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Tesla’s EV Lead Expands as Production Hits 13,000 to 17,000 in April

In the present day, two forces are helping to drive the potential for a rapid and much-needed transition to clean energy. On the one hand, we have countries like China and states like California providing clean energy leadership and incentive. And on the other hand, we have clean energy innovators like Tesla who continue to stretch the bounds of what’s possible.

This month, Tesla proved naysayers wrong by consistently producing more than 2,000 all electric Model 3 vehicles per week. During late March, Tesla produced 2070 Model 3s in one week. The next week they produced 2100. And the following week they produced 2250. During the third week of March they probably produced around 1,000 as the line shut down for improvements for 3-5 days. However, it’s likely that the final week will show in excess of 2,200 as the production line again expanded.

(Tesla EV production rates saw a big jump in Q1 as Model 3 began to hit a stride. However, Q2 2018 results will likely more than double that of Q4 of 2017 with Model 3 likely averaging over 2,000 per week. Image source: Statista and Tesla. )

Assuming that average weekly Model S and X production rates of around 1,000 (each) continued throughout the month, it appears that Tesla achieved a total rate of 4,000 BEVs produced each week. In sum, that adds up to a yearly rate of 200,000 per year.

Such a rate would make Tesla the present fastest-rate producer of EVs in the world. It would outstrip BYD and BIAC. It would leave BMW, Volkswagen, and Nissan in the dust.

Since Tesla rates of production can vary from week to week and month to month, the estimate I’ve given ranges from 13,000 to 17,000 EVs produced for April. Implied in this number is a one-month rate for the Model 3 that approaches all of Q1 production.

(CO2 emissions per 100 kilometers driven is greatly reduced when EVs are mated to grids with high clean energy penetration — like the one in Ontario. And it is for this reason that mass replacement of ICE vehicles with EVs is a key climate solution. Image source: Plug’n Drive.)

By May, it is likely that we will see 1 week rates for Model 3 exceed 3,000 as Tesla adds a third shift and continues to refine its line. Average total EV production for the month could exceed 20,000 if this ramp is achieved. By June, Tesla is aiming for a peak Model 3 production above 5,000 per week — which would imply a total EV production rate of 7,000 per week.

What all these numbers mean, and what few are reporting, is it appears that Tesla is achieving a break-away rate of electrical vehicle manufacturing. One that other automakers will have major difficulty catching up with. Such large volumes of EVs will displace a significant amount of carbon emitting ICE demand. Fossil fuel luxury and sport vehicles by BMW, Toyota, VW, Volvo, GM and many others will increasingly be replaced by this flood of high quality electrical vehicles. And a signal will be sent to the markets that higher margin ICE sales are taking a serious hit.

(Tesla Model 3 production rates significantly accelerated during early Q2 of 2018. Image source: Bloomberg Model 3 Tracker.)

If Tesla’s ramp continues, it will easily be selling 300,000 to 350,000 EVs per year by 2019 — which is considerably more than Volvo’s annual U.S. sales. This high volume will force other automakers to respond in kind. But since none will likely be able to produce in comparable volume and quality until at least 2020, Tesla is developing a major head start.

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77 Comments

  1. Abel Adamski

     /  April 26, 2018

    Oh no
    Say it isn’t true, all those poor struggling short sellers caught with their pants around their ankles again.
    Well not the actual Guru’s, they aren’t that stupid or they wouldn’t be where they are, but the suckers and true believers that dote on their every word.
    Sleeping space under bridges will be at a premium.
    /s
    LOL

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Shorts do have very little to show for their efforts lately… I’ll give ’em one more quarter to make hay. After that point, they’ll start to look truly ridiculous again.

      Like

      Reply
  2. Abel Adamski

     /  April 27, 2018

    Just a note, I have added a couple of comments in the previous re Real world high temp superconduction achieved along with a breakthrough in technology to produce high volume, to order sheet size industrially.
    https://robertscribbler.com/2018/04/25/co2-is-regularly-exceeding-410-parts-per-million-for-first-time-in-human-history/#comment-141795

    Demonstrated, maybe a couple of years before the plants are operating, but on it’s way Nationwide energy transmission with Zero, or close loss. A game changer.
    Plus all that copper wiring in EV (including motors) (Esp Semi) replaced for a boost in efficiency and New high volume Battery fast charge , high power Density batteries now feasible along with Graphene (or crumpled Graphene Super Capacitors – a la the Chinese Transit buses) or a combination of battery and Super Cap – Super Cap (which will also charge the battery , but with it’s own range of 100 Miles – or even less, but charge in seconds.

    Invest in space under bridges

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 27, 2018

      Sorry the post is re Graphene (Can be made from Carbon produced from CO2 extraction, the synergy and harmony is sweeter and sweeter

      Like

      Reply
      • Uh oh…so far, the highest temperature superconducting state of this twisted graphene is 1.7 K, very close to absolute zero.

        https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02773-w

        So, interesting but very far from production, I think. A theoretical breakthrough might be coming, or not. We can hope.

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        • bill h

           /  April 28, 2018

          Leland, I you misread: supercapacitance not superconductance. I believe the idea is that because graphene is a single atom thick, and conducting, one can produce capacitors on an incredibly tiny scale.

          Liked by 1 person

      • bill h

         /  April 28, 2018

        oops, I misread too. Yeah, I agree superconducting graphene needs to be demonstrated.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
    • Thanks for the info. High voltage DC power lines can already transmit electricity for a couple thousand miles with less than 10 percent loss, though.

      I’ll read your references with interest. High temperature or room temperature superconductors would be a big deal. We might see improved MRI imaging, improved mass spectrometers that use SQUIDS to measure electromagnetic fields, and so on. Superconducting storage rings storing utility scale electric power, maybe, depending on current density.

