Thursday, January 05, 2023

Siblings Take EV on Trip, End Up Stopping Every 1.5 Hours to Charge - Claim 'Cheaper Than Gas' Is Lie

Despite the liberal elites trying to push electric vehicles on us as the eco-friendly way of the future and as an alternative to gas-powered vehicles, we are once again seeing just how unreliable these cars can be. This is especially true in cold weather.

On Sunday, Business Insider reported on the story of Xaviar Steavenson and his sister Alice Steavenson, who wanted to find out what it was like to drive a Tesla. They rented one and set out on a road trip from Orlando, Florida, to Wichita, Kansas, last month — just as the temperature started rapidly dropping.

That decision would cost them time and money, and that trip would decidedly not be “cheaper” than most internal-combustion alternatives.

Much to their horror, as they headed north and the temperature grew more and more frigid, the battery drained faster and faster — to the point where they reportedly had to stop every 1.5 hours to charge the car.

To add insult to injury, the cost to charge the car ended up being $25 to $30, not much less than the price of gas.

“Just in one day, we stopped six times to charge at that cost,” Xaviar Steavenson told Business Insider.

On top of that, it took between one to two hours for the car to charge, meaning that the sibling couple spent more time stopping and charging their car than they did on the road.

Steavenson told Business Insider that Hertz, the rental website, claimed that charging a Tesla was “always cheaper than gas,” but he found no evidence to support that claim.

This is not the only example of EVs having problems in cold weather. The recent winter storm that raged across much of the United States just before Christmas made the limitations of EV technology visible for all to see.

In Virginia, a radio show host named Domenick Nati found himself stranded on Christmas Eve as his Tesla Model S refused to charge in the frigid weather.

“Tesla S will not charge in the cold. Stranded on Christmas Eve!” Domenick Nati wrote in a Twitter post.

At the same time, recent reports have suggested that the cold weather cut the driving range of an EV by up to 40 percent and doubled the time that it takes for an EV to charge.

One man in Kansas found that the driving range on his EV plunged up to 50 percent in the frigid weather.

And it is not just the cold weather that is causing problems for EV owners. There are numerous stories of EVs stalling in the middle of the road for no apparent reason and of EV owners complaining about the insane amount of time and money it takes to charge EVs, even in normal weather conditions.

It really begs the question: Why are liberal elites so adamant about us ditching our gas-powered cars for EVs?

As The Western Journal has covered several times before, these cars are often super expensive and can be just flat-out unreliable. Gas-powered cars, by contrast, are often much more affordable and usually hold up in adverse conditions.

If you find yourself spending more time on your road trip refueling rather than driving, then clearly the car is not fit for purpose. Teslas really have a long way to go before they become a viable alternative to gas-powered vehicles.


Environmentalists Lean on RICO Laws To Pressure Oil Companies Over Climate Change

Climate change activists and their foes in the fossil fuel industry are increasingly turning to laws normally used against criminal organizations in their efforts to force their opponents to capitulate on the topic of global warming.

The latest salvo in the legal battle between the two sides comes from Puerto Rico, where a group of communities has sued oil companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron in federal court alleging that the companies have for “decades” misled their customers about the impact of their carbon-based products on the climate.

Lawyers representing the communities are alleging that the companies violated the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by organizing media campaigns and lobbying against efforts to restrict the use of fossil fuels in the name of combating climate change.

The defendants, according to the complaint, knew that these “material misrepresentations” and “fraudulent concealments” would cause Puerto Rican towns and their citizens to continue buying oil and gas even though doing so would put them at substantial risk from hurricanes such as Maria, which devastated the island in 2017.

“The Defendants understood through their early research, and unique expertise, that they had the capability to prevent or delay violent storms,” the complaint alleges. “Had the Municipalities known that the sale and use of the Defendants’ products would cause the more frequent, hotter, and wetter storms, they would not have accepted the substantial risk caused by the Defendants by purchasing those products and would have appropriately prepared for the ‘hotter and wetter’ storms that pummeled Puerto Rico in 2017.”

The RICO Act, passed by Congress in 1970, gives prosecutors the leeway to connect apparently unrelated crimes or activities into a conspiracy on the part of an organization to racketeer, or engage in dishonest or fraudulent business dealings. The act was initially used to prosecute notorious organized crime clans, but in the years since it has been used against everyone from white collar criminals such as Michael Milken to Major League Baseball and police departments running protection rackets. Cities and states have also leveled RICO charges against the makers of opioids and e-cigarettes in civil suits.

In statements to Reuters, executives at the oil companies dismissed the lawsuit as frivolous and a “distraction” from the challenge of coping with climate change. The Exxon spokesman, Casey Norton, said legal proceedings such as the case in Puerto Rico “waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and do nothing to advance meaningful actions that reduce the risks of climate change.”

