Modern Transportation – A Miracle under Attack By Climate Zealots

Guest essay by Steve Goreham

Modern transportation is amazing. Each day, millions of people fly, drive, or are transported across our world for business, pleasure, or to see distant family members. These trips, which are powered by petroleum-based fuels, were all but impossible a century ago. But today, many of our leaders call for elimination of hydrocarbon-fueled transportation.

Between 1840 and 1860, more than 250,000 people traveled by wagon train from Independence, Missouri to the west coast on the Oregon Trail. Horses and oxen carried the settlers on this 2,000-mile, six-month journey. Disease, attacks by Native Americans, and run-overs by wagons claimed the lives of more than 15,000 travelers. Today, a family can make this same journey in a few days in the safety of their air-conditioned vehicle.

Throughout most of history, traded goods were carried by camel, wagon, and sailboat. Although world trade increased throughout most of human history, the value of global exports in 1900 was only about $10 billion in today’s dollars.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is World-Trade-Graph-1950-2015-Article-720x428.jpg

Since 1900, world merchandise trade skyrocketed to $19.7 trillion per year in 2018, a gain of almost 2,000 times. Each day, trucks, trains, ships, and planes transport more than 100 million tons of freight. Petroleum fuel powers more than 90 percent of this cargo.

Trains belching smoke typified early hydrocarbon-fueled transportation. But over the last 50 years, humanity has all but eliminated dangerous pollutants from vehicle exhaust. Environmental Protection Agency data shows that US vehicles now emit 99 percent less common pollutants (carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles) than the vehicles of 1970.

The only remaining emissions from most engines are water vapor and carbon dioxide. But carbon dioxide (CO2), a harmless, odorless, invisible gas that people exhale and plants use in photosynthesis, has been demonized.

Last week, 200 celebrities attended a Google-sponsored climate change conference near Palermo on the island of Sicily in Italy. Movie stars, business executives, and royalty traveled by private jet, yacht, helicopter, and limousine to this exotic location to discuss how humans are destroying the climate.

Dozens of articles criticized the hypocrisy of the extravagant travel by these elites and the large release of CO2 emissions. But aviation fuel powers 99 percent of commercial air travel and almost all of the other vehicles, leaving no practical alternatives.

Zach Wichter declared that air travel is now “going electric” in a New York Times article last month. But the only example he could cite was a plan for an experimental hybrid aircraft to be deployed in Hawaii that burns aviation fuel as the primary propulsion with batteries as a backup.

Jet fuel has a specific energy of 43 megajoules per kilogram (MJ/kg). The best lithium-ion batteries deliver a specific energy of only about 0.9 MJ/kg. Electric engines are more efficient, but jet fuel engines still have an energy advantage of almost 20 times compared to batteries.

Gasoline- and diesel-powered automobiles are a modern miracle taken for granted. The average family of four can travel 400 miles in comfort on a $50 fill up. Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles also hold a 20-times energy density advantage over batteries. This is energy available to power SUVs and small trucks, a growing share of demand in the US, China, and much of the world.

Plug-in battery vehicles suffer from the weaknesses of high cost, short driving range, small carrying capacity, a lack of charging stations, and expensive battery packs that must be replaced during the vehicle life. And who wants to wait 30 minutes for a recharge, even if one can find a charging station?

Yet governments now plan to force people to buy electric cars and even to ban traditional cars. Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, and several other nations recently announced intentions to ban ICE vehicles during the next two decades. Battery electric vehicle sales are growing, but still captured only about 1.5 percent of world markets in 2018.

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg announced that she will take a sailboat to the next world climate conference in Santiago, Chile in December 2019. Her decision not to take an aircraft may save CO2 emissions, but will turn a one-day trip into two weeks of travel each direction.

Electric utilities across the world are now required by laws to urge customers not to use electricity, the product which they produce. If climate fears continue, look for airlines and cruise ship companies to be required to urge consumers not to use their services as well.

As Cardinal George Pell of Australia remarked,

“Sometimes the very learned and clever can be brilliantly foolish, especially when seized by an apparently good cause.”


Originally published in WND. Republished here at request of the author.

Steve Goreham is a speaker on the environment, business, and public policy and author of the book Outside the Green Box: Rethinking Sustainable Development.

Advertisements

112 thoughts on “Modern Transportation – A Miracle under Attack By Climate Zealots

  1. The WTO figures do not pass the smell test. British exports of mechanically woven fabrics were undercutting the price of the product of handlooms in India in the 19th Century. Or exports of kerosene replacing other fuels, again from the 19th Century onward.
    The graph looks like an artifact of a weird definition of “international trade” to produce that curve.

    • Compare a modern port and modern ships with those of a century ago. A chinamax ore carrier can be 400,000 DWT. As far as I can tell, no clipper ship ever reached 1000 OT. The port cranes absolutely dwarf those built a century ago. Based on the size of the equipment involved, I would not at all be surprised if today’s trade exceeded that of a century ago by three orders of magnitude.

      • “if today’s trade exceeded that of a century ago by three orders of magnitude”
        But the graph starts in 1950, and seems to say no trade before 1970. Clipper ships were not the mainstay then.

        • The graph reflects the decline in p purchasing power of the dollar as much as anything. In 1970 gold was $35 an ounce.

          • The label on the vertical axis says it is in 2019 US dollars, ie. it’s corrected for inflation.

        • Nick Stokes August 12, 2019 at 12:56 am

          My reply was to Tom Halla who was talking about 19th century trade.

          … the value of global exports in 1900 was only about $10 billion in today’s dollars.

          I find that figure credible given the facilities and technology available at the time.

          With regard to the graph: It looks like the figure for 1950 could have been something like a hundred billion, ie. 1/10 trillion. It looks like the figure for 1970 could have been around 300 billion. I see no reason to think those figures are badly wrong.

          • Yes, exactly. Scaling issue.
            The graph needs to be logarithmic.
            $100 billion is smaller at that scale than the thickness of the line, by a factor of 2 or more it appears.

        • The graph is also “Marked” as $$ in Trillions along the Y axis from the 1950s. Prior to the 1970s, global trade could only be measured in $ Billions. Anything prior to 1950 would be essentially flat at the Trillion$ scale.