      But first, they have to make it work. 🙂

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 29, 2018

      I did mention a graphene Super capacitor .
      Under development in Aust by First Graphene Ltd, under the trade name of The Best Battery
      Initially aimed at small devices and wearables but scaleable with up to 10 times the life of chemical batteries and extremely rapid charge times (it is a capacitor)

      https://newswire.iguana2.com/af5f4d73c1a54a33/fgr.asx/6A872930/FGR_Strong_Progress_on_BEST_Battery_Development
      First Graphene, through its research and licencing agreements with Swinburne
      University of Technology, is pursuing a significantly different path to the
      development of the next generation of energy storage devices.
      Rather than trying to improve existing chemical battery technology, it is pioneering the field of advanced supercapacitors which have the potential to change the future for
      energy storage forever, particularly in handheld and consumer products.
      Using the advanced qualities of graphene, First Graphene is developing the BEST™
      Battery.
      This energy storage device promises to be chargeable in a fraction of the time and it will be fit for purpose for at least 10 times the life of existing batteries.
      It will be significantly safer and more environmentally friendly.
      All these improvements are made possible because the science relies on physics rather than chemical reactions, and on the remarkable properties of graphene materials.
      While it is intended that the BEST™
      Battery development program will eventually provide suitable substitutes for many devices which currently used flat pack and cylindrical batteries, it will also provide batteries for new,
      innovative purposes. The thin profile of the Battery, and its flexibility, will make it suitable for use in clothing. It could also be integrated into smart watch bands, as an example, rather than having a solid block configuration. It is already showing excellent ability to convert kinetic energy into stored energy due to the speed at which it can charge i.e. simple movement of shaking can recharge the Battery.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. Abel Adamski

     /  April 27, 2018

    An interesting read of grapes, wine, birds and the effects of the environmental changes
    https://indaily.com.au/eat-drink-explore/wine/2018/04/26/global-warming-go-ask-birds/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. Abel Adamski

     /  April 27, 2018

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-04-25/fight-grows-over-who-owns-real-estate-drowned-by-climate-change

    The Fighting Has Begun Over Who Owns Land Drowned by Climate Change
    America’s coastal cities are preparing for legal battles over real estate that slips into the ocean.

    Like

    Reply
    • After the Santa Rosa, California fires destroyed thousands of houses, I expected that somehow property values would go down. Surely climate change will make property values decline?

      But, by supply and demand, housing prices have increased, a lot. It’s probably a temporary and local effect.

      Whatever happens, laws of physics, chemistry, and economics will continue to apply. CO2 values approaching 100 ppm higher than they were when I was born will drive change and create chaos. The future will be chaotic, but what else it will be is hard to foresee.

      There are so many hopeful things going on with solar, alternative energies and technological advancement attempting to address or blunt the effects of climate change. And there are so many terrible things going on, like the inexorable rise of CO2 concentrations.

      It would make a great video game…but this is all way too interesting when it is being played out in reality.

      Even our technology can turn on us, and create terrible unintended consequences. The wonders of Facebook and social media are creating a fertile ground for rumors and fake news to blossom, leading to social chaos. Use of targeted social media may have led to the subversion of our last election by a foreign power, here in the USA.

      Liked by 3 people

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    • Paul

       /  April 29, 2018

      Quite incredible really, the shortsighted grasp on this way of living! Will we literally die with a grip on our wallets?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Jim

     /  April 27, 2018

    For Tesla fans out there, the link at the bottom of this message is to a Motor Trend article covering a Munro & Associates, Inc teardown of the Tesla Model 3.

    In a nutshell, they view the battery cell voltage balancing as “far beyond what others can do”, but they are puzzled why Tesla chose metal for the top cover, over “cheaper plastic”. As for electronics, they say: “The controllers are much, much more advanced than anything we’ve seen, and they’re all in one location…”. “Tesla nails the Silicon Valley electrical/electronics engineering better than any current competitor Munro has studied, and his team has scrutinized all the leaders. There’s also abundant and impressive innovation in this car.”

    However, Munroe and Associates, view the “body structure and design-for-manufacturing engineering [as] trail[ing] the industry. Tesla’s response was that they viewed the safety of their passengers as paramount, and suggested that Tesla have data that the extra metal was necessary to protect the passengers, as well as the battery. It’s also likely that the stiffer body also contributes to the handling that Motor Trend says is comparable to a Porsche Cayman or Porsche Boxster.

    So how will Tesla do with this car? My personal guess is quite well. The relatively minor complaints about door and hood gaps variances, along with door window rattles will be easily and quickly resolved, and people will come to enjoy driving a responsive, low pollution vehicle. Just my opinion, but the flack coming from the incumbents is reaching epic proportions indicating that they, themselves are very, very worried.

    ~ Jim

    http://www.motortrend.com/news/tesla-model-3-teardown-deconstructed-3/

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Yes. Our press, in apparent obedience to the established fossil fuel based industries, continues to pour out biased stories about Tesla.

      On the order of half a million pre-orders and exponentially ramping production seems to be giving the incumbent car corporations acute anxiety attacks. The whole internal combustion engine automobile business is circling the toilet bowl, about to be flushed…and they know it.

      Liked by 1 person

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      • Jim

         /  April 27, 2018

        So true Leland and the more these vested interests are threatened the more shrill the protests become!

        I especially like this gem on none other than the World Economic Forum website that says it’s impossible to charge the Tesla semi (which apparently consist of 4 parallel Supercharger ports) using existing grid infrastructure. Really? I wonder how the test semis are getting around… Perish the thought of 4 or 8 Teslas charging simultaneously! It simply is not possible “within the limitations of current technologies”.

        Apparently, the CEO of Aurora Energy Research didn’t calculate that 1600 kW at 800 volts is only 2000 Amps – about the electric panel rating (250A) of 8 typical residential homes, and smaller than most commercial electrical panel ratings. In case he reads this, I’ve included a link to a handy Volt-Watts-Amp calculator below that may come in useful in his energy research consultancy.

        Sadly, this kind of crap reporting can and does regularly appear in even respectable publications like the Financial Times. Of course, this kind of dis-information is usually intended to sow doubt over the ability to move away from the current status quo and relies on reporters, who if they did 1% of the research RS does on his blog, would quickly see they are being dupped.

        ************
        The chief executive of Aurora Energy Research, John Feddersen, says the power required for the megacharger to fill a truck battery in just 30 minutes would be 1,600 kilowatts, according to the Financial Times.

