Monday, August 19, 2019

UK: Surge in electric car sales could crash the National Grid by 2040, energy expert warns

This is only the latest problem for mass use of electric cars. People all seem to be closing their eyes to the limited practicality of electric cars in general.  Something nobody is mentioning is what happens if you arrive at a charging station and all the charging points already have other electric vehicles plugged into them? You might have to wait hours until one of them is charged enough to be unplugged.

So you will not only have to wait for your own car to charge up but also wait until someone else's car is charged up.  That could be a very long wait during which you would just be twiddling your thumbs

And you thought that having to line up for 5 minutes at a petrol/gasoline station during busy periods was a drag!   Clearly, electric cars will never be practical for anything but commuter round trips.  They will only be practical if you can do all your charging at home.

And what about winter?  Heating is a huge drain on batteries so if you heat your car in severe weather you can kiss most of your range goodbye!  So electric cars will only be practical for short trips in summer -- and almost never in Canada!  Conventional vehicles will always be in big demand. How Greenies manage to blind so many people to these huge problems is a mystery

A spike in demand for electricity to power the growing network of plug-in cars could cripple the National Grid by 2040, an energy expert has warned today.

Mark Sait, chief executive of SaveMoneyCutCarbon believes that if UK electric car sales rise at the same rate as they have across the rest of Europe, it could result in blackouts and the grid crashing due to insufficient power supplies, similar to those experienced last week.

He warned: 'A rapid upsurge in hybrid and full electric vehicles could create real concerns.'

The uptake of electric cars in Britain is currently way behind other markets across the EU, the energy expert pointed out.

This is down to a number of factors, though the most significant centre around more enticing financial subsidies for the purchase of electric cars and a better charging infrastructure than what's on offer in the UK.

A report from the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association shows the sale of hybrid and full electric vehicles in Britain in the first quarter of 2019 increased by a modest 2.9 per cent in the last year. This compared to the EU average of 40 per cent.

Sait describes Britain as being at 'the starting blocks' of battery vehicle uptake, while in countries like Norway - which is one of the leading nations for electric car adoption - almost half of new models registered in 2018 were plug-in models.

But he warned that if Britain caught up with the rest of Europe in terms of electric car adoption, the National Grid would not be able to cope by 2040.

'The spike in demand from EVs could very well cause blackouts in certain areas of the UK, with there not being enough power generated, or particularly if the technology generating that power had not been upgraded,' he explained.

The National Grid has come under scrutiny in the last week following power cuts that caused travel chaos and left more than a million homes without electricity on Friday evening.

Operators blamed issues with two generators for the blackouts, with Ofgem demanding a full investigation for the cause of the power cuts.

Previous reports from the National Grid have said it would require an additional 20 per cent energy capacity by 2050 in preparation for an increased number of vehicles plugging into the mains.

However, Sait said these estimations were made without factoring in a significant rise in potential EV uptake in the UK similar to the rest of the EU.

The chances of more drivers being convinced to make the switch to electric vehicles is a real possibility in the coming years.

Models like the Volkswagen I.D. range are due to hit the market soon, offering genuine alternatives to combustion-engine models thanks to longer ranges, more performance, shorter charging times and - hopefully - more affordable prices.

Higher taxes on diesel cars in particular, restrictions from Ultra Low Emission Zones and Clean Air Zones and the impending ban on the sale of new vehicles with traditional engines will also see appetite for plug-in motors increase.

But Sait warned that the cost to improve the nation's electrical grid to cope with such increases in demand would be 'significant'.


Greta Thunberg's two-week trip across Atlantic in 'zero-carbon yacht' may generate more emissions than it saves as two of the crew have to FLY to New York to bring the boat back to Europe

On Wednesday, the Swedish eco-campaigner left Plymouth on the Malizia II

Greta Thunberg's trans-Atlantic voyage in a 'zero-carbon yacht' has been rocked by revelations that crew will fly to New York in a gas-guzzling plane to bring the boat back to Europe.

