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Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid Electric Car
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Concentrating solar power is poised on the cusp of a major advance as the goal of integrating grid-scale thermal energy storage appears within reach.
Already able to produce utility-scale amounts of renewable electricity cost-effectively, scientists and engineers have been focusing on developing new, more efficient and cheaper thermal energy storage systems and integrating them into CSP plants. That goal now appears within reach...
Via Lauren Moss
MPHOnline created an interactive map to determine the best and the worst (How Green is Your State?
There are many ways to assess the greenness of your home state. MPHOnline‘s approach was to consider a state’s energy makeup, gasoline consumption per capita, greenhouse gas emissions, air and water quality, recycling efforts and availability of public transportation.
Using this data from state energy, waste, transportation and environmental management agencies, MPHOnline created an interactive map to determine how each state ranks.
Visit the link and click on your state to see how it fares.
Via Lauren Moss
Electric Car's insight:
Spend your hard earned dollars on research into free, clean energy hich maximizes output of solar, wind, other unused free sources of energy, instead of "investing" in poisonous drilling and mining, shipping oil hungry equipment polluting the planet, and paying ever increasing prices for ancient fossilized sunshine just for electricity production.
The M-100, which was developed with the help of volunteer engineers from General Electric (GE) and the Louisville Water Company, is currently deployed in more than 25 countries. The M-100, which was developed with the help of volunteer engineers from General Electric (GE) and the Louisville Water Company, is currently deployed in more than 25 countries. The M-100, which was developed with the help of volunteer engineers from General Electric (GE) and the Louisville Water Company, is currently deployed in more than 25 countries.
WARSAW - World governments meeting in Poland, Nov 2013 are likely to make only modest progress in reaching a 2015 deal to fight climate change, with concern over economic growth at least partially eclipsing scientists' warnings of rising temperatures. "We can't expect a grand agreement that solves the problems in one fell swoop," said Elliot Diringer, executive director of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a U.S. think-tank.
Electric Car's insight:
The outline of a deal, to be discussed by negotiators in Warsaw from November 11-22, is emerging that will not halt a creeping rise in temperatures but might be a guide for tougher measures in later years.
Global average temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and are set to exceed 2C - a target ceiling agreed at a previous U.N. summit - on current trends, despite a hiatus in the pace of warming so far this century.
The U.S. shale boom helped push U.S. carbon emissions to an 18-year low last year, but also shifted cheap, polluting coal into Europe where it is used in power stations.
On Monday, aid charity Oxfam estimated that climate aid totaled between $7.6 billion and $16.3 billion in 2013, but said "murky accounting and a lack of transparency by rich countries" made it hard to know.
Christiana Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, said Warsaw was a "pivotal moment" when it was still possible to limit rising temperatures to 2C above pre-industrial times. "Global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak this decade," she said.
Hosts Poland said a climate deal should allow countries to define their own emissions targets - from power plants, factories and cars - rather than try to impose them in a global diktat. "We need flexibility between the countries, that they will promote their own strategies, their own goals," Environment Minister Marcin Korolec said.
Why Greens, Republicans And Democrats Should Support the Fight for Economic and Racial Justice
Electric Car's insight:
To prevent irreparable disruption to our climate and human civilization, we must get to 100 percent fossil fuel free energy production, and we must do it quickly.
This is a very tall order:
A successful transition to clean energy will bring American workers along, ensuring hope for those who have been employed in the fossil fuel industry to move to better jobs with union representation.
We can only build a coalition with the power to curb climate disruption if environmentalists are fighting for economic and racial justice as hard as they are against fossil fuels, and if unions are fighting as hard for an immediate transition to a worker-friendly clean energy economy as they are to protect their members.
We must pay attention to the need to ensure that those who are employed in the fossil fuel industry are ready and able to transition into good-paying clean energy jobs - whether they are working now in the coal-fields or the oil fields.
The clean energy transition is already well under way.
The U.S. will only burn about as much coal this year as it did in 1993.
Regardless of the causes of the transition, we can only do it fairly and justly if we make a profound change, beginning right now, from a global economy dominated by big polluting billionaires and corporate executives who defy any consideration of the public good, towards a more sustainable economic future based upon fairer, more equitable, healthier societies.
The place to start is clean energy.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency investments create far more jobs per dollar spent than fossil fuels, including natural gas .
If done properly, the clean energy transition will lead to a massive expansion of good jobs, providing one of the biggest opportunities for growth of the labor movement over the next generation. But workers, communities of color, indigenous people, women, and people of emerging nations must both lead and be the primary beneficiaries of this change.
To give just one example, the Sierra Club worked with the Moapa Band of Paiutes in Nevada to build the largest tribal solar plant in the nation, with union allies for the city of Los Angeles to buy power from that plant , and with both of those allies to make sure a state decision to phase out two major coal plants included a commitment to 350 megawatts of new renewable energy.
At the same time, through the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy , we joined forces with local community members and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers to build RePower LA , a program in which low-income residents lower their neighbors' utility bills and receive a living wage as they make businesses and homes more energy efficient, train for jobs with the local utility, and get on a path to union membership.
The Sierra Club, like other big environmental organizations, has made mistakes when it comes to workers and front-line communities, but we are learning quickly what it looks like when workers and communities both lead and benefit from the clean energy transition -- and we're ready to fight for that progress.
Electric Car's insight:
Sep 27, 2013
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, whose landmark research showed that cutting emissions of black carbon and other short lived climate pollutants can significantly lessen the impacts of regional and global climate change, improve the health of millions of rural poor, and avoid crop losses, will receive tonight a 2013 Champions of the Earth award, the United Nations’s highest environmental accolade.
The event will be attended by a host of celebrity activists, including supermodel and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen. “I am very honored to accept this prestigious award, which recognizes the critical role of science and research in addressing the major environmental challenges of our time,” said Ramanathan. “Policymakers across the world are realizing that through cost-effective actions such as reducing methane emissions from natural gas and oil production, and capturing emissions from waste dumps, or phasing out products using hydroflurocarbons, or HFCs, major reductions in short-lived climate pollutants can be achieved, with significant add-on benefits for health and food security.
As the science shows, fast action on black carbon, methane and HFCs – coupled with major cuts in carbon emissions – can make a critical contribution to achieving low carbon, resource-efficient, and inclusive development for all,” he added. "We are proud that Prof. Ramanathan is being acknowledged for his science and for his humanitarian efforts, ensuring that research is translated into public policy," said UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “At UC San Diego, we focus on solutions to real-world problems and this award is well-deserved.”
Ramanathan, who also serves as UNESCO professor of climate and policy at The Energy and Resources Institute University in New Delhi, India, co-led an international research team that in 1997 first discovered the climate impact in Asia of widespread air pollution, known as the atmospheric brown cloud .
Ramanathan’s research underlines the idea that cutting emissions of black carbon, methane, hydrofluorocarbons , and other substances collectively known as short-lived climate pollutants , with lifetimes of a decade or less, along with mitigation of CO2 emissions, can reduce the rate of warming by as much as half in the coming decades. “Leadership and vision will be the hallmarks of a transition to an inclusive Green Economy in developed and developing countries alike.
