Category Archives: Environment

Pandemic must be over: “Experts sound the alarm on declining birth rates among younger generations”

I really am so old that I remember when the “Population Bomb” meant the end of the human species:

While the global population is still growing, a major study from 2020 predicts it will peak in 2064 and then fall by nearly a billion people by the end of the century.

Source: Experts sound the alarm on declining birth rates among younger generations: “It’s a crisis” – CBS News

The sole purpose of science and their pals in the media has degenerated into finding things to be scared about. That is a shame.

End of globalization: “Walmart announces it will invest $350 billion in US manufacturing”

Companies such as Walmart and GE created the outsourced, offshore manufacturing boom. Globalization was the future and it would be great for everyone. That’s what the economics theory says too.

But then the pandemic happened and much has changed.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Walmart announced Wednesday a goal to invest $350 billion in the “future of U.S. manufacturing” over the next 10 years.

Source: Walmart announces it will invest $350 billion in US manufacturing | NewsNation Now

A related issue is “carbon taxes”. Many countries know full well they outsourced their own dirty industries to other countries – so they could virtue signal how clean their country had become.

Now, though, several countries have proposed a carbon import tax – such that goods made in cheaper but dirty manufacturing facilities elsewhere – will cost the same as those made in cleaner domestic facilities.

Of course, this does mean we will all be paying more for things in the future.

Bill Gates: Nuclear power will ‘absolutely’ be politically acceptable

Agree:

Nuclear power has to overcome a baneful reputation garnered by association with the atomic bomb and radioactive disasters, but it’s a necessary, worthy and surmountable challenge to correct the naysayers, according to Gates.

That’s because the need for clean energy is dire, and the operation of nuclear power plants produces no greenhouse gas emissions. According to Gates, new innovations in nuclear technology (in which he is an investor) are making nuclear energy safer and more affordable, and countries around the world are starting to adopt nuclear power.

Source: Bill Gates: Nuclear power will ‘absolutely’ be politically acceptable

Hyundai to replace battery packs in 82,000 EVs

After many EVs caught fire, a defect was identified inside the individual battery cells. The company will not replace the entire battery packs in their EVs made between Nov 2017 and March 2020.

Source: Hyundai Announces Massive Battery Recall For Roughly 82,000 BEVs

From an environmental standpoint, this large recall likely negates environmental gains from all EV sales. Yuck.

The immediate need for 82,000 new battery packs in an industry currently constrained by battery supply will hinder sales of many EVs for some time. Literally, this is 2 1/2 years production from a single large EV manufacturer (Hyundai).

Meanwhile, GM indicates they will have a fix for the Chevy Bolt EV fires in earlier models. They indicate a software update will be able to detect future battery problems, alert the driver, and then repair or replace the battery bank before it catches fire. The underlying problem on the Chevy Bolt is not the same as that on the Hyundai cars although both resulted in fires.

Geologists leveraging Amateur Radio networks in aftermath of large quakes

Early damage and “shake” reports help seismologists quickly understand the quake’s impact. But the loss of communications typical after a major quake has created a “donut hole” of missing information.

We now expect to sample the donut hole with the help of amateur radio groups worldwide. These groups, which already provide emergency communications capabilities to government agencies, hospitals, and other critical users during emergencies and disasters, can mobilize a significant number of licensed radio operators after a strong earthquake, especially near large population centers, ensuring a baseline level of macroseismic intensity reporting even in heavily affected areas.

To take advantage of this capability, USGS has partnered with Winlink, a radio email platform with more than 28,000 users worldwide, and with members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).

Source: Amateur Radio Operators Help Fill Earthquake Donut Holes – Eos

Covid crisis must be over, time for next one: “Crisis Ensued The Last Time Earth’s Magnetic Poles Flipped, Researchers Say”

With “experts” suggesting the pandemic is winding down on its own, possibly as soon as April – the media is in panic as it must find new fear inducing scary topics within weeks 🙂

A precise record of the last major reversal of the Earth’s magnetic poles can be found in ancient trees. Researchers say this event 42,000 years ago had a huge impact on the planet and ancient humans.

