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Electric cars, forest fires, and a whole lot of cash

GRAPH OF THE DAY I

Lifetime Cost of the Chevy Volt compared to Average Conventional and Average Hybrid Cars.  From America’s Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  Printed in Clean Technica.  


 

GRAPH OF THE DAY II

Lifetime Cost of the Nissan Leaf compared to Average Conventional and Average Hybrid Cars.  From America’s Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).  Printed in Clean Technica.  

VIDEO OF THE DAY

Talking Climate Online With David Roberts of Grist.   

 

THE LOWDOWN

Will You or the Grid Control Your Electric Car?  Scientific America. – VERY INTERESTING 

A newly built concentrated community of electric vehicle owners, The Mueller Neighborhood in Austin, Texas, is home to the The Pecan Street Demonstration Project.  The community now has nearly 60 Chevy Volt owners thanks to the demonstration project's commitment to match the federal government's $7,500 rebate incentive. General Motors is hoping to learn from the folks in the Pecan Street project how such a dense cluster of electric vehicles might change the electric grid. READ»

 

Colorado Is Burning Even Worse Than Last Year.  Mother Jones. 

The Black Forest fire in Colorado is the catalyst behind this report by James West of Mother Jones, who explores the role climate change is playing in the worsening of wildfires throughout the West.  READ»

 

Senator Kevin De León (D-Los Angeles) discusses the Prop. 39 Implementation Plan incorporated in the approved California State Budget.  In a released statement, he singles out the compromise reached between the Legislature and the Governor, which determines the amount of Prop. 39 funds allocated to each K-12 and community college district based on a poverty-weighted formula and the average daily attendance record at each school site.  READ»

For a more comprehensive breakdown of the distribution, the SIA Cabinet Report does the math.  READ»

Governor Brown is riding high after the timely passage of the State budget.  But, the Governor’s decisions on a host of environmental issues, including: a loan of cap-and-trade revenue to the General Fund; his evasive statements on the future of hydraulic fracturing; and, his plan for distributing Prop. 39’s revenue has aroused strong feelings of disappointment among California’s environmentalists, feelings that call into question the firmness of Jerry Brown’s commitment to the environment.  READ»

And, then there was one.  A nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, MapLight reports Chevron, British Petroleum, ExxonMobil and Valero Energy contributed $464,450 to California Legislators.  The LA Times intimates this accounts for why SB 4—only 1 of the 12 bills submitted to the Legislature on fracking—still remains alive and kicking.  READ»

Voces Verdes, a coalition of 18 Latino business organizations sent a letter to President Obama expressing strong support for controlling climate change by cutting carbon pollution from power plants.  Millions of members of the Latino Community live and/or work in areas where the susceptibility to the damaging health impacts of smog runs high.  For them, limiting industrial carbon pollution from new and existing power plants serves a dual purpose—it addresses the impact of carbon emissions on climate change and simultaneously protects them from the health risks of air pollution.  READ» 

A new proposal from the CPUC requires California’s 3 largest utilities to procure 1,325 MW of storage capacity by 2020, an investment estimated to be between $1 Billion to $3 Billion.  Experts say this 1,325 MW target compares to what’s currently installed globally.  The utilities believe procuring storage from reverse auctions will set a precedent for getting approval for storage as part of the regular rate proceedings.  READ »

A study of snowfall constitutes the second part of an ongoing project conducted by UCLA: "Climate Change in the Los Angeles Region." The study claims snowfall in Southern California’s mountains will shrink by 42% by mid-century because warmer temperatures will turn a larger portion of precipitation into rain rather than snow.  This grim assessment of California's water future doesn’t bode well for the State’s agriculture and tourism industries.  $READ»

Dueling reports on the LCFS draw conflicting conclusions on the law’s effectiveness.  ‘California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard:  Compliance Outlook for 2020’ maintains the LCFS jumpstarts the economy and increases the market share of vehicles powered by biofuels, natural gas, electricity and hydrogen.  The oil industry’s report, “Understanding the Impact of AB 32” claims the LCFS will bring economic ruin to the Golden State.  $READ»

