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The Shocking Truth: How Far We Are From Meeting Our Paris Agreement CO2 Reductions

Buckle-up everyone, because I’m about to destroy your perceptions about how far we are from meeting our Paris Agreement COP21 CO2 reduction commitments. Stand by to be amazed!

You might think that we’re doing well in regards to our clean air commitments, after all, there are more electric cars (EV’s) replacing internal combustion engine cars (ICE) and coal power plants in many countries are being shuttered and replaced with natural gas-fired power generation (much, much, cleaner!) and that renewable energy (RE) represents almost all of the new power plants built over the past 5-years. (True, by the way)

Not bad. But far from good, as you’ll soon see.

So, let’s take a look at how far we are from meeting our 2015 Paris Agreement COP21 clean air goals. Remember, I said to ‘Buckle-up’!


What’s it Going to Take?

The short answer, of course, is more than you’ve got, more than your city has got, more than your country has got, and (so far!) more than our world has got. For example…

Let’s say that global aviation (all aviation, all the time — whether commercial airlines or private aircraft, helicopters, drones, etc.) represent about 2.1% of global CO2 emissions (even the airlines agree with this metric) and that starting tomorrow, all airlines and private aircraft in the world would suddenly stop flying. Forever.

Would THAT be enough for us to meet our COP 21 carbon emission standards?

No it would not.

OK, so, that wouldn’t do it, so let’s add all global shipping in the world (all ships at sea and on lakes that deliver cargo to various ports around the world) which combined add about 2.2% of the annual global carbon dioxide additions to our atmosphere. (Nobody disputes this number either)

Would THAT be enough for us to meet our COP 21 carbon emission standards?

No it would not.

Wait a minute. If we ended all annual global aviation and all annual global shipping tomorrow and forever! — doesn’t that represent a total of 4.3% of all annual global CO2 emissions?

Why, yes it does.

But even that won’t allow us to meet our COP21 CO2 commitments? Shouldn’t that amount of CO2 reduction be enough to meet those targets?

Nope. Not even close.

No, the scale of the global warming problem is much worse than we are able to correct via a simple 4.3% reduction in the annual global CO2 output.


I Need to Get to The End of This! What’s it Going to Take to Meet Our COP21 Targets?

Let’s get a look at some other, larger numbers.

Global transportation (all kinds of transportation, everywhere, on land, sea, and in the air) account for 29% of all global CO2 emissions. What if we cut all of it, beginning tomorrow and forswear all kinds of motorized vehicles forever; Would that do it?

Yes, it would.

But, we’d be forced to give up all cars, trucks, trains, ships, aircraft of all kinds, and any other kind of motorized vehicle, and we’d need to shop locally and travel on foot, bicycle or horseback. Forever.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.

You got it!

So, primary power production (creating electricity from a combination of hydroelectric dams, thermal power plants that are coal, oil, or natural gas-fired, and nuclear power plants) that is consumed by residential users account for about 30% of annual global CO2 emissions.

Ready to cut the cord and live without electricity forever?

Probably not.

But, just for the sake of argument; If every residential user of electricity on Earth stopped using electricity tomorrow, would we meet our COP21 clean air commitments?

Yes, we would.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.

Righto!

Industry (all industry, including all agriculture, everywhere on the Earth) create about 41% of annual global CO2 emissions — that’s everything from building ships, cars, aircraft, military equipment, paint, oil, diesel fuel and petrol production, beauty products, furniture, carpets, clothing, tires, shopping carts, all kinds of food and drink packaging, all food production, and farmers burning their fields to clear their fields for the next years’ crop.

Ready to give up on all that?

I didn’t think so.

But, just for the sake of argument; If every company and farm stopped producing tomorrow, would we meet our COP21 clean air commitments?

Yes, we would.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.


What If We Shaved a Few Percentage Points From Each of Those CO2 Producers?

Would that work?

Maybe. But it would depend upon our level of commitment. It depends if we care about future generations of humans, of animals, and of the plant life on this planet enough to stick with it. But it wouldn’t be easy. In fact, life on Earth would change dramatically, in ways we can’t begin to imagine.

OK, we can’t do that. Give me another option.

I can’t, because there aren’t any.

It looks like we’re all out of options.


Throw Me A Bone, Here!

OK, there’s one chance in Hell (IMHO) for us to avoid a future global rapid warming scenario where the planet’s air temperature would become too hot to allow life to continue on the surface of our world.

And that is?

The BMW i3.

What?

The BMW i3 is a smallish SUV crossover that runs on battery power — not a large battery — that has a tiny one-cylinder onboard petrol engine to charge the battery when the vehicle is underway. The BMW i3 always travels on battery power (the petrol engine isn’t connected to the driveline, it exists only to keep the battery charged) and it has an onboard five-gallon petrol tank.

All of which means that the i3 takes you everywhere you want to go on battery power, and if the battery gets low, the tiny petrol engine automatically starts up to recharge the battery. You wouldn’t even notice it unless I told you it was on and charging the battery pack. It can even charge the battery when you park the car while you’re shopping if you choose that option setting via the onboard software.