It is claimed that this would generate more emissions than the yacht saves and threatens to leave the 16-year-old's plans to chart an environmentally friendly route to the United States in tatters.

On Wednesday, the Swedish eco-campaigner left Plymouth on the Malizia II for a two-week journey to the United Nations headquarters where she will address a climate change meeting.

But last night, it was confirmed that two crew will have to fly to the US east coast city to man the 60ft yacht on its return.

'We added the trip to New York City at very short notice, and as a result two people will need to fly over to the US in order to bring the boat back,' a Team Malizia spokeswoman told the Times.

She added: 'The world has not yet found a way to make it possible to cross an ocean without a carbon footprint.'

And a further two sailors who are currently on board the Malizia II with Greta may use air travel to get back to Europe.

Greta, who is taking a sabbatical year from school, will be joining large-scale climate demonstrations and speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit hosted by secretary-general Antonio Guterres in New York in September.

She is also planning to visit Canada and Mexico before travelling to this year's UN climate conference, which is taking place in Santiago, Chile, in December, making her journeys by train and bus.

The two-week sailing trip means she can attend the summits without using planes or cruise ships which cause greenhouse gas emissions.

She said her adventure would have challenges including seasickness but said many people in the world were suffering a lot more than that.

To keep herself occupied during the journey she has books, board games and a rabbit teddy bear, which was a gift from a friend.

The journey takes about two weeks - the yacht can travel at speeds of around 43mph but will be heading into the wind for much of the time so will be slower, and the captain wants a smooth ride.

Before setting sail, Herrmann said: 'The objective is to arrive safe and sound in New York.'

The yacht is made for racing, with foils, or wings, that lift it out of the water for a faster and smoother ride.

Inside it is sparse, fitted with high-tech navigation equipment, an on-board ocean laboratory to monitor CO2 levels in the water, and four bunks - Herrmann and Casiraghi will share one, sleeping in turns.

The toilet is a blue plastic bucket, complete with a biodegradable bag that can be thrown overboard, and meals will be freeze-dried packets of vegan food mixed with water heated on a tiny gas stove.

But state-of-the-art solar panels adorn the yacht's deck and sides while there are two hydro-generators, which together provide all the electricity they need on board.


How far can Tesla's Model 3 really go? On-road measurements reveal the 'affordable' electric car falls short of its claimed range by 90 MILES

Tesla's Model 3 is arguably the most hotly anticipated electric car yet.

Not just because some customers have had to wait (and in many cases are still waiting) more than two years after originally placing their deposits, but also due to the promises that it most usable than any modestly-priced battery-powered rival on sale.

However, new real-world measurements have revealed that the £36,500-plus car doesn't match the driving distances being claimed.

In fact, the most expensive variant it sells in the UK was found to fall 90 miles short of its 'official' range.

Consumer car title What Car? has ran two versions of the most affordable model in the American firm's fleet through its own controlled Real Range test.

These measurements are used to determine what the actual ranges of electric cars are in normal driving scenarios, rather than customers having to rely on the claimed figures from laboratory tests that tend not to be achievable in the real world. 

The first of the two models tested was the Standard Range Plus. This is the entry-spec version that can go from zero to 60mph in 5.3 seconds, has a top speed of 140mph and costs £36,490. And its 'official' range is quoted as 254 miles.

Official ranges are the figures achieved during Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) cycles, which is the measure used for all official miles per gallon stats in conventional vehicles and ranges of electric-powered cars.

However, the What Car? test found that the real-world range of a much lower 196 miles.

That's 58 miles shy of the claimed distance between charges - almost a quarter (23 per cent) less than the Tesla sales brochure will lead you to believe.

And the difference between claimed and real-world driving distance is even greater in the most expensive variant.

The Model 3 Performance, which is the priciest sold to UK customers costing £49,140, is the quickest of Tesla's small saloon. It can hit 60mph from a standstill in just 3.2 seconds and 162mph flat out.

The range is longer than any other example in the line-up, too, according to WLTP figures.

