Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Electric vehicles are 'almost THREE TIMES greener' than petrol or diesel cars - even when taking into account battery and electricity production, Greenie CO2 calculator claims

This is not particularly surprising.  The whole point of electric cars is to emit less CO2.  Whether the difference is as great as the Greenie calculator says is however unlikely

One of the fiercest debates around electric cars is how green they are when you take into account the production of batteries and the energy to power them.

One report has found that electric models in Europe emit, on average, almost three times less CO2 than equivalent petrol and diesel cars, according to the figures from a new online calculator.

And the tool has estimated that electric cars will reduce CO2 emissions four-fold by 2030 as the Europe's energy gird moves increasingly towards renewables.

The calculator has been created by a green transport group to promote electric vehicle adoption and also show the scale of the environmental impact of motorists shifting to plug-in cars.

Lucien Mathieu, an analyst at Transport & Environment, said the tool 'puts to rest the myth that driving an electric car in Europe can be worse for the climate than an equivalent diesel or petrol'. He adds: 'The most up-to-date data shows that electric cars in the EU emit almost three times less CO2 on average.'

T&E says this green gap between internal combustion engine vehicles and electric cars will widen by 2030 thanks to an EU grid relying more and more on renewable energy.

The tool doesn't use lab test figures for petrol and diesel cars as the campaign group says they 'seriously underestimate real-world fuel consumption and therefore CO₂ emissions', despite them being used as official figures by car makers in sales brochures,

For diesel and petrol cars, the measurement of CO2 is the average real-world consumption of the top 10 most-sold vehicles in 2018 for each vehicle category, including superminis, medium-size family hatchbacks, SUVs and so on.

Fuel and energy consumption is based on the declared values provided by millions of drivers, taken from the German Spritmonitor database.

Electric cars, which produce zero tailpipe emissions, were - of course - measured differently. 

Full lifecycle carbon emissions from electricity generation have been taken into account.

This includes emissions generated by burning fossil fuels in power plants (e.g. coal or gas) to produce electricity, but also the upstream emissions from the production of the powerplants.

For renewables, the upstream emissions from the extraction of the metals and the manufacturing of the solar panels or the wind turbines are also included.

As a consequence, no source of electricity is completely zero CO2 emissions (the lowest being wind electricity).

As well as electricity generation, all emissions from the battery production are included, such as the mining and refining of the materials.

However, T&E says the recycling of the batteries is not yet taken into account by this tool because, it states, there is 'little solid evidence to support what could be the impact of recycling'.

It added: 'Existing studies provide values that are within the margin of error and do not rely on fully scaled-up and efficient recycling plants.'

With all these factors taken into account, the tool shows that electric cars in Europe emit, on average, almost three times less CO2 than equivalent petrol/diesel cars.

In the worst case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in China and driven in Poland - which is the European nation most heavily reliant on coal-powered stations to generate electricity - still emits 22 per cent less CO2 than a diesel and 28 per cent less than a motor with a petrol engine.

And in the best case scenario, an electric car with a battery produced in Sweden and driven in Sweden can emit 80 per cent less CO2 than diesel and 81 per cent less than petrol, the tool suggests.

The eco transport campaigners want European governments to take account of the environmental benefits of electric vehicles and to speed up the transition to them.

T&E, based in Brussels, is supported by 62 organisations (52 members and 10 supporters) working to promote smarter, cleaner transport in 24 countries across Europe.

Members are not-for-profit national organisations with an interest in transport users and the environmental and health impacts of transport, with funding coming from various sources - including Transport for London in the UK.


A pandemic is the wrong time to shut down NYC’s top source of electricity

The devastation being wrought by the coronavirus has underscored two undeniable facts. First: We were woefully unprepared for a black-swan event like this pandemic. Second: Modern society — our medical system, in particular — is completely dependent on the electric grid.

What if New York’s electric grid were to be hit by another black swan during the pandemic, triggering blackouts across significant parts of the city?

That terrifying thought is relevant now because the city’s single most important source of electricity — the Indian Point Energy Center, which sits about 40 miles due north of Times Square in Westchester County— is being permanently shuttered.

By the end of this month, one of the two reactors at the 2,069-megawatt facility will stop producing power. The remaining reactor will be shut down next April.

This is the exact wrong time to be closing Indian Point, which by itself reliably provides about 25 percent of the electricity consumed in New York City. Closing the plant will reduce the resilience of New York’s electric grid and increase the state’s reliance on natural gas for electricity production.