  2. As Cardinal George Pell of Australia remarked, “having intercourse with 13y.o. choir boys can be extremely rewarding. I hope to find many more in my future protected inside the Holy-see.”

    That is presumably the same Cardinal George Pell of Australia, you are quoting.

    No, really? Can you find no one better to quote than a friggin convicted pedo?

    • Skeptics LOVE ad hominem attacks, don’t they? Oh, wait, only when they are the ones making them…..Reeks of hypocrisy.

      • Sheri – It is not an ad hominem attack because of his global warming position, whatever it is. The quote given is one most skeptics would agree with. It is an attack on him, personally, because of his confessed atrocities against children. The penalty for some crimes, particularly those against children, deserves the punishment of complete ostracism.

        If you don’t agree, it’s fine with me if you go away and never comment again.

        • Confessed atrocities? He has never confessed to abusing any child and has steadfastly maintained his innocence. He has admitted to not reporting one instance when a boy came to him about a teacher in 1974. And it looks now like there’s a good chance his conviction will be overturned on at least procedural grounds, and there may be a ruling from the appeals court that there can’t be a retrial because the circumstances don’t permit a finding beyond a reasonable doubt. Take your anti-Catholicism elsewhere.

    • Oh, it’s in the article. It pains me to read posts about Pell and the Catholic Church in Australia after being subject to “attraction” to (Vulnerable young boy(s, my brother and I too after family break up) “young persons” in Ireland and “concerns” to be “dismissed”, even by family. Christian Brothers too. Cut from the same cloth. Brother Kelly, did you enjoy your time in prison? I am not being mean, I just thank my brother and I “escaped” your “clutches”. Not sure what it was that “put you off” I am glad it worked.

  3. “Jet fuel has a specific energy of 43 megajoules per kilogram (MJ/kg). The best lithium-ion batteries deliver a specific energy of only about 0.9 MJ/kg. Electric engines are more efficient, but jet fuel engines still have an energy advantage of almost 20 times compared to batteries.

    The huge advantage of chemical fuel combustion for aircraft is the gradual decrease in vehicle gross weight during the trip. Planes get lighter as they burn down fuel. Typically every passenger jet climbs higher to better altitudes as it gets lighter for further efficiency of thinner air for a higher true air speed.
    An EV passenger aircraft would land withe the same high (max?) gross weight as take-off *IF* one were to ever be built.
    This “inconvenient fact” of diminishing vehicle weight is often purposefully overlooked by EV aircraft snake oil carnival barkers. But it is a huge advantage that pure electric airplanes would never have.

    • Joel O’B

      There is another possible tech which is fuel (for example hydrogen) stored in an adsorbed form, with the oxygen coming from the passing air. Hydrogen has a very high energy content (LHV 120 MJ/kg) and is well-suited to high tech refueling on the apron.

      The adsorbent will be dead weight but so is a fuel tank. With about three times the energy of kerosene (Jet-A) hydrogen is viable energy source. Further, hydrogen doesn’t store well so using if for aircraft is well-suited to using huge quantities within a few hours.

      And even further, the combustion temperature of hydrogen is really high, giving the potential for a higher specific propulsion power per kg of engine.

      Another potential as power source (that is also dead weight during the trip) is a sulphur battery or a ceramic supercap. They have much better specific energy densities. They might dominate short haul within cities.

    • All the “experimental” aircraft are actually advances in lightweight materials and construction. They involve no significant advancement in energy storage or power plants. But when you are transporting people or goods, you have no “lightweight” options.

  4. Please don’t quote anything from Cardinal George Pell given his conviction it gives recognition that is an affront to his victims.

    • (To LdB and others) Surely it’s reasonable to quote and discuss Cardinal George Pell’s views given his vocal opposition to the Global Warming Fraud? Obviously, his stance around 2006 attracted criticism from his colleagues because, like all the major religious religions, they declare alarmism to be accepted and deem skepticism to be heresy. For example, here[1] is climate activist Fr Sean McDonagh seeking to oust sceptics from the church:

      […] there are still some prominent climate sceptics in the Catholic Church. The most prominent by far is Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney. In his articles in The Sunday Telegraph and the Catholic Weekly, Cardinal Pell has been dismissing climate change.

      Any of us working in any organisation where senior managers adopt an alarmist agenda easily find ourselves being smeared or ostracized if we are even suspected of skepticism let alone promote it.

      [1] https://www.indcatholicnews.com/news/19179

      • given his vocal opposition to the Global Warming Fraud? No, that changes nothing. He may have the right idea about climate. Maybe Hilter did too, but I don’t think it would be very helpful to the argument to start citing Adolf’s little gems of philosophy in support the climate skepticism.

        Neither do I think he got stitched up by a choir boy because he was a “climate denier”.

    • The conviction of Cardinal Pell is under appeal. There were sufficient problems with the trials that only the rabid anti-Roman Catholic mafia are wholly convinced of his guilt. Most others accept his guilt as a possibility, but no more than that. These who have looked carefully at the circumstances find them totally unbelievable.

      The result of his appeal is expected later this month. I expect Greg and LdB to apologize when the result is known.

      • You can “expect” all you want, that will have no bearing on my actions. As it is, he is a convicted pedo and my comment stands. I don’t care weather he is right about climate or anything else, I do not accept someone like him is a good source for “wise” thoughts in a climate article and do not wish to associated with anything he says.

        Should he manage to wriggle out of it I will take a second look before making a similar comment in the future. I will have no reason to apologise for the current statement made under current FACTS.

        The fact that so few of these perverts ever get convicted and their higher ups are more concerned with concealing what is going than stopping it means it is endemic in the Church.

        Now tell me you think Epstein was not guilty either and that he was not helped to end his own life to protect other highly placed low-lifes.

        • Yep, love ad hominem and tearing things apart when you don’t like them. Yet scream and yell and hold your breath when the alarmists do EXACTLY the same thing. Attack an oil industry exec for his skepticism because he’s evil and into fossil fuels and the skeptics scream. Attack a Catholic for his bad behavior and cheering erupts, even when IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COMMENT. The comment, like the DATA, stands alone or it doesn’t. Personality and personal behaviors nullify statements or they don’t. Skeptics can be the biggest hypocrites. They can’t even attack the statement as they demand the believers do, at least some of them seem completely incapable. When you wonder how alarmists can do what they do, check your mirror.