The California Energy Commission doled out $18.7 Million in grants to expand the State’s infrastructure for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.  9 public fuel cell stations currently are dotted throughout the State and 12 more are in development.  The money will be put to good use as experts maintain at least 68 stations need to be up and running by 2017 to realize the Governor’s goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California’s roads by 2025.  READ»

As other states adopt California’s goal of having electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered cars account for 15% of all new-car purchases by 2025, Bloomberg reports automakers are under increasing pressure to sell zero-emission vehicles to U.S. consumers.  Industry insiders claim getting to that goal will require 1% to 3% of all vehicles sold to be zero-emitters; but a too high purchase price coupled with too few re-charging stations make electric cars a hard sell for too many consumers.  READ»

The sales of electric cars are disappointing; but, a panel of transportation experts, from the DOE, DOT, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Argonne National Laboratory and the Clinton Foundation, all agree the commercial future of electric transport is bright.  The key to bringing costs down rests primarily in producing cheaper batteries.  But, linking the purchase of electric cars to fighting climate change will help sales grow.  $READ»

An analysis, from the Electric Power Research Institute compared the prices of the 2013 Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt against comparable gasoline cars on the market.  In California, the state incentives for the Leaf and Volt along with high gas prices and discounts on charging equipment made both cars less expensive to operate than conventional vehicles over their lifetime.   READ»

The following statistics shed light on the current state of global energy consumption.  According to the "Statistical Review of World Energy,” in 2012, 90% of the net increase in global energy consumption came from China and India, while energy consumption among the OECD Countries fell 1.2%.  During the same period, U.S. energy consumption dropped 2.8% and the U.S. had the world's largest decline in carbon emissions—despite an uptick of 1.9% in carbon emissions worldwide—because of substituting natural gas for coal and fuel efficiency in cars.  $READ»

NASA is conducting experiments above the Arctic Circle in Alaska on thawing permafrost and how the emissions of CO2 and CH4 (methane) from the degradation of the frozen earth may affect regional and global climate.  Scientists are learning, ‘permafrost’ may be a misnomer.  Permafrost soils are warming even faster than Arctic air temperatures and the organic carbon reservoirs contained in the frozen soil are releasing into the atmosphere.  Early results show large episodic bursts of CO2 and CH4 in interior Alaska in amounts similar to what is found in large cities.  READ»

Hobbled by plummeting domestic demand, last year American coal exports set a record of 125 million tons in sales by expanding what it sends to Asia and Europe. To double their current coal exports—the coal industry plans to open several export terminals in the Pacific Northwest.  Seeking to keep every piece of unmined coal in the ground, the New York Times reports environmentalists consider these terminals their prime target.  READ»

The Greenhouse 100 recently listed the U.S. government as 4th among the country’s top 100 industrial polluters but don’t blame Josh Silverman of the Department of Energy.  Mr. Silverman, a finalist for the Service to America Medal, one of the highest honors awarded a federal civil servant, led a team at DOE that cut the annual leaks of sulfur hexafluoride, the most potent greenhouse gas in existence, by about 35,000 pounds and he accomplished this by overseeing a program that inspected and repaired leaks in the DOE’s national laboratories.  READ»

Estimates from the EPA disclose that the process of fracking consumes between 70 billion and 140 billion gallons of water each year.  In a new white paper citing a wide-range of research on the impact of fracking on the U.S. water supply, CAP discusses the growing concerns over water contamination in fracking and the need for greater water preservation in areas subject to drought where fracking is taking place.  READ»

Drum beats throughout the green media signal President Obama plans to release his package of climate change policies sometime next month.  Speculation continues to circulate that the Clean Air Act will be the fulcrum upon which the President’s entire climate policy will rest.  Any horse-trading effort to defuse the pushback from environmentalists over subsequent approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline with a high-profile carbon reduction announcement won’t fly.  $READ»