        That is the equivalent of providing power for 3,000 to 4,000 “average” houses, he said.

        Such a fast and significant demand would put the grid under immense strain, and is not possible within the limitations of current technologies, he argued.

        *************

        https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/12/tesla-s-electric-truck-needs-the-energy-of-4-000-homes-to-recharge-say-researchers/

        https://www.rapidtables.com/calc/electric/watt-volt-amp-calculator.html

        Liked by 3 people

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        • Leland Palmer

           /  April 28, 2018

          Yes. There is even a small class of crooked academics that will do intentionally biased and unscientific studies for industry, as documented in many Union of Concerned Scientists reports. Often they are employed by think tanks funded by the Koch Brothers or by the Donors Trust funds. The Donors Trusts actually legally launder money from anonymous donors and funnel it to climate change denial think tanks, as you likely already know. Even the IRS reportedly does not know who these donors are.

          Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air – How ExxonMobil Uses Big Tobacco’s Tactics
          to Manufacture Uncertainty on Climate Science

          https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/documents/global_warming/exxon_report.pdf

          Often these think tanks pick academics for membership who already agree with the fossil fuel industry viewpoint, or who started taking money from the fossil fuel industry as students. Older scientists with opinions set in concrete, some of them employed by the fossil fuel industries for years are often employed. Sometimes they recycle scientists who used to work for the tobacco industry. Some biased academics appear to work for private universities like the University of Chicago that was endowed with Rockefeller oil money, or George Mason University that is supported by the Koch Brothers.

          News agencies, most of them unwitting, probably, often then extensively cover those biased studies.

          Our free press has historically been very heavily influenced by corporate interests and by corporate PR. It continues to be heavily influenced, and the intentionally biased coverage of Elon Musk and Tesla seems to be a contemporary example of a historically corrupt system.

          Like

        • It’s a funny assertion when you consider the fact that utilities are scrambling to provide for this power source. It’s also worth noting, on a net energy basis, that the Semi is x2 to x3 more energy efficient than a comparable ICE truck. So your ICE Semi is guzzling down enough energy to power 2 to 3 times as many homes in an apples to apples comparison if we take the silly report at face value.

          Of course, there are lots of wide open spaces available for solar panels to charge those Tesla Semi hyperchargers on long shipping routes… More win, win, win from the clean energy sphere.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Tesla claims that the tear-down included a 2017 Model 3.

      It’s worth noting that the hyper-focus on panel gaps by analysts is a bit of a distraction. You can find panel gaps on pretty much any luxury car you look at. After initial production, it appears that M3 gaps are within industry standard for these vehicles and is still improving.

      What’s notable about the M3 is that it’s a piece of tech that the present auto industry can’t hold a candle to. They’ll spend years trying to catch up. By that time, innovative Tesla will be producing something even more ground-breaking. It’s worth noting that it’s taken two years for the industry to even begin to produce near-peer MX compeditors. I haven’t seen anything like the S yet. So zero near-peers in that arena. Of course, major US automakers don’t see sedans as worthwhile, so don’t expect much coming from them that’s comparable to the S. Perhaps BMW or VW or BYD some years down the line.

      Leaf and Bolt are basically compacts. So not in a class comparable to the M3 and certainly no-where near the M3 on a broad variety of specs.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Brian

     /  April 27, 2018

    Ford’s announcement that they are stopping production of cars (not all automobiles, not trucks, just cars) in about 2020… I wonder if that’s related to electric vehicles, and some kind of “if we can’t beat ’em, don’t even try” mentality.

    Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Seems like they’re abandoning the Sedan and compact market to EVs and foreign competitors. Since this segment represents 32 percent of the market, it looks like full retreat. Sure, purchases of SUVs and trucks has been growing lately. But these lower fuel efficiency models will suffer any time oil prices rise (which is happening presently). In addition, markets are fickle. Trends can change. US automakers have bet the bank on trucks and SUVs before only to be hurt badly when customer sentiment shifted.

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  7. Greg

     /  April 27, 2018

    First all-electric trainer plane gets airworthiness certification from the FAA in the US. This may be an historic turning point for electrification of air transport in the U.S. At $5.40 for current fuel costs per gallon U.S and at 8.5 gallons per hour of fuel consumption it costs $42 per hour for a student pilot. Not to mention the noise and vibration, the safety reliability problems, and the carbon footprint. It costs roughly $3 per flight at $0.15 per kWh for the same hour of flight and the hangers could be fitted with solar panels. Stay tuned…

    https://electrek.co/2018/04/27/all-electric-trainer-plane-airworthiness-certification-faa-us

    Liked by 2 people

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    • Greg

       /  April 27, 2018

      Video of the Pipistrel plane:

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    • Amazing. Planes, buses, trucks, and, my bet, eventually ships will start to see these amazing economies from electrical transport going forward. All are high fuel cost endeavors. And its electrical + batteries that really put the kibosh on those costs.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. Leland Palmer

     /  April 28, 2018

    Oh, the drama. Who is going to win this vote – Elon Musk who owns 20 percent of Tesla, or the guy who owns 12 shares of common stock?

    https://ca.news.yahoo.com/teslas-board-against-proposal-require-independent-chairman-232539934–finance.html

    “(Reuters) – Tesla Inc’s board recommended on Thursday that shareholders vote against a proposal that would require the electric car maker’s chairman to be an independent director, ahead of its annual meeting.

    Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, is also the chairman of its board and owns a 20 percent stake in the company.

    In an SEC filing http://ir.tesla.com/secfiling.cfm?filingid=1564590-18-9339&CIK=1318605, the board stated that its structure is consistent with majority practice at large public companies and it already has seven independent directors.

    The filing identified the individual who submitted the proposal as Jing Zhao of Concord, California, who said he is the beneficial owner of 12 shares of Tesla’s common stock.

    The board also mentioned that Musk already holds senior positions as the chairman of SolarCity and Space X, where he is also the CEO.

    Tesla is set to hold its 2018 annual meeting of stockholders on June 5.”

