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Can this guy be right?

https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2018/05/15/are-electric-cars-worse-for-the-environment-000660

My main source for such debates is the following link which studies the cradle-to-grave comparison. The link above is studying only fuel usage.

https://www.ucsusa.org/EVlifecycle

Aside: Big news story this week about the number of people who die from carbon monoxide poisoning when they leave their vehicle on in the garage. It is easy to leave a quiet vehicle on unintentionally. But if an EV, no prob.
 

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"As for greenhouse-gas emissions, my analysis shows that electric vehicles will reduce them compared to new internal combustion vehicles. But based on the EIA’s projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in CO2 emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of one percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate, and thus have no economic benefit."

The article title is completely misleading. But the information is correct. EVs will not save us. They will not allow us to continue rolling around in our own private emperor's coaches. EVs are, as the saying goes, necessary, but not sufficient. Banning large private vehicles, and returning the speed limit back to 55 mph would do much more than converting all the pickups, and SUVs to electric ever could. But none of this is really about solving our consumption addiction. It is about keeping us distracted while we destroy ourselves for a profit.
 

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This piece was funded by a conservative "think tank."

https://www.manhattan-institute.org/

It ran in a left-wing publication because they were clever enough to couch their right-wing agenda as an attack on the rich, and the know-nothing liberals fell for it. The discussion of existential threats is so buried by ideological nonsense that we will never get to a solution.
 

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George- Spot on in the first paragraph.

Your second one goes off into the weeds, with an implication that profit is evil. Consumption is part of being human and introduces its own unintended negative externalities. That said, our drive for more has fairly steadily improved quality of life for most people. This isn't to say that we should ignore consumption related problems, only that attacking human nature is doomed to fail every time.
 

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Can this guy be right?
I will first throw stones at the author:

From his Bio:
Jonathan Lesser, president of Continental Economics, has more than 30 years of experience working for regulated utilities, for government, and as a consultant in the energy industry.

Lesser is the author of numerous academic and trade-press articles and is a contributing columnist and editorial board member of Natural Gas & Electricity.
I will now throw stones at his primary publiser:
The Manhattan Institute (MI) is a right-wing 501(c)(3) non-profit think tank founded in 1978 by William J. Casey, who later became President Ronald Reagan's CIA director.

"The Manhattan Institute concerns itself with such things as 'welfare reform' (dismantling social programs), 'faith-based initiatives' (blurring the distinction between church and state), and 'education reform' (destroying public education),"
In conclusion, I will throw stones at his consultancy clients

[Jonathan Lesser]submitted expert testimony and reports of behalf of major utility and fossil fuel interests like Exelon; Occidental; Duke Energy; and FirstEnergy, which is an outspoken opponent of energy efficiency measures in Ohio.
Assigning validity to his logic would be a waste of time, in that his premise is flawed.
 

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This isn't to say that we should ignore consumption related problems, only that attacking human nature is doomed to fail every time.
I would certainly agree that attacking human nature is doomed to fail. But human nature is as much about cooperation as it is about self interest. Thanks to cheap fossil fuels we are in a brief orgy of selfish consumption. Nature is correcting that as we write. Profit isn't evil. It is simply impossible.
 

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"As for greenhouse-gas emissions, my analysis shows that electric vehicles will reduce them compared to new internal combustion vehicles. But based on the EIA’s projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in CO2 emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of one percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate, and thus have no economic benefit."
This is a misleading statement.

1. His analysis is based on some assumptions about current CO2 emissions of electricity production and car manufacturing. Both of these are dropping rapidly.

2. His analysis is based on the EIA's projections of the number of new electric vehicles. EIA has a history of underestimating adoption of new technologies. For example, if you look at their projections 10 years ago, they grossly underestimated wind/solar power.

3. His analysis shows that there is going to be reduction of 0.5% between 2018 and 2050. That doesn't seem that large of a reduction. Until you realize that without EV's you will see a 30-40% increase in CO2 emissions.


There are plenty of other reputable studies that show that electrification of transportation will lead to large reduction of carbon emission.

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/luke-t...cles-can-dramatically-reduce-carbon-pollution

https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy17osti/68214.pdf
 

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The article is not good, but the takeaway that EVs won't save the world, at least not in the nearterm, is spot on. If all transportation were completely eliminated, that would reduce energy consumption by 29%.

The problem is much larger than many would like to admit, and for that reason, any feelings of smugness by driving an EV are inappropriate.

I will first throw stones at the author
I will now throw stones at his primary publiser
In conclusion, I will throw stones at his consultancy clients
Assigning validity to his logic would be a waste of time, in that his premise is flawed.
You threw paper airplanes as those are simply ad hominems against the author and others he has associated with.

Stones would be to take some factual statement made by him and critically comment on it.

I lost interest in the article fairly quickly, and the title itself is even antagonistic. Even if much of it is true now, it's not likely to be true in the future.

