Ecuadorians have voted to halt oil drilling in an Amazonian national park – GOOD NEWS!

The referendum on Yasuni reserve will benefit a huge range of species, along with several groups of uncontacted tribes of indigenous people. The vote was not close, with 90% of votes counted protection won by around 20%. It will also keep around 726 million barrels of oil in the ground. Given that one barrel is 158 litres, that is 114 billion liters of oil, and as each one emits at least 3 kg of carbon dioxide, this is going to save 350 billion kg of carbon dioxide released into the air. This is a huge win for the environment, but also for the wildlife of the Yasuni reserve.

Europe is heading towards it net zero goal but electric car costs might be a stumbling block

While an increasingly large number of people are switching to electric cars, there is a growing concern that this change is not happening fast enough.

Currently the EU sells 10 times more electric cars than just 6 years ago, which is impressive, so what is the concern.

Might this be the future of motorway rest stops?

For many people, they believe that their next car will be electric, but a large portion of people are awaiting a big crash in prices. This forgets two things, firstly that with electric cars, much more of the cost comes at the beginning, so it may well be that electric cars are always slightly more expensive. One of the things being learnt is that it is not enough to incentivise electric cars, you also have to disincentivise combustion engine cars.

There are places where this is working well, such as central London, which has a congestion charge, but this is not charged on electric cars. It is true that this is going to end soon, but still should give a reduction for those driving electric cars. However, it means that in places like South Kensington, the number of electric cars is shooting up.

There are a variety of help across Europe, with Romania offering over 11,000 to help, or France having a scheme for poorer households to allow them to rent an electric car for only 100 euros a month.

The dramatic rise in electricity prices since the start of the invasion in Ukraine has also not helped, as if there is not cheap electricity at night, the saving are far lower than they used to be. Will Europe hit its targets? I think there is still work to be done, but it is certainly moving rapidly in the right direction. I look forwards to every motorway stop being like the all electric gridserve (look at the fullycharged episode below).

We need many Electric Semi makers, but why are all the others so far behind tesla?

These two trucks look very similar but one will cost you far more than the other.

Below I am including a table (compiled by nextbigfuture), It compares the efficiency of all electric semi lorries that are currently hitting the market. Unfortunately any significant look at the table below can only lead to one conclusion – Tesla is currently way ahead of anyone ehlse

Continue reading “We need many Electric Semi makers, but why are all the others so far behind tesla?”

Electric Green Taxiing System can reduce air carbon emissions by…

Currently, the majority of aircraft use their main engine while moving around on the ground. This can account for as much as 5% of the fuel that they use in their journey.

By running the taxiing on electricity, whether from batteries or a generator, either reduces the fuel burned by as much as 90% or more. This means that there is a saving of around 5% of fuel per flight.

With major airlines, the fuel used on a flight accounts for around 22% of the cost of the flight, which means that this 5% saving of fuel cuts overall costs by around 1%. In the cut-throat world of airlines, a 1% advantage over another airline can quickly become a significant issue. Put differently, it is thought, that each aircraft with an EGTS system installed will save around $250,000 a year. As such even an incredibly expensive EGTS system would quickly pay itself back and then some. It will also make airports far less noisy for much of the time.

Lab grown milk could arrive in shops by 2024 – without the cows or carbon

Milk is an important part of the diet of many people in the west, alongside other dairy products. It has, in recent years been one of the problems: while many people have cut down on eating beef, far fewer has cut down on dairy – but now, if you do not eat beef, you can stop supporting dairy farmers all together.

This is not to say that dairy farmers are bad. Governments need to create different careers and paths for these people to take out of their current work.

Continue reading “Lab grown milk could arrive in shops by 2024 – without the cows or carbon”

The UK has said that pure petrol and diesel cars will be banned from sale – impact? Electric cars are increasingly affordea

Arguments against electric cars continue, from suggestions that the range they have is not high enough, the batteries do not last long enough, they are worse for the environment, they will break down too much or there isn’t enough choice as well as many more.

