Stephen Colbert is to comedy what Conor McGregor is to humility

If people are struggling to get to grips with their president by blathering on as champagne socialists at the Emmys I am seriously struggling to see how Colbert is paid as a comedian. Comedians are not necessarily funny because of the ‘jokes’ per se but the ability to put their audience into seeing the reality behind the jokes. Take someone like Ricky Gervais. His humour is probably the best ever seen because he has such a commanding method to see the pathetic side of humans. Whether the horrible boss in The Office to the extra who becomes a famous writer and loses it all again in Extras, Gervais draws his audience because we all know someone like the characters he uses. Seinfeld was also gifted in this way. Richard Prior was crass but hilarious. Dave Chappelle, Monty Python, Steve Merchant, Ashley Jensen or Ramona Marquez- comics that get it.

Apart from Colbert’s continual obsession with Nazis (salutes and swastikas) his routines stink. If the CBS producers were desperate for ratings, why would they pick such a lame act? Is it any wonder it flopped.  Could it be that viewers are sick and tired of celebrities whining about their president that they can’t be bothered tuning in. There is a thought! Instead Dan rather blathers online about the fact SeanSpicer’s appearance withoutba trigger warning

Jerry Seinfeld perhaps summed up these award events perfectly in 2007

At moments like this I would like to quote my good friend Carl Reiner, who has often said to me: “You don’t give awards to comedians”. First of all, comedians don’t need awards, awards are for people that are looking for work, we’re not looking for work. If you’re any good as a comedian, you’ve got tons of work. We’ve all got wrinkled suits and smelly shirts from packing and unpacking and schlepping all over the goddamn country doing 10 million different kinds of gigs.

And secondly and even more important is your whole career as a comedian is about making fun of pretentious, high minded, self-congratulatory B.S. events like this one. The whole feeling in this room of reverence and honoring is the exact opposite of everything I have wanted my life to be about. I – I – I really don’t want to be up here. I want to be in the back over there – somewhere over there saying something funny to somebody about what a crock this whole thing is.

And I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I don’t want you to think that I’m not honored by this, because I’m, I feel very, very honored, and it’s – but it’s just that awards are stupid. Every real estate office has some framed, five-diamond president’s award thing by the desk, every hotel check-in has some gold circle service thing; every car salesman is a platinum jubilee winner. It’s all a big jerk off. It is, the hotel sucks, the real estate person is stupid, and the only thing the car salesman is good at is ripping you off.

And why? Because awards don’t mean a goddamn thing. It’s stupid, they’re all stupid. All of the award shows on TV. Honestly, it’s beyond me that we feel the need to set aside a night to give out these jaggoff bowling trophies six times a year, so all these people can pat each other on the back about how much money they’re making; boring the piss out of half the world. And if I hadn’t already won all these awards, I would not be talking like this.

The truth is that the comedians should be the only one getting awards. We’re the only ones that have to actually think of something original and funny, and interesting to say, you know, how hard that is? Do you know how hard it was just to write what I’m saying to you right now? It was hard, this took a long time, but we can do it, we can do it.

I’m just you know, sick of all these actors and you know, I don’t know why we’re so fascinated with actors in this culture. They haven’t got a thought in their stupid bed-head hairdo mini brains. Why are – we must honor this man, why? He pretended to be Bob Johnson. He is a genius, I tell you, it’s genius what he is doing, playing dress up and pretend is not genius ladies and gentleman, it’s not genius.”

Why haven’t climate scientists been jailed for fraud?


Evil banksters have been burnt at the stake over the last 30 years. Some would argue that not enough of these swindlers saw the inside of a jail cell. Maybe. Still many have faced multi million dollar fines, two decade prison terms and barred from ever operating again in the financial industry. Yet time and again climate scientists who receive millions in funding to scare us with fraudulent reports never face any repercussions. In fact many end up suing for libel believing their reputations have been tarnished by exposutenof the truth.

In a sense the taxpayer money used to bailout the financial system is not much different from the billions being plowed recklessly into energy policy based on wonky research. Even government sponsored climate organizations (NOAA, NASA, BoM, UNIPCC) have fallen for the sins of huge grants and recycling updated bogus studies by fiddling previous data to keep their Ponzi scheme going. Junket travel has been a big feature in the recent exposures of NASA and BOM. Can’t be seen missing the conference in the Maldives!

So again, why haven’t any scientists “busted” for manipulating data been charged for fraud? If it is ok to send bankers to jail for white collar crimes, why not scientists? Because they can wrap their malfeasance inside models that are sold as well intentioned studies to saving the planet! Who can prove their did predictions might not come to pass?

WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers was sentenced to 25 years based on nine counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and false regulatory filings to the tune of $11bn. Enron’s former CEO Jeffrey Skilling was convicted on 35 counts of fraud, insider trading and other crimes related to Enron and sentenced to 24 years prison and fined $45 million. Madoff got 150 years, Stanford got 110 years jail time.

Will whistleblower scalps found guilty of fraud be charged, fined and jailed? It is highly unlikely. They’ll claim anomalies in data and forecasting is indeed difficult.

