The electric car. Is it good or bad Karma?

The electric car. Is it good or bad Karma?

Boy are we advancing in leaps and bounds:

Here is the Roberts electric car, built 1896.

It gets 40 miles to the charge.

116 years later, how far have we come in battery development?

Most electricity is produced by burning coal.  Much peak electricity is produced by burning natural gas. We have recently discovered large quantities of shale deposits. One of the chief developer  of the North Dakota deposits is Mr. Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources, who at one time had a brief talk with President Obama. Mr. Hamm told Obama of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. He wanted to make sure that the President knew about this.

The President’s reaction? He turned to Mr. Hamm and said: ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.’

116 years after the Roberts electric car we have the 2012 Chevrolet Volt. It gets 36 miles to the charge.

But it is not over yet.

The latest entry in the electric car business is the Fisker Karma. It sports 32 miles to the charge.  When running on electricity, the claim is it gets the equivalent of 54 miles per gallon. After that it has a regular sports car engine that gives 20 MPG. What does that last statement mean? Batteries store energy and can never be more than 100% efficient. There is a loss of energy when you charge them and a loss of energy when you discharge them. The energy is typically produced by burning coal. By charging batteries you need to keep old coal burning plants in production longer. The average energy efficiency of an aging coal plant is 31%, the transmission losses are about 8% and battery efficiency is about 75%. When electric car companies calculate MPG equivalency they only take into account the battery efficiency. For the Karma the total energy efficiency equivalence would not be 56 MPG, but 16 MPG.

For now the Karma will be built in Finland, with a half billion dollar loan guarantee from the Federal Government. After one year this energy guzzler is supposed to be built in Delaware. Maybe it will be as popular as the Chevy Volt, which is on track to sell 6000 vehicles this year.

There already exists a car that claim 135 miles per gallon equivalent fuel consumption.

(The picture to the right shows the Tesla in a car crash in of all places Aalbaek, Denmark. The Tesla is at the bottom.)

The car is Tesla, a new car company set up privately in 2003. It got a 465 million dollar Federal loan guarantee in 2009, but has yet to turn a profit. The car is all electric, and gets up to 300 miles to a charge.  It can be yours for a mere $109500 plus taxes, but you will get a 7500 dollar federal tax rebate unless you live in Colorado where you will get an additional 40000 dollars in state and local tax rebate. The car is sold to rich playboys, who use it as the ultimate chick attractor, and the making of the car is financed on borrowed money. If one is to include the losses in producing the 4000 cars sold thus far, the cost per car approaches 200000. But fear not. One of the sources of income for Tesla is the sale of zero emission credits to other car companies so they can meet their emission standards. It is the new round of charlatans selling indulgences so the global governance can be realized.

Why am I down on electric cars? First, the energy to drive the car must have been produced somehow. As long as we use coal to produce electricity there will be more CO2 in the air with electric cars than with diesel powered cars. Second, electric cars are heavier than corresponding gasoline powered cars and have less room. Third, it takes an awful lot of mining to produce all the rare materials that goes into a modern battery. This too takes a lot of energy and leaves scars on the landscape. Fourth, batteries last only so long and are expensive leading to a much more expensive car to purchase and maintain.

The same arguments can be raised against solar and wind power. It takes more energy to mine and refine the materials than the equipment generate since they generate the electricity when they want, not when the need is there.

Are we doomed? Not at all. As oil and gas is becoming more and more expensive, especially if the Middle East cuts off its supply, we should build up the nuclear power plants, not with old Uranium based nuclear plants with all their nuclear waste, but with small, distributed thorium based plants. They have 0.01% as much nuclear waste as uranium based plants and are earthquake safe and much less vulnerable to sabotage. They also respond much better to demand fluctuations. As the plants would be more distributed it would lessen the need for an expanded electric grid, which is unbelievably vulnerable to sabotage. The long and short of it: Go Thorium and then Electric cars!

The cause of Climate Change is still up in the air.

The cause of Climate Change is still up in the air. Sherlock Holmes: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts”. From: “Scandal in Bohemia” A. Conan Doyle.

The first Earth Day in Philadelphia 1970, April 22 (the 100 year anniversary of Lenin’s Birth) featured Ira Einhorn (The Unicorn Killer) as master of Ceremonies. The big environmental scare of the day was the threat of a new Ice Age. The clarion call was: “In the year 2000 temperatures will have fallen 10 degrees”, the culprit was pollution, especially acid rain. The acid rain was so bad in the Adirondacks, Canada, Norway and Sweden that the Rainbow Trout died in droves, and even the oceans were in danger of getting too acid. Regulations were enacted to add scrubbers to power stations, waste water was purified, and – wouldn’t you know it, the cooling trend reversed itself and was followed by warming. Since the cooling trend was “obviously man-made” they had to find a reason for the sudden warming. Never mind that around the year 1200 there was at least one farm on South West Greenland that exported, among other things, cheese. How do we know that? They have excavated the ruins of a farm, “Gården under Sanden”, buried under permafrost for five centuries.  During these five centuries the Northern Hemisphere experienced what is called “the little ice age” a time when the winters could be so cold that in 1658 the Swedish army, cavalry and artillery crossed the Belts in the southern Baltic over ice and sacked Copenhagen.

