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Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends – July, 2018

Every Tuesday morning I report at KSKQ radio about those policies and technologies that are helping rescue our environment (or that hurt it).  I’ve decided to post them here (Sorry the formatting is lost; I can’t lay it out in a more attractive way):

KSKQ 7-3-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

May was the fourth warmest May on record since measurements started in 1880.  Now, some 6,300 metrological stations take the measurements.

The ice is melting in Antarctica far faster than usual.  Combined measurements involving 80 scientists from 40 international organizations using 24 satellite surveys, agree that Prior to 2012, the rate of melt raised the oceans 0.008 inches a year, whereas since then it has swelled to 0.02, two and a half times faster.  The overall contribution since 2012 has been a mere 0.12 inch.  This sounds trivial, but the rate of melting is increasing, and Antarctica holds 7 times more land-based ice than the rest of the land-based ice in the world combined.  If all the ice in Antarctica were to melt, the oceans would rise 193 feet.  So far, Antarctica has been cooler than our warming northern Arctic.  Now, human-caused heat is also melting our southernmost continent.

The governor of Colorado has signed an executive order seeking the same higher air quality standards as had California and other states, their adhering to the more stringent 2012 standards of the former EPA.  This bucks Scott Pruitt’s EPA efforts to weaken them country-wide.  Denver is the 14th most polluted city in the country.  This is calculated to save Colorado from $16 to $37 million by 2040.

VW has taken the Pike’s Peak race, completing the 12 mile race, climbing 4700 feet to the 14,000 foot top in just under 8 minutes.  The 2500 pound, dual electric motor (with regenerative braking) electric race car has now beaten the world’s fastest gasoline cars.  VW plans on incorporating many elements in its standard production electric cars.  It is beginning to extricate itself from the scandal, costs and fines it created by earlier lying about diesel emissions.

A new classroom in Wales produces 50% more energy than it consumes.  The highly-insulated building incorporates both solar heating and PV.

Renters in Moreland, Australia will benefit from solar on their roofs, as will the landlords.  An innovative program shunts energy and profits to both landlords and tenants.

India plans to obtain 21% (1/5th) of its energy from renewables by 2022.  About half of that will be from solar.

Chinese electric car sales are up 121% over last year.  Sales are reaching about 100,000 per month.  Some of the cute little around-town electric cars are selling in China for about $15,000, while their other more standard electric sedans sell for about $30.000.

KSKQ 7-10-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

Various interfaith leaders gathered in New Jersey to bless electric cars.  They help us treat natural creation better, they asserted.

Because I’m from the Detroit area, it is good to see Ford invest over $11B in locating Ford Team Edison, a multifaceted design and development team there.  Part of an international push, Ford is working on all aspects of design, manufacture, sales, and service for a rapidly expanding electric fleet.

China spent $1B last year in subsidies for electric cars.  But this year they’re upping the expected miles on a charge from 80 to 125.  They apparently want manufacturers to deliver longer range vehicles locally and for export.

Over half of all the world’s solar PV and electric car sales are in China.

All the oil company worst actors are going to gather in August 7th in New Orleans to celebrate Trump’s backing of coal, oil and natural gas.  Notorious professional liars at the Heartland Institute, largely financed by the Koch brothers, will be hosting the event.

There appears to be a deliberate effort to criticize Tesla by short-sellers, those who bet against a company, hoping drops in stock value will pay off.  Petty gripes get lots of play in the news.  Even the New York Times publishes hit pieces deliberately designed to undermine Tesla.  Trouble is, pumping up our negativity bias works, as we saw in the Hillary/Trump vote.

Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zukerberg and others are investing $1B in Brakethrough Energy Ventures, a start-up not expecting immediate returns in order to ramp up energy storage abilities to even out drops in PV production.  Two mysterious companies are favored.  Quidnet Energy is known for a scheme to pump water into reservoirs to get the energy back.  Many see this as far-fetched.  Form Energy is exploring using Sulphur instead of Lithium, anticipating storage at 1/10th current costs on a device they aren’t calling a battery.  Curious and perhaps hopeful, but skeptics abound on this so-far.

Bill Donahue, writing for AAA Via, reports on how people are reclaiming a healthy Willamette River.  2,500 people recently spent the day tubing and swimming there.  Portland was once called Stumptown for the lumbering.  City sewage went directly into the river.  In 1927 the Portland City Club called the river “ugly and filthy.”  Ponds were full of old tires and rebar. Tom McCall, Republican governor from ’67 to ’75 (back when when Conservatives conserved) put in sewage treatment plants and created a lovely downtown riverfront park.  Citizens helped replant the shores towards a healthy floodplain.  An 11 mile stretch still needs cleanup and is a Superfund site that will cost $1B over 13 years.  A half century ago the river was a fetid, forgotten cesspool.  Now, kids go shirtless and barefoot in cleaner waters shared with salmon and ducks.