In any event if there was a Climate Science watchdog that monitored fraud (not to mention massive conflicts of interest which are mentioned in previous pieces) like the SEC how much fraud would scientists try to get away with? Why not have a body which mandates funding sources to check for potential conflicts of interest? That way dishonest scientists would be restricted in their movements and those with legitimate findings wouldn’t see their work drowned out by the rogue elements,

Interestingly most of the court related activities in the scientific fields have been exposed scientists looking to sue for libel after emails proving the fraud were leaked.

Yet scientists don’t have to worry. The media has little interest in chasing something that might ruin their narrative. Even worse they’ll cite scientists (Australia’s former climate commissioner Tim Flannery comes to mind) who have made countless dud predictions (in many cases the complete opposite has occurred ) and act as though it’s gospel.

Once again climate science is a religion. No wonder it’s got so much protection. Hence the vows of silence in the halls of the scientific church. They’re untouchable. However that by deduction makes me a heretic.

Bureau of Meteorology also in on the junk(et) climate science


Below is a piece from The Australian today on the woeful behaviour at the Bureau of Meteorology. The work of yet another one of these venerable institutions (e.g. NASA, NOAA) which we are told to respect without question. Turns out that last year the BoM spent $7.8mn on travel expenses or just shy of $5,000 per head. No doubt flying on taxpayer coin to exotic locations to fight the cause of global warming. As written yesterday a whistleblower at NASA claimed that climate change junkets are more important than the science. Why wouldn’t you fly around the world promoting baseless fear in order to keep your frequent flyer miles up?

Maurice Newman writes,

“Enough is enough. The Bureau of Meteorology yet again stands charged with fabricating temperature records.

This time, thanks to the diligence of scientist Jennifer Marohasy, the bureau has been caught red-handed regulating temperatures to keep them above a predetermined minimum — at least for two NSW automatic weather stations, one located in Goulburn, the other at Thredbo.

The BOM initially admitted it had set an arbitrary limit of minus 10C for the Goulburn station, but then changed the story to the equipment being “not fit for purpose” — because it got too cold — even though the same instruments are used in the Antarctic. The actual temperature measured was a record July low for Goulburn, at minus 10.4C, so why, if the equipment was faulty, didn’t the bureau leave a blank instead of rounding up to minus 10C?

Allowing the bureau to defend itself, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg called for an internal review.

In 77 pages, it acknowledged that, indeed, Goulburn and Thredbo were governed and, minimum limits were set. This was blamed on a filter being installed into these weather stations 15 and 10 years ago respectively. No limits were imposed on maximum temperatures. Yet implicitly, we are asked to believe that the historical temperature record has not been compromised.

Before filters were installed, Goulburn recorded minus 10.9C in August 1994 and, in that cold winter, Thredbo went down to minus 13.6C and nearby Charlotte Pass to minus 23C on June 29, a record low for Australia. Charlotte Pass weather station was decommissioned in March 2015.

Ironically, the bureau’s newest location, near White Cliffs in NSW, home to some of the nation’s hottest temperatures, last August recorded minus 62.5C, due to a “hardware fault”.

A BOM-friendly technical forum, part of former minister Greg Hunt’s plan to buy time and “kill off” a proposed Abbott government probe, has foreshadowed “the need for a major revision of the dataset”.

Predictably, though, it did not address specific claims by Marohasy and others, and seems satisfied the bureau’s dataset is well maintained. Really? This may fool ministers, but for a sceptical public, time has run out.

British author and journalist Christopher Booker says: “When future generations look back on the global warming scare of the past 30 years, nothing will shock them more than the extent to which the official temperature records — on which the entire (global warming) panic ultimately rested — were systematically ‘adjusted’ to show the Earth as having warmed much more than the actual data justified.” He says this practice has been observed by experts around the world and “raises an ever larger question mark over the entire official surface temperature record”.

He is joined by John Theon, retired chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and responsible for all weather and climate research, who testified before congress that “some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it.”

Take the article NASA published in 1999 showing 1934 was the US’s warmest year. Across the ensuing decade, by cooling the past and warming the present, 1998 jumped five places to become the warmest. Whistleblower John Bates, recently retired principal scientist at US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, described how his agency manipulated data to manufacture a non-existent increase in global temperatures.

Why should Australia be any different? We remember the Climategate emails from despairing programmer Ian Harris: “Getting seriously fed up with the state of the Australian data, so many new stations have been introduced, so many false references”.

Science writer and blogger Joanne Nova has raised scandal after scandal concerning the BOM’s record-keeping.

She refers to historic data being destroyed, and the influence of adjustments on Australia’s warming trend. She reports private auditors advising the bureau of almost a “thousand days where minimum temperatures were higher than the maxes”.

Taxpayers outlaying $1 million a day for reliable temperature data deserve better than this.

When Australia’s bureau transitioned from mercury thermometers to electronic sensors more than 20 years ago, to ensure readings from these devices were comparable with the old thermometers and complied with World Meteorological Organisation guidelines, parallel studies were undertaken at multiple sites.

