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Investors Demand Nestle, Pepsi and Others Cut Plastic Use
A group of 25 investors managing more than $1 trillion in assets are demanding that Nestle SA, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever NV reduce their use of plastic packaging, calling it environmentally damaging.
“Without fundamental redesign and innovation, about 30 percent of plastic packaging will never be reused or recycled,” the investors said in their letter. “These materials can persist in the environment, partially degraded, for hundreds of years, which, as well as causing damage to marine life, could also have a material impact by exposing companies to reputational damage.”

The group is asking the companies to disclose annual plastic packaging use, set plastic use reduction goals, facilitate recycling and transition to recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging as much as possible.

How much oil is used to make plastics?

The EIA says they can’t determine a number, because so many different petroleum products are used:

Umbra found this (from 2007):
“The best estimate I could find says that about 4 percent of the world’s annual oil production of some 84.5 million barrels per day is used as feedstock for plastic, and another 4 percent or so provides the energy to transform the feedstock into handy plastic.”

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: June 21, 2018, 11:38:09 PM »
U.S.:  Rain continues to flood Texas.

“McAllen shattered rainfall records Thursday morning with an estimated 10 inches of rain since 4 a.m., according to the National Weather Service”

Gov. Abbott issues disaster declaration for severe flooding across South Texas

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: June 21, 2018, 09:04:36 PM »
Next Generation SolarStratos Plane, carries one or two pilots.

This 32kW plane will fly twice as high as commercial jets on SunPower
Wingspan: 24.8 meters – about 81 feet, or the length of two standard city buses
Weight: 450 kilograms – about as heavy as a grand piano; to make SolarStratos its lightest, the cabin will not be pressurized, requiring pilots to wear astronaut suits that are pressurized by solar energy.
Engine: 32-kilowatt electrical engine, about one-third the size of what would power an electric vehicle
Energy: 22 square meters of SunPower Maxeon solar cells, each reaching 22 to 24 percent efficiency
Batteries: One 20-kilowatt lithium ion battery
Autonomy: Self-generates electricity with solar to power the plane for more than 12 hours

Looks like the successor to Solar Impulse 2, the 2.3 tonnes (5,100 lb, little more than an average SUV), 71.9 m (236 ft) wingspan, solar-powered plane that flew around the world in 2015/2016, staying aloft for days at a time.  Its service ceiling was 8,500 m (27,900 ft) with a maximum altitude of 12,000 metres (39,000 ft).  It was unpressurized and could carry only one pilot.

OK, so it is is goodbye to vehicles powered by the Internal Combustion Engine, and hullo to vehicles powered by electricity, with a commensurate reduction in urban and interstate highway pollution and CO2 emissions.

Just about all the debate in this thread is concentrated on the timing thereof. Even if driver-less cars and car sharing become the norm - personal transport / personal mobility stays king.

As a pedestrian occasionally dependent on the UK's declining public transport system, why do I find that all a bit depressing?

As streets are re-designed for calmer traffic and smaller, more maneuverable vehicles, you should expect them to incorporate more pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly features, as well. :)

Policy and solutions / Re: Batteries: Today's Energy Solution
« on: June 21, 2018, 06:53:15 PM »
Germany:  Mercedes-Benz turns a closed coal power plant into energy storage system using electric car batteries
8.96 MW/9.8 MWh project using a total of 1,920 battery modules installed in Elverlingsen on the site of the former coal-fired power station that was built in 1912 and recently shut down.
The project is going to be used for primary balancing power on the German grid, which has added a significant amount of renewable energy in recent years.

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: June 21, 2018, 12:34:39 AM »
U.S.:  severe Texas coastal flooding from an unnamed “tropical disturbance”

Heavy Rain in South Texas Could Bring More Flooding Before Tropical Disturbance Washes Out
Heavy rainfall in south Texas Wednesday morning caused major flooding that has submerged vehicles and structures, forced evacuations and led to numerous water rescues.

The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued two flash flood emergencies in south Texas following 6-14 inches [355 mm] of rainfall early this week. More rainfall is possible through early Thursday.
Storm Reports
The heavy rain has caused roads to crumble in McAllen, the location of the first flash flood emergency. Some communities in McAllen and surrounding communities, including Weslaco, have seen 4-8 inches of rain. Weslaco picked up more than 11 inches of rain. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: The Hyperloop
« on: June 20, 2018, 10:23:17 PM »
Firms with local smart-city offices picked for Hyperloop One feasibility, environmental studies on Chicago-Columbus-Pittsburgh route
Los Angeles-based AECOM will take the lead the feasibility study for the hyperloop technology along two possible paths. It will look at how to apply the technology, passenger and cargo demand, economic benefits and costs, effect of regulations, implementation strategy and opinions of stakeholders including governments, businesses and the public. It would explore both the route along existing rail lines first proposed by MORPC and identify and alternative route. The study is expected to be complete next March.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 20, 2018, 10:08:10 PM »
More on “the switch to EVs” posted recently in the Cars thread:,438.msg159831.html#msg159831

Nations are beginning to legislate exits from gas powered vehicles.

