appropriate to ask if I needed help. Ten other officers couldn’t see that. I told the sergeant my address and told him I wanted to go home and lie down. I also asked him if he could get his officers to quit assaulting me. I was being shoved, pushed slapped. And the knot of officers were all busy enthusing over the Tesla.

      So the sergeant walked me home. Partly he wanted to be sure there was someone there to take care of me and partly he escorted me to protect me from the police. Without the one good apple in the barrel I would be in hospital right now. He told me cops don’t like bikes and I should be careful. I knew that. He told me when I see a black Tesla, black BMW, black Porsche, assume the driver is a sociopath. I knew that too.

      Sorry I can’t share your enthusiasm Robert. I am concussed at the moment and wonder if this is coherent. Not concussed from the collision, concussed from the punch. The idea of a few hundred thousand more entitled Teslas only fills me with dread.

      Reply
      • I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I too am an old hippie, and am slowly recovering from recent surgery for a broken shoulder, so I can empathize a little with the suddenness of your accident and its impact, if not with the callous behavior of the police.

        I do, though, want to provide a little balance from my own perspective on EVs. Tesla is Tesla (especially its snazzy and expensive first models), other cars are other cars. Ours is a Mitsubishi MiEV–it’s about the size of a VW Bug and looks like one too (I had Bugs for many years, starting when they were superior in gas mileage), but of course it’s much quieter and has no emissions. (It’s about as well heated as an old Bug, too, so challenging to drive during Vermont winters. :)) I can’t see anything about it that would attract a sociopathic ego, and I give cyclists a wide berth.

        Reply
      • I think it’s pretty unfair to assume that all Tesla owners are power hungry sociopaths who feel entitled to be ‘masters of the universe.’ I think the vast majority of Tesla owners are excited about Tesla because it’s the one of the best ways to get off fossil fuels. The fact that the automobile has superior performance to fossil fuel vehicles in many aspects I find to be ironic and fitting. So many people said for years that an electric vehicle would never outperform an ICE. Well, now they do. And Tesla did it. And, yes, it will appeal to the neanderthal mindset of some who are really only interested in a vehicle’s performance and power.

        But I’d add a note of caution in lumping all Tesla enthusiasts into that label. For many studies now show that the kind of performance people are most interested in when it comes to vehicles is its ability to drive without fossil fuels, its ability to add energy independence, and, yes, a greatly lessened environmental impact.

        So, yeah, there’s a bit of strawmaning going on here with Tesla owners.

        For my part, I admire what Tesla’s done and I think that more major automakers should adopt the Tesla model of all electric vehicle offerings. The fact that other automakers still sell ICEs, in my view, is a conflict of interest.

        Reply
  56. The Tesla has so many orders that the other car makers will have to double their efforts to stay in the game. If Toyota,Ford,GM and the rest of them start production of electric cars in their factories we will start to see some real game changing action.

    Reply
    • Absolutely. It’s a huge stop. Shot heard round the world. We may have had EVs before. But the start of the EV revolution is now. And I encourage everyone to get involved. The kind of synergistic ability to rapidly replace fossil fuels as an energy source between EVs and renewables like wind and solar is basically the energy miracle that everyone’s been talking about. That everyone has wanted for a long, long time. That the fossil fuel industry has fought against since at least the 60s. Now their nightmare is here. But it’s a big hope for our world and we need to back this with everything we’ve got.

      Reply
  57. Greg

     /  May 1, 2016

    A very refreshing post Robert. An old friend visited this weekend who successfully built and sold a medical laboratory equipment business who drove a few hundred miles in her Tesla here. She took us all out for test drives all afternoon as everyone at our class reunion became interested in the car and the conversations it sparked. The children were exurberent. Mom look, even the dog doesn’t hear it. They howled with delight at its acceleration and took turns pretending to hide in the frunk where an engine would normally be. She sold everyone there on it. I don’t think any institutional pressure/force can stop this kind of transition, only briefly slowy it down. Not mentioned in this article is what a powerhouse Chinese manufacturers such as BYD are and how quickly they are expanding and growing the Chinese market where electric cars and buses are desperately needed to reduce smog.

    Reply
    • I think the Chinese are tired of living under the Mordor-like pallor of fossil fuels. And they have every ability to switch away from the pollution spewing ICE. It’s refreshing to see so much progress from a country that is so much at risk.

      I’m heartened by the fact that those of us who do have cars or who need them to meet our transport needs can now contribute to the energy transition by purchasing an electric vehicle. By doing so, we contribute to a renewable energy economy of scale and make it easier for others who now use vehicles that spew carbon emissions to make the switch. We should be very clear that a world without fossil fuel driven vehicles, a world where electric vehicles are pervasive is a far better world than the one we have now. And we should keep fighting for and driving toward that necessary change.