What if gas supplies were suddenly stopped or reduced due to an accident, terrorism or a cyberattack? (Recall, too, that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been blocking new gas pipelines for years.)

Renewable-energy advocates have repeatedly claimed wind and solar energy can supplant Indian Point’s juice output. Yet due to ferocious opposition from rural towns and counties, very little onshore wind-energy capacity is being built in the state.

Offshore wind has potential, but building enough capacity to replace Indian Point could take decades. And what would happen if those wind turbines were destroyed by a hurricane?

The decision to prematurely shutter the nuclear plant was a victory for environmental groups — including Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council — which repeatedly claimed Indian Point was unsafe and that the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity it produces every year could be replaced by renewables and increases in efficiency.

The groups convinced Cuomo of that, and three years ago, he announced the plan to close Indian Point. At the time, he declared that when the plant closes, “New Yorkers can sleep a little better.” Last year, Cuomo signed into law a bill that requires 70 percent of the state’s electricity be derived from renewables by 2030.

Today, our hospitals are being flooded with sick people who need ventilators and other electricity-dependent equipment to stay alive. If you were one of those virus-stricken patients, what would you choose to power your ventilator? Solar panels and wind turbines or a 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant?

The essential point here is that electric grids — particularly those in densely populated cities like New York — should not be too reliant on any one thing, be it a transformer, transmission line, fuel source or generation facility.

Angry US landowners are killing off renewable energy projects
And yet, that is exactly what is happening: New York is concentrating its risks on a single fuel: natural gas.

In 2018, I was lucky to get a tour of Indian Point. I walked through the hangar-like turbine hall of the Unit 2 reactor. After seeing it up close, I became convinced that Indian Point is one of New York’s most valuable assets.

It’s a marvel of engineering and ingenuity that should be appreciated alongside other iconic landmarks, like the Hoover Dam. Alas, the workers at Indian Point have already begun reducing the power output of Unit 2 in anticipation of the April 30 shutdown.

New Yorkers take cheap, abundant, reliable electricity as a given. Yet the coronavirus proves that black swans can have calamitous impacts on modern societies.

Amid the current devastation, Cuomo should immediately order that Indian Point remain online to help assure the reliability of electric supplies. And New Yorkers must hope that another black swan doesn’t alight on the electric grid and, in doing so, turn the current crisis into an even greater catastrophe.


Even Facing A Pandemic, New York State Remains In The Grip Of The Green Movement

One breakout political star of the Coronavirus crisis has been New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. His daily briefings have been direct and succinct.

Cuomo often says that numbers will drive the policy. Unfortunately, in the energy context, the Governor has not always acted in this fashion. Last week, even in the face of the virus pandemic, his government made budgetary decisions that could hurt New York State’s ability to react to a hypothetical new pandemic, or a resurgence of the present one.

In its Fiscal 2021 State budget, the New York Legislature codified a ban of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in New York State. Previously, Governor Cuomo and his predecessor had instituted a ban by gubernatorial initiative, leaving open the possibility of reversing course in the future. The codification of such a ban into law means it would take an act of the State Legislature to reverse it - a much tougher process.

While the New York fracking ban has had little real impact on natural gas development in the Northeast (except to New York’s Southern Tier counties of Broome and Chemung, who sit upon rich shale gas deposits that could bolster their economy but are unusable), in recent years Governor Cuomo has gone further in implementing a so-called “Green Agenda.” Using a little known section of the Federal Clean Water Act called the Section 401 Clean Streams Certification, Cuomo has blocked the construction of interstate gas pipelines previously approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency charged with rationalizing decisions made on interstate energy commerce. Cuomo’s actions have made both the New York City metropolitan area and New England dangerously exposed in times of energy needs, as pipelines are the cleanest and most efficient means of transporting natural gas and oil, but a ban on pipelines in New York means the gas and oil cannot reach New England through the most direct route possible.

Governor Cuomo didn’t stop there. Despite policies like the above that severely limit the importation into and  use of natural gas in New York State, his government plans to shut down the two remaining reactors of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant in Westchester County, New York, which currently provide about 25% of New York City’s energy needs. The first reactor is set to be mothballed this month.

From where will New York get the energy to replace Indian Point? The Governor talks about using offshore wind farms, hydroelectric power from Canada, and other sources, but they remain theoretical – and there are many impediments to any of them eventually becoming reality.  It would not be a stretch to wonder if the Governor is entrusting New York State’s energy needs to hope and wishful thinking. If so, there couldn’t be a worse time to do so.

