Opinion | What if All That Flying Is Good for the Planet? – By Costas Christ – The New York Times

By 

Mr. Christ is the founder of Beyond Green Travel.

Credit…Hannah Mckay/Reuters

“A growing movement known as “flight shame” and popularized by well-meaning climate activists is gaining momentum around the world. Its premise: Flying is bad for the climate, so if you care about life on Earth, don’t fly. The movement, which began in Scandinavia, has ballooned into protests to disrupt flights at London’s Heathrow Airport and social media campaigns outing celebrities and others for planning long-haul trips.

With the holiday season fast approaching, many climate-conscious people may be wondering: Is my planned vacation for the other side of the world ethically indefensible? But let’s try another question: If we really did all stop flying, would that save the planet?

The counterintuitive answer is that it might actually do the opposite.

The tourism industry depends on air travel, and increasingly, saving nature is directly linked to tourism’s economic clout. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, one in 10 people are employed in the travel and tourism industry, representing more than 10 percent of the global economy. In many countries, nature-based tourism is a top foreign exchange earner.

At the same time, aviation accounts for approximately 2.5 percent of human-induced C0₂ emissions. By contrast, deforestation, according to some estimates, contributes nearly 20 percent, about as much as all forms of transportation combined. If we want to truly take a clean sweep at reducing global greenhouse gases, then we must stop clear-cutting the world’s forests.

Don’t get me wrong. As a conservationist and sustainable tourism expert, I am an advocate for a more responsible approach to tourism. Although I began my career as a wildlife ecologist, my work in the tourism industry is focused on transforming travel to be more environmentally friendly. While I recognize that flying is harmful to the climate, I also know what will happen if, in their understandable concern for climate change, travelers stop booking trips to go on a wildlife safari to Africa or decide to forgo that bucket list vacation to South America. Conservation and poverty alleviation will suffer twin blows.

By 2030, tourism to Africa is projected to generate more than $260 billion annually. Subtract that from Africa’s economy and not only will it plunge an entire continent into more poverty (millions of Africans rely on tourism as their economic lifeline), but it will also undermine hard-won efforts to protect some of the world’s most endangered species. Save the elephants? Forget about it. Rhinos, ditto.”

‘Worse Than Anyone Expected’: Air Travel Emissions Vastly Outpace Predictions – By Hiroko Tabuchi – The New York Times

Credit…Steve Parsons/PA Images, via Getty Images

“Greenhouse gas emissions from commercial air travel are growing at a faster clip than predicted in previous, already dire, projections, according to new research — putting pressure on airline regulators to take stronger action as they prepare for a summit next week.

The United Nations aviation body forecasts that airplane emissions of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, will reach just over 900 million metric tons in 2018, and then triple by 2050.

But the new research, from the International Council on Clean Transportation, found that emissions from global air travel may be increasing more than 1.5 times as fast as the U.N. estimate. The researchers analyzed nearly 40 million flights around the world last year.

“Airlines, for all intents and purposes, are becoming more fuel efficient. But we’re seeing demand outstrip any of that,” said Brandon Graver, who led the new study. “The climate challenge for aviation is worse than anyone expected.”

Airlines in recent years have invested in lighter, more fuel-efficient aircraft, and have explored powering their planes with biofuel.

Over all, air travel accounts for about 2.5 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions — a far smaller share than emissions from passenger cars or power plants. Still, one study found that the rapid growth in plane emissions could mean that by 2050, aviation could take up a quarter of the world’s “carbon budget,” or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions permitted to keep global temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.”

Tesla Swerves on Strategy- Trailed by Growing Doubts – The New York Times

By Neal E. Boudette
March 6, 2019, 313
“Tesla’s sleek stores embodied its green vision for upending the transportation and energy business: a one-stop shop for electric cars, solar panels and battery storage. Less than three months ago, the company announced 11 new store locations across the country.

Now Tesla is in retreat, shuttering most of its stores in a bid to cut costs. The move signaled the broader vulnerabilities of an upstart that for a time was the most highly valued American car company.

A spate of price cuts in the United States points to a slowdown in sales, and the company says it is currently making cars for Europe and China only. But plans to bring the company’s mass-market car, the Model 3, to overseas buyers have been hamstrung by logistical challenges.

A long-promised $35,000 version of the Model 3 is finally being offered, but the price will test the company’s profitability. Tesla now expects a loss in the first quarter, rattling investors’ faith in the company and its enigmatic founder, Elon Musk. In recent days, its shares have tumbled more than 13 percent.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval NYT

How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country – by Hiroko Tabuchi – NYT

 

 

“NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A team of political activists huddled at a Hardee’s one rainy Saturday, wolfing down a breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Then they descended on Antioch, a quiet Nashville suburb, armed with iPads full of voter data and a fiery script.

The group, the local chapter for Americans for Prosperity, which is financed by the oil billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch to advance conservative causes, fanned out and began strategically knocking on doors. Their targets: voters most likely to oppose a local plan to build light-rail trains, a traffic-easing tunnel and new bus routes.

“Do you agree that raising the sales tax to the highest rate in the nation must be stopped?” Samuel Nienow, one of the organizers, asked a startled man who answered the door at his ranch-style home in March. “Can we count on you to vote ‘no’ on the transit plan?”

In cities and counties across the country — including Little Rock, Ark.; Phoenix, Ariz.; southeast Michigan; central Utah; and here in Tennessee — the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit, an offshoot of their longstanding national crusade for lower taxes and smaller government.”

