Category Archives: Environment

Air travel may get much more expensive, or could be limited only to the elite

Aviation could face a historic rupture in its growth trajectory as it grapples with pressures to reduce its impact on climate change. The technology shifts proposed will require major investment with success uncertain.

For the flying public, all outcomes in the years ahead point to an increase in the cost of flying.

Yet that distant net-zero emissions target is so radical, and the proposed technology solutions so uncertain, that aviation risks falling far short.

Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury recently warned that if the industry’s new push for climate sustainability fails, governments could force a reduction in air travel by banning some of the flying that is routine today — a major step back after more than 100 years of passenger flights.

….

Elsewhere, particularly in Europe, flying is already being curbed by government policy. France in April banned domestic flights between cities with a train connection of less than 2.5 hours. Various government agencies and organizations around Europe have imposed similar bans on short-haul flights for employee business travel.

Source: As climate concerns threaten air travel, aviation industry banks on technology solutions | The Seattle Times

Additionally, some countries already charge carbon fees on airline tickets.

Costs of charging an EV

Study says EV charging can exceed costs of fueling costs:

The study has four major findings:

  • There are four additional costs to powering EVs beyond electricity: cost of a home charger, commercial charging, the EV tax and “deadhead” miles.
  • For now, EVs cost more to power than gasoline costs to fuel an internal combustion car that gets reasonable gas mileage.
  • Charging costs vary more widely than gasoline prices.
  • There are significant time costs to finding reliable public chargers – even then a charger could take 30 minutes to go from 20% to an 80% charge.

Source: Which is more expensive: charging an electric vehicle or fueling a car with gas?

Specifically, they have included the costs of adding charging stations at home, the costs of additional taxes on EVs (my state charges EVs several hundred dollars per year that is not charged to ICE vehicles, to make up for loss of gas taxes), and the costs and time of driving extra distances to find commercial charging stations, and then waiting for a suitable charge to complete.

Other studies have found that EV maintenance costs much less than ICE vehicles. There are no engine tune ups, oil changes, gasket changes, spark plug changes, and EV mechanical parts are simpler than ICE vehicles.

If I had an EV, my home and local charging cost would be zero since our solar PV array already produces sufficient power annually for all local driving activities.

With a few exceptions, most existing EVs would not be suitable for the type of cross country driving I am prone to do, but all would work well for local and regional travel. I live in the eastern half of Oregon where it can be 100+ miles between very limited charging stations, for example. A day’s drive to a common destination to our east is about 12 hours of ICE driving today – throw in a couple of EV charging stops (at least) and it likely becomes 14 hours of driving, putting it in the realm of not being safe due to fatigue.

Future EVs may have 400-500 mile ranges and faster charging options. Probably see these among more makers by about 2025.

This sure looks like the goal is to control the people

This Nature item advocates taxing EVs by weight, saying because batteries are heavy, models say EVs will result in more highway fatalities (all things being equal – but what if they have better automated collision avoidance?)

The goal, it says, is to reduce the weight of vehicles. Okay on that goal, mostly.

But then it veers off to suggest a need to tax people on distance traveled to discourage us from traveling at all.

Have been reading many history books lately – and this seems reminiscent of “know your place peasants” thinking – where the elite will travel all they want. This is primarily about controlling the people.

Adding travel distance to the fee would also incentivize people to drive less. Oregon is piloting such a programme, giving owners the option to base their registration fees on the distance they drive in a year (at a rate of roughly 1.1 cents per kilometre) in lieu of fixed annual fees. Travel data can be collected by on-board devices; some insurance companies already offer policies that are based on total mileage and other driving habits.

Source: Make electric vehicles lighter to maximize climate and safety benefits

The goal, it says, is to encourage everyone to walk, ride a bike or use “public transport” and oddly says riding a bike is “safer, more convenient”.

