Monday, July 24, 2017

Tesla battery, subsidy and sustainability fantasies

More subsidies from exhausted California taxpayers cannot compensate for hard realities

Paul Driessen

The first justification was that internal combustion engines polluted too much. But emissions steadily declined, and today’s cars emit about 3% of what their predecessors did. Then it was oil imports: electric vehicles (EVs) would reduce foreign dependency and balance of trade deficits. Bountiful oil and natural gas supplies from America’s hydraulic fracturing revolution finally eliminated that as an argument.

Now the focus is on climate change. Every EV sale will help prevent assumed and asserted manmade temperature, climate and weather disasters, we’re told – even if their total sales represented less than 1% of all U.S. car and light truck sales in 2016 (Tesla sold 47,184 of the 17,557,955 vehicles sold nationwide last year), and plug-in EVs account for barely 0.15% of 1.4 billion vehicles on the road worldwide.

In recent months, Tesla sales plunged to nearly zero in Hong Kong and Denmark, as huge government subsidies were eliminated. Now Tesla’s U.S. subsidies face extinction. Once its cumulative sales since 2009 reach 200,000 vehicles in the next few months, federal tax rebates will plunge from $7,500 per car to zero over an 18-month period. The same thing will happen to other EV companies that reach 200,000.

Subsidies clearly drive sales for EVs, which are often double the cost of comparable gasoline-powered vehicles. Free charging stations, and access to HOV lanes for plug-ins with only the driver, further sweeten the deal. For those who can afford the entry fee, the ride is smooth indeed. In fact, a 2015 study found, the richest 20% of Americans received 90% of hundreds of millions in taxpayer EV subsidies.

Where were all the government “offices of environmental justice” when this was happening? How much must we subsidize our wealthiest families, to save us from manmade planetary disasters that exist only in Al Gore movies and alarmist computer models?

Perhaps recognizing the reverse Robin Hood injustice – or how unsustainable free EV stations are for cash-strapped cities – Palo Alto (where Tesla Motors is headquartered) announced that it will charge 23 cents per kWh to charge plug-in vehicles in city parking garages. Others communities and states may also reduce their rebates, HOV access and free charging, further reducing incentives to purchase pricey EVs.

Meanwhile, Lyft and Uber are also decreasing the justification for shelling out $35,000 to $115,000 or even $980,000 for an electric car that gets very limited mileage per charge. Long excursions still need internal combustion engines or long layovers every few hundred miles to recharge EV batteries.

Intent on advancing its renewable energy and climate change agenda, the California legislature recently enacted a new cap-and-trade law that will generate revenues for Tesla and the “bullet train to nowhere,” by increasing hidden taxes on motor fuels, electricity and consumer products – with the state’s poor, minority and working class families again being hit hardest. State legislators are also close to passing a $3-billion EV subsidy program, primarily to replace the $7,500 federal rebate that Tesla could soon lose. Electric vehicle buyers could soon receive up to $40,000 for buying Tesla’s most expensive models! Coal-billionaire and California gubernatorial hopeful Tom Steyer vigorously supports the new subsidy.

We can also expect a battle royale over extending the federal EV subsidy beyond 200,000 vehicles – demonstrating once again that lobbyists are now far more important to bottom lines than engineers, especially when lobbyists can channel enormous contributions to politicians’ reelection campaigns.

As U.S. government agencies prepare to reassess climate change science, models and disaster predictions, it’s a good time to reexamine claims made about all the utopian electric vehicle and renewable energy forecasts, expanding on the land and raw material issues I raised in a previous article.

In his Forbes article on Battery Derangement Syndrome, energy and technology analyst Mark P. Mills notes that Tesla is also getting $1 billion in taxpayer subsidies to build a huge $5-billion lithium battery factory in Nevada. Batteries, it’s often claimed, can soon replace fossil fuels for backing up expensive, intermittent, unreliable, unpredictable wind and solar power. Mills explains why this is … deranged.

In an entire year, all the existing lithium battery factories in the world combined manufacture only enough capacity to store 100,000 billion Watt-hours (Wh) of electricity. But the USA alone uses 100 times this capacity: more than 10,000 billion Wh per day. Worldwide, humanity uses over 50,000 billion Wh daily.

