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Edited: Jul 15, 2015, 9:47am Top

I created this topic because it is the #1 reason for global carbon emissions. Here is a 2015 Time Magazine climate change list to back that up: http://time.com/3935248/am-i-hurting-the-planet/

In the August 2015 Consumer Reports magazine, check out the list on page 63, of oil-gulping vehicles, which alone is worth the price for that magazine issue. The biggest surprises on that list for me are the following, with % of vehicles needing at least 1 qt. oil between oil changes in parentheses. Newest model years fare best, and 2010 model years (shown below) fare worst:

Subaru Outback (14), Subaru Legacy (19), Subaru Forester (4), Subaru Impreza (2), Volvo XC60 (6), Volvo XC70 (13).

Bottom line: Save your motor oil purchase receipts to show your car dealer in order to get repairs. If you buy any of the vehicles on that list, also purchase an extended warranty.

Mar 9, 2016, 7:07pm Top

March 2016: Here is an eye-popping chart by the new US competitor to AAA:


Mar 9, 2016, 10:07pm Top

>1 MaureenRoy: car dealer? I'll have to complain to my brother as I took his 30 year old Subaru Impreza off his hands for $1000. It does take a lot of oil. We drive very old cars in New Zealand, I'm sure they're not very efficient. The average age for a car here is 14 years, compared to 11.5 in the U.S.

>2 MaureenRoy: that's cool they do roadside assistance for bicycles.

Apr 4, 2016, 8:14pm Top

As of April 4, 2016, 300,000 people have put down a $1,000.00 deposit on the new Model 3 electric car from Tesla. Tesla stock prices have climbed over $100.00 a share since its introduction! Here are some additional details on the Model 3 from a news blogger:


Edited: Apr 4, 2016, 8:18pm Top

The following account of a US road trip with an electric car adds many crucial details to our understanding of what it's like to drive an electric car:


Oct 30, 2016, 9:47pm Top

I don't drive. Luckily, I live in a city with (not great, but) decent public transit. I do sometimes have to ask friends for help to pick up things like cat litter, though.

Jul 25, 2017, 6:11pm Top

"Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

"As part of a government strategy to improve air quality, Britain is to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 amid fears that rising levels of nitrogen oxide pose a major risk to public health.

"The commitment, which follows a similar pledge in France, is part of the government’s much-anticipated clean air plan, which has been at the heart of a protracted high court legal battle."


Mar 17, 2018, 4:59am Top

Diesel ferries being replaced will remain in service in their final years as back-up (tourist season, emergencies, maintenance), but looks like electric ferries will replace diesel in future. Lots of wind and solar producers in the area:

Ontario Building Fully Electric Ferries for Wolfe and Amherst Islands
Province Fighting Climate Change with New, Clean Ferries
Ministry of Transportation | March 16, 2018 2:00 P.M.

Ontario is building the first fully electric non-cable vessels in Canada with two new ferries to connect the mainland with Amherst Island and Wolfe Island.

...reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 7.4 million kilograms of carbon dioxide per year, the same as taking 1,357 cars off the road, compared to conventional diesel ferries...Over the 60 year lifespan of the ferries, Ontario will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 446 million kilograms of carbon dioxide.


Mar 17, 2018, 11:18am Top

8 contd. Solar sails sound a little tricky--wonder what design they went with in the end.

Solar, wind powered ferries to sail on S.F. Bay
‘Like switching from a gas guzzling SUV to a hybrid car,’ activist says
Miguel Llanos | 5/25/2006

Two (600-passenger) tourist ferries powered in part by the wind and the sun will carry visitors to San Francisco’s Alcatraz island under a contract between the National Park Service and a private company...

...Solar Sailor, an Australian company...operates a similar ferry in Sydney.

...one Solar Sailor concept includes a large, rigid wing covered in solar panels that captures solar and wind power while also allowing sail navigation when conditions are right. In bad weather, the sail folds down flat above the deck like a roof.

...“Large batteries on board the vessels will store electricity generated by the diesel generators and collected by solar panels,” Bluewater said in a statement. “The electricity then powers the electric motors.”

The batteries allow the diesel engines to be turned off at port, which means no smells or emissions at the boarding ramp. The vessels can also be plugged into an onshore power outlet to recharge the batteries.

The diesel generators themselves will burn low-sulfur fuel and will have pollution controls that cut emissions by 70 to 90 percent compared to conventional marine diesels...