Great article.  And if Tesla locates its European car+battery factory in or near Germany, that could swing that car-making giant of a country over to EVs much faster than anticipated.

Related to the topic of how fast EVs will take over (currently under discussion in the Oil and Gas thread,861.msg159792.html#msg159792  ):

Musk has said he’ll unveil the Tesla Model Y (“If we call it that”) next March, and that it will be “something super special.”  The two teaser images he’s released only show (sort of) the front end.

He hasn’t said any thing about the “new kind of pickup truck” he wrote about previously.

Wild speculation here, but what if:  the Model Y SUV converts into a pickup truck?  Or, is available as an SUV or a pickup truck?  (Forget falcon-wing doors — what if the whole back of the car opens up?)

The form factor (higher ground clearance, heftier chassis) should certainly allow it.  The price point (probably starting not much higher than the Model 3, which is comparable to many ICE pickup trucks) should allow it.

In any case, if a Tesla pickup is revealed next spring, truck makers will know they have to accelerate their plans for electric pickup trucks.  “Bubba” may learn to like electric speed and torque much faster than we think.

Meanwhile, Musk also revealed plans for a Tesla compact car in five years.  So while China and others flood the market with small EVs that they keep improving, Tesla will be flooding the market with improved EVs that they keep making smaller and cheaper. :)

In other news, we see hints of new Tesla gigafactories (each making batteries and cars) coming to China, Europe, and North America.

Image:  the Tesla Model Y SUV.  Maybe.  ;)

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 20, 2018, 08:49:19 PM »
Climate Czar Tells OPEC to Pivot From Oil or Prepare to Suffer
The world’s biggest crude exporters need to support the transition away from oil or prepare for growing climate-induced destabilization that could wreck their markets, the United Nation’s top environment official said.

“If we do not pay attention to this transition, their business is also going to suffer,” Patricia Espinosa said in an interview with Bloomberg News at a seminar ahead of an Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna. “The conversation here is a lot about business and price. Very few people talk about sustainability.”

Scientists predict floods, famines and superstorms will become more frequent unless the world keeps temperature rises well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) this century. The risks posed by runaway climate change have mobilized trillions of dollars of investments by companies and economies transitioning to renewable energy, electric transport and more efficient technologies. Oil majors including Total SA and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have increasingly shown interest in diversifying investments away from fossil fuels and toward greener energy.

“This is about the survival of their business and what are they going to do,” said Espinosa, the Mexican diplomat who opened talks with OPEC when she became executive secretary of the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2013. “They need markets and resiliency and that requires attention to climate change.”

Espinosa said OPEC ministers and oil executives had mixed reactions to her speech. She’s encouraging oil producers to begin reinvesting their vast profits in renewable technologies as a hedge against climate risks.

“They need economies that are thriving and countries that are growing for business to work,” Espinosa said. “That will not happen if we do not pay attention to climate change. We will have global destabilization, crisis everywhere.”

At least they didn’t boo her off the stage....

U.S. States continue to demand Cleaner Cars in face of EPAScottPruitt’s roll back of pollution standards: the Governor of Colorado makes CO the 14th state to adopt strong vehicle pollution standards.
Text image of the Executive Order at the link.

Colorado punches back against EPA, will require higher emissions standards like California

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 20, 2018, 04:00:05 AM »
New from Bill McKibben. :)

Despite Trump, Wall Street is breaking up with fossil fuels
At the Vatican, the Pope faced down a conference full of oil industry executives — the basic argument that fossil fuel reserves must be kept underground has apparently percolated to the top of the world’s biggest organization.

And from Wall Street came welcome word that market perceptions haven’t really changed: Even in the age of Trump, the fossil fuel industry has gone from the world’s surest bet to an increasingly challenged enterprise. Researchers at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis minced no words: “In the past several years, oil industry financial statements have revealed significant signs of strain: Profits have dropped, cash flow is down, balance sheets are deteriorating and capital spending is falling. The stock market has recognized the sector’s overall weakness, punishing oil and gas shares over the past five years even as the market as a whole has soared.”

