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ELECTRIC cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than petrol equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries, a study has found.

Why am I not surprised? Rule One of Greens and technology - the first has no comprehension of the limitations (or the power) of the second.

An electric car owner would have to drive at least 129,000km before producing a net saving in CO2. Many electric cars will not travel that far in their lifetime because they typically have a range of less than 145km on a single charge and are unsuitable for long trips. Even those driven 160,000km would save only about a tonne of CO2 over their lifetimes.

129km a day over three years, or shorter drives over a longer time, would just about do it, but there's that annoying range limitation. Electrical energy is very difficult to store 'densely' - petrol is several orders of magnitude more efficient, and far quicker to recharge. I hear the recharge time for an electric is absurdly long (twenty to thirty minutes), totally unsuitable for long-distance driving. You'd be sitting idle for one hour out of three!

The British study, which is the first analysis of the full lifetime emissions of electric cars covering manufacturing, driving and disposal, undermines the case for tackling climate change by the rapid introduction of electric cars.

Assuming that the case for anthropogenic dominance is correct, which I am firmly convinced - given previous ice ages and warm cycles - that it is not. It may be an answer (or part thereof) to a separate and unarguable problem: the finite nature of hydrocarbon reserves at present rates of consumption. This presupposes that one has a significant reserve of non-fossil electrical power which can be relied upon for charging purposes (and yes, I am talking nuclear).

The Committee on Climate Change, the UK government watchdog, has called for the number of electric cars on Britain's roads to increase from a few hundred now to 1.7 million by 2020.

Pointless chasing after numbers plucked out of the air - the worst kind of government policy. This brings me back to what I said at the start, which is that starry-eyed environmentally-deluded bureaucrats (envirocrats???) simply don't understand how to develop or deliver technology.

Britain's Department for Transport is spending $66 million over the next year giving up to 8,600 buyers of electric cars a grant of $7700 towards the purchase price. Ministers are considering extending the scheme.

The DoT would do far better to spend the money ensuring that recharging infrastructure is in place, and that research funds are given for technology development to make that recharging fast (more in the order of three to five minutes) and safe (large currents have a tendency to cause fires if not properly controlled).

The study was commissioned by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, which is jointly funded by the British government and the car industry. It found that a mid-size electric car would produce 23.1 tonnes of CO2 over its lifetime, compared with 24 tonnes for a similar petrol car. Emissions from manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 per cent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed.

Provided you can get that energy from nuclear or other such sources, the cost to your precious CO2 balance is a lot less, but it does highlight that these fucking morons are seeing everything in terms of CO2 emissions and not even looking at the fossil fuel conservation aspect.

Many electric cars are expected to need a replacement battery after a few years. Once the emissions from producing the second battery are added in, the total CO2 from producing an electric car rises to 12.6 tonnes, compared with 5.6 tonnes for a petrol car. Disposal also produces double the emissions because of the energy consumed in recovering and recycling metals in the battery. The study also took into account carbon emitted to generate the grid electricity consumed.

Again, the way to solve this is to do what France has done - or to develop more esoteric things like tidal and ocean-thermal, which are not sunlight and atmosphere dependent for their power source. There will always be tides, and there will always be a cold deep ocean beneath the warm upper surface. Temperature gradient = energy.

Greg Archer, director of Low CVP, said the industry should state the full lifecycle emissions of cars rather than just tailpipe emissions, to avoid misleading consumers. He said that drivers wanting to minimise emissions could be better off buying a small, efficient petrol or diesel car. “People have to match the technology to their particular needs,” he said.

The Times


I think Mr Archer is right - the whole "no carbon emissions" sales pitch is excellent for dragging in rich Greenbots with more money and desire for penitence than common sense (or understanding of anything even remotely resembling "science"), but there would appear to be hidden costs. Now those costs might be mitigated by a careful nationwide consideration of technology requirements, but without a lot of expensive research (and, I am happy to admit, road time) that range and time limitation is not going to go away - and there's going to be a glut of shiny new one-owner electric cars on the market, going cheap.

Lord I'm one, Lord I'm... shit, not even two hundred miles from home. Time for a recharge already? On a bright note, here's an excuse for Tim Horton's to put a store up every 150km on the Trans-Canada Highway with squillions of outdoor powerpoints.