The Puerto Rico case marks the first RICO allegations against the oil companies because of climate change, but not the first time people involved in the debate have used such language. Environmentalists have been on the receiving end of RICO lawsuits by supporters of the fossil fuel industry as well, a trend that when directed at environmental groups as opposed to companies has been criticized as abusive and potentially fraught with First Amendment issues.

Racketeering “is very hard to prove, but if you prove it, it is very devastating,” a New York attorney who has lodged RICO complaints against Greenpeace and other environmental groups on behalf of corporate clients, Michael Bowe, said. For one thing, he said, damages in such cases are tripled over what the judge or jury decides. “As a practical matter, it gives you more leverage,” he said. “A RICO case creates triple the legal exposure.”

In 2017, Mr. Bowe represented two companies involved in the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline that filed a RICO action against Greenpeace and other environmental groups trying to shut down the project. The complaint alleged that the two companies’ businesses were targeted by “a network of putative not-for-profits and rogue eco-terrorist groups who employ patterns of criminal activity and campaigns of misinformation to target legitimate companies and industries with fabricated environmental claims.”

A judge dismissed the case two years later, ruling that defendants Greenpeace, along with other Native American activists and environmental groups protesting the pipeline, were not organized enough to be called a “RICO enterprise,” as the lawsuit alleged. Another case represented by Mr. Bowe, however, survives. In it, a Canadian pulp and paper company, Resolute Forest Products, is suing Greenpeace using the RICO statute for allegedly fabricating charges of misconduct against it in order to raise money.

Mr. Bowe is a staunch defender of using the statute when appropriate. As with any other lawsuit, he cautioned, there are cases that hold up based on the facts, and others that do not — meritorious lawsuits that may warrant the heavy hand, and frivolous ones that may not. “It’s not the cause of action, but whether there is any basis for that cause of action,” Mr. Bowe said.

“If a party alleges real facts that satisfy the legal elements of a RICO claim, there is nothing wrong with bringing those claims regardless of who it is against,” he said. “But the law requires a direct link between the alleged racketeering and your harm.”

Of the recent Puerto Rican claims, he said, “If the plaintiffs claim the alleged misrepresentations by these particular companies about climate change caused the climate change and that climate change caused this particular hurricane, they are a long way off from what the law requires and what they can reasonably expect to prove factually.”


Biden’s Onshore Wind Goals Will Devastate Idaho’s Magic Valley

A proposed wind energy project on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land pending approval by the Biden administration would devastate southern Idaho’s Magic Valley region.

The Lava Ridge Wind Project, if approved, would comprise 400 turbines across 73,000 acres of BLM lands spanning Jerome, Lincoln and Minidoka counties. Individual turbines could stand as tall as 740 feet. Magic Valley Energy - a subsidiary of the New York-based LS Power–is propping this project up. They claim it’ll generate 1,000 megawatts of power and commence operation as early as 2025. LS Power also has plans for an additional 300 wind turbines near Lava Ridge: the Salmon Falls Wind Project.

But do Magic Valley residents support Lava Ridge as the White House does? The support is hardly there.

I traveled to the region last August for my CFACT “Conservation Nation” video series to interview locals about their opposition to Lava Ridge.

Why does the Biden administration want this particular wind project built? Why the urgency?

This site would help the administration “meet” their goal of supplying “25 gigawatts of onshore renewable energy by 2025” and achieve “100% clean electricity by 2035 and a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.” Unsurprisingly, this boondoggle is expected to be subsidized by renewable tax credits contained in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The Department of Interior will issue its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) pertaining to Lava Ridge on January 13th, 2023. Once live, the public will have 60 days to submit their comments. A final notice of intent to prepare the EIS was initially issued in August 2021.

It claims, “Magic Valley Energy's, LLC (MVE) goal for Lava Ridge is to construct and operate a commercial-scale wind energy facility that reliably and economically produces wind energy for delivery to power markets in the western United States.”

“Renewable wind projects are a critical component of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to confronting climate change, promoting clean air and water for our current and future generations, creating thousands of good-paying union jobs, and jump starting our country’s transition to a clean energy future,” said Interior Secretary Deb Haaland in the August 2021 press release. “At the Interior Department, we are doing our part to ensure these projects are done thoughtfully and avoid impacts to surrounding communities. The Department is committed to public input and meaningful Tribal consultation to uphold our trust and treaty responsibilities.”