How many cars and light trucks would need to be powered by such a system in order to meet our COP21 Paris Agreement clean air targets?

All new cars and light trucks would need to be powered by such a system for the world to meet its CO2 commitments, and we’d need to begin no later than 2022.

Could it be done?

Yes, of course.

Some larger trucks might need a tiny two-cylinder diesel engine to charge up their batteries (much larger batteries than the i3 uses) but that upgrade would prevent gazillions of gallons of diesel fuel being added to the Earth’s atmosphere annually.

The essence of this approach means that for millions of drivers, they’ll buy about five-gallons of petrol per month — instead of buying five-gallons of petrol per day for the average driver.

And when billions of people start using five gallons of petrol per month instead of five-gallons per day, that’s when annual global CO2 emissions will fall by approximately 14% — which is enough (barely) to meet our COP21 clean air commitments.

See the scale of the problem now?


Want to See the BMW i3 — and it’s Brother, the Mighty BMW i8 Supercar that Employs a Slightly Different Propulsion System?

Keep in mind, that in every way, the only difference between the BMW i3 and normal cars is the propulsion system. And similar applies to the BMW i8 supercar — although in that car, the system is geared to blazing acceleration and high speed performance.

Here are a couple of pictures of the future for you…

BMW i3 with range extender option

BMW i3 electric vehicle (EV) with one-cylinder petrol engine range extender option


BMW i8 Hybrid supercar

BMW i8 electric vehicle (EV Hybrid) supercar


Written by John Brian Shannon

Royal Mail takes delivery of electric trucks

by John Brian Shannon

The Royal Mail is testing electric delivery vehicles to replace their 49,000 vehicle fleet with an eye towards lowering annual maintenance and fuel bills, and to help improve air quality in UK cities.

Royal Mail electric trucks made by Arrival
Ranking 1000+ on the cuteness scale, these 3.5 tonne Royal Mail electric delivery trucks made by Arrival have a 100-mile range and feature zero emissions and no noise. Image courtesy of Royal Mail.

Royal Mail is testing-out a range of electric delivery vehicles to complement and eventually replace their 49,000 vehicle fleet. The smallest of these vans is pictured above with three (of the one-hundred on order) already delivering packages from the Mount Pleasant Mail Centre in London.

The new trucks come in three different payload ratings and the larger trucks are scheduled to begin operations later this year.

Royal Mail 6-tonne van presently undergoing trials in London
Arrival’s 6-tonne electric van at the Banbury, Oxfordshire assembly plant which is presently undergoing trials in London. Image courtesy of Royal Mail.

Three 3.5 tonne electric trucks, three 6 tonne, and three 7.5 tonne electric trucks will be tested in 2017.

“Royal Mail is delighted to be collaborating with Arrival and pioneering the adoption of large electric commercial vehicles. We are pleased to be the first fleet operator to take delivery of and trial these new larger payload vehicles which will complement the 100 electric vans we recently ordered. We will be putting them through their paces over the next several months to see how they cope with the mail collection demands from our larger sites.”

“Royal Mail is trialling a variety of vehicles to see which work best for us and are keen to share our experience with other fleet operators who may be considering introducing electric vehicles. We have trialled electric trucks before but not of this type of design and look forward to see what additional benefits they can bring to our existing fleet of around 49,000 vehicles.” — Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet’s managing director

In congested and heavily polluted cities like London, switching from loud and smelly diesel-engined trucks to electric trucks can contribute to better air quality, as most of the fine particulate and soot found in city air is caused by diesel vehicle emissions.

“We are thrilled to partner with Royal Mail using our electric vehicles. Cities like London will benefit hugely from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise. Most importantly we are priced the same as diesel trucks removing the main barrier to go electric.” — Denis Sverdlov, CEO of Arrival

Formerly known as Charge Automotive, Arrival’s new 110,000 sq ft factory is located in Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Arrival says the trucks are built using, “revolutionary ultra-lightweight composite materials that significantly reduce the weight of the vehicle and by combining this technology with Arrival’s custom built hardware, including power electronics and motors, the cost of operating has been reduced by more than 50%.”

The company also says it’s pursuing autonomous driving technology and that the new trucks are ‘autonomous-ready’.


This follows an announcement by the Royal Mail in July that they’ve also purchased 100 Partner electric minivans (made by Peugeot) for use on regular delivery rounds.

Peugeot Partner electric minivan delivers the Royal Mail.
Peugeot Partner electric minivan delivers the mail. Image courtesy of the Royal Mail.

But what’s the real story here?

The real story is that 49,000 Royal Mail vehicles are going to need replacement within the next ten years. And not only the mail service, but hundreds of thousands of ambulances, courier company vehicles and private companies that haul their own freight will need replacement vehicles within ten years — and all of them could be built at the Arrival plant in Oxfordshire.

To say nothing of the number of delivery vehicles that will need replacement within ten years in every Commonwealth nation and throughout the rest of the world.

As much as I’m a fan of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van (and they are a great vehicle by any standard) these new Arrival vans come without a clattering and smelly diesel engine. And in today’s congested and polluted cities, that’s everything.

If Arrival plays its hand properly, it will become the Apple or TESLA success story of the decade.