The IEEFA report labeled the industry “weaker than it has been in decades” and laid out its basic frailties, the first of which is paradoxical. Fracking has produced a sudden surge of gas and oil into the market, lowering prices — which means many older investments (Canada’s tar sands, for instance) no longer make economic sense. Fossil fuel has been transformed into a pure commodity business, and since the margins on fracking are narrow at best, its financial performance has been woeful. The IEEFA describes investors as “shell-shocked” by poor returns.

The second weakness is more obvious: the sudden rise of a competitor that seems able to deliver the same product — energy — with cheaper, cleaner, better technologies. Tesla, sure—but Volkswagen, having come clean about the dirtiness of diesel, is going to spend $84 billion on electric drivetrains. China seems bent on converting its entire bus fleet to electric power. Every week seems to bring a new record-low price for clean energy: the most recent being a Nevada solar plant clocking in at 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour, even with Trump’s tariffs on Chinese panels.

And the third problem for the fossil fuel industry? According to IEEFA, that would be the climate movement — a material financial risk to oil and gas companies. “In addition to traditional lobbying and direct-action campaigns, climate activists have joined with an increasingly diverse set of allies — particularly the indigenous-rights movement — to put financial pressure on oil and gas companies through divestment campaigns, corporate accountability efforts, and targeting of banks and financial institutions. These campaigns threaten not only to undercut financing for particular projects, but also to raise financing costs for oil and gas companies across the board.”

Colorado lawsuit says oil companies conspired to deceive public on climate
The three Colorado communities that filed a climate liability lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy have added a conspiracy allegation to the complaint, which describes attempts by the two companies to deceive the public about the impact of fossil fuels on the climate.

The amendment came two months after the city and county of Boulder, along with the County of San Miguel, first filed suit to seek a yet-specified amount of money to compensate for the damage caused by climate change. The communities are demanding the oil companies pay for efforts to adapt to and minimize the impact of climate change, which includes more severe wildfires, drought, floods, loss of mountain snowpack and pest-infested forests. The communities contend that Exxon and Suncor deliberately misled the public by failing to disclose the climate impact of fossil fuels. According to the lawsuit, both companies knew in the 1960s that they were selling goods that are the major drivers of global warming and cause public harm.

The added conspiracy claim is meant to highlight company actions that were already in the initial complaint, said Marco Simons, legal counsel for EarthRights International, an advocacy group that is providing legal support for the communities. If the new allegation is found true in court, it can make each company liable for the other’s conduct, he said. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 20, 2018, 03:51:14 AM »
How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the U.S.
In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.
The Kochs’ opposition to transit spending stems from their longstanding free-market, libertarian philosophy. It also dovetails with their financial interests, which benefit from automobiles and highways.

One of the mainstay companies of Koch Industries, the Kochs’ conglomerate, is a major producer of gasoline and asphalt, and also makes seatbelts, tires and other automotive parts. Even as Americans for Prosperity opposes public investment in transit, it supports spending tax money on highways and roads. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: The Hyperloop
« on: June 19, 2018, 09:20:21 PM »
Construction of the test route of 15km from Balewadi to Gahunje will start in 2019.

Mumbai-Pune hyperloop test track work may start in 2019

Below in blue is roughly the section of the route being discussed, shown on a road map.  Looks like a rather straight shot, if they follow that road, for their first section of the Mumai-Pune track.  (“22 minutes” is the current road travel time! :D )

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 19, 2018, 07:56:38 PM »
Lightning Bolts Send New York Power Prices Surging
Thunderstorms sent New York City power prices to the highest in almost two years after the state’s grid operator pulled a transmission line out of service Monday afternoon.

Spot power skyrocketed to $576.57 a megawatt-hour between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. local time. That was the highest average for the period since August 2016, according to Genscape Inc. data compiled by Bloomberg. The uptick occurred after New York Independent System Operator Inc. went into Thunderstorm Alert mode and took a 345-kilovolt line between Pleasant Valley and Leeds offline.

Would microgrids be less susceptible to failure in such lightning storms? ???

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 19, 2018, 06:03:50 PM »
Bill McKibben argues that the oil companies will collapse when the world acknowledges that we cannot use all the petroleum that the oil companies claim to own.  Because oil companies are valued in large part based on the amount of their proven reserves, once those reserves are seen as unburnable, they are worthless, and thus so are the companies.

The price of oil may fluctuate due to short term supply/demand while we beat a “managed decline.”  But the viability of fossil fuel companies is, strangely enough, in the people’s hands: how strongly we insist on moving away from dirty energy.