Focusing on solar power, Mills notes, that means storing electricity for 12 hours a day – to power homes and businesses around the globe for the 12 hours per day that photovoltaic systems will generate power on sunny days in the 100% solar world of the utopian future – would require 25,000 billion Watt-hours of battery power (ignoring future electricity needs to recharge electric vehicle batteries).

Replacing the gasoline in the tanks of 1.4 billion vehicles worldwide with electric power would require another 100 billion Watt-hours. That brings total global demand to well over 125,000 billion Wh of storage. That means it would take 1,250 years of production from every existing lithium battery factory worldwide to meet this combined demand. Or we would have to build 1,250 times more factories. Or we could build batteries that are 10 to100 times more powerful and efficient than what we have today.

Says Mills, the constraints of real world physics on battery storage mean this latter option will not happen.

In a world where we are also supposed to ban nuclear (and most hydroelectric) power, the very notion of eliminating the 80% of all global energy that comes from oil, natural gas and coal – replacing it with wind, solar and biofuel power – is fundamentally absurd. Can you imagine what would happen when the power goes off and on repeatedly while we are smelting iron, copper, aluminum, cobalt or lithium ores … forging or casting metals into components … or running complex fabrication and assembly lines?

In the sustainability arena, has anyone calculated how much lithium, cobalt and other metals would be required to manufacture all those batteries? Where they would be mined – with nearly all the best U.S. metal prospects off limits to exploration and production, and radical environmentalists increasingly rallying to block mining projects overseas? The mines would have to be enormous, and operated by huge corporate consortiums. Will anti-corporate activists on our campuses suddenly have a change of heart?

Will homes, neighborhoods and communities have the electrical service (200 amperes or more per home) to handle all the lighting, computing, entertainment, air conditioning, medical equipment and other requirements of modern living – AND the power required to charge all the predicted electric vehicles? What will it cost to upgrade neighborhood power grids, and home and commercial electrical systems?

Lithium batteries and their component metals pose unique fire and explosion risks. What safeguards will be established to minimize those dangers, in battery factories, homes and public parking garages?

Some factories and batteries will invariably be poorly built, handled or maintained. Some will invariably malfunction – causing potentially catastrophic explosions. The bigger the factory or battery, the bigger the cataclysm. Will we apply the same precautionary principles to them as more rabid environmentalists insist on applying to drilling, fracking, pipelines, refineries, factories, dams and nuclear power plants?

What is the life expectancy of batteries, compared to engines in gasoline-powered cars? Two or three times shorter? What does it cost to replace battery packs compared to engines? Two to three times as much? What is the true overall cost of owning an EV? Four to six times higher than a gasoline car? How will we dispose of or recycle millions or billions of batteries and their dangerous, toxic components?

Is the real goal of all this crony-corporatist wind, solar and battery enthusiasm – and anti-fossil fuel activism – to slash living standards in industrialized nations, and ensure that impoverished nations are able to improve their health and living conditions only marginally?

We would do well to raise – and answer – these and other essential questions now, before we let activists, journalists, legislators and regulators con us into adopting more of their utopian, “planet-saving” ideas.

Via email

Cold spring leaves French grape harvest headed for historic low

Agriculture ministry says wine production from Bordeaux to Alsace has dropped dramatically

Knocked off course by a cold spring snap, French wine production from Bordeaux to Alsace has dropped dramatically this year and could hit “a historic low”, according to the agriculture ministry.

“At 37.6 million hectolitres the 2017 harvest is set to come in 17% lower than in 2016, and 16% below the average of the past five years,” the ministry’s statistics bureau Agreste said on Saturday.

As such, the traditional August to October harvest of the world’s second largest wine producer “could be historically low and inferior to that of 1991, which was also hit by severe frost”.

The cold wrought havoc notably in south-west France, with Bordeaux suffering along with neighbouring Charente, as well as Alsace and Jura in the north-east. Some losses are also anticipated in the Burgundy region, Languedoc and the southeast.

The Mediterranean region was hit by a problem of a different variety as wind and rain caused the phenomenon of “coulure” where grapes, most notably the grenache variety in the Rhone valley, fail to develop properly after vines have flowered.

But wine sommeliers urged a bit of patience, dispelling the gloom with the old wine adage: “August makes the grapes, September makes the wine.”