Profit isn't evil. It is simply impossible.
Profit isn't impossible, it's inevitable.

If you trade anything at all in exchange for something else without being coerced, then both parties have profited.
 

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"As for greenhouse-gas emissions, my analysis shows that electric vehicles will reduce them compared to new internal combustion vehicles. But based on the EIA’s projection of the number of new electric vehicles, the net reduction in CO2 emissions between 2018 and 2050 would be only about one-half of one percent of total forecast U.S. energy-related carbon emissions. Such a small change will have no impact whatsoever on climate, and thus have no economic benefit."

The article title is completely misleading. But the information is correct. EVs will not save us. They will not allow us to continue rolling around in our own private emperor's coaches. EVs are, as the saying goes, necessary, but not sufficient. Banning large private vehicles, and returning the speed limit back to 55 mph would do much more than converting all the pickups, and SUVs to electric ever could. But none of this is really about solving our consumption addiction. It is about keeping us distracted while we destroy ourselves for a profit.
Disclaimer: I may be letting my biases cloud my observations. But I am at least aware of that and will try and manage them.

As others have noted, this article is from a Conservative perspective. Looking at some of their other publications makes that pretty clear. And just in the paragraph above he shifts from comparing the change in emissions from ICE vs EV to EV vs the entire energy production in the US. That subtlety may allow him to mask that EV's reduce emissions from cars by 50% (allowing for generation), but that cars make up only 1% of national emissions.

I suspect if you looked at early adopters of ICE cars, they were also wealthy. Here's an article about 1915 vs 2015 that mentions income, cars, and fuel. Note that a car cost 3x the average yearly salary (even a Model T in that time frame cost ~$400), and a gallon of gas cost almost half an hours labor (assuming a 40 hour week with two weeks vacation, so $687/2000 hrs = 34¢/hr).

Because of the way incomes are distributed, I bet lowering the price of an EV by 25% (about the discount afforded to me by various incentives) would increase the pool of potential buyers by more than 25%.

From my perspective, the subsidies he rails against are there to speed adoption to the point of reaching a critical mass both of cars and infrastructure, so that improvements in power generation, batteries, etc in the future will compound their benefit. For example, if I buy an EV now, and next year my utility cuts power plant emissions, then my car is suddenly emitting less.
 

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You threw paper airplanes as those are simply ad hominems against the author and others he has associated with.
My paper airplanes were intended to highlight the authors probable bias.

The author has a clear profit motive to portray his side of the story. This does not mean his statements were untrue or lacked proper foundation. However, being aware that the presenter has an agendum to grind may help in the interpretation.

When an author is historically 100% one-sided in their statements, I have a difficult time taking anything they say seriously.
 

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Profit isn't impossible, it's inevitable.

If you trade anything at all in exchange for something else without being coerced, then both parties have profited.
Only if you ignore 99.9% of everything involved...the externalities. Economics is a belief system which exists in an imaginary space, with rational actors and infinite room and resources.
 

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Verbal slight of hand...


-"Today’s vehicles emit only about 1% of the pollution than they did in the 1960s, and new innovations continue to improve those engines’ efficiency and cleanliness."
It is important to note that the pollution he is referring to excludes CO2. (see how pollution is defined in the previous paragraph) It is also important to note that this finding is based upon improvements in pollution reduction in new ICE cars. The author does not mention improvements in reducing pollution in power generation which one would also expect to at least match that of ICE. In fact, it is actually easier to monitor power generation to reduce both pollution and CO2.

-"Based on that forecast, if the EIA’s projected number of electric vehicles were replaced with new internal combustion vehicles, air pollution would actually decrease"
This basically states that if new ICE cars were purchased (instead of EV) to replace older more polluting cars that the air pollution would decrease while giving the impression that the 'decrease' is a comparison between ICE and EV's.
 

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We can all try to guess how many vehicles, ICE or EV, will be on the roads by 2050. There are over a billion now, and projections assume over double that by 2050. But all of this completely ignores where actual scientists say we need to be to avoid catastrophe.
 

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Only if you ignore 99.9% of everything involved...the externalities. Economics is a belief system which exists in an imaginary space, with rational actors and infinite room and resources.
Everything we contemplate exists in an imaginary space, including our very perceptions. That said, the fundamental principle of economics is based upon scarcity of resources. It doesn't assume infinite anything. Modern economics now accounts for irrational behavior, which means its developing into ever more useful and accurate means of predicting economic trade.

Economics is at least as valid as meteorology or medicine; both of which make predictions but are always off by varying degrees. Lack of absolute certainty does not imply lack of utility in responding to probability.

Externalities is taught in every 101 economics course.

I'm simply unconvinced that I should wallow in self-loathing for my good fortune, or for the good fortune of others.

We can all try to guess how many vehicles, ICE or EV, will be on the roads by 2050. There are over a billion now, and projections assume over double that by 2050. But all of this completely ignores where actual scientists say we need to be to avoid catastrophe.
Predicting EV adoption is tricky because it is likely to follow a hockey-stick curve, and small errors in timing on a hockey-stick curve result in orders of magnitude of error in predicting actual EV numbers.

