electric cars

Science and Politics News Roundup 2022 September

A monthly review of climate, energy, environmental, and political policy issues

State of the Union

September 17 was Constitution Day, a time that commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787. We should all reread the Constitution from time to time to remind ourselves of our rights, and the duties and limitations of our government. Our politicians, especially, should read and obey.

In the popular vernacular, people refer to “our democracy.” That is wrong. America is a Constitutional Republic which protects individual rights against a possible tyranny of the majority.

The U.S. currently is experiencing high inflation due to unwise and unconstitutional government spending. Read my article: Stop unconstitutional federal spending (link).

The Declaration of Independence lists a number of grievances which the Crown of England was imposing on Americans. Here’s one example:

“He has erected a Multitude of New Offices, and set hither Swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”

Well, it seems that our own federal government has swarms of officers, agencies, departments etc.

Apparently nobody knows exactly how many offices and agencies exist within the federal government. The Federal Register (in 2015) indicates there are over 430 departments, agencies, and sub-agencies in the federal government” Louisiana State University’s Federal Agency Directory lists over 1,300 distinct organizations across all three branches of federal government.

A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies (link)

See: Downsizing the Federal Government from the Cato Institute (link) This site is a gateway to reforming federal agencies.

See also: Heritage’s Budget Blueprint Shows Better Path Forward (link) ☼

Meanwhile:

On May 31, 2022, Biden announced the creation of an Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) to tackle climate-related issues “to protect the health of disadvantaged communities and vulnerable populations on the frontlines of pollution.” The office will be part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is within the Office of Climate Change and Health Equity.

Biden’s Department of the Interior has announced replacements for more than 600 names the Board on Geographic Names deems “racist and derogatory.” (Shades of George Orwell’s novel “1984″?)

Biden started handing out grants to rid us of racist highways (link).

The Internal Revenue Service Is Not the Only Armed Agency to Worry About

by Linnea Lueken, The Heartland Institute

Recent concerns over the 87,000 new Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees, including additions to its ranks of armed agents, have reignited debate over how necessary it is to have armed agents in certain departments of the federal bureaucracy.

Indeed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Postal Service, Social Security Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and countless other federal agencies also have police divisions. Another unnecessarily militarized agency is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (Read more) ☼

Scammers Stole an Insane Amount of Pandemic Unemployment Money

by Katie Pavlich, Townhall

According to a new Department of Labor Inspector General report, scammers were able to steal nearly $46 billion in pandemic cash through state unemployment insurance [UI] programs. The office also found pandemic relief programs were vulnerable for abuse given how much money the federal government was quickly pushing out the door without proper accountability and tracking programs or mechanisms in place. (Read more) ☼

“Capitalism has been called a system of greed – yet it is the system that raised the standard of living of its poorest citizens to heights no collectivist system has ever begun to equal, and no tribal gang can conceive of.” — Ayn Rand

Political Editorials:

We Have Been Thinking about This All Wrong

By Kevin Lewis

Biden didn’t shut down oil and gas production in America (then plead to buy it from other countries) because of the climate or because he was seeking “green energy” (obviously, because we are still using oil and gas, just paying much more for it, and becoming beholden to other countries). It was done because it was one simple but very powerful way to weaken America (under the pretext of helping the climate or moving toward green energy). Not only has Joe Biden failed to fulfill his oath of office (to defend the U.S. from all enemies, foreign and domestic), but he (and the obviously intricate network of controlling governmental operatives) has intentionally and specifically disparaged and discarded it. (Read full article) ☼

Collapse of energy, food, transportation systems prompt calls for government nationalization of industries – Echoes 1930s push for Great Reset style reforms

by Mark Morano

The modus operandi of the “Great Reset” (AKA Build Back Better) is to intentionally collapse the current system with policies designed to create a crisis, havoc, and shortages. … Once the inevitable societal chaos ensues, a huge coordinated push to promote nationalization or government takeover of the impacted industries ensues. It is always claimed that the “free market” failed, and now only government can come in and clean up the mess. The advocates of nationalization usually bill it as a “temporary” nationalization of the industries, much like “15 days to slow the spread” or “2 weeks to flatten the curve” were billed as temporary measures. … (Read more) ☼

The Biden Administration Is Taking From the Poor and Giving to the Rich

by Veronique de Rugy, Reason Magazine

If you had any doubts that those in power have dropped the pretense of fighting for the working class, you can dispense with them after President Joe Biden administration’s latest concessions to the laptop class. From student loan forgiveness to subsidies for people who drive pricey electric cars and profitable semiconductor company CEOs, this administration is working hard to shower its friends with handouts paid for by hardworking lower-wage Americans. (Read more) ☼

Beware of Bureaucrats Bearing Gifts

By George C. Leef, Cato Institute

Thomas Jefferson wrote that, in order to prevent government from becoming tyrannical, it was necessary to “tie it down with the chains of the Constitution.” But over the centuries, those who want an expansive government have loosened the Framers’ chains in many ways. In his new book Purchasing Submission, Columbia University law professor Philip Hamburger explores one of those ways: the federal government’s using money and power to augment its control over Americans. He makes a persuasive case that those tactics have enabled it to undermine federalism and freedom. (Read more) ☼

A message from the National Mining Association:

Now More than Ever: Mineral Security Means National Security. The U.S. will need ever increasing amounts of minerals produced domestically. How do we achieve a strategic advantage? By reforming permitting for the production of domestic minerals mining.

