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Fossil-Fuel Spear-Headed Fake News Attacks on Electrical Vehicles Intensify as Sales Ramp

In China, the world’s largest automobile market, something amazing is starting to happen. A swarm of electrical vehicles is hitting the streets. The smoggy, smoke-choked air is starting to clear. And oil demand is slowly starting to slacken.

Ramping electrical vehicle production in China takes a bit out of oil demand. Image source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Fossil fuel profit-addicted investors are starting to panic as oil’s very real carbon-spewing death-grip ’round the neck of what is now the world’s largest economy is slowly being pried off.

But big oil is nothing if not a tricky and resourceful beast. So as electrical transportation leaders are marching the world away from dirty energy sources, the fossil-fueled monstrosity is fighting back tooth and nail with its primary weapon of choice…

Fake News 

It’s one of those blanket terms that has been dramatically mis-used by those like Trump to generate a million false impressions of late. To attack credible, public-serving media sources and to generate an assault on freedom of the press in total. But the term has its origins in a very real problem that each of us have to deal with every day. That problem being that some news sources can and often do, intentionally or unintentionally, get the story wrong.

Why?

Well, it can happen for a hundred different reasons not the least of which is social and individual bias. But a key issue for the present day is news generated by special-interest related media aimed at creating an impression that serves that particular interest’s goals. In other words — media that sells to or pushes from a particular political, ideological, or business-related frame of reference.

Public relations campaigns aimed at misinforming the public about harmful products or to tamp down competition by more benevolent industries have long been funded by fossil fuel interests. Image source: Smoke and Fumes.

If, for example, you’re a Fox News viewer, then your information comes with such a heavy conservative and pro-established industry bias that you tend to believe fallacies like ‘climate change isn’t real or dangerous,’ ‘Hillary Clinton sold Uranium to the Russians,’ ‘giving more money to rich people by cutting taxes pays off the national debt,’ ‘Russian interference didn’t alter the outcome of the 2016 election,’ ‘social security is an entitlement and not a government run savings program that you pay into so you have a cushion for retirement,’ and ‘all real energy comes from fossil fuels.’

These media objects and impressions could well be considered fake news.

Fossil Fuel Special Interest Fake News

In the climate and clean energy sphere, we are confronted with these kinds of targeted messages every day. More specifically, what we see is a proliferation of messages aimed at delaying a transition to clean energy and enabling the continued dominance of fossil fuel based energy sources on and on into the future.

The primary messaging issues that we deal with here are smears, doubt promotion, distractions, and myth propagation.

Lately, for anyone that’s been paying attention, we’ve seen an amazing amount of smear-based hyperbole aimed at clean energy leaders like Tesla. Not a single day goes by when we don’t have some ‘journalist’ who holds a short position in Tesla as a company beating the old hackneyed drum over which terrible demise Tesla is ‘destined’ to suffer this day or that. And this short interest is not focused on predicting so much as it is on manufacturing reality.

‘Short EV Interest’

If we’re honest with ourselves, we realize that short interest in clean industry leaders like Tesla is primarily propagated by pro-fossil fuel sources. Most of the short ‘journalists’ have some association with the fossil fuel industry. And practically all take a negative view of the prominent and most widely available clean energy sources of the day.

Some will even promote a prospective clean energy source, like hydrogen, as a distraction from the larger mega-trend represented by wind, solar and batteries. But this is more as a shiny object in the form of systems that are 5-15 years or longer from actual realization. A kind of vapor-ware competition in impression vs the real trends.

Taking this week’s penchant to proffer the hydrogen economy distraction as an example, we find that during 2017 more than 1.2 million electrical vehicles sold worldwide. Hydrogen based vehicles sold far less well — at approximately 3,500 units in 2017 or about 1 hydrogen fueled vehicle to every 350 EVs hitting the roads. Moreover, global EV sales could hit as high as 2 million in 2018 and 4-5 million by 2020. Though hydrogen might get off its laurels and start to show real gains by the early 2020s or later, electrified transport is taking flight now.

Moreover, hydrogen presents its own emissions problems as it is presently 90 percent produced from reformed natural gas in a high-carbon emitting process. The promise of mass-electrolysis based hydrogen from renewables and other low carbon processes are, you guessed it, 5-15 years off. And, even more concerning, major oil companies like Shell are heavily invested in hydrogen — which increases the likelihood that it will serve as a spoiler and not as an enabler of the clean energy transition.

Just as electrical vehicles reach their moment of realization, major media attacks against the clean energy trend emerge. Image source: EV Volumes.

This week the flavor is hydrogen. Next week it will be nuclear. Next it will be something else that can be slow-walked. Anything to distract from the actual electrical, solar, wind revolution that is now in progress and achieving rapid advancements.