A UNEP study in 2011, on which Ramanathan acted as vice-chair and senior contributor, presented 16 actions to cut black carbon and methane emissions, which, if implemented, would save close to 2.5 million lives a year through reduced respiratory illnesses, avoid crop losses amounting to 32 million tons annually, and abate about 0.5° C by 2050.
May, 16, 2013 Guardian Environment - Nafeez Ahmed:
US National Strategy for the Arctic Region prioritises corporate 'economic opportunities' at the expense of everyone else..
At the heart of the White House's new Arctic strategy is an elementary but devastating contradiction between what President Obama, in the document's preamble, describes as seeking "to make the most of the emerging economic opportunities in the region" due to the rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, and recognising "the need to protect and conserve this unique, valuable, and changing environment."... http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/17/obama-arctic-energy-security-climate
June 5, 2013 Grist
May 15, 2013 Bloomberg
CHINA GRANTED ACCESS TO ARCTIC CLUB AS RESOURCE RACE HEATS UP http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-05-15/world/39264945_1_arctic-council-arctic-circle-observer-status
June 5, 2013 Global Possibilities
May 15, 2013- Washington Post
SUPERPOWERS CHINA, INDIA AND KOREA, RUSSIA AND EUROPEAN UNION SEEK TO MINE ARCTIC REGION OF ITS UNTAPPED ENERGY http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-05-15/world/39264945_1_arctic-council-arctic-circle-observer-status
DEEP SEA MINING 'GOLD RUSH' MOVES CLOSER, DEVASTATING OCEAN SEABEDS, DESTROYING UNKNOWN ECOSYTEMS http://sco.lt/5tF4s5
September 18, 2012 New York Times
ARCTIC OCEAN 'ACIDIFYING RAPIDLY'. HIGHEST LEVES IN 55 MILLION YEARS - ARCTIC COULD BE ICE FREE IN TWO YEARS http://sco.lt/6KTOpl
WILL WE LEARN FROM THE PAST, OR CONTINUE RAVAGING OUR PLANET IN THE NAME OF PROFITS AND POWER?
July 21, 1012 Guardian Environment
July 5, 2011
July 3, 2011
April 5, 2013
November 20, 1010
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE? NEW SECRETIVE TRADE PACTS NEGOTIATE SOVEREIGN RIGHTS http://sco.lt/8FToVl
Update June 15: Readers tell us that the price of the BMW i3 starts at €40,000 (~$53,000). I'm also told that the
Electric Car's insight:
Update June 15: Readers tell us that the price of the BMW i3 starts at €40,000 (~$53,000). I’m also told that the “reservations” are actually just reservations to test drive the vehicle, which makes more sense but wasn’t clear from our source.
Original Article: Last month, we featured an infographic showing that the Tesla Model S was outselling non-electric luxury brand competitors by BMW, Mercedes, and Audi. Notably, none of these companies have an electric car on the market yet. While Mercedes is working on an electric vehicle option (the Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive), Audi has scrapped its plans for developing an electric Audi R8 e-tron. BMW will be the first to bring one to mass market, the BMW i3 (followed by the BMW i8). If BMW’s numbers are correct, it looks like the BMW i3 will come off the tracks strong. Here’s more info from EV Obsession:
BMW has been slow to the electric vehicle game. Or maybe it has just been timing itself carefully. The BMW i3, which I featured back in March and which is scheduled to hit European markets at the end of the year, already has over 100,000 reservations, according to BMW’s Ian Robertson.
Notably, those include reservations with and without deposits. But nonetheless…. And Robertson says a “significant number” of them have actually made deposits.
As I wrote back in March, the i3 is a beauty. And, clearly, coming from a trusted, high-quality brand doesn’t hurt.
If future energy consumption (which is mostly fossil fuel) drops because of a financial collapse brought on by high oil prices and other limits, then, at least in theory, climate change should be less of a problem.
Price Is The Limit On Oil Consumption. In fact, all fossl fuel consumption.
OR - Accountants will save the world!!!
Electric Car's insight:
My estimate of CO2 generation by fossil fuels in the 21st century is only about one-quarter of the amount assumed in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report.
Even if the climate model is perfect apart from its estimate of future CO2 fossil fuel use, and even if anthropogenic issues are implicated as a cause of recent climate changes, the model with its incorrect estimate of future fossil fuel energy consumption can still be unhelpful for determining needed future action.
Even renewables will become a problem, because we need fossil fuels to create new renewable energy generation.
Oil consumption by importers starts to decline if price is high–something that happens long before world oil supply actually starts to decline.
At the same time, oil exporters need high prices, and have financial problems if price or production declines too much.
The Climate High and Climate Low estimates are based on carbon amounts shown in Figure 1 of this 2008 Oil Drum post http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/4807 by De Sousa and Mearns .
In converting these carbon estimates to energy consumption estimates, I implicitly assumed that the carbon intensity of energy use would remain unchanged–that is, improvements resulting from more use of natural gas and renewables use would be offset by increases in coal consumption. This assumption is probably not what the IPCC would make.
Their “Low Estimate” would probably assume greater use of renewables and natural gas than their High Estimate, so that the actual energy available in their Low Estimate would be closer to the energy available in their High Estimate than what my graph would suggest.
No consideration is given of diminishing returns, and the resulting likely run-up in both needed investment funds and price to the user.
Because the IPCC report misses the issue of diminishing returns and resulting higher price, it assumes that demand can keep on ramping up pretty much indefinitely.
A letter published in Nature Geoscience on May 19, 2013, titled Energy Budget Constraints on Climate Response indicates that the climate effects of a given set of forcings seems to be lower than the 2007 IPCC report suggested.
My Collapse Scenario estimates are considerably below De Sousa and Mearn’s Peak Oil estimates, so would in theory produce lower yet CO2 impacts.
A researcher might assume that substitution of higher-priced renewable energy for lower-priced fossil fuel energy would reduce world carbon emissions, but this is true only if second and third order effects don’t undo the supposed benefit.
Thus, the real issue is a likely near-term financial problem. This financial problem can be expected to lead to economic shrinkage which will by itself help mitigate several of the problems, including climate change.
We might want to make such a change in an attempt to sustain production for longer, whether or not this has an adverse CO2 effect, viewed from today’s peculiar perspective:
Only manufacturing which results in local CO2 production seems to be viewed as “bad;” exporting coal to China, or importing goods manufactured using coal from China/ India is not viewed as a problem.
Brussels, May 14, 2013 – The hype surrounding shale gas in Europe is founded in the American shale gas boom, where “cheap and abundant” energy appears to provide energy security. Bringing the "Bulls" or investors into the market, inflating the "Carbon Bubble" which might pop as investors realise their mistake and bail out of investments.
Electric Car's insight:
However, according to Food and Water Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe, a closer look at the US boom reveals an economic system based on shaky foundations, that side-lines health and the environment, and is reliant on unsustainably low prices driven by speculation and industry overestimates.
