Sunday, July 17, 2022

Climate activists slash dozens of SUV tires in NYC, say 'major cities' across US to be hit next

A group of climate activists has started a campaign to randomly slash tires of parked SUVs across the U.S. in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Tyre Extinguishers — a group that originated in the U.K. and has expanded to various European nations — conducted its first "action" in New York City this week. The group vowed to conduct similar operations in cities nationwide.

"We are rapidly expanding across the United States and are in touch with people in major cities across the USA," a spokesperson for the Tyre Extinguishers told Fox News Digital. "We expect this to expand massively."

The spokesperson referred Fox News Digital back to the group's website in response to a series of other questions. They didn't comment on the legality of vandalizing SUVs.

On Tuesday, the Tyre extinguishers celebrated "disarming" 40 SUVs in New York City's Upper East Side neighborhood. Participants of the action left flyers on each of the vehicles asking its owner not to "take it personally."

"We did this because driving around urban areas in your massive vehicle has huge consequences for others," the pamphlet said.

"The world is facing a climate emergency," it added. "We're taking actions into our own hands because our governments and politicians will not."

The group noted that it would slash tires of electric and hybrid vehicles as well since they also have a carbon footprint.

"On June 28, 2022 at 12:20am in front of 146 East 65 Street there is a report on file in the 19th Precinct for criminal tampering," a New York Police Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital in an email. "A 49-year-old male victim states upon returning to his vehicles he discovered one tire to each of his vehicles had been deflated."

The spokesperson added that no arrests have been made and that the investigation remains ongoing.

"The Tyre Extinguishers want to see bans on SUVs in urban areas, pollution levies to tax SUVs out of existence, and massive investment in free, comprehensive public transport," the group said in a statement Tuesday.

"But until politicians make this a reality, Tyre Extinguishers action will continue," the statement continued.

The group has conducted operations in the U.K., Austria, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand.


California went big on rooftop solar. Now that’s a problem for landfills

California has been a pioneer in pushing for rooftop solar power, building up the largest solar market in the U.S. More than 20 years and 1.3 million rooftops later, the bill is coming due.

Beginning in 2006, the state, focused on how to incentivize people to take up solar power, showered subsidies on homeowners who installed photovoltaic panels but had no comprehensive plan to dispose of them. Now, panels purchased under those programs are nearing the end of their typical 25-to-30-year life cycle.

Many are already winding up in landfills, where in some cases, they could potentially contaminate groundwater with toxic heavy metals such as lead, selenium and cadmium.

Sam Vanderhoof, a solar industry expert and chief executive of Recycle PV Solar, says that only 1 in 10 panels are actually recycled, according to estimates drawn from International Renewable Energy Agency data on decommissioned panels and from industry leaders.

The looming challenge over how to handle truckloads of waste, some of it contaminated, illustrates how cutting-edge environmental policy can create unforeseen problems down the road.

“The industry is supposed to be green,” Vanderhoof said. “But in reality, it’s all about the money.”

California came early to solar power. Small governmental rebates did little to bring down the price of solar panels or to encourage their adoption until 2006, when the California Public Utilities Commission formed the California Solar Initiative. That granted $3.3 billion in subsidies for installing solar panels on rooftops.

The measure exceeded its goals, bringing down the price of solar panels and boosting the share of the state’s electricity produced by the sun. Because of that and other measures, such as requirements that utilities buy a portion of their electricity from renewable sources, solar power now accounts for 15% of the state’s power.

But as California barreled ahead on its renewable-energy program, focusing on rebates and — more recently — a proposed solar tax, questions about how to handle the waste that would accrue years later were never fully addressed. Now, both regulators and panel manufacturers are realizing that they don’t have the capacity to handle what comes next.

“This trash is probably going to arrive sooner than we expected and it is going to be a huge amount of waste,” said Serasu Duran, an assistant professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business in Canada. “But while all the focus has been on building this renewable capacity, not much consideration has been put on the end of life of these technologies.”

Duran co-wrote a recent article in the Harvard Business Review that noted the industry’s “capacity is woefully unprepared for the deluge of waste that is likely to come.”