It’s at these critical times when the pro fossil fuel and anti renewable energy messaging tends to proliferate on a mass scale. And today is just such a time. For right now, global EV sales are surging. Spear-headed by industry leaders like Tesla and countries like China, the electrification revolution is on. And the oil companies know it. In rather short order, as occurred recently with coal, global oil demand could drop. And those magical, marginal profits that fossil fuel investors have been addicted to for so many years and decades could go up in one final puff of CO2 laden smoke.

Will Tesla Survive The Assault?

So it is at this crucial time that all of the major media guns associated with the fossil fuel industry are now unleashing a furious, focus-fire barrage on Tesla. We’ve hinted at some of the reasons above. But looking deeper we find that Tesla’s all-clean-industry business model is the exact antithesis to that produced by traditional industry.

From its lock to its stock to its barrel, Tesla is clean tech through and through. It builds battery plants, it builds solar panels, it builds battery storage for homes, it builds all clean energy vehicles, it builds EV charging networks. And it works to integrate them all. Not one dollar of Tesla capital is wasted on fossil fuel extraction or machinery that burns fossil fuels. Not one iota. Not one cent.

The Tesla model is the model of a pure path away from carbon emissions and if it gets duplicated in one subset or another by companies the world over, then big fossil fuel is finished. If Tesla generates competition by example, as it is doing, then the clean energy revolution takes flight and there’s nothing that the oil, coal, or gas industry can do to stop it.

So from the fossil fuel point of view, Tesla must die. And that is the primary reason why we are seeing so many negative news stories lately about Tesla. Not because of Tesla’s intrinsic weaknesses. Not due to some puffed up accident investigation. These are the facts — the negative bias against Tesla comes from fossil fuel industry based sources. Fin.

Facing such a massive wall of media, political, and industry opposition isn’t easy. In all honesty, it’s amazing that Tesla has made it as far as it has. And under the present barrage, Tesla’s survival is again somewhat in doubt. I think it will pull through this relatively difficult period to emerge as both a major automaker and a global clean industry leader. But if the shorts win and Tesla goes down it will be due to direct sabotage by fossil fuel special interests — not due to some other failure. And that’s not fake news.

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49 Comments

  1. Recommend pushing the play button on ‘Sabotage’ and then reading the above article.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • JPL

       /  March 30, 2018

      Click play on Sabotage and then read this…

      “The Trump administration is expected to launch an effort in coming days to weaken greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for automobiles, handing a victory to car manufacturers and giving them ammunition to potentially roll back industry standards worldwide. ”

      Like

      Reply
      • Apparently there was some brief noise that the Trump Admin would back off from its ridiculous drive to reduce CAFE standards and harm U.S. future competitiveness. Now it appears that they’re going to push forward on this pig-headed effort.

        Like

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  2. rhymeswithgoalie

     /  March 28, 2018

    Responses in oil production are non-linear.

    Also, I’d like to know how many people who’ve tried EVs have gone back to combustion? After getting my Leaf I found my sisters’ combustion vehicles rather noisy, smelly and… lurchy.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  3. John S

     /  March 28, 2018

    Earlier this month the Labour Party lost the South Australian election, and for now we lost a leader of the renewable transition. The election was always going to be close, but…

    Recently the Australian Liberal party has had to break off relationship with Cambridge Analytica because of “the firm’s reputation stemming from its activities in the US.”

    However
    “The Liberals in South Australia adopted another US-based micro-targeting service – i360, backed by US businessmen and conservative political donors Charles and David Koch – in their successful state election campaign. The tool is said to have been critical to their victory. The Victorian Liberals are also using the platform ahead of the state election later this year.”

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/coalition-and-labor-distance-themselves-from-dark-arts-campaigning-firm-cambridge-analytica-20180319-p4z530.html

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. Greg

     /  March 28, 2018

    We are in a war. Those many in our populations go to for information and trust are spoonfeeding us long-term poison. So Tesla stock is now on sale! It is down to a low from a year ago. Great time to buy. Also, I notes this week than Elon has created bricks for Boring company to gain new revenue, dispose of all the tailings, and inspire the employees who are theming them for now with Egytuan pyramid kits and other whimsical stuff but note: he is talking about Lego like kits for developing world homes as a social project. He is basically starting an interesting construction subsidiary which, fast forward 10 years, could be a whole industry knowing his M.O. He could evolve it into capturing carbon and making building materials, concrete being the huge opportunity, based on his learnings. That seems to be the way his companies have begun and evolved. It was only several years ago that Hyperloop and Boring company did not exist. Tweet him and stay tuned.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Greg,
      Appreciate the brick reference – I am a brick nut. Bricks are a very big deal. I desperately wish someone could figure out a method that improves on the Pharaohs and is not back breaking. But there is a weakness in Musk’s brick method (from what I can read, anyway), which is the central boring of the lego-like bricks. Brick conducts some moisture, and a central cavity in the brick (like in cinder block) provides a space that will often be damp and in which mold will grow. Molds produce mycotoxins and in the walls of a house that can over the long run be crippling or even fatal to the inhabitants.
      There are even issues with poured concrete. No holes to worry about, but if the aggregate is toxic, like fly ash, and a lot is, then the walls of the house themselves will be toxic.
      However, such very real health concerns don’t seem to be stopping anything. I even wonder sometimes if there is any way to address them at all in any but the most minor manner.
      Will stay tuned.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • PS. It is possible that some alternative construction method using these bricks might be devised, but not as how houses are currently constructed in the US.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        • Greg

