Thursday, February 14, 2013
Obama's billion-dollar EV gamble fails
The Obama administration's electric-car fantasy finally may have died on the road between Newark, Delaware and Milford, Conneticut.
That's where the Tesla Model S electric car driven by the New York Times' John M. Broder repeatedly ran out of juice during a test drive, partly because cold weather reduces the battery's range by about 10 per cent.
Broder's trip turned into a nightmare, including a stretch with the conked-out car riding the back of a flatbed truck.
Tesla chief executive Elon Musk fired back this week, tweeting that Broder's report is a "fake" and that "vehicle logs" show he "didn't actually charge to max and took a long detour."
The Times is standing by its story. My take is that even if Musk is 100 per cent right and Broder is 100 per cent wrong — which I doubt — Musk loses.
Who wants a $101,000 car that might die just because you feel like taking "a long detour"?
President Obama repeatedly declared that, with enough federal aid, we can put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. His administration has invested about $5 billion in grants, guaranteed loans — including $465 million for Tesla — and tax incentives to buyers.
Yet Americans bought just 71,000 plug-in hybrids or all-electric vehicles in the past two years, according to GreenCarReports.com. That's about a third as many as the Energy Department forecast in a 2011 report that attempted to explain why Obama's goal was not preposterous.
Federal billions cannot overcome the fact that electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids meet few, if any, of real consumers' needs. Compared with gas-powered cars, they deliver inferior performance at much higher cost. As an American Physical Society symposium on battery research concluded last June: "Despite their many potential advantages, all-electric vehicles will not replace the standard American family car in the foreseeable future."
If you don't believe the scientists, listen to Takeshi Uchiyamada, the "father" of the Toyota Prius: "Because of its shortcomings — driving range, cost and recharging time — the electric vehicle is not a viable replacement for most conventional cars."
Even Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, whose commitment to the all-electric Leaf helped his firm get a $1.4 billion US loan guarantee, has reduced his boosterism in the face of disappointing sales.
Nor do electric cars promise much in the way of greenhouse-gas reduction, as long as they rely on a power grid that is still mostly fired by fossil fuels.
As for Vice President Joe Biden's 2009 forecast of "billions and billions and billions of dollars in good, new jobs," the electric car factory at which he made that statement sits idle. Ditto the taxpayer-backed Michigan factory of battery maker LG Chem. Two Energy Department-funded lithium-ion battery makers have gone bankrupt.
There's simply no denying that the administration's electric-vehicle project was a mistake.
But it's worth asking precisely what kind of mistake (beyond eminently foreseeable and terribly expensive). As Bruce Springsteen once sang: "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?"
I accept the president's good intentions. He didn't set out to rip off the public. Nor was the electric-car dream a Democrats-only delusion. Several Republican pols shared it, too.
Rather, the debacle is a case study in unchecked righteousness. The administration assumed the worthiness and urgency of its goals. Americans should want electric cars, and therefore they would, apparently.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu, he of the Nobel Prize in physics, epitomized the regnant blend of sanctimony and technocratic hubris. He once told journalist Michael Grunwald that photosynthesis is "too damn inefficient," and that DOE might help correct that particular error of evolution.
The department has recently backed away from the million-car target, in favour of reducing battery costs to $300 per kilowatt hour by 2015 (from $650 today). Even this seems dubious, given the APS symposium's view that "only incremental improvements can be expected" in lithium-ion batteries.
Chu is on his way out but still dreaming. "For the engineers in the room or those who follow this, you might be saying to yourself, 'What are they smoking?' " he remarked at the Washington Auto Show. "We're not smoking anything. They are ambitious goals but they are achievable goals."
I might add that Chu does not own a car.
Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Record For Most Ice On This Day
Antarctic Sea Ice Extent set a record on day 43 (Feb 12 2013) for most ever on this day. at 3.80037 million sq km.
The old record was in 2008. The record for most ice ever at minimum was also in 2008. 3.69176 million sq km. There is a decent chance that record will be broken.
Most Ice Gain Ever Recorded
With a few weeks of growth still to occur, the Arctic has blown away the previous record for ice gain this winter. This is only the third winter in history when more than 10 million km² of new ice has formed.
German Meteorology Professor Expects Cooling For The Decades Ahead…”Climate Protection Is Ineffective”
Meteorologist Prof. Dr. Horst Malberg has an article posted at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here. He tells us we ought to be preparing for a cooler 21st century first half.