          • It has nothing to do with what he said or didn’t say it is a simple stance not to give any
            notoriety to certain criminal acts. New Zealand mostly took the stance with the recent mass murder where most will not use the name of the criminal.

            Feel free to have your view but there are some of us who agree with the stance to not use or publish the name of those accused of certain crimes. We are simply asking the writer of the article could have perhaps found a better person to quote.

          • LdB I can certainly understand NOT giving press to those that commit atrocities why give them any type of fame??? Let them perish in obscurity.

    • Glad to see said Stick didn’t hurt you Loydo. And with your efforts, WUWT will soon reach the 400,000,000 hits mark, omly 3,150,000 to go. Keep up the good work

    • This is how Loydo thinks science works.
      If one chart looks something like a hockeystick, then all graphs that look like hockeysticks are proven to be true.

      Either that, or she’s been hitting the sauce again.

  5. But. But….

    The real reason for stopping ICE engines in cities is nothing to do with CO2, and it does not make any kind of case for stopping ICE use in general, outside such areas or on long distance travel by freeway.

    It is just the unpleasantness of living surrounded by noisy and polluting vehicles. If we replaced ICE with electric in London or Paris for instance, air quality would improve dramatically, as would noise levels. If we manage to lower the proportion of streets that are exclusively occupied by even electric cars, we could have streets that would be much pleasanter to walk, shop, work in. Or even bike through.

    It is of course ludicrous and unnecessary to try to just carry on what we are doing now while using electric instead of ICE. It is equally ludicrous to defend the indefensible way that we have let cars take over our living and working urban areas.

    The answer is to give back some of the streets to people, by getting the cars off them. To make the cars in cities less polluting and offensive. And to keep the ICE to places where its needed and essential.

    And before you assume modern cars don’t pollute, and this isn’t any sort of real problem, do some field research. Go to Oxford St in London and stand outside for a couple of hours. See how you feel afterwards. Drive into London on the A12, and ask whether you would have your children grow up in one of those houses that line that six lane urban highway, most of the time choked with slow moving traffic polluting the air like crazy.

    You do not have to be a fanatical green to say that this is crazy and its no way to live or to treat our residential and shoppping areas.

    At the moment, the green movement has become the great enemy of the urban environment because it keeps making outlandish demands based on CO2 derangement syndrome. And so it leads to wholesale rejection of what are, in the end, no more than sensible demands that we do sensible town planning, and think about human uses.

    Instead of defending the indefensible, floods of cars driving through each others living and working a and leisure areas, all on the way to someplace else, and all noisily polluting the air we all breathe as they do it.

    We have to stop this. But we do not have to abolish the ICE or the car. All we have to do is plan our cities more sensibly and with the right priorities.

    • Modern cars come in different varieties. Diesel cars emit less co2 and more particualtes and nox than gasoline cars. There is also powder from brake and tire use. Car noise is not all engine noise, it also includes noise from rolling wheels, which isn’t negligible either. Some places require battery cars to generate noise so pedestrians can notice them. Battery powered cars tend to be heavier, so they possibly make just as much noise and more pollution than gas cars.
      I believe the future of cars is gasoline.

    • Drive a modern petrol car down Oxford St ( not allowed ) and the exhaust is cleaner than the air going in. Yep, you read that right, modern petrol cars ( less than 20 years old ) clean city air.
      ‘Electric’ cars are coal powered as wind keeps crashing the Grid.
      Learn the facts before reeeeeeeeeeeing.

      • Saab sold that concept back in the 80’s. I am not convinced it is completely true now give air quality has been cleaned up since then.

    • michel

      I live in Dartford and commuted daily into to London by car. That was my choice, as it the choice of those living in houses lining the A2.

      And by calling for electric cars in London, what happens to their emissions. There is not one single functioning power station within the M25, they, and their emissions, are all displaced to rural areas. All that electricity gobbled up in the area within the M25 and not an emission in sight.

      How about London covers it precious green belt within the M25 with wind farms? No? Not a chance of that, far to much disturbance for the urbane elite.

      Solar panels, even on domestic roofs? Well that bombed badly in the SE, didn’t it, barely one to be seen whilst driving along the A2 or A12. Just where one would expect the most determined effort to reduce the real pollution issue, domestic heating. So they howl for everyone to leave their ICE vehicles, but are they prepared to pay some cold hard to save little Gemima or Oswald’s health? Not a chance, everyone else has to, but not them.

      I suspect the vast majority of the UK, probably 99% of it (advice from anyone welcome, and I’ll happily stand corrected) is virtually pollution free, yet the ban on ICE vehicles due to be imposed in 2040 to suit urbanites, affects 99% of the country.

      This is the Londonstan, Westminster political elite, occupying their own urbane bubble that Scotland has been objecting to for generations. But no one listened.

      Across the UK, people are only now waking up to it. Sorry folks, too late. You ignored warning after warning thinking it’ll never affect you, but that’s just what’s happening now. All the power, all the influence to change this countries destiny is focused on one single building, Westminster, the beating heart of Londonstan.

      A decision to spend £1tn of taxpayers money on climate change made with no debate, simply passed through the House of Commons on a statutory instrument to encourage the rent seekers to descend on the whole country and cover it in wind turbines, solar panels, and bigger and bigger government departments.

      Just an appalling, disgusting lie and somehow, you michel, seek to defend it. Clearly, you haven’t been listing to what people on this blog have been telling you.

      • No, I am not defending it at all. I said quite clearly that the ICE use to cut down on is in cities and residential areas. The use in rural areas and for long distance transport is fine and necessary and doesn’t do much damage. Well, accidents. But the exhausts don’t.

        The complete insanity is targeting all use of ICE vehicles in the cause of lowering CO2 emissions. When what we should be doing is stop worrying about the CO2 emissions totally. And instead, worry about the air quaiity and access to the streets where people are living and working. Which would lead you to the conclusion not to apply the same measures to freeways and to residential streets.

    • Michel,

      100% agree. But, not one of those who occupy the pinnacles of their respective silos are prepared to say that we need to look at the problem from a wider point of view, but they prefer to push their their own narrow interests. Good examples in the UK are the Royal Society of Engineers, the National Infrastructure Commission, the various academic organisations and the transport quangos etc., where maintaining the internal consensus necessary for the flow of state funding is more important than facing the future. Because their attitudes are based on the staus quo they are prey to green zealotry who as we know is fundamentally misanthropic.