           /  March 29, 2018

          Who knows. These may be used on Mars! On Earth I would think the mycotoxin/moisture problem would be solved by using a very thin firing of the “skin” with a glass or anti fungal enamel especially if the bore hole were plugged after production. Maybe the Lego like extentions that connected the bricks could have salts added to a sealer and absorb moisture but you know far better than I. It seems solvable and at reasonable cost.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. A thought, if Tesla has issues raising funding from the usual sources it may be worth a shot at crowd funding – I suspect he would have no issues raising the funds, or something other companies, even Nations are doing. Issue a Blockchain “Tesla” IPO and sell tokens directly at a low unit price so smaller investors can buy, Bitcoin and other tokens are energy hogs, but there are issued, not mined tokens that are extremely secure such as the one the Australian Stock exchange now operates on and increasingly major financial systems operate on, there are also fully regulated and compliant exchanges so none of this shady exchanges. Malta has set itself up to be a fully regulated hub and France is going the same way, we even now have a fully regulated exchange.
    Sure the shorters will bail in and buy up big to sell low, so just buy from Tesla until the issue is sold out with the intention of holding for as long as it takes and just buy up the shorters coin and hold it. They will also be funding Tesla and if everyone buys their shorted tokens and holds, they lose big time.
    It can be energy efficient .
    However Tesla is not the only one under attack, Amazon and WaPo are also and that is Trump supporting the mall owners and retail property owners and bricks and mortar businesses who are not smart enough to be able to compete.
    https://www.axios.com/trump-regulation-amazon-facebook-646c642c-a2d7-454b-a9a9-cdc6e4eaef2c.html?utm_source=sidebar

    “His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers.”
    But when asked about the Axios report, the White House denied there were currently any plans to target Amazon.
    “The President has said many times before he’s always looking to create a level playing field for all businesses and this is no different,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
    “He’s always going to look at different ways, but there aren’t any specific policies on the table at this time.”
    By the closing bell, Amazon managed to moderate its losses to 4.4 per cent, or about $US30 billion. It was the fifth-worst performing stock on the S&P 500.
    Mr Trump has publicly criticised of Amazon in the past.
    In August, he posted on Twitter: “Amazon is doing great damage to tax paying retailers. Towns, cities and states throughout the US are being hurt — many jobs being lost!”
    Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos is also the owner of the Washington Post, which Mr Trump has called “fake news” for its critical coverage of his administration.

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  6. wili

     /  March 29, 2018

    A Boston judge just acquitted 13 pipeline protesters on the grounds that the climate crisis made it necessary for them to commit civil disobedience.

    The Boston climate trial that might have been
    Climate activist Marla Marcum and others were poised to test a ‘necessity defense’
    The prospect of a jury trial was rendered moot when prosecutors reduced the defendants’ charges from criminal misdemeanors to civil infractions (like a parking violation). Interestingly, the decision came after the prosecutors saw the list of expert witnesses prepared to testify for the defense—folks like world-renowned climate scientist James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute, and [Bill] McKibben.

    Not to be dissuaded, Judge Driscoll went ahead and found the defendants “not responsible” for the infractions—“by reason of necessity.” That decision in itself may be unprecedented, but it hardly carries the same weight as a jury’s verdict in a criminal trial.

    “The community that was fighting this pipeline jumped through all the regulatory hoops. The Boston City Council unanimously opposed this pipeline. The city of Boston is still in federal court, having sued FERC, asking them to reconsider the permit. Congressman Lynch was out in the streets with us a number of times. Senator Markey and Senator Warren have been vocally opposed to the construction of this pipeline. The state senator and the state representative for the folks in West Roxbury were actively opposed. Every elected official representing West Roxbury—except for Charlie Baker, the governor—was in active, ongoing opposition to this pipeline for years, and it didn’t matter. The community was against it. It didn’t matter.” …

    https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/the-boston-climate-trial-that-might-have-been/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. Abel Adamski

     /  March 29, 2018

    Since the Facebook disaster WordPress now seems to recognise my A A nom de plume and looks like I can dump facebook. Hooray.
    Or it may be since Robert enabled Likes and I clicked a like it took me to a gmail log in and I am now also logged in at Climatecrocks as AA rather than posting as Frank

    Excellent article on refurbishing and upgrading wind turbines, boosting output in the process

    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/03/28/renewing-renewables-older-wind-turbines-get-new-life-with-repowering/comment-page-1

    Like

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  8. Abel Adamski

     /  March 29, 2018

    Follow up on the comment in the previous article re coal and the UK
    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/03/26/forget-germany-uk-is-greening-fast/

    Forget Germany – UK is Greening Fast
    March 26, 2018
    The UK now has the lowest carbon emissions since the 90s.
    The 1890s.
    Financial Times:
    Declining coal use has pushed UK carbon emissions to levels last consistently seen in 1890, highlighting the country’s progress in cutting greenhouse gases faster than most other developed economies. Emissions fell by 2.6 per cent in 2017, driven by a nearly one-fifth reduction in the use of coal as the energy industry shifts towards cleaner sources of electricity generation, especially wind and solar power.