      Reply
  58. Reply
    • – Situation changed from 0404

      – 04/04/2016
      Hanoi under a polluted cloud

      Many Hanoians seem unaware of the high air pollution in their city despite the warnings of environmentalists and statistics from the US Embassy’s air quality monitoring station in Lang Ha Street that show the air quality index remaining at unhealthy levels (between 151–200 units) over the past week.
      These levels mean that everyone may begin to experience negative health effects, and members of sensitive groups may start to experience more serious health effects.

      “Air pollution in Hanoi – it’s a very worrying situation now,” said Hoang Duong Tung, deputy head of the Vietnam Environment Administration, who talked to Vietnam News on Friday afternoon.

      Tung said that the nearly five million motorbikes and half a million cars, the many construction sites, and people in outlying districts burning crops were the main contributors to pollution. The administration has previously warned people in the city many times about air pollution, he said.
      http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/environment/154465/hanoi-under-a-polluted-cloud.html

      Reply
      • – Vietnam | Massive fish die off.

        Panoramic view of mass fish death in central Vietnam

        VietNamNet Bridge – Approximately 80 tons of fish died without a clear cause along the central coast of Vietnam, from Ha Tinh to Thua Thien Hue province. It was guessed that the fish died becauseof a powerful toxin in the sea water. On April 27, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources announced two causes of this tragedy: Red tide and poisonous chemicals.

        April 4: Fish began dying massively along the coast of Ha Tinh Province, totaling 10-15 tons.

        April 14: The abnormal phenomenon spread to the coast of Quang Binh and Quang Tri, with about 25 tons in Quang Binh and 30 tons in Quang Tri.

        April 15: Massive death of fish was reported in Thua Thien – Hue Province, with about 6,000 fish.

        On April 23, a meeting was held with the participation of leaders of Ha Tinh province and officials from the related ministries and agencies.

        The meeting excluded the causes like diseases, earthquakes and environment since the normal environmental indexes were still normal. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Vu Van Tam said the remaining reasons are the group of toxins: biological toxin (toxic seaweeds), chemicals or heavy metals…

        Reply
  59. – This as temps are expected to climb. More warm moisture being en-trained S to N?

    Reply
    • NWS Fairbanks ‏@NWSFairbanks 1h1 hour ago

      Today is our 11 consecutive day w/ high temp ≥ 60°F. This is the 2nd most for April on record (April 1940 had 12 days).

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  May 1, 2016

        Interestingly April 1940 had a record high April PDO index reading at +2.37, wonder what it will be in 2016. (It was +2.40 in March 2016)

        Reply
  60. – USA Rockies E and east of: Sample snowfall from WEATHER PREDICTION CENTER

    …SELECTED STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL IN INCHES FROM 700 AM CDT THU APR
    28 THROUGH 900 PM CDT SAT APR 30…

    …COLORADO…
    SPANISH PEAKS 5 NNE 20.0
    TEXAS CREEK 7 ESE 15.1
    WESTCLIFFE 6.2 W 15.0
    MATHESON 9 S 14.0
    COTOPAXI 4.8 SSE 13.7
    MAYSVILLE 13.7
    COKEDALE 13.0
    COLORADO SPRINGS 6 SSW 12.0
    ROSITA 1 WSW 12.0
    TRUCKTON 12.0
    PERRY PARK 3 ESE 11.0
    AGUILAR 10.5
    BLACK FOREST 2 N 10.0
    GARDNER 5.2 ENE 10.0
    BLACK FOREST 9.0
    DENVER INTL AIRPORT 3.5

    …KANSAS…
    GOODLAND 17 NW 6.0
    RULETON 12 NNW 6.0

    …NEBRASKA…
    CHAPPELL 7 NE 12.0
    LEWELLEN 6 S 12.0
    W ASHBY 12.0
    ALLIANCE 7 NW 10.0
    HYANNIS 10 SE 10.0
    TRYON 13 ENE 10.0
    http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/discussions/nfdscc4.html

    Reply
  61. Jay M

     /  May 1, 2016

    meridional flow

    Reply
  62. – ‘America Rising’ Alert

    America Rising targets Steyer

    Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer and other leading environmentalists like Bill McKibben are the targets of an expensive new negative campaign from America Rising Squared, the 501c4 arm of Republican opposition research group America Rising.

    Launched Friday, the push will include a deployment of trackers with video cameras to follow the activists, a significant effort to research them and their work, a six-figure digital ad campaign focused on social media, and a website — corenews.org — that will serve as a hub for the group’s content.