Experts invited to speak today at “Behind the hype: the economics of shale gas in Europe” questioned the longer-term contribution of shale gas to America’s energy mix and warned against the dangers of replicating the U.S. example in Europe.
The Canadian geoscientist David Hughes, following the analysis of historical production from 65,000 oil and gas wells, concluded that the average production figures for shale gas wells are already falling, as “sweets spots” in mature shale basins have been drilled off.
Given the steep decline curves of shale gas wells, a “drilling treadmill”, requiring an annual investment of U.S. $42 billion per year, will be needed just to keep shale gas production flat  . “A hard look at the historical production from American shale gas wells shows that unconventional gas cannot provide a long-lasting – never mind environmentally sustainable – answer to European low-carbon energy needs”, said Food & Water Europe Policy Officer Geert De Cock. “Europe cannot drill its way to decarbonisation by 2050”.
The Energy Watch Group expert Werner Zittel demonstrated that the contribution of shale gas to reduce gas imports and improve the European Union’s overall energy mix will be negligible, particularly when viewed against steep declines in European conventional gas production.
Population density, shortage of drilling equipment, acute shortage of qualified personnel, stronger environmental rules and lack of public acceptability cause structural barriers for the large-scale development of shale gas in Europe  .
Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The US shale gas boom is based on unsustainably low prices and wishful thinking.
If repeated in Europe, shale gas development will be hindered by significantly higher costs, at a pace unlikely to impact upon gas prices.
Food & Water Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe maintain that until the social, environmental, social and health impacts are adequately addressed, all Member States should suspend ongoing activities, abrogate permits, and place bans on new projects, whether exploration or exploitation.
Europe must not be swept up in wishful thinking and replace genuine solutions like renewable energy and energy savings with the shale gas myth.
Friends of the Earth Europe is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, uniting more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups.
We are the European arm of Friends of the Earth International which unites 76 national member organisations, some 5,000 local activist groups, and over two million supporters around the world.  See more in Hughes’ 2013 report “Drill Baby Drill”  Read more in the 2013 Energy Watch Group report “Fossil and Nuclear Fuel – the Supply Outlook”
Food & Water Europe is the European program of Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit consumer organization based in the United States that works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable.
Rooftop solar panels and other distributed-energy tools will radically shake up the power sector, according to an unusually frank report from a utility trade group.
Electric Car's insight:
Bloomberg Energy Finance forecasts 22 percent compound annual growth in all solar PV, which means that by 2020 distributed solar (which will account for about 15 percent of total PV) could reach up to 10 percent of load in certain areas. If that happens, well:
Assuming a decline in load, and possibly customers served, of 10 percent due to Distributed Energy Resources DER (meaning Solar) with full subsidization of DER participants, the average impact on base electricity prices for non-DER participants will be a 20 percent or more increase in rates, and the ongoing rate of growth in electricity prices will double for non-DER participants (before accounting for the impact of the increased cost of serving distributed resources).
So rates would rise by 20 percent for those without solar panels. Can you imagine the political shitstorm that would create? (There are reasons to think EEI is exaggerating this effect, but we’ll get into that in the next post.)
If nothing is done to check these trends, the U.S. electric utility as we know it could be utterly upended.
The report compares utilities’ possible future to the experience of the airlines during deregulation or to the big monopoly phone companies when faced with upstart cellular technologies. In case the point wasn’t made, the report also analogizes utilities to the U.S. Postal Service, Kodak, and RIM, the maker of Blackberry devices. These are not meant to be flattering comparisons.
Remember, too, that these utilities are not Google or Facebook. They are not accustomed to a state of constant market turmoil and reinvention. This is a venerable old boys network, working very comfortably within a business model that has been around, virtually unchanged, for a century. A friggin’ century, more or less without innovation, and now they’re supposed to scramble and be all hip and new-age? Unlikely.
So what’s to be done? You won’t be surprised to hear that EEI’s prescription is mainly focused on preserving utilities and their familiar business model.
But is that the best thing for electricity consumers?
Is that the best thing for the climate?
Alberta Tar Sands Oil Is Already Flowing and Leaking Into the United States
Electric Car's insight:
Yesterday, BuzzFlash wrote about how the de facto decision to let Alberta tar sands oil flow into the US -- and particularly Texas refineries and ports -- has already been made, beginning with the third segment of the Keystone Pipeline that is almost completed.
It's a symbolic victory -- and an assertion of big oil power -- because Alberta Tar Sands oil is already flowing into the US as revealed by two prominent branch line leaks in Arkansas and Michigan.
Governmental units allowed ExxonMobil, as the feds allowed BP after the Gulf oil leak, to keep the press away from the Pegasus pipeline leak of tar sands oil in Arkansas as best they could. Although ExxonMobil has not disclosed the full extent of the leak, some estimates are as high as 300,000 gallons, according to Treehugger.
Tar sands oil is 16 times more likely to breach a pipeline than regular crude oil, according to a February 2011 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Wildlife Federation, Pipeline Safety Trust, and the Sierra Club. Yet Enbridge is determined to expand its capacity and its chances of risking more oil spills.
Indeed, InsideClimateNews won a Pulitzer Prize for its reporting on "' The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of ,' a project that began with a seven-month investigation into the million-gallon spill of Canadian tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River in 2010. It broadened into an examination of national pipeline safety issue s, and how unprepared the nation is for the impending flood of imports of a more corrosive and more dangerous form of oil."
BuzzFlash received a response challenging yesterday's commentary about how the completion of the southern leg of the Keystone Pipeline will start the Alberta tar sands spigots flowing into Texas, where most of the carbon time bomb, toxic viscous oil will likely be shipped overseas.
The contention of the reader with a knowledge of the oil industry is that TransCanada has said it will not transport Alberta tar sands oil unless the new larger capacity northern pipeline is built. But why then is there a widespread belief that tar sands oil is already being stored up in Cushing, Oklahoma, the Keystone Pipeline hub, pending the opening of the southern leg?
----- WITHOUT NATURE WE HUMANS DO NOT EXIST ---
BEIJING, April 15, 2014 (Reuters) - Smog-hit China is set to pass a new law that would give Beijing more powers to shut polluting factories and punish officials, and even place protected regions off-limits to industrial development.