    The data marked the fifth successive year in which the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into UK skies has fallen, and emissions are now 38 per cent below the level of 1990. “With coal quickly disappearing in the UK and other fossil fuel use mostly flat, emissions have continued their steady decline,” said Zeke Hausfather, author of the report by Carbon Brief, a climate research and news organisation, which based its findings on the latest UK government data.

    “Overall, CO2 emissions have declined faster in the UK since the early 1990s than in almost any other large economy.” Emissions were lower for brief periods during strikes in the 1920s and in 1893 but last year’s CO2 output was the lowest in a year of normal economic activity since 1890, when Queen Victoria was on the throne, the Forth Bridge was opened in Scotland, and the first official county cricket match was played between Yorkshire and Gloucestershire.

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  9. Abel Adamski

     /  March 29, 2018

    https://www.sciencealert.com/world-s-largest-mass-extinction-permian-triassic-warning-signs-happening-now

    Our Planet’s Largest Mass Extinction Had Warning Signs – And They’re Happening Again

    Oh no.
    MICHELLE STARR
    29 MAR 2018

    Mass extinctions don’t just come unannounced. In fact, we’re staring down the barrel of the latest one, according to new research.

    Scientists have determined that, contrary to previous assumptions, there were early warning signs for the biggest mass extinction event in history. We now know what those warning signs are, and there are alarming parallels observable today.

    Such events are not uncommon in the historic record, and the fact that Earth is crawling with life today, indicates that they don’t completely obliterate life on the planet.

    But mass extinctions do alter the course of how life develops. Without the extinction of some dinosaurs, for example, the rise of the mammals – including humans – may never have occurred.

    The largest mass extinction that we know of was the Permian-Triassic event. It occurred 252 million years ago, marking the end of the Permian period and the beginning of the Triassic. It killed a shocking 96 percent of all marine life, and up to 70 percent of all life on land.

    It’s thought to have been caused by massive volcanic activity in Siberia, which majorly altered the atmosphere all around the world, and led to the collapse of many ecosystems – partially, perhaps, because of the effect volcanic activity had on the ozone layer, thinning it and disrupting plant life cycles.

    For the last 20 years or so, it was accepted that this event happened suddenly and without warning. One day, everything was fine. Next day, boom.

    But according to a research team from Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg and the Museum für Naturkunde in Germany, that’s not how it went down. By examining previously unresearched fossils in Iran, they have now found warning signs as early as 700,000 years before the event occurred.

    They found that several species of ammonoids – marine molluscs also known as ammonites – were killed off around that time, and the species that survived grew increasingly smaller and less complex.

    There were other signs, too – and they are shockingly familiar.

    “There is much evidence of severe global warming, ocean acidification, and a lack of oxygen,” said lead author Wolfgang Kießling of the FAU.

    “What separates us from the events of the past is the extent of these phenomena. For example, today’s increase in temperature is significantly lower than 250 million years ago.”

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  10. Does Tesla have great products? Yes. Do they have a more sustainable approach than many other companies? Sure. Would we have have greater chance at survival if more companies adopted their viewpoints? Yes. Are sales increasing? Yes. None of this guarantees the survival of the company or mean that it is run well. Did Amazon eventually make good? Yes. From an investment stand point falling in love with a particular stocks is usually a mistake. On the other hand, there are insider sales, not purchases. Short-term debts are substantially greater than short-term assets. Trying to grow real fast is usually a financial disaster. Might the fossil fuel people be taking advantage of an already shaky position? Probably to most likely. Turning issues like this into binary issues has a high potential for extreme disappointment. The best position for EV vehicles would be to have a number of companies trying to get in on it, and the weaker ones, or the ones that were too aggressive fall by the wayside, and we will be left with the strongest companies that can actually do the job required.