    While this scale of investment is common in campaigns, it is rare for an outside group to target a donor or activist with such a sustained drive, especially in the middle of pitched presidential primaries…
    Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer and other leading environmentalists like Bill McKibben are the targets of an expensive new negative campaign from America Rising Squared, the 501c4 arm of Republican opposition research group America Rising.

    Launched Friday, the push will include a deployment of trackers with video cameras to follow the activists, a significant effort to research them and their work, a six-figure digital ad campaign focused on social media, and a website — corenews.org — that will serve as a hub for the group’s content.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/04/america-rising-targets-steyer-222617#ixzz47NNIx6Sd

    Reply
    • I’ve already got a few spammers from this group trying to attack McKibben as ‘not an environmentalist.’ Don’t believe the nonsense.

      Reply
      • Agreed, just another “dark money” group. For context, see Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.”

        Reply
        • I guess the one good thing in all this is that they’ve hit me so hard with this crud that I notice it pretty much automatically when it happens now. It’s all got the same logical fallacies, the same mind bending tone, the same — smells like it got baked up in some some meeting — feel to it.

        • Well, as always, Robert, thanks for sparing the rest of us from the fossil fuel troll onslaught. Very much appreciated.

  63. redskylite

     /  May 1, 2016

    When reading the news of findings and warnings and seeing so much resistance and denial it is easy to get dispirited. But there is another side, more and more Universities are giving courses on low carbon energy, and there is a new breed of energy expertise rising very fast. There is a lot of controversy about peoples favorite flavor of energy producing, but we have a growing pool of trained expertise already. Many happenings around the world. Aristotle . . ‘The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.’

    Ancient Greece is there when you need it.

    Dispatchable Solar Runs 24/7 For 14 Days In South Africa

    ACWA Power has now demonstrated fully dispatchable solar for when the sun doesn’t shine, at Bokpoort in South Africa.

    Running around the clock for two weeks, ACWA Power’s 50 MW Bokpoort project is an example of Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), the solar that can be called on day or night, because when it has integrated thermal energy storage in molten salts, it is dispatchable solar.

    http://cleantechnica.com/2016/04/30/dispatchable-solar-runs-247-14-days-south-africa/

    Reply
  64. utoutback

     /  May 1, 2016

    Yet another way to store potential energy from Solar. Seems pretty simple, really.
    http://www.vox.com/2016/4/28/11524958/energy-storage-rail

    Reply
    • dnem

       /  May 1, 2016

      That’s very cool! Clearly superior to pumped hydro for many reasons. You still need the right location – a long grade near the generation facility – but this has a lot of appeal.

      Reply
  65. Tom Dehen

     /  May 1, 2016

    I fuel my 1999 Mercedes with B99 biodiesel I buy at Jay’s Garage in SE Portland. My car runs just fine with it. Jay’s biodiesel is mostly restaurant waste grease. They also have E85 for flex fuel gas cars.

    Reply
  66. June

     /  May 1, 2016

    JAXA sea ice extent ended April at 12,293,447 square kilometers, still lowest for the date. And more warm weather is forecast in the Arctic next week. This on May 1st…scary.

    https://ads.nipr.ac.jp/vishop/vishop-extent.html?

    Reply
  67. – India | ‘drought after the last two monsoons failed.’

    Armed guards at India dams as drought leaves farmers dry

    As young boys plunge into a murky dam to escape the blistering afternoon sun, guards armed with guns stand vigil at one of the few remaining water bodies in a state hit hard by India’s crippling drought.

    Desperate farmers from a neighbouring state regularly attempt to steal water from the Barighat dam, forcing authorities in central Madhya Pradesh to protect it with armed guards to ensure supplies.

    India is officially in the grip of its worst water crisis in years, with the government saying that about 330 million people, or a quarter of the population, are suffering from drought after the last two monsoons failed.

    “Water is more precious than gold in this area,” Purshotam Sirohi, who was hired by the local municipality to protect the stop-dam, located in Tikamgarh district, told AFP.

    “We are protecting the dam round the clock.”

    But the security measures cannot stop the drought from ravaging the dam in the parched Bundelkhand region, with officials saying it holds just one month of reserves.

    Four reservoirs in Madhya Pradesh have already dried up, leaving more than a million people with inadequate water and forcing authorities to truck in supplies.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3567803/Armed-guards-India-dams-drought-leaves-farmers-dry.html

    Reply
  68. – Photo | Motion | Liquid/solid Ice ‘behavior’ on a solid surface in varying weather conditions.
    – (A bit long winded but as they say, ‘A picture is worth a K of words.’)

    Jonathan Erdman ‏@wxjerdman 1h1 hour ago

    Wet #snow, wind, melt/freeze = this “ice valence” ~ 7″ thick off a roof in Cripple Creek, CO. (Credit: Connie Cala)

    Reply
  69. Earthjustice ‏@Earthjustice

    Climate change doesn’t care if you believe in it or not

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  May 1, 2016

      Exactly, and climate change doesn’t keep score either.