It's advertised to be able to go for 329 miles on a full charge - which is the equivalent of travelling from London to Carlisle without having to stop to replenish the batteries.

However, What Car?'s measurement found the real range was just 239 miles. That's 90 miles short of the claimed figure and 27 per cent less than what official stats suggests.

If you are planning a trip from London to Carlisle in one, it means you will have to stop shortly after passing Wigan to plug the vehicle in, or else be stranded somewhere on the side of the M6.

While these figures are fairly disappointing - especially for the handful of Britons who have already taken delivery of their Model 3 - it isn't an anomaly when you compare it to the rest of the electric-car market.

When What Car? has tested battery-electric vehicles from other manufacturers in the past, the range tends to fall well short of claims.

For instance, the VW e-Golf in the real world is 69 miles short of the official figure. However, with a claimed range of just 186 miles, it means it is 37 per cent away from the advertised distance quoted for a full battery charge.


The junk science behind the anti-birth movement

Harry and Meghan’s two-child pledge is based on some seriously dodgy assumptions.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have committed to having a maximum of two children because of the damage that having too many children apparently causes the planet. The couple is not alone. Climate activists in the BirthStrike movement have vowed to have no children at all until governments get a handle on climate change. In fact, for a long time now, neo-Malthusians and eco-puritans have opposed childbirth on environmental grounds.

Their argument against childbirth goes like this: climate change is caused by man-made CO2. People consume things over their lifetimes, and, in the process, create more CO2. More people means more CO2, therefore more people can only be a bad thing. The broadminded among us might think that society contains more than just individual consumers. But once environmentalists accepted this kind of kindergarten logic, it was only a matter of time before they began to calculate just how much CO2 each new child is to blame for.

At Oregon State University, statistician Paul Murtaugh and oceanographer Michael Schlax produced one of the most widely cited and influential papers on the link between childbirth and climate change. It estimates the extra emissions created by the average individual when they have children. Importantly, it factors in not just the CO2 associated with each new child’s birth, but also the CO2 associated with that child’s descendants. The basic premise is that ‘a person is responsible for the carbon emissions of his descendants’. The authors qualify this by weighting each descendant by their relatedness to that person. According to the researchers’ methodology, ‘a mother and father are each responsible for half of the emissions of their offspring, and a quarter of the emissions of their grandchildren’. The inevitable conclusion is that, ‘The summed emissions of a person’s descendants… may far exceed the lifetime emissions produced by the original parent’.

The study looks as far forward as the year 2400. It factors in current and future fertility rates, rates of mortality, and CO2 per head – as estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Personal Emissions Calculator. It concludes that while right-on, environmental changes to lifestyle ‘must propagate through future generations in order to be fully effective’, an American woman could, by adopting such changes, only save 486 US tons of CO2 emissions in her lifetime. By contrast, were she to have two children, she would add more than 18,000 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere after her death.

The problems with this approach are clear. First, the potential development of carbon-capture technologies or carbon-neutral energy is completely overlooked – even by 2400, four centuries from now, the study expects us to be using the same production methods. Secondly, the methodology is a form of double-counting: parents are not only held ‘responsible’ for their own emissions, but also for the emissions of each of their children and their children’s descendants. And finally, how useful is it to calculate average emissions when we live in a society where some take the Clapham Omnibus while the likes of Prince Harry and his offspring will fly by private jet?

In 2017, an anti-natalist paper from the Centre for Sustainability Studies in Lund, Sweden also made headlines. Researchers Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas repeat the flawed Oregon methodology. Their main concern is with educating adolescents, who ‘can act as a catalyst to change their household’s behaviour’. They complain that current textbooks ‘overwhelmingly focus on moderate or low-impact actions’.

Again, the researchers’ framework is entirely personal. Technological solutions or inequality don’t feature. They conclude that when it comes to lowering our personal emissions of CO2, having one fewer child beats, by a country mile, even drastic actions like giving up all car travel (including in electric vehicles) and meat. According to their calculations, as an average per year, in developed countries, having one fewer child saves 58.6 metric tons of greenhouse gases; eschewing cars, just 2.4 tons; avoiding a return transatlantic flight,1.6 tons; and eating a plant-based diet, 0.8 tons. The researchers call for the Western world to ‘improve existing educational and communication structures’ to match this reality – in other words, to indoctrinate teenagers at school to have as few children as possible in later life.