While some details of the fourth draft are still under discussion, it has been agreed that the principle of prioritising the environment above the economy will be enshrined in law, according to scholars who have been involved in the process. The fourth draft is due to be completed within weeks. ... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/15/china-expected-to-elevate-environment_n_5150010.html
▶ WHY CHOOSING NATURE WILL ONLY ADVANCE HUMAN SOCIETIES http://sco.lt/6odAoL
▶ THE EVOLUTION OF BUSINESS: HOW A NEW BUSINESS ERA INSPIRED BY NATURE, NOT GREED, CAN BENEFIT US ALL http://sco.lt/6XU6Kn
YES Magazine, January 3, 2014
CLIMATE CHANGE - A WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION
SECRETARY KERRY DELIVERS POWER REMARKS ON CLIMATE
▶ HOW RIGGED IS THE FOSSIL FUEL MARKET? UNEARTHING THE TRU COST OF FOSSIL FUELS http://sco.lt/97hfX7
▶ "WE HAVE FIVE MINUTES BEFORE MIDNIGHT" - IPCC REPORT, UN CHIEF SCIENTIST URGES ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE http://sco.lt/7C0zyb
▶ Associated Pess, April 14, 2014
▶ GREENLAND'S MELTING: CREATING A DIFFERENT CLIMATE THAN EARTH HAS EVER SEEN http://sco.lt/7MZUVV
▶ OCEAN ACIDIFYING: RAPIDLY RISING C02 IN ATMOSPHERE CAUSING POTENTIAL CATASTROPHE http://sco.lt/8WLvHd
-▶ THE SIXTH MASS EXTINCTION IS UPON US http://sco.lt/4ywB3h
-▶ CLIMATE ENGINEERING NO ANSWER: http://sco.lt/5R121p
CLIMATE CHANGE WILL IMPACT US ALL http://www.scoop.it/t/changingplanet
BIODIVERSITY IS LIFE http://www.scoop.it/t/biodiversity-is-life
▶ FILM: ***"HOME"
An Exquisite Dedication To the Stewards of Our Planet
-▶ >> AN URGENT MEMO TO THE WORLD - The Natural Eye Project - http://thenaturaleye.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/an-urgent-memo-to-the-world/
When an environmental disaster occurs, it can be devastating to ecosystems. More often that not, the public only hears about these incidents when they first become a problem.What we don’t often hear about is the fact that the ramifications of such incidents reach far and wide – impacting the environment for years and years to come.
The monetary and health-related consequences of these types of disasters are enormous. Cleanup costs, the initial costs associated with a disaster are defined as the amount it will take to return the affected area to normal. What isn’t accounted for in these “cleanup costs,” is the impact on communities and wildlife that will span decades. Oftentimes, the true impact of a disaster isn’t truly known for years.
Via Lauren Moss
This infographic by Ambit Energy highlights the differences between three types of lightbulbs, including how they work, their estimated annual cost and savings, and shows the staggering difference in efficiency between incandescent and LED bulbs.
Via Lauren Moss
Electric Car's insight:
Reduce, reuse, recycle.
Business loses its lifeline when critical infrastructure is hit: Most of the 1,300 businesses surveyed in disaster prone cities in the Americas noted disruptions in power and water supply and telecommunications as top concerns. Click headline above to view full report.
Electric Car's insight:
Over 90% of damage to these lifelines occurs in local disasters .
Longer-term competitiveness and sustainability: When business leaves it may never return.
Prior to the 1995 earthquake, the port of Kobe was the world’s sixth-busiest.
Despite a massive investment in reconstruction and efforts to improve competitiveness, by 2010, it had fallen to 47th place .
Direct disaster losses are at least 50 percent higher than internationally reported figures: Total direct losses in 40 low and middle income countries amount to US$305 billion over the last 30 years; of these more than 30 percent were not internationally reported .
Globalised supply chains create new vulnerabilities: Toyota lost $1.2 billion in product revenue from the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami due to parts shortages that caused 150,000 fewer Toyota automobiles to be manufactured in the USA, and reductions in production of 70% in India and 50% in China .
What if the degradation of our planet’s life-support systems — its atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere — goes hand in hand with the accumulation of wealth, power, and control by that corrupt and greedy 1% we are hearing about from Zuccotti Park?
Electric Car's insight:
In all my years as a grassroots organizer dealing with the tragic impact of degraded environments on public health, it was always the same: someone got rich and someone got sick.
In the struggles that I was involved in to curb polluters and safeguard public health, those who wanted curbs, accountability, and precautions were always outspent several times over by those who wanted no restrictions on their effluents.
Naturally, the barons of the chemical and nuclear industries don’t live next to the radioactive or toxic-waste dumps that their corporations create; on the other hand, impoverished black and brown people often do live near such ecological sacrifice zones because they can’t afford better.
Similarly, the gated communities of the hyper-wealthy are not built next to cesspool rivers or skylines filled with fuming smokestacks, but the slums of the planet are.
It’s a simple formula, in fact: wealth disparities become health disparities. And here’s another formula: when there’s money to be made, both workers and the environment are expendable.
The fact is: we won’t free ourselves from a dysfunctional and unfair economic order until we begin to see ourselves as communities, not commodities.
If you are a banker-broker who designed flawed mortgages that caused a million people to lose their homes, you get a second-home vacation-mansion near a golf course.
If you drag heavy fishnets across the ocean floor and pulverize an entire ecosystem, ending thousands of years of dynamic evolution and depriving future generations of a healthy ocean, it’s called free enterprise. But if, like Tim DeChristopher, you disrupt an auction of public land to oil and gas companies, it’s called a crime and you get two years in jail.
Stand in line to get your 30 seconds in front of a microphone at a public hearing about the siting of a nuclear power plant, the effluent from a factory farm, or the removal of a mountaintop and you’ll get the picture quickly enough: the corporations that profit from such ecological destruction are distant, arrogant, secretive, and unresponsive.
Tell the voters that government doesn’t work and then, when elected, prove it. And first on the list of government outfits they want to sideline or kill is the Environmental Protection Agency, so they can do away with the already flimsy wall of regulation that stands between their toxins and your bloodstream.
A contraction of even a percent or two is a crisis, and yet we are embedded in ecosystems that are reaching or have reached their limits. This isn’t complicated: There’s only so much fertile soil or fresh water available, only so many fish in the ocean, only so much CO2 the planet can absorb and remain habitable.
Yes, you can get around this contradiction for a while by exploiting your neighbor’s habitat, using technological advances to extend your natural resources, and stealing from the future — that is, using up soil, minerals, and water your grandchildren will need. But the limits to those familiar and, in the past, largely successful strategies are becoming more evident all the time.
Give credit where it’s due: it’s been the genius of the protesters in Zuccotti Park to shift public discourse to whether the distribution of economic burdens and rewards is just and whether the economic system makes us whole or reduces and divides us.
As long as Washington is dominated and intimidated by giant oil companies, Wall Street speculators, and corporations that can buy influence and even write the rules that make buying influence possible, there’s no meaningful way to deal with our economy’s addiction to fossil fuels and its dire consequences.
The ever-faster rise of carbon emissions worldwide slackened in 2012 – and that might signal a lasting trend
Electric Car's insight:
The ever-faster rise of carbon emissions worldwide slackened in 2012 – and that might signal a lasting trend 2012 may go down in history as a remarkable year.
For the first time, the maddening pace of humanity's greenhouse gas emissions showed signs of a global slowdown.
Importantly – and unlike the drop in emissions triggered by the 2008 recession – the let-off is happening at the same time as global wealth continues to swell.
"The small decrease in emissions [of 2012]... may be the first sign of a more permanent slowdown in the increase of global CO2 emissions, and ultimately of declining global emissions," declares the Trends in Global CO2 Emissions: 2013 Report , published by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission's Joint Research Centre last week.
