Thursday, May 30, 2024

Turns Out Those ‘All-Electric’ ‘Zero Emissions’ Fire Trucks Have Diesel Engines

When Albuquerque announced plans to acquire a new fire engine, New Mexico’s governor lauded the “zero emissions” technology while a fire department spokesman called it “all electric” and KRQE 13 gushed about the “fully electric” fire truck.

San Diego’s NBC 7 reported on what it called that city’s first “all-electric fire apparatus.” When the electric fire engine debuted in Portland, NBC’s KGW 8 quoted a fire department spokesman lauding the “monumental” “zero emissions” vehicle.

When an electric fire truck came to Gilbert, Arizona, FOX 10 quoted the fire chief saying, “There’s no cancer coming out of the tailpipe and I say it that way because diesel particulates are a contributor for cancers.”

Viewers could be forgiven for thinking that the new fire trucks were all electric and had zero emissions. They’d be wrong.

All the fire trucks also have a diesel engine and a tailpipe releases those “cancer-causing particulates.”

When the first Pierce Volterra Electric Fire Truck rolled out in Madison, Wisconsin, the vehicle was repeatedly called “all electric” or “zero emissions.”

You had to listen eight minutes into the presentation to get to the part where a fire chief admits there’s an internal combustion engine for pumping water on a fire.

Perhaps journalists and fire department spokespeople were misled by Pierce Manufacturing’s website, which reads in bold headline type: “Zero Emissions. Zero compromises.”

Critics say it is because electric engines are being hyped beyond what they can deliver.

“As we’ve seen time and time again, electric engines are not up to powering a simple road trip, much less taking on a role as critical as public safety,” said Larry Behrens, Communications Director for Power The Future. “The fact this over-hyped fire truck has a diesel engine is proof they know it needs power that won’t run out.”

The new fire trucks come with a hefty price tag – 40% to 50% more than a comparable diesel fire truck.

For example, the New Mexico hybrid fire truck that has been ordered costs the local government $1.8 million with $400,000 coming from a federal grant.

As state governments such as California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency write regulations to phase out most uses of the internal combustion engine, the federal government has a program that is buying new diesel engines to replace older, more polluting models all over the country in everything from school buses to tug boats.

The replacements come from grants under the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. The EPA has spent billions of dollars on the project since the law was passed in 2005 and signed by President George W. Bush.

After replacing diesel engines in every state, DERA received fresh funding under President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, but now states and localities are incorrectly claiming diesel doesn’t have anything to do with DERA


Another Day, Another Mindless Attack on Fossil Energy Producers

It is another day ending in “y” in the Beltway, and with it we have another “climate crisis” attack on the oil and gas companies — the very ones that produce efficient energy for the great mass of Americans and, indeed, the world.

The latest example of this game of pin the climate blame on the energy producers is a new “Joint Staff Report” from the Democratic minority members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability and the majority members of the Senate Committee on the Budget.

The two committees, respectively, are supposed “to ensure the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of the federal government and all its agencies,” and “to develop a concurrent resolution on the budget to serve as the framework for congressional action on spending, revenue, and debt-limit legislation.” What does any of that have to do with the fossil energy producers and, purportedly, “Big Oil’s Campaign of Climate Denial, Disinformation, and Doublespeak”? Who knows? And it matters not: attacking the energy producers is a guaranteed winner among numerous left-wing constituencies, including many journalists and ideological pressure groups.

First on the list of accusations: Two news enterprises reported that as recently as the fall of 2015, “Big Oil companies … knew that burning fossil fuels was a major contributor to climate change” but “internally did not dispute the findings but tried to dismiss them as ‘hyperbolic’ and ‘journalistic malpractice.’” This purported perfidy depends crucially on whether the actual evidence supports the common assertion that a climate “crisis” is upon us. The evidence for that stance is vastly weaker than commonly asserted. And so in the view of the authors of the joint staff report, a skeptical view of the “climate crisis”/“major contributor to climate change” argument — the kind of ordinary disagreement that is a natural manifestation of a system of free speech — is an example of “deception, disinformation, and doublespeak.” Wow.

The joint staff report is asserting that the fossil fuel producers “knew” things years ago that were not known then, are not known now, and are the subject of sharp disagreement in the scientific literature — a state of affairs virtually certain to remain with us for a very long time because the determinants of shifts in climate phenomena are massively complex. Again: Precisely who is engaged in “deception, disinformation, and doublespeak?”

And about that purported knowledge on the part of U.S. fossil energy producers “that burning fossil fuels was a major contributor to climate change.” In 2022, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels were about 4.7 billion metric tons, or about 8.7% of the global total of 53.8 bmt. Assume that all those U.S. GHG emissions were to be eliminated, and apply the Environmental Protection Agency climate model: Even under extreme assumptions, the temperature effect in 2100 would be about 0.119°C, an impact that would be barely detectable.