In the United States alone, the existing mines and oil wells and gas fields contain 86 billion tons of carbon emissions—enough to take us 25 percent of the way to a 1.5 degree rise in global temperature. But if the U.S. energy industry gets its way and develops all the oil wells and fracking sites that are currently planned, that would add another 51 billion tons in carbon emissions. And if we let that happen, America would single-handedly blow almost 40 percent of the world’s carbon budget.

This new math is bad news for lots of powerful players. The fossil fuel industry has based its entire business model on the idea that it can endlessly “replenish” the oil and gas it pumps each year; its teams of geologists are constantly searching for new fields to drill. In September, Apache Corporation announced that it has identified fields in West Texas that hold three billion barrels of oil. Leaving that oil underground—which the new math shows we must do if we want to meet the climate targets set in Paris—would cost the industry tens of billions of dollars. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: June 19, 2018, 05:24:11 PM »
Pipistrel Alpha Electro

“Norway’s first electric flight carried out today! Pilot: ⁦Avinor ⁩ CEO Dag Falk-Petersen. Passenger: Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen. ...”
Image below.

Consequences / Re: Effects of Climate Change on the biosphere
« on: June 19, 2018, 05:15:04 PM »
“The soft-shell clam was discovered following the recent storm and flood event, which exposed tidal mudflats in the Prosser River.”

Soft-shelled clam found in Tasmanian river, sparking biosecurity alert

Policy and solutions / Re: Better Tomorrows
« on: June 19, 2018, 05:11:27 PM »
The Clichy-Batignolles eco-district aims to set a new standard in sustainable urban design.
May 23, 2018 — Every so often an environmentally friendly building gives us a glimpse of the low-carbon future so many climate plans envision. With the development of Clichy-Batignolles, the city of Paris has created a groundbreaking eco-village filled with such buildings. Begun in 2002, the massive redevelopment project is about 30 percent complete and is slated to be finished in 2020.

In 2007, Paris became one of the first municipalities in the world to adopt a climate action plan, setting goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions above and beyond those outlined by the European Union. Employing virtually all the tools in the green builders’ toolkit, Clichy-Batignolles aims to be tangible evidence of the city’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint as well as an experimental laboratory for testing what’s possible in climate-sensitive redevelopment. What used to be a train yard is being turned into an urban park surrounded by energy-efficient buildings that will house 7,500 residents and provide places of employment for more than 12,000 people.

Clichy-Batignolles’ naturally landscaped park and eclectic modern architecture contrasts sharply with historic Paris. But what makes Clichy-Batignolles most significant cannot be seen with the naked eye. The complex planning process it pioneered involving disparate stakeholders working in concert to maximize building efficiency and minimize resource use offers other cities a road map to achieve a low-carbon future. The development’s contribution to sustainable urban design was recognized in 2016, when it won the Sustainable City Grand Prize in the international Green City Solutions Awards competition.
Wherever possible, developers have installed solar panels on roofs and facades. More than 35,000 square meters (380,000 square feet) of panels will generate 3,500 MWh per year, roughly 40 percent of the electricity used in the development.

To cut carbon emissions further, the layout of the development encourages walking and use of mass transit while limiting space for cars. Roadways are restricted to 12 percent of the total surface area, and low speed limits prevail, which helps privilege pedestrians over cars. To further improve air quality in the district, deliveries are restricted to a fleet of electric vehicles that cover the last kilometer (0.6 mile) from a central drop-off site.

Jim, I think Musk has more important things on his mind at the moment.

What could possibly be more important than getting the message out about declining Arctic sea ice?

“When you're up to your ass in alligators, it's difficult to remember the main objective was to drain the swamp.”,438.msg159602.html#msg159602

Cross posted from the "China, but China" thread

Hullo BenB,

An entry in the cars,more cars.... thread is a good idea. China is really ahead of the game. Even when Tesla gets to 5 6 7 8 9 10 thousand cars a week, it is likely China will have got way ahead.

BenB on Today at 12:54:28 PM
I don't know whether this belongs here or in the cars thread, but 97,000 EVs were sold in China in May, including 12,624 of the market-leading BAIC EC-Series:

Several of the cars have recently upgraded batteries, including the BAIC Ex-series crossover with a 48kWh battery and the BYD e5 with a 61 kWh battery.

As Tesla grows from “top” cars down to more affordable ones, it’s perfect that China grows quickly from the bottom, up!

Jim, I think Musk has more important things on his mind at the moment.