Mineral demand has never been higher and is poised to grow exponentially to meet the needs for new technologies, infrastructure, manufacturing, and energy generation. Despite the immediate need for massive amounts of these materials and the fact that we have them in abundance here at home, it still takes more than ten years to permit a mine here in the U.S., forcing us to look abroad – most often to geopolitical rivals – for the mineral resources that are essential to our supply chains.

Let’s look for opportunities for permitting reform instead of artificially limiting our national domestic mineral supply chain.

Continuing to streamline the permitting process through commonsense steps like increasing coordination and reducing duplication between federal and state agencies, setting and adhering to reliable schedules and timelines for permit review, and transparently tracking progress to provide accountability, will all make a difference. Where we can encourage – without eroding the competitiveness of – U.S. manufacturers to use U.S.-produced materials, we should do so. ☼

ENERGY ISSUES

Fossil Fuels are the Greenest Energy Sources

by Indur M. Goklany

Contrary to the claims of proponents of the “Green New Deal” and “Net Zero”, fossil fuels are the greenest fuels.

First, uniquely among energy sources, fossil fuel use emits CO2, which is the ultimate source of the elemental building block, carbon, found in all carbon-based life, i.e., virtually all life on Earth.

Satellite studies also show that the earth has been greening continually in recent decades. Second, fossil fuel dependent technologies have increased agricultural yields directly or indirectly by at least 167%. This increase in agricultural productivity is due to the use of fossil-fuel-dependent technologies, specifically, nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and carbon dioxide fertilization resulting from fossil fuel emissions. This has enabled human beings to meet their demands for food using less cropland, which then spares land for the rest of nature. Thus, in the absence of fossil fuels, at least 167% more land would have to be cultivated to maintain global food production at current levels. (Read more) ☼

How To Fix America’s Electricity Emergency

by Alex Epstein

America’s grid is in decline and about to get far worse due to policies that 1) reward unreliable electricity, 2) prematurely shut down coal plants, 3) criminalize nuclear, and 4) force EV use.

The root cause of our grid’s reliability problems is simple: America is shutting down too many reliable power plants—plants that can be controlled to produce electricity when needed in the exact quantity needed. And it is attempting to replace them with unreliable solar and wind. (Read more) A reliable grid is a foundation of our quality of life. Our lives depend on ultra-reliable electricity for the refrigerators that preserve our food, the water treatment plants that keep our water drinkable, the air conditioning that keeps us cool, the factories that produce our goods, etc. ☼

The ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ Is A 4-Step Recipe For Wrecking US Energy

by Alex Epstein

Want to know whether a candidate is truly supportive of American energy? Here’s one simple test: Did they oppose the “Inflation Reduction Act”? If not, then they supported one of the most destructive energy policies in American history. (Read more) ☼

Update On Europe’s Self-Inflicted Energy Crisis

by Francis Menton

Europeans are experiencing energy shortages and skyrocketing price increases. (Read more) See also: Cost Of The Green Energy Transition: Who You Gonna Believe, Some Research Assistants From Oxford Or Your Lyin’ Eyes? (link)☼

Biden Energy Policies: Incoherent, Incompetent, Intolerable

by Paul Driessen

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision in West Virginia v. EPA is truly a landmark ruling. It decisively rejected the Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to use vague, “previously little-used” language in the Clean Air Act to shutter America’s remaining coal-fired power plants and force the nation to switch to pseudo-renewable energy, in the name of ending the “manmade climate crisis.”

But the decision goes much further. The Court made it clear that federal agencies may not impose “major federal actions,” decide “major questions” or implement “transformative expansions” of their regulatory authority without specific statutory authority clearly conferred by Congress.

In other words, federal agencies do not have the power or right to take unilateral actions that effectively transform or undermine major sections of America’s energy, economic or agricultural systems, its industries or its living standards, unless Congress has given them explicit authority to do so.