    Like

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  March 30, 2018

      longboren
      I get what you say, IMO it is from the investor or beancounter mindset.
      Reminds me very much of Apple, Steve, Woz etc started a Computer Company along with Venture Capitalists, it was initially successful, but the investors and beancounters managing the company had precisely the thought processes you have and booted Steve out, he went on to start up Next Computers and Pixar, he learnt a massive amount from Next even if it was not a big commercial success, Pixar however was a massive success and is what actually made him filthy rich when he sold out to Disney and that technology helped make Disney what it is today. In the meantime Apple under the management of the beancounters and Venture Capitalists was sliding down the garbage chute until they recalled Steve to head the company back up again. He produced the Mac and Mac Air, broke new disruptive ground with the iPod, then completely and utterly reshaped the once was utilitarian mobile phone with the iPhone , the first Smart Phone, wiping out the previous king of the heap Nokia – because it was a blend of Apples Computer expertise and the mobile phopne, arguably no other company had the ingredients (Computer hardware and software) to make that breakthrough and the rest is history. From sliding down the chute to the most valuable stock on the NYSE – the work of one man heading up a handpicked team
      Elon was originally just the major investor (Venture Capitalist) in Tesla which was going nowhere and on a downhill trend. Any of the investment guru’s you worship could have put their hand up to turn the company around, but didn’t – instead just shorted to make money (All they are good for – no ability to contribute anything of worth to the world, just money grubbing losers in life). Elon stepped in and took control and the rest is history, he never had the luxury of developing and testing a car for years before release like the majors, he had to develop, build and sell and sort out as he went, and has done brilliantly, no other could have achieved that from where he started. No one else considered building out a charging network first – your money people considered that idiocy and the Auto makers did their Kodak impression and laughed at him when Elon offered them a partnership in building out that network, and as history shows made absolute fools of themselves.

      Yes he has financial challenges courtesy of the coyotes yapping at his heels and the campaigns by the Auto industry band the Fossil Fuel industry, the US majors are behind the 8 ball, but the Europeans are in a better positiobn and the ones to watch are the Chinese who don’t have the legacy baggage, the Japanese and Koreans who are in stronger financial positions and the Indian company Tata (Jaguar, Rolls, Bentley etc) is the cashed up one to watch.
      As I said in my other post under Frank Speaking, I am a retiree with very limited funds, but if Tesla chooses the Crowd funding or Crypto Token path I will load up my empty credit card knowing full well I could lose it all to support Tesla and Elon, a worthwhile sacrifice for the sake of our world. I suspect there will be many others that see it that way, I cannot afford a Tesla, buying shares would not be a direct benefit, more helping the short sellers – so money direct to support and cut out the ticket clipping banks and lending institutions

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. Alberta’s boreal forest could be dramatically altered by 2100 due to climate change
    Model by UAlberta biologists predicts big changes due to climate change and wildfire. March 26, 2018. University of Alberta
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180326110143.htm v
    Summary:
    Half of Alberta’s upland boreal forest is likely to disappear over the next century due to climate change, a new study shows. The upland forest will be replaced after wildfire by open woodland or grassland, according to research from biologists.

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  12. Abel Adamski

     /  March 30, 2018

    Meanwhile in the worlds desert regions
    World’s largest desert has grown even larger due to climate change
    Expansion of Sahara is bad news for inhabitants of Sahel border region as rainfall dries up on farmland

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/sahara-worlds-largest-desert-climate-change-growth-global-warming-sahel-a8280361.html

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  13. Abel Adamski

     /  March 30, 2018

    Sorry to make so many posts, but there is much of interest to share
    From Climate Crocks
    Sponge Cities
    https://climatecrocks.com/2018/03/29/the-city-as-sponge-adapting-to-a-warmer-wetter-world/#more-52616

    The City as Sponge. Adapting to a Warmer, Wetter World
    March 29, 2018

    Like

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  14. Abel Adamski

     /  March 30, 2018

    Whooppsie
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-exxon-mobil-lawsuit/u-s-judge-dismisses-exxon-lawsuit-to-stop-climate-change-probes-idUSKBN1H536R
    Business News
    March 30, 2018 / 8:48 AM / Updated 5 hours ago
    U.S. judge dismisses Exxon lawsuit to stop climate change probes
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday dismissed Exxon Mobil Corp’s (XOM.N) lawsuit seeking to stop New York and Massachusetts from probing whether the oil and gas company covered up its knowledge about climate change and lied to investors and the public about it.
    U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan rejected as “implausible” Exxon’s argument that the states’ Democratic attorneys general, Eric Schneiderman and Maura Healey, were pursuing politically motivated, bad faith fraud investigations in order to violate its constitutional rights.

    Caproni dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning the Irving, Texas-based company cannot bring it again.

    Like

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  15. wili

     /  March 30, 2018

    Wow, ‘like’ buttons. Robert just made his site even more addictive! 🙂
    These are new, right? Or have they been there for a while and I was too blind to see them?

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  16. bobinspain

     /  March 30, 2018

    Of topic, but meanwhile in Venezula, heading for 13,000% inflation. My God how can this be happening in a so-called civilised world?
    http://es.euronews.com/2018/03/29/las-dificultades-del-exodo-venezolano-en-colombia

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • paul

       /  March 31, 2018

      It happens, I am sure, because the world is run by uncivilised, greedy sociopaths and not by civilised people who comment here.
      There is nothing civilised about civilisation.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  March 31, 2018

      LOL Robert I signed into wordpress so I could use the “like” button and now your site doesn’t recognize me. Have you ever been somewhere and done something you wish everyone would forget. Well it only happens on the net and the only time it happens is when it really doesn’t matter. I’ll bet “five eyes” seen it already however.