In a letter, 5 Democratic senators, whose constituents all experienced the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, urged President Obama “to finalize strong carbon pollution standards for new power plants and to pursue standards regulating carbon pollution for existing fossil-fuel power plants.”  In their strongly worded exchange, Senators Blumenthal (D-CN), Gillibrand (D-NY), Menendez (D-NJ), Murphy (D-CN) and Schumer (D-NY) deemed setting carbon pollution standards for existing power plants a “necessity.”  READ»

 

QUOTES OF THE DAY

“…we have had some good sun.”  Steve Greenlee, spokesperson for the California Independent System Operators, on the news that solar power in California broke records twice in the past week.  On Friday, June 7 the state hit an all-time high output of 2,071 MW of electrical generation 12:59 p.m. That record was broken again at 12:53 p.m. on Monday, June 10 when output climbed to 2,104 MW. 

a fuels cliff.”  What Catherine Reheis-Boyd, President of the Western States Petroleum Association describes as the type of cliff the side-effects of the continued enforcement of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard will push consumers over because of high prices and short supply. 

Thousands of men and women in the construction industry will now have the opportunity to get back to work…”  Cesar Diaz of the State Building and Construction Trades Council commenting on the allocation of Prop. 39 funds, which will be disbursed based on a poverty-weighted allotment to each school district and community college district. 

“…the lowest-hanging fruit on the tree…” Stephen Crolius, Transportation Program Director for the Clinton Foundation on the potential of electric cars to generate large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with a minimum of effort, quoted in E&E News.

"Climate action coupled with approval of Keystone XL would be like deep frying broccoli coated in sugar and arguing that it's still healthy for you.”  Joshua Saks of the National Wildlife Federation describing how a trade-off comprised of approval of the Keystone XL for carbon regulations will be viewed, quoted in E&E Daily.

“I know how to count."  A statement made by DOE Secretary Moniz that emissions of carbon dioxide and related gases from human industrial activity are causing global warming and more extreme weather. Quoted in E&E Daily.  

 

CALIFORNIA

Prop 39 Implementation Passed - Creating Thousands of Jobs and Achieving Cleaner Air for California’s Schools. 

Budget deal includes agreement on Prop 39 monies.  

Climate change could slash snowfall in Southern California Mountains.  

Environmentalists take close look at Brown.  

Fracking bills flop after gusher of opposition cash, report says.  

California Energy Storage Plan May Require $3 Billion Investment. 

Warmer climate may mean snowpack mostly vanishes on some Calif. mountains – study.  

Calif.'s low-carbon fuel standard sparks war of words, economic analyses. 

California awards $18 million to build hydrogen-fueling stations. 

TRANSPORTATION

Automakers Pressed to Sell No-Emission Cars to Reluctant Buyers. 

Electric vehicle sales remain low, but experts see lower costs ahead. 

Lifetime Costs of Electric Cars Within 10% of Competing Vehicles.  

ENERGY

Richest countries' energy use falls as consumption skyrockets in China, India.  

CLIMATE

Explaining the Global Warming Hiatus.  Nate Cohn.  

Over the last 15 years: Global warming has slowed down.  Since 1998, the warmest year of the twentieth century, temperatures have not kept up with computer models that seemed to project steady warming.  The complex science underlying this 10-year warming plateau is explained in this article.

Is a Sleeping Climate Giant Stirring in the Arctic? 

Latino Organizations Urge The President To Act On Climate Change. 

COAL

A Fight Over Coal Exports and the Industry’s Future.  

ENERGY EFFICIENCY/RENEWABLES

Department of Energy’s Crusade Against Leaks of a Potent Greenhouse Gas Yields Results.  

FRACKING

Fracking Can Strain U.S. Water Supplies.  

NATIONAL

As anticipation builds for White House announcement, enviros prepare lawsuit and everyone questions timing.  

Sandy Lawmakers Write Obama About Carbon Pollution.  

LONG READ OF THE DAY

Tilting at windmills.  

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