Such enormously “transformational powers” belong to the American people, acting through legislators they elect to represent them – not to bureaucrats who are not elected and cannot easily be removed from office or otherwise disciplined and held accountable. (Read more) ☼

Global Decarbonization: Negative Agricultural Impacts

By Craig D. Idso

Taxing carbon dioxide emissions raises prices of many products including food. The agricultural sector of the economy relies on low-cost energy to produce food and other products necessary to sustaining life on the planet. As the costs to produce agricultural products increase, those costs are passed on to the consumer, thereby reducing disposable household income, which reduction also disproportionately burdens the poor. (Read more) ☼

Texas Grid Reliability: Gone With the Wind (and solar)

By Bill Peacock — September 14, 2022

“The solution to keeping the lights on in Texas is to stop politicians and regulators from micro-managing the Texas energy market. Texas politicians could do this by ending renewable energy subsidies in the state and making renewable companies pay for the costs they impose on the rest of us from their federal subsidies.” (Read more) ☼

U.S. oil and gas industry: 10 actions to reduce high energy prices that won’t cost taxpayers $740 billion

by Bethany Blankley, Heartland Institute

Rather than impose higher taxes and more restrictions on domestic production of oil and natural gas, as Senate Democrats voted to do by passing the Inflation Reduction Act, those in the industry proposed 10 actions policy makers can take right now to reduce costs. The industry says its solutions won’t cost taxpayers $740 billion, as the Inflation Reduction Act does, or increase the national debt or inflation, as 230 economists have warned the act will do. (Read more) ☼

Electric Cars Are Not “Zero-Emission Vehicles”

by James D. Agresti

The notion that electric vehicles are “zero-emission” is rooted in a deceptive narrative that ignores all pollutants which don’t come out of a tailpipe. Assessing the environmental impacts of energy technologies requires measuring all forms of pollution they emit over their entire lives, not a narrow slice of them. To do this, researchers perform “life cycle assessments” or LCAs (e.g., raw material extraction, material transportation, ultimate product disposal, etc.). Simply stated, switching to electric cars transfers pollution from urbanites in wealthy nations to poor countries that mine and manufacture their components and to communities with power plants and disposal sites. (Read more) ☼

Will an EV-Filled World Pass The Sulfuric Acid Test? An unexpected resource crunch over H2SO4 troubles experts

by RAHUL RAO

Look at the periodic table, and think of the elements needed for a prosperous planet powered by renewable energy. Sulfur likely won’t be the first to come to mind.

It probably doesn’t help the yellow element’s noxious reputation to learn that most of the world’s sulfur comes as a byproduct of refining fossil fuels. In a net-zero future, a future where petroleum and natural gas production enter terminal decline and never return to their past carbon-spewing heights, sulfur production will fall away, too.

Therein lies the problem. Sulfur—easily turned into sulfuric acid—is a necessary tool for creating fertilizer and extracting heavy metals from their ores before they can go into batteries, wind turbines, and electric vehicle components. Even as sulfur production is set to fall, sulfuric acid demand is set to rise. (Read more) ☼

China’s Coal-Fired Power Boom Is Soaring To New Levels

Wall Street Journal editorial board

An unspoken truth of the climate-change crusade is this: Anything the U.S. does to reduce emissions won’t matter much to global temperatures. U.S. cuts will be swamped by the increases in India, Africa, and especially China. Look no further than China’s boom in new coal-fired electricity. (Read more) ☼

Biden admin sides against Native Americans in crackdown on oil leasing near Indigenous site

by Thomas Catenacci

The Biden administration is expected to soon finalize a rule banning oil and gas leasing near a Native American historical site despite heavy opposition from local Indigenous leaders, who say the administration’s rule would prevent them from collecting royalties on their land. (Read more) ☼

Idiotic energy policies are now taking their toll with sky-high energy costs and insufficient supply forcing industries to cut back or close. See these reports:

“The Weaponization of Science: Politics, Vilification, and the Climate Debate” – Dr. Willie Soon (link to videos)

Why The Green Fantasies Of Our Ruling Class Are Finally Unravelling (link)

Elites Deny Reality As Europe’s Industrial Might Collapses (link)

Climate-Crazy Scotland Rejects Plans To Drill More To Help Ease Energy Crunch (link)

UK Energy Crisis Delays Coal Plant Closures, Fast-Tracks New Nuclear (link)

10 Facts Electric Vehicle Advocates Don’t Want You To Know (link) ☼

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Eating less Meat won’t save the Planet. Here’s Why

by Dr. Frank Mitloehner

See Video, 23 minutes ☼

Simple method destroys dangerous ‘forever chemicals,’ making water safe

from Science Daily

Using common reagents in heated water, chemists can ‘behead’ and break down PFAS, leaving only harmless compounds. (Read more) ☼

 

CLIMATE ISSUES

NOTE: see end of this section for background information about climate science. 

There is no climate emergency – a statement from CLINTEL

h/t Ron Clutz

►There is no climate emergency

Climate science should be less political, while climate policies should be more scientific. Scientists should openly address uncertainties and exaggerations in their predictions of global warming, while politicians should dispassionately count the real costs as well as the imagined benefits of their policy measures.