We are nowhere near this goal, but the 2012 figures offer a first sign that action taken by the world's biggest emitters is having a measurable effect. "This signals a shift towards less fossil-fuel intensive activities, more use of renewable energy and increased energy saving," says Jos Olivier of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.
The data show that global carbon dioxide emissions rose by 1.4 per cent in 2012.
Allowing for it being a leap year, the underlying increase was just 1.1 per cent, says the report, compared with an average of 2.9 per cent since 2000.
Importantly, the emissions rise is considerably less than the increase in global GDP of 3.5 per cent. "We see a decoupling of CO2 emissions from global economic growth," says Greet Janssens-Maenhout of the JRC in Ispra, Italy, a co-author on the report.
The most dramatic drop was in the US, which cut CO2 emissions by 4 per cent last year, despite its economy growing by 2.8 per cent.
It says a big switch from coal to shale gas in 2012 was accompanied by a 5 per cent reduction in the energy needed to create each dollar of wealth .
Its GDP might have dropped by 0.3 per cent in 2012, but emissions fell even further – by 1.6 per cent.
After rising by about 10 per cent a year for a decade, its emissions are now almost twice those of the US. But in 2012, they grew by only 3 per cent, while its economy grew by almost 8 per cent.
A shift in the types of fuel we burn is also driving emissions down, says Janssens-Maenhout. Solar, wind and biofuels doubled their contribution to the global energy mix between 2006 and 2012.
So, while many environmentalists fear a dash for gas will delay the rise of renewable energy, its growth in the US and China is curbing emissions.
Brazil has cut deforestation in the Amazon by 70 per cent in the past decade. "Two-thirds of the world's emissions are now under some kind of national climate law or strategy to limit them," says Höhne. "Major emitters like Brazil, South Korea, Mexico and China have all made pledges."
In less than 200 years since hydrocarbons were discovered, Humans have drowned entire cities in poisonous smog, changed and polluted rivers, acidifying our rain and oceans, filled outer space with trash, filled the oceans with plastic, emptied entire oceans of life, driven species to extinction, and levelled ancient rain forests and mountain tops
There should be no doubt that we can and have altered the climate.
“The lack of abundant cheap energy, which allowed the rapid growth in supply of natural resources inputs and the exploitation of arable land and water over the past century, is likely to be a steep change unlike anything observed thus far in the evolution of industrial society.” David Hughes, Geologist
Robert Manne: Long read: The nations of the earth are doing very little to avert an impending, entirely foreseeable catastrophe. There are many reasons why – some obvious, others less so
Electric Car's insight:
Twenty five years ago, scientists with an interest in the climate were moving towards a consensual understanding, that primarily through the burning of fossil fuels human beings were responsible for potentially catastrophic global warming.
We know that if we continue to use fossil fuels as our primary energy source, the conditions of life on the earth for our own species and for others will be damaged perhaps beyond repair. And yet, eyes wide shut the nations of the earth are doing very little to avert the impending, entirely foreseeable catastrophe.
Only when they think the national interest is served will they form alliances or involve themselves in broader schemes of international cooperation. ' The action required involves a series of domestic economic revolutions—transferring the source of energy from fossil fuels to clean alternatives in a relatively short time'.
Very occasionally, as with the Montreal Protocol, international cooperation to solve an environmental problem through economic self-denial is successful. But such action is always merely on the margins of an economy and in no way even a possible threat to the pursuit of national interest.
The action required involves a series of domestic economic revolutions—transferring the source of energy from fossil fuels to clean alternatives in a relatively short time. This necessarily involves some sacrifice of national self-interest in the short and the medium term.
Robyn Eckersley is doing important work in this area, examining the different national climate change rhetorics of a series of critical nations, beginning with her comparison between Norway’s self-conception as a “good nation” and Australia’s “realist” belief in the futility of any action if isolated to a few states.
China has recently announced a pilot emissions trading scheme and that it will consider placing a cap on its emissions in its next Five Year Plan. Yet China will for a long-time remain heavily dependent for its energy needs on coal of which it has vast reserves.
No nation is more important in the struggle against global warming than the United States. However, because of its self-conception, no nation is less likely than the US to subordinate itself to the international community or less likely to agree to trim its independent decision-making in cooperation with other nations.
When however it came to consideration of the only promising global warming international agreement thus far, the Kyoto Protocol, the roles were reversed with the United States Senate, effectively deciding against ratification in a vote of 95 to 0.
Even though President Obama “gets” the climate change crisis, his important proposed actions foreshadowed recently in a major speech at Georgetown University will of necessity be restricted to executive action and working with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Nor is it only the two economic super-powers which are systematically resistant to the kind of subordination of national self-interest necessary for concerted and radical action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
As the problem of global warming is an historical product of the early industrial nations, it is almost impossible to convince the largest newly emerging and fast growing economies—like India or Brazil or South Africa—that their overriding obligation is to act in the interests of the earth and not in the immediate, short-term interests of their own people.
Unfortunately, however, the atmosphere of the earth is indifferent to arguments of historical or social justice. Similarly, it has been, and will continue to prove, impossible to convince the fossil fuel-reliant economies—like Russia and the oil producing nations of the Middle East—to sacrifice supposed national economic self-interest in favour of the future wellbeing of human and other species.
Because of our vast coal reserves, we are not only one of the largest per capita carbon dioxide emitters but also one of the most important greenhouse gas exporters in the world. And yet in Australia, the question of the development of the coal industry is un-discussable among the major political parties, with the exception of the Greens.
At a time when the earth is facing a climate crisis, Australia is involved in a grotesque scramble to open up vast new coal developments especially in the Hunter Valley and the Galilee Basin in Queensland.
Based upon three or four year electoral cycles and upon either two party or multi-party competition, such political systems are peculiarly unfitted for the long-term decisions to revolutionise their energy sources and the national sacrifices that are now required.
In Western democratic nation states with powerful fossil fuel industries—like the United States, Canada and Australia—there are few legal impediments to the use of money for lobbying and for buying interest in the political parties so as to influence electoral outcomes.
For all these reasons, the domestic political systems of the nation states potentially of greatest importance in the struggle against global warming–that is the advanced Western democracies—tend to paralyse the possibility of necessary emergency action.
Global warming poses a far greater emergency than, say, Islamist terrorism. Yet because it is a long-term threat with no galvanising event equivalent to Pearl Harbour or 9/11, a Micawber-like policy of infinite delay in the hope that some solution will eventually just turn up, has proved attractive to politicians and the citizens of the Western democracies.
In the countries of the Anglosphere—the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom—one response to the looming catastrophe of global warming has been the emergence of a movement of opinion where the consensual position of the relevant scientists, that group on whose authority all contemporary societies routinely rely, has been comprehensively denied.
Perhaps even more challenging however will be the investigation of the far more common and dangerous pattern, to which almost none of us is immune: namely denialism in everyday life, or the ways in which so many citizens, knowing what they do, manage somehow to live their lives in parallel universes, on one level of existence accepting intellectually that the threat of catastrophic global warming exists, and on another finding ways of living and thinking, calmly and comfortably, as if nothing of great moment was happening that was placing the future of humankind and of other species in gravest peril.