It’s not just a problem in California but also nationwide. A new solar project was installed every 60 seconds in 2021, according to a fact sheet published by the Solar Energy Industries Assn., and the solar industry is expected to quadruple in size between 2020 and 2030.

Although 80% of a typical photovoltaic panel is made of recyclable materials, disassembling them and recovering the glass, silver and silicon is extremely difficult.

“There’s no doubt that there will be an increase in the solar panels entering the waste stream in the next decade or so,” said AJ Orben, vice president of We Recycle Solar, a Phoenix-based company that breaks down panels and extracts the valuable metals while disposing of toxic elements. “That’s never been a question.”

The vast majority of We Recycle Solar’s business comes from California, but the company has no facilities in the state. Instead, the panels are trucked to a site in Yuma, Ariz. That’s because California’s rigorous permitting system for toxic materials makes it exceedingly difficult to set up shop, Orben said.

Recycling solar panels isn’t a simple process. Highly specialized equipment and workers are needed to separate the aluminum frame and junction box from the panel without shattering it into glass shards. Specialized furnaces are used to heat panels to recover silicon. In most states, panels are classified as hazardous materials, which require expensive restrictions on packaging, transport and storage. (The vast majority of residential solar arrays in the U.S. are crystalline silicon panels, which can contain lead, although it’s less prevalent in newer panels. Thin-film solar panels, which contain cadmium and selenium, are primarily used in utility-grade applications.)

Orben said the economics of the process don’t make a compelling case for recycling.

Only about $2 to $4 worth of materials are recovered from each panel. The majority of processing costs are tied to labor, and Orben said even recycling panels at scale would not be more economical.

Most research on photovoltaic panels is focused on recovering solar-grade silicon to make recycling economically viable.

That skews the economic incentives against recycling. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that it costs roughly $20 to $30 to recycle a panel versus $1 to $2 to send it to a landfill.

Most experts assume that is where the majority of panels are ending up right now. But it’s anyone’s guess. Natalie Click, a doctoral candidate in materials science at the University of Arizona, said there is no uniform system “for tracking where all of these decommissioned panels are going.”

The California Department of Toxic Substances collected its first data on panels recycled by universal waste handlers in 2021. For handlers that accepted more than 200 pounds or generated more than 10,000 pounds of panels, the DTSC counted 335 panels accepted for recycling, said Sanford Nax, a spokesman for the agency.

The department expects the number of installed solar panels in the next decade to exceed hundreds of millions in California alone, and that recycling will become even more crucial as cheaper panels with shorter life spans become more popular.

A lack of consumer awareness about the toxicity of materials in some panels and how to dispose of them is part of the problem, experts said.


New Study Shows Electric Cars Have Much Lower Quality Than Gas-Powered Vehicles

In a damning rebuke of the Biden administration’s rabid promotion of electric vehicles, a new study has concluded that EVs are inferior in quality to gas-powered cars.

Owners of battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles report more problems than do owners of gas-powered cars, according to a study published June 28 by the consumer research company J.D. Power.

Researchers found that gasoline cars average 175 problems per 100 vehicles.

By comparison, generic battery-powered cars — excluding Tesla models — average 240 problems per 100 vehicles, while hybrids average 239 problems, according to J.D. Power.

Tesla EV models average 226 problems per 100 vehicles, the report said. The vehicles from Elon Musk’s company were listed separately “because the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the legacy automakers that have recently introduced BEVs,” J.D. Power said.

Since electric cars, on average, cost $10,000 more than gas-powered vehicles, this suggests that EVs do not live up to their hype of being a good value for the money.

This has been a constant refrain from climate alarmists and EV superfans, including President Joe Biden.

As it is, there are countless consumer horror stories about the numerous problems users have experienced with their electric cars, especially recharging difficulties.

Keep in mind that the EV market is powered by billions of dollars in “green subsidies” bankrolled by you, the taxpayer.

Ironically, these lucrative federal subsidies ultimately enrich communist China, which is the world’s No. 1 polluter.

Most EVs are powered by lithium-ion batteries — a market dominated by the communist giant.

“Due to heavy government subsidies, China dominates the global production of lithium-ion batteries and their precursor materials, especially graphite,” The Federalist reported. “China’s graphite production has notoriously contributed to significant pollution in the country.”