      There is a really stupid argument making the rounds on social media and various comment boards in Canada that we shouldn’t have to worry about reducing our carbon emissions for two reasons: 1. because our population is so small by global proportions, our emissions are only a tiny fraction of the total world output and 2.because we have so much forest, our sources and sinks balance out.

      Setting aside the fact that science blows both of these stupid excuses out of the water: do people really believe that climate change will respect political boundaries? We are not going to escape the worst effects because we are among the minor sinners. In fact, we are in the firing line for the worst possible impacts. Climate change is going to tear our North apart, no matter the size of the Canadian carbon footprint. That is why we have to be doing all we can to reduce our FF emissions to zero. Period.

      Reply
  70. How close are you to oil trains and a derailment disaster? Use the blast zone map below to find out and take action.

    http://explosive-crude-by-rail.org/

    Reply
  71. June

     /  May 1, 2016

    I am excited to see the rapidly increasing activism of young people around climate change and social justice issues. I think about that when I feel angry and depressed about the state of the world, and feel a measure of hope. Like their passionate support of Bernie, it is an indication that they are aware they must fight for their future because their parents’ generation has failed them.

    “How New England Students Are Taking Fossil Fuel Divestment a Step Further”

    ” …But making changes on campus is not enough; we know that we need to participate in local fights against fossil fuel companies to strengthen our largely symbolic campaigns. The fight in our own backyard is Spectra Energy’s project to expand its “Algonquin” pipeline, which carries fracked gas from Appalachia to Boston. Spectra is constructing about 35 new miles of piping and expanding the existing pipeline to be more than twice its current width within just a few hundred feet of a nuclear power plant.

    The fight against Spectra may seem like a new climate fight, but it represents only the most recent version of climate colonialism and environmental racism. Spectra’s “Algonquin” pipeline follows in the legacy of violence against indigenous peoples in New England and contributes to climate devastation occurring throughout the world.

    …To make sense of the immense amount of climate destruction, we began to think of climate change in the context of global colonialism, which has historically decided whose lives matter and whose lives do not.”

    Reply
    • It’s really far worse than even colonialism, as terrible and genocidal as that act of expansion was. Fossil fuel emissions are rapidly and violently wrecking the life support systems of our world while generating a very dangerous set of geophyscial changes. Climate change forced by fossil fuel burning is a willful act of destruction of both human life and of the living creatures of our world.

      Reply
  72. Joint Cyclone Center ‏@JointCyclone 29m29 minutes ago

    Heatwave heading for Britain & Netherlands with temperatures warmer than Istanbul forecast 10th May 2016

    Reply
  73. Reply
  74. – Incredible — the things one can do to make a difference. Bravo — Dr Hotlin Ompusunggu!

    Dentist wins ‘green oscar’ for using healthcare incentives to halt logging

    Scheme offering Indonesian villages that stop illegal logging large discounts on medical care is saving lives as well as the rainforest

    As a dental surgeon, a successful career in conservation was not something Dr Hotlin Ompusunggu ever imagined.

    But her work in Indonesia, where she has helped save orangutans by providing people with healthcare discounts if their villages stop logging, has clearly paid off. As well as cutting logging and improving health, this week she won second a “green oscar” prize and there are plans to replicate her model across south-east Asia.

    “The idea is to save the lives of these people and also save the forest. A dentist is not a typical background, but I’m passionate about community development and I’m interested in health in the bigger picture. I have learned that to be a healthy human being, you also need healthy nature, and that’s how I came to find myself here,” she said.

    Reply
    • June

       /  May 1, 2016

      I’ll keep this story in mind next time someone tells me what one person does doesn’t matter. Using talent and abilities in creative ways…bravo indeed.

      Reply
      • Yes, please. We all should. Opportunities for positive action can/will present themselves at any time.

        Reply
  75. Mexico | Angangueo | Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve

    A Mine vs. a Million Monarchs

    One of Mexico’s largest corporations [Grupo] is close to winning government approval to reopen a sprawling mine in Angangueo, right next to the most important winter habitat of North America’s most iconic insect.

    Monarchs are under extreme pressure from climate change, deforestation in Mexico and the elimination of milkweed — almost the only food monarch caterpillars will eat — from Midwestern farm fields (hastened by the use of genetically modified corn and soybeans).