"How do you take your coffee, sir?"

"With 1.21 GIGAWATTS, my son!"
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)
George Monbiot says what needs saying about Fukushima. Bold emphasis above the line is mine, as is italic commentary within the artice. (The source article has multiple links which I have not reproduced here.)

Let us begin:




You will not be surprised to hear that the events in Japan have changed my view of nuclear power. You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong, way beyond the worst fears of the designers, and yet the worst did not happen.

Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I'm not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

Something that is sorely lacking here in Australia, at least from official sources and most favoured by the media.

If other forms of energy production caused no damage, these impacts would weigh more heavily. But energy is like medicine: if there are no side-effects, the chances are that it doesn't work.

Like most greens, I favour a major expansion of renewables. I can also sympathise with the complaints of their opponents. It's not just the onshore windfarms that bother people, but also the new grid connections (pylons and power lines). As the proportion of renewable electricity on the grid rises, more pumped storage will be needed to keep the lights on. That means reservoirs on mountains: they aren't popular, either.

The impacts and costs of renewables rise with the proportion of power they supply, as the need for storage and redundancy increases. It may well be the case (I have yet to see a comparative study) that up to a certain grid penetration – 50% or 70%, perhaps? – renewables have smaller carbon impacts than nuclear, while beyond that point, nuclear has smaller impacts than renewables.

Note this - an entirely nuclear energy grid is less environmentally 'impacting' than an all-renewable grid. It is also far more predictable in terms of the power it produces.

Like others, I have called for renewable power to be used both to replace the electricity produced by fossil fuel and to expand the total supply, displacing the oil used for transport and the gas used for heating fuel. Are we also to demand that it replaces current nuclear capacity? The more work we expect renewables to do, the greater the impact on the landscape will be, and the tougher the task of public persuasion.

Try "the tougher the task of construction" too, and the higher the cost, the more steel that needs to be smelted, etc. etc. If you're a CO2 phobic, this needs to be factored into the equation.

But expanding the grid to connect people and industry to rich, distant sources of ambient energy is also rejected by most of the greens who complained about the blog post I wrote last week in which I argued that nuclear remains safer than coal. What they want, they tell me, is something quite different: we should power down and produce our energy locally. Some have even called for the abandonment of the grid. Their bucolic vision sounds lovely, until you read the small print.

Let alone the large print which says ARE YOU COMPLETELY FUCKING DERANGED?

At high latitudes like ours, most small-scale ambient power production is a dead loss. Generating solar power in the UK involves a spectacular waste of scarce resources.

Surely this also applies to Northern Europe, Scandinavia, a goodly portion of Canada, the former Soviet Union, etc.

It's hopelessly inefficient and poorly matched to the pattern of demand. Wind power in populated areas is largely worthless. This is partly because we have built our settlements in sheltered places; partly because turbulence caused by the buildings interferes with the airflow and chews up the mechanism. Micro-hydropower might work for a farmhouse in Wales, but it's not much use in Birmingham.

The more remote you are, the more small-scale your operation (and, it seems, the better your output) and the more that storage batteries make sense.

And how do we drive our textile mills, brick kilns, blast furnaces and electric railways – not to mention advanced industrial processes? Rooftop solar panels? The moment you consider the demands of the whole economy is the moment at which you fall out of love with local energy production. A national (or, better still, international) grid is the essential prerequisite for a largely renewable energy supply.

Some greens go even further: why waste renewable resources by turning them into electricity? Why not use them to provide energy directly? To answer this question, look at what happened in Britain before the industrial revolution.

The damming and weiring of British rivers for watermills was small-scale, renewable, picturesque and devastating. By blocking the rivers and silting up the spawning beds, they helped bring to an end the gigantic runs of migratory fish that were once among our great natural spectacles and which fed much of Britain – wiping out sturgeon, lampreys and shad, as well as most sea trout and salmon.

Traction was intimately linked with starvation. The more land that was set aside for feeding draft animals for industry and transport, the less was available for feeding humans. It was the 17th-century equivalent of today's biofuels crisis. The same applied to heating fuel. As EA Wrigley points out in his book Energy and the English Industrial Revolution, the 11m tonnes of coal mined in England in 1800 produced as much energy as 11m acres of woodland (one third of the land surface) would have generated.