“It is still too early to draw a conclusion about the quality of the wine this year which will depend on the weather up to the grape harvest, and the conditions of the crop,” said Philippe Faure-Brac, who held the title of world’s best sommelier in 1992.

“At the moment, the weather conditions are not at all bad,” he said, but admitted the quantity of wine production “will be economically very tight, that’s for sure”.

Some vineyards have a system of reserves, like those producing Chablis or Champagne, holding back from selling a part of the production year to year as insurance to help ride out those times of poor grape harvests.

“For instance 2016 was a huge vintage - that will allow some regions to manage their volumes and quality,” said Faure-Brac.

But not all wine regions practise the same system, and only about 25% of French winegrowers have insured against severe weather.

Vineyards “with little stock” and “not much cash flow” after being hit by hail and frost last year, are going to be in a “difficult” situation this year, said Bernard Farges, president of the national AOP/AOC committee.

“We are working with the ministry to put in place measures to improve insurance and savings regimes,” he said – although that will not relieve problems this year.


Greenland turns against Mother Gaia

We've all heard it endlessly: the Arctic ice is melting.  It will soon be open water, and the surrounding islands bare rock.  The Northwest Passage, which lured hundreds to their doom during the Age of Exploration, will at last be a reality.  The polar bears will go hungry.  Eskimo shamans will no longer be able to contact the Ice Goddess.  Manhattan and Long Island will soon be fifty miles offshore...

And so on, certainly one of the most dominant and persistent memes of the global warming movement, despite its not containing so much as an ounce of truth.

The latest evidence for of this fact comes to us from Denmark.  With a consuming national interest in Greenland going back to the beginning of the last millennium, the Danes have kept careful watch on the weather and surface conditions of the island.  Their most recent findings definitively reveal no large-scale ice loss on Greenland.  Quite the contrary: Greenland is piling massive tonnages of ice as if there's no tomorrow – not to mention no such thing as global warming.

Here are the latest figures from the Danish Meteorological Institute in graphic form:

These graphics show three separate representations dealing of ice cover in Greenland – total amount over the past year, as it appears topographically, and in contrast to the amount of ice melt, which is below average for the entire summer season.  It's clear that Greenland is gaining ice cover, contrary to warmist assertions.

This is also borne out by comparing ice cover over the past three years:

There we have it: ice cover in Greenland is steadily increasing, in defiance of rising carbon levels and even greater levels of green rhetoric.

If "global warming studies" were in fact a science, data of this type would mean tossing out the entire theory and starting from scratch.  But of course, it's no such thing.  So instead, we'll simply hear more squealing and chest-beating from the warmists, the media, and the bureaucrats until the data is piled higher than the ice cap itself.  Then it'll just be something else.


New Film Exposes Communist Roots of “Sustainability” Agenda

A powerful new documentary takes a fresh look at the global “green” agenda, often marketed under the misleading label “sustainable development,” and exposes it for the dangerous assault on human freedom that it is. Beyond that, the film shows how the so-called “sustainability” movement of today is little more than a poorly re-packaged version of the murderous “red” communist agenda that supposedly fell along with the Soviet Union — after killing hundreds of millions of people along the way. The film, It’s Easy Being Green When You Have No Choice: Sustainable Development and the End of History, provides a great deal of evidence and information that all supporters of liberty should be familiar with.

At the center of the scheme for global totalitarianism is the increasingly discredited anthropogenic (man-made) global-warming theory, the film and experts interviewed for it point out. And at the center of that theory is the claim that CO2 drives warming — an idea discredited by, among other evidence, the 18 years and counting in which the undisputed satellite and weather balloon temperature records show no warming. But facts and concerns over the climate were never the real issue, as the film documents using a combination of powerful interviews with experts and even quotes from the key individuals and organizations pushing the anti-human, anti-freedom “sustainability” agenda.

“Ever since the failed Bolshevik revolution the managerial class has been searching for a common enemy for people across the world to unite against,” the narrator explains as the film begins. “They have found it. The new enemy is carbon dioxide.”