A key conclusion was that readings from the new electronic sensors needed to be averaged over one to 10 minutes. However, rather than implement practices consistent with their finding, the bureau records one-second extremes (or noise), which can be announced as new record highs.

Inherent inconsistency aside, this calls into question whether Australian data is WMO compliant. Marohasy discovered this as part of her investigation and believes it is more damning than even the imposition of minimum limits, as it affects the recording of temperatures from all 695 automatic stations.

Marohasy is a respected scientist, known for her forensic work. While attempts will be made to dismiss her evidence as an arcane academic skirmish over recording methodology, it is a smoking gun that threatens the integrity of global temperature records.

It affects every Australian. It strikes at the heart of renewable energy policies. Globally, trillions of taxpayer dollars are at stake.

The government has a duty to inform the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, should it have sufficient grounds, that the bureau is not complying with WMO guidelines. Sooner or later, closed eyes must open.

Now, with Marohasy’s evidence adding to the credible findings of other experts, there can be no confidence in any future official assurances. Further delay of a proper independent audit, which includes dissidents, can be interpreted only as a cover-up. One way or another, the truth will out.

Crass but are you really shocked?

If you read the Pravda on the Hudson (NY Times) they are in an uproar over a spoof video of President Trump hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball. It is a pretty crass stunt to be sure but is anyone surprised? They shouldn’t be. Presidential? No. Befitting of the office? No. Exercise in good judgement? Not really. Violence toward women was his main aim?  Hardly.  Playing the mainstream media to his tune? Absolutely, 3,2,1…explode. The problem is that the media will give this lots of airplay and bring in all manner of experts to discuss something that is actually pretty trivial. Given Hillary’s book promotion blaming everyone (even Republican males bullying their wives to vote Trump) this was likely his response to say ‘sore loser’. Doesn’t condone it but I am sure the world will move on.

Nearly ever liberal feed I’ve read deplores his childish antics here and insist he focus on all the other pressing issues at home and abroad – the very same issues they continually claim he is absolutely mentally unfit to deal with. So which is it? So to these same liberals – if he genuinely achieves proper successes on any pressing issue will you congratulate him? No, thought not. Literally playing the man, not the golf ball. It’s this whining that probably ensures he’ll torment them an extra 4 years if they don’t change their tune.

Blowing the whistle on NASA over climate data


Jo Nova has an excellent piece exposing the scams inside NASA with regards to their climate models and allegations of misappropriated taxpayer funds. She notes whistleblower Dr Duane Thresher who worked seven years at NASA GISS “describes a culture of self serving rent-seekers, mismanagement and incompetence. These are the top experts in the climate science field that we are supposed to accept without questioning. Those who say they are working to “save the planet” care more about their junckets than they do about the data or their “best” model…NASA GISS’s most advanced climate model is run from the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). Thresher recounts a story from someone on the inside:“NASA GISS’s climate model — named Model E, an intentional play on the word “muddle” — is called the “jungle” because it is so badly coded.” I know this to be true from my own extensive experience programming it (I tried to fix as much as I could…)…”

Of course I can hear the alarmists cry  that Thresher is a ‘discredited’ scientist as they do for anyone who disagrees,. Much in the spirit of the Harvard piece I put out last week, venerable organizations like NASA (which has put humans into space) carry almost untouchable status. This is the problem. Do we just suck up aything we are told by these organizations or do we need to add an extra layer of skepticism because of the ‘reputation’?

It is truly hard to imagine that the brain’s trust that makes up an organization that can launch rockets and space shuttles can be guilty of such sloppiness. Such whistleblowing will  lead to a congressional testimony which will bring many things to light. It wasn’t long ago that NOAA was subpoenaed after a whistleblower said the group had rushed a report ahead of the Paris climate summit with obviously fiddled data that fit a narrative. NOAA refused to hand over the emails for months on the grounds of privacy  when the head of House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith explained the reality that they worked for the government and had no choice.

Smith noted, “According to Dr. John Bates, the recently retired principal scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, the Karl study was used “to discredit the notion of a global warming hiatus and rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy…I thank Dr. John Bates for courageously stepping forward to tell the truth about NOAA’s senior officials playing fast and loose with the data in order to meet a politically predetermined conclusion. In the summer of 2015, whistleblowers alerted the Committee that the Karl study was rushed to publication before underlying data issues were resolved to help influence public debate about the so-called Clean Power Plan and upcoming Paris climate conference. Since then, the Committee has attempted to obtain information that would shed further light on these allegations, but was obstructed at every turn by the previous administration’s officials. I repeatedly asked, ‘What does NOAA have to hide?’

Once again whenever people try to use the ‘credibility’ argument to sway debate, there is a treasure trove of evidence to show in this case that it is politics not science. With billions if not trillions at stake, such fraud has not resulted in any of these climate scientists being fined, deregistered or jailed for the very things that have happened to people in the financial sector. What is the difference I wonder? Maybe because the government has been in on the act…

Even Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology has been recently exposed for divisive behaviour in temperature measurement. Putting hard floors on cold temperatures with no such restrictions on warm weather. We’re supposed to trust these bodies? More on that tomorrow.