If Downstate New York needs one thing right now, it’s reliable energy. Nothing would turn the current COVID-19 calamity into a catastrophe quicker than rolling blackouts. To date, from an energy perspective New York has been fortunate. The general economic downturn combined with the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia both have depressed demand for energy and driven down its price. In addition, the COVID-19 outbreak followed a mild winter as the Northeast warmed into spring. But things easily could have gone the other way, and still can.

Saudi Arabia's mercurial ruler Prince Muhammed Bin Salman and Russia's Vladimir Putin seemed on the verge of creating their own energy axis prior to the current spat. Nothing prevents them from doing so in the future. Should they agree on a production cut to stabilize the oil markets, and should the natural gas and oil bottlenecks caused by Governor Cuomo's pipeline policies help bankrupt American shale producers, which always remains a possibility in a severely collapsing economy wrought by COVID-19, then once again the United States could be at the mercy of foreign energy suppliers with their own political agendas for our indispensable energy needs.

Further, should the Coronavirus problem continue and even get worse as we head into periods where we need greater energy for air conditioning or heat, the current economic damage will only be magnified by the large energy costs we so far have avoided. To take it to the extreme, should New York, as in 2018, need to import energy from Russia despite having the world's richest natural gas fields three hours away in the Marcellus Shale region, who's to say if Putin will come to the rescue, and if he does what price would he charge?

None of this is out of the question or fanciful. The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 hit in three waves lasting from March 1918 to the summer of 1919. China already seems to be starting a second wave of COVID-19. During the first wave in the United States, Andrew Cuomo has taken a difficult situation handed to him and handled it well. Should it hit again, this time with no Indian Point providing nuclear power, no gas pipelines or in-State fracking providing natural gas power, and few American energy producers available to offset the cost of foreign energy, Governor Cuomo may have some real explaining to do.


Financiers of poverty, malnutrition and death

Private ‘philanthropic’ foundations join government agencies in funding anti-technology NGOs

Paul Driessen

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization, anti-development banks, the Agency for International Development (USAID), NGO (non-government organization) pressure groups and other eco-imperialists are properly condemned for using their money, power, and control over trade and lending to keep millions of African, Asian and Latin American families from having access to reliable, affordable energy, pesticides and spatial insect repellants to prevent disease, and modern agricultural technologies.

Those outfits perpetuate poverty, disease, malnutrition and death. Yet the eco-manslaughter continues.

Too many US, EU and UN government agencies have been captured by neo-colonialist elements in their leadership and ranks, and among the politicians who set their budgets and programs. The NGOs enjoy tax-exempt status and global prestige, because the human and environmental costs of their policies rarely receive more than superficial scrutiny by media, human rights or other “watchdogs.”

But the fact is, few NGOs would even exist without the wealthy foundations that finance them. Indeed, “philanthropic” foundation support for radical environmentalist groups and campaigns is one of the best kept secrets of modern society. It’s time to spotlight some of them and call them to account.

Wealthy foundations – often created with profits and fortunes made in industry and technology – directly and indirectly support some of the most radical anti-energy, anti-technology and agro-ecology activism in America, Europe and the world. Their wealth, direct and indirect aid mechanisms, and inter-locking global network of funders, managers and advisors make them a powerful, callous, oppressive force.

They use direct donations and a growing number of clever non-transparent pass-through operations (funds of funds, or foundations of foundations) to consolidate money from multiple donors and direct “charitable giving” to organizations and projects that support their ideologies and causes. The system also helps insulate the foundations – and their patrons and managers – from direct association with the most questionable, controversial, and often thuggish and lethal organizations and activists.

The funding, in turn, enables the organizations and activists to paint themselves as legitimate, benevolent and popular voices worthy of attention in global and domestic debates over laws, policies and regulations.

They have become especially effective in blocking the use of modern, innovative farm technologies like improved pesticides, GM crops (genetically modified, engineered through biotechnology) – and even fertilizers, tractors and hybrid seeds – under the auspices of what they cleverly call “agro-ecology.”

A big part of the problem is that the World Bank, EU agencies and Euro foundations demand and support primitive subsistence farming, and block food imports from countries that permit biotech farming. The World Bank’s Global Environment Facility and various European donors support groups like the Route to Food Initiative, Kenya Organic Agriculture Network, Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya, and Resources Oriented Development Initiatives of Kenya. In fact, virtually every African country is beset by their “benevolence,” as are India and other countries in Asia and Latin America.