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    • LOL! Got your comments. You should be clear now, Shawn.

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  17. Another technique to monitor seafloor methane release. This one uses ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) for monitoring off western Svalbard. But, alas, nothing about magnitude.
    Microseismicity Linked to Gas Migration and Leakage on the Western Svalbard Shelf
    Peter Franek et al. 7 December 2017 https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GC007107
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/2017GC007107

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  18. Robert McLachlan

     /  April 1, 2018

    Greetings fellow scribblers. Feel like introducing myself tonight. I am a New Zealand math prof in my 50s. I think my first “oh my God” moment was 1998 when I learned about Arrhenius’s 1898 article. Second was the collapse of North Pole sea ice in 2007. Came here a few years ago for the article on changes in the Gulf Stream. Since 2016 (perhaps not coincidentally, the same year I bought an electric car) I have become much more outspoken. This year, I am extremely excited because New Zealand is going ZERO CARBON 2050.

    Anyone feel like adding a 6-line CC bio?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Brian

       /  April 1, 2018

      Canadian, professional engineer. Private pilot in the 1990s, took meteorology for that and for university. Discovered Dr. Master’s site about a few months before Hurricane K, and the evidence that he kept presenting there just became overwhelming, well before the Mar 2012 heatwave that hit the US. I’m not excited about Canada’s initiatives, nor about NZ’s, because honestly we are both too small on the world stage to make a difference, even if we show “leadership”. There has to be changes in the biggest players (US, China, India, etc), both in terms of Regulatory and actual Economics. Crony Capitalism, unbridled greed, and the deliberate sabotage of ways forward are going to criple those economies stuck in the past, and it’s a great disservice to our collective future what is happening today.

      Liked by 1 person

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  19. kassy

     /  April 1, 2018

    Shipping faces demands to cut CO2

    A battle is under way to force the global shipping industry to play its part in tackling climate change.

    A meeting of the International Maritime Organisation in London next week will face demands for shipping to radically reduce its CO2 emissions.

    If shipping doesn’t clean up, it could contribute almost a fifth of the global total of CO2 by 2050.

    A group of nations led by Brazil, Saudi Arabia, India, Panama and Argentina is resisting CO2 targets for shipping.

    Their submission to the meeting says capping ships’ overall emissions would restrict world trade. It might also force goods on to less efficient forms of transport.

    This argument is dismissed by other countries which believe shipping could actually benefit from a shift towards cleaner technology.

    ….

    Trade and prosperity
    The UK is supported by other European nations in a proposal to shrink shipping emissions by 70%-100% of their 2008 levels by 2050.

    A recent report from the International Transport Forum at the rich nations’ think tank the OECD said maximum deployment of currently known technologies could achieve almost complete decarbonisation of maritime shipping by 2035.

    International shipping produces about 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 annually – that’s more than the entire German economy.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43584963

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    • Robert McLachlan

       /  April 1, 2018

      Good catch Kassy. Every industry has to have such a plan. The ITF report, https://www.itf-oecd.org/sites/default/files/docs/decarbonising-maritime-transport.pdf, is worth a look. It turns out that it’s been agreed that all international shipping must use low-sulphur fuel from 2020, which will act as a de facto carbon price. The present situation that international transport emissions are not included in UNFCCC reports (except optionally), the Paris Agreement, or countries’ nationally determined contributions, is a real problem that has to be fixed at some point.

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  20. rayduray

     /  April 1, 2018

    Hello Robert McLachlan,

    I like your suggestion about a brief CV. Here goes…

    I’m a retired general contractor living in Central Oregon. My clients were a mix of residential, commercial, institutional and industrial property owners. After about 30 years I began to have some sense of the fact that something on the order of 90% of the virgin forests in our region have been cut down since 1950 (the start of the the Anthropogenic Age and of run-away greenhouse gas emissions). By 1992 I was ready to exam Al Gore’s “Earth In The Balance”. And it was quite an epiphany for me. I realized that the reason our forests were gone was because of the profligate nature of our exploitation of the resource. Even with good practices, from forest to finish 50 to 70% of any tree was going into the waste stream. We were and still largely are an industry based on waste. Today, I’m happier to express myself with ephemeral electronic symbols on luminous screens. I’m ready to leave the woods in place for future generations.

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  21. rayduray

     /  April 1, 2018

    Bloomberg News has an article up today on Tesla’s financing woes.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-01/tesla-makes-last-ditch-model-3-deliveries-as-pressures-mount

    From what I can tell, there are real concerns about Tesla’s potential to run out of cash before it can ramp up production to a level where the company is sufficiently cash flow positive in order to sustain production. This isn’t a matter of evil ideologists creating a short seller’s story. This is a hard-nosed practical accounting matter. Elon Musk’s charm and salesmanship are legendary and well-respected. His ability to get a product out the door? Not so much.