“#Tesla registered 2,067 new #Model3 VINs. Highest VIN is 53800.”

Tesla production line was ‘sabotaged’, Elon Musk tells employees to be ‘on alert’

Elon Musk: “Needed another general assembly line to reach 5k/week Model 3 production. A new building was impossible, so we built a giant tent in 2 weeks. Tesla team kfa!! Gah, love them so much ...”

Tesla’s new Model 3 assembly line inside a ‘tent’ is ‘way better’ and cheaper than other line, says Elon Musk

Warned 30 years ago, global warming ‘is in our living room’
We were warned.

On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. The testimony of the top NASA scientist, said Rice University historian Douglas Brinkley, was “the opening salvo of the age of climate change.”

Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. But the change has been so sweeping that it is easy to lose sight of effects large and small — some obvious, others less conspicuous.

Earth is noticeably hotter, the weather stormier and more extreme. Polar regions have lost billions of tons of ice; sea levels have been raised by trillions of gallons of water. Far more wildfires rage.

Over 30 years — the time period climate scientists often use in their studies in order to minimize natural weather variations — the world’s annual temperature has warmed nearly 1 degree (0.54 degrees Celsius), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And the temperature in the United States has gone up even more — nearly 1.6 degrees.

“The biggest change over the last 30 years, which is most of my life, is that we’re no longer thinking just about the future,” said Kathie Dello, a climate scientist at Oregon State University in Corvallis. “Climate change is here, it’s now and it’s hitting us hard from all sides.”'a-different-world'-over-3-decades

Consequences / Re: Sea Level Rise and Social Cost of Carbon
« on: June 18, 2018, 07:49:47 PM »
New study:  Rising seas could wipe out $1 trillion worth of U.S. homes and businesses
Some 2.4 million American homes and businesses worth more than $1 trillion are at risk of “chronic inundation” by the end of the century, according to a report out Monday. That’s about 15 percent of all U.S. coastal real estate, or roughly as much built infrastructure as Houston and Los Angeles combined.

The sweeping new study from the Union of Concerned Scientists is the most comprehensive analysis of the risks posed by sea level rise to the United States coastal economy. Taken in context with the lack of action to match the scale of the problem, it describes a country plowing headlong into a flood-driven financial crisis of enormous scale.

“In contrast with previous housing market crashes, values of properties chronically inundated due to sea level rise are unlikely to recover and will only continue to go further underwater, literally and figuratively,” said Rachel Cleetus, an economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, and a report co-author, in a statement. “Many coastal communities will face declining property values as risk perceptions catch up with reality.”

The report defines chronic inundation as 26 flood events per year, or roughly one every other week — enough to “make normal routines impossible” and render the properties essentially worthless. It builds on the group’s previous work to identify the risk of chronic flooding under a sea-level-rise scenario of two meters (6.6 feet) by 2100. ...

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 18, 2018, 07:37:15 PM »
The dirty word in South Florida’s watery future: retreat
Even in the most modest scenarios, dealing with rising seas in the coming decades will be messy, complicated, and hugely expensive. Taxes will increase.  Insurance rates will skyrocket. Lawsuits will proliferate. Salt water will corrode your car. Trees will die.  New water-borne diseases will emerge.  Biscayne Bay will go murky from the increased run-off and pollution.  Racial and class tensions will arise over who gets protected from the flooding and who doesn’t.

So if you live in South Florida, you might ask yourself: Why stick around?  And if you own a house or condo, you might think: Why not sell now, while there are plenty of buyers in the market and prices are high?

If you’re a city official in South Florida, this is your nightmare.  Once people start to see Florida real estate not as an investment, but as a stranded asset, the real trouble begins.  In Florida especially, where there is no sales tax, property taxes are vital to paying for basic services like police and fire departments and schools.

But local governments also need these revenues to pay for infrastructure improvements to defend against rising seas.  If Floridians start moving to Asheville and foreign investors start shifting their investments to Costa Rica, property values will fall, which means there will be less money for cops and teachers, but also less money for raising roads and building sea walls.

As the water rises, quality of life declines, people leave. Those who are left behind tend to be poorer, sicker, more in need of services.  It’s the kind of downward economic spiral that is very hard to pull out of.

Broward Leaders Are Worried About How To Pay For Sea-Level Rise

The Invading Sea is a collaboration by the editorial boards of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post — with reporting by WLRN Public Media — to address the threat South Florida faces from sea-level rise. We want to raise awareness, amplify the voice of our region and create a call to action that can't be ignored.