    This is high drama, folks. Our free press will be all over this story, for months no doubt.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Leland Palmer

       /  April 28, 2018

      Turns out, doing anything drastic to rearrange Tesla needs a two thirds majority. And two of the board members are named Musk – Elon and his brother Kimball. And Elon owns 27 percent of the common stock.

      https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1099166_how-elon-musk-controls-tesla-motors-while-owning-only-27-percent

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Leland Palmer

       /  April 28, 2018

      The above was sarcasm, by the way. The chances of a 12 share stockholder overthrowing Elon Musk seem close to zero.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  April 28, 2018

      The 12 share stockholder of Tesla who wants to oust Elon Musk is identified as Jing Zhao of Concord, CA. He may be this same guy, also Jing Zhao of Concord CA:

      “CUPERTINO — A Bay Area man with a small stake in the world’s largest technology company is fighting to put human rights front and center throughout Apple’s global operations — and he’ll soon find out whether other Apple shareholders back his plan.

      Jing Zhao of Concord — a long-time proponent of human rights measures aimed at holding technology companies accountable for their actions around the world — has proposed that Apple should create a human rights committee to “review, assess, disclose, and make recommendations to enhance Apple’s policy and practice on human rights,” according to Apple’s proxy statement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

      In his supporting statement, Zhao listed Apple’s decision in July that took down hundreds of virtual private network apps in its Chinese App Store for iPhones. The move led to an inquiry from two U.S. senators on whether Apple is enabling Beijing’s internet censorship and other human rights violations.

      Apple’s board has recommended a vote against Zhao’s proposal, arguing in its proxy statement that the Cupertino company already has an independent audit committee and Supplier Responsibility Team that help Apple take action on its “unwavering commitment to social responsibility and human rights.”

      Zhao’s proposal will be one of six on the ballot at the shareholders meeting February 13 at Apple Park. Most of the others are bureaucratic votes such as re-electing board directors and appointing an independent accounting firm.

      Zhao, who owns at least $2,000 in Apple stock, has been a minor, but extremely persistent voice in raising human rights actions with tech companies. Zhao has made similar proposals for several years annually to Google, Yahoo and Altaba — Yahoo’s rebranded name after Verizon purchased the company — with none approved so far by shareholders.

      In 2011, Zhao got a proposal on Yahoo’s ballot for the company to adopt a code of human rights principles — after five years of falling short, according to a 2011 CNN article. The proposal drew 25 million “yes” votes and 779 million “no” votes.

      Zhao, a researcher who runs an independent think tank called US-Japan-China Comparative Policy Research Institute (CPRI), has made at least 36 human rights-related proposals to Silicon Valley companies since 2010 and made proposals to Apple every year since at least 2015, according to fellow Apple investor James McRitchie.”

      So, it sounds like the same guy as the one who proposed deposing Elon Musk. If so, he has made at least 36 similar proposals to other Bay Area technology companies.

      https://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/29/bay-area-based-apple-shareholder-asks-apple-to-create-human-rights-committee/

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  9. Jim

     /  April 28, 2018

    Here’s a well reasoned and written article on why Internal Combustion Engine technology has nearly reached the end of its useful life.

    https://www.carswithcords.net/2018/03/internal-combustion-engine-jumps-shark.html

    Liked by 2 people

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  10. Shawn Redmond

     /  April 28, 2018

    O/T as per. If global methane PPB stay constant or keep rising the forcing value of the gas should be rated at its decadal value not its 100 year warming value no? As I understand it even the 100 tear value is obtained by a 3 century decay rate. This would sit better with me if the rate was steady or declining but…..

    This is disturbing for two reasons. First, methane is a powerful heat-trapper. Although it is far less abundant than carbon dioxide and stays in the air for only a decade or so, molecule for molecule its warming effect (calculated over 100 years) is 25 times higher. Keeping methane in check is therefore critical if a rise in temperature this century is to remain “well below” 2°C relative to pre-industrial times, a goal set out in the Paris climate agreement of 2015. The second concern is that methane’s latest rise is poorly understood. The explanations put forward by scientists range from the troubling to the truly hair-raising. More research is needed to determine the correct degree of anxiety.

    https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21741133-potent-greenhouse-gas-scientists-struggle-explain-worrying-rise

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 28, 2018

      I disagree with even the Decadal rate if it is steady or rising, in that case the instantaneous value must be applied which is well over 100xCO2

      Liked by 1 person

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    • Leland Palmer

       /  April 28, 2018

      The satellite sensing of methane is far behind that of CO2, and I’ve always suspected fossil fuel corporation influence behind that. There is no reason we can’t have accurate satellite monitoring of methane point sources in real time- other than fossil fuel corporation influence.

      So it’s great that the Environmental Defense Fund is building its own satellite, but it sucks that they have to do that.

      Governments should fund accurate high resolution real time methane monitoring, and then we would likely be able to trace the real culprits…maybe the oil and gas industry, natural gas use in general, as well as rice culture, landfills, and increasing arctic emissions…but nobody knows.

      The methane hot spot over the “four corners” area of the southwest U.S. is likely due to fracking, if the vast network of fracking pads visible on Google Earth in that area is any indication. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZJbKunq8Tw

      From your article:

      “Better atmospheric measurements are not enough, however. More accurate tallies of individual methane sources are needed, too. On April 11th the Environmental Defence Fund, an NGO, announced plans to build a satellite to pinpoint individual methane sources from space. Steve Hamburg, the fund’s chief scientist, hopes to see it in orbit by 2021. At first, it will train its sights on oil and gas installations.

      Such remote sensing could shed light on leaks in gas-rich but data-poor countries, such as Russia or Iraq, where inspectors are unwelcome or afraid to venture. But it cannot fully replace on-site sampling because carbon isotopes cannot be identified from afar. Last year Dr Nisbet’s team used isotopic analysis and weather models to trace a cloud of methane over the North Sea not to one of its many oil rigs but to cows in the county of Lincolnshire.”