Apr 13, 2018, 11:07am Top

World's first electrified public road opens in Sweden
Apr13 2018

...The 2km stretch outside Sweden's Arlanda Airport ...

An electric truck working for the logistics company PostNord will over the next 12 months use the road to stay charged as it shuttles deliveries between Arlanda Airport and its distribution centre 12km away.

The truck has been fitted with a connector underneath its chassis which attaches to an electrified groove in the road, drawing power like a car on a Scaletrix track.

"Everything is 100 percent automatic, based on the connector magnetically sensing the road," Hans Säll, Chief Executive of the eRoadArlanda Consortium, told The Local. "As a driver you drive as usual, the connector goes down onto the track automatically and if you leave the track, it goes up automatically."

..."You can send data through electric cables, so it's no problem to identify the car, and the rail will know if you are allowed to draw electricity or not and it will be able to charge you."

... there's an enormous difference in cost between having cars with big batteries, and cars with small batteries and electric roads."

But he said that setting up a national system would require investment in infrastructure.

...overhead cables developed by the German engineering giant Siemens..."can only handle heavy traffic"

.safety risk is minimal.

"The electricity is about 6cm down in the tracks and the electricity is also connected to the earth, so even if we flood the road with salt water, if you measure the electricity at the surface, it's less than one volt."


May 23, 2018, 3:34am Top

Charts: methods of transport, cycling safety, air pollution, public transport cost, public cycle schemes in Europe's cities.

How green is the transport in Europe’s cities? A story in five charts
Emma Howard | 5/22/2018

Parisians love to walk. Moscow has a serious air pollution problem. And London's public transport is wildly expensive

...When in Rome, drive. When in Paris, walk. When in Copenhagen, cycle

...London is not safe for cyclists

...Moscow has a serious air pollution problem

...London’s public transport is wildly expensive

...Brussels is big on bike sharing (still, just 3% of journeys are by bike)...


Kodukula, Santhosh; Rudolph, Frederic; Jansen, Ulrich; Amon, Eva (2018): 'Living. Moving. Breathing.' Hamburg: Greenpeace Germany
102 p. https://www.greenpeace.de/sites/www.greenpeace.de/files/publications/living_movi...

Nov 27, 2018, 5:28am Top

Collectively, the world's ships emit the same amount of carbon as Germany, and air quality is a local issue in ports. Fascinating to me, at least, the strategies that can help bring down fuel use (BBC audio report below).

The UN's International Maritime Organization has decreed that as of Jan 1, 2020, allowable sulfur content of fuels will decrease from 3.55% (heavy fuel oil, $450-500 per ton(ne?)) to 0.5% (marine distillate, 30-60% more expensive), which will drive fuel efficiency strategies. An existing cargo ship with life span of ~40 years will have fewer options to reduce fuel use than newly constructed ones. (I bet there will be pressure to change Jones Act, which stipulates that ships that serve US ports only must be built in the US.)

Smart Boats That Sail on a Bed of Bubbles (23:00)
BBC World Hacks

What’s being done to clean up the shipping industry and make it less polluting? Nick Holland looks at innovative ideas to make ships burn less fuel.


Dec 6, 2018, 6:38am Top

12, contd.

Maersk pledges to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050
Richard Milne, Nordic Correspondent December 4, 2018

World’s largest container shipping group throws down challenge to industry
Container ships currently use bunker fuel, a residue from crude oil that is cheaper but dirtier than petrol and diesel...


Jan 22, 2019, 10:53am Top

Mea culpa: I remember too many out-of-town environmental meetings where attendees from my town would realize we could have car-pooled with a little forethought...

Record private jet flights into Davos as leaders arrive for climate talk
Rebecca Ratcliffe | Tue 22 Jan 2019

David Attenborough might have urged world leaders at Davos to take urgent action on climate change, but it appears no one was listening. As he spoke, experts predicted up to 1,500 individual private jets will fly to and from airfields serving the Swiss ski resort this week.

Political and business leaders and lobbyists are opting for bigger, more expensive aircrafts, according to analysis by the Air Charter Service, which found the number of private jet flights grew by 11% last year.

“There appears to be a trend towards larger aircraft, with expensive heavy jets the aircraft of choice, with Gulfstream GVs and Global Expresses both being used more than 100 times each last year,” said Andy Christie, private jets director at the ACS.

This is partly due to the long distances travelled, he said, “but also possibly due to business rivals not wanting to be seen to be outdone by one another”. Last year, more than 1,300 aircraft flights were recorded at the conference, the highest number since ACS began recording private jet activity in 2013.

