By Brad Plumer
Nov. 12, 2018
Want climate news in your inbox? Sign up here for Climate Fwd:, our email newsletter.
WASHINGTON — Over the next two decades, the world’s energy system will undergo a huge transformation. Wind and solar power are poised to become dominant sources of electricity. China’s once-relentless appetite for coal is set to wane. The amount of oil we use to fuel our cars could peak and decline.
But there’s a catch: The global march toward clean energy still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous global warming, at least not unless governments put forceful new policy measures in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
That’s the conclusion of the International Energy Agency, which on Monday published its annual World Energy Outlook, a 661-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2040. These projections are especially difficult right now because the world’s energy markets, which usually evolve gradually, are going through a major upheaval.
More efforts needed
The global fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) car stock reached 8 000 units in 2017, with the United States and Japan accounting for nearly 90% of the global fleet. Focus on hydrogen is increasing from a variety of countries and companies, with the IEA also strengthening its own analytical capability.
Hydrogen’s potential role in the energy system
Hydrogen can link different energy sectors and energy transmission and distribution networks, and thus increase the operational flexibility of future low-carbon energy systems.
By John Paul MacDuffie
Mr. MacDuffie is director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Oct. 1, 2018
Elon Musk’s decision to settle fraud charges against him — by paying a $20 million fine to the Securities and Exchange Commission and agreeing to step down as the chairman of Tesla, the company he co-founded — is the best possible outcome for both investors in Tesla and anyone who cares about the future of electric vehicles.
By giving up the chairmanship for three years, Mr. Musk will have the chance to focus on some of the huge tasks still ahead for the company, particularly raising the financing to meet the company’s looming debts. And the governance measures imposed by the S.E.C. — for new board members, better review of communications and a permanent committee of independent board members to monitor disclosures and conflicts of interest — are exactly what the company needs to prevent another social media-fueled debacle.
His leadership matters well beyond Silicon Valley. Tesla, under Mr. Musk, has been the single most significant force driving the global automotive industry — and the consumers who purchase cars — to take the prospect of a fully electric vehicle future seriously. No other electric vehicle initiative — from Nissan’s Leaf and GM’s Chevrolet Volt and Bolt to the new wave of luxury electric cars being rolled out by German automakers and new companies funded by Chinese billionaires — has achieved the impact on the public’s imagination, brand loyalty or sales success of Tesla. Those initiatives might not even have occurred without the prod of Tesla’s example.
Rising from the ashes of designer Henrik Fisker’s failed car company, the first units of the 2018 Karma Revero hybrid electric luxury super cars rolled off the Moreno Valley factory floor and onto Southern California roadways this week.
Ten went to dealer showrooms around the U.S. and Canada, where company officers hope they will inspire buyers.
Another 10 went to Laguna Beach, where on Monday they made their test-drive debuts before an avidly curious motoring press.
The Karma Revero is the new company’s first vehicle. Built largely from the platform Fisker envisioned before his company crashed and burned after producing a 2012 model year Fisker Karma, the new car is sleek, speedy and almost silent.
Sitting low, its wheels crouched beneath sinuous, strong shoulder and hip lines, the Revero’s silhouette may call to mind an Aston Martin Rapide, Jaguar F-Type, or Ferrari California T.
“President Trump’s decision to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of solar panels and components is the opening salvo of his America First campaign to protect domestic manufacturers from Chinese competition. The stakes are high: Solar is the world’s fastest-growing energy industry, attracting over $160 billion in investment in 2017.
Yet these tariffs will do little to make American manufacturers competitive with dominant Chinese ones. Instead, they might actually discourage domestic investments in innovation, crucial to an American solar manufacturing revival. On top of this, the tariffs will cause collateral damage by slowing down the installation of solar panels in the United States, destroying more jobs than they create, and provoking trade disputes and retaliation.”
“ZEBULON, N.C. — At this century-old farm just outside Durham, symmetrical rows of shining blue solar panels have replaced the soybeans and tobacco that Tommy Vinson and his family used to grow here. It is one of many solar farms that have sprung up around North Carolina, transforming a state long battered by global offshoring into the second-largest generator of solar electricity after California.
“It’s still reaping a very good harvest,” said April Vinson, who is married to Tommy. “It’s just not a traditional kind of farm.”
Across North Carolina, textile factories and tobacco farms have disappeared, giving way to fields of solar panels.”
“SHENZHEN, China — There is a powerful reason that automakers worldwide are speeding up their efforts to develop electric vehicles — and that reason is China.
Propelled by vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies, China has become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars. That is forcing automakers from Detroit to Yokohama and Seoul to Stuttgart to pick up the pace of transformation or risk being left behind in the world’s largest car market.
Beijing has already called for one out of every five cars sold in China to run on alternative fuel by 2025. Last month, China issued new rules that would require the world’s carmakers to sell more alternative-energy cars here if they wanted to continue selling regular ones. A Chinese official recently said the country would eventually do away with the internal combustion engine in new cars.