    Grupo México’s track record is not encouraging. In 2014, a huge copper mine it operates in the northern state of Sonora was the site of one of the worst environmental disasters in Mexican history. About 10 million gallons of toxic copper sulfate acid breached a dam at the mine and spilled into two rivers that supply water to more than 24,000 people.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/opinion/sunday/in-a-poor-mexican-town-saving-butterflies-or-creating-jobs.html?emc=edit_tnt_20160430&eml_thmb=1&nlid=47798071&tntemail0=y&_r=1

    Reply
  76. – HAPPY MAY DAY TO ALL AT RS:

    Reply
  77. USA | PNW | Asphalt street sealing — always rapidly applied to promote FF vehicle traffic ASAP. And almost never worth the hurry. Is it solid, a liquid, or a gas? If it’s a semi hard bitumen, or related hydrocarbon, paste like most paving material it is likely all three in some ratio or other. The deep black color results in massive heat absorption — something a global warming world does not need. Not one bit.
    noun: bitumen
    a black viscous mixture of hydrocarbons obtained naturally or as a residue from petroleum distillation. It is used for road surfacing and roofing. – Google search.

    Reply
    • – I suppose we can always blame the ‘rejuvenator’…

      – Fog seal
      A fog seal is an application of a specially formulated asphalt emulsion (a thin liquid oil) to an existing asphalt pavement surface. A fog seal gets its name from its spray application, sometimes referred to as “fogging.”

      Asphalt emulsions used in fog seal applications contain globules of paving asphalt, water, an “emulsifying agent” or surfactant, and sometimes a “rejuvenator.” Soap is a common form of a surfactant. In washing clothes or dishes, the surfactant helps remove the dirt and suspend the dirt particles in the wash water. Similarly, in asphalt emulsions, the surfactant keeps the paving asphalt globules in suspension until it is applied to the pavement surface when the water in the asphalt emulsion starts to evaporate. A “rejuvenator” is an asphalt additive which when applied to the existing pavement will slightly soften the pavement it is applied to creating a better bond.
      http://dpw.lacounty.gov/gmed/lacroads/TreatmentFogSeal.aspx

      Reply
  78. Heat – Solids – Liquids – Gases – Hydrocarbons – A ‘crude’ process indeed.
    – Shell Oil – ICYMI:

    Reply
  79. redskylite

     /  May 2, 2016

    India – Uttarakhand Forest Fires Now On 88th Day; 6,000 People At Work,

    Forest fires are natural during summer but this time they have occurred on a bigger scale.

    http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/uttarakhand-forest-fire-governor-seeks-deployment-of-ndrf-companies-1401086

    Reply
  80. Griffin

     /  May 2, 2016

    Excellent article on the melting process in Greenland.

    “So much about the planet’s future will depend on processes that humans today cannot directly observe — because they are occurring hundreds of meters below the sea surface where enormous marine glaciers, in Greenland and Antarctica, simultaneously touch the ocean and the seafloor.

    The more we learn about this crucial yet inscrutable place, the more worrying it seems.”
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/04/30/another-typical-day-for-greenland-scientists-find-more-reasons-it-will-melt-faster/?postshare=5281462046038385&tid=ss_tw

    Reply
  81. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Back to EV’s and their batteries
    http://www.gizmag.com/bmw-i3-battery-update/43087/

    Better battery capacity gives BMW i3 110 km range boost
    BMW has updated the i3 to keep up with the growing crowd of electric cars and range extender hybrids on the market. Thanks to improvements in battery technology, the model lineup has grown to include a 33 kWh battery version offering 58 percent more range than the current car.
    The i3’s increased range comes courtesy of improvements in battery technology. Even though the new battery is the same physical size as the 21.8 kWh unit in the current 60 Ah car, the more power-dense 33 kWh battery in the new 94 Ah model allows range to grow from 190 km (118 mi) to 300 km (186 mi) on the New European Drive Cycle.

    Tesla is driving improvement everywhere.

    Reply
  82. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Some interesting articles in Gizmag.

    Barsha pump provides irrigation water, but doesn’t need fuel

    http://www.gizmag.com/aqysta-barsha-pump/34588/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget

    Reply
  83. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Something hopeful in the energy storage field, cheap and easy to produce without the harmful aspects of Lithium. Especially for utility scale storage

    Power dense zinc-manganese power unit as cheap as a car battery

    http://www.gizmag.com/rechargeable-zinc-manganese-battery-pnnl/42930/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget

    Reply
  84. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Mention was made of China moving into the EV space
    http://www.gizmag.com/leeco-lesee-electric-car/42922/

    China’s LeEco gives a first look at its semi-autonomous Tesla fighter

    Car/ride-sharing appears to be an important part of LeEco’s grand auto plan, not so surprisingly as it owns a majority stake in ride-sharing company Yidao Yongche and has a goal of increasing service. When it was time to reveal the LeSEE on stage, CEO Jia Yueting used the voice recognition software on his LeEco smartphone to “order a ride,” and Ding Lei, vice chairman and managing director of LeEco’s automotive efforts, drove the car out on stage to “pick him up.” Later on, Yueting used the smartphone to order the car to park itself.