Picture left: Gården under sanden excavation.

Picture right: The crossing of the Great Belt 1658.

To predict future climate changes many computer models have been developed dealing with how the earth responds to changes in atmospheric conditions, especially how it responds to changes in CO2 levels.  Most were developed in the 1970 to 2000 time frame, a time of rapid temperature rise and as such they were all given a large factor for the influence of rising CO2. Since 2005 we have had a cooling trend, so the models cooperate less and less and are given more and more unreliable predictions. It is no wonder then that they all have failed to model the past. None of them have reproduced the medieval warm period or the little ice age. If they cannot agree with the past there is no reason to believe they have any ability to predict the future. The models are particularly bad when it comes to predict cloud cover and what time of day clouds appear and disappear. Below is a chart of a number of climate models and their prediction of cloud cover versus observed data. Note especially to the right where they completely fail to notice the clear skies over Antarctica.

Is there a better way to predict future temperature trends? When you go to the doctor for a physical, at some point and without warning he hits you under the knee with a hammer and watches your reaction. He is observing your impulse response. Can we observe impulse responses for the earth? One obvious case is volcanic explosions. Sometimes the earth burps a lot of carbon dioxide or methane. But the most interesting response would be how the earth responds to a solar flare  with a sudden change in the amount of cosmic radiation hitting the earth. That would give the best indication how the sun and cosmic radiation affects cloud formation. A couple of solar flares lately have been giving us a hint how the cloud cover responds to changes in cosmic radiation, and they are consistent with the latest results from the CLOUD project conducted using the CERN particle accelerator, a confirmation of a theory forwarded by the Danish Physicist Henrik Svensmark. He first presented the theory in 1997 and finally got the results verified and published in 2007, but the prevailing consensus has been slow to accept the theory that the sun as the primary driver of climate change. We have many reasons to be concerned about the well-being of the earth, but rising levels of CO2 is not one of them. In fact, CO2 is our friend. Rising CO2 levels increases crop yields, makes the impact of land use changes less pronounced and the photosynthesis process more efficient, using less water and allowing us to grow crops on land once deemed unprofitable.

Picture right: The CERN Cloud apparatus in 2009.

James Hansen, a world famous climate science activist/NASA physicist writes in one of his publications, called “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications“. It contains a quote that ties nicely in with Sherlock Holmes observation:  The precision achieved by the most advanced generation of radiation budget satellites is indicated by the planetary energy imbalance measured by the ongoing CERES (Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System) instrument (Loeb et al., 2009), which finds a measured 5-year-mean imbalance of 6.5 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009). Because this result is implausible, instrumentation calibration factors were introduced to reduce the imbalance to the imbalance suggested by climate models, 0.85 W/m2 (Loeb et al., 2009).

There we have it. The observed data does not fit the climate models. Change the observed data! Then use that data to validate the climate models! How convEEnient, as the SNL Churchlady used to say. Shenanigans like this have been exposed in what has been named “Climategate1.0”, followed by “Climategate2.0” and soon to be released “Climategate3.0” This is what happens when politicians take over science and make further funding contingent on obtaining desired results.

 

Obama and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Keystone XL pipeline decision.

The Obama administration announced Nov. 10 it would delay a politically explosive decision on the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline until after the 2012 elections.

Congress corrected this dithering by forcing Obama to make a decision one way or another. He chose not to build it.

This decision was bad on so many levels it is hard to count them all.

Let’s try to look at the ways: Canada has oil sands and is exploiting the resources.

U.S. is dependent on importing a large portion of its crude oil.

The cheapest and most efficient way to transport crude oil is through a pipe line. It is also the safest and most reliable way of getting crude oil from point A to point B. To not O.K. the pipeline increases the cost and makes us more dependent of crude oil from the Middle East and Nigeria, as well as Venezuela. The cost of shipping this oil via pipeline is $5/barrel. To ship it via rail is about $15/barrel. This is the way it is done right now.

Canada really, really wanted this deal. It would help improve our relations. Now they are strained.

The unions really wanted the jobs. It would supply them with more than 20000 direct, well-paid jobs. In addition there is secondary business generated whenever a project of this magnitude is undertaken. Why not generate jobs?

The newly discovered oil fields in North Dakota and Montana could use the pipeline as well. Now they will have to go it alone or transport their oil on railroad or barge traffic instead, a more expensive and less safe option.

