24 Hours of Climate Reality: Gore-a-thon – Hour 19

A new post containing a cartoon from Josh will appear every hour. At the end of the 24 hours, everything will be collated on a single page. Readers are encouraged to post skeptical arguments below, as well as offer comments on what has been seen from the Climate Reality Project so far.

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I wonder why Al doesn’t drive an electric car everywhere?

The real problem is that the majority of electric power comes from coal or natural gas, so unless you have a wind turbine or solar panel connected to your car, you don’t know where that electricity’s been.

Besides, leaving the motor running and the air conditioner on so that you can make a quick getaway from those pesky reporters wanting to ask inconvenient questions quickly draws down the car battery.

Do as Al says, not as Al does

National Post · Lorne Gunter

On Thursday, former U. S. vice-president Al Gore delivered a major address calling on his country to abandon all fossil fuels within 10 years. By 2018, U. S. electricity and fuel should come entirely from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources,” he said. Tickets to the event encouraged attendees to “please use public transit, bicycling or other climate-friendly means” to reach the lecture hall.

So how did Mr. Gore and his retinue arrive? In two Lincoln Town Cars and a full-sized SUV that sat idling with the air conditioners blasting while the Gore party was inside.

It was 34 C in Washington. Al Gore can’t be expected to get into an overheated vehicle after he’s worked up a sweat telling others how to save the planet.

read more

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Josh put a lot of work into these, so if you like the work, drop by the tip jar. Unlike Gore’s CRP, he won’t spam you asking for more. Buy him a beer, he’s worked a long time bringing us enjoyment with only some “attaboys” sent his way.

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32 Responses to 24 Hours of Climate Reality: Gore-a-thon – Hour 19

  1. sHx says:

    The BBC may be silent but the Doomsday Cult’s press organ, the Guardian, takes notice:

    Death by Powerpoint. I have suffered this torture too many times over the years. We all probably have.

    So I was a little nervous this morning logging into Climate Reality – Al Gore’s 24-hour global-warming warning – as to what I might discover. And, I have to say, my heart immediately sank.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2011/sep/15/al-gore-climate-change-reality

  2. TinyCO2 says:

    London calling. Here are the votes of the British jury. Al Gore no points, null points. CRP no points, null points. AGW no points, null points. WUWT ten points, dix points, Josh twelve points, douze points. That concludes the votes of the British jury. Thank you Gore-a-vision and good evening.

  3. DirkH says:

    Warmists at evolutionary disadvantage again. From the CRP live stream:

    “Tristan Cooper Many problems : one cause : too many people. I’ve had my vasectomy, now it’s your turn.. ”

    Thanks, Tristan.

  4. JohnWho says:

    Vroom, vroom!

    Thorium to the rescue.

    8 grams of thorium to power a car for more than 300,000 miles:

    http://www.carnewsbreak.com/news/1065798_8-grams-of-thorium-to-power-a-car-for-more-than-300000-miles

  5. Niels says:

    I am an ardent sceptic, but love the beauty of a pure electric car. I can’t wait to get my Tesla Series S. You all know the smell of car smog and the noise from ICE engines. I applaud any effort to promote electric cars, and I don’t care where the juice comes from, as long as it does not pollute the air. Gas or nuclear is fine with me, even modern coal plants.

    So, please let’s not rant against electric cars. OK, maybe they will not suit everyone but if you only drive a few hundred miles a day, they’ll do the trick.

  6. Frank Davis says:

    At home in the UK I’ve just been watching the segment from South Africa. I’d kinda assumed that it was being shot in South Africa until an American climate expert of some sort said something which included the words “here in the United States”. This expert seemed to think he was in the United States rather than South Africa! How could he make such a mistake? And then I realised that, of course it wasn’t being shot in South Africa at all. It was being shot in a studio somewhere in the USA. And in fact may have been shot weeks earlier.

    Another thing that bothered me was that there didn’t seem to be a real audience. People sat talking about things, or stood at lecterns, but I never caught sight of any real audience. All the questions that were fielded were online questions. None came from the “audience”. Even though the audience was heard to applaud. I got to feel that maybe there wasn’t any audience at all, and that the applause was all canned.

    It also bothered me a bit that the set was huge. Or appeared to be huge. The whole production was very expensive. There had to be a lot of money that went into this ‘global’ production.

    The whole thing gradually struck me as utterly fraudulent. And of course there was no science. Just lists of all the organisations that had endorsed “indisputable” global warming.