CO2, of course, is exhaled by humans and is necessary for plant life. So crucial is CO2 to the planet that scientists have often referred to it as the “gas of life.” Human emissions of CO2, meanwhile, represent a fraction of one percent of all greenhouse gases present naturally in the atmosphere. On top of that, growing amounts of evidence — especially the 18 years and counting of no warming even as CO2 concentrations increased — suggest that carbon dioxide plays only a minor role in the global climate system, if it plays any at all. But because CO2 is emitted during every human activity, including breathing, it is the most perfect enemy imaginable to justify totalitarian control over every element of life.

“Human freedom is the problem and the only solution is to limit and control freedom,” explains the film's narrator, radio host and former meteorologist Brian Sussman. “Through careful marketing techniques and propaganda designed for mass consumption the trusting public has been embracing all of Communism's ultimate goals of redistribution of wealth; dictating and regulating commercial production; controlling land, private property, natural resources, and the economy, diminishing Christianity and the general control of society.”

CO2 and the “climate,” the film and the experts interviewed in it explain clearly, offered the perfect excuse to justify the tyranny. “The whole idea of controlling and limiting carbon dioxide is to control human beings,” says Marc Morano, editor of the Climate Depot website and the producer of a soon-to-be released documentary called Climate Hustle exposing the AGW con. “So if sustainable development becomes even more codified and becomes more accepted and becomes implemented, this is a way for central planners to control human freedom. We have been through this before. We have been down this road before. We have seen the age of the super state in the 20th century and frankly I don’t know that humanity is going to survive this latest assault.”

Morano's commentary in the film, like that of other experts interviewed for it, is insightful and revealing. For example, Morano and others interviewed in the documentary explain how global environmentalism has replaced the Cold War as the key justification for so many of the establishment's agendas. “The idea of sustainable development is that there is a common enemy,” Morano explained. “Now, whether you are rich, whether you are poor, whatever nationality you are, whatever race you are, whatever creed you are, religious — we can all unite. And that is what they were looking for. They wanted a common enemy. I mean, short of an alien invasion from outer space, this was it.”  

Other experts interviewed in the film provide equally compelling commentary on the massive threat facing humanity today. Those experts include author Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, a spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, who touches on the anti-Christian element of the global “sustainability” agenda. He also points out how the agenda is completely incompatible with Christianity and a biblical worldview — a major reason why the attacks against Christians and the Bible are accelerating around the world.  

Beverly Eakman, an author and educator well versed in what is happening in the education system, exposes the use of “green” propaganda in schools and the media to push the sustainability agenda. “The idea that educated people are unsustainable is in the mix of the green agenda,” she explains. The film also brings in quotes from official UN documents stating as much. The Obama administration has also been very open about using the government “education” system to push “sustainability” indoctrination and create “green” citizens.

Also interviewed for the film is climate expert John Casey, the president of the Space and Science Research Corporation, who exposes the false claims surrounding AGW. “Clearly, the reaction, the displays by the global warming or the warmist crowd have reached an all time fever pitch in terms of their anger, their frustration, their attacks on not just global warming critics, but anyone with the scientific data that shows they are wrong,” Casey explains. “This is unparalleled, unprecedented in the modern era, to see these kind of ludicrous extreme attacks that are coming from the warmist community.” He also warned that contrary to the UN narrative about warming, “we are actually going into a new cold climate era.”

Population Research Institute chief Steve Mosher, meanwhile, highlighted the role of the population-control zealots in the whole agenda. “The idea that people cause global warming is driving the population control movement, it is certainly driving the radical environmental movement and it’s driving the sustainable development movement,” he said. “So when you ask, what are these people, the population controllers, in the name of sustainable development or in the name of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, prepared to do? They are prepared to do anything. They are prepared to arrest women for the crime of being pregnant, give them cesarean section abortions and sterilize them for life.”

Cato Institute Senior Fellow Randal O'Toole, who also spoke in the film, noted that sustainability as it is being pushed means much less freedom and much more poverty. He tackles everything associated with so-called “Smart Growth,” which in essence equates to higher prices, less choices, and more government control of housing, food, transportation, and more. The best solution to so many problems, O'Toole also explains, is more freedom and less planning laws at all levels of government.

The film is interspersed with quotes, often from establishment and insider sources, supporting its thesis. For example, one of the key organizations pushing the agenda is the Club of Rome, a pseudo-environmentalist outfit dominated by top globalists and “former” communists. “In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like, would fit the bill,” the group said in its report on the “First Global Revolution.” “All these dangers are caused by human intervention in natural processes, and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviors that they can be overcome. The real enemy then is humanity itself.”