Trump Picks Economic Winners- Guided by Nostalgia – The New York Times

A decade ago, coal provided nearly half of America’s electricity. That share has since plummeted to less than one-third, as coal has been driven out of the market by stricter pollution regulations and a glut of cheap natural gas from hydraulic fracturing. Wind and solar power, while starting from a small base, have grown at double-digit rates each year as the technology improves and costs drop.The jobs have followed: The number of American coal miners has fallen from more than 80,000 in 2008 to about 53,000 today. The solar industry alone now employs twice as many people as the coal industry does. Solar installers, wind technicians and oil and gas drill operators are all expected to be among the fastest-growing occupations over the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.“Ten years ago, the joke among industry players was that renewables were the energy source of the future and always would be,” said Andy Karsner, a former assistant secretary of energy in the George W. Bush administration. “Problem is, that future has arrived, and coal is now the energy source of the past and always will be.”

A Sweeping Plan to Fix the Subways Comes With a $19 Billion Price Tag – The New York Times

By Emma G. Fitzsimmons
May 22, 2018
124 “A sweeping proposal to overhaul New York City’s subway and improve the broader transit system is expected to cost more than $19 billion, according to two people who were briefed on Tuesday, and goes far beyond the emergency repair plan that was unveiled last summer after the subway fell into crisis.The proposal by the subway’s new leader, Andy Byford, will be announced on Wednesday in a highly anticipated presentation before the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board.

Mr. Byford has warned that the subway needs major upgrades to reverse its precipitous slide and the work will require short-term pain for millions of subway riders. His plan will focus on speeding up the rollout of a new signal system to replace the subway’s current antiquated equipment, according to the two people who were briefed on the plan on Tuesday and did not want to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.”

How 2 M.T.A. Decisions Pushed the Subway Into Crisis – The New York Times

“By now, New York City commuters are familiar with the wait. We descend from the bitter cold or the stifling heat to find subway platforms teeming with other bodies trying to make it to work on time. Delays ripple through the system, so there’s barely room to squeeze into the next train that arrives.

For years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority told us that rising ridership and overcrowding were to blame. Yet ridership actually stayed mostly flat from 2013 to 2018 as delays rose, and the authority recently acknowledged that overcrowding was not at fault.

Instead, two decisions made by the M.T.A. years ago — one to slow down trains and another that tried to improve worker safety — appear to have pushed the subway system into its current crisis. And there’s no easy fix.”

David Lindsay Jr.

Hamden, CT 

Wow. Great Article, thank you. If you can identify the sources of the problem, you would suspect that competent people could fix their mistakes. Two years ago, I revisited Paris, and rode again on a really good subway system. How do they do it? Might be related to their national $7 dollar? a gallon gas tax. That democracy chooses to have well funded, well run, public transportation systems. This April, I visited Washington DC, and was impressed by the subway there. NYC, and I have heard, Albany, have managed to turn their once show case subway into a national disgrace and a laughing stock of incompetence. Is this what you want to be known for? Maybe states like my Connecticut, can turn this into part of our marketing strategy for attracting new business. Image a new marketing campaign, “(Insert Any State), where you you don’t have to ride the NYC subway!” David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

A Tesla Too Pricey? E-Bikes Offer Entry-Level Electric Transportation – The New York Times

“Electric cars remain something of a novelty, commanding premium prices and presenting charging challenges, but another kind of electric vehicle has been gaining momentum: the e-bike. Globally, electric cars — battery and plug-in hybrids — account for only about 1 percent of all vehicle sales, with about 1.15 million expected to be sold worldwide this year, according to EV-volumes.com. Compare that with the 35 million e-bikes expected to be purchased this year, according to Navigant, with countries like Ger. . . “

Source: A Tesla Too Pricey? E-Bikes Offer Entry-Level Electric Transportation – The New York Times

Admittedly, this article is not about Vietnam. But it is for Vietnam, and everywhere else.

Buying Your First Home EV Charger | PluginCars.com

“It may surprise EV newbies to learn that an electric car’s charger is found on board the vehicle. It’s the equipment buried in the guts of the car that takes an AC source of juice from your house, and converts it to DC—so your car’s battery pack can be charged.

This fact doesn’t stop nearly everybody from calling the wall-mounted box that supplies 240 volts of electricity a “charger.” Actually, that box, cord, and plug has a technical name—Electric Vehicle Service Equipment or EVSE—and if you have an EV, you’re going to want to install one at home.

So, it’s slightly misleading to say we’re providing guidance about chargers because we’re really talking about buying an EVSE—which is essentially no more than an electrical device allowing drivers to safely connect an electric car to a 240-volt source of electricity. It’s not rocket science, and you should not overthink the selection and installation of an EVSE.That said, there are important differences between the various home chargers (uh, I mean EVSEs). And there are a few best practices to keep in mind.”

Source: Buying Your First Home EV Charger | PluginCars.com

A Better- Safer Battery Could Be Coming to a Laptop Near You – The New York Times

“SAN FRANCISCO — A start-up company is trying to turbocharge a type of battery that has been a mainstay for simple devices like flashlights and toys, but until now has been ignored as an energy source for computers and electric cars.Executives at Ionic Materials, in Woburn, Mass., plan to announce on Thursday a design breakthrough that could make solid-state alkaline batteries a viable alternative to lithium-ion and other high-energy storage technologies.”