    LeEco may look to shake up the car pricing model, too. While it didn’t estimate a price for the car, it repeatedly stressed a vision of shifting business away from hardware sales and toward the sales of services and memberships. According to Reuters, it believes that strategy could one day be extended to cars. Cars would be offered for free or at deep discounts, with all the money being tied into connected services.

    Reply
  85. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    There is so much research into renewable energy and storage
    http://www.gizmag.com/cuess-solar-panel-photovoltaic/14507/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget

    Solar panels made three times cheaper and four times more efficient

    Reply
  86. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Here we go again with Clean Coal
    http://www.gizmag.com/more-effecient-coal/42612/
    The comments are sooo fascinating

    Hybrid system could clean up coal power

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 2, 2016

      Meanwhile also on Gizmag, the research and efforts to increase efficiency and power of ICE motors, unreal.
      Reminds me of the developments for the horse and carriage as it was being replaced by the Automobile

      Reply
      • I think they’re running to stand still now. With zero tailpipe emissions, an easy transition to zero use emissions, the ability to dramatically reduce supply chain emissions, better performance, increasing range, ever falling costs and an amazing synergy with other electron and renewable energy technologies, it’s becoming increasingly clear that EVs are the better option in almost every way.

        Reply
    • Yeah, yet one more myth people somehow can’t stop themselves from repeating …

      Reply
  87. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    The sun is not always shining
    http://www.gizmag.com/the-archimedes-liam-f1-urban-wind-turbine/32263/?li_source=LI&li_medium=default-widget

    Screwy-looking wind turbine makes little noise and a big claim

    Although it’s getting increasingly common to see solar panels on the roofs of homes, household wind turbines are still a fairly rare sight. If Rotterdam-based tech firm The Archimedes has its way, however, that will soon change. Today the company officially introduced its Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, which is said to have an energy yield that is “80 percent of the maximum that is theoretically feasible.” That’s quite the assertion, given that most conventional wind turbines average around 25 to 50 percent.

    The 75-kg (165-lb) 1.5-meter (5-ft)-wide Liam obviously doesn’t look much like a typical turbine. It draws on the form of the nautilus shell, and the screw pump invented by ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes of Syracuse.

    That form factor reportedly results in minimal mechanical resistance, allowing it to spin very freely and to operate quietly – blade noise is one of the common complaints regarding rooftop wind turbines. Additionally, the design is claimed to keep it always pointing into the wind for maximum yield.

    “The Liam F1 generates an average of 1,500 kilowatt-hours of energy [per year] at a wind-speed of 5 m/s [16.4 ft/s], which resembles half of the power consumption of a common household.” Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what independent testing reveals. The company states that it has tested the Liam “over 50 times” to confirm the figures, and has already sold 7,000 of the turbines in 14 countries

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  May 2, 2016

      Reply
    • Wind, solar, increasing battery penetration and lowered cost. I see all these three technologies as synergistic and providing a very benevolent set of options for carbon reduction. The fact that these three improve their impact based on innovation and economies of scale allows for an increasingly effective challenge to established and harmful fuels. It’s worth noting, that solar scales enormously well and that the base power source is equally immense.

      Reply
    • Yeah, it’s been getting quite a bit of play on Twitter. Color me skeptical–a lot of household turbines, all “quiet” and amazingly productive according to their manufacturers, have come and gone over the past 40+ years since the Oil Embargo. I believe this one will fare no better. There are definitely legitimate small turbines, but they are having a tough time competing with solar power as its price continues to drop.

      Reply
  88. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Back to our crazy weather.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-05-02/severe-weather-warning-issued-for-victoria/7377628

    BoM issues severe weather warning for Victoria, 100kph winds predicted
    Seven-metre waves expected on Victoria’s coast, authorities warn

    Huge waves of more than seven metres are expected on Victoria’s south-west coast, water safety authorities.
    External Link: @vicsesnews reminds people to tie down outdoor furniture
    The average height for large waves in the Western Bass Strait is about 2.8 metres, Lifesaving Victoria said.
    “In some places the surf may look inviting during this period, such as along the Surf Coast,” senior meteorologist James Taylor said in a statement.
    “However the largest waves are likely to still be around three to four metres in this region.”
    Surfing Victoria chief executive Adam Robertson urged surfers to take care.
    “Surfing Victoria urges everyone to surf within their limits over the next few days and make sure you surf with a mate,” he said.