Policy and solutions / Re: Boring, boring ol' Elon Musk...
« on: June 18, 2018, 07:10:35 PM »
Elon Musk’s Boring Company could be worth $16B after Chicago-O’Hare tunnel

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 18, 2018, 07:00:29 PM »
Samsung Commits to 100 Percent Renewable Energy by 2020
Samsung Electronics announced Thursday an aim to source 100 percent renewable energy for its energy used in all of its factories, office buildings and operational facilities in the U.S., Europe and China by 2020.
As part of its initial commitment, the company will install around 42,000 square meters of solar panels at its headquarters in Suwon. It will also add about 21,000 square meters of solar arrays and geothermal power generation facilities at its campuses in Pyeongtaek and Hwaseong.

What's more, the electronics firm plans to work with 100 of its top partner companies to assist their own renewable energy targets in alignment with the Carbon Disclosure Project supply chain program, which Samsung intends to join next year.

The Carbon Disclosure Project's supply chain program helps organizations and suppliers identify and manage climate change risks, as well as deforestation and water-related risks. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 18, 2018, 06:56:47 PM »
'Historic First': Nebraska Farmers Return Land to Ponca Tribe in Effort to Block Keystone XL
In a move that could challenge the proposed path of TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline—and acknowledges the U.S. government's long history of abusing Native Americans and forcing them off their lands—a Nebraska farm couple has returned a portion of ancestral land to the Ponca Tribe.

At a deed-signing ceremony earlier this week, farmers Art and Helen Tanderup transferred to the tribe a 1.6-acre plot of land that falls on Ponca "Trail of Tears."

Now, as the Omaha World-Herald explained, rather than battling the farmers, "TransCanada will have to negotiate with a new landowner, one that has special legal status as a tribe." ...

Simplifying the charging chaos
People buying their first EV have two questions:  What kind of plug does it use, and how long does it take to charge?

”Teske has a sense that with Chargeway, he can help ease several thorny problems that have held up electric-car sales.

Primary among those are dealer salespeople ignorant of how charging works, and mass-market car buyers who don't want or need to learn about volts, kilowatts, CHAdeMO, and all the rest.”

The solution? A color-coded chart that gives all the information a casual user needs. “Replacing the words and specs with a simple system of colors and numbers, Chargeway's low numbers indicate slower charging, while the higher numbers show faster rates.”

Why Chargeway matters: making EV charging comprehensible for buyers, dealers, utilities, networks

Just after quarter-end, then. Suggesting great Q2 numbers on tap.

Elon Musk, today: “They have about three weeks before their short position explodes”

He tweeted a link to this article with the comment, “Well said”:
The War on Tesla, Musk, and the Fight for the Future

Policy and solutions / Re: Aviation
« on: June 17, 2018, 10:07:30 PM »
”Superjumbo sales have weakened as carriers opt for twin-engine wide-bodies that burn less fuel. Were they resold to another operator, the planes might be expected to fly for at least another decade.”

Two Unwanted A380s Are Moving Closer to the Scrapheap
Unwanted superjumbos set to be taken apart for components
British Airways and others decided not to buy double-deckers


Is anyone else concerned about the confusion and inefficiency of having multiple systems and standards for EV charging. Operationally, at least in the UK, it's a bit of a nightmare with three incompatible rapid charging systems (the only ones of any real use on longer trips) required to meet the needs of a growing market. My i3 is CCS. I can't use CHAdeMO or Tesla. It's both frustrating and massively more capital intensive to put together an effective charging network. Just how this might get resolved I don't know but a few months ago I sat waiting to use a sole CCS charger at a service station whilst enjoying a view of a bank of 12 Tesla chargers.... With not a Tesla in sight.

Any insights or answers?

Yes, it’s pretty much a mess at the moment, although standards groups are working on it.  Tesla has offered to share its superchargers with any group that will pay for their use — but the vehicle must be able to accept Tesla’s level of charging, so slow-charging cars don’t tie up the station. Which I know sounds ironic to you now. (Edit: And of course, to prevent the supercharger from frying the battery!)

The obvious answer for the immediate future is a charger that can serve various standards.  One company built what they billed as a “universal charger” — but the Tesla connection was a rewired CHAdeMo adapter that Tesla described as unwise and potentially dangerous. :-\

Edit: It’s not just the arrangement of pins that differentiates the standards.  It’s also how the car and the station talk to each other; which one commands the process; and which one locks the plug to the car’s port.