First, based on the data, bikes are not safer. Because we mostly do not collect data on crashes and most injuries, we have no hard data on which to evaluate this claim. Estimates are about half a million bike related injuries are treated at ERs in the U.S. every year (yet only 1-2% of the population today commutes by bike). Those injuries are the only ones likely to be reported. Estimates are that there are 1-2 million bike related injuries every year that are self treated or treated by the family doctor. Now, increase the number of bicycle commuters from 1-2% to 10-20% – what do you think will happen to the number of injuries?

Second, as someone who has suffered a fractured skull, and later broke two bike helmets in crashes that knocked me out and broke other bones, the government may push everyone to bikes without considering the range of health impacts.

Bike crashes are the largest cause of traumatic brain injuries seen in ERs in the U.S. Brain injuries can become lifelong injuries too.

Continue reading This sure looks like the goal is to control the people

“Flight shaming”: Global travel should be banned.

Saving the planet requires that we stop gaping and gawking at travel blogs and vacation selfies. Instead, everyone who cares about the environment should shame those who clamber onto an airplane every chance they get.

This is what counts as discourse from an “intellectual”. Let’s take mask shaming to a new level – and scream at anyone who posts a vacation photo online! And yell at those who view travel items on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube.

In addition to “Flight shaming” there is also “overtourism” where some popular destinations now have more tourists than some desire. I wrote about that topic previously – proposed solutions are to limit the number of visitors to those who pay more (the elite?). They want fewer tourists each of whom spends more money. One way may to be set minimum stay duration (e.g. 5-7 days). Some destinations have added tourist taxes and new requirements such as health insurance bought from an in-country health insurer (not your usual travel insurance).

Continue reading “Flight shaming”: Global travel should be banned.

California banning New gas powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers

Source: CA moves to end sale of gas powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers | The Sacramento Bee

Switching to EV lawn mowers will have no impact on air pollution relative to the state burning most of its forests down every year.

Related

California is also seeking ways to reduce Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) through:

  • Much higher gas taxes
  • Tolling highways
  • A per mile vehicle fee
  • Tax benefits for using public transport and bicycles including encouraging employers to charge employees for parking.
  • Social marketing propaganda campaigns modeled on public health messaging (LOL! – See notes, below).
Continue reading California banning New gas powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers

local air quality among worst in the U.S., areas rated “hazardous”

A blanket of thick wildfire smoke made the air in and around Central Oregon’s largest city the state’s least breathable on Labor Day and among some the worst in the entire U.S., according to multiple sites that monitor air quality.

Source: Bend’s ‘hazardous’ air quality is Oregon’s least healthy, among worst in U.S. – oregonlive.com

Went through this last year too with AQI readings up to 625. This year, its been bad since mid-July and horrendous since late August.

There is zero political leadership. If they say anything they blame nebulous climate change. But what can we address about climate change that would effect forest fires next year? In 5 years? In 10 years?

Nothing.

Continue reading local air quality among worst in the U.S., areas rated “hazardous”

Climate Change to Be Treated as Public-Health Issue

So it will be managed as competently as Covid-19?

The new federal office—designed to address what the White House says are health risks that disproportionately affect poor and minority communities—is likely to face pushback over actions that target the health industry.

Source: Climate Change to Be Treated as Public-Health Issue – WSJ

It is unfortunate when reality trumps the conspiracy theorists. More here.

LG at center of EV vehicle battery fires

Investors and analysts are so focused on the steep cost of recalls for carmakers that they haven’t considered the role of one company at the center of it all.

Source: Who’s Making Those EV Batteries Catching Fire? – Bloomberg

GM has halted manufacturing and sales of the Bolt EV and is recalling all of them due to defective LG batteries.

This week, a VW ID.3, also said to be using LG batteries, spontaneously combusted in the Netherlands.

And just a few miles from my house, a Jaguar EV, also said to be using LG batteries, spontaneously combusted in the driveway.

There are hints that LG’s battery problem is bigger than the GM Bolt’s and the Hyundai EVs that have already been recalled.

Indeed, LG home energy storage systems batteries have also now been recalled.

LG’s share price is now down about -15%.