      Liked by 2 people

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      • I agree that we need satellite sensors that measure methane. But I will also say that there appears to be a decent attempt by fossil fuel industry to use methane to distract from CO2, which is the primary driver to human-forced climate change. The reason for this motivation is that methane comes from fossil fuels, agriculture, and the Earth System. In the case of Earth System feedbacks, if you ignore the primary cause (the fossil fuel emission — primarily of CO2), and if methane feedbacks are strong, then the fossil fuel industry tries to shift blame away from its own emission and toward methane feedback emissions.

        Consider these statements by climate change denier Rick Perry:

        https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/19/energy-sec-rick-perry-says-co2-is-not-the-main-driver-of-climate-change.html

        “Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he does not believe CO2 emissions from human activity are the primary driver of climate change.”

        In comparison to these statements by NASA:

        https://climate.nasa.gov/400ppmquotes/

        “The global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – the primary driver of recent climate change – has reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in recorded history, according to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.”

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    • bostonblorp

       /  April 29, 2018

      The EDF satellite is going to target human-sourced methane emissions, I wonder what we have (or need) to keep close tabs on the Arctic.

      The problem with methane is that there is so much of it locked away in clathrates and comparatively so little of it currently in the atmosphere. The atmosphere has about 5 gigatons of CH4 whereas there’s believed to be about 1,800 Gt in clathrates.

      There was a paper last year that looked at the issue and concludes that it’s not likely to happen. https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2016RG000534

      Wetlands CH4 generation is a whole other kettle of fish.

      Liked by 1 person

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      • Leland Palmer

         /  April 29, 2018

        There could be a lot more methane in the global methane hydrate inventory than 1800 Gt, sad to say. Estimates have varied widely, and some of the estimates come from scientists like Milkov employed by oil corporations like British Petroleum. Some of the estimates come from scientists like David Archer – who coauthors papers and book chapters with Haroon Kheshgi – chief scientist at ExxonMobil.

        The University of Chicago, Archer’s employer, is a private university endowed with Rockefeller oil money, and is the home of Naomi Klein’s Chicago Boys – a group of free market economists instrumental in spreading radical free market ideology around the world including advising Pinochet in Chile. Many of the low estimates and slow estimates associated with global warming are coming from the University of Chicago, I think.

        There could easily be 10,000 – 20,000 Gt of carbon as methane in the methane hydrates, I think. Published estimates are as high as 75,000 Gt.

        Gordon Dickens, 2011: Down the Rabbit Hole: toward appropriate discussion of methane
        release from gas hydrate systems during the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum and other past hyperthermal events

        Note that Dickens’ title strongly suggests that he thinks current discussion of methane release during past hyperthermal events is inappropriate.

        https://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/dickens11cp_138932.pdf

        ” In the last ten years, estimates have ranged from 500-2500 Gt (Milkov,
        2004), ∼700–1200 Gt (Archer et al., 2009), and 4–995 Gt (Burwicz et al., 2011) to 74 400 Gt (Klauda and Sandler, 2005). The latter is almost assuredly too high (Archer, 2007).The others are probably too low.”

        Estimates of total mass of methane released during past events run as high as 15,000 Gt or so, based on carbon isotope ratio excursions.

        Liked by 2 people

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        • Source for 15,000 GT paleoclimate methane emission event?

          Like

        • Leland Palmer

           /  May 1, 2018

          Here’s the source I was thinking of, during the End Triassic:

          http://science.sciencemag.org/content/333/6041/430.full?rss=1

          Atmospheric Carbon Injection Linked to End-Triassic Mass Extinction

          It is slightly smaller than I remembered, at least 12,000 Gt of carbon as methane. 12,000 Gt of carbon as methane is 16,000 Gt of methane, though.

          If the methane is discharged slowly, the rock weathering cycle tends to minimize the isotope excursion, leading to the “at least” language in the paper, is my understanding.

          This is pretty impressive, especially since it is unlikely that all of the End Triassic methane hydrates were dissociated. We may never have had a hyperthermal event – so far – that has completely discharged the methane hydrate reservoir. As temperatures rise, sea levels also tend to rise, and the increased pressure tends to protect the remaining hydrates, is my understanding.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I’d seen similar numbers for the P/T boundary in some studies and it’s a source of some concern. Just wanted to link for reference here. Worth noting that the National Climate Assessment IDs 1800 GT of methane in the global store — which is much lower than these estimates. The order of magnitude difference is a big one. Would say that I lean toward wanting to accept the NCA numbers or at least numbers in that range. But I don’t think we can be completely sure until there is a larger survey. Ironically, such a survey would tend to be paid for by the fossil fuel industry which, insanely, wants to dig up and burn these massive sources of carbon — ensuring, in that scenario, that they are released and probably that more are released than otherwise would have.

          Would add that the P/T may have experienced (our backward-looking lens is a bit muddy) numerous carbon burps (methane) of rather large size. The burps appear to have begun (at least the larger ones) at the 5-9 C warming threshold following the initial warming due to the Siberian Traps eruptions. Isotopic studies can provide more clarity of the source of the carbon emission during the P/T.

          There is at least some evidence that the velocity of this feedback response was not as high as the present ghg accumulation due to human emission. In general, in large methane release scenarios, we’d tend to see the ocean filling up with carbon from the base region releases first (if you’re talking about clathrate primarily) and then a saturated ocean burping methane in higher volumes.

          Overall, I’d like to see an assessed range of scenarios with the caveats like unlikely, possible, somewhat likely, likely, and imminent added for reference.

          Since we like the climate gals, I’m adding this as well:

          Liked by 1 person

      • Leland Palmer

         /  April 30, 2018

        The total global methane hydrate inventory is an important number. It’s maybe the most important number of all, because it could dictate whether life on this planet will continue, or be sterilized by a massive hyperthermal event like the End Permian, but bigger and faster, occurring with a sun that is a couple of percent hotter now than it was during the End Permian.

        It’s a shame that the people who know that number the best are those employed to do oil and gas exploration work for the oil industry. So the fossil fuel corporations, with a huge motive to lie and a documented history of lying are the ones we as a society have entrusted to determine this possibly most important number of all time.

        If the Environmental Defense Fund is going to launch its own satellite and take on the methane issue, maybe they should look into the global methane hydrate inventory. Is it 1800 Gt or is it 74,400 Gt?