►Natural as well as anthropogenic factors cause warming. The geological archive reveals that Earth’s climate has varied as long as the planet has existed, with natural cold and warm phases. The Little Ice Age ended as recently as 1850. Therefore, it is no surprise that we now are experiencing a period of warming.

►Warming is far slower than predicted.

The world has warmed significantly less than predicted by IPCC on the basis of modeled anthropogenic forcing. The gap between the real world and the modeled world tells us that we are far from understanding climate change.

►Climate policy relies on inadequate models

Climate models have many shortcomings and are not remotely plausible as policy tools. They do not only exaggerate the effect of greenhouse gases, they also ignore the fact that enriching the atmosphere with CO2 is beneficial.

►CO2 is plant food, the basis of all life on Earth

CO2 is not a pollutant. It is essential to all life on Earth. More CO2 is favorable for nature, greening our planet. Additional CO2 in the air has promoted growth in global plant biomass. It is also profitable for agriculture, increasing the yields of crops worldwide. Global warming has not increased natural disasters There is no statistical evidence that global warming is intensifying hurricanes, floods, droughts and suchlike natural disasters, or making them more frequent. However, there is ample evidence that CO2 mitigation measures are as damaging as they are costly.

Net Benefit: Rising CO2 Improves Essential Crop Yields– Critical to Feeding The World

By Kenneth Richard

The elevated CO2 fertilization effect is driving global greening trends, pushing back deserts, enhancing photosynthesis by 30 to 50%, improving water use efficiency, and boosting crop yields by about 3% every year since 1961. (Read more) ☼

►Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities

There is no climate emergency. Therefore, there is no cause for panic and alarm. We strongly oppose the harmful and unrealistic net-zero CO2 policy proposed for 2050. Go for adaptation instead of mitigation; adaptation works whatever the causes are.

Our advice to the European leaders is that Science should strive for a significantly better understanding of the Climate System, while Politics should focus on minimizing potential climate damage by priortizing adaptation strategies based on proven and affordable technologies.

Climate Intelligence (CLINTEL) is an independent foundation that operates in the fields of climate change and climate policy. (Read full report) ☼

See also: Climate Emergency Not Supported by Data, Say Four Leading Italian Scientists (link) ☼

50 Reasons to Re-Think Climate Policy

by Barry Brill,

Climate Policy is in crisis. This month, the G20 Climate Conference in Bali collapsed in confusion – preceded by the flops of both COP26 in Glasgow and COP25 in Madrid. Three decades of climate talks (52 weeks of Conferencing) have failed dismally – and the global objective of stabilizing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions is no nearer being attained than it was at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. THERE IS NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY: Warming has paused; Change has been trivial; Climate models are unreliable; Islands are expanding etc. (Read more) ☼

Climate Alarmist Claim Fact Checks

Joseph D’Aleo, CCM

Below are a series of fact checks of the 13 most common climate claims such as those made in the recently released Fourth National Climate Assessment Report. (Read more) ☼

Despite Media Claims, Atlantic Hurricane Season Sets Records for Inactivity

By Anthony Watts

Back in May, many media outlets ran with this headline courtesy of a press release from NOAA:

NOAA predicts above-normal 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season. However:

Now, with August ending, and with no named storms in the Atlantic, according to records, this is the first August since 1997 to not feature any named tropical storms or hurricanes and only the 18th time on record going back to 1851. Data shows that globally, hurricane counts have remained unchanged since 1980. The year 2021 featured the fewest in that record. Also, we now have the lowest year-to-date Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) index in the North Atlantic Ocean basin since 1941. (Read more) (Note: Hurricane season runs June through November every year, with August through October being the peak months for tropical cyclone events. The first hurricane of this season was in early September.) ☼

Greenland Ice Melt Scare

On the same day that CNBC ballyhooed a story in the journal Nature which claimed that 3.3 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet will melt, which would theoretically cause sea levels to rise about 10 inches between now and 2100; Greenland received a snowfall of 7 billion tons in one day. See two stories here and here. See also: Why “Zombie Ice” and other claims of Greenland ice melt raising sea levels are just modeled hokum. (link)

See also: Don’t Believe The Alarmist Hype About Antarctica’s Melting Glaciers (link) ☼

Polar Bear No Closer to Extinction Than It Was 18 Years Ago as Arctic Sea Ice Resists ‘Tipping Point’

by Dr. Susan Crockford

All predictions of disaster aside, in fact the polar bear is no closer to extinction than it was in 2005 as Arctic sea ice again steadfastly resists slipping past a catastrophic ‘tipping point’ — or the ‘death spiral’, as some chicken-littles continue to call it. In fact, the summer sea ice trend has been pretty much flat since 2007, with ice covering about 42% less area than it had done in 1979, yet polar bears in many regions are doing better now than they were in 2005, especially in Davis Strait, the Barents and Chukchi Seas and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. (Read more) ☼

See also: The Great Arctic Sea Ice Scam (link). Read about all the failed predictions. ☼

How Can The Globe Be Warming When Most Of The Southern Hemisphere Isn’t?

