Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Ford, Rivian, Others Scrap E-Vehicle Plans Amid Pandemic

The economic and logistical toll of the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the rollout of several electric vehicle models, and even canceling one project.

Driving the news: Ford and the EV startup Rivian just scrapped plans to jointly develop a vehicle under the Lincoln brand that would use Rivian’s “skateboard” platform.

But beyond that cancelation, other product launches and schedules are being delayed as the EVs are caught up in the turmoil that’s pushing back various types of cars.

Where it stands: Here are several models affected — or potentially affected — by the crisis.

Rivian has pushed the production of its upcoming electric pickup and SUVs into the first half of 2021 to complete the retooling of an Illinois factory.

General Motors told the EV site Electrek that a “refreshed” version of its Chevrolet Bolt has now been pushed into 2022.

Via coverage in Electrek and TechCrunch, the production and delivery timeline for Chinese EV startup Byton’s M-Byte SUV is now uncertain.

Ford said yesterday that the timing of some of this year’s product launches, including the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, could slide, depending on how long its operations are disrupted.

The startup Lordstown Motors said last week that production of its Endurance pickup is now slated for January of 2021 instead of late this year.

The big picture: Beyond the immediate delays, the industry’s big investments in electrification could be slowed. “[We] anticipate many auto companies will cut back on their EV efforts or delay them significantly to address near term cash needs,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the consultancy Wood Mackenzie sees near-term effects on the consumer side, forecasting a 43% drop in global EV sales this year.


Al Gore Falsely Claims Fossil Fuels Raise Coronavirus Death Rate

Al Gore falsely attempted to blame fossil fuels for raising the coronavirus death rate during a February 27 MSNBC interview. In reality, economic prosperity brought by the use of abundant, affordable fossil fuels results in lower death rates from viruses and epidemics. Also, viruses like influenza and COVID-19 thrive in cold climate conditions and are inhibited by warmer temperatures.

“This climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic are linked in some ways,” Gore said on MSNBC, as reported by The Hill. “The preconditions that raise the death rate from COVID-19, a great many of them, are accentuated, made worse by the fossil fuel pollution.”

Scientists have long known that cold temperatures are a key factor in the annual death toll for influenza, which kills an average of approximately 36,000 Americans per year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) documents that flu season ramps up when the weather turns cold, and then peters out when warm temperatures return. According to CDC, “influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.”

According to Harvard University researchers, “In the southern hemisphere, however, where winter comes during our summer months, the flu season falls between June and September. In other words, wherever there is winter, there is flu. In fact, even its name, “influenza” may be a reference to its original Italian name, influenza di freddo, meaning “influence of the cold”.

“[A]t least in regions that have a winter season, the influenza virus survives longer in cold, dry air, so it has a greater chance of infecting another person,” the Harvard researchers added.

Scientists are still learning about COVID-19, but preliminary evidence indicates warmer temperatures have either minor or significant impacts reducing the spread and harm of coronavirus. Warmer temperatures certainly do not make COVID-19 worse.

According to a publication released by Harvard Medical School, a recent study by the National Academies of Sciences “found that in laboratory settings, higher temperatures and higher levels of humidity decreased survival of the COVID-19 coronavirus.” The scientists are currently attempting to determine whether this will also be the case in natural environments outside the laboratory.

In fact, cold temperatures kill many more people – for a variety of reasons – than warm or hot temperatures.


Alarmist Media Wrong Again – Facts Prove More CO2 Benefits Crops and Plant Life

At the very top of Google News searches for “climate change” this week, an article in The Conversation falsely claims more atmospheric carbon dioxide will bring few if any benefits regarding plant life. The article completely ignores many documented benefits of carbon dioxide for crops and plant life.

The article, “Climate explained: why higher carbon dioxide levels aren’t good news, even if some plants grow faster,” claims, “At best, you might be mowing your lawn twice as often or harvesting your plantation forests faster.”