It has only been very recently that the global climate change movement has generated a fruitful political tactic, largely through the work of US activist, Bill McKibben and his global political movement, 350.org, whose genesis is outlined in his new book, Oil and Honey. This movement has three prongs: the identification of the problem through the trope of the climate budget—the discrepancy between the known fossil fuel resources on the books of these corporations and the climate scientists’ estimates of the giga-tonnage that can be burned if we are to remain within a 2oC temperature increase; the targeting of what is described as the “rogue-industry” enemy—the fossil fuel corporations; and a clear political strategy modelled on the anti-apartheid struggle—a global-wide, consciousness-raising divestment movement: aimed at encouraging institutions like universities, churches and pension funds to withdraw their moneys from the major multinational fossil fuel corporations.
First, the negotiation of bilateral agreements between what used to be called in the twentieth century the super powers—the United States and China; and/or multilateral agreements between what in the nineteenth century used to be called the great powers: the United States, China, the European Union, Japan and maybe Russia and India.
In world history a fundamental turning point was the so-called industrial revolution that began in the United Kingdom in the late eighteenth century and that has expanded since that time to Europe, North America, Japan, East Asia and more recently to China and India.
A quarter of a century ago we learnt that one fundamental source of that prosperity—the burning the fossil fuels buried under the earth’s surface for hundreds of millions of years—was threatening to devastate the stable climate in which human civilization had flourished during the Holocene over the past ten thousand years.
A rapid, global-wide, consciously engineered transition from a fossil fuel to a clean energy civilization would involve one of the largest transformations in the history of humankind.
SEE THIS INCREDIBLE PHOTO: http://www.energy-reality.org/action/open-pit-mine/
June 13, 2013 Guardian
May 19, 2013 Guardian Environment
May 17, 2013 Common Dreams
April 6, 2013 Global Possibilities
April 26, 2013 Rolling Stone
PART IV: AMERICA BECOMES POLLUTION SACRIFICE ZONE FOR FOREIGN EXPORTS - KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE http://sco.lt/6WSs1R
April 6, 2013 Global Possibilities
31 March 2013 - Treehugger
March 15, 2013 - RTCC
+++PHOTOGRAPHY: TAR SANDS AND DESTRUCTIVE BEAUTY | Chase Jarvis Blog http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/2012/10/ecocide-photography-tar-sands-and-destructive-beauty/
Jan 29, 2011
+++PHOTOS DON'T LIE: SEE THE DRAMATIC EXPANSION OF CANADIAN TAR SANDS http://grist.org/oil/2011-12-28-satellite-photos-illustrate-dramatic-expansion-of-canadian-tar-s/
UPDATE ON KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE
April 16, 2013 - Global Possibilities
USA HOUSE ENERGY COMMITTEE PANEL PASSES BILL TO EXPEDITE KEYSTONE XL APPROVAL http://www.globalpossibilities.org/house-energy-committee-panel-passes-bill-to-expedite-keystone-xl-approval/
April 27, 2013 Huffington Post Green
KEYSTONE XL: OIL SANDS HEALTH CONCERN RISE DOWNSTREAM OF EXPANDING EXTRACTION http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/27/keystone-xl-oil-sands-health_n_3164615.html
April 13, 2013 - Edmonton Journal
Jan 25, 2013
TAR SANDS ARE THE FIFTH LARGEST CLIMATE THREAT IN THE WORLD http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/recent/Tar-sands-one-of-the-worlds-biggest-climate-threats/
WHY CANADIAN TAR SANDS ARE THE MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY DESTRUCTIVE PROJECT ON EARTH http://ecowatch.org/2013/tar-sands-destroy-earth/
July 15, 2012
IN CANADA'S TAR SANDS, A DANTE'S HELL THREATENS PEOPLE NEARBY AND ACROSS THE GLOBE | The Energy Collectivehttp://theenergycollective.com/rockykistner/92946/canadas-tar-sands-dantes-hell-threatens-people-nearby-and-across-globe
NO GET-OUT-OF-JAIL FREE CARD FOR THE TAR SANDS | Greenpeace Canada http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/Blog/no-get-out-of-jail-free-card-for-the-tar-sand/blog/39133/
March 15, 2013
PIPELINE POLITICS: TAR SANDS, CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORPORATE AGRICULTURE http://sco.lt/7SQZvd
Video: ENVIRONMENTAL DEVASTATION OF THE LAND, WATER AND AIR - the largest industrial energy project in the world is extracting crude oil from bitumen found beneath......http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YkwoRivP17A#!
Video: "SPOIL" Documentary - THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST UNDER THREAT BY DIRTY TARSANDS ' OILSANDS http://www.scoop.it/t/changingplanet/p/929419445/spoil-documentary-the-great-bear-rainforests-under-threat-by-dirty-tarsands-oilsands
Jan 25, 2013
AUSTRALIAN SHALE OIL DISCOVERY COULD BE LARGER THAN CANADA'S OIL SANDS - CBC News http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/01/24/business-australia-shale-oil.html
Jan 23, 2013
HOW MUCH WILL TAR SANDS OIL ADD TO GLOBAL WARMING? - Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=tar-sands-and-keystone-xl-pipeline-impact-on-global-warming
March 20,2013 Guardian Environment
GERMAN INSTITUTE PULLS OUT OF CANADIAN KEYSTONE XL TAR SANDS PROJECT http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/20/german-institute-canadian-tar-sands
Jan 8, 2013
OIL SANDS RAISE LEVELS OF CANCER-CAUSING COMPOUNDS IN REGIONAL WATERS - Scientific American http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=oil-sands-raise-levels-of-carcinogens-in-regional-waters
Jan 25, 2013 EURACTIVE
CANADA'S TAR SANDS CHARM OFFENSIVE HITS THE ROCKS http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/canada-tar-sands-charm-offensive-news-517338?utm_source=EurActiv%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=95922e883d-newsletter_daily_update&utm_medium=email
Jan 19, 2013
ALBERTA TAR SAND OIL SELLING AT 50% DISCOUNT TO WORLD PRICE ... WHICH EXPLAINS WHY THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT IS HELL-AND-HIGH-WATER-BENT ON BUILDING A PIPELINE, ANY PIPELINE, ANYWHERE - Eclectic Lip http://eclecticlip.com/2013/01/18/alberta-oil-selling-at-50-percent-discount-to-world-price/
Jan 17, 2013
TWO REPORTS ON OIL ANDS (TAR SANDS) PAINT A DIRE PICTURE http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/17/2-reports-on-oil-sands-paint-a-dire-picture/
Jan 8, 2013 -
SMOKING GUN: TAR SANDS REPORT EVISCERATES INDUSTRY CLAIMS | Common Dreams http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/08-1
March 12, 2013 - The Tyee
FRACKING OURSELVES INTO OBLIVION http://www.scoop.it/t/changingplanet/p/3994993960/fracking-ourselves-into-oblivion
March 11, 2013 Chemical & Engineering News
FEATURED VIDEO: THE TRUE COST OF THE TAR SANDS http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0315-tarsands-garthlenz-video.html
VIDEO: Feb 14, 2012
CANADA'S TAR SANDS: SO DESTRUCTIVE IT MAKES IT WELL-PAID WORKERS WANT TO QUIT : TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com/fossil-fuels/canadas-tar-sands-so-destructive-it-makes-its-well-paid-workers-want-quit-video.html
It's been a bad week for the thermal coal industry.