These two widely cited papers make up much of the pseudoscience behind today’s neo-Malthusian movements. They discount the possibility of technological solutions, ignore economic inequalities and the fact that there is more to the economy than just consumption. Indeed, they echo Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement that there is ‘no such thing’ as society: that there is only ‘the acts of individuals and families’. And like Thatcher, they are anti-human and reactionary. Instead of arguing for technological progress, the researchers would prefer to indoctrinate the young – who, ideally, can also be co-opted to tell their parents how to behave.

In fact, there is even something of the Old Testament about this movement. In terms of CO2 emissions, they indict the ‘iniquity of fathers’ (and mothers). If these neo-Malthusians have their way, every child, ‘to the third and fourth generation’ and beyond, will grow up regretting their parents’ decision to have them.


Reports of the Great Barrier Reef’s doom are exaggerated

Master reef guide Natalie Lobartolo has a first-hand window into what the world thinks about the Great Barrier Reef. She says the most common comment from tourists after they experience the reef and waters around Lady ­Musgrave Island where she works is: “I thought the reef was dead but it’s amazing.”

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley had a similar experience last week when she snorkelled over two reefs off Cairns.

On her first official visit to the Great Barrier Reef, Ley said she found it difficult to reconcile what she saw in the water with what had been said around the world.  “The reef is not dead,” was her appraisal. “It is not dying. I would not even say it is on life support.

“Tourism operators want a very clear message that the reef is definitely not dead, that it is amazing and one of the true wonders of the world and it is worth visiting.

“Having seen it for myself I can certainly endorse that. That is a ­really clear message that I want people to hear.”

The results of first-hand observations from two snorkels may not meet the test of scientific rigour. But along the Queensland coast there is a pushback that challenges the now familiar message of the reef’s doom.

A lecture tour by controversial marine scientist Peter Ridd has ­attracted hundreds of people and is only half way through a program that stretches throughout the ­sugar cane centres from Bundaberg to Cairns.

The tour has been promoted by the sugar cane and other agriculture ­industries that face the prospect of strict new regulations under a reef water quality bill before state parliament. Liberal National Party MPs at state and federal level have embraced Ridd’s call for greater quality assurance of the science. But conservation groups are alarmed Ridd is getting a platform to express his views.

Ridd was sacked by James Cook University after being disciplined for not being collegiate. That sacking was ruled unlawful by the Federal Court but its finding is being appealed by JCU.

Like it or not, science groups have been forced to engage with Ridd’s message that the findings of key reef research should be checked.

Ridd’s message on his lecture tour is that coral cover has not changed and that there is still excellent coral cover on all 3000 reefs across the Great Barrier Reef system. He also says there is almost no land sediment on the reef from run-off from agricultural processes.

Ridd’s findings have struck a chord with canegrowers, who are being asked to change their practices to satisfy UNESCO requirements that Australia is respecting its obligations to retain World Heritage status for the reef.

A suite of measures by the ­Abbott government, including a ban on dredge spoils from new port developments being dumped in reef waters, was enough to ­remove the threat of an “in-danger” listing for the reef.

Since then there have been two bleaching events and damaging cyclones that have had a big impact on coral cover, which is now recovering.

The Great Barrier Reef is again due to be considered by the World Heritage Committee next year and the proposed Queensland water quality regulations are seen as part of a broader campaign to keep the reef off the in-danger watch list.

Environment groups are ­pushing for more regulation and most likely would welcome intervention by UNESCO. But the bruising campaign last time damaged the global reputation of the reef among potential tourists and left the tourism industry crying foul.

Ridd says this is a prime reason to get the science right. He says reef science is affecting every major industry in north Queensland: mining, agriculture and ­tourism.