Source: Crisis Ensued The Last Time Earth’s Magnetic Poles Flipped, Researchers Say : NPR

The EV Charging Problem

Note – this video mistakenly references the Chevy Volt when it should be the Chevy Bolt EV.

Notes that the industry needs more DCFS chargers, easily accessible.

The video producer suggests we need a government program to get more chargers, pointing to Europe (he attended college in the UK). It is not a government program issue – its a wide open space issue, as he later notes in regards to Australia. But then comes back to insisting we need a government infrastructure program for charging.

This addresses the issue I identified for my own use, last year. For me it is not the vehicle range, so much, but the speed of charging when traveling long distances. The Chevy Bolt is a great EV – but maxes out at about 50-55 kwh in its maximum charge point while others are now charging at 100 kwh or more.

But due to battery chemistry, you cannot charge at the full rate from empty to full. Hence, as this video notes, you really want to do several short, fast charges, on a trip. But this requires easy access to DCFS along the route.

Continue reading The EV Charging Problem

Scientists warn over misuse of models

I’m so old, I remember Neil Ferguson’s projection of 2.2 million deaths in the U.S. by last spring, and Christopher Murray’s projection that NY would run out of ventilators (so we then built 200,000 ventilators that went unused).

Models are great. Except when they are garbage.

“Businesses like using models, because the numbers give them a sense of security,” said Tanya Fiedler, a lecturer at the University of Sydney and lead author of the paper. “It doesn’t necessarily mean the numbers are reliable.”

Source: Scientists warn over misuse of climate models in financial markets | Reuters

Update: My son, a research scientist (materials science engineering), reminds me “all models are wrong. But some are useful.”  “

Who needs conspiracy theorists?

Who needs conspiracy theorists when we have this? Jeez.

David Ismay, Massachusetts Undersecretary for Climate Change

Speaking at a Vermont climate conference, Ismay said:

“So let me say that again, 60% of our emissions that need to be reduced come from you, the person across the street, the senior on fixed income, right … there is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts to point the finger at, to turn the screws on, and you know, to break their will, so they stop emitting. That’s you. We have to break your will. Right, I can’t even say that publicly.”

Update: Ismay has resigned his position. He claims his comments were intended to mean the opposite of what he said; this did not go over well with the Governor.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the (British) House of Commons

Sir Lindsay Hoyle told a gathering of counterparts from some of the world’s most powerful countries that the pandemic shows people are prepared to accept limitations on their lifestyles – if they recognise it is for the greater good.

He was surprised by the willingness of millions of people to wear masks and accept new rules, and said the urgent response the world has shown to deal with Covid-19 should now be harnessed to address climate change.

White House Climate Czar John Kerry

Climate Czar explains that he is exempt from saving the climate because he is elite and you are not:

White House climate czar John Kerry traveled to Iceland by private jet in 2019 to accept an environmental award and defended his transportation choice to a reporter at the time by calling it, “the only choice for somebody like me.”

And to Confuse Us

Climate change may have started in the early 19th century, pre-dating large scale fossil fuel consumption, according to several peer reviewed studies.

Continue reading Who needs conspiracy theorists?

Good idea: Electric School buses

For most bus usage, range is not an issue. They are probably quieter and are not idling when stopped to pick up kids, spewing diesel exhaust.

The Beaverton School District is the first school district in Oregon to have electric school buses in its fleet. The district unveiled two new electric school buses, the result of their partnership with Portland General Electric.

Source: Oregon’s first electric school buses get rolling in Beaverton | KVAL

No idea what their cost was though and that does need to be taken into consideration.

I once lived in a city that decided to go big and began replacing its metro buses with hybrid buses, arguing they would cost less over time even though they cost about 4x more per bus than a new diesel bus.

All of their arguments proved wrong and within years, the new hybrid buses were taken out of service as they had worse fuel efficiency and cost far more than they had said. Consequently, I’m suspicious of the new EV buses – although I think this is a great application for EV technology and I hope this proves successful.

Continue reading Good idea: Electric School buses