Well as the old adage goes, “there are lies, more lies and then there are statistics”

How well do you know your pronouns, bigot?


How well do you know your gender pronouns? To be honest I was unaware of what they were. I had to look them up. After all laws in some parts of the world will make it a criminal and jailable offense to knowingly call someone by the wrong pronoun. Will the government be posting gender pronoun indoctrination reference sheets to all citizens? Will we have Gender Police roaming the streets like the Saudi religious police who enforce blasphemy laws?  How will governments be able to write to citizens using “Dear Sir/Madam”? Unless they add another page making sure all other variants are included. The above table is but a fraction of the number of pronouns there are.

Google’s banner when searching for ‘gender pronouns’  list – gender neutral, 4chan, they, non, non-binary, agend, personal, respect gender, different, LGBT, table English, neopronouns, inclusive, special snowflake, muh, non conforming, genderque, more than two and so on. Vanderbilt University for instance has wall plaques for staff which denote their preferred ‘pronouns’. At what point did people’s sense of self esteem become so fragile that governments are prepared to fall for it and introduce made up language and make laws to enforce it? Learning the times table was hard enough. Honestly, are people expected to learn Ne, Ve, Ey, Ze, Zie or Xe and all the variations? How psychologically weak must someone be to protest at being incorrectly referred to?

Yet this is the world we are creating. Gender fluid schools, cross dressing, penis tucking and chest binding for primary school students…the list goes on. Boys in Victoria will be allowed to wear uniform dresses to school. The same Victorian government is proposing that medical staff at schools be given the right to dispense drugs such as the contraceptive pill to girls as young as 11 without parental consent. Ottawa has introduced a law – Bill 89 – which gives the state the right to dispossess parents of their children who question their child’s identity.

All the while we are told identity politics is all about ‘inclusiveness.’ How can one have inclusiveness if these minority groups wish to remain openly and proudly exclusive? If we were truly striving for inclusivity then race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference and so on would not be barriers to anything. Why do governments even need to  consider changing public documents? What if you don’t identify as male or female and fly into a country where the customs entry card only lists M or F? Are they right to refuse entry or if they arbitrarily note you as male when you identify as something else? Will you protest at the customs official’s ignorance?

Progressive? Most people probably couldn’t care less what some people identify as. Next time I fly Qantas I am going to identify as an 11yo 4th gender African Wahhabi with dwarfism so I can fly at 50% off and see how far I get. Who are they to deny me? To get what I am on about listen to this interview on this very subject of ‘identity’ and the lunatic aruments made. Anyone who disagrees must by definition be a racist, sexist bigot and prosecuted. Sadly in the real world I have the worst identikit imaginable. I check all the wrong boxes which makes me the suitable target for all of this irrelevant nonsense.

Still to those that must identify with a different pronoun ask yourself – how incomplete is your life to feel that this will some how give you some sense of recognition you were lacking when referred to as he or she? Perhaps I should congratulate you in being able to get authorities to buy into this politically correct rubbish.

100% EVs from 2040? Don’t bet on it



It might look fashionable but don’t fall for all EV cars from 2040

It isn’t a big surprise to see national governments virtue signal over climate abatement. The UK swiftly followed French plans to ban the sale of petrol/diesel cars from 2040. However, let’s get real. Government proactivity on climate change may appear serious but the activities of the auto industry are generally a far better indicator of their lobby power. As a car analyst at the turn of the century, how the excitement of alternatives to internal combustion engines was all the rage. Completely pie in the sky assumptions about adoption rates. In 1999 industry experts said that by 2010 electric vehicles (EV) would be 10% of all units sold. Scroll forward to 2017 and they are near as makes no difference 1% of total vehicle sales.

Volkswagen makes an interesting case study. After being caught red handed cheating diesel emissions regulations (a perfect example of how little VW must believe in man-made global warming) they were in full compliance at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show telling the world of their $80bn investment in EVs out to 2030, 300 new EV models comprising 3 million units in 25 years of which 1.5mn would be sold in China.  3 million cars would be c.30% of VW’s total output today.

We cannot ignore the huge tax revenues governments generate from fuel excise. Fuel duties in the UK are expected to fetch around £35bn in 2017 or c.5% of total tax receipts. In Germany that number is around €40bn, the third largest intake after income tax and GST.

On top of this, massive electric infrastructure will be required in many countries. Not just installing more charging points but meeting higher electricity demand with new power generation to replace aging infrastructure and the push by many governments to install unreliable renewable energy. Governments relying on other countries for back-up power is fraught with risk. Yet it seems countries like the UK aren’t properly prepared to meet the excess demand they are trying to force on the hand of consumers by loading a grid they can’t sensibly ensure can be charged. Battery technology will improve but whether commerciality can be achieved is another question.

We should also think of how EVs, which are being pushed as the backbone of self-driven cars, affect the insurance industry and the auto makers. After-all if a driver puts his/her car into auto-pilot and the safety systems fail to avoid an accident which results in death/injury either of the driver, passenger or pedestrian is the auto maker at fault? This will require legislation to define responsibility. This will also need to be extended to the potential of ‘hacking’ autonomous cars where willful remote action could lead to deaths. Emergency service providers have made it clear that traditionally powered vehicles to function properly.