KSKQ 7-17-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

Former EPA Administrator Christina Todd Whittman is admitting how oil companies try to ridicule EVs.

It’s early in the game, but Monaco, the tiny country largely devoted to yachts, is sponsoring a solar boat competition.  Some zoom along on sunlight only.

Current projections put Tesla ahead of Porsche for cars produced by the end of 2018.  Tesla is now creating 5000 model 3s per week.  Tesla has also announced the building of another gigafactory for batteries in China.  Chinese automakers are also anticipating rapid expansion of EVs.

Apple, flush with cash, is investing $300M in China to help stimulate green energy production and products there.  It and other American companies are seeking to operate at 100% clean-energy.

The lower house in Ireland has voted to divest their $10B portfolio entirely from fossil fuels.  Not only is this an ethical move, it is an economically conservative one, for fossil fuel profits are set to decline.

The company American Manganese says it can retrieve 100% of the cobalt, lithium, nickel, manganese and aluminum from spent batteries (from EVs, phones, etc.) and from materials adjacent to the production process itself.  In other words, the batteries will be entirely recyclable.

Exxon/Mobil has cut its ties with ALEC, the right-wing policy-makers financed in part by the Koch brothers.  ALEC has spent 34.6M deceiving the public on climate change, and Exxon/Mobil had contributed $1.8M of that.  This is a good move, but perhaps a PR move that also untangles itself from obvious propaganda as it faces law suits over their deception and destruction of our formerly reliable climate.

The Black Fly vTOL vehicle is moving from Canada to the Silicon Valley.  The single-seat, 8 electric propeller ultralight flying machine can take off from only 3 feet of space, and travel for 25 miles at 60 MPH (in the U.S.).  The odd-looking, twin wing craft is only 13’ x 13’.  It has already flown 12,000 miles on 1,300 flights and is scheduled to make an appearance at the Oshkosh Fly-in this July.

Move over solar PV panels.  It could well be that sunlight penetrates our skin enough to create CoQ10 out of the leafy dark greens we had eaten.  So, eating dark, leafy greens and getting some sunlight increases our anti-oxidants and improves our overall health.

KSKQ 7-24-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

The European Union and China have just signed an agreement to work together on addressing climate change and in promoting clean energy.  The U.S. is increasingly isolated and lagging on these issues.

A Nordic company has just purchased 24 electric busses from BYD, a Chinese company.

And Norway has also just purchased 48 articulated busses from BYD.

Right here in Oregon, Facebook has teamed up with Pacific Power to install 437 MW of solar to power its new data center near Prineville with 100% renewable.

New York had sued the oil companies for lying about their product and the consequences of using it.  However, a federal judge has thrown the case out, claiming the courts can’t manage climate change – it’s the EPA’s job.

Doug Ford, brother of crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford, has seized power in Ontario, rolling back every progressive advance there on the environment.  Canada is vulnerable to these slogan-chanting low-lifes.  Former cap and trade agreements with California will lapse, as will incentives for electric cars.  The future of car manufacturing was once rosy, but now is grim.

Bill Ford Jr., having already transformed the huge Rouge River Plant into a green assembly line, has purchased the Michigan Central building.  Formerly the hub for trains, it will now be a hub for Ford’s autonomous car division.  The 15 story building will be occupied by 5000 employees.

Rolls-Royce is developing an electrified air taxi intended to carry 5 passengers up to 250 MPH for 500 mile trips.  The vTOL aircraft would have a wing that rotates 90 degrees, allowing it to lift off of small spaces, then travel horizontally as airplanes usually do.  However, they will initially use their M250 gas turbine engine to power the six electric propellers instead of batteries.

Boosted has come out with another electric skateboard, the Stealth.  It has a top speed of 24 MPH and will carry a stander 14 miles on a charge.  It costs about $1600.

KSKQ 7-31-18

Good Earthkeeping Tools and Trends

A Stanford University study claims 139 countries could achieve 100% clean energy by 2050 via solar, wind and hydro.  These represent 71% of the world’s 95 nations.  The cost ($25T) would equal that of developing and maintaining the current fossil fuel system, but it would also create 20 million full-time jobs while decreasing health problems now due to fossil fuels.

Pruitt’s abrupt departure from the EPA hasn’t slowed that agency’s push to override California’s (and 16 other states, including Oregon) clean air standards for new cars.  The Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers has lobbied hard to not have to create efficient autos.  Almost all U.S. car makers and sellers contribute to the AAM – except for Tesla, Honda, and Nissan, Hyundai, and Kia.

Despite tariffs on solar from China, China’s LONGi has just secured a $600M contract to supply PV panels to an un-named U.S. “ground –power plant developer,” probably supplying a utility with some 2.5 GW of clean energy.


Byron has been using his writing and public speaking to engage, challenge and inspire audiences for over 40 years. Reverend Carrier's mission is to rescue and revive our earthly Eden, including our human worth and potential. If you enjoy his work, consider supporting him with Patreon.

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