Category Archives: Environment

Energy: Lifecycle GHG emissions from a hybrid, plug in hybrid and an EV are about the same

This graphic, from the International Energy Agency, illustrates the lifetime CO2 equivalent emissions from different types of vehicles. “BEV” is a battery electric vehicle with a 400 km range, HEV is a hybrid (like Prius), PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.  This chart assumes the GHG emissions from electricity generation plants are in line with the global average. (FCEV is a fuel cell/hydrogen based system.)

Notably, BEVs are NOT zero emission vehicles and are, in general, on par with PHEVs and Prius-like hybrids when viewing their overall lifecycle emissions.

400

Source: Global EV Outlook 2019 – Analysis – IEA

The IEA’s model assumes similar sized vehicles in each category, that the EVs have a 400 km range (this determines the battery size), and that local electrical generation emits the global average CO2-equivalent for electricity generation. If the EV range were to be extended by 200 km more, add in the gray zone box above the EV column.

Energy: In many countries, hybrid gas/EVs emit lower emissions than pure electric vehicles

An average battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars using electricity characterised by the current global average carbon intensity (518 grammes of carbon-dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour [g CO2-eq/kWh]) emit less GHGs than a global average ICE vehicle using gasoline over their life cycle. But the extent ultimately depends on the power mix: CO2 emissions savings are significantly higher for electric cars used in countries where the power generation mix is dominated by low-carbon sources. In countries where the power generation mix is dominated by coal, hybrid vehicles exhibit lower emissions than EVs.

Source: Global EV Outlook 2019 – Analysis – IEA

Says the International Energy Agency.

Energy: Unplugging your cell phone charger does nearly nothing for the environment

Few people have any idea about the lifetime energy usage of popular consumer products.  50-75% of the energy and green house gas emissions for many cars occurs during manufacturing. Switching to an EV (for which much of its lifetime energy/GHGs is during manufacturing) may have little benefit to the earth.

When it comes to unplugging your cell phone charger:

Moreover, charging accounts for less than 1% of a phone’s energy needs; the other 99% is required to manufacture the handset and operate data centers and cell towers.

Source: Empty Gestures on Climate Change by Bjørn Lomborg – Project Syndicate

Environment: Electronics recycling reveals huge scam

An undercover tracking program is revealing the toll of the e-waste trade.

Source: The dark side of electronic waste recycling – The Verge

People want to feel good about “doing the right thing”. Recycling is an example of a “feel good” activity and “ethical recyclers” stepped in to help people feel good about their recycling. But the recyclers were not doing what they claimed. Enormous and toxic electronics waste tonnage was sent off to China where it created an environmental mess.

Like many activities, corruption and fraud take hold. Another related area is carbon offsets, where activities having little benefit may occur and where much of the offset work is invisible (and untrackable).

As long as so many consumers want to feel virtuous without undertaking meaningful efforts, scams like this will continue to perpetuate.

Environment: We make too much, store too much unused, dispose too much, and reuse too little

On how the environmental impact of stuff is more on the manufacturing side

A “life cycle assessment” is basically where somebody goes and looks at the full environmental impact of a product — say a smartphone — from manufacturing to disposal and looks at what the air pollution impacts are, the mining impacts, the carbon impacts. The one thing we do know is that the biggest impact of most products is the manufacturing side. So if you want to reduce the environmental impact of your consumption, the best way to do that is to not manufacture more stuff. In that sense, the best thing you can do is not buy more stuff.If you want to reduce the environmental impact of your consumption, the best way to do that is to not manufacture more stuff. In that sense, the best thing you can do is not buy more stuff.

Continue reading Environment: We make too much, store too much unused, dispose too much, and reuse too little