And so the “major contributor” rhetoric is little more than propaganda. Precisely who is engaged in “deception, disinformation, and doublespeak?”

And on and on it goes. The fossil energy producers have “perpetuat[ed] doublespeak about the [effect] of natural gas” in terms of GHG emissions, the Democrats claim. Doublespeak? Since 1990, U.S. GHG emissions have declined by 3%, largely because of the substitution of natural gas in place of coal and other fuels. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, GHG emissions have increased by 61.7%. So mindless is this attack on the fossil energy producers that the politicians behind it have lost sight of their own GHG “climate” objectives.

And the most amusing of all is the accusation that fossil energy producers have engaged in lobbying “either directly or through their trade associations against pro-climate legislation and regulations that they publicly claimed to support.” The politicians seem to have forgotten that the First Amendment continues to protect “the right of the people peaceably to assemble” into associations, whether focused on “trade” or other endeavors, “and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” Individuals and groups — and businesses — do not forfeit the latter right merely by exercising the former. How unusual is it for an organization to support a given policy goal publicly but to believe that a specific proposal is perverse?

Pay no attention to such political propaganda as the joint staff report. It is a classic example of traditional Beltway dishonesty, misdirection, and disdain for the wealth and massive human benefits yielded by private enterprise generally and the fossil energy industry in particular. More fundamentally, it is an attack on the freedom and independence from political coercion that private property and market economic activity — capitalism — create. It is fundamentally totalitarian, and should be given the contempt that it deserves.


The Bee-Pocalypse Debunked: Another Scare Story The Media Got Wrong

Written by John Stossel

It’s another environmental crisis we’re supposed to worry about. The media call it “bee-pocalypse” and “bee-mageddon!”

A YouTube video with 15 million views says bee-mageddon “could lead to millions of people starving!”

Even Fox News shrieked, “Do you like to eat? The disappearance of honeybees could have a drastic impact on our nation’s food supply!”

It’s nonsense.

Now, it’s true that, about 20 years ago, many American bees did die. Beekeepers opened hives and found their bees gone. Scientists called it “colony collapse disorder.” No one knows what caused it. After the initial dramatic reports, it’s steadily diminished.

But media hysteria hasn’t.

Beekeepers adjusted to colony collapse. They divided the remaining colonies to make new hives. Bee numbers increased by millions.

“We’re not in any way facing an apocalypse,” says Science journalist Jon Entine. “Things have never been better in terms of the numbers of bees.”

Entine runs the Genetic Literacy Project, which challenges scientific misinformation.

I remind him that the media continues to run scare stories.

“Bees are dying at an alarming rate,” says NBC. CNN headlines: “Bee Population is Dying … the food we eat is at risk.”

It’s so stupid.

“They could have just Googled bee population, and they would’ve seen them going up?” I ask.

“Absolutely,” responds Entine. “It’s farcical.”

In 2013, TIME magazine’s cover predicted “A World Without Bees!” “I don’t remember seeing Time apologize,” I tell Entine.

“TIME has not even written a new article that puts this in science perspective,” he responds. Nor did The New York Times Magazine correct its cover story on “The Insect Apocalypse.” It just “skipped on to another ‘crisis.’”

“There’s always a scare,” I point out. “Catastrophe, exaggeration,” he says. “That gets the clicks.”

Entine complains that the media rarely interview serious scientists for its scare stories.

“They have the Environmental Working Group or Pesticide Action Network framing these issues … Hysteria generates donations. The oxygen for these organizations is money.”

Sadly, “Many of these [environment] groups harm people.”

How? By convincing gullible politicians to ban fertilizers and new pesticides, even though the new chemicals are usually safer.

For example, even with worldwide honeybee populations at record highs, the European Union prohibited the use of neonicotinoids, a common insecticide, out of fear they might kill bees. That means farmers use older, more dangerous chemicals that actually do kill bees.

But why use these chemicals at all? I push back at Entine, “‘Natural’ food advocates say: ‘Organic! You don’t have to have chemicals! Buy organic, and you don’t get them!”

Entine laughs and says, “They use chemicals extensively! It’s not like organic farmers can sprinkle organic fairy dust to get rid of insects and weeds.”

Instead, they use “natural” chemicals “like copper sulfate,” he says, “one of the most toxic chemicals in the world!”

Sri Lanka’s president listened to activists and banned chemical fertilizers. Suddenly, farms produced much less food. Prices rose 80%.

