Two more articles from Peter Sinclair who's not only debunking climate change denial, he's also presenting solutions.
Electric Vehicles: Progress in Spite of Rough Ride
October 24, 2011
Apologies for the advertisements halfway thru. Good, warts and all update on electric vehicle development. It’s not about environmentalism or climate – it’s about economics and national security. This is a half hour film, so if time is short, skip to the very interesting discussion of lithium air batteries at 20:00.
Meanwhile, even as the IBM expert in the video above asserts, “most people in the world want to own a car..” – there is evidence that the traditional auto-dependent lifestyle is losing its appeal. The personal auto as the primary means of transportation is sunsetting.
Have We Reached Peak Car?:
Experts say our love affair with the automobile is ending, and that could change much more than how we get around – it presents both an opportunity and an imperative to rethink how we build cities, how governments budget and even the contours of the political landscape.
The most detailed picture of the trend comes from the United States, where the distance driven by Americans per capita each year flatlined at the turn of the century and has been dropping for six years. By last spring, Americans were driving the same distance as they had in 1998.
The rebound in urban-centre residential growth over the past 20 years has reduced the need to drive, as many people have moved back within reach of city transit systems or even within walking distance from their jobs. Meanwhile, telecommuting, social media and online shopping have all cut back on the need for people to go anywhere outside the house at all.
Demographics also have an important impact. The two largest current cohorts are aging baby boomers and their young-adult children, known as Generation Y. The youngest of these Millennials are currently in their mid-teens, just the age when they should be getting their driver’s licences.
But U.S. transportation data show that many of them are putting off that long-cherished rite of passage well into their 20s.
In fact, they’re more likely than any previous generation in the automotive age never to learn to drive at all. It’s a choice that may feed into their elders’ suspicion that this is a group that stubbornly holds on to its adolescence rather than accommodate itself to adulthood, but is also just a mark of when they came of age. To them, cars are “an older-generation technology,” says Tara Mahoney, 28, of Burnaby, B.C.
“Cars are not as interesting as they used to be. They’re an outdated ethos,” says Ms. Mahoney, who owns a Subaru all-wheel-drive but finds it much less stressful to use a combination of Vancouver’s SkyTrain and a bicycle to get to her new-media company’s office downtown. “I think Generation Y might think of themselves as beyond that, as the generation that can do better.”
Markey: Clean Energy Winning
October 24, 2011
Edward Markey in the Wall Street Journal:
Regarding your editorial “A Better Idea for Green Jobs”
(op-ed, Oct. 15): Here are the facts. Employment in the U.S. solar industry has doubled in the last two years. Solar energy now employs more than 100,000 Americans, tens of thousands more than in coal mining. The wind industry employs 85,000. According to the Brookings Institution, the clean economy now employs 2.7 million Americans, more than the fossil-fuel industry.
By comparison, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Chevron, which made $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, actually reduced their U.S. work forces by a combined 11,200 workers.
Despite rhetorical attacks, clean energy is winning. New wind projects are selling their power for as little as three cents per kilowatt-hour, cheaper than natural gas. America is currently a net exporter of solar technology. We have a renewable energy technology trade surplus with China. From 2007 to 2010, America constructed nearly 32,000 new megawatts of wind, solar and biomass electricity. That is more than three times the amount of new coal during that time. Yet the only clean-energy company that conservatives seem to be able to talk about is Solyndra.
Clean energy employs millions of Americans and provides power to millions more. Most Americans want to see their nation dominate a sector estimated to be worth $12 trillion over the next two decades.
Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.)
Ranking Member, Natural Resources Committee