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      • We should probably keep close tabs on the Arctic. That said, there is no indication of imminent, large scale clathrate release. If that were the case we would be seeing much greater increases in atmospheric methane accumulation and a much larger methane signal from the Arctic than we see at present.

        Over-focus on the importance of methane is also a bit of a distraction. The primary driver of the present climate crisis is CO2. Methane is a side-kick enabler, if a somewhat worrying one.

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        • Leland Palmer

           /  May 1, 2018

          Well, all of these hyperthermal events start out with CO2 as the primary driver, Robert, in the methane release hypothesis, as you know.

          Unfortunately, the hyperthermal event general model of mass extinctions suggests that long term, CO2 is not all we have to worry about. Long term, we have to worry about strong feedback from atmospheric chemistry changes involving methane release, including tropospheric ozone, secondary CO2 from methane oxidation, stratospheric water vapor, and increased methane lifetime due to exhaustion of the hydroxyl radical oxidation mechanism of the atmosphere. As temperatures rise, we also have to worry about water vapor due to the higher temperatures.

          https://www.atmos.washington.edu/academics/classes/2011Q2/558/IsaksenGB2011.pdf

          Isaksen – Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions

          The sun is 2 or 3 percent hotter now than it was during the End Permian. If the changes we are triggering now are irrevocable, now is the time to worry about such catastrophic scenarios.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Red

       /  April 30, 2018

      Interesting lining it up with the sun time. Daylight seems to correspond with increases over the land very well. As for over the water I’d suspect the warmer water to have more to do with it at depth. However the spikes seen over the open water maybe built up under very thin ice, under 10cm, on a still cold night only to be released as the sun warms things enough or the wind comes up enough to destroy the ice and give a pulse of C4. The depth of the East Siberian Sea as I understand is around 50m. The sun from one day will have no effect at this depth. The water column temp at this depth will be the defining factor. The land blooms durning the daylight hours are very impressive.

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    • It would have to stay constant for more than 500 years.

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    • So I think we need to put this Economist article in perspective. And one way to do this is to note that the rate of methane accumulation is slowing down as opposed to CO2 accumulation — which is still speeding up.

      Why is this happening?

      Well, there are a few reasons. But the first is that even though atmospheric emissions for methane continue to rise (hitting around 600 MT of methane per year at present), the short atmospheric lifetime of methane means that much higher annual volumes need to be achieved for methane accumulation to accelerate. More rapid rates of accumulation are not being achieved, so the rate of rise is slowing down relative to peaks in the 1990s.

      That said, increases in methane emissions from fracking, expanding gas infrastructure, harmful agricultural practices, tropical warming feedbacks, and Arctic feedbacks are slowly pushing the number higher.

      If human fossil fuel use were to taper off, and if agricultural practices were to change, we would, on net, cut about 150 to 300 MT of methane out of the present annual emission and atmospheric levels would rapidly fall due to the short residency time of methane. In order for atmospheric methane to even remain stable, you would thus need a 50 to 100 percent increase in the present global environmental methane emission that is sustained for over 5 Centuries time to take up the slack. In other words, 75 to 150 GT.

      Recent scientific studies estimate that 17 Gt of methane could be released from subsea hydrates into the Arctic Ocean this Century under typical climate scenarios.

      https://www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/esd-2017-110/

      However, a substantial portion of this methane is unlikely to reach the atmosphere — even in cases where the Arctic Ocean reaches a high carbon saturation. Moreover, this science indicates that such a release would amount to less than 1 percent of the anthropogenic climate forcing reaching the atmosphere. In other words, if even half the emission hit the atmosphere, which would be a rather high proportion, the total impact would be additive, but would not even come close to overshadowing human fossil fuel emissions related forcing (primarily from CO2).

      If this scientific study is correct and if the Arctic Ocean were to continue such emissions, then perhaps 45 GT methane would hit the atmosphere from the clathrate response, with the rest ending up in the ocean (GWP, or 500 year + timescales).

      Overall, this is just one aspect of the Earth System feedback story. And clearly it is one that will be greatly influenced by how much initial heat forcing is pumped into the Earth System. For example, higher rates of warming could start to produce catastrophic responses. And in my opinion, the risk for this tends to run higher with global temperatures exceeding 4 C. But the risks for catastrophic clathrate response are quite low at 1 and 2 C and still somewhat moderate at 3 C.

      So we should be very clear that the primary story is human fossil fuel burning (firstly) and other activities (secondarily) — which is pumping 35 GT of CO2 and an additional 15 GT of CO2e into the atmosphere each year. How long that lasts will ultimately determine how much Earth System response comes from clathrate and other sources.

      That’s the simple truth of the matter. Hyperfocus on clathrate won’t change that one bit. And clathrate at present is contributing very little or next to nothing to the present warming we are now seeing.

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    • I know Robert is against conspiracy theories, so Robert, delete this as you see fit. But after watching methane for some time, I get an uneasy feeling that some widespread, intentional obfuscation is going on, similar to the fog of war well covered here on other topics.

      There appears to be an unusual, apparently, level of disagreement among scientists (and everybody else), to the degree that practically every point is either completely muddled or adequate data can’t be found. Nothing like it for, say, CO2 or NO2. Can it really be methane physics is still that unknown or controversial in the 21st century? I don’t see why it should be.

      Just a small example – since Box and others pointed out extreme fluctuations in methane measurements, the lovely named “Dragon’s Breath”, I don’t really see them on the graphs that much when I search for them. I am (to my regret) not in the field, but I expected more.

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      • Ask Box what he presently thinks about methane.

        To be clear, we have a broad signal of increasing Arctic feedbacks of both CO2 and methane. And we can expect that feedback to increase. How much and how soon is the question. The present amount is minor compared to the larger human emission.