  7. James Sexton says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 11:32 am

    “…………..

    So, please let’s not rant against electric cars. OK, maybe they will not suit everyone but if you only drive a few hundred miles a day, they’ll do the trick.”
    ==========================================================

    I’m waiting to see the durability of these things. I can see where they might do fine for an urban setting, but much of my driving is in a rural setting, often gravel roads. I can’t imagine it working for the trucking industry, and I’m wondering about the value of having duplicitous transportation systems.

  8. Nuke Nemesis says:

    I can’t say I would be impressed if Big Al emceed the entire 24-hour Boreathon, but I might tune in everynow and then just to watch him sweat.

  9. Nuke Nemesis says:

    Maybe he could have a cargo plane fly an electric car from event to event, like Obama did with his “bus” tour?

    Anyhoo, I’m not sure they make an EV big enough for Al and his ego.

  10. RockyRoad says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 11:32 am


    So, please let’s not rant against electric cars. OK, maybe they will not suit everyone but if you only drive a few hundred miles a day, they’ll do the trick.

    The problem I have with electric cars is the poor utilization of energy. I’ve read where only 5% of the initial energy is available where the rubber meets the road. A far better solution (and one that wouldn’t be limited to a few hundred miles a day) is by powering the auto with an on-board heat source that didn’t require combustion. This could come from either a thorium or a cold fussion Ni-H reactor (although there are other metals that work with hydrogen) with steam as the primary medium. In both cases, mere grams of fairly common metals are needed and refueling isn’t required every night–it may be no more frequent than annually or every six months at the most. And these power sources could be scaled up to power trucks, busses, trains, ocean-going ships, even stationary power plants that generate electricity for everything we currently use it for.

    I just don’t see much of a future for electric cars. They’re way too expensive and will succumb to superior technology in the not far distant future.

  11. Nuke Nemesis says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 11:32 am
    I am an ardent sceptic, but love the beauty of a pure electric car. I can’t wait to get my Tesla Series S. You all know the smell of car smog and the noise from ICE engines. I applaud any effort to promote electric cars, and I don’t care where the juice comes from, as long as it does not pollute the air. Gas or nuclear is fine with me, even modern coal plants.

    So, please let’s not rant against electric cars. OK, maybe they will not suit everyone but if you only drive a few hundred miles a day, they’ll do the trick.

    I’m not against the EV, I’m against the central planners, know-it-alls and rent-seekers trying to force a vehicle upon the public that doesn’t currently meet the needs of the public. If EVs actually delivered, we wouldn’t need to incentivize their development, design, manufacture and purchase with public funds.

    I’m against my tax dollars being used to build recharging stations for EVs that you can’t even buy in this state and if you could buy them, only the relatively well-off could afford the initial purchase.

    Get rid of the grants, the subsidies, the tax-payer funded rebates on EVs and you wouldn’t hear a peep out of me or most skeptics about them. We don’t have problems with other people choosing what they believe is best for them. We just should not be forced (not asked, but forced) to pay for it.

    When somebody makes an EV that meets my needs, I’ll buy it.

  12. Niels says:

    @James Sexton,

    I agree, but have a look at Tesla anyway; they will, some day, produce SUVs with 4WD, so perhaps you’ll change your mind about getting one.

  13. TomB says:

    A steam powered car? Seriously? Well, I guess if you never turned it off it might work. But I sure wouldn’t be a fan of waiting for my car to “come to a boil” before I could drive it.

  14. Dave Wendt says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 11:32 am
    I am an ardent sceptic, but love the beauty of a pure electric car. I can’t wait to get my Tesla Series S.

    Do you have your deposit in? Did you opt for the $5000 Model S which puts you more than 1200 down the list or the $40,000 Model S Signature that gets you earlier access? But in any case congratulations because you must be doing pretty well to be able to afford a $50K- $70K automobile in the current economy. After your $7500 subsidy of course, although why the taxpayers should be subsidizing the purchases of people who can afford to spend $50K- +$100K on autos has never been entirely clear to me. I do appreciate your enthusiasm, but I would point out that Elon Musk the main principal at Tesla was also intimately involved in Solyndra. Over a billion dollars in taxpayer loan guarantees for one guy, he must be quite a fellow.