Another key area in which the film adds value is how it exposes the giant role of former Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev and his allies in the shackling of the planet under the guise of phony environmentalism. Just a few years after the ostensible collapse of Soviet tyranny, for instance, Gorbachev worked with top “capitalists” through the United Nations to create the globalist plan for “sustainable development” known as UN “Agenda 21.”

Unsurprisingly, as the film documents extensively, the agenda was remarkably similar to the agenda pursued by Moscow and the international communist conspiracy just a few years before the 1992 UN “sustainable development” summit in Rio de Janeiro — in some cases even the wording is almost identical. Indeed, Gorbachev himself touted the plan in his Club of Rome-endorsed book Prophet of Change: From the Cold War to a Sustainable World.  

Even in the United States, the shift from Red communism to Green tyranny has become readily apparent. Just consider Obama's former “Green Jobs” Czar, Van Jones, who was forced out after past media interviews surfaced in which he identified himself as a revolutionary communist. The so-called “green agenda,” too, brazenly promotes central planning, government control, and more. Most recently, radical state attorneys general have even launched “investigations” into climate skeptics with a goal of prosecuting them.  

Overall, the film does an excellent job of exposing the totalitarian nature of the “sustainable development” agenda. It also provides an extremely valuable service by thoroughly documenting the “sustainability” jihad's extensive links to the “ideology” and even the individual mass murderers behind global communism. In fact, the two movements are essentially inseparable, the only difference being that each movement was able to attract a slightly different variety of well-meaning zealot to advance the same totalitarian cause — dupes that Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin would have referred to as “useful idiots.”

"The climate change debate is more than debating what the climate models say and how people come to accept defacto what they are told by the media," said It's Easy Being Green producer Frank Pinski. "This film tries to get across that the desire of men to control his fellow man never ends, it just changes form. This latest attempt uses the constant changes in the climate to instill fear so that people willingly turn over the regulation of all aspects of their lives to the government. This is reminiscent of Communist society and that is what this film tries to explain."

The documentary is a very good primer for those who are not yet familiar with the dangers of the “sustainable development” movement and green-tinged Marxism in general. But even for longtime readers of this magazine and other well-informed people, there is a lot of valuable information presented in the film. It is worth watching and sharing as Americans gear up to fight back against the extremist agenda at the local, state, and federal level.


Melbourne could run out of water in ten years because of population growth and climate change

Wotta lotta bore-water!  For a start, Melbourne already has a big desalination plant that is hardly used.

Secondly, global warming will produce more evaporation off the oceans and hence MORE rain, not less.

Thirdly, the Snowy scheme already pours lots of dammed water into the sea for "environmental" reasons.  That water could easily be diverted inland into the Murray river. There is already a tunnel for that purpose. And again there is already a pipeline linking the Murray to Melbourne's water supply.

The galoots below would seem not to have a clue about the Melbourne water supply.  They are however Greenies so are probably just frauds who want to frighten people. The only threat to the Melbourne water supply is the Greenies who want to send already-dammed water out to sea

One of the world's most livable cities could be facing an acute water shortage problem in the next ten to 15 years time no thanks to climate change and population growth.

Water supply in Melbourne may fall and reach a crisis point if no precautionary methods are taken to contain the problem from today, reports The Age.

The publication says demand for water in the state is expected to exceed the supply by 2028.

According to projections made by City West Water, Yarra Valley Water and South East Water demand for water is projected to surge to about 75 percent in the next 40 years, the publication reports.

Some water corporation produced the probable scenario for the state's water supply, Environment Victoria's acting chief executive, Nicholas Aberle told Daily Mail Australia.

Mr Aberle said there was a bunch of things that Melbournians can do to address the situation by incorporating several water saving habits.

He said people should learn ways on saving storm water and turning that into a valuable water resource. 'During the drought (1997 to 2009) people were managing water efficiency by only using 155 litres a day.

'People should have a behavioural change and use 100 litres of water a day and handle the water resources efficiently,' he said.

Melbourne Water spokesman Joseph Keller told the publication that people living in the state were 'encouraged to limit their consumption to 155 litres per person per day.'

At present Melbourne Water reports that residents in the state use 162 litres of water per person per day in 2016-17.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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