    For comparables, see the 1988 movie “Tucker” or the history of the DeLorean. We’ve been really excited about new car technology in the past. Sometimes though, the future refuses to conform to our dreams.

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    • Mblanc

       /  April 2, 2018

      The problem is that Tesla’s progress is so highly politicised it is very hard to trust even sources that might generally be sympathetic. I think the fact that Musk is prepared to joke about Tesla’s demise tells you something.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/elon-musk-tesla-bankrupt-real-fake-twitter-april-fool-spacex-post-latest-a8284451.html

      Your point about Tucker is a very good one, historically speaking disruptive actors got the harshest treatment imaginable. But the reality of EV’s cost benefits, particularly in the commercial sector, are unstoppable. The FF interests could possibly bring Tesla down, but the fundamentals remain the same.

      I think it is right to be concerned about the pressure on Tesla, but even if they did go down, the tech the company has still remains massively valuable. Tesla technology will live on whatever happens, the mould is broken.

      I remain confident that Tesla will be a leading force in the US EV vehicle market, a very big player in the critical European and Chinese markets, and a huge part of battery tech going forward. Some folks would love to see Musk humiliated, but he has pulled so many game changers out of the bag that this difficult period is not any tougher than some of the tough stuff he and Tesa have already done.

      Having said that, I do think revolutionising automobile production is a big ask, on top of all the other tasks previously achieved, and I think it was probably not a fight Musk had to take on now we have seen the radical improvements in battery tech of the last few years. BMW got burned by trying to build a new generation of carbon-fibre heavy chassis (in the i3) to make old battery tech work, then bailed out when it realised the new batteries didn’t need that radical an approach. I think that change is quite instructive in how the ground has shifted underneath all auto makers.

      Kudos to RS for some great stuff on hydrogen tech, which seems to be in a pointless hype moment. I had not really took much notice of the systematic attacks on Tesla, before it was highlighted here, and it really seems to be a fight to the death to stop them.

      Liked by 3 people

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      • rayduray

         /  April 2, 2018

        Hi Mblanc,

        Thanks for your thoughtful rebuttal, if we can characterize it that way, to the thrust of the Bloomberg article and Musk’s cash flow problem. I don’t doubt the direction Musk wishes to lead us in. But as someone who was quite involved in the Dot Com investment era, I take a more mundane approach to business. In this world, when you run out of money, you are bankrupt. Investors lose their shirts.

        I look at Tesla from the perspective of whether or not a stock is a good investment. Today I see far greater risk than reward possible with TSLA.

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  22. Jim

     /  April 1, 2018

    Great article on Tesla. Much of the recent rout of the stock has occurred because of persistent delays in ramping Model 3 production to 2500 units/week. Musk has indicated that they wanted to optimize the current assembly line before purchasing and installing the next line intended to take them to 5000 units/week. Seems prudent to me, but the cost of doing so was a slower ramp and more cash burn.

    While that leads to frustration, Tesla has also said that they would manage deliveries in such a fashion as to maximize the $7500 US tax credit which begins to phase out after the 200,000 EV is delivered in the US. Currently, that threshold is likely to be crossed in June 2018 meaning that Tesla will likely stockpile cars, and ship cars to foreign buyers so as to move the 200,000 US vehicle sale date to early July. Thus buyers would receive the full tax credit for Q3 and Q4 before being cut by half in 1Q2019.

    And for evidence, Tesla had been prioritizing Model X/S deliveries to Norway before overwhelming their car transportation business (!), have suspended production of Model X/S vehicles initially for two days per week now down to 1 day per week, and have prioritized Canadian Model 3 deliveries.

    I expect the second half of this year is going to a strong one.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Mblanc

       /  April 2, 2018

      Good stuff Jim, I think your view is about right.

      I am reminded of the recent stories about the machine tools coming from Germany being slotted in to the production line at Tesla. Despite the criticism of German automakers on this site, which is usually merited, the Germans remain some of the best machine tool and production robot manufacturers available. It is easy to tell this by the fact that Tesla bought some German companies, to make his radical production line happen.

      It is also worth noting some recent releases from various manufacturers announcing a new style of auto factory. Both Mercedes and Audi have been talking about factories that bring a new concept to their traditional approach. At Audi it is a low carbon production facility, and MB are talking of a new style of car factory altogether. Remind anyone of the Gigafactory?

      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2018/02/20180221-mb56.html

      It strikes me that even the Germans have recognised that Musk has taken the auto production game up a notch. Modern car production lines are already far more flexible than were traditionally the case, changing from one model or trim level to another, in the blink of an eye. I think Tesla will step up the production rate of the Model 3 to the levels necessary to calm the markets, but quite which production week that will happen in remains unknown. That is the price of doing new stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

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  23. rayduray

     /  April 2, 2018

    Here’s more coverage of Tesla, especially covering the recent fatal crash in the Bay Area.