      BTW, I can see that the problems of urban pollution, congestion, etc. are practically soluble within a decade, but such solutions represent a threat to the occupants of those various eminences. Where are those enlightened groups of people who employed the Brunels, Telfords and Stephensons?

    • Yes. Cars and pedestrians don’t mix well. I hope more cities reduce vehicular traffic as ride sharing, biking and walking become the norm. This has nothing to do with CAGW. It’s about a better lifestyle. Can Americans get any fatter. And now we’re considering national healthcare to underwrite poor personal choices. Get that BMI down are no healthcare for you. Ultimately, local communities need to decide what’s best for them. Big government failures abound.

    • We have to stop this. But we do not have to abolish the ICE or the car. All we have to do is plan our cities more sensibly and with the right priorities.

      Major cities (also consider the notion of ‘conurbations’) exist.
      They are “hard” in the sense that sewers and water lines, streets, buildings, and legal property are all in place. For example, Greater London (the region) is estimated to be about 1,600 km² (606 sq.mi.).
      Should a new city this size (or a population of 8 or 9 million) be built with an appropriate “plan” (whatever that is), or should London be disassembled and re-built with that “plan”?
      Build a new one – where? Do what with the old one?

      Perhaps, by 2150 a new forms will take place from the old forms (there are many) with better “plans.”

      Muddle through seems to be the way forward.

    • Modern cars produce very little air pollution or noise pollution.

      As per your example, you are assuming that if the air inside a city is polluted that it can only be caused by cars.
      Nothing could be further from the truth, but then your mind is closed to any reality except the one you have built for yourself.

      • Yes, I do think that air quality impairments in major cities is substantially due to cars. Not exclusively, but its very important. If we took out all cars, the air quality would improve dramatically.

        There is a reason why, when Paris gets to dangerous levels, they cut back on car use.

        We need to take back the streets for people living and working and playing on them, and take them away for people who just use them to drive through on the way to somewhere else, which, when they get there, has yet other people driving through on the way to someplace else.

        All making the places uniliveable, except they all assume this is just the way it is. It is, but it does not have to be.

        Cars and trucks have an important role, but its not driving through residential or business areas.

    • Car noise is largely anything but the engine. Simply open the hood and listen closely to any vehicle made in the last 30 years and is well maintained.

      Road surface composition is likely the worst culprit here along with tire design. Having worked in road engineering, I can tell you that a marble-smooth roadway would produce less noise than existing concrete or asphalt roads. However, such a smooth road would be a death trap if even a drop of water landed on it. Road surfaces are built with different textures to provide the best traction possible under a wide array of weather, temperature, tire, weight, and speed.

      Supposing, though, that you could somehow build a safe marble-smooth road, you still have the problem of tires, with their grooves, cuts, tracks, and so forth. The surface of the tire alone can produce a lot of noise, even on the smoothest of roads. Put another way, when you put new tires on your bike as a kid, you could hear and feel it. Same with car tires. Yet it’s worse for cars because those grooves, trenches, and cuts exist for the life of the tire.

      Finally, consider also that roads generally are not built to minimize acoustics. They are built to carry vehicles safely and quickly. Put another way, if acoustics were in the top 3 of engineer’s concerns, roads would be buried deep underground or high in the sky.

    • Cities with a functioning Underground and guarded parking at the city limits need no driving bans to keep noise, clogged roads and exhaust gases from the city.

      Cities lacking cheap public transport unload their irresponsibility onto citizens.

      Städte mit funktionierender Underground und bewachten Parkplätzen an der Stadtgrenze brauchen keine Fahrverbote um Lärm, verstopfte Strassen und Auspuff Gase von der Stadt fernzuhalten.

      Städte ohne Angebot von günstigen öffentlichen Verkehrsmitteln wälzen ihre Verantwortungslosigkeit auf die Staatsbürger ab.

  6. For the time being at least it is worth noting that Scotland is part of Britain and not a separate country.

    And while electric cars might have a short range in Britain more than 50% of trips are less than a couple of miles so range is not an issue. And given the high price of fuel an electric car would be far cheaper to run for most households.

    • Yes, but the problem is the purchase price. Compare, for instance, a Nissan Leaf with its gasoline powered equivalents.

      Even on the used market. I did recently check one local hybrid offer. The small Toyota hybrid was about double the price of a decent gasoline equivalent. And far more complicated engineering with more to go wrong. Leafs are similar.

      If they were roughly the same price for roughly the same crash protection and comfort, but just a shorter range, I would probably buy one. But they are not.

      And the other thing you have to think about is, you can get a decent Ford or similar used and just drive it till it drops, and not have any major capital costs. Some more repairs as it ages of course. But nothing really major.

      The Leaf you are going to have to replace the batteries, or pay for a battery lease. This is essentially buying fuel. The savings in fuel cost are a lot lower when you figure this in.

      I wish it made more sense, but it doesn’t.

    • Izaak,
      I’d love to see the statistics to back up that claim. Assuming you include maintenance and depreciation costs in your equation, batteries are the biggest issue because they will fail over time and are simply a staggeringly expensive component to replace. This has two effects:
      1) depreciation on electric cars is higher than for standard cars (albeit, I agree that we need many more years of data to define this properly); and
      2) because batteries for EVs are so very expensive, many motorists (please enlighten us if you have the figures) are leasing the batteries separately from the rest of the package, thus increasing the cost of running the vehicles, when compared to fossil fuel versions.
      What studies I have read indicate that, in addition to the issues above, equivalent fossil fuel vehicles are materially cheaper to buy than EVs.
      All-in-all then, what evidence I have seen suggests that EVs are more expensive – some say very significantly more expensive – to buy and run than standard equivalent vehicles. I would be interested in your evidence to the contrary Izaak – I am always happy to change my views with better knowledge.

    • You appear to have forgotten that most people can only afford one car which has to cover the daily commute, local shopping trips and holiday journeys of several hundred miles. Some years ago
      I was in Edinburgh at 14.00 and in London Earls Court at 21:00. I drove between the two locations with meal breaks. When an electric car costing £20,000 can make the same journey in the same time frame let me know.