By Kenneth Richard

New research continues to document non-warming and even “robust cooling” trends for entire regions of the Southern Hemisphere in recent decades. Land surface temperature data compilations from the Southern Hemisphere (South America, Southwestern Andes, Tasmania, New Zealand, Australia) indicate that any warming during the 20th century occurred before 1980, with no obvious net warming since. (Read more) ☼

Lake Mead Low Water Levels, Part 2: Colorado River Inflow Variations and Trend

by Dr. Roy Spencer

Key Points:

►Contrary to claims that drought is causing Lake Mead water levels to fall, the Colorado River natural flows into Lake Mead show no long-term trend since 1930.

►Decadal time scale variations in river flow do occur, though, related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).

►Since about 2000, use of Lake Mead water has exceeded river inflow, causing water levels to drop. The negative phase of the PDO since that time has exacerbated the problem.

(Read more) (Read part one Lake Mead Low Water Levels: Overuse, Not Climate Change) ☼

Systemic Error in Global Temperature Measurement

by Moritz Büsing

Some time ago I stumbled upon a curiosity in temperature measurement publications of the last 30 years: When you turn the temperature anomaly curves into absolute temperature curves then the past has been getting colder.

I found a systematic error in one of the most important analysis processes: homogenization.

Homogenization consists of removing stepwise breaks and trends in the data series that result from non-climate related sources. For example, relocating a weather station from the top of a mountain to the valley can cause a permanent offset in temperature measurements. Also using a new type of thermometer or a new type of housing of the thermometer can permanently change the measured temperatures. These changes lead to stepwise breaks in the data series. Other changes, such as urbanization, lead to non-climate related trend changes in the data series that are also permanent. These permanent errors are corrected by increasing or decreasing all the past data at a stepwise break such that the temperature curve becomes continuous. (Read more) ☼

Thoughts About Clouds And Water (Vapor)

By Dr. Lars Schernikau

Climate models are NOT capable of modeling clouds. Their resolution is too low and clouds are too complex. (Read more) ☼

Another source of carbon dioxide

Satellite based thermal scanning of the Earth’s Oceans by NASA have shown that there may be as many as 3 million volcanoes down under the Ocean. These volcanoes can warm the ocean and drive dissolved carbon dioxide into the air. (Source)

Rethinking the Greenhouse Effect

by William Kininmonth

A former head of Australia’s National Climate Centre is arguing that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has adopted an overly simplistic approach to global warming and has ended up exaggerating the human contribution to recent climate change. (Read full report) ☼

California’s Ill-Conceived EV ‘Leadership’

by Douglas Andrews, Patriot Post

The state just announced its plans for an all-electric vehicle future, but its electrical grid can’t even handle the present. (Read more) ☼

Diesel Powered Trucks Are Now Racist, According to California (link)

CLIMATE SCIENCE BACKGROUND:

Geologic evidence shows that Earth’s climate has been in a constant state of flux for more than 4 billion years. Nothing we do can stop that. Much of current climate and energy policy is based upon the erroneous assumption that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, which make up just 0.1% of total greenhouse gases, are responsible for “dangerous” global warming/climate change. Man-made carbon dioxide emissions have no significant effect on global temperature/climate. In fact, when there is an apparent correlation between temperature and carbon dioxide, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been shown to follow, not lead, changes in Earth’s temperature. All efforts to reduce emissions are futile with regard to climate change, but such efforts will impose massive economic harm to Western Nations. The “climate crisis” is a scam. U.N officials have admitted that their climate policy is about money and power and destroying capitalism, not about climate. By the way, like all planetary bodies, the earth loses heat through infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases interfere with (block) some of this heat loss. Greenhouse gases don’t warm the Earth, they slow the cooling.

 

For more on climate science, see my Wryheat Climate articles:

Climate Change in Perspective

A Review of the state of Climate Science

The Broken Greenhouse – Why Co2 Is a Minor Player in Global Climate

A Summary of Earth’s Climate History-a Geologist’s View

Problems with wind and solar generation of electricity – a review

The High Cost of Electricity from Wind and Solar Generation

The “Social Cost of Carbon” Scam Revisited

ATMOSPHERIC CO2: a boon for the biosphere

Carbon dioxide is necessary for life on Earth

Impact of the Paris Climate Accord and why Trump was right to drop it

New study shows that carbon dioxide is responsible for only seven percent of the greenhouse effect

Six Issues the Promoters of the Green New Deal Have Overlooked

Why reducing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuel will have no effect on climate ☼

 

“Before you make a case a general rule, test it two or three times and observe whether all experiments produce identical results.” – Leonardo da Vinci.