  15. Niels says:

    @rocky road, well, you said:”The problem I have with electric cars is the poor utilization of energy. I’ve read where only 5% of the initial energy is available where the rubber meets the road.” You may have read that, but it is not true. Look up the efficiency of an electric motor compared to an ICE one, then take into account the transmission loss of power from a power station, the charging and discharging of the batteries, and you will see the electric car is way more efficient than an ICE powered one. Please do the calculation before you answer, I promise you will be surprised when you see the efficiency of an electric motor is over 90 pct. However, you have to subtract the losses I mentioned previously.

  16. Juergen says:

    I checked the archive like http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17290625 and found in the info that Hour 19: London had 140 Live Views
    Other ones show something like:
    Hour 16: Dubai had 84 Live Views
    Hour 15: Islamabad had 47 Live Views
    Hour 10: Canberra had 273 Live Views
    Hour 1: Mexico City had 1,485 Live Views

    Where are the millions of viewers?

    Check out http://www.ustream.tv/user/climatereality/info-stats
    Info for climatereality
    Joined: July 27, 2011
    Last signed in: September 15, 2011
    Location: DC
    Bio:

    Stats
    Total views (all shows): 25,940 <=== The video "What Can Change In A Day?" has 16,516 Live Views
    Total viewer hours (all shows): 105 days, 13 hours, 2 minutes
    Total unique views: 5,814 <=== ???

    Again, I don't see millions. I guess they have the equation of the hockey stick used.

    How many AGW deniers like me are counted in the unique views of 5,814?

  17. Niels says:

    @nuke, as you say: “Get rid of the grants, the subsidies, the tax-payer funded rebates on EVs and you wouldn’t hear a peep out of me or most skeptics about them. We don’t have problems with other people choosing what they believe is best for them. We just should not be forced (not asked, but forced) to pay for it.”

    Unfortunately I agree with your argument about funding, and it is a good one. Tesla has, for example, received a multiple hundred million loan from the government.

    The way to go is more direct democracy, as we have in my country, then we could ask people how much they would pay for no smog, no high maintenance bills, and a car that costs a fraction to run in compared to an ICE vehicle.

  18. Niels says:

    @Dave, “Elon Musk the main principal at Tesla was also intimately involved in Solyndra. Over a billion dollars in taxpayer loan guarantees for one guy, he must be quite a fellow.”

    Sorry, I don’t know the chap, but I like the car. And no, I only put down for the production version, and I’m number 10!

    I also strongly disagree with government getting involved in business, unless the specific instance has been specifically approved by the citizens through direct democracy.

  19. Smokey says:

    Niels,

    You’ve almost got it right. The way to go is the free market, without any market-distorting subsidies. Then you know for a fact exactly how much people are willing to pay for an EV. No one is smarter than the market… especially a government bureaucrat.

  20. Nuke Nemesis says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    @rocky road, well, you said:”The problem I have with electric cars is the poor utilization of energy. I’ve read where only 5% of the initial energy is available where the rubber meets the road.” You may have read that, but it is not true. Look up the efficiency of an electric motor compared to an ICE one, then take into account the transmission loss of power from a power station, the charging and discharging of the batteries, and you will see the electric car is way more efficient than an ICE powered one. Please do the calculation before you answer, I promise you will be surprised when you see the efficiency of an electric motor is over 90 pct. However, you have to subtract the losses I mentioned previously.

    I don’t know the exact number, but you’re probably closer with the 90% efficiency than rocky road. ICE vehicles waste most of the energy as heat. A great deal is lost just to haul around the mass of the vehicle itself, a factor it shares with EVs. EVs can save a lot of weight because of lighter parts for the motor and drive train, but the batteries themselves add a lot of weight and bulk.

  21. Stephen Brown says:

    Hour 21 and the Goreacle SPEAKS.
    But it’s tripe, all the way from the Cape Verde Islands (or so they purport!).

  22. Niels says:

    Smokey says:


    Niels,

    You’ve almost got it right. The way to go is the free market, without any market-distorting subsidies. Then you know for a fact exactly how much people are willing to pay for an EV. No one is smarter than the market… especially a government bureaucrat.”

    Yes, that is correct, only sometimes we need to agree on things like police, fire service, schools, roads, and so on. These are all some kind of subsidy, where instead of paying for each separate use of the services, we all pay a proportion. What has gone wrong, is that once the infrastructure is there, and well maintained, it is still free to use, and in particular to abuse.

    If we all agreed to risk loans to set up an infrastructure of charging stations and power stations for electric cars, that would be fine, but you’d still have to pay for the juice.

    Of course, as soon as the socialists got into power again, they’d soon find a way to tax the electrons that go into a car ….