    • People do not buy, will not buy, things only capable of doing that which they do MOST of the time. They want something that will serve their purpose ALL of the time, and many want spare capacity beyond that, ‘just in case’.

      Just want to do think people with EVs will do to accommodate those exceptional times when the range needed is too far for a single charge, wait thirty minutes or more to recharge?

      Supporters like you also choose to ignore that trips, even small ones, may become a necessity at any time. What do you do when such an emergency arises, and your car needs a thirty minute recharge?

    • Say you wanted to go from Kirkcaldy to Thurso and back in the same day.
      Rough estimate of distance: 400 km (240 miles)

      I believe I’d use my Subaru with its 4 cylinder Boxer engine.

      Disclaimer: I live in the western USA. Distance is relative.

    • In the UK as in most (all) of Europe, well over half the cost of fuel is taxes. That compares will less than 15% in most places in the US. Most all the fuel taxes collected in the US (both federal and state levies) go into funds restricted for transportation uses.

      So, if all the personal vehicles in the UK became electric (to “save” money on fuel), the government would have to find another way to replace the fuel taxes, which are not restricted to transportation purposes. Currently, owners of gasoline and diesel vehicles are helping pay for all that “free” stuff you get. If that isn’t replaced by some new levy on EV owners, it will have to be made up elsewhere.

      Bottom line: you won’t save as much money as you think.

  7. “A one-day trip into two weeks of travel each direction.”….which includes Sailing the North Sea in the northern hemisphere winter, crossing the Equator twice, and crossing the Doldrums four times, Not to mention being simply at the mercy of “the weather” for the whole time, while having terrible visions of CO2 Molecules, to deliver her [probably sea-sick} guru-like mysticism to a bunch of fawners, in the middle of one of the most dangerously-seismic areas on the planet. Another Earth-shaking Conference of Parties, of course…#25 promises to be a circus of megathrust proportions.

  8. Modern nations have networks of high speed (220 mph or greater) rail…

    Which is more convenient than air travel in the 300 to 500 mile distance band.

    This is electrically powered, increasingly from renewable electricity.

    But I’m afraid the USA can no longer be considered a modern country in terms of its infrastructure, since it relies on 90mph trains and fossil fuel transport.

    • where are the 220mph trains in Britain?
      French TGV routinely runs at 160kph ( 100mph not 220 mph ).
      Apart from polluting China , who else has a decent extent of fast rail.

      “increasingly from renewable electricity” dream on. Increasing form how much to how much?

      • That reminds me. I was on a high speed train in Japan once, heard a thud and then the train abruptly stopped. Suicide by high speed train I was told was a common occurrence.

    • You are right for all EU countries, but try to get to Perth from Sydney in Australia by rail, it will cost you quite a surprising amount of money, take a week or more. There is one benefit however, you can take your car.

    • Hi griff! Quoting cobblers again. Rail, especially high speed rail, kills 3 times as many people per passenger mile as road transport. Why are you ALWAYS wrong?

    • Griff can no longer be considered to understand distances and life outside the tiny circle he designates as reality.

      BTW, we’re happy being way ahead of the sad, pathetic climate worshipping nations, thank you very much. We say it with pride.

      • I think it is from his coal fired family heritage to the local off license, or Asda except on a Sunday. Keep up on that GBP3 3 ltr bottle of 6% cider.

    • That’s an interesting definition of what makes a modern nation, Griff. Have you ever checked the size and distribution of population centers in the US vs. the size and distribution of population centers in the UK? Point to point rail travel would require enormous tracts of land (10 or more parallel rails from every city in every direction?) devoted to a 19th century technology and with the number of intersections involved there is no way the trains could keep up a 220 mph speed. I can get from Boston to San Diego in under 6 hours by air. If there was a direct route via high speed rail it would take 14 hours assuming my train had priority and never had to wait for another train. In reality it would be a day long trip. How convenient.

    • Griff says “Modern nations have networks of high speed (220 mph or greater) rail…”

      The missing caveat is that the “Modern nations” with viable high speed rail also have correspondingly high population densities – something lacking for most of the US. The US has great distances with few people between major population centers making it very difficult for high-speed rail to compete with air travel. An airplane from LA to Newark requires minimal surface infrastructure, travels at 500 to 600 mph, and doesn’t have to make a stop at each station along the way.

      • New Jersey is the most densely populated of the United States, slightly more so than India. If you don’t live in a city served directly by rail, it is impossible to get anywhere in under 2 hours, and lots of luck if you plan on purchasing some 4 x 8 plywood. Public transport is fine if the only thing you’re carrying is a backpack and your wallet and you have time to kill, but add a stroller, or a bike, or any cumbersome object and it is more than a challenge.

    • Griff,
      Thanks for posting that tidbit and increasing the WUWT hit count.
      Do you contribute as much to other sites?

    • Griff, if there were any place in the US where a 220 mph were economically justifiable, we would have one. CA recently learned that economics did not support high speed rail.

      So those countries either have fundamental differences, or they are running systems that are decreasing their country’s wealth. Take your pick.

      • Parts of the US West (Montana) used to have no speed limits on some roads.
        So nearly 220mph was possible and may have been achieved occasionally.
        But mpg was kind of low.

        • The Mercedes company was road-testing cars in Montana for awhile due to the “Sky’s the Limit” speed allowed.

    • The feasibility of high-speed rail depends largely on the intervening terrain between large cities.

      I’ve ridden on the French TGV between Paris and Lyon–top speed about 300 km/h = 180 mph, and it travels about 450 km (270 miles) in about two hours, station to station. In order to make it safe, the TGV builders eliminated all grade crossings, building a lot of over- and under-passes for cross-roads, fences along the entire length to keep livestock and wildlife out, and all curves and slopes are extremely gentle. This is feasible if the intervening terrain is relatively flat, but if there are steep hills or mountains in between, building tunnels through mountains and bridges across canyons becomes prohibitive.

      This is why the proposed high-speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles was such a colossal failure–state government officials proposing it ignored the mountainous terrain between the two cities, including that required to connect either city to the relatively flat Central Valley.

      High-speed trains can be feasible in some situations, but why spend hundreds of billions of dollars digging through mountains when a person can spend a few hundred dollars using existing planes taking off and landing in existing airports to fly over them, or over the ocean?