“The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people.” —Thomas Jefferson (1801)

“Without Freedom of Thought there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as Public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” —Benjamin Franklin (1722)

END

EcoTality electric car charging company blows $100 million and eyes bankruptcy

Back in October, 2010, I attended a promotional meeting put on by Ecotality (see article here.)  At that time I wrote:

“Tucson is the guinea pig for a project run by ECOtality of North America to install chargers for electric vehicles in 16 cities throughout the country. Tucson will get 240 chargers. The company hopes, during the next few years, to install 14,650 level 2 (220V) chargers and 310 DC fast chargers. The level 2 chargers can replenish batteries in 4- to 6 hours, while the DC fast chargers can give at least half a charge in 30 minutes. The bulk of the money, some $114.8 million, comes from government grants, your tax dollars.”

Now, The Hill, is reporting that “Obama-backed electric car charging company eyes bankruptcy.”  “ECOtality Inc., an Energy Department-backed maker of electric car charging systems, is facing a major cash crunch and could file for bankruptcy.  The company, which has been awarded nearly $100 million in grant funding under the 2009 stimulus law, disclosed Monday that it’s weighing a restructuring or sale as it seeks more outside capital. “

In the past two years, Ecototality did manage to install 12,500 charging stations in 18 U.S. cities according to The Hill.

My 2010 story ended with this: “It remains to be seen whether or not arrays of charging stations will attract customers. It’s like the “Field of Dreams.” If they build it, will customers come?”  Apparently not.  It looks like Obama’s Energy Department blew $100 million for nothing.

It looks like Ecotality may join the long list of President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures:

Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*

SpectraWatt ($500,000)*

Solyndra ($535 million)*

Beacon Power ($43 million)*

Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)

SunPower ($1.2 billion)

First Solar ($1.46 billion)

Babcock and Brown ($178 million)

EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*

Amonix ($5.9 million)

Fisker Automotive ($529 million)

Abound Solar ($400 million)*

A123 Systems ($279 million)*

Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*

Johnson Controls ($299 million)

Brightsource ($1.6 billion)

ECOtality ($126.2 million)

Raser Technologies ($33 million)*

Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*

Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*

Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*

Range Fuels ($80 million)*

Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*

Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*

Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*

GreenVolts ($500,000)

Vestas ($50 million)

LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)

Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*

Navistar ($39 million)

Satcon ($3 million)*

Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*

Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

A question for Tucson electric car owners: Do you use chargers around town?  Where are they?

See also:

Electric cars not doing well in Ireland

UPDATE: http://nlpc.org/stories/2013/09/02/obama-green-failure-train-rolls-ecotality

Electric cars not doing well in Ireland

I like Ireland. Since my most recent trip there several years ago, the Irish government has established a campaign to make at least 10% of the cars on the road electric vehicles by 2020, that’s a goal of about 230,000 electric cars. Their goal for the end of 2012 is to have 6,000 electric cars on the road.

To encourage use of electric cars, the Irish government has committed to installing 1,500 public charging points and making 2,000 home charging points available. So far, more than 700 charging points have been installed around the country, including public charging stations and installations in homes and businesses.

So how are they doing? In 2010, 48 electric cars were registered, in 2011, just 23 new electric cars were registered, but that number has exploded to 121 new electric cars registered this year so far, making a grand total of 192 electric cars on the road according to the Irish Examiner. This means that government installed charging stations greatly outnumber the government promoted electric cars. Hybrid cars are doing better with 559 registered this year. So far this year over 71,000 new gasoline or diesel powered cars have been registered.

These poor sales figures for electric cars are occurring even though the Irish government is offering grants of up to €5,000 ($6,459) for purchase of private electric cars and €3,800 ($4,909) for purchase of commercial electric vehicles, according to The Journal.

Perhaps these underwhelming results show that Irish consumers are smarter than the government.

And that’s the luck of the Irish.

See also:

Production of electric vehicles has twice the global warming potential of fossil fuel powered cars

Nissan Leaf battery degrades quickly in hot climates

Does the Chevy Volt produce more CO2 from its battery than from its gasoline engine

The Chevy Volt, just the latest expensive toy

Obama’s Electric car experiment a failure so far

The administration’s rosy hope: If we build it, they will sell, hasn’t panned out. Sales of GM’s hybrid Volt and Nissan’s Leaf are much below expectations in spite of heavy U.S. government subsidies. In fact, GM is temporarily suspending Volt production – again. Even the liberal Washington Post is disenchanted:

“No matter how you slice it, the American taxpayer has gotten precious little for the administration’s investment in battery-powered vehicles, in terms of permanent jobs or lower carbon dioxide emissions. There is no market, or not much of one, for vehicles that are less convenient and cost thousands of dollars more than similar-sized gas-powered alternatives — but do not save enough fuel to compensate. The basic theory of the Obama push for electric vehicles — if you build them, customers will come — was a myth. And an expensive one, at that.”