So why did Obama delay the decision? It was because of the environmentalists.

Let us examine why this decision was equally horrible from an environmentalist’s perspective.

Canada is a sovereign nation. They have the oil and will sell or use it one way or another.

The most energy conserving way is to transport it through a pipeline. Transport via train, truck or barge uses more energy (read more CO2), Canada will sell it’s oil to China if we don’t want it. China has a well deserved reputation for producing a lot of pollution.

The best environmental solution is for us to import this oil.

Nebraska protested there was a danger to damage their aquifer. The Keystone XL management offered to reroute the pipeline away from this sensitive aquifer, thereby solving that objection.

By not importing oil from Canada the total carbon footprint will increase. We lose, and Canada loses. (I am not concerned that the CO2 is increasing, but that a valuable natural resource is excessively depleted.) Now it turns out that Canada has left the Kyoto Protocol, thereby being free to burn as much of its carbon as they want. Was that really what the environmentalists wanted?

So why did Obama first delay the decision until after the 2012 election, and then, when forced, deny the permit? Here are five possibilities:

1. Obama is a true believer that ”this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”. As a true environmentalist his role can not be overestimated .

2. Obama is deliberately wrecking our economy, refuses to have an energy policy that will create jobs, but will support protest movements and foment unrest.

3. Obama is acting on orders from Global Governance people that do want U.S. to be totally dependent on international law and U.N. mandates.

4. Obama promised to be Brazil’s best customer from their deep sea oil drilling success, paid for by U.S. loan guarantees. He must be true to his promises.

5. Obama is half insane and surrounded by bad advisors.

This is the best I can do to explain the reasons for this decision.

CO2, Man’s best friend.

They published a book I can recommend

It tells CO2 is our very best friend.

The warming is done.

Saturated*, we won.

Too hard for you warmists to comprehend?

The book is called “The many benefits from atmospheric CO2 enrichment.” and can be ordered from: http://www.valeslake.com/bookmart.htm

From:  http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/other/benefits_of_co2.html A synopsis can be downloaded in pdf form:

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/other/55_benefits_of_co2_pamphlet.pdf

* The atmospheric rise in CO2 has no bearing whatsoever on temperatures in tropical and moderate climates for two reasons: It is swamped by water vapor which determines the final temperature rise. During the ice age the tropical temperature was about the same as it is today. Secondly the temperature rise due to CO2 has reached its upper limit because the free wave length of Infrared light in the frequencies of CO2 absorption is thirty to sixty feet, which means there is saturation of energy absorption, and fundamental physics holds that you cannot absorb more than all available energy for that particular frequency. There is a small additional absorption at high altitudes over the poles, so they will warm up a couple of degrees if we go from 380 to 1000 ppm of CO2. This too is good, the storms will be less severe, (the worst North Atlantic storms recorded occurred during the little ice age), and the polar bears like it a little bit warmer. (They might get competition from increased biodiversity though). The snowfalls over Greenland and Antarctica will increase, the glaciers will again increase. The biggest problem yet to be solved is insufficient amount of water in the 10:40 corridor. Even there CO2 is coming to our aid, for it enables vegetation using less water, and the yields are greater too!

Should the EPA regulate CO2? At what level?

Of course the EPA must regulate CO2. Just look at the dangers of Hypercapnia.

At 1% concentration of carbon dioxide CO2 (10,000 parts per million or ppm) and under continuous exposure at that level, such as in an auditorium filled with occupants and poor fresh air ventilation, some occupants are likely to feel drowsy.  Carbon dioxide concentration  must be over t 2% (20,000 ppm) before most people are aware of its presence unless the odor of an associated material (auto exhaust or fermenting yeast, for instance) is present at lower concentrations. Above 2%, carbon dioxide may cause a feeling of heaviness in the chest and/or more frequent and deeper respirations. If exposure continues at that level for several hours, minimal “acidosis” (an acid condition of the blood) may occur but more often is absent. Breathing rate doubles at 3% CO2 and is four times the normal rate at 5% CO2. Toxic levels of carbon dioxide: at levels above 5%, concentration CO2 is directly toxic. [At lower levels we may see the effects of a reduction in the relative amount of oxygen and not direct toxicity of CO2.]

So I guess the EPA should monitor the CO2 levels, and when they reach 10000 ppm they will have to regulate it. (I am only half-way kidding, indoor concentrations can reach these levels).

80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050? Is that even possible?

Let me see if I get this right. The Cap and trade legislation has as a goal to meet an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, but China is exempt. China just passed us in total CO2 emissions. As of March 2009 China had 19.66% of the world population while the US had 4.53%. If we assume a population growth in the US of 26% between now and 2050  we are promising to cut our CO2 emissions to less than 69% per capita of what China emits today. And they can continue to emit as much as their production demands. Looks like a cold and dark future for us.