Would you rather fill up with petrol or electricity?
Continue reading “The UK has said that pure petrol and diesel cars will be banned from sale – impact? Electric cars are increasingly affordea”

Battery powered freight ships

There are a great number of different sectors which need to be tackled if we are to move towards net zero as a world. One of the hardest is the ships that transverse the world oceans, allowing the global economy to run. Is this finally an area which cuts will be possible?

Might electric freight ships start replacing fossil fuel run ships?

Many sectors of the global economy have been fully sorted – or at least solutions exist which will take carbon to zero over time – I will include a quick overview below, but for the rest of the article look below the bullet points:

  • Power- it is (in most of the world) cheaper to scrap a standing coal powerplant and replace it with brand new solar and wind, than to continue to use the coal. While replacing coal with gas does lead to a reduction in emissions, it is not enough, and this too is more expensive to run long-term. Letting go of gas will be harder, as it will require very large batteries to replace gas as the base load – but economics as well as global warming are rapidly changing this too.
  • Agriculture- many of our current methods for agriculture have high emissions, however through a variety of methods, it is predicted that this sector can rapidly move to net zero. From additives in cattle diet (made from seaweed) which vastly reduce methane production) to less fertilizers, and spreading various rocks on the land which will lock carbon into the soil (good for climate change and the farmers yields), as well as electrical equipment, solutions exist, we simply need to use them (they are too expensive currently for parts of the world, but prices are coming down.
  • There are other areas, like fugitive emissions, which need to be dealt with, and industries like cement (currently emitting aound 3%) where new ways of making it can vastly drop its emissions. Also around 2% currently comes from deforestation – this needs to stop and be reversed by trillions of trees being planted worldwide (this must use local trees, both to avoid unintended side effects, and to make sure new forests support local fauna)
  • Transportation accounts for much of the rest, at roughly 30% of human emissions, and 72% of this (around 21% of human emissions) is road transportation. Now, while much infrastructure is needed for electric vehicles to work, electric cars lorries and buses are all incredibly successful. The industry is in its relative infancy compared to combustion engine vehicles, but its incredible simplicity, as well as its instant savings mean that in almost all the world they would already give savings over the lifetime of the vehicle.

Much of what is left is the last 9% or so which is used in transportation. Air transport accounts for around 3% currently, but is a hard place to decarbonize as it is such an energy intensive process, though many companies have passenger jets for journeys are to 500 miles coming in the next decade.

This leaves sea transportation. Much of the worlds freight goes by sea. It is far cheaper (in most instances) to make lots of a product in one location in the world and then ship it to where it is needed. Currently this is highly polluting, but progress is being made here too.

COSCO electric container ship is one of the first to hit the market. Powered by 2 900kw propulsion motors, it reduces carbon emissions by 32 tonnes every 24 hours. Powered by a battery unit (housed in 20-foot containers) which has a capacity of 50mwh or 50000kwh). These containers are easily swappable, which means in places like a river where swapping them out is relatively easy, they are ready to replace all other freight and given the huge savings are likely to relatively quickly.

These ships will be able to run on full power for around 24 hours. Given that container ships tend to travel at around 20 knots (37km per hour or 22 miles per hour) this is a rang of around 500 miles. If the swapping of this battery can be done quickly, the travel along the coast should be able to able to continue relatively quick, particularly if these battery swapping stations can be stationed as near the shipping route as possible.

Now this container ship takes around 700 containers, which suggests to me, that you could put in say 10 container batteries, barely reduce the capacity and allow this same ship to cross the Atlantic and more. Now 700 containers is a small container ships with some carrying 7 times as many. A 5000 container ship takes 1.5 -2 million gallons of oil, 1 gallon weighs about 3.3kg, so we are talking 5000 tonnes at the lower end, that means that even on our smaller shop we are talking 500 tonnes of oil, 10 batteries has to compare favourably.