  23. Niels says:

    nuke says:

    “EVs can save a lot of weight because of lighter parts for the motor and drive train, but the batteries themselves add a lot of weight and bulk.”

    Absolutely, but the weight to power ratio is falling, you really should take a look at Tesla and see the performance. :) Also, you have zero emission at the point of usage (obviously there might be emissions from the power plant, but they are very small in terms of emissions pr. Watt compared to a car, and they are zero if we talk nuclear)

  24. Dave Wendt says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    The Tesla roadster is a pretty terrific vehicle, but than again most $100K+ vehicles are. My problem with Tesla is the hundreds of millions of loan guarantees from the American taxpayer, from funds which were supposed to be targeted at job creation in the US. If or when the Model S does advance beyond the vaporware stage, for most US buyers the car will be an import. Only the jobs to produce it will be exports. This makes the regressive subsidy provided to buyers who don’t really need it even more problematic.

  25. BigWaveDave says:

    I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing EV’s running out of juice in busy traffic.

  26. Tom Konerman says:

    Niels says:
    September 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm
    The way to go is more direct democracy, as we have in my country….

    I’m sooooooo glad I don’t live in a democracy. Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch.

    I have a constitution that protects me from the “consensus”.

    You might ask “how’s that working for ya?”

    I can say “better than any where else in this world”

  27. Blade says:

    Niels [September 15, 2011 at 11:32 am] says:

    “I am an ardent sceptic, but love the beauty of a pure electric car … So, please let’s not rant against electric cars. OK, maybe they will not suit everyone but if you only drive a few hundred miles a day, they’ll do the trick.”

    We’re allies on the subject of Carbon Cult skepticism, so please take this as a minor nitpick.

    We have to get our terminology correct. Today, in the 21st century, electricity is an energy product, it is not an energy source. Every single ‘electron’ (well, actually the electric potential) is generated from other means. Therefore there are no electric cars, but mostly coal-fired cars. Naturally there are some natural gas-fired cars, nuke-fired cars and hydro-fired cars as well. These are all hardly efficient replacements for the existing fleet of mostly petroleum-fired of automobiles.

    That previous paragraph is not an attack on so-called electric cars, just a statement of precision. The best case scenario with so-called electric cars is that you merely move the firing process (and the pollution) upstream in a unified location and then transmit the 2nd generation energy product ( electricity ) down long wires with a presumably acceptable loss there along the way, which in turn requires more ‘firing’ at the source to compensate, which helps push so-called electric cars into the ironic circumstance of using more fossil fuels than if we didn’t have them in the first place. But I am still not against them, as long as they are not subsidized at all. I see no way that electric cars do anything except increase the net use of energy, that is, we shall use more energy in total than we would without them.

    Someday humans will tap the seemingly infinite electric potential found in the atmosphere which we see discharged as lightning during storms, perhaps with gigantic lightning rods that are tens or hundreds of miles tall creating giant battery terminals using some currently unknown theory. I would call that electricity an actual energy source, well, at least compared to today’s implementation.

  28. Niels says:

    @Blade, by “pure electric car” I meant a car that only runs on electricity from an onboard storage medium, as opposed to a hybrid or ICE car.

    For more information regarding the efficiency I refer you to this paper:

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/cee124/TeslaReading.pdf

    It no longer exists at teslamotors.com because they they need to “revise it to reflect current industry conditions and statistics” whatever that means. Here’s a quote:

    “The energy cycle (charging and then discharging) of the lithium-ion batteries in the Tesla Roadster is about 86% efficient. This means that for every 100 mega-joules of electricity used to charge such a battery, only 86 mega- joules of electricity are available from the battery to power the car’s motor. Thus, the “electrical-outlet-to-wheel” energy efficiency of the Tesla Roadster is 2.53 km/MJ x 86% = 2.18 km/MJ.
    The most efficient way to produce electricity is with a “combined cycle” natural gas-fired electric generator. (A combined cycle generator combusts the gas in a high-efficiency gas turbine, and uses the waste heat of this turbine to make steam, which turns a second turbine – both turbines turning electric generators.) The best of these generators today is the General Electric “H-System” generator, which is 60% efficient,9 which means that 40% of the energy content of the natural gas is wasted in generation.
    Natural gas recovery is 97.5% efficient, and processing is also 97.5% efficient.10 Electricity is then transported over the electric grid, which has an average efficiency of 92%,11 giving us a “well-to-electric-outlet” efficiency of 60% x 92% x 97.5% x 97.5% = 52.5%.”