So by aggressively pushing the mass use of EVs in the United States, Biden has spawned a counterproductive situation where U.S. government EV subsidies end up bankrolling China’s high-pollution production — all in the name of environmentalism.

As a reminder, Biden signed an executive order in August 2021 to make electric cars comprise half of all new vehicles sold in the United States by 2030.

He claimed this was necessary to combat “climate change.” In reality, the move was a strategy to make gas-powered cars a relic of the past.

This new study shows the result of Biden’s destructive energy policies is Americans spending more money on inferior-quality vehicles.


Dutch Nitrogen Scientist Questions the Basis of Government Climate Mandates

Jaap Hanekamp is skeptical of the received wisdom in science. He won’t stop asking a simple question: “But, is this true?”

When it comes to the Dutch government’s calculations of ammonia and nitrogen oxide deposition—the basis of climate mandates that would slash livestock numbers and put many farmers out of work—Hanekamp is especially critical of “the science.”

He thinks it relies on vague definitions, excessive deference to expert judgment, and a narrow focus on costs rather than both costs and benefits.

“We now treat farmers as polluters, end of story, which is a very strange perspective,” he said.

Hanekamp, an associate professor of chemistry at University College Roosevelt in the Netherlands, made the comments in an interview with Roman Balmakov, host of EpochTV’s “Facts Matter.”

A 2019 Dutch court decision that hindered the construction of livestock facilities triggered an earlier round of protests by farmers.

A Science article on the protests described some of the harms attributed to nitrogen emissions: “In 118 of 162 Dutch nature reserves, nitrogen deposits now exceed ecological risk thresholds by an average of 50 percent.

“In dunes, bogs, and heathlands, home to species adapted to a lack of nitrogen, plant diversity has decreased as nitrogen-loving grasses, shrubs, and trees move in.”

“Nitrogen chemicals are nutrients—you need them for growing plants,” Hanekamp said.

Hanekamp believes the government has focused on nitrogen almost to the exclusion of other factors that affect nature, such as the location of groundwater relative to the surface.

He also questions whether the ecosystem shifts prompted by greater nitrogen deposition can be properly defined as “damage.”

“Is a change in biodiversity bad in itself, or is it just change?” he asked.

He pointed out that the Netherlands is far from pristine wilderness. Much of the land is artificial, reclaimed from the sea over recent centuries thanks to the ingenuity of man.

Hanekamp has scrutinized a term used in government ecological research: “nitrogen critical load.”

Below its “critical load,” a substance is not thought to pose a significant environmental threat.

In a recent paper, Hanekamp and coauthor William Briggs described some problems with the evidence used to define nitrogen critical loads in the Netherlands.

For one thing, they do not believe the definitions of nitrogen critical loads are sufficiently precise. In addition, they think there have not been enough large-scale, long-term studies on nitrogen deposition.

Hanekamp stressed that models can be useful—taking 100,000 measurements across the country wouldn’t exactly be easy or cheap.

Yet modeling uncertainty makes it challenging to translate activity on a particular farm to exact patterns of nitrogen flow.

That hasn’t stopped the Dutch nitrogen minister from unveiling detailed, area-specific nitrogen reduction targets in June of this year.

The release was the impetus for the latest round of protests by farmers.

One dairy farmer interviewed by The Epoch Times would have to cut his livestock numbers by 95 percent—so much that he expects he will need to shut down.

“We have created the illusion of certainty with respect to emission and deposition. That’s definitely a mirage of policymaking,” said Hanekamp.

“The problem is that the Dutch government decided that these critical loads are definitive with respect to the quality of the habitats we have. And that’s a very strange approach to this issue.”

Hanekamp worries that a comprehensive, societal risk-benefit analysis has not occurred. He thinks the ultimate outcome of the government’s climate proposals remains deeply uncertain.

“If we would implement these and we would kick out, say, one third of the farmers, we still don’t know what the result would be related to these critical loads, which doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

“Yeah, we [would] know that one third of the farmers [are] gone, and that basically, we’re reducing production and income as a country, but the return of investment in the focused nature? We have no idea.”




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