    • Once again griff demonstrates the intolerance of your average leftist.
      He declares that only those who think as he does are actually civilized.

  9. Long ago salt, the common table NaCl, was a monopoly product. Required in relatively low quantities, it was taxed and severely controlled, up to death penalty, tortures and so on.

    Simply put, it was an easy way to tax life by controlling a necessary to life substance.

    Today they claim that wind and solar are cheap, clean and of infinite supply. Parallel to what, we have to pay 12 bucks for a LED lamp and, overall seen from above, our cities turn darker each passing month.

    What’s the purpose to save something that’s clean, cheap and infinite ? Where’s the logic ?

    Energy and transport have proven to be of cardinal importance to mankind. Just check the social development situation in places where both lack. Not that good, right.

    Simply put, the master plan is to impose ever more creative taxing schemes on energy and transport.

    And what better way to achieve this new world tax order than convincing the potential victims to desire it, beg for even more hardships ?

    See the climate craze as what it really is: -A worldwide organized public relations campaign in favor of new racketing schemes.

    Civilizations come and go. Many have vanished leaving archeological mysteries behind. Namely, why, why the hell such civilizations with knowledge of mathematics, geometry, astronomy and so on failed to prosper ?

    We are exactly at this point. On the verge to collapse under the weight of our own stupidity. Killing ourselves to find problems to match the costly liberticidal solutions that profit to few.

    If a society is not bright enough to distinguish between reality and scaremongers then, farewell. A new one will rise from the ashes and take care of business.

    Our democracy has been infected with a virus. The system itself, based on decisions taken by incompetent voters is prone to self destruction if masses are conditionned/brainwashed to do so.

    Which is what’s underway.

    • “Flight Level August 12, 2019 at 12:23 am

      Long ago salt, the common table NaCl, was a monopoly product.”

      It still is in countries like Ethiopia in rural areas. Not only that it was it was a for of currency too.

    • If gasoline cars are replaced with electric cars, how soon before there is a tax on the electricity that powers them?

    • Parallel to what, we have to pay 12 bucks for a LED lamp and, overall seen from above, our cities turn darker each passing month.

      Flight level:

      You’re shopping in the wrong stores:

      Here’s a 12-pack of 60-watt equivalent standard US A19 base LED replacement bulbs for $28 delivered — far, far less than $12 each. These are dimmable; non-dimmable are even cheaper:

      link: here

      If anything our cities are getting brighter as sodium vapor (orange) street lights are being replaced by super-bright LEDs. The high pressure sodium bulbs used 250 watts; the LED replacements around 75. And they also save on maintenance.

      If you want you can get LED bulb with both variable color and color temperature (white point), something not possible with incandescent bulbs.

      There’s a lot of silliness coming out of climate activists, but the practical and economic case for LED lighting is solid. It took 50 years of development, multiple breakthroughs, and IIRC 3 Nobel prizes to get from the first dim red curios of the 60’s to what we have now; the histronics of climate activists contributed nothing. Don’t dismiss a solid technological achievement just because it’s being pushed by some otherwise wacky folks.

      As part of an exterior remodel some years back I replaced all the exterior lights with LEDs, including one 500w halogen flood. I particularly like not having to break out the 22-foot ladder to change bulbs every couple of years. These days I see no reason to buy any other kind of lighting.

  10. It’s no good saying on behalf of electric cars that n per cent of journeys are only y miles long. Do I have to buy two cars then? The other to visit Granny in Truro? Or, ahem, travel to Bergerac in the Dordogne?

  11. Over 72 years ago when Yeager became the first pilot to break the sound barrier in controlled flight while level or climbing in the rocket powered X-1. About 4 1/2 years after that the F-100 Super Sabre flew and it would become the first production jet powered aircraft to break the sound barrier in level flight. In 1952 the de Havilland Comet became the first jet airliner to come into service, but it was the Boeing 707 introduced into service in 1958 that really revolutionized the airline business and shrank the world to the time hacks we now are familiar with. The Boeing 707 was a $15,000,000 dollar gamble for Boeing. Not a dime of government money was provided for design, development, or production of the aircraft.

      • Don’t need to. KC-135 was a direct development of the Dash 80. LeMay himself flew the Dash 80 with the idea of a tanker version in mind. Reasonable fuel consumption for jet aircraft only come with altitude. From the time of the introduction of the B-47 LeMay saw the extreme need for a jet powered tanker. The models using reciprocating engines just could not reach the altitude the jets flew at and even lower their speed made the jet fly at a speed just above stall. In those days the tendency for “Dutch Roll” instability of swept wing aircraft was a factor that had not yet been dealt with aerodynamically and it tended to manifest first at low speeds. With the introduction of the larger and heavier B-52 a jet tanker became essential and the KC-135 fit the bill.

        Read ‘Tex Johnson Jet-Age Test Pilot. He was the guy that either did the test flying or was head of test flight at Boeing during the time when all the above named aircraft were designed and flown.

        • Or better still, just click this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra_khhzuFlE

          The Boeing 367-80 project was done completely on Boeing’s nickel, to demonstrate the superiority of jet transports; Boeing had no customers for it at the time. It flew the year I was born, and cost $16 million back then (about $151 million today).

          The 747 was a different story. Juan Trippe of Pan Am ordered 25 of the aircraft in 1966, at a price of $525 million ($4 billion today). In the incredibly short time of 3 years, Boeing first flew the 747 in 1969, and it went into service in 1970. There is a myth that most of the design work was done in support of Boeing’s bid for the C-5 military transport, but the only common feature between the two is the location of the cockpit. Absolutely nothing else is the same.

          • Though the technical nomenclature of the aircraft was the 367-80. Everyone referred to it as the “Dash-80”.

            The occasion of those rolls, he did two of them, was the annual Regatta and Boeing had chartered boats for their guests for that event. Mr. Bill Allen was on the boat with Larry Bell. Bell had a heart condition and was taking medication. After witnessing the first Roll Bill turned to Larry and said “Larry give me one of those pills, I need it more than you do.” Larry Bell told Bill ” You don’t know Tex very well, he just sold your airplane.” Larry Bell would know since Tex had been his Sr. test pilot during WW II.