    The weather warning comes of the back of what the BoM said was the state’s second warmest April on record

    Reply
  89. utoutback

     /  May 2, 2016

    Another nail in Coal’s coffin:
    “the Administrative Law Judge decided the estimated cost of carbon pollution used in MN is too low…. This leads to a large increase in the estimated cost, from $0.44 to $4.53 per ton to $11 – $57 per ton.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/may/02/peabody-coals-contrarian-scientist-witnesses-lose-their-court-case

    Reply
    • Well, well. That’s quite a boost. It’s amazing to me how this industry has continued to downplay its impact and the degree to which that downplaying has occurred. We’re looking at two orders of magnitude here.

      Reply
      • AND the degree to which the industry has gotten away with it, which unfortunately speaks to longstanding corruption of the political system. The National Academies of Science, Harvard Medical School, and other expert sources have estimated much higher damage costs for years.

        Reply
  90. Cate

     /  May 2, 2016

    Letter from Dr Hansen to Warren Buffett: on building an ark.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-james-hansen/mr-buffetts-ark_b_9793872.html

    Reply
  91. Cate

     /  May 2, 2016

    The Atlantic reports on a report on the risk of dying in a human extinction event….

    http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/04/a-human-extinction-isnt-that-unlikely/480444/

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  May 2, 2016

      Good pick up Cate, they also had another interesting article that I see as tying into the mindset we must change to come out with a better world, my own perspective is that humanity has evolved from primitive yet with a wisdom, to the games and challenges of youth and the turbulent teens which is where we are now along with the knowledge and technology explosion, we need to face maturity and growing up with all the responsibilities that entails along with the accomplishment, self respect and a better world (this is not Miss World).
      http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/why-so-many-smart-people-arent-happy/479832/

      Reply
  92. Cate

     /  May 2, 2016

    Texas nightmare: floods in fracking fields. Canada nightmare: wildfires in the tarsands.

    Wildfire is raging out of control near Fort Mac, Alberta, and while the tarsands are not threatened—yet—, the possibility of wildfire over-running that huge complex gives pause for thought.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/fort-mcmurray-wildfires-force-evacuations-1.3561750

    Reply
  93. Cate

     /  May 2, 2016

    A handy resource for info about wildfire smoke in Canada, including daily forecasts.

    http://firesmoke.ca/

    Reply
  94. Cate

     /  May 2, 2016

    CBC: mainstream media column on EV and other cars–in the Business section, of course.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/hybrid-cars-april-auto-sales-1.3557316

    Reply
  95. Colorado Bob

     /  May 2, 2016

    What 90,000 indigenous people have to say about climate change

    A new study attempts to inject some anecdotal heft into the science of climate change by collecting observations from more than 90,000 people that historically depended on nature for their traditional way of life.

    Six researchers from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia gathered over 10,000 observations from 137 countries, primarily in places like Central Africa, Central America, and the Himalayas where climate records are sparse and not well documented. In doing so the study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, attempts to help fill gaps in the climate record where instrumental data is not available as well as to corroborate existing records.

    After sorting through all the observations, which were collated from around 1,000 studies, what the researchers found was largely consistent with climate models predicting changes in temperature and rainfall due to human-caused global warming.

    Link

    Reply
  96. Abel Adamski

     /  May 2, 2016

    Zimbabwe: Climate Change to Cause 38 Percent Decline in Agric Income

    By Jeffrey Gogo

    FARM incomes in Zimbabwe are expected to decline by as much as 38 percent by 2050, as temperatures soar 3,4 percent in what would be an unprecedented catastrophe for agriculture, according to a new study.

    The study by Science Direct shows the extent of damage that climate change will have on rain-fed agriculture in four Sub-Saharan African countries including South Africa, Cameroon and Ethiopia. Higher temperatures will cause annual rainfall to decline by 1,1 percent here.

    It predicts agriculture commodities prices will rise 3 to 7 percent by mid-century across the four economies due to increased scarcity.

    In Zimbabwe, maize output is seen crashing 37,7 percent and cassava 0,2 percent.

    It is not clear why the study focused on cassava in Zimbabwe — a highly uncommon food source — ignoring more widely consumed grains like sorghum or millet.

    In the other three countries sorghum and maize output is expected to decline by between 6 percent and 30 percent.

    “The expected changes in crop yields indicate that there is robust support for probable yield decline, which will in turn result in lowered farm income,” said the study published last week by Science Direct, a global scientific body with over 3 000 peer-reviewed scholarly articles.