If well made and competition arrives soon, it is likely that these ships will arrive surprisingly fast, as the advantage to companies using them will give them to great an advantage over competition, requiring extremely rapid adoption.

We are all encouraged to cut our carbon footprint – so is ecotourism out?

There is a great deal of time in the media given over to cutting our carbon footprint. To be clear, this is essential – we need to cut our carbon footprint as much as we possibly can.

My family have recently bought an electric car (second hand) and this has probably reduced our emissions by 2.5 tonnes a year directly (let alone indirectly, which is often far higher – think of the carbon footprint of extracting refining and transporting the petrol from the earth to your car – usually easily doubling the carbon emissions coming out of the tail pipe).

While they cause much pollution, air travel allows support of wilderness like no time before, we must not lose it.

We are currently in talks of having a heat pump installed (I hope that this goes well) and perhaps having the same people install our solar panels and thermal solar panels (those who have been reading this blog for a long time will remember me getting them a long time ago, it has been bizarrely hard to find someone to install at a sensible price).

These moves probably combine to reduce our housing emissions to near zero – we have carbon neutral electricity as well a to reduce our gas use to zero.

So why do I run a website that is intended to simplify wild travel? It is simple! No one has yet found a model which pays locals for the wildlife that lives on the doorstep. Tourism is good at doing this. Now it is true that most wildlife is a significant distance away, which means that air travel is required. However, if as a country, we reduce our housing carbon footprint by 5+ tonnes each, per year (on average the emissions per person is around 5 tonnes per year, so for a family of 4 this is a reduction of about 25%) then a flight, preferably in cattle class and on a modern efficient plane, is not going to greatly increase our carbon footprint.

More important, if everyone in the west stops ecotourism trips, what benefit is there for locals in western Africa to retain their rainforest? A small number of visitors is likely to greatly increase the standard of living of remote communities, as well as giving incentive for thousands of square miles of rainforest to remain standing.

Carbon offset schemes are also a good idea, though much care must be taken in picking what to support (and often doing it directly is better). As this website grows, I hope to set up a scheme that does it properly. You should be looking for projects which will either reduce emissions (new green electricity generation, reforestation- with native crops, that will be left standing, and many more)

The fact of the matter is, that if all of us who are lucky enough to live in the west stop engaging in eco-travel, this removes the incentive for countries around the world to retain their wilderness and wildlife. Worse, ecotourism can give livelihoods in wild places all over the country which if removed, would require entire ecosystems to be cleared. We must be careful, and keep our carbon footprint for this travel low, but feeling smug about not flying will not keep rainforests standing, coral reefs intact, mangroves where they are and many many more

A group of young people are suing Montana for choosing corporations over citizens – what will happen

Increasingly, young people are taking to court to make governments listen. The scientific evidence for climate change has been known by many people for at least 70 years (and suggested far earlier).

We need more action to follow from judgements like this.

It does seem reasonable for children to sue their parents generation, for the costs that their short sightedness will cost.

Alarmingly, the trial comes shortly after the states legislature (republican majority) passed a new rule that the fossil fuel industry wanted, which blocks local government from encouraging renewable energy, and at the same time, increases the cost to challenge the fossil fuel industries.

It is not expected to have a big effect in the Montana state, but over the 2 weeks laid out devastating evidence for both the audience in the house and those outside.

Lawyers for the Montana Attorney General (a republican) tried repeatedly to get the case thrown out over procedural issues.

The state has a 1972 protective constitution which requires officials to maintain a “clean and healthy environment” which is only included in a few other states laws.

Unfortunately the state district judge, has already narrowed the case, as a result if they win, show would not order officials to formulate a new approach to climate change. Instead, she would issue “declaratory Judgement” stating that officials violated the state constitution.

It is thought that if the plaintiffs win, even if there is little direct action as a result, it could cause ripples which might well cause the change needed. The trial ended 2 days ago, and we are just waiting for the ruling.

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