            Later, after the meeting in the office with Tex, he received a message to be at Mr. Allen’s house for dinner at 6 PM. Tex walked in he saw Eddie Rickenbacker was there Rickenbacker and walked over and pulled Tex’s cowboy hat down over his ears while saying “You slow rolling S.O.B. why didn’t you let me know? I would have been riding the jump seat”. Rickenbacker affirmed what Larry Bell had said about selling the airplane.

            I’ve read a lot about that second golden age of aviation.

  12. Regarding Cardinal Pell, I went to have a look to see what questions there were about the conviction and this seems a good summary: https://www.catholicireland.net/questions-remain-in-the-wake-of-cardinal-pell-conviction/

    In particular, there are huge questions about whether the scenario painted by the prosecution is tenable in that the Cardinal usually spoke to the congregation after a service and did not go alone to the sacristy.

    In short it’s one person (with a lot of money to gain as “compensation”) saying that it did happen, and two (the Cardinal and another) saying it did not happen.

    And let’s be honest – if women instead of men were subject to the “guilty unless you can prove innocence” type approach, then every Feminazi egged on by the ABC, Biased Corp, etc., would be on the streets protesting the injustice whereby one sex has vastly more people in prison than the other.

    • “There was a fundamental irregularity in the trial process, because the accused was not arraigned in the presence of the jury panel as required,” Mr Richter said.

      So basically his defense is doing it’s job of using any twist or technicality to get him off.

      Saying he was “usually” elsewhere in the cathedral at that time is also a rather weak defense.

      As I originally said, it was poor judgement to mix this issue into a discussion on transport and CO2.

    • Perhaps the virulently anti-pedo hysteria that engulfs the US public and washes around the UK shores has spread to Australia. In that climate, it is not just possible but highly likely that bizarre verdicts and crazy police investigations would arise from the combination of some or all of the following factors: (i) a malevolent compensation-seeker (or delusional fantasist) together with (ii) a lynch-mob jury fired up by… (iii) a sensation-hungry press (iv) a seasoning of anti-religious and anti-Catholic bigotry (vi) a progressive “victimhood” culture in which losers are rewarded and winners reviled (vii) police officers and prosecutors who kowtow to orders from above to get convictions at all costs. I wouldn’t expect to know whether the Pell case is an example of this or not until the investigative historians have their say in a decade or two, and I wouldn’t expect to gain that knowledge from reading topical blog comments or me-too allegations in the US press. Accusations of historical low-evidence criminality against high-profile figures are routine in the UK (and I guess the US) and tend to have a political element. An unusual feature of this case was Cardinal Pell’s reputation as a high-profile global-trotting climate skeptic.

      Here is an opinion by Andrew Bolt ($$$):
      https://www.heraldsun.com.au/blogs/andrew-bolt/killer-pedophiles-how-did-they-believe-carl-beech/news-story/bd8903e70c6a237f73535b67c967bbbd

  13. We have too issue at play , firstly the classic green hatred of modernity of which ICE vehicles , and there lack of a link to the ‘natural world ‘ which is idealised , are an example .
    And secondly a very old idea indeed , that the more people can travel the harder it is to control them, freedom of movement is not something you want if you want to control most aspects of people lives in the name of ‘saving the planet’ . For the bottom line is ‘the people ‘ will often not make the ‘right choices ‘ out of free will and therefore need ‘guidance ‘, which in practice means offering them no or very little choice.
    The end goal like other areas such as energy , is nothing less than creating a situation with very high levels of ‘control ‘ through effective constrictions via price or rationing to start with and banning to finish, for most people. Needless to say in true ‘all animals are equal but some are more equal then others ‘ style , there will always been those special people which for which these constrictions will be rather less restrictive.
    Think of the old socialists system of the USSR and you got the idea, for it is not a ‘green world ‘ but a very ‘grey one’ they wish to get in place.

  14. I think aircraft travel has an Achilles heel in as much the fuel used is not taxed following an agreement half a century ago. No other similar form of ‘fuel gets away with that, so perhaps its about time the industry removed that criticism, as undoubtedly air travel generally has brought many benefits

    Tonyb

    • What is it with people and taxes? The cost of a simple round-trip flight between Raleigh and Chicago is increased by about 27% for taxes and fees, but that’s not enough because one of the eleven or so charges does not explicitly say fuel tax? And that doesn’t include state and local property, income, and intangible taxes, or assorted permitting and licening fees buried in the fares. Airlines get every dollar of their revenues from customers. Charge more, more people will opt to drive. The government would take a big hit in lost revenue.

      And there would be traffic jams a hundred miles long going to Orlando, NYC, Chicago, and LA.

  15. Batteries are of course the key to the whole electric vehicle matter. We have had such vehicles since the 1900 period, and I am not sure if the milkman still delivers milk on a electric vehicle as per the “”Open all hours” TV show.

    So instead of forcing us into electric vehicles to make the Greenies feel
    vindicated, lets do a lot of research into batteries. What we want is either cheap to replace, or very long lasting ones. Then we could consider the advantages or otherwise of using electric vehicles.

    Certainly the sight of thousands of I/C vehicles putting out exhaust gases during the slow moving lines of traffic is wrong. Either fix the flow of traffic or via taxes force the use of public transport onto the population. But Public Transport must be both cheap, frequent and widespread.

    MJE VK5ELL

  16. How does one make an electric jet engine? Which components of the engine are expelled at high velocity for hours at the time? Utter, totally bonkers nonsense. As the Germans have it: Total Quatsch.

    It is quite clear to me that the only way flying can go green, if such is needed, is by using synthetic hydro-carbons produced using ‘green’ energy sources such as nuclear.

  17. Dear Moderator, Why are my replies not posted?

    [It’s a privilege not a right. Also what hasn’t been posted? You seem quick to take offense which is never a good look.. . mod]

  18. Some green elites are more equal than others and therefore more deserving of private jets to reach beachfront properties and mountain chalets.

  19. The true cost and carbon footprint of EVs is never presented. The EV shifts the combustion to an alternate location and to a combustion source not as clean as modern IC engines. Don’t discount line losses for electricity. The additional carbon emissions from mining and manufacturing of the batteries and electric components and transportation from uncertain sources in China is never counted. Additionally, the cost of disposal of the spent batteries (not recyled) is also not counted. I have read that the true total life cycle of the EV is a net increase in total carbon emissions.