“We are seeing ourselves at a crossroads in the development of the automobile industry in this country, with a global scale in mind,” said Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen’s top executive for VW brand sales and marketing, during a visit to Shanghai.China has reshaped industries before — clothing, steel making, even lace — through a potent mix of government support and cheap labor. More recently it has transformed green-energy businesses like solar and wind power.”
David LIndsay: God Bless the Chinese.
Here are the top comments, which I endorsed:
I think Scott Pruitt should stand next to that picture of the heavy haze of Pollution in Beijing due to the country’s reliance on power from coal.
It seems like even China is moving in the right direction while the Trump policy is to reverse all of the environmental improvements we’ve made and return us to the good old days of smog, haze and polluted waters.
China considers the very long term in its economic planning. The US – Republicans in particular- considers only next year’s business profits when making environmental and economic policy.
“unfair government support”?
We have that as well, it just is for 19th century coal + 20th cent oil. Welcome to “Make America Last”.
I WISH, our government had the foresight to set incentives for industry and consumers that protect the planet we need to live on.
Let’s see if the Russian Troll Farm attacks this comment like they did the last time we had this topic. Some facts:
1. If electricity is generated by anything but a coal plant, there is a very large benefit to plug-in vehicles (hybrid or pure EV), in terms of CO2 and local pollution.
2. Coal plants, like most thermal plants, burn 24/7, because the system temperature has to be maintained. This means that CO2 is being produced when there is low demand for electricity, at night. EV charging at night means that this “wasted” CO2 production *replaces* the CO2 an ICE car would produce on the morning commute, rather than being *in addition* to it.
3. The net result, in general, when you take all factors into account, is that *even* if electricity is being supplied by coal, switching to plug-in vehicles is a positive step; depending on combinations of efficiencies, in the short term as well as over time.
So, please think critically when the trolls start filling the thread with nonsensical claims that are intended to keep the oil flowing out of Siberia or wherever.
If you watch the NOVA program “In Search of the Superbattery,” you will see that improvements in battery electrolytes (plastic in the NOVA program, and now glass) will likely lead to improvements in energy density of lithium batteries by a factor of about 3. When this happens (and I suspect within the next 3 years), range of electric cars will increase from about 200 miles to about 600 miles. This will quickly result in the death of the internal combustion engine as a common energy source for cars. Automobile manufacturers, aware that this is about to happen, are scrambling to adopt electric car technology, so as to not be left behind with this disruptive change. The US government would do well to take notice.
“EPA’s Role in ENERGY STARThe ENERGY STAR program was established by EPA in 1992, under the authority of the Clean Air Act Section 103(g). Learn more about EPA’s statutory authority for ENERGY STAR.EPA ensures unbiased credibilityEPA ensures that ENERGY STAR provides the trusted information critical to an efficient private market—information that American businesses and consumers rely on every day. Industry shares the data that EPA uses to set performance-based definitions of leadership in energy efficiency—a collaboration that would not be possible without the confidence ENERGY STAR business partners place in EPA. Guided by a set of well-tested principles, EPA acts as an impartial arbiter of energy performance to set objective criteria that are central to all aspects of the program.Every ENERGY STAR label is independently certified, whether on a product, a home, a building, or a manufacturing plant. For example, in 2016, EPA oversaw robust third-party certification of ENERGY STAR products, administered by 24 independent certification bodies and more than 600 labs. EPA also requires that a sample of products be tested directly off retailers’ shelves. Last year, more than 1,800 products were tested; 95 percent passed, affirming consumer confidence in the label. Learn more about how EPA ensures ENERGY STAR’s program integrity.EPA provides a single national platform for utilities and local governments,
Nationwide, utilities invested $7.7 billion in energy efficiency programs in 2015.1 With hundreds of disparate utilities scattered around the country, EPA plays a critical unifying role to guide their energy efficiency programs. EPA enables utilities to leverage ENERGY STAR as a common national platform, avoiding the creation of hundreds of independent utility programs across the nation, which could fragment the market and stall innovation. Nearly 700 utilities—serving roughly 85% of American households—partner with ENERGY STAR, providing consistency and uniformity to the private market.Additionally, as of last year, 23 local governments and two states rely on EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® tool as the foundation for their energy benchmarking and transparency policies, creating uniformity for businesses and reducing transaction and implementation costs.”
“How it Works — Heat Pump Water Heaters (HPWHs)It’s generally easier to move something than to make something. Putting that principle to use, HPWHs use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly.
To understand the concept of heat pumps, imagine a refrigerator working in reverse. While a refrigerator removes heat from an enclosed box and expels that heat to the surrounding air, a HPWH takes the heat from surrounding air and transfers it to water in an enclosed tank.
During periods of high hot water demand, HPWHs switch to standard electric resistance heat (hence they are often referred to as “hybrid” hot water heaters) automatically. HPWH come with control panels that you to select from different operating modes 1, which include: Efficiency/Economy – Maximizes energy efficiency and savings by only using the heat pump to heat water Auto/Hybrid – The default setting is ideal for daily use, providing energy-efficient water heating with sustained heat Electric/Heater – This high-demand setting is the least energy-efficient, using only the electric element to heat water Vacation & Timer (not available on all models) – Save on your energy when away from home by placing the unit in “sleep” mode until you return. . . . ”