Cars need to meet customer utility not just be electric for EV’s sake

What governments must also consider with car purchases is utility. Why is it that SUVs remain one of the most popular vehicle classes around? In the US, SUV sales have surged from 16.4% in 1980 to around 36% today. Could it be that the man who likes to sail needs a V8 Toyota Land Cruiser to haul his 7000lb boat. While he might like a Tesla Model S with 22” rims it can’t manage even half of the Toyota’s towing capacity. Could it be that a mother with 3 kids who often takes her parents on trips to the beach needs a minivan? Have they considered the single bachelor who wants a BMW sports car? Or the DINKs couple who want a Range Rover because they love to ski in the winter. In niche sectors, it may not be profitable for car companies to fill those segments with EVs.



 Has the auto industry been properly consulted?

Have the UK & French governments consulted the auto industry? It wouldn’t seem so. Having a zero emissions target is one thing. Why not tell auto makers they need to get to zero emissions but give them complete technological freedom to hit those targets. If the auto makers see necessity as the mother of invention, who are regulators to dictate the technology? If an internal combustion engine can achieve zero emissions does that not meet the goal? There is a very important reason for this.

Talk to an automaker in private and they will admit they are against full EV because it ruins the most fundamental part of their DNA – the drivetrain. When you read all the blurb on automakers’ brochures what is the one area they can milk consumers? Power and performance. Mercedes can sell you a base model C180 for a little bit of profit and absolutely gouge out your eyeballs for the top-end high performance C63 which will vaporize your wallet with the options list. Auto makers don’t want to go full EV for this very reason. EVs will turn cars into the equivalent of an iPhone vs. a Samsung Galaxy. Brand and style with very little differentiation outside of packaging.

A 2014 study conducted by Penton Research produced this telling chart about how they aim to meet government fuel efficiency regulations by 2025.

Fig.2: What have automakers in the US been focusing on to improve economy


As Fig.2 shows, automakers want to lighten materials to boost economy. Electrifying the vehicle ranked third. This also included hybrids. As this was an American survey it isn’t surprising to see the low weight of diesels as a solution.

Companies such as Daikyo Nishikawa (4246) have seen strong growth driven by the shift toward plastic panels which are lighter and cheaper to produce. The Mazda Roadster is full of supplier’s plastic panels for cost effective weight reduction. Daikyo Nishikawa has also managed to cut out the painting process by a technology that allows the paint to be impregnated into the plastic panel with finish quality properties as good if not superior to steel

Fuel economy – which vehicle is burning?

Scroll toward to fuel economy. The Federal Highway Administration looked at average annual fuel consumption. Taking a simple sum of Class 8 trucks, annual sales which comprise around 1.5% of passenger cars, they consume 42% the amount of equivalent fuel. While US haulage distances are larger than those in the EU, the relative gaps to passenger cars is similar. Put simply trucks relative impact is 27x higher than automobiles.



Sensible EV subsidies?

Take California’s new $3bn plan to support EV sales – effectively a deeply Democrat state fritting away tax dollars to subsidize the wealthy. The poor chap who has to drive a 20-yo petrol pick-up truck because he can’t afford a new one is probably paying taxes to subsidize the guy who pays him to mow his lawn to buy that Tesla. It is a serious question.

Have governments considered that consumers are already clearly showing their belief in ‘climate change abatement’ by the cars they buy? When the subsidies were torn from Tesla in HK, sales went to zero while in Danish Tesla registrations fell 94%. Isn’t that evidence enough of how these vehicles are only tax avoidance devices, not the action of deep seated ecologists?

A reminder of the risks of green subsidies in other sectors

So before running for madder green schemes to save the planet perhaps governments should remind themselves of past failures. Moreover, when governments get heavily involved in subsidizing industries it generally results in disaster by creating massive oversupply like we saw in solar and wind industries. Spain perhaps provides the strongest evidence of this. Around 2004 it wanted to get 1GW of solar under its feed in tariff over 4 years. Instead it got 4GW in 1 year meaning its budget exploded 16x and it had €120bn in tax liabilities over the course of the promise. In the end, the government reneged. So much for the assurance of government run programs.

Germany’s failure in bio-fuel legislation last decade

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.

The 2017 Frankfurt (Virtue Signaling) Motor Show

The Frankfurt Motor Show this year was used to introduce a truckload of EVs across all brands to show automakers had caught the enviro bug.

Fig.4: Frankfurt Motor Show 2017 – roll out the EVs


As mentioned earlier, VW said it aims to be 30% EV by 2042. That is undoubtedly a realistic goal when assessing production cost, development, infrastructure roll out and ultimately consumer demand. While the UK and France may have drawn a line in the sand, reality is that Westminster and Paris are at the mercy of the manufacturers and the supply chain to meet the ambitious target.

Our contention is that these targets get peeled back and pushed out. We have seen many delays in the US Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NHTSA began the development of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in 2007.