The legislation before state parliament will hurt agriculture badly, he says. It sets nutrient and sediment pollution load limits for each of the six reef catchments and ­limits fertiliser use for crops and grain production, covering agricultural activities in all Great Barrier Reef catchments.

The message Ridd wants people to take home from his talks is that there has been a massive exaggeration of threats to the Great Barrier Reef. He accuses the reef institutions of producing untrustworthy results because of inadequate quality assurance systems and says that must be corrected before any new legislation is introduced.

And he says there is an urgent need for an independent body to run through the Auditor-General’s office and examine the science used for public policy.

Bundaberg Canegrowers manager Dale Holliss says Ridd has ­allowed many to articulate concerns they may have already had. “Peter Ridd basically when he talks says … it is the only science we have, so we do need a process where we actually check it,” Holliss says. However, environment groups say Ridd’s tour has been “simply spreading misinformation”.

The Australian Coral Reef ­Society says several of Ridd’s claims are not true, while others could be characterised as straw-man arguments that ignore much greater challenges faced by the Great Barrier Reef.

“As the reef is facing fundamental challenges from rapidly warming oceans, it is important that governments take action to support a rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while taking all available steps to reduce the amount of sediments, nutrients and pesticides that reach the reef lagoon,” the society argues.

Ley says she is “not downplaying the seriousness of climate change” but acknowledges that some people are understandably confused. “Tourism operators are saying they want somewhere to go to say that is the truth,” she says. “My answer is they can go to the Australian Institute of Marine Science.”

So what does AIMS say about water quality and the issues raised by Ridd? In a statement to ­Inquirer, AIMS chief executive Paul Hardisty says there is a natural improvement in water quality from inshore to offshore reefs ­because inshore reefs are exposed to increased sediment from wind and rough seas.

Mid-shelf and offshore reefs typically have better water quality as these regions are flushed more frequently with waters from the Coral Sea. As such, material ­delivered into the inshore region via rivers remains close to the coast for extended periods.

When it comes to water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, researchers agree it is uncommon for sediment plumes to regularly reach outer-shelf reefs. During flood events, most sediments are deposited relatively close to river mouths.

Hardisty says enhanced sediment loads from farmed catchments increase the amount (and duration) of sediment that is resuspended locally around river mouths, on inshore reefs close to rivers and along the inner shelf.

He says analysis of 11 years of satellite imagery for the whole Great Barrier Reef shows water clarity is significantly reduced for up to six months after every big flood from the central and southern rivers, but not so much from the far northern rivers.

Several studies have shown fine particles of nutrient-enriched and organic-rich sediments can settle on inshore and mid-shelf reefs during calm periods and have the potential to kill young corals within 48 hours and adult corals in three to seven days, depending on the species.

Hardisty agrees there are many conditions that increase nutrient concentrations, including oceanographic processes and upwelling, liberation of nutrients contained in sediments, and inputs from ­riverine systems that may be ­enhanced above natural levels by residual nutrients from agricultural or industrial activities.

The AIMS says long-term monitoring of cycles of ecosystem decline and recovery tells us that the Great Barrier Reef is under stress. Its latest condition report, published last month, found average hard coral cover had continued to decline in the central and southern Great Barrier Reef while stabilising in the northern region this year.

This decline is because of ­numerous and successive disturbances including outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish, tropical cyclones and coral bleaching. The central region’s highest recorded average coral cover was 22 per cent in 2016 compared with 12 per cent this year, and the southern ­region had 43 per cent coral cover in 1988 compared with 24 per cent this year. Hard coral cover in the northern region increased slightly from 11 per cent in 2017 to 14 per cent this year but was down from 30 per cent in 1988.

Hardisty says disturbances such as bleaching, cyclones and crown-of-thorns outbreaks are ­occurring more often, are longer-lasting and more severe.

This means coral reefs have less time to recover. Right now, however, there is still plenty to see.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Great Barrier Reef has been dying and will gone in a few years since the 1970's.

And yet it never seems to get the message.