Logically circular

So… climate change is resulting in more and more severe storms of all kinds, and now (soon) one of the drivers of our gloriously enhanced CO2 budget will be able to power your home when the power gets knocked out because of those more severe storms:

Believe it or not, this battery-powered truck can really power your house when the lights go out, and better still, doing so won’t require a rat’s nest of extension cords or even a portable generator. What Ford calls Intelligent Backup Power enables this all-electric rig to feed power from its enormous battery pack through its hardwired wall charger directly into your home’s electrical system.

As you might suspect, electric cars store positively enormous amounts of energy in their batteries. After all, it takes a lot of juice to move a multi-ton vehicle at interstate speeds for hundreds of miles. When it goes on sale next year, the new Lightning will offer two battery pack sizes, the smaller of which should provide 230 miles of range and the bigger one about 300. Ford hasn’t said how large these electron reservoirs are, but we’re estimating they’ll clock in at roughly 110 and 150 kWh, respectively.

The F-150 Lightning can provide up to 9.6 kW of power output. According to Ford, that’s more than enough to fully power a house at any one time, and considering the size of the battery, it could do that for at least three days (based on a daily average of 30 kWh). The automaker says you can make that power last for up to 10 days if you ration the electricity accordingly. Kind of like hypermiling for your home.

Definitely some prepper fanboy-ing going on with this soothing new pickup, though we are far beyond any shyness or shame about making fun of things both ironically and unironically at the same time. Ah, the land of opportunity. No need to waste your time hating on only one brand of irony.

ETA – Actually, there is no real reason to be hating on much of anything and this example nutshells the fundamental conundrum as first articulated (over to your right, there >). Can we market our way out of this? It’s like the punchline to this entire site.

Ruling on Clean Air

Not sure who reads unsigned editorials anymore, but there was a good one from the Times on Thursday touting a new EPA ruling on expansions of the Clean Air Act:

The rule, which takes effect in 2012, would cut emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain, and nitrogen oxide, a component of smog, by more than half by 2014 compared with 2005 levels.

As is true of nearly every regulation spawned by the landmark 1970 Clean Air Act, the rule’s benefits will greatly outweigh its costs to industry — a truth routinely ignored by the act’s critics, most recently the Tea Party supporters in Congress. The E.P.A. estimates annual benefits at $120 billion to $240 billion, mostly from fewer premature deaths, hospital visits and lost work days associated with respiratory illnesses.

By contrast, the costs of new pollution controls and plant retirements are estimated at $800 million annually, on top of about $1.6 billion in capital improvements already under way in anticipation of the rule.

These new regulations are part of a package that includes new mileage standards for cars and reductions in other greenhouse gases – a way for WH to do the job of congress through the EPA.When cap and trade went from a foregone conclusion to a dead letter, there was really little other option for the Obama Administration to act on climate change, air and water pollution or any other snapshot of the future of the country than to issue new EPA guidelines. Again, howls of indignation from the Confederates, while the corporations on whose behalf they roam work feverishly to come up with new eco-themed advertising to disguise their craven end-times profiteering. For those who would like to see through the smoke, the crushing hand of government regulation momentarily stuns the intruder by being at home. Now where’s that bat?


Along with being the Trig functions for Theta, 45 degrees is also the number being thrown around for expected sustained temperatures in Australia, which many say is already experiencing the predicted effects of global warming. Massive wildfires, drought, flooding in the northern tropical areas – it’s not pretty.

Climate scientists say Australia — beset by prolonged drought and deadly bush fires in the south, monsoon flooding and mosquito-borne fevers in the north, widespread wildlife decline, economic collapse in agriculture and killer heat waves — epitomizes the “accelerated climate crisis” that global warming models have forecast.

With few skeptics among them, Australians appear to be coming to an awakening: Adapt to a rapidly shifting climate, and soon. Scientists here warn that the experience of this island continent is an early cautionary tale for the rest of the world.

A royal commission has  been convened to determine whether, in fact, global warming contributed to the deaths of 173 people in the nation’s worst wildfires ever and the 200 who died from heat the week before. Farmers are being pushed to the verge of suicide and beyond. Rainfall is down by 70 % in many areas. The commission’s report is due in August.

But in a country that gets 80% of its energy from burning coal, what can the report say?

Scientists are frustrated that such dramatic anecdotal and empirical evidence hasn’t sparked equally dramatic action from Australia’s government. They suspect the inaction can be partly explained by examining the nation’s relationship with coal. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and relies on it for 80% of its electricity. That helps make Australia and its 21 million people the world’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases in the industrialized world.

Climate change researcher Cocklin, who is deputy vice chancellor at James Cook University, said the power of the coal companies and the massive receipts they bring in render the industry politically untouchable.

“The nature of our energy profile is one where coal features significantly,” he said. “There’s no denying it’s a massive problem. I don’t think in the public-political arena it is being challenged with the tenacity that you would want. No Labor [Party] government is going to challenge that.”

So, the prime minister pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% by 2020 (wouldn’t want to rush things). And I think we can relate. Australia is not just a case in point of what global warming will look like, but also an example of vast government inaction in the face of damning consequences. See one, see the other. Pleasant loud speaker voice: In the name of not kinking solid revenue streams, will everyone please step two miles in toward the middle of the country?

Do we actually think that’s going to work? If we don’t – what actually is the plan?