The standard for passenger cars had stayed at 27.5 mpg from 1990 until 2007. In 2009, the government set a fuel economy standard of 34.1 mpg for cars and light trucks by 2016. In 2012, it set a new target of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Trump is looking to push out the April 2018 deadline to hit 49.7mpg and the 2025 potentially out to 2030.

A study commissioned by the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers estimates the cost of compliance to EPA regulations is around $1,249 per vehicle.

Below we see the evolution of power trains in the US market in the last decade by number of new model introductions. Note that the EV slice includes the Plug-in hybrid EVs (PHEV). Hybrid shares have grown while petrol and diesel have shrunk relative.



The dangers of autonomous driving

So much faith is put in the hands of computers nowadays but the idea of driverless cars is still fraught with danger.  Car & Driver reported;

Researchers at the University of Washington have shown they can get computer vision systems to misidentify road signs using nothing more than stickers made on a home printer. UW computer-security researcher Yoshi Kohno described an attack algorithm that uses printed images stuck on road signs. These images confuse the cameras on which most self-driving vehicles rely. In one example, explained in a document uploaded to the open-source scientific-paper site arXiv last week, small stickers attached to a standard stop sign…using an attack disguised as graffiti, researchers were able to get computer vision systems to misclassify stop signs at a 73.3 percent rate, causing them to be interpreted as Speed Limit 45 signs.”

One step beyond tricking on-board systems as aforementioned, a full hack of a car has far more risky implications. NHTSA launched an investigation when Chrysler cars could be manipulated to hijack the brakes and accelerator. It took five years for Chrysler to fix the full takeover hack and required a 1.4 million vehicle recall.

Which then begs the question of ultimate liability for insurance companies.

Fig. 7: tricking the driverless detection systems

Source:  University of Washington

Insurance payouts versus auto maker negligence

It is not too hard to envisage the scenario where a sophisticated hack of an autonomously driven vehicle causes death or injury. We do not have to look back far to the Bridgestone/ Firestone-Ford Explorer tyre blow-out scandal which ended up in the deaths of over 200 people. Besides the negative brand image associated with the recall and investigation it is quite possible to see insurance companies refuse accident payouts due to the flaws in the auto-pilot systems.

Car companies could end up being on the hook for billions if these vehicles are compromised. While the software in the cars can always improve there is no reason to suggest the hackers get more creative and sophisticated.

Big Brother

While one might think autonomous vehicles are the future, consider the privacy implications. Your car will be remotely controlled. Your data of where you travel, when you travel and what you do will become available.

Do people wish to have such tracking in their lives? Were such data hacked, thieves could use the data to work out when you were out of the house, where you shop, bank and where your kids go to school. Think of how many post to social media where they are going on holiday and what not. Many are already loose with public information to then have applications and systems that monitor your every move.

Even if it sounds like conspiracy theory, this is something few have considered.

Emergency Services are not convinced by EV

What about emergency services vehicles? Have these governments considered the impact of having reliable heat exchangers (from combustion engines) to power lifesaving equipment in ambulances? It is easy to believe politicians have had no such discussions with the people that are most affected. An Australian paramedic made the issue clear,

We have Webasto heaters in our cars in the colder areas. Running off the diesel they can operate 24/7 if needed. If we don’t have them some of our equipment doesn’t work like our tympanic thermometers, the blood glucose reader and then there is the problem of having cold fluids in the car. This is a problem if we are giving these IV because we can make a patient hypothermic if it’s cold. Then there’s just the general environment inside the cab. It needs to be warm in winter.”

What about LCVs? Will light commercial vehicles be exempt? Just watch the auto makers classify their SUVs as LCVs and dodge the rules. The Hummer is a perfect example of this. It was so heavy that it managed to be excluded from the passenger vehicle qualifications on fuel economy. So auto makers did not need to include it in their CAFÉ calculations.

Why is government forcing adoption of EVs?

It stands to reason that to question those with the least idea on the technology being the ones trying to dictate the future. The zero emissions appeal of EVs is an effective virtue signaling device to voters. However if we look at Euro emissions regulations introduced since 1993, one can see the progress made in the last 20 years. Euro 6 started in 2015. For diesel particulate matter, emissions are 97% down on Euro 1 (1993) and NOx down by 95% over the same period, Fig.8.

Fig.8: Diesel emissions cut – Euro 1~6 – 97% lower in 20 years


Source: Delphi

By sheer virtue of the scale of emissions reduction in 20 years for internal combustion engines, why not charge the auto makers to hit a zero emissions target by 2040 in any form they choose provided it is met. All auto makers should be given the power to go full electric of their own volition. Why not allow the spirit of innovation to come to the fore and allow auto makers to defend their brands in ways where they take the risk?

In 1999 I had the same discussion with Beru AG (now Borg Warner), a German diesel glow plug maker. The CEO said that in 20 years the ability to cut emissions by almost 100% would be achievable. Indeed he was correct.

Taking into account life cycle costs of EVs

Unfortunately depending on what a country’s actual electricity generation mix is the charging of EVs can have a larger impact on total emissions.

The IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute was commissioned by the Swedish Transport Administration and the Swedish Energy Agency to investigate lithium-ion batteries climate impact from a life cycle perspective.

The report showed that battery manufacturing leads to high emissions. For every kilowatt hour of storage capacity in the battery generated emissions of 150 to 200 kilos of carbon dioxide already in the factory. Regular EV batteries with 25–30 kWh of capacity will result in 5 metric tonnes CO2, which is equivalent to 50,000 km driving in a regular, fuel-efficient diesel vehicle

Another study by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) showed that depending on the power generation mix, an all EV Nissan Leaf in the US or China was no better than a 2012 Prius. Countries with higher relative nuclear power generation unsurprisingly had lower CO2 emissions outcomes for EVs. By deduction countries with higher shares of coal or gas fired power negated much of the ‘saving’ of an EV relative to gasoline power.

Fig.9: Electricity generation mix impacts on CO2 saving with EVs


Source: ICCT

Electricity Prices & Infrastructure

This is a sticky point. When the UK announced it was following France in the zero gasoline/diesel directive by 2040, the concern of being able to power up to millions of EVs (from the 90,000-odd now) and the impact on the grid rose to the surface.

Some industry pundits have argued the UK will need a range of technologies to manage the projected jump in power consumption by 15% in overall demand and spikes of up to 40% at peak periods. Renewable energy sources (including wind, wave, marine, hydro, biomass and solar) made up 25% of electricity generated in 2015. The UK aims to generate 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 in line with EU guidelines.

Britain is staring at the prospect of capacity issues in the early 2020s as old nuclear reactors are decommissioned and remaining coal-fired plants are phased out by 2025. Hinckley Point C will add around 3.2GWh to the grid. Up to 50 terrawatt hours (TWh) could be needed to charge all the EVs expected by 2040. While some argue that charging EVs overnight alleviates much of this fear the reality is most people charge their iPhones when they need it with little or no thought to others. If you wish to charge your EV and the grid is at risk of collapsing, how will the government regulate this? Will they mandate rationing? Enforce peak power pricing?

The UK electricity network is currently connected to systems in France, the Netherlands and Ireland through cables called interconnectors. The UK uses these to import or export electricity when it is most economical. In 2015, the UK was a net importer from France and the Netherlands with net imports of 13.8 TWh and 8.0 TWh respectively which accounted for 5.8 per cent of electricity supplied in 2015. Total net exports to Ireland amounted to 0.9 TWh.

The growing problem with the push for renewables as a larger part of the mix is the paradox of loading more power consuming elements onto the grid (i.e. EVs) and looking to accommodate it with systems that have a proven inability to provide reliable baseload power. South Australia is a perfect example of this.

By pursuing a 40% renewables energy policy South Australia has suffered multiple blackouts. It has relied on the neighbouring state of Victoria to provide backup baseload power from its Hazelwood coal fired plant. However Victoria has now closed Hazelwood meaning South Australia will be forced to spend around $600mn to install new gas-fired capacity to offset the gap in supply capacity and demand. It will also add a $100mn battery plant to provide the state with 90 seconds of back-up power in the event of a blackout.

South Australia has the world’s most expensive electricity prices, the highest unemployment rate in the country and the slowest growth. The irony is that while the gas generation is being built, diesel generators burning 80,000 litres of diesel per hour will provide the backstop until its operational. Fig.10 shows the sharp rise in Australian electricity prices as more renewables have been added to the grid

Fig,10: Progression and forecast of residential Australian electricity prices

20408.pngSource: Jacobs International

At some point governments will be forced to realise that in order to guarantee a pledge of 100% EV sales from 2040 it will require very sound policy on the generation front to combat the risk of power shortages. Relying on other countries to provide alternative power could prove a fatal flaw in the 2040 deadline. The construction of new energy capacity is never an overnight affair. The location, the energy source, the local neighbours, the size of the output and the people and materials to construct it all play a part. From start to finish, a decade is not an unreasonable time frame yet if countries like France are relied upon to import electricity any policy change on their side can have very damaging side effects.

In short we have governments deliberately loading a grid at the same time it is making it far less reliable. This will have to play a part in a 2040 solution. In any event electricity prices are likely to rise putting further stress on households.

Fig.11: Progression of household UK electricity GBp/KWh (2004-2015)

20409Source: OVO Energy

In the last ten years the real price of electricity in the UK has risen by 63%, This is before EVs enter the electricity grid in earnest.

In any event rising electricity prices drives down the relative economic rationale for EV ownership.

Battery Technology Advances

Of course we cannot rule out advancements in battery technology which by deduction will offset any prices hikes in electricity by greater range. There is high anticipation for Toyota’s solid state battery technology which in theory will speed charges, improve the performance of the per cell power stack and reduce materials. Such advancements would also weigh on the aforementioned electricity grid considerations but the question will still come down to commerciality, the ability to access raw materials and gear the supply chain to meet such demand.

Charging Infrastructure

The roll out of fast chargers is growing. Where to install these ‘charge stands’? Traditional petrol stations will be marginalised to serve a larger proportion of commercial vehicles. That could mean that local gas stands go out of business or require a major overhaul in operations. If charging times take 20-30 minutes, cycle time will be poor.

It should not surprise that the faster the charge time the more expensive the initial outlay costs. The latest high end fast EV chargers can cost over $250,000 per unit.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) EV charging outlets surpassed 2 million in 2016.  Electric cars still outnumber public charging stations by more than six to one, indicating that most drivers rely primarily on private charging stations.

Fig.12: Global EVSE outlets, 2010-16

204010.pngSource: IEA

The IEA stated in its 2017 report that,

“The growth of publicly accessible chargers accompanies the increase in the number of electric cars on the road: the growth rate in the number of publicly accessible chargers in 2016 (72%) was higher, but of similar magnitude, to that of the electric car stock growth in the same year (60%). The higher rate of growth for chargers than electric cars is consistent with the need to deploy chargers as a prerequisite for EV adoption and the nascent nature of most of the electric car markets.…Publicly accessible EVSE growth was primarily driven by the rapid increase in the number of fast chargers, largely attributable to China, where fast chargers grew sevenfold to nearly 90 thousand units.31 Even when China is not considered, the growth rate for publicly accessible fast chargers in 2016 was still greater than publicly available slow chargers…”

Fig.12: EV stock & publicly available EVSE outlets, by country and type of charger, 2016


Source: IEA

By 2020 China aims to deploy 4.3 million private EV charging outlets, 500,000 public chargers for cars and 850 intercity quick-charge stations, among other targets. The EU Directive on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (EC, 2014) required EU member countries to define electric charging point targets for 2020. France has stated its ambition to deploy 7 million charging outlets by 2030.

The IEA makes the claim of using EV cities to drive the adoption. While in theory larger city centres are subject to greater restrictions of access, parking and congestion zones, the idea that a rural town copying the program of a big city would unlikely result in similar adoption rates.

Fig.13: EV city policies that drive EV adoption


Source: IEA

In its conclusion the IEA noted,

In the next 10 to 20 years the electric car market will likely transition from early deployment to mass market adoption. Assessments of country targets, OEM announcements and scenarios on electric car deployment seem to confirm these positive signals; indicating that the electric car stock may range between 9 million and 20 million by 2020 and between 40 million and 70 million by 2025.”

Regardless of the adoption rates, it is worth nothing that governments are setting policy against estimates that are wider than an aircraft hangar door. Therefore investment decisions in the basket of EV related companies is likely to be a risky investment. EV related stocks have done exceptionally well to date but as ever when reality dawns, the downside is a gaping chasm. A look at the history of Ballard Power in Canada is a good yardstick for looking what happens when the wind is taken from a theme’s sails.

Fig.14 – Ballard Power – a history of EV hope that failed to eventuate



EVs are coming. There is no point trying to ignore it. The question remains how rational setting targets such as 2040 are achievable. The auto industry employs around 9% of the workforce (directly and indirectly) so it is a powerful lobby group despite past failures and bail outs. If auto companies tell governments that the supply chain needs longer to catch up we will see this 2040 target slip to 2045 or 2050. Supply chains don’t end at the gate of the end supplier but right down to the capacity and investment in raw materials procurement, the intermediate refiners and packagers. All levels of the supply chain have to be on board.

Nonetheless we must also accept that consumers have vastly different needs and auto makers must make sure they can make products that fill the market segments profitably. Most importantly car makers’ drivetrain DNA is a vital component of their brands. EVs will do serious damage to this defining quality which will turn profitability back toward distribution networks and scale efficiency.

Electricity generation and energy policy will be bigger swing factors in ultimate hard targets on the sales of EVs. While making optically appealing eco-policies look good in the eyes of the electorate, those same people will turn on politicians in time if these schemes end up costing them far more in terms of their daily consumption other than their driving habits. Rolling out new charging stations to meet demand is a moot point given the wide range of predictions of how big or small the market may end up being.

The expansion of unreliable renewable energy sources as a percentage of total generation adds unnecessary risks into the EV equation. We have too many examples of the poor implementation of energy policy which gullibly relies on optimistic assumptions and the goodwill of neighbours we have no control of.

The advent of automated driving has the potential to open a whole new can of worms. The insurance market will feel the urge to blame accidents on faulty technology (not faulty humans) and expect consumers to get their claims covered by the manufacturer.

Finally governments have got to allow industry decide how they achieve emissions regulations. In 20 years Euro 6 has proved that emissions can be cut 97%. What is to say in the next 20 years that auto makers can’t drive that to zero? If car makers want to be a differentiator all they need do is fight the battle of internal combustion with zero emissions. Why are amateurs in technology (government) dictating to the professionals on what consumers may or may not want? Governments, for all the good will in the world must look at their involvement in renewable energy back at the turn of the century to remind themselves how disastrous their policies were in bankrupting so many companies that over invested in promises that were later reneged on.

EVs are here to stay but to this author 2040 is nothing more than an idle promise by which time those politicians proposing it most likely won’t be in office. Await the delays as the lobby groups explain the harsh realities to the law makers.

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