For those who are wondering, here are a couple links comparing the standards:

This is from 2014, but has a nice graphic:

And here’s a website:

Image below:  Shell petrol stations install multi-standard chargers.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: June 17, 2018, 01:04:56 PM »
Bill McKibben:  “Just to be clear: the oil industry is now artificially chilling Alaska's melting permafrost to make it solid enough to drill for and transport yet more oil “

Oil Industry Copes With Climate Impacts As Permafrost Thaws

You can take our picnic tables. But you can never take our freedom. ;D

Australian Police Are Actively Trying to Arrest Motorized Picnic Table Riders

Policy and solutions / Re: Boring, boring ol' Elon Musk...
« on: June 16, 2018, 10:26:45 PM »
Here’s a recent article summarizing The Boring Company:

At the press conference, Musk said they will start digging as soon as they get the OK, which should be in three to four months, and be finished possibly as soon as two years.  (Also that the majority of businesses working on the project are woman, minority, or veteran owned.  Some union, some not.)

Today’s tunnel boring machines dig at the rate of about 0.003 miles per hour.  Musk thinks TBC can speed that up by a factor of 10, to 0.03 miles per hour. (See details in article.)

There are 17,531 hours in two years.  Although Musk plans to dig continuously, removing dirt and placing support arches on the fly, let’s say the machine only ends up digging the equivalent of one day a week.  That’s 2,504 hours.  2,504 hours times 0.03 miles per hour is 75 miles.  The Chicago Loop route is 18 miles.  And Musk said they will begin digging from both ends.  Two years may be “aspirational,” but the math works.

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 16, 2018, 09:18:55 PM »
Lab-Grown Meat Startups Backed by Bill Gates, Tyson Foods Face FDA Oversight
Lab-grown meat startups that rely on animal cells to produce beef, poultry and seafood products have caught the eye of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has begun the process of regulating the industry.

Cultured meat, considered an environmentally sound alternative to the real thing, is made by harvesting cells from animals and growing them to make food. Companies like Memphis Meats Inc. and Future Meat Technologies have piqued the interest of investors such as food giants Tyson Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc., as well as billionaires Bill Gates and Richard Branson.

The FDA plans to hold a meeting July 12 to get input from the industry on the safety of the technology as well as considerations for how to possibly label the products so consumers know they’re getting meat from a lab -- not a cow. There had been some debate over whether the FDA or the U.S. Department of Agriculture should regulate lab-grown meat. ...

Consequences / Re: Effects of Climate Change on the biosphere
« on: June 16, 2018, 09:06:47 PM »
Unusually Hot Spring Threw Plants, Pollinators Out of Sync in Europe
Butterflies hatched early with the heat, but their flowers hadn’t opened yet. Bees are under pressure, too. 'You can see the climate change.'

Tesla Model 3 production update: Elon Musk will be ‘almost 24/7’ at factory to help fix a few bottlenecks
CEO Elon Musk gave a status update to employees. He said that all parts of the production process are now operating at over 3,500 units per week and he will stay “almost 24/7” at the Fremont factory to help fix the last few bottlenecks to bring the production to ~700 units per day.

The update comes about a week after Tesla came out of the Model 3 production shutdown and Musk confirmed at the shareholder meeting that they are now sustaining a production of 500 units per day and a new production line is coming up. ...

Edit: first dual-motor all-wheel-drive performance Model 3... rolls off new general assembly line, built in three weeks inside a tent next to the Fremont factory.

CHAdeMO has now unveiled its new protocol for 400 kW ‘ultra-fast’ charging.

CHAdeMO is pushing for faster electric vehicle charging with new 400 kW protocol

One reason this news is interesting is because CHAdeMO today is limited to 50kW, which feels “behind the times.”  From the above article:
At the moment, the vast majority of those charging stations are only capable of a 50 kW charge rates, which is also what most EVs with CHAdeMO are capable of accepting.

100 kW to 200 kW charging stations are also coming in higher numbers, but now CHAdeMO is now pushing for 400 kW.

CHAdeMO 2.0 now allows for up to 400 kW – competitive with the latest CCS “ultra-fast” stations currently being built around the world as part of new networks.

Meanwhile, Elon Musk now says that the next version of the Tesla Supercharger (due later this year) will max out at 200 to 250 kW, because that’s what is best for the batteries. 

Tesla has years of real-life battery data.  And they offered quick battery swaps at one point, but the feature never became popular.  So will a 10 or 15 minute EV “fill-up” become the new normal?  Or will batteries become so cheap to replace that shortening their usable life by charging to the max becomes routine?  Or is there really a new battery out there that actually likes ultra-mega-fast charging?