The author, Sebastian Leuzinger, acknowledges in passing that increased carbon dioxide helps plants grow faster and larger, and even improves their use of water. He attempts to dismiss this by putting the worst possible spin on it, suggesting that the primary result is people will have to more frequently engage in the unpleasant task of mowing our lawns. Putting the worst possible spin on good climate news is a common tactic of climate activists.

Higher carbon dioxide levels and modest warming have resulted in crop yields setting records nearly every year. This is much more impactful than mowing lawns more frequently, and an incredible benefit for human health and welfare. Also, greater crop yields mean we can preserve more open spaces for the environment rather than farms.

Leuzinger also complains that more abundant, faster-growing plant life will not necessarily absorb more carbon from the atmosphere. But we don’t want all or most of the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide to be locked away forever. Rather we want plants to use it to grow more abundantly, providing food for plant and animal life on land and in the oceans. As documented in Climate Change Reconsidered: Biological Impacts (CCRBI), carbon dioxide enriched plant growth has contributed to record crop yields, helping to bring about the largest decline in hunger, malnutrition, and starvation in human history.

So, regardless of what climate alarmists and their media sock puppets say, more abundant and faster-growing plant life is more than simply mowing our lawns more frequently. More atmospheric carbon dioxide benefits crop production, plant life, and human health and welfare.


Australia: $300m clean energy fund to back fossil-fuel hydrogen projects
The Morrison government has committed $300 million to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and instructed it to invest in new hydrogen energy projects including those powered by fossil fuels.

The move makes clear the government's position on the debate over the potential to develop an emissions-free hydrogen industry powered exclusively by renewable energy.

"Gas and gas transmission networks already play an essential role in energy reliability, but gas has even more potential as a resource to produce and transmit hydrogen," said Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor.

Renewable energy advocates, along with Labor-led governments in Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT, argue fossil-fuelled hydrogen should be barred from public funds, which should flow to “green hydrogen” powered by renewables. State governments contribute to regulation of the energy sector through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

But crucially for Mr Taylor, he secured majority support at the November COAG meeting to develop a hydrogen industry under a "technology-neutral" approach including all power source options.

Hydrogen has emerged in recent months as a key element of the Morrison government’s emissions reduction strategy, which Mr Taylor said would be based on a "technology investment road map".

Mr Taylor said his goal was to back projects that could reach a long-term goal of producing hydrogen at $2 a kilogram – the point "where hydrogen becomes competitive with alternative energy sources in large-scale deployment across our energy systems".

The announcement of the Advancing Hydrogen Fund follows a crash in the global oil market crash. The fall has flowed on to lower gas prices, which Mr Taylor said “provides us with an opportunity for strategic economic stimulus”.

The government has estimated an Australian hydrogen industry could create more than 8000 jobs and generate about $11 billion a year in GDP by 2050.

Chief Scientist Alan Finkel has said a domestic hydrogen industry could underpin an energy export boom for Australia, and Australia should develop it using renewables and fossil fuel to avoid the risks associated with reliance on any one fuel source.

"By producing hydrogen from natural gas or coal, using carbon capture and permanent storage, we can add back two more lanes to our energy highway, ensuring we have four primary energy sources to meet the needs of the future – solar, wind, hydrogen from natural gas, and hydrogen from coal," Dr Finkel said.

"Think for a moment of the vast amounts of steel, aluminium and concrete needed to support, build and service solar and wind structures.

"What if there was a resources shortage? It would be prudent, therefore, to safeguard against any potential resource limitations with another energy source."

In time, green hydrogen could take over and drive a net zero emissions global economy, according to Dr Finkel.

The Advancing Hydrogen Fund will provide debt or equity finance to commercial projects requiring $10 million or more in capital, which Clean Energy Finance Corporation chief executive Ian Learmonth said would fill market gaps created by "technology, development or commercial challenges".

Mr Taylor recently announced a $70 million fund for green hydrogen project development through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.



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