    The curse of cars in our large cities is not the noise but the inability to park or store the things. EVs do nothing to fix this. Daily parking in Madrid, Toledo, Malaga, Segovia was 30 to 40 Euros over the last 6 weeks while we visited. The dilemma was handled by parking one to three miles away in free zones and dragging the suitcase where there was no public transportation. You will see rolling suitcases by the hundreds every morning.

    I am old enough to remember eye watering and throat burning air before cars got clean. We recently attended an old car, muscle car rally in Detroit. Even the hundred or so antiques rolling down Woodward Avenue on a calm night were enough to choke us all.

    Industrial growth, affordable modern life, food for 8 billion people. This is made possible ONLY by modern infrastructure, transportation, good roads relatively cheap fuel.

    The screaming mental children of today will never understand the facts. They choose not to. Greta May be crossing in a boat but it is far from carbon free or safe. It is literally made of petroleum products and carbon fiber. Probably more carbon was consumed making that yacht than in flying her over. It requires a crew of many to transport her whiny mouth. If she had to pay the fair market value of that transportation it would take public grant money. Has anyone considered the deaths per passenger mile on sailboats or modern ships compared to air travel? Consider also that the Atlantic crossing by sail is highly seasonal. You must go west to east around May. East to west travel is November. This is not negotiable due to the seasonal hurricane and related storms schedule. Travel outside these times increases the risk of death, already high by sailing.

  20. “Plug-in battery vehicles suffer from the weaknesses of high cost, short driving range, small carrying capacity, a lack of charging stations, and expensive battery packs that must be replaced during the vehicle life. And who wants to wait 30 minutes for a recharge, even if one can find a charging station?”
    These claims were valid five years ago, but are now mostly obsolete. Electric tractor trailers now close to commercialization are superior to diesel powered rigs in all respects – towing capacity, low fuel costs, acceleration, fast battery recharge times, etc. And electrics in the $40,000 to $55,000 dollar range are likewise superior to their cost competitors. Battery packs these days will likely outlast the car they are in and cost a fraction of what they did just 6 years ago. VW will be producing lower cost electrics in the $20,00 range – in fact they will be all electric in a few years, as will GM, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc and recharge rates with the latest 350KW chargers allow 80% charges in roughly 10 minutes. Charging stations by IONITY are covering the planet and will be as ubiquitous as gas stations as the electric fleet grows. It is NOT Green actions that will transition the fleet to all electric – it will be simple economics, as happened years ago when electric golf carts replaced gas powered carts. That happened long before there ever were any Greenies running around.

    • Electric tractor trailers now close to commercialization are superior to diesel powered rigs in all respects – towing capacity, low fuel costs, acceleration, fast battery recharge times, etc. And electrics in the $40,000 to $55,000 dollar range are likewise superior to their cost competitors.

      Big claims there. Electric tractors have superior fast battery recharge times compared to diesels????? Huh?

      I’ll believe these things when I see them replacing diesels in significant (not virtue-signalling) numbers. Until then, meh……

  21. There are many ways to “fix” traffic flow and they depend on where you are. When I worked in the Bay Area, one major oil company did much to improve traffic. They allowed massive flex hours, shorter work weeks (4 days per week or every other Friday off, etc), and they even installed WiFi in buses and allowed their employees to claim work time for transit time if they brought their laptop with them and used it. This was progressive, and done in the 1990’s, and done by an oil company.
    Allowing liberal flex hours will help rush hour. But banning trucks from commute routes during rush hour would also help. I even think that banning busses from city streets would help traffic flow. Carpools do help, but it is difficult to get more than 2 people to work out a schedule. Thus the Berkeley mandate that I80 have a 3 person carpool was counterproductive. But typical of Berkeley.

  22. Ice/electric hybrids would seem to be a good compromise, rather than banning ice vehicles all together. Hybrids would reduce the amout of fossil fuels burned and would elimnate the range problems that all-electric vehicles currently have.

    But I guess fanatics are not prone to compromise.

  23. The jet airliners Boeing builds in Washington State spread tens of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide around the planet every single day. Airliners of the kind Boeing currently manufactures cannot be allowed to fly in a world which fits the climate activist’s vision for the future.

    And yet, no one in the press has asked either Governor Jay Inslee or Attorney General Bob Ferguson — both of them self-proclaimed climate activists — why they haven’t used the powers of their respective offices to force an end to the production of Boeing aircraft in their state.

    • Perhaps the MSM have perused the “CO2 Coalition’s” output, and realized that CO2 is a net double benefit – good for the planet and good for convincing science illiterates to accept taxation increases!

  24. “Greta Thunberg announced that she will take a sailboat to the next world climate conference in Santiago, Chile in December 2019. Her decision not to take an aircraft may save CO2 emissions…”

    Considering there will be a plane flying to Santiago with a seat for sale she is not saving CO2 emissions but rather virtue signalling with a worldwide Propaganda Press Megaphone.

    Its telling that the money’d elite with their private planes and Luxury yachts can mute the megaphone when they exercise their wealth to create a carbon footprint larger than a third world country flying to luxurious conferences to compose their lectures to the rest of us, which will be broadcast maximum megaphone volume since they control the dials.

  25. Great article Steve! It is bang on the point. I see very clearly that the masses of people who would like to care about things but are too busy trying to get by are voting with their feet. And the winner of their votes is carbon based fuel by a massive landslide. Should politicians and other forces succeed in diminishing the lifestyle people are struggling to attain there WILL be a landslide of stupidity crushing protests that will make the Yellow Jackets look puny.

  26. Jet fuel has a specific energy of 43 megajoules per kilogram (MJ/kg). The best lithium-ion batteries deliver a specific energy of only about 0.9 MJ/kg.

    It isn’t just the higher energy density of jet fuel: commercial aviation depends on aluminum, which takes 13 mWh to produce each metric ton. Before aluminum aircraft were made out of wood and doped canvas — hardly a structure I’d care to trust my life to. I haven’t worked it out, but I suspect that substituting steel for aluminum would result in an aircraft too heavy to take off.

  27. Cardinal Pell

    It’s stupid. We aren’t debating liberty. It’s stupid. The idea is to win. And if that means making an article 3% better by quoting somebody not in the middle of a bleep storm, do that. Win.

    I am disappointed with Watts and Goreham in this specific case.

Comments are closed.