Part of the problem is that electric cars are impractical due to their limited range given the current state of battery technology. We knew that 100 years ago. The vehicle in the photo is the 1911 Baker Electric which could go 50 miles on one battery charge. The GM Volt can go 40 miles on a charge. The Nissan Leaf claims 100 miles on a charge, but that varies from 47 to 138 miles depending on conditions. By the way, hybrid vehicles, first developed in 1916, just make automobiles unnecessarily complex.

Emphasizing the impracticality of electric cars, a story last year about driving a Leaf from San Diego, California, to Tucson, Arizona, found that what is normally an 8-hour drive took a week in a Leaf.

GM is losing money on each Volt they make. They are selling the Volt for about $40,000 (much more expensive than comparable gasoline-power models), but it costs GM $89,000 to manufacture the vehicle according to Reuters.

Sales of the Volt have been weak even though federal agencies (i.e. taxpayers) have been buying or plan to buy them.

Another, related issue is The EPA’s Electric Vehicle Mileage Fraud. The EPA calculates a miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) for electric cars that estimates the amount of fossil fuels which must be burned to create the electricity to charge the batteries of an electric car. In a Forbes article, Warren Meyers shows that “The EPA’s methodology is flawed because it assumes perfect conversion of the potential energy in fossil fuels to electricity, an assumption that violates the second law of thermodynamics. The Department of Energy has a better methodology that computes electric vehicle equivalent mileage based on real world power plant efficiencies and fuel mixes, while also taking into account energy used for refining gasoline for traditional cars. Using this better DOE methodology, we get MPGe’s for electric cars that are barely 1/3 of the EPA figures.”

It seems that the great green hype is more hope than reality. This exercise in crony capitalism and green dreaming demonstrates the incompetence of government in the marketplace.

See also:

Does the Chevy Volt produce more CO2 from its battery than from its gasoline engine

Tax Dollars to Build Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

The Chevy Volt, just the latest expensive toy

Which Vehicles Are Most Energy Efficient?

Electric cars not selling

Baker_Electric_DV_06-AI_01General Motors is boosting its production of the $41,000 hybrid Chevrolet Volt to 16,000 this year. But according to the Detroit News, they’ve sold only 1,700 Volts so far this year. So, where is all this production going? Again, according to Detroit News, “about 2,500 will go to dealer demonstration fleets, and another 3,500 will be built for export to China, Canada and Europe, GM officials said.” That leaves 10,000 Volts to take up space in GM parking lots. Even if GM manages to sell all 16,000 Volts, that would represent only 0.1% of the new car market. The Volt has a range of about 40 miles on one charge. By contrast, the 1911 Baker Electric from the Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, could go 50 miles on one battery charge.

Meanwhile, Nissan Motors has sold only 8,000 of its all electric Nissan Leafs worldwide since last December. Maybe that’s because all-electric vehicles are not practical outside an urban environment. Recall a recent story about driving a Leaf from San Diego, California, to Tucson, Arizona. The normally 8-hour drive took a week in a Leaf.

It seems that fuel efficient gasoline-powered cars are still the choice for most car buyers. When considering a new car, one should investigate total energy efficiency, not just gas mileage. For more details on which vehicles are really the most energy efficient, see my post:

Which Vehicles Are Most Energy Efficient. The results my surprise you.

For more background on electric vehicles, see:

The Chevy Volt, just the latest expensive toy

Tax Dollars to Build Charging Stations for Electric Vehicles

Does the Chevy Volt produce more CO2 from its battery than from its gasoline engine

Chevy Volt might be less than claimed

Does the Chevy Volt produce more CO2 from its battery than from its gasoline engine?

The hybrid Chevy Volt is touted by General Motors as producing less carbon dioxide than purely gasoline-powered cars.  But that may not be true according to an analysis by Junkscience.com:

According to the EPA the 4-seat Volt is capable of driving 35 miles on its 16 kilowatt hours (kWh) of stored electric charge. The Volt’s gas-only fuel economy rating is 37 mpg.

Since two oxygen atoms from the atmosphere combine with each carbon atom when gasoline is burned, a gallon of gas produces about 19.6 lbs. of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. So when operating on gasoline, the Volt produces 0.53 lbs. of CO2 per mile (19.6 lbs. of CO2 per gallon divided by 37 miles per gallon).

Since we can’t quantify accurately just how much transmission loss there is between electricity generation and charging points, we’ll assume an impossible 100 percent efficiency at the charger to work out the CO2 emissions for the Volt’s 16 kWh stored charge.