Insistence on phasing out oil and gas for wind energy is unsustainable. Wind is intermittent and not reliable. According to the Department of Energy, wind turbines are noisy and “alter visual aesthetics.” It added, “Wind farms have different impacts on the environment compared to conventional power plants, but similar concerns exist over both the noise produced by the turbine blades and the visual impacts on the landscape.” The agency also says the presence of these behemoth structures results in increased wind turbine-wildlife conflicts.

Therein lies a paradox in so-called renewable energy projects: The environment must be exploited–even destroyed–to achieve net-zero goals.

The majority of Idahoans, regardless of politics, oppose the project on various grounds. Concerns about electricity generation shortcomings, noise pollution, destruction of natural resources, raptor killings, wildlife migration interruptions, and threats to precious natural wonders.

Two public land areas managed by the National Park Service –Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve to the north and Minidoka National Historic Site in the south, would be threatened by Lava Ridge.

For instance, Minidoka–a Japanese internment camp that imprisoned 13,000 people between 1942-1945–is listed as one of 11 endangered places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“We are extremely disturbed by the proposed wind project and its disregard for the sacredness of Minidoka National Historic Site where 13,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry were unjustly incarcerated during World War II,” said Robyn Achilles, Executive Director for Friends of Minidoka, in a May 2022 press release. “Minidoka is a memorial to all those who suffered at the site. Survivors and their descendants make emotional pilgrimages to Minidoka where they remember, heal, and share stories to ensure these violations of civil liberties do not happen again. Minidoka is our past and our future.”

Where are the preservationists? Their silence is deafening. And naturally, they reveal themselves to be hypocrites who don’t care about the environment.

If the project moves ahead, critics worry their region would lose its magic. Worse, the energy generated would be shipped out-of-state to power California and Nevada.

Dean Dimond, one of the farmers I interviewed, said there’s much to lose in rural America if projects like Lava Ridge proceed.

“I am afraid no matter what the local BLM does…their bosses - [the] Biden administration - are pushing for it. So I'm a little bit afraid no matter what they do, the Biden administration is going to come in and override it,” Dimond explained.

Lava Ridge Wind Project, as proposed, would be the largest onshore wind operation of its kind built. But it won’t be the last.

IOPScience observed, “Wind and solar, like all energy systems, occupy land, displacing natural systems, agriculture, and human communities.”

Magic Valley residents foresee the lasting damage that would result from this invasive project. They just wish Washington put people before Big Wind payouts.


Australia: Major investors telling big miner to ‘not go so hard’ on carbon but focus on returns, says chairman

Rio Tinto faces a growing shareholder push to soften its focus on decarbonising its operations in favour of returns, according to its chairman, Dominic Barton.

Mr Barton became the Rio chairman in May, and told a KPMG podcast before Christmas he had already noticed a shift in focus from some of Rio’s institutional shareholders, with even previously strong supporters of the company’s push to cut its carbon emissions shifting their focus to cash returns to shareholders.

Rio accelerated its decarbonisation plans in October 2021, announcing it planned to spend $US7.5bn ($11bn) on renewable energy and other projects to try to halve its scope 1 and 2 emissions by the end of the decade, while maintaining its goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The company fleshed out those intentions at its annual investor day in November, laying out plans to spend up to an extra $US600m by 2026 to build solar, wind and battery generation to power its Pilbara iron ore operations, on top of a previous $US2.1bn decarbonisation spend in the division, and to buy renewable energy plans for those of its assets connected to the grid.

But Mr Barton told KPMG’s UK chair, Bina Mehta, that major investors were asking how Rio could maintain its shareholder returns in light of that spending, saying even some strong supporters of its decarbonisation plans were asking questions about Rio’s spending priorities.

“Rio Tinto wants to be net zero by 2050, and we’re going to cut our carbon emissions by 50 per cent in 2030. That takes a lot of capital,” he said. “So investors are saying we want you to do that. But we also want the returns.”

Geopolitical uncertainty has thrown a shadow over a broader post-pandemic recovery, and rising inflation has hit major economies across the world. With central banks lifting interest rates to combat inflation, investment returns are likely to be lower in the coming year after a long period of strong stock performances.

Amid the wreckage of technology stocks and poor returns elsewhere on the market, resource companies made up eight of the top 10 performing stocks on the ASX 200 in 2022, on a total return basis, led by coal miners Whitehaven Coal and New Hope Corporation. But with doubt hanging over China’s short-term economic recovery due to the spread of Covid-19, analysts are divided over whether strong commodity pricing will continue into 2023.

“One thing I’m finding interesting – even though I think I’ve been in this role for about five months now, at the beginning it was all ‘That’s great, focus on decarbonising’,” Mr Barton said.

“Now there’s a little more, ‘You know what, maybe you don’t need to go as hard on that one’, and the (shareholder) return side is picking up even from some investors who’ve been talking about being strong proponents of the other side.”




No comments: