EVs

Have the old ruined the planet for the youth as they prepare for the school climate strike tomorrow?

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As the school climate strikes are prepared for tomorrow, it is worth reflecting on the recklessness of the older generations…or not…

At the store check out, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

The older lady said that she was right our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain: Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day. Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then. We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.

We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.”

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

Our education is the problem, not the climate

You know things have got to be bad when Zali Steggall OAM MP is launching The Australia Institute’s (TAI) ‘Climate of the Nation 2019‘ report which claims 81% of Aussies are concerned that climate change will impact droughts and flooding. Huh? The IPCC has already admitted, “available climate data do not show any increasing trend in extreme weather events (e.g. extreme precipitation, extreme drought, thunderstorms, winter blizzards) in any part of the world.”

Did TAI conduct the survey at the Australian Medical Association (AMA) which is now trying to dictate climate policy? Between the RBA, APRA and the AMA, we might need a beauty contest to see which of them takes over at the Department of Environment & Energy. CM is surprised that the AMA hasn’t demanded to take over the organization of the Royal Easter Show from the Royal Agricultural Society now they are experts in food security!

Why do people get so embroiled in talking about the “science being settled”. OK, let’s assume it is. We use all of the well publicized and peer-reviewed data scrapes from the IPCC reports, the EU’s in house statistics bureau, Eurostat, and the EIA.

We only need a basic Year 7 grasp of elementary mathematics to educate on the facts. The IPCC claim that CO2, as a proportion of the atmosphere, is 0.0415%. It also tells us that human-made CO2 is 3% of the total. 97% is natural. Australia for its sins is 1.08% of human-made global CO2 emissions.

So, 0.0415% x 3% x 1.08% = 0.00001345%. Let’s forget the science and say it was the interest earned on a 20-year compounding deposit of $10,000. If you doubled or halved the above percentage across that deposit you’d get virtually the exact same result in all three scenarios.

Farting cows are no different. Methane is an even smaller part of the atmosphere. 722 parts per billion. Animals (in total) make up 13% of the methane produced meaning that 0.00000939% of the atmosphere is down to animals. Angela Merkel was imploring Chinese don’t grow a meat habit so she can save the planet (aka justify a meat tax increase at home). By the way, Australia has 26mn cattle out of a total of 1 billion worldwide. So Australia is 2.6% of global head of cattle. So 2.6% x 0.00000939% = 0.00000024%. That is a disingenuous number because it doesn’t factor horses, ducks, sheep, household pets and budgies. Perhaps Africans need to educate lions to move to plant-based meat substitutes and leave water buffalo alone.

Do people realize that rice paddies account for more methane than cows? Where are the environmentalists and climate alarmists demanding that Asian nations, 40% of the global population, must cease eating rice? Better tell Mother Nature that she creates 45% of the methane out there through peat bogs and tundras.

How ironic that Zali Steggall, the Member for Warringah (home to the Northern Beaches Council (NBC)) is TAI’s champion. Did she read that NBC declared a climate emergency after having a sermon delivered by Tim Flannery, who has made countless dud predictions leading to the waste of billions of spending in desal plants?

In the  2017/18  NBC annual report it states the council saved 293 tons of CO2. Given that Australia produces around 561m tons, this amazing effort has meant a reduction of 0.0000522% of Australia’s total. Put it against Australia’s CO2 impact vs the entire atmosphere means that Northern Beaches have hammered home a mammoth 0.000000000699857% saving! Yes, 9 zeroes. C’mon Zali, you should be citing this impactless tokenism in your address. By the way, we’re still waiting for wind farms on Balmoral Beach.

The range of claims made in the TAI report speaks to little more than agenda based data gathering with leading questions.

For instance, if Labor was destroyed in the federal election over Adani, how could 73% of Queenslanders possibly want Australia’s coal-fired power stations phased out as soon as possible or gradually? Did the pollsters mistakenly manage to interview Bob Brown’s anti-Adani convoy which skewed the findings? If you want to get answers to questions that effectively make claims (climate change already causing) it is easy if it is written as though it is a fact to begin with,

“Melting of the Polar ice caps” (51%) – IPCC has already climbed down from such claims
“More heatwaves and extreme hot days” (48%) – no consistent data on this. 
“Destruction of the Great Barrier Reef” (44%) – it isn’t happening – just ask Peter Ridd or the Vice-Chancellor at James Cook University
“More droughts affecting crop production & food supply” (42%) – global crop yields growing
“More Bushfires” (36%) – fallen over time
“Water Shortages in the Cities” (30%) – haven’t experienced one 

Taking bushfires as an example. Facts from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) show that 85% of bushfires are either deliberately, suspiciously or accidentally lit. The AIC sees that while the data is somewhat sketchy that the most common profile of arsonists was “white male, mid-20s, patchy employment record, often above average intelligence, but poor academic achievement and poor social development skills…56% of convicted structural arsonists and 37% of bushfire arsonists in NSW had a prior conviction for a previous offence. ”

In the US those figures are around 90%. A study in the journal Science determined the global burnt area from fires, rather than growing, had declined by roughly 25% from 1999 to 2017.

So do the stats support global warming or successful mainstream media coverage sensationalising the truth to feed narratives? Don’t get started on the Amazon fires. CM wrote about it here.

Energy source rank went Wind (76%), Solar (58%) & Hydro (39%) although nuclear power ranked above coal and gas. Surprise, surprise.  (p.11).

Apparently, 64% of Aussies want to be net-zero emissions by 2050. To do that we’d need to stop all mining, end farming and phase out all fossil-fuel power from transport to power generation. Just think of the UK’s plan to do this. Going to be a bit hard when 85% of British households rely on gas to heat their homes. Will the power grid hold up to a switch to electric heating?

On p.25, TAI makes reference to the Icelandic glacier, Ok, that lost its status 5 years ago. According to the UN Chronicle, “The sudden surging of glaciers is not related to climatic fluctuations, and surges can take place even at times when glaciers retreat. This is the usual behaviour of some glaciers and can not be evidence of an impending surge… unfortunately, direct observations of a change in the movement of a glacier at the onset of a surge are still very rare, and the causes for surges are not yet clear…It should be emphasized that the problem of climate change is extremely difficult to understand, and it has still not been possible to know what factors in the past decades — natural or anthropogenic — have caused the warming. There are still many uncertainties in solving this problem. IPCC estimates are rather wide in their range of accuracy and, therefore, cannot predict with confidence…at least not in the coming decades and centuries.”

Maybe we just need to accept that China produces more GHG in two weeks than we do in a year. At the rate it is going, by 2030 it will likely be closer to one week. Once again folks, education seems a bigger problem than climate change. Basic fractions are more valuable than deep knowledge of climate science. Even using numbers supplied by the organisations they constantly espouse as the oracle, the minuscule impacts we can have are never mentioned. Tokenism is somehow virtuous.

Long Way Up for Harley

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Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman are apparently planning to ride electric Harley-Davidson Livewire motorcycles from South America to Los Angeles. CM loved the first two series – even bought a BMW R1200GS Adventure in the knowledge of what the bike could do. CM rode to every prefecture in Japan on that bike which to date has been one of the fondest memories of living there 20 years. Experiencing different cultures and places that contrast the crowded cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

The duo is looking to replicate the successful formula of ‘Long Way Round‘ (riding from London to NY) and its sequel ‘Long Way Down‘ (riding from John O’Groats to Cape Town). Unfortunately, the latest offering is unlikely to whip up the same cult status of the originals. Why?

The first two chapters focused on serious hardcore off-roading through the likes of Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Siberia and Africa with all manner of struggles, mishaps and adventures along the way. BMW’s GS series motorcycles did a roaring trade off the back of the success of this trip. It was beta tested to the extreme. It remains BMW’s best selling motorcycle even today.

Unfortunately, given the diabolical long term decline trend in unit sales at Harley-Davidson, it is unlikely that an electric bike with a limited range and next to no luggage carrying capability will make sense in resurrecting the former glories of Milwaukee’s divine franchise. Although it is in line with the rudderless board at H-D which CM has made reference to multiple times.

Harley is planning to launch an adventure bike to compete with the BMW GS, so why hasn’t it chosen that so the brand can promote capabilities which would bring far more attention to the brand’s new capabilities? Will it camp or just check into 5-star hotels with wall sockets?

Sorry, but a bulk of Harley owners want to be seen as leather-clad rebels, not soy latte sipping trendies. Harley-Davidson is probably one of the very few brands that customers are willing to tattoo to their bodies. That is brand power! Furthermore, the whole point of owning a Harley was to enable owners to hide in their mancaves looking and tinker for hours to get peace and quiet from the trouble and strife. Plugging in the Livewire to a wall socket is not the game-changer product Harley needs and will only force husbands to discuss for hours whether ivory or off-beige would be the best tile colour for the bathroom. It will be the worst decision of his life and force a trade-in to fossil-fuel power. 

Harley would be better off buying a scooter maker if it wants to go down the electric route. If Harley analysed its own history it would recall it tried to patent its distinctive sound. How soon it forgets.

The Long Way Up move looks like a massive marketing exercise whereby Ewan and Charley are getting a small fortune to promote a bike that won’t transform Harley in the slightest. CM understands Harley needs to totally revamp its approach to markets but electricity is as far removed from its core brand proposition as to beggar belief.

CM has always said that Harley needs to get back in touch and listen to its core customer base, the very thing Willie Davidson did in the dark days when Harley nearly went bust in the 1980s. That seminal but simple strategy by the founder’s grandson saved Harley.

Often the most sensible business strategies focus not around trying to be something they’re not but celebrating and embracing exactly what they are. Brands have spent a lifetime emulating Harley. Why channel a wonky Taiwanese white goods maker who dabbles in Uber Eats carrying commuter junk?

Buhahahahaha

In 1999, CM was told by the pro-EV lobby that electric cars would be 10% or the market by 2010. In 2019 EVs are struggling to nudge 1.3%. If EV’s have managed to achieve much more than 10-12% by 2035 it will be a miracle.

10 reasons it will be highly unlikely:

1) Australia sold just over 1.15m cars in 2018. In 2008, SUVs comprised 19% of total sales. Today 43%. So much for the unbridled panic about catastrophic climate change if consumption patterns are a guide.

2) Australian fuel excise generates 5% of total tax revenue. It is forecast to grow from $19bn today to $24bn by 2021. If government plans to subsidize then it’ll likely to add to the deficit, especially if it lobs $5,000 per car subsidies on 577,000 cars (50% of 2018 unit sales in Australia).

CM has always argued that governments will eventually realize that moving to full EV policy will mean losing juicy ‘fuel excise’. Point 16 on page 19 for those interested.

Cash strapped Illinois has proposed the introduction of a $1,000 annual registration fee (up from $17.50) to account for the fact EVs don’t pay such fuel taxes. Note Illinois has the lowest investment grade among any other American state and has to allocate 40% of its budget just to pay outstanding bills. It is also home to one of the largest state pension unfunded deficits per capita in the country.

3) cash for clunkers? If the idea is to phase out fossil fueled powered cars, surely the resale/trade in values will plummet to such a degree that trading it on a new EV makes no sense at all. False economy trade where fossil fuel owners will hold onto existing cars for longer.

4) Global EV production is 2.1m units. Looking at existing production plans by 2030, it is likely to be around 12mn tops on a conservative basis. Australia would need want 5% of world EV supply when were only 1.2% of global car sales. Many auto makers are committed to selling 50% of EV capacity into China. So Shorten will be fighting for the remaining pie. No car makers will export 10% of all EV production to Australia without substantial incentives to do so.

Don’t forget Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also intends to get every fossil fueled powered car off the road in a decade. The US has 270 million registered vehicles, the overwhelming majority being petrol powered. The US sells 16-17mn cars a year (sadly slowing). Therefore in the US, 16 years would be required to achieve that target.

5) Ethics of EVs. To save the planet, the majority of cobalt to go into making the batteries comes from African mines which use child slave laborers. There is a moral scruple to keep a virtue signaling activist awake at night!

Not to worry, Glencore has just announced last week it is closing its cobalt capacity in DR Congo which will flip the market from surplus to deficit (at 1.2% global market share). Oops.

6) EV makers aren’t happy. In Europe there are over 200 cities with EV programs but none are alike. In the quest to outdo each other on the virtue signaling front, car makers are struggling to meet such diverse requirements meaning roll outs will be slow because there is no movement to standardize.

7) EV suppliers aren’t convinced. Because of the above, many EV suppliers are reluctant to go too hard in committing to new capacity because global car markets are slowing in China, US, Europe and Australia. High fixed cost businesses hate slowdowns. Writing down the existing capacity would be punitive to say the least. New capacity takes a minimum of 2 years to come on line from conception.

8) The grid! In the UK, National Grid stated that to hit the UK targets for EVs by 2030, an entirely new 8GW nuclear plant would be required to meet the demands of EV charging. Australia can barely meet its energy needs with the current policies and doubling down on the same failed renewables strategy that has already proved to fall well short of current demand ex any EVs added to the grid.

9) in 1999 automotive experts hailed that EVs would make up 10% of all vehicle sales by 2010. In 2019 EVs make up around 2.5%. So 9 extra years and 75% below the target. The capacity isn’t there much less consumers aren’t fully convinced as range anxiety is a big problem.

10) charging infrastructure is woefully inadequate. Await another taxpayer dollar waste-fest. Think NBN Mark II on rolling EV chargers out nationwide. The question then becomes one of fast charger units which cost 5x more than slower systems. If the base-load power capacity is already at breaking point across many states (Vic & SA the worst) throwing more EVs onto a grid will compound the problem and drive prices up and potentially force rationing although people look to Norway.

Norway is a poor example to benchmark against. It is 5% of our land mass, 1/5th our population and new car sales around 12% of Australia. According to BITRE, Australia has 877,561km of road network which is 9x larger than Norway.

Norway has around 8,000 chargers countrywide. Installation of fast chargers runs around A$60,000 per unit on top of the $100,000 preparation of each station for the high load 480V transformer setup to cope with the increased loads.

Norway state enterprise, Enova, said it would install fast chargers every 50km of 7,500km worth of main road/highway.

Australia has 234,820km of highways/main roads. Fast chargers at every 50km like the Norwegians would require a minimum of 4,700 charging stations across Australia. Norway commits to a minimum of 2 fast chargers and 2 standard chargers per station.

The problem is our plan for 570,000 cars per annum is 10x the number of EVs sold in Norway, requiring 10x the infrastructure.

While it is safe to assume that Norway’s stock of electric cars grows, our cumulative sales on achieving plan would require far greater numbers. So let’s do the maths (note this doesn’t take into account the infrastructure issues of rural areas):

14,700 stations x $100,000 per station to = $1,470,000,000

4,700 stations x 20 fast chargers @ A$60,000 = $5,640,000,000 (rural)

4,700 stations x 20 slow chargers @ A$9,000 = $846,000,000 (rural)

10,000 stations x 5 fast chargers @ A$60,000 = $3,000,000,000 (urban)

570,000 home charging stations @ $5,500 per set = $3,135,000,000 (this is just for 2035)

Grand Total: A$14,091,000,000

Uh Oh! Tesla’s next big problem

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Glencore reported on p33 of its half-yearly results that it is suspending its cobalt mining in the DR Congo. It noted that, “Mutanda’s economic viability has deteriorated since the update provided at the 2018 Results presentation in February 2019

Note that Mutanda provided 25kt of cobalt, a vital ingredient in making batteries for electric vehicles (EV). In Darton Commodities ‘2018-2019 Cobalt Market Review,’ it forecast total global cobalt supply of 140kt in 2020 vs. total global demand of 132kt. Knocking out Mutanda will push the market into 19kt deficit.

For a company like Tesla that is trying to ramp volumes at lower/discounted prices, higher raw input prices will only make life harder in making sustainable profits.

How lucky we are that Bill Shorten never got his 50% EV sales by 2030 plan into effect.

Irish inhaling magic clovers

The Irish government is looking to ban new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 in its ‘Climate Action Plan‘. One would imagine many car dealers will go out of business because the product offerings will be so slim and global supply won’t be there. Sadly the document contradicts itself too. Not to mention that Ireland’s contribution to global CO2 is only 0.000012%.

On page 33, the report drills holes in itself when it states,

Solar PV, some electrification of buses, and biofuel blending are identified in 2030 the NDP scenario but are not showing as cost- effective in MACC. Despite MACC analysis these technologies may remain in plan given other factors (e.g., exchequer cost, ease of implementation, need for public sector leadership)

So it is a poorly thought out plan to begin with such caveats.

For transport the manifesto denotes,

Accelerate the take up of EV cars and vans so that we reach 100% of all new cars and vans are EVs by 2030. This will enable achieving our target of 950,000 EVs on the road by 2030. This means approximately one third of all vehicles sold during the decade will be Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Hang on a minute. In its own document on page 24 it hopes for at least 500,000 EVs on the road. Thats almost half what is mentioned in the exec summary! Which is it? Hoping no one reads this rubbish?

Make growth less transport intensive through better planning, remote and home-working and modal shift to public transport.

That will work. Just tell companies to keep people working from home. Why not get people to grow their own vegetables so they don’t need to drive to the supermarket?

Increase the renewable biofuel content of motor fuels

On page 33 under volumes, it mentions nothing. Just the E10 and B12 biofuel mix plans. Maybe Germany holds clues.

The German authorities went big for bio-fuels in 2008 forcing gas stands to install E-10 pumps to cut CO2. However as many as 3 million cars at the time weren’t equipped to run on it and as a result consumers abandoned it leaving many gas stands with shortages of the petrol and gluts of E-10 which left the petrol companies liable to huge fines (around $630mn) for not hitting government targets.

Claude Termes, a member of European Parliament from the Green Party in Luxembourg said in 2008 that “legally mandated biofuels were a dead end…the sooner It disappears, the better…my preference is zero…policymakers cannot close their eyes in front of the facts. The European Parliament is increasingly skeptical of biofuels.” Even ADAC told German drivers to avoid using E10 when traveling in other parts of continental Europe.

• Set targets for the conversion of public transport fleets to zero carbon alternatives

It is unlikely that Public transport is a swing factor. The hope is to have 1,250 electric buses by 2030. Even then it has concerns it may not hit the plan.

It is scary to think countries are willing to submit to the altar of this green madness. The word “public leadership” should cause people to run for the hills. For such a minuscule impact on the climate, Ireland is about to kill its competitiveness to protect against what? 55% renewable target with a huge uplift in EVs and an extra 600,000 households using electric heating, 400,000

The most interesting thing is that in the 2019 Irish budget, the spending ceiling for “Communication, Climate Action and Environment Group” is €391m out of total expenditures of €59.25bn or 0.6% of its budget. Note this ministry will max out at €391m for 2020 and 2021. How much will be achieved on the Climate Action Plan if resources aren’t going to plug the infrastructure gaps?

As much as the “woke” nature of the plan here is betting it misses by a country mile on dates and achievements. In the history of government led climate initiatives, failures far outweigh successes. Don’t forget Ireland gets 5% of tax revenues from fuel excise. So once consumers save the planet they can expect an EV tax to slug them instead.