In 2007, national “average” CO2 emissions were 2.16 lbs per kWh from coal-fired generation and 1.01 lbs per kW for gas-fired generation. according to Power Systems Analysis. Given that 44.46 percent of electricity in the U.S. is coal-fired and 23.31 percent is gas-fired, on a national basis, then, the mean emission of CO2 per kWh is 1.2 lbs/kWh. (2.16 lbs/kWh x 0.4446 = 0.96 lbs/kWh from coal, plus 1.01 lbs/kWh x 0.2331 = 0.24 lbs/kWh from gas).

The Volt’s “emissions mileage” from its stored charge is then 16 kWh x 1.2 lbs/kWh divided by 35 MPG = 0.55 lb CO2/mile.

So on an “average” basis, the Volt emits more CO2 from battery use than from gasoline use (0.55 lbs/mile vs. 0.53 lbs/mile).

Maybe you don’t think that’s a big difference, but the difference becomes more pronounced when the Volt is charged in states that rely more on coal-fired electricity.

When I first read this analysis I wondered how one gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6 pounds could produce almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.  Well according to a Department of Energy website, it works like this:

It seems impossible that a gallon of gasoline, which weighs about 6.3 pounds, could produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned. However, most of the weight of the CO2 doesn’t come from the gasoline itself, but the oxygen in the air.

When gasoline burns, the carbon and hydrogen separate. The hydrogen combines with oxygen to form water (H2O), and carbon combines with oxygen to form carbon dioxide (CO2).

A carbon atom has a weight of 12, and each oxygen atom has a weight of 16, giving each single molecule of CO2 an atomic weight of 44 (12 from carbon and 32 from oxygen).

Therefore, to calculate the amount of CO2 produced from a gallon of gasoline, the weight of the carbon in the gasoline is multiplied by 44/12 or 3.7.

Since gasoline is about 87% carbon and 13% hydrogen by weight, the carbon in a gallon of gasoline weighs 5.5 pounds (6.3 lbs. x .87).

We can then multiply the weight of the carbon (5.5 pounds) by 3.7, which equals 20 pounds of CO2!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chevy Volt, just the latest expensive toy

Baker_Electric_DV_06-AI_01The 2011 Chevy Volt from Government Motors is touted as the answer to carbon emissions and green jobs. The Volt, a hybrid vehicle, is said to be able to go 40 miles on one battery charge. The 1911 Baker Electric from the Baker Motor Vehicle Company of Cleveland, Ohio, could go 50 miles on one battery charge. The 1902 Baker Torpedo set a land speed record.

Electric cars have been around since the 1830s. First developed in Holland, then France and Britain, electric cars were first produced in America during the 1890s.

The turn of the 20th Century was a time of experimentation in transportation. For instance, in 1900, a total of 2,370 automobiles could be found in New York, Chicago and Boston. 800 of those cars were fully electric, 400 cars were powered by gasoline, and 1,170 were steam-powered automobiles.

The early electric vehicles, such as the 1902 Wood’s Phaeton, were little more than electrified horseless carriages and surreys. The Phaeton had a range of 18 miles, a top speed of 14 mph and cost $2,000. Later in 1916, Woods invented a hybrid car that had both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

Electric vehicles have always been the playthings of the well-to-do. Even the earliest models were expensive for their time. The 2008 Tesla Motors Darkstar Roadster has a net base price of US$101,500 and can go 200 miles on a battery charge. The Chevy Volt with its $41,000 price tag and 40-mile electric range, is also a plaything of the relatively wealthy. And if the government offers a $7,500 rebate, that just means the rest of us are subsidizing toys for the rich.

Advances in battery technology still have not found the solution to long range and quick recharge time. Purely electric vehicles may satisfy a niche market, but they are still impractical for general transportation. Hybrid vehicles, first developed in 1916, just make automobiles unnecessarily complex. It’s just physics. Gasoline has 80 times the energy density of the best lithium ion batteries.

Phaeton1The whole impetus behind electric or hybrid vehicles is they will lower our carbon footprint. But will they really do that?

According to the US Department of Energy, most electricity generation in the United States is from fossil sources, and half of that is from coal. Coal is more carbon-intensive than oil. Overall average efficiency from US power plants (33% efficient) to point of use (transmission loss 9.5%) is 30%. Accepting a 70% to 80% efficiency for the electric vehicle gives a figure of only around 20% overall efficiency when recharged from fossil fuels. That is comparable to the efficiency of an internal combustion engine running at variable load. The efficiency of a gasoline engine is about 16%, and 20% for a diesel engine.

Because of the relatively high price of electric/hybrid vehicles, German automakers say, Without government subsidies, electric cars are virtually unmarketable. If all that is true, we are spending much money on a fantasy. But, the electric car “has long been recognized as the ideal solution” because it “is cleaner and quieter” and “much more economical.” That statement was published by The New York Times on November 12, 1911. We have yet to see that rosy prediction come true, as noted by the Energy Tribune.