How school buses could help run your air conditioning on hot summer days
Illinois is proposing to spend more of its VW settlement money on electric school buses than any other state.
...School buses run on a fixed schedule — children are dropped off at school in the morning and picked up in the afternoon. The rest of the day, buses can be plugged into the grid and serve as batteries.

Aloysius Makalinao, a climate and clean energy fellow for the Natural Resource Defense Council, said that while all electric vehicles offer benefits as grid resources, the case for the buses is unique.

“They can be used as a grid service in times of peaking, especially in the summer when school is out and everyone turns on their air conditioning,” he said.

There are also broad health benefits for children in switching away from diesel buses, which spew nasty exhaust that can accumulate onboard and around nearby schools. ...

CHAdeMO has now unveiled its new protocol for 400 kW ‘ultra-fast’ charging.

CHAdeMO is pushing for faster electric vehicle charging with new 400 kW protocol

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 16, 2018, 03:04:43 PM »
“At CleanTechnica, we have published numerous stories projecting that the price of solar would continue to decline despite already low prices. Nevertheless, I still feel the need for someone to convince me that I am not dreaming every time a solar price record is obliterated. (Notably, not even 5 years ago, 2–3¢/kWh solar was projected for 2050.)”

Updated: New US Solar Record — 2.155 Cents Per kWh! (with Escalator for Inflation)
We have seen solar power in the Middle East come into the low 2 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) range. We have seen it under 2 cents per kWh in Mexico. Misguided, casual observers claimed these prices only occurred due to heavily exploited labor, but now we have also seen 2.155 cents per kWh in the United States (h/t RenewEconomy). This contract was one of six contracts that Nevada Power recently signed. All 6 contracts came in under 3 cents per kWh. Update: This particular project had a 2.5% per year escalator for inflation. Another project had a higher price/kWh in the first year but with no escalator it came to an average of 1.795¢/kWh over the 25 year PPA period. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: June 16, 2018, 03:00:04 PM »
U.S.:  How Georgia Became a Top 10 Solar State, With Lawmakers Barely Lifting a Finger
The state has plenty of sun, but little support for solar power in the legislature. Here’s how a Republican who goes by ‘Bubba’ changed the energy landscape.

Consequences / Re: Places becoming less livable
« on: June 16, 2018, 02:54:22 PM »
U.S.:  View graphs of historical average temperature for any of the 48 contiguous United States with this tool from @NOAANCEIclimate:

Consequences / Re: Volcanoes
« on: June 16, 2018, 02:33:32 PM »
Kilauea: Lava per second.

“#Number time. #Fissure8 #lava effusion rate estimates indicate ~100 cubic m/s. OR...
~26,000 US gallons/s
~12 commercial dump trucks/s

This morning's photos - low fountains, elongate cone, and robust ocean entry plume. #KilaueaErupts #Kilauea #KilaueaEruption #LERZ ”
Image below. Others at the link.

Policy and solutions / Re: The Hyperloop
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:09:05 PM »
Ukraine has plans for a hyperloop
Ukraine is yet another country hopping on the hyperloop train to the future.

The country's Infrastructure Ministry signed an agreement Thursday with US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies to begin building a commercial hyperloop system -- a trainlike transportation setup that industry watchers say will be able to hit airplane speeds and shorten travel time from hours to minutes.

"Ukraine is at the crossroads of the new Silk Road transportation corridor and we can expect Hyperloop to play a major role in connecting Europe and Asia," HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn said in a release. ...

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2018
« on: June 15, 2018, 09:05:11 PM »
FEMA Blamed Delays In Puerto Rico On Maria; Agency Records Tell Another Story
...FEMA and the federal government failed on multiple fronts to help the devastated island recover.

NPR and the PBS series Frontline examined hundreds of pages of internal documents and emails. Rather than a well-orchestrated effort, they paint a picture of a relief agency in chaos, struggling with key contracts, basic supplies and even its own workforce.”
Hours after NPR and FRONTLINE published these findings, Democratic lawmakers from the House and Senate introduced a bill to create an independent commission to investigate the "flawed" federal response in Puerto Rico. They noted the "botched FEMA contracts" in calling for the commission. The legislation also calls for an examination of the island's death toll, and whether Puerto Rico was treated differently than Texas and Florida were after hurricanes last year, as NPR and FRONTLINE found. ...

Consequences / Re: Climate change, the ocean, agriculture, and FOOD
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:59:44 PM »
McDonald's is scrapping plastic straws in the UK and Ireland, one of its biggest markets — and the US could be next

Paper straws coming in September.

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