Before coal became widely available, wood was used not just for heating homes but also for industrial processes: if half the land surface of Britain had been covered with woodland, Wrigley shows, we could have made 1.25m tonnes of bar iron a year (a fraction of current consumption) and nothing else. Even with a much lower population than today's, manufactured goods in the land-based economy were the preserve of the elite. Deep green energy production – decentralised, based on the products of the land – is far more damaging to humanity than nuclear meltdown.

Which is why I see the Deep Greens as the ultimate misanthropes - and quite possibly traitors to human civilisation.

But the energy source to which most economies will revert if they shut down their nuclear plants is not wood, water, wind or sun, but fossil fuel. On every measure (climate change, mining impact, local pollution, industrial injury and death, even radioactive discharges) coal is 100 times worse than nuclear power. Thanks to the expansion of shale gas production, the impacts of natural gas are catching up fast.

Shale gas, meanwhile, has its own problems - it apparently leaves large holes in the ground that are no longer pressure-packed, with interesting results. Coal remains an excellent fuel because it is cheap and because the technology to use it is easily designed, constructed and maintained even by a relatively poor and technologically unsophisticated nation.

Yes, I still loathe the liars who run the nuclear industry. Yes, I would prefer to see the entire sector shut down, if there were harmless alternatives. But there are no ideal solutions. Every energy technology carries a cost; so does the absence of energy technologies. Atomic energy has just been subjected to one of the harshest of possible tests, and the impact on people and the planet has been small. The crisis at Fukushima has converted me to the cause of nuclear power.




Dear Green fucktards:

Show me a limitless, continuous source of energy without risk and I will gladly give up nuclear and most fossil fuels (until such limitless source is miniaturised for motor vehicles and the smallest aircraft).

Until then, what we have is the best we've got to keep civilisation going and prevent starvation and horror with deaths on the scale of billions. If you want that on your heads, if you're prepared to go to your graves with that on your conscience (because you will go to your graves if you bring this about, I can promise you that), please have the honesty to say so before ejaculating any more of the diseased intellectual cum you have so far splattered across the face of the world.

If your "Departments of Climate Change" were staffed with and commanded by engineers and physicists instead of ponzi-scheme-addicted bureaucrats and unreasoning, power-mad political fanatics, I might be more inclined to believe that you actually had the ultimate good of humankind in mind. Until then, kindly go fuck yourselves sideways with the most destructive objects you can imagine.

No love,

Me.
pathology_doc: Ginny Weasley (film) clutching Riddle's diary: Ginny/Horcrux OTP (Default)


A devastating critique of the whole "Green Jobs" thing. Myself, I want to spit whenever I hear the phrase. I would argue that the fellow in the video is missing one vital point - that Government does need to guarantee funding for pure basic research - but he's devastatingly right about the economic viability of "renewable" energy. When the scientists get it right, the capitalists will spread it everywhere and everyone will benefit. Until then, it's a niche market with excellent small-scale applications in remote areas for limited use, or on a large scale where there's guaranteed water for hydro power, but not much else. His point that "we've been using solar and wind for a long time and abandoned them for something better hundreds of years ago" is one that should be heeded, as should the very good technical reasons why we find fossil power so convenient. Until we find some equally convenient way of compactly storing large amounts of energy (where are Robert A. Heinlein's Shipstones when you need them?), things will (must!) continue to be the way they are.

As for the nauseating puddle of tuberculous warthog spooge that is the Australian Government's proposed "carbon tax" (which is quite likely to be destined for general revenue with tax cuts as an election sweetener), the less said, the better. No directed research spending, no directed technology development... nothing. Just more money to the slush fund, while China builds a couple of Australias worth of CO2 emission every year or so. This government spits in the face of science even as it uses the word to defend its insanities.

To hell with the "Green Economy." Shoot it, stab it, vivisect and murder it, stake it and behead it, and fry the corpse to ashes. Then scatter the ashes.*


* = Although as HP Lovecraft so adeptly points out in one of his tales, it is better to dissolve the corpse in acid and dump the solution in the sea; for a sufficiently skilled necromancer can, having gathered the ashes, resurrect the corpse. Given the creepy gauntness of Senator Bob Brown, I wouldn't put it past him to have the ability. Best to end all doubt. :P

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