Electric Car's insight:
It’s been a bad week for the thermal coal industry.
The commodity’s biggest consumer, China, appears serious about curbing its demand, thermal coal mines are losing money; coal generators are closing down, Queensland has had to introduce a captive buying arrangement to protect its state-owned generation assets, WA’s expensive revamp of an ageing and dirty Muja power station is proving to be a disaster, and the head of Australia’s coal industry has had a scripted meltdown, blaming the industry’s woes almost entirely on “environmental extremists”.
Last Wednesday, at the right-leaning Sydney Institute, the CEO of the Australian Coal Association, Dr Nikki Williams, gave an extraordinary speech in which she accused activists of being purely “anti-development”, claimed the coal industry was more sinned against than sinner, and laid the case for “burnable coal”.
It’s a position that is tied in with the assumption that there is no credible alternative to coal-based technology, and a casual dismissal of the need for urgency on climate change action. “I don’t know about you, but the last time I flew to Europe it was pretty apparent that the Arctic was still there,” Williams told the audience.
Pick up a recent report from any mainstream energy analyst – local and international – and it’s pretty clear what’s going on here: thermal coal prices have slumped because demand is falling. This, in turn, is causing coal mines to lose money, and the economic case for massive new investments in new coal mines and infrastructure – largely based on a widely discredited “business as usual” scenario – is disappearing rapidly.
Deutsche Bank analysts said this suggested that taxes and levies directly on coal, and on other pollutants generated by coal burning , will rise substantially.
It, and other analysts, have predicted that China will cease to be an importer of coal within a few years. “Clean energies, as a result, should replace coal at an accelerated pace,” it said.
For the Australian thermal coal industry – which has based tens of billions of dollars in new mines and associated infrastructure on Williams’ tenet of “burnable” carbon – the loss of its biggest customer is, of course, a devastating blow.
But in the realities of the global energy market, theirs is rapidly becoming a marginal view – the actions of China and other countries simply makes those assumptions uneconomic.
Still, Williams rails at the likes of Greenpeace, Get Up and 350.org’s founder Bill McKibben, along with activists like Jonathan Moylan, accusing the anti-coal movement of being anti-development; wanting to dramatically cut the use of energy and to keep billions of people in poverty – not to mention reducing population numbers.
It’s all part of an anti-capitalist plot, Williams says, and cites numerous agencies such as the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, and even Australia’s own energy market operator as defending the primacy of coal, and the lack of any credible alternatives.
The IEA observes, with great regret, that coal-fired generation has continued to dominate the world’s electricity generation but, like many activists, says that this must stop if climate change goals are to be reached.
It laments the lack of effort, urgency and progress in the coal industry’s attempts at making carbon capture and storage technology a viable or even an affordable option. But it says there are alternatives – and most of these centre around renewables. And over the long term, the IEA insists, this would be cheaper than business as usual.
Perhaps she should be reminded of the words of the International Monetary Fund’s chief Christine Lagarde, who said without urgent climate action we’d all be “roasted, toasted and fried .” And the AEMO, did not suggest, as Williams claims, that a 100 per cent renewable energy grid in Australia would need like-for-like back-up by coal and gas – otherwise it wouldn’t be 100 per cent renewable, would it?
Of course, the coal industry is not particularly worried about 100 per cent renewables, because its market will be gone long before then.
Williams played the anti-development line to the limit. “Many anti-coal activists are deluding the public about their real agenda,” she said. “For them, development is the problem.
The EU, frustrated at its low carbon price, which is unable to provide the incentive to take coal-fired power stations off-line, is now looking at a revised energy efficiency target that it says would take the equivalent of 1,000 coal-fired powered stations off-line.
It is not the eco-warriors, which Williams seeks to conflate with “terrorists” and “sociopaths”, that are the real danger to the thermal coal industry – it’s a simple matter of science and economics.
Williams may well have been enraged by a recent anti-coal strategy meeting held by NGOs in the heart of the Hunter Valley, and the upcoming visit of McKibben. But the coal industry is in need of leadership and a little dose of reality, rather than a chief who simply screams from the parapet.
The good news is that the leadership and reality check it needs will come from outside.
It’s called the financial markets.
The pricing of risk already means that new fossil fuel generation is substantially more expensive than renewable alternatives. Soon enough, that assessment of risk and reward will extend to the new mining developments. There is no defence, and no economic or financial justification, for business as usual.
In the end it will not be McKibben or Greenpeace who make that call – although they will lobby for it – it will be the bankers.
If you want to buy a $25,000 television — and they do exist — there are a number of approaches you might take: Find a retail store that carries it, shop online, or even go direct to the manufacturer.
Electric Car's insight:
But if you want to buy, say, a new $14,000 Ford Fiesta, your options are limited.
Tesla's Musk is fighting on a second front as well, this one more plebeian: He wants to change the way we buy cars.
Every state requires auto sales be handled by independently owned auto dealers.
That alone means that auto prices are about 6 to 9 percent higher than need be, according to a 2009 report by the Department of Justice. Moreover, the lack of competition makes things miserable for car buyers.
Yes, auto dealers, we really don’t like the way you operate. And online sales? Also prohibited.
There are a number of websites that make it seem as if you can buy online, such as Cars.com, AutoTrader.com, and CarMax.com. But those really are just clever ways of helping you conduct research into makes and pricing — and at the end of the process, sending you to an auto dealer.
So why is it so important that cars be sold through a dealer?
The National Automobile Dealers Association would tell you that it’s the high price or the complexity of the machine or that dealers protect consumers.
It fears, rightly I think, that existing auto dealers would care less about Tesla’s unusual cars and more about sales of more traditional models. But NADA and its state chapters are mounting a fierce counterattack.
In Massachusetts, the state dealers’ association sued to shut down Tesla’s Natick showroom.
Last month, a judge in New York similarly ruled against that state’s dealers. This may be a fight that NADA wishes it didn’t pick.
Tesla is small, and the challenge it offers is quite trivial.
But the thinking of many is that, if the court battles go onward and upward, the US Supreme Court will likely rule the entire auto franchise system unconstitutional; under the Interstate Commerce Clause, it would be seen as a restraint on trade.
Imagine how great it would be to buy your next car on Amazon — and even better, never have to deal with a car salesman again.
CO2 has reached 400 parts per million.
That line has been in the news a lot lately.
Does this mean the end of the world is here?
Electric Car's insight:
No, just a lot of changes will happen, that will range from annoying to catastrophic.