Sri Lankans invaded the presidential mansion, and the president fled his country. The new government re-legalized chemical fertilizers. Only then could the crisis end.

“This attack on industrial chemicals,” says Entine, “is really a way for the environmental industry—industry is what it is—to go after what they call big [agriculture], big corporations. It’s an anti-capitalist movement.”

The anti-capitalists oppose genetically modified organisms. They’ve persuaded most European countries to basically ban GMO crops.

However, genetic modification allows farmers to grow more food on less land. It creates plants resistant to disease and insects. That allows farmers to use fewer pesticides. That’s good for everyone, especially poor people.

In Bangladesh, scientists invented a GMO eggplant. “It decreased the use of chemicals by 85%,” says Entine. “Allowing women and children who do most of the farming to live a much more viable life. We have to be smart about these things!”

“We’re not being smart,” I note.

“No,” he says, “We’re following an outdated, 40-year-old environmental script that doesn’t work in this technologically innovative world. … They hurt the very people they claim to help.”

Modern chemicals and GMOs make our food cheaper and safer. Deceitful, money-hungry environmental groups won’t acknowledge that.


Chinese tech could smash Australia's battery making dreams

If British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak loses the upcoming election, he will be the first major western political casualty to the global electric car mess that has been created by politicians misreading the market.

And here in Australia, as I will explain below, there is grave danger the Chinese technology will disrupt our plans to hose billions of dollars at battery making and “essential” raw materials, particularly nickel.

But the Chinese battery technology could help solve some of the problems facing the global electric car market.

Sunak listened to the green elite and their demand for electric cars and set rules for motor makers that completely misread the views and buying patterns of ordinary Britisher.

Sunak set a target of banning new petrol car sales by 2030.

And he went further with a Zero Emission Vehicle mandate that came into force last January and required car manufacturers to ensure that 22 per cent of the vehicles they sell in Britain this year are fully electric.

Hybrids don’t count. The carmakers are fined £15,000 for every vehicle sold short of the mandate, which will rise to 28 per cent next year and continue to rise until it hits 80 per cent initially by 2030.

The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says electric cars currently have a market share of only 15.7 per cent – about -the same as last year. Sunak gave fleet companies big incentives so they now buy five in every six EVs sold, but it can’t bridge the boycott by the majority of the population.

Sunak’s policies are set to push the British motor industry out of existence. Why have the ordinary British people told Sunak to jump in the Thames and refused to buy electric cars?

Via the SMMT, the carmakers and retailers in public statements try to explain to Sunak that his problem is that the ratio of charging points to EV drivers has not improved since last year.

Around 30 per cent of the population don’t have a dwelling garage so must park their car in the street so can’t charge EVs at home.

Meanwhile, the cost of electricity from a rapid charger is up by about 10 per cent so not only are EVs 40 per cent more expensive to buy than petrol cars, but they are also costlier to run, despite the big petrol taxes. Eventually, electric vehicles being charged must face “petrol” taxes because governments need the revenue.

Cornered, Sunak extended the “no petrol car sales” deadline from 2030 to 2035 which enraged his green supporters. But he has left in place the massive fines, so whoever wins the next election will need to decide between slashing the fine, subsidising electric vehicles on a massive scale or sending vast areas of the motor industry broke.

The Sunak mess is a warning for politicians around the world that pandering to elites against the will of ordinary people does not work. You need to fix the basics and bring the population with you. Then impose your penalties.

Meanwhile, China, the dominant force in making electric vehicles, not only flooded its own market with electric vehicles but shipped vast quantities to the UK and other countries that would take them.

In the UK, these unsold vehicles are clogging storage areas near the ports.

But out of China is coming a battery revolution that may make it possible to get ordinary people to buy electric cars.

A report from the International Energy Agency says China has developed a fast-charging “Shenxing” battery “capable of delivering 400km of range from a ten-minute charge”.

But the next generation of batteries will be able to travel almost 1000km from a ten-minute charge.

While these technology advances offer the opportunity to increase the popularity of electric cars beyond the elite, the technology advance is also likely to enshrine China’s dominance of the renewable energy market.

One of the few things President Biden and former President Trump agree on is the need to make America much less reliant on China in all areas.

But of course Trump will also encourage the production of oil and gas and the use of petrol. For US motor makers struggling with a similar scenario to the UK, a switch back to petrol will cause more chaos.

Meanwhile, Australia wants to be a leader in battery production, but it will need to match the Chinese in technology or Australia’s money will go down the drain.

And the new Chinese batteries use less nickel, which means that nickel may go into a period of great oversupply just as we are subsidising nickel mines.

The Sunak story has a lesson for Australia as well as the rest of the world




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