        In my opinion, we don’t have an indication that catastrophic impacts are a risk at 1C to 2C. We didn’t see such impacts during the Eemian, for example. Beyond 2 C, we get a bit into new territory b/c we are dealing with carbon stores laid down 2-3 million years ago to the present. At the 2 C threshold, this is unlikely to include a great amount of clathrate (or a great proportion of the global store). However, since a good deal of clathrate was laid down over the 30 million year interval, then it’s likely that we’d tend to see more feedback when temperatures reach a comparable range (4 C +) to when those stores were laid down.

        There are decent satellite monitors. I use the Copernicus Observatory and the NASA measures. However, there probably needs to be more.

        I don’t think it’s so much a conspiracy as it is that there’s a decent amount of uncertainty about what may happen going forward. Where there’s uncertainty, things tend to get muddy. And where there’s uncertainty, you can tend to see certain interests stepping in to try to fill that gray space with targeted assertions. I think that’s why it’s still quite muddy.

        But, to be clear, there is a good deal of scientific consensus that we’re not at an imminent risk period now RE catastrophic clathrate release. In my opinion, this consensus is correct. We would see more signal coming from the Arctic in the larger monitors if that weren’t the case. The signal now is one of initial but lower level feedback — not one of such strength that would point toward a big burp in the next few years or even in the next couple of decades, IMO. Beyond that, it’s tougher to say. But I think the primary driver for that risk signal is how much carbon we emit in the meantime.

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  11. Jim

     /  April 29, 2018

    For those of you out there interested in theTesla Model 3, interested in understanding Tesla’s chances in the auto market, or wanting to know if Detroit is serious about electric cars, here’s a video podcast of an interview with Sandy Munroe, the CEO of the firm that did the deconstruction of the model 3. It’s lengthy but quite informative and gives you a good sense of the strengths and challenges Tesla faces, along with some understanding of where Detroit stands on EV’s.

    My TL;DR version. Tesla is going to do quite well and Detroit is asleep at the wheel. Otherwise, here are my key takeaways.

    While Munroe and Associates are critical of the underlying body structure (not the styling but the so-called body in white) and assembly quality, he does say the electronics are comparable to F-35 fighter flight avionics (I pretty sure he meant it in a good way), battery pack, handling (“the suspension engineer could be an F-1 [racing] prince”), and body styling.

    Sandy Munroe says he wasn’t especially impressed with the Model S or X without elaboration, but says “the Model 3 is revolutionary, not evolutionary and anybody who ignores that does so at their own peril”. I think he’s sincere, but he might be selling copies of his report. He claims Tesla’s got a lot right, but they’re struggling with the “dinosaur parts” of putting a body together. Sandy Munroe goes so far as to say that if Tesla even had average build quality “they’d be mopping the floor with the rest of the global auto industry” (around 39:40).

    After the 1 hour mark, when asked if Tesla could use some help, he suggests that they’ve ignored people who been assembling cars forever, but suggests that Detroit is the one that needs help, again holding up a circuit board that he claims Detroit is going to have trouble matching.

    For those of us who’ve been wondering if the US automakers are taking the shift to EV seriously there’s a hint at about 1:10:39 where, in response to a question, he says only one Detroit automaker has expressed interest in the teardown report and says it is the “last one on the planet who he thought would be interested”. That leads me to suspect it’s Fiat/Chrysler who’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, famously said a couple of years ago “nobody wants to be driving around with 800 lbs of batteries” almost on the eve of Tesla garnering 400,000 pre-orders for the Model 3. Oops.

    https://forums.teslarati.com/threads/tesla-explains-model-3-build-in-response-to-munros-teardown-analysis.6287/

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. Abel Adamski

     /  April 29, 2018

    What could go wrong
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-28/russian-floating-nuclear-plant-heads-out-to-sea/9707430
    Russia’s floating nuclear power plant bound for the Arctic Ocean
    The Lomonosov is to be put into service in 2019 in the Arctic off the coast of Chukotka in the far east, providing power for a port town and for oil rigs.
    The project has been widely criticised by environmentalists — Greenpeace has dubbed it a “floating Chernobyl.”

    “Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean will pose a shockingly obvious threat to a fragile environment, which is already under enormous pressure from climate change,” Greenpeace nuclear expert Jan Haverkamp said in a statement.

    “The floating nuclear power plants will typically be put to use near coastlines and shallow water … contrary to claims regarding safety, the flat-bottomed hull and the floating nuclear power plant’s lack of self-propulsion makes it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis and cyclones.”

    Liked by 2 people

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  13. Abel Adamski

     /  April 29, 2018

    Meanwhile in Chernobyl
    http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-43929480/chernobyl-s-new-generation

    A big Solar energy plant within a stones throw literally of the Reactor

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Worth noting that Chernobyl is in the Ukraine… And Ukraine, unlike Russia, has shown considerable interest in renewable energy development.

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  14. Suzanne

     /  April 29, 2018

    O/T a NOVA episode on the changing weather and climate change:
    http://www.pbs.org/video/decoding-the-weather-machine-vgqhot/

    Liked by 2 people

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  15. Suzanne

     /  April 29, 2018

    At Science Advances: Most atolls will be uninhabitable by the mid-21st century because of sea-level rise exacerbating wave-driven flooding
    http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/4/eaap9741.full

    Sea levels are rising, with the highest rates in the tropics, where thousands of low-lying coral atoll islands are located. Most studies on the resilience of these islands to sea-level rise have projected that they will experience minimal inundation impacts until at least the end of the 21st century. However, these have not taken into account the additional hazard of wave-driven overwash or its impact on freshwater availability. We project the impact of sea-level rise and wave-driven flooding on atoll infrastructure and freshwater availability under a variety of climate change scenarios. We show that, on the basis of current greenhouse gas emission rates, the nonlinear interactions between sea-level rise and wave dynamics over reefs will lead to the annual wave-driven overwash of most atoll islands by the mid-21st century.

    Liked by 3 people

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    • Suzanne

       /  April 29, 2018

      Side Note: Where have the women commenters gone? I have been buried in GOTV projects and work, so have not had much time to comment here, but I have noticed a steady decline in some of the regulars, particularly women. Am I imagining it or missing something?
      Hope everyone is well.