Global warming has been found to be a direct result of the increase in CO2 levels, which is mostly from human activities.
The link has been proven and accepted by over 97% of the worlds scientist. The funny thing about the scientists that disagree is that there is a proven money link between them and groups that exploit natural resources, primarily oil, coal, and natural gas.
A temperature increase of just 1 degree doesn’t read like much until you remember this is worldwide, so that’s a lot of heat being added into the atmosphere and aquasphere. This heat translates into extra energy available for weather events.
A weather event is the atmosphere trying to equalize energy between 2 levels, such as a storm, tornado, hurricane, etc.
As more energy is absorbed into the atmosphere weather events will become larger, and much more dangerous. But the extra heat will cause something else much worse to happen.
As the tundras start heating up the gas is released compounding the greenhouse effect, trapping more heat, which melts more of the tundra, releasing more methane in a vicous cycle.
The extra heat will eventually cause the the melting of methane clathrates, large underwater frozen deposits of methane and natural gas.
These deposits are huge, estimated to be up to 1.2 million cubic miles. This estimate does not include estimates for deposits trapped in deep freshwater lakes and Antartica.
The effect that this has on you is loss of some mollusc species since their shells can’t form properly, loss of reefs, since the reefs are actually made of the exoskeletons of small sea creatures and their shells are dissolved by the sea water now that its more acid, and loss of many other species as their eggs are vulnerable to the change in ph.
Among the species that will disappear, crabs, clams, sea snails, lobsters, are just a few of the species directly affected by the change.
The loss of the reefs, which serve as nursery, home, and hunting range for many species, also act to protect the shores from the full force of storm surges and waves.
But the biggest losses will occur to the varied species that will lose their prey species.
These changes will only happen if we make them happen.
Governments make mandates when its politically correct to do so, but by and large have really failed to provide the solutions we need. Big businesses are heavily invested in maintaining the status quo and will continue to avoid significant investment and involvement in solutions until the projected profits can exceed the necessry costs to commit to that kind of change.
That leaves us, we the people of the world, to do this.
Since this is a company blog, let me point out that my company, WaveGo, has designed a commuter vehicle that not only gets over 60 miles per gallon with super low emissions but are also the perfect bridge vehicles as they run equally well on gasoline, diesel, kerosene, biodiesel, ethanol and methanol.
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To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn't that the ultimate crime?
Electric Car's insight:
We have a word for the conscious slaughter of a racial or ethnic group: genocide. And one for the conscious destruction of aspects of the environment: ecocide. But we don’t have a word for the conscious act of destroying the planet we live on, the world as humanity had known it until, historically speaking, late last night.
In the case of the terrarists -- and here I’m referring in particular to the men who run what may be the most profitable corporations on the planet , giant energy companies like ExxonMobil , Chevron , ConocoPhillips , BP , and Shell -- you’re the one who’s going to pay, especially your children and grandchildren.
Since then, the big energy companies have invested a remarkable amount of time, money, and energy in the development of techniques that would allow them to recover previously unrecoverable reserves : fracking , deep-water drilling , and tar-sands production , among others.
They also began to go after huge deposits of what energy expert Michael Klare calls “ extreme ” or “tough” energy -- oil and natural gas that can only be acquired through the application of extreme force or that requires extensive chemical treatment to be usable as a fuel.
The lead industry , the asbestos industry , and the tobacco companies all knew the dangers of their products, made efforts to suppress the information or instill doubt about it even as they promoted the glories of what they made, and went right on producing and selling while others suffered and died. And here’s another similarity: with all three industries, the negative results conveniently arrived years, sometimes decades, after exposure and so were hard to connect to it.
If Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 plane hijackings or the Tsarnaev brothers’ homemade bombs constitute terror attacks, why shouldn’t what the energy companies are doing fall into a similar category ? And if so, then where is the national security state when we really need it?
On July 15, 1979, at a time when gas lines, sometimes blocks long, were a disturbing fixture of American life, President Jimmy Carter spoke directly to the American people on television for 32 minutes, calling for a concerted effort to end the country’s oil dependence on the Middle East. “To give us energy security,” he announced, “I am asking for the most massive peacetime commitment of funds and resources in our nation's history to develop America's own alternative sources of fuel -- from coal, from oil shale, from plant products for gasohol, from unconventional gas, from the sun...
Just as a similar synthetic rubber corporation helped us win World War II, so will we mobilize American determination and ability to win the energy war. Moreover, I will soon submit legislation to Congress calling for the creation of this nation's first solar bank, which will help us achieve the crucial goal of 20% of our energy coming from solar power by the year 2000.”
It’s true that, at a time when the science of climate change was in its infancy, Carter wouldn’t have known about the possibility of an overheating world, and his vision of “alternative energy” wasn’t exactly a fossil-fuel-free one.
Six months later, on January 23, 1980, in his last State of the Union Address , he would proclaim what came to be known as the Carter Doctrine: “Let our position be absolutely clear,” he said. “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”
Instead, the Pentagon would fatefully begin organizing itself to protect U.S. interests in the Persian Gulf.
More than three decades later, ironies abound: thanks in part to those oil wars, whole swaths of the energy-rich Middle East are in crisis, if not chaos, while the big energy companies have put time and money into a staggeringly fossil-fuel version of Carter’s “alternative” North America. They’ve focused on shale oil, and on shale gas as well, and with new production methods, they are reputedly on the brink of turning the United States into a “new Saudi Arabia.”
If true, this would be the worst, not the best, of news. In a world where what used to pass for good news increasingly guarantees a nightmarish future, energy “independence” of this sort means the extraction of ever more extreme energy, ever more carbon dioxide heading skyward, and ever more planetary damage in our collective future. This was not the only path available to us, or even to Big Oil.
With their staggering profits, they could have decided anywhere along the line that the future they were ensuring was beyond dangerous. They could themselves have led the way with massive investments in genuine alternative energies (solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, algal, and who knows what else), instead of the exceedingly small-scale ones they made, often for publicity purposes.
They could have backed a widespread effort to search for other ways that might, in the decades to come, have offered something close to the energy levels fossil fuels now give us. They could have worked to keep the extreme-energy reserves that turn out to be surprisingly commonplace deep in the Earth.
And we might have had a different world (from which, by the way, they would undoubtedly have profited handsomely). Instead, what we’ve got is the equivalent of a tobacco company situation, but on a planetary scale.
To complete the analogy, imagine for a moment that they were planning to produce even more prodigious quantities not of fossil fuels but of cigarettes, knowing what damage they would do to our health. Then imagine that, without exception, everyone on Earth was forced to smoke several packs of them a day.
If that isn’t a terrorist -- or terrarist -- attack of an almost unimaginable sort, what is? If the oil execs aren’t terrarists, then who is? And if that doesn’t make the big energy companies criminal enterprises, then how would you define that term?
To destroy our planet with malice aforethought, with only the most immediate profits on the brain, with only your own comfort and wellbeing (and those of your shareholders) in mind: Isn’t that the ultimate crime? Isn’t that terracide?