There is a chance that in 60 years I will be saying to myself that I should have been more anxious about global warming, and that I should have been more hostile towards those who didn't take extreme measures to address it. I believe that chance is vanishingly small.
 

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Back to the topic of EVs and pollution...

I can generate my transportation fuel on the roof of my house, and have been doing so for over twenty years.

That fuel is now free of cost (and pollution).
 

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Back to the topic of EVs and pollution...

I can generate my transportation fuel on the roof of my house, and have been doing so for over twenty years.

That fuel is now free of cost (and pollution).
I've been interested in PV since I was a child. I paid $8 when I was a kid for a gum-stick sized cell just to experiment with it.

I haven't run the numbers, but I'm not sure it makes sense for me living at the 45th parallel under a rain cloud. For sure I'd have jumped in had I lived in CA, or AZ, or even Eastern Oregon.

PV is a great benefit up until it is so widespread that it interferes with the connected grid operations. We're not at that point yet in most places, but something to consider. I've read that we couldn't handle more than about 20% renewable (unpredictable) energy without running into serious technical challenges.

In the near term, I don't see much alternative to going nuke. We can anticipate great advances in technology that allow cheaper and cleaner energy in the future, but we will need something in the interim.
 

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I'm simply unconvinced that I should wallow in self-loathing for my good fortune, or for the good fortune of others.

There is a chance that in 60 years I will be saying to myself that I should have been more anxious about global warming, and that I should have been more hostile towards those who didn't take extreme measures to address it. I believe that chance is vanishingly small.
I don't see how you equate addressing limits with self-loathing?

So you are in your twenties? I hope you can beat recent trends.

https://publicpolicy.stanford.edu/news/life-expectancy-and-inequality-life-expectancy-united-states
 

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I haven't run the numbers, but I'm not sure it makes sense for me living at the 45th parallel under a rain cloud. For sure I'd have jumped in had I lived in CA, or AZ, or even Eastern Oregon.
One of the locations I was considering when fleeing California was Vancouver, WA (The lure of living State tax free, and driving over a bridge to shop Sales tax free). I checked on Solar in your neck of the woods.

Portland gets more sun/year than anyplace in Germany, the country that leads the world in residential rooftop Solar production per population.

Your 8.5 kW system @ $2/kW= $17,000 total initial outlay (Out the door).

Energy Trust rebate of $0.55 x 8,000 = $4,400 off the price.
Federal ITC (after ET rebate) of 30% =$5,100
Oregon state tax credit of ... opps, you missed out on that.

Total after incentive cost: $17,000 - $4,400 - $5,100 = $7500.
Assumption: Electricity savings of X (total annual kWh) kWh*$0.11/kWh= Y
Or simply add up your annual energy bills and / $7500 for ROI in years.
 

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One of the locations I was considering when fleeing California was Vancouver, WA (The lure of living State tax free, and driving over a bridge to shop Sales tax free). I checked on Solar in your neck of the woods.

Portland gets more sun/year than anyplace in Germany, the country that leads the world in residential rooftop Solar production per population.

Your 8.5 kW system @ $2/kW= $17,000 total initial outlay (Out the door).

Energy Trust rebate of $0.55 x 8,000 = $4,400 off the price.
Federal ITC (after ET rebate) of 30% =$5,100
Oregon state tax credit of ... opps, you missed out on that.

Total after incentive cost: $17,000 - $4,400 - $5,100 = $7500.
Assumption: Electricity savings of X (total annual kWh) kWh*$0.11/kWh= Y
Or simply add up your annual energy bills and / $7500 for ROI in years.
My house is in Vancouver, and is SW angled, with a new roof as of 5 months ago.



Perhaps slight shading at the far end of the roof. Does solar reduce attic temperatures?


$0.08/kWh is what's slowing me down from PV. My annual bill for electricity is somewhere around $420 for my 4 bedroom 2100 sq/ft house. Natural gas for heat and no AC. Maybe a 15 year payback? I'd want to build it myself though, just for fun. That could reduce cost, but there are no subsidies for self-installs.



I hope you can beat recent trends.
I'm always the glutton for facts and figures; so the mortality inequality chart was interesting. That said, I'm unsure what to do with the knowledge. It's like seeing a graph of disproportionate male fatalities in mining accidents (or any workplace accident). Should we be looking for ways to more equally distribute death to various arbitrary groupings?

They say the only average thing about a person is that they aren't average. I've so far avoided being part of the 75% of Americans that are overweight or obese, which is among the highest predictors of life expectancy. I'm a 6'2" male though, so that's a big negative going against.

Perhaps I misunderstand your emphasis of the evils of capitalism, profit motive, and free trade. I thought I was to feel bad for enjoying the benefits derived from such participation?
 
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