      Liked by 1 person

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      • Brian

         /  April 30, 2018

        You’ve tended to notice a steady decline of regular posters. I’ve tended to notice a steady incline of Tesla posts. Is there a correlation? I don’t know. I will say though that there are a lot of naysayers about Tesla; so many people invested in that position that they seem to hope it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

        I tend not to comment on the Tesla posts as often as other posts, because I’m not convinced that it’s as important as some other people think it is. The whole EV vs ICE conversation makes an assumption that the personal vehicle ownership paradigm will continue, and that’s not an assumption that I’m willing to support at this point in time.

        It’s RS’s right as the owner of this blog to post what he wants, and I think so far that the stories and news he posts are both important to the world and relevant to me personally. This is why I continue to visit this site, even if I don’t post as often as I used to.

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      • In general, I get less response when I post about renewable energy. In my opinion, it’s an imminently important subject matter. For my part, I’m not writing this blog to generate ever greater levels of response. I’m writing it to inform the public about key trends. Am a bit disconcerted that critical trends involving climate solutions and climate change mitigation do not receive as much response as threat-related pieces. But in my opinion, leadership is about generating hope and pointing the way toward helpful responses. It’s not a popularity contest.

        Will say that I do my best to cultivate sharp ladies here in comments. It’s sad to say that, for some reason, men seem to dominate clean technology and climate related discussion. I don’t know why this is. If there is some lever I could pull to change it, I would.

        Finally, I want to extend my thanks to you, Suzanne, for your political activism. Godspeed and thank you for your service.

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        • Jim

           /  May 1, 2018

          I for one, appreciate the coverage of renewable energy technologies. It may not be as interesting as a major weather event, but I think it is important that individuals learn how they can impact the climate change problem themselves. While Brian is correct to question the personal vehicle paradigm, it’s quite clear that individual transportation is going to continue in one fashion or another for quite a while. I believe the electrification of the personal vehicle will be viewed in 10-20 years as a major inflection point in how the world begins to grapple with climate change as well as pollution. Plus, I think Tesla is going to be credited with triggering the shift.

          And while energy policy is not sexy to most people, it’s critical that people at least know the fallacies promoted by the fossil fuel incumbents that any alternatives are either impractical, costly or haven’t been developed yet (we need a “battery breakthrough before it’ll be practical) are basically lies intended to keep people paying outrageous economic rent for dirty, harmful technologies.

          By way of example, it was this knowledge that caused citizens in my home state of Arizona to oppose the electric utilities 15-year generation plan, which relied solely on gas generation. Their proposal was rejected by the industry-friendly regulatory body and is now being re-formulated around a high mix of renewables and battery storage. It all comes down to being educated, which is one of the reasons I find this blog, and its’ community interesting.

          Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne, I don’t know about the others, but I’ve had health problems in this beggining of year (a chronical condition going through one of its “bad phases”) and I have been a bit absent of everything online lately.

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  16. wharf rat

     /  April 29, 2018

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-wildfires-triggered-mega-thunderstorm-with-volcano-like-effects-1.4635569

    B.C. wildfires triggered mega thunderstorm with volcano-like effects
    ‘This was the most significant fire-driven thunderstorm event in history,’ meteorologist says

    The only real comparison for what happened in B.C. on Aug. 12, 2017, would be a volcanic eruption.

    On that day, in the midst of the province’s record-breaking wildfire season, the heat from four fires triggered huge thunderstorms that sent smoke soaring into the stratosphere, eventually spreading through the entire Northern Hemisphere.

    Wildfire forecasts predict hot, dry conditions in B.C. this year
    It was the biggest so-called pyrocumulonimbus event ever observed, according to David Peterson, a meteorologist at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Monterey, Calif.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • We will tend to see more and more of these extreme northern wildfires. There’s a lot of material in the far north that’s thawing, being subjected to unprecedented heat, and being subject to fire igniting lightning strikes than ever before. If we keep warming the Earth, we are going to see some terrible fires.

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  17. Vic

     /  April 30, 2018

    Just weeks after signalling its intention to pull out of the nascent battery manufacturing industry, the head of German based tech firm Bosch has announced a “breakthrough technology” designed to reduce NOx emissions from diesel engines.

    “There’s a future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.” said Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner.

    “Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable”.

    http://www.bosch-presse.de/pressportal/de/en/breakthrough-new-bosch-diesel-technology-provides-solution-to-nox-problem-155524.html

    Liked by 1 person

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    • No surprise here. Of course polluting diesel would try to find a way to brand itself as ‘clean.’ Much like ‘clean coal,’ there is no such thing.

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      • Robert McLachlan

         /  April 30, 2018

        My prediction: this will not put a stop to the debate about the demise of diesel technology.

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        • Jim

           /  April 30, 2018

          I agree the debate will go on, especially as the Bosch “breakthrough technology” is simply a refinement of existing equipment. “No new equipment is needed”, in other words, it’s Greenwashing.

          And while Bosch focuses on NOX, they completely ignore the fact that Diesel exhaust is classified by the IARC as carcinogenic to humans – Class 1.

          https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2012/pdfs/pr213_E.pdf

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        • Not to mention that carbon emissions are more than twice that of EVs on the European grid.

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  18. Science Live: ‘Cork’ Glacier Holding Back Sea Level Rise May Pop – according to the link to a Guardian article: Boaty McBoatface leads £20m mission to melting Antarctic glacier.

    According to The Guardian, ice from Thwaites streaming into the ocean accounted for about 4 percent of total global sea level rise in recent years — twice its contribution from the mid-1990s. That’s a significant amount of water coming off of one glacier. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that, globally, sea level has risen about 2.6 inches (6.6 centimeters) above the 1993 average, and it continues to rise by about one-eighth of an inch (32 millimeters) per year. Studying Thwaites, the scientists hope, could help them figure out how much worse the situation is going to get.

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  19. generativity

     /  May 1, 2018

    I follow tsla news and stock for many reasons, and notice the short sellers’ allied press and related price movements. Yes, Tesla’s power, mobility and manufacturing systems prevail. but the cynics sure are hungry. Thank you robertscribbler for keeping us grounded in current Tesla data and greater context. Green lights ahead!

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