Professor Malberg starts his article by showing and discussing various solar activity charts. Today I’m a little short on time, and so I’ve translated his outlook and conclusion part of the article, which sums it up nicely.
The sun is currently at the start of a quiet phase of activity and will likely reach the critical mean value of 50 sunspots during the current cycle, or even fall below it, i.e. the boundary value between a warm and a cold period. Analogous to the climate conditions during the time of the Dalton Minimum of 200 years ago, we have to expect a climate cooling for the decades ahead.
Only the “fickle“ sun will decide the general extent of the expected cooling and when the temperature again will gradually start to increase. The latter is expected to occur in the second half of the 21st century, when the sun returns to a more active phase.
Both the 200-year De Vries cycle and the 80 to 90-year Gleissberg solar activity cycle point to an imminent drop in solar activity that will have consequences for global climate and food supply.
Russian scientist I. Abdussamatov of the Russian Pulkovo Observatory near St. Petersburg (www.eike.eu) has reached the same conclusion. Also according to his results, the solar minimum – which corresponds to the peak in cooling - is expected to be reached during the solar sunspot cycle around the year 2055.
CO2 will neither be able to keep Europe nor the globe from cooling. At most it will help temper the temperature decrease a bit.
Global temperature has not risen in 15 years. It has stagnated, and in recent years has even shown a downward trend – despite the massive annual increases in CO2 emissions. (Why hasn’t the public been informed of this by the media?) For the politically motivated IPCC and its followers, it is now time to give up the dogma of CO2′s climate dominance and the marginalization and branding of those who differ with climate science. Just because one belongs to the mainstream does not mean he automatically has a better knowledge of the science.
Predicting a global warming of 4°C and associated apocalyptic consequences by 2100 by the CO2-dominated climate models (World Bank, PIK) is pure hypothesizing. As long as the solar effects and associated interactions are underestimated and the effects of CO2 exaggerated, no realistic climate conclusions can be expected.
The earlier analyses of climate allow only one conclusion to be made:
Compared to the integral solar climate effect, with all its complex, non-linear interactive mechanisms (ocean, clouds, albedo, biosphere, cosmic rays,…), the anthropogenic greenhouse/CO2 effect is only of subordinate significance. Also the media attempts to trace back singular weather events to an anthropogenic influence has no merit. History shows that hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, droughts and floods have occurred on and off over the centuries as a result of synoptic constellations. However, because of the population growth to 7 billion, more and more people and their goods are being impacted by natural catastrophes.
Instead of attempting over-rated and ineffective climate protection, all efforts should concentrate on global environmental protection: clean air, clean water, uncontaminated soil and an intact ecosystem are among the fundamental rights of people. Measures for reducing CO2 can be justified by the limited fossil fuel resources and pollution that comes from combustion processes. So-called climate protection is, on the other hand, the least effective of all measures. There never has been a stable climate over the course of history, and there isn’t going to be one in the future.”
Protecting Global Warming Liars
By Alan Caruba
The debasement of science continues as various elements, organizations and publications, and the mainstream media circle the wagons to protect those who continue to spread lies about global warming.
Most recently, the National Geographic Science Blogs have added Dr. Peter Gleick to its roster of contributors despite the fact that he stole documents from The Heartland Institute in 2012, creating and disseminated a phony “memo" to defame the 28-year-old, non-profit research organization.
In his initial National Geographic blog post, Dr. Glieck described himself as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He is also the president of the Pacific Institute. Among the topics he intends to address are “misrepresentations of science.”
You can read the facts about his deception on www.fakegate.org, a website Heartland created after Dr. Glieck’s aborted effort to spread a variety of lies about its funding and efforts to debunk the global warming hoax. Dr. Glieck admitted to this and one would think that such behavior would not be rewarded, but neither the National Geographic nor the Pacific Institute and other organizations that claim to be devoted to scientific accuracy and ethics were bothered in the least.
He was welcomed back to the Pacific Institute with a statement that blandly stated that Dr. Glieck “has apologized publicity for his actions, which are not condoned by the Pacific Institute of Directors and run counter to the Institute’s policies and standards of ethics over its 25-year history. The Board accepts Dr. Glieck’s apology for his lapse of judgment.”