    Agriculture is Zimbabwe’s economic mainstay. Over 9 million people, or 70 percent of the population, are directly dependent on it, says the national statistical agency, ZimStats.

    http://allafrica.com/stories/201605020275.html

    Reply
  97. Colorado Bob

     /  May 2, 2016

    The Life-Saving Bonus from Greenhouse Gas Emission Cuts: Better Air Quality
    By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson , 3:21 PM GMT on May 02, 2016

    Climate change mitigation is often portrayed as a burden, with any long-term benefits far in the future. That’s a misleading and inaccurate picture, as emission cuts can produce many benefits right out of the gate. Chief among those is the potential for improved air quality. When we burn less of the oil, coal and gas that produce heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide, there’s also an immediate reduction in the witch’s brew of other compounds that these fuels add to our atmosphere. Cutting this pollution could pay phenomenal benefits in public health, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. In the year 2013, outdoor air pollution was connected to about 2.9 million deaths globally, and about 80,000 deaths in the U.S., according to a 2016 study carried out by the University of British Columbia as part of the Global Burden of Disease project. The global toll was even larger when considering both indoor and outdoor air pollution: more than 5.5 million premature deaths. Two of the worst culprits are coal plants in China and indoor cookstoves in India, according to the report.

    Link

    Reply
    • – Glad to see them put this out ‘loud and clear’. I feel a sense of relief upon hearing them. My only wistful wish is that the connection should have been ‘front and center’ all along. But, what we have is what we deal with — now and onward.

      – ‘Particulates are a particular concern’
      It’s been harder to cut down on the tiny airborne solids and liquids called aerosols…
      an air-pollution threat that’s gone from obscurity to infamy in the last 20 years. You may be surprised to learn that, according to the WHO, roughly 80% of the deaths related to outdoor air pollution in 2012 were from heart disease or stroke.
      [Many heat related deaths are due, in large part, to air pollution.]

      Reply
      • – “Premature deaths” are preventable deaths no one should ever lose sight of that fact.

        – WU cont.
        ‘How many people does pollution kill?’
        Why is it that air pollution episodes that kill thousands of Americans don’t receive the media attention that, say, hurricanes get? It’s because “premature deaths” caused by air pollution are only partly attributable to breathing bad air, while drowning in a hurricane’s storm surge is entirely due to the hurricane, and is a much more dramatic event. Nevertheless, a great many children die of pollution-induced asthma attacks who would not have died otherwise, and the mortality due to air pollution in the general U.S. population is in the tens of thousands each year.

        Reply
  98. Reply
    • Robert, is/has Hawaii’s usual moisture being entrained away from NE-ward? Now part of a atmospheric river/curtain?

      Reply
  99. Zack Labe ‏@ZLabe 25m25 minutes ago

    Daily record low #Arctic sea ice extent records were broken every single day this April (JAXA, last non-min -> 3/29)

    Reply
  100. Reply
  101. Colorado Bob

     /  May 2, 2016

    Arctic Sea Ice Age – 2010 to 2015

    Reply
  102. Colorado Bob

     /  May 2, 2016

    Jim Hunt from the Great White Con :

    “Steve Goddard” Busted
    April 24, 2016

    Our headline today is inspired by Tony Heller, probably still better known by his nom de guerre “Steven Goddard”, who excitedly tells the world:

    NSIDC Busted!

    Link

    Reply
  103. Colorado Bob

     /  May 2, 2016

    Climate to inspire exodus from Middle East, North Africa in coming decades

    MAINZ, Germany, May 2 (UPI) — Temperature and sea level aren’t the only things expected to rise as a result of climate change. As heat becomes more extreme in some parts of the world, scientists expect a significant rise in the number of climate refugees.

    Climate scientists with the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry expect the coming decades to feature a mass exodus of millions from the Middle East and North Africa as extreme temperatures become more common.

    Link

    Reply
  104. redskylite

     /  May 2, 2016

    from Exeter University research suggesting Arctic sea ice is wore when the PDO is in a negative phase, worries for the future as it is now in a positive state . .

    Influence of sea-ice loss on Arctic warming is shaped by varying temperatures in the Pacific Ocean

    “Our findings surprised us, and they’re also concerning because the extremely warm winter that just occurred in the Arctic may have been even worse if the PDO had been in a negative phase. When the PDO shifts back again, it could be bad news for the already rapidly changing Arctic region.”

    http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_508707_en.html?utm_source=exeter.ac.uk&utm_medium=billboard&utm_campaign=HomeSeaIce

    Reply
    • redskylite

       /  May 2, 2016

      oops – less haste more speed, not “wore” but “sea ice melt worse”

      Reply
  105. June

     /  May 2, 2016

    Interesting article describing the current technical and commercial status of some of the newer non-silicon solar technologies. Sounds like they could benefit from some of the money divested from fossil fuels!

    “The future of low-cost solar cells”

    http://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i18/future-low-cost-solar-cells.html

    Reply
  106. June

     /  May 2, 2016

    “Half of leading investors ignoring climate change: study”

    “Almost half of the world’s top 500 investors are doing nothing to address climate change through their investments, a study showed on Monday.”

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-climatechange-investors-idUKKCN0XS1NO

    Reply

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