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/04/tesla-encounters-material-world.html

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    • While the Bloomberg article you referenced was a decent bit of journalism, the number of Tesla hit pieces in the media these days is both dramatic and appalling. There is no indication that Tesla is going to go bankrupt in three months as some of the short-sellers are saying. That said, there is risk that, at some point, if Tesla fails to make a decent return on the Model 3 ramp, that Tesla might run out of cash and try to turn to investors again only to meet with failure. But the timeframe for that, in the worst case, appears to be Q4 2018 and more likely 2019. But to be clear, both of these are unlikely worst case scenarios.

      Since Tesla is primarily selling higher cost versions of Model 3 at present, and since Tesla is pulling in cash by other means (pre-orders etc), this risk appears to be at least somewhat mitigated. I think what we would see, instead, even if worse fears were realized, would be some delays in Teslas follow-on models like the Y along with a retrenchment to higher prices and slower production rates. In addition, most of the crash articles I’ve seen RE Tesla are also highly speculative and include numerous instances of ‘journalists’ lighting their hair on fire and prematurely declaring the end of Tesla. It’s a story we’ve heard time and time again before.

      IMO, it will take a lot more for Tesla to fail than some believe.

      Liked by 1 person

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      • rayduray

         /  April 2, 2018

        From my reading, I glean that you’re right about the cash crunch coming at the end of 2018. Plenty of time to pull a rabbit out of the hat for Tesla and Musk. My basic outlook is that the company survives, but that bond holders and stock owners are likely in for a substantial haircut.

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        • Just to clarify:

          I’m not predicting an inevitable cash crunch for Tesla by Q 4 2018 through 2019. I’m just saying that it’s a far more reasonable bearish scenario than the present Tesla shorts are selling. In my opinion, the Tesla financial picture looks better for Tesla after it is able to steadily produce model 3s in the 2,000 per week range. This is primarily due to the fact that Model 3 cost of production is around 30K and average sale price even once the 35 K model 3 is released is likely to exceed 40K with 75 percent margin on extras.

          I also think that Tesla is easily on track to produce more than 170,000 vehicles this year and possibly as much as 250,000. If Tesla hits north of 200K, I’d call it a major win.

          I think the time for Tesla stock drops is now through early summer. But if the Q1 report is stronger than expected, I think we may have bottomed out already. In my opinion, Q2 with likely 17,000 to 24,000 Model 3s and 38,000 to 45,000 Teslas will look a lot better.

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  24. bostonblorp

     /  April 2, 2018

    First direct observations of methane’s increasing greenhouse effect at the Earth’s surface
    https://phys.org/news/2018-04-methane-greenhouse-effect-earth-surface.html

    which lead me to the charts at http://www.methanelevels.org/

    If you zoom in to 2000 – present you’ll see the sudden rise in methane that started since 2007. Then, since 2014, it started increasing at an even higher rate.

    https://e360.yale.edu/features/methane_riddle_what_is_causing_the_rise_in_emissions

    Agriculture is viewed as the chief culprit but the method by which they pointed a finger – isotopic analysis – would, to this layman, commingle methane from warming tundra and clathrate release. Also worth noting that the article only addresses the rise since 2007, not the additional increase since 2014.

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    • There’s no direct evidence that the spike is coming directly from clathrate. No scientific paper points to that at this time. What we are seeing is some permafrost feedback in the Arctic, but if you’re looking for a major environmental feedback at present, you’re going to have to look at the tropics instead.

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  25. Underwater melting of Antarctic ice far greater than thought, study finds

    “What’s happening is that Antarctica is being melted away at its base. We can’t see it, because it’s happening below the sea surface,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd, one of the authors of the paper. “The changes mean that very soon the sea-level contribution from Antarctica could outstrip that from Greenland.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/02/underwater-melting-of-antarctic-ice-far-greater-than-thought-study-finds

    Liked by 1 person

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  26. kassy

     /  April 3, 2018

    Also posted in the newer blog entry but it fits with this subject:

    U.S. Carmakers May Regret What They Wished for on Pollution Rules

    The titans of Detroit’s auto industry met with President Donald Trump four days after he took office and warned that jobs could be lost if the emission limits enacted by his predecessor weren’t made more flexible.

    On Monday, the Trump administration responded by agreeing to revise the Obama administration standards — but in a way that may backfire on the automakers.

    In announcing the decision, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt included a tacit threat that the federal government might no longer go along with California’s smog-fighting policies. That could lead to pollution rules that vary state-by-state, greatly complicating life for the people making the cars.

    “Automakers will get the flexibility they wished for, but at what cost?” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at the car shopping website Edmunds. “The unfortunate reality is that this decision comes with a logistical nightmare in the short term.”

    and more on:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-03/u-s-carmakers-may-regret-what-they-wished-for-on-pollution-rule

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