All of them promote the supposed benefits of organic farming that bans the use of “dangerous, poisonous” manmade pesticides – but permits the use in “organic” farming of “natural” pesticides and other chemicals that are also toxic and dangerous to humans, wildlife, fish and beneficial insects. They stridently oppose all biotech crops – including life-saving Golden Rice – and have been pressuring Kenyan and other African governments to ban more than 200 pesticides that have been approved as safe in many other countries. Many of the groups even oppose mechanized equipment like tractors.

Among the EU funders are BioVision, the Danish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. They even support newspapers like Britain’s Guardian, which is often little more than another NGO that runs and supports anti-technology campaigns and seeks donations from readers and major funding from foundations in exchange for stories.

Self-proclaimed “philanthropic, charitable” US foundations are just as guilty. They probably provide far more significant than EU funding, but their secretive networks make that hard to ascertain. Foundation support for the agro-ecology Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa helps illustrate how all this works.

AFSA is a pan-African alliance of organizations committed to “resisting” the “corporate industrialization” of African agriculture. It claims the use of modern agricultural technologies like pesticides for crop protection, chemical fertilizers, and genetically modified crops for drought and insect resistance and higher yields will result in “massive land grabs, destruction of indigenous biodiversity and ecosystems, displacement of indigenous peoples … and the destruction of their livelihoods and cultures.”

AFSA’s core members include activist pressure groups that espouse an even broader variety of anti-capitalist, anti-technology, radical environmentalist goals and philosophies. Among the more notable and notorious ones are The African Biodiversity Network, African Center for Biodiversity, GroundSwell International, Friends of the Earth (FOE), and La Via Campensina Africa. These organizations work together to plan and support pro-organic, anti-biotech campaigns, and provide financial management and expertise in furthering AFSA principles. Letting them retain tax-exempt status is a travesty.

Core member La Via Campensina Africa (The Peasant Way – Africa), for example, is a radical, proponent of anti-technology agro-ecology. It rejects modern farming technologies: crop protection pesticides and herbicides, fertilizers for nutrient-depleted soils, and even biotech replacements for bananas, cassava and other crops that have been all but destroyed by viruses and diseases. It also advocates an anti-free market program of peasant-centric subsistence agriculture that largely limits farmers to backbreaking organic agricultural farming methods, and selling to local markets.

Agro-ecology farmers are largely limited to those local markets, in part because they cannot raise enough crops for export to wider markets like Europe – while other produce is blocked because many EU nations ban the import of crops that are so much as tainted by glyphosate, neonicotinoids or biotech pollen.

The US-based AgroEcology Fund (AEF) helped to launch and continues to support the AFSA. It acts as a pass-through fund of funds to hide sources, and helps to coordinate, direct and manage giving to outfits like AFSA. The AEF also partners with AFSA and other organizations such as the Center for Food Safety (CFS), to battle “the industrial model” and promote organic farming.

The AgroEcology Fund directly gave the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa in 2015 $200,000 and has given it some $500,000 overall (and possibly more via clandestine means). That may not sound like much, but such funds pay for 10-100 times more hourly wages and activism in Africa than they would in USA. In 2017, the AEF and AFSA worked together on a campaign to prevent biotech seed patent protections laws from being enforced in Africa.

The AEF was created by three wealthy American foundations, the Christensen Fund, the New Fields Foundation, the Swift Foundation and a donor who remains unknown. AEF programs and funding are overseen by New Venture Fund, which was created to help “philanthropists” better direct funds to projects and programs in line with their neo-colonialist goals; the NVF is managed by Arabella Advisors.

Ironically and perversely, the foundations that funded AEF’s creation are rooted in money generated in innovation, industry and technology. Now AEF and its foundation backers battle agricultural innovation and keep African farmers mired in farming practices that can feed few people, and can successfully battle few crop-devouring insect pests, much less protect crops against recurrent locust plagues.

Equally perverse, rich countries have abundant food – traditional, modern and organic. Meanwhile, poor countries are saddled with barely enough food, no safety net for all those times when droughts or insects destroy crops, and diktats from ultra-wealthy foundations and pressure groups that tell farmers they should be happy to engage in dawn-to-dusk subsistence farming, ox-drawn plowing, stoop labor, banging on metal pans to drive the locust hordes away, and living on the verge of starvation.

Via email


For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

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