    Now 52.5% does not mean that “electric cars do anything except increase the net use of energy” as you write. Actually it is a more efficient use of energy, and I’m not nitpicking here :)

    Niels

  29. Tsk Tsk says:

    Niels says:
    September 16, 2011 at 7:58 am

    @Blade, by “pure electric car” I meant a car that only runs on electricity from an onboard storage medium, as opposed to a hybrid or ICE car.

    For more information regarding the efficiency I refer you to this paper:

    http://www.stanford.edu/group/greendorm/participate/cee124/TeslaReading.pdf

    It no longer exists at teslamotors.com because they they need to “revise it to reflect current industry conditions and statistics” whatever that means. Here’s a quote:

    “The energy cycle (charging and then discharging) of the lithium-ion batteries in the Tesla Roadster is about 86% efficient. This means that for every 100 mega-joules of electricity used to charge such a battery, only 86 mega- joules of electricity are available from the battery to power the car’s motor. Thus, the “electrical-outlet-to-wheel” energy efficiency of the Tesla Roadster is 2.53 km/MJ x 86% = 2.18 km/MJ.
    The most efficient way to produce electricity is with a “combined cycle” natural gas-fired electric generator. (A combined cycle generator combusts the gas in a high-efficiency gas turbine, and uses the waste heat of this turbine to make steam, which turns a second turbine – both turbines turning electric generators.) The best of these generators today is the General Electric “H-System” generator, which is 60% efficient,9 which means that 40% of the energy content of the natural gas is wasted in generation.
    Natural gas recovery is 97.5% efficient, and processing is also 97.5% efficient.10 Electricity is then transported over the electric grid, which has an average efficiency of 92%,11 giving us a “well-to-electric-outlet” efficiency of 60% x 92% x 97.5% x 97.5% = 52.5%.”

    ————————–
    You forgot the 86% efficiency of the batteries themselves. I would also add that your assumption of a combined cycle is an optimistic one. Sure, 60% is achievable, but much of the baseload capacity in this country and Europe is not combined cycle and its efficiency is more like 35%. When you plug that into your efficiency waterfall you get: 35%*92%*97.5%*97.5%*86%=26.3% which is not that far off what can be achieved with a gas ICE and well below what can be delivered by a modern diesel. Of course there are additional losses in the motor, but then there are additional losses in the transmissions of a modern ICE as well. Then there is the issue of the conditions under which you expect to operate your EV. Under extreme heat (Arizona or Texas summer) or cold (Minnesota winter) the efficiency drops, so that 86% is also likely to be an overstatement of what you can actually achieve.

    As others have posted, I’m not against EV’s, but I am against subsidies, and I just don’t think the economics will make sense for at least another decade. I think it makes far more sense to invest in shale gas and migrate our fleet to CH4 than to overcome the amazingly stubborn realities of the shortcomings of batteries.

  30. Niels says:

    Blade said: “You forgot the 86% efficiency of the batteries themselves.”

    Well, no. The figure of 52.5% is, as the paper clearly says: “well-to-lectric-outlet” efficiency. The paper indicates the well to wheel efficiency by comparing it to a Prius:

    “Taking into account the well-to-electric-outlet efficiency of electricity production and the electrical-outlet-to- wheel efficiency of the Tesla Roadster, the well-to-wheel energy efficiency of the Tesla Roadster is 2.18 km/MJ x 52.5% = 1.14 km/MJ, or double the efficiency of the Toyota Prius.”

    Note that the 86% efficiency of the batteries are taken into account when calculating the 2.18 Km/MJ.

    Bottom line, according to the paper” is that if you compare “well-to-wheel” efficiency electric cars are twice as good as even hybrids.

    Now, I did not write the paper, so don’t shoot the messenger. Perhaps you should read the paper first?It is only 10 pages with 23 references.

    I agree the comparison is not completely fair because everybody is not using Gas and Steam Generators. Anyway, Irsching 4 in Bavaria has just broken the record and achieved 60.75% efficiency. Compared to Coal 31%, Nuclear: 35% and modern coal 45%.

    I’ll post here when, and if, I get my Model S., sometime late 2012 og early 2013 …

  31. D Marshall says:

    I look forward to the day when EVs are more widely available and affordable. And I hope Niels does get his Model S.
    But, instead on harping on EVs subsidies and loan guarantees, why don’t we demand that the oil companies return, with interest, the hundreds of billions they’ve been given?

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