Lapse of judgment? Using deception to deliberately slander the Heartland Institute is hardly a lapse of judgment. Those invested in keeping the global warming hoax alive are happy to forgive and forget, and hope the public does so as well.
At a recent convention of the American Geophysical Union, Dr. Glieck was among the featured speakers, along with Michael Mann, a key figure in “Climategate”, the 2009 exposure of emails between himself and other global warming schemers. Mann is famous for creating false data to support it and, in 2012, claimed to have been a joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! The Norwegian Nobel Institute issued a statement “affirming that climate scientist, Michael Mann lied…”
Penn State University where Michael Mann remains on the faculty despite his Nobel Peace Prize lie, the university simply scrubbed its websites and official documentation of his claim.
Considering that global warming is a lie from start to finish, one must conclude that all those involved have few, if any, qualms about lying. Indeed, this year the American Geophysical Union honored Dr. Glieck as a new AGU Fellow.
A year earlier, then AGU president, Michael McPherson stated that Dr. Glieck’s “transgression cannot be condoned” and had “compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society.” But that was last year and AGU has the same short memory as other scientific organizations that have put their reputations on the line for global warming.
Other professions, such as the law, drum out such people, deny them the right to practice law in the courts, and treat them with contempt when they engage in criminal or unethical behavior, but in the world of science these days, such behavior ends up being rewarded and, by inference, defended.
It is not surprising that National Geographic has provided Dr. Glieck a platform for his defense of global warming. It has long perpetrated all the global warming lies we associate with the hoax.
It is not surprising that AGU has honored Dr. Glieck barely a year after the revelations of his attack on The Heartland Institute.
It is not surprising that Michael Mann remains on the faculty of Penn State University and continues to earn thousands for speeches about global warming.
Nor should we be surprised that Al Gore who spent years campaigning against fossil fuels as the “cause” of global warming should sell his television channel to Al Jazeera, funded by Qatar, a leading oil producer.
What we are witnessing is the web of deception, a global conspiracy joined by governments, including our own, to advance the greatest hoax of the modern era.
Its victims are those forced to pay higher prices for the energy provided by traditional sources, oil, natural gas, and oil, along with the higher cost of gasoline that must be blended with ethanol even if it damages the engines of our automobiles and drives up the cost of food as a large percentage of our corn crop is diverted for its production.
If the so-called “greenhouse gas emissions” of carbon dioxide can be taxed governments such as Australia’s benefit while the industries and businesses affected are defrauded and even driven to close their doors. Carbon dioxide does not trap heat. The Earth balances its absorption and release. It is a minor gas in the atmosphere, barely 0.038%
There was a time when science adhered to strict rules of ethical behavior. When those are thrown overboard, everyone is victimized.
"Carbon farming" boondoggle in Australia
The Federal Government has been questioned about why it did not demand a management plan before funding a carbon farming project in the Northern Territory.
Henbury Station in Central Australia was purchased by RM Williams Agricultural Holdings in 2011 for $13 million, of which the Commonwealth contributed $9 million.
It was pitched as Australia's biggest carbon farming project.
The plan was to destock the 5,000 square kilometre property, about 125 kilometres south of Alice Springs, and return it to its natural state to earn carbon credits.
After a change of project management late last year, there was talk of incorporating some beef production in the plan.
A draft methodology on running the property was submitted to the Government but this was returned to RM Williams Agricultural Holdings, with a request for more information.
No carbon credits have been earned by the project so far.
This week, National Parks Director Peter Cochrane was questioned about the project during a Senate Estimates hearing in Canberra.
He said a management plan had not been required before the contract was signed.
Mr Cochrane told the hearing a Carbon Farming Initiative methodology has still not been approved.
National Party Senator Fiona Nash described the situation as appalling.
"The whole process seems to be a bit of a shambles and there really is a real lack of transparency," she said.
"To give $9 million of taxpayer money to a private company to purchase a property and not expect something as transparent and basic as a final management plan before that money was handed over, I think, is just an extraordinary state of affairs."
She says running cattle on the property would be a complete breach of the funding agreement.
The Environment Department has been asked to report on what will happen to the Commonwealth money if the project fails.
A spokesman for RM Williams Agricultural Holdings says there is a detailed interim management plan in place at Henbury Station.
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Posted by JR at 2:09 PM