Countries with the highest number of arrivals and departures out of the local airports over the past five years included Germany, France, UK, US, Russia and the United Arab Emirates, according to ACS.

The World Economic Forum’s global risk report, released ahead of this week’s meeting, identified environmental challenges, including the failure to mitigate climate change, as top of the list of dangers facing the world economy...


Feb 4, 2019, 3:56am Top

Air quality on cruise ship deck 'worse than world's most polluted cities', investigation finds
Chloe Farand | 4 July 2017

...Daniel Rieger, of the German environment association NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union), said: “Ships cause not only greenhouse gas emissions, but also sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

"Per day one cruise ship emits as much particulate matter as a million cars. So 30 cruise ships pollute as much as all the cars in the United Kingdom.”

...John Maggs, president of the Clean Shipping Coalition, also told Dispatches: “Most large ships burn heavy fuel oil. It’s a residual product from the refining industry, so after the refiners have produced the petrol and diesel we put in our cars, they’re left with what is essentially a waste product. It’s called residual fuel, or heavy fuel oil.

"From an environmental point of view, it’s bad because of the air pollution caused by the very high sulphur content. The shipping industry, however, has traditionally liked it because it’s much cheaper than other fuels.”...


Feb 16, 2019, 2:52am Top

Swedish shipping to go fossil-free by 2045
Sami Grover | February 14, 2019

This could speed up progress for the industry in general.

From spinning sails to kite-power, there are plenty of ideas out there for reducing the carbon footprint of the shipping industry. Usually, however, they are supplemental power sources, designed to reduce overall emissions, but not eliminate them entirely.

Business Green reports, however, that the Swedish shipping industry has loftier goals: aiming to go 100% fossil fuel-free by 2045. Specifically, the Swedish Shipowners' Association is working with a government initiative called Fossil-Free Sweden to figure out a roadmap for their industry to contribute to overall national goals of 70% emissions cuts for domestic transport by 2030, and net zero by 2045.
If achieved, that would put Sweden ahead of shipping giant Maersk—which is aiming for the same goal by 2050. But it's good to see pressure building from multiple sides, hopefully creating the kind of competition that can move innovation forward even faster than expected. (It's worth noting that this comes hot on the heels of concern that installing scrubbers on existing ships and/or switching to lower sulphur fuels could be counterproductive.)

Now, exactly how the industry achieves its lofty goals remains to be seen, but an opinion piece by two industry leaders suggests they are betting on a mix of electric propulsion, significant efficiency improvements and 'low carbon' biofuels (careful now!) to get them where they need to go...


Feb 19, 2019, 9:59am Top

SeaBubbles shows off its ‘flying’ all-electric boat in Miami
Sarah Perez / 2/17/2019

...This innovative boat design combines technology from nautical industries and aviation and intelligent software to raise the hull of the boat out of the water using foils, which helps it consume less energy by allowing it to travel on rougher waters with reduced drag, while also keeping the passenger cabin relatively comfortable.

When raised, the boat is “flying” above the water, so to speak.

...a way for cities to reduce traffic congestion and help the environment by taking advantage of the area’s waterways to move people around in fast water taxis.

...a normal boat with a normal combustion engine, the fuel price you’re paying is between $70 and $130 per hour. With us, it’s $2,” he says.

The cost savings come from an all-electric design, which means the boat charges at a power station — preferably one that’s solar charged, of course — instead of guzzling gas...


Feb 19, 2019, 11:37am Top

Hydrofoils have been around since the 60's, maybe earlier. Hardly innovative.

Feb 19, 2019, 12:14pm Top

Maybe, but looks like a useful 'green' mode of transportation through canals (and flooded streets?) made possible by computer, electric energy, etc.
(Ontario Ministry of Transportation has contracted for first electric ferry in North America. Expected in 2020. Can't imagine it in sometimes rough and frozen St Lawrence River--SO hoping it's a winner!)

SeaBubbles testing the Fly By Wire control system (2:53)
SeaBubbles | Apr 4, 2018

SeaBubbles testing its new foils technology the Fly By Wire control system, in Geneva.
Congratulations to our technical team!


Feb 19, 2019, 1:06pm Top

>19 margd:

I thought hydrofoils operated at high speed, which would tend to make them unsuitable for canals and flooded streets? They're more open water craft, aren't they?

Feb 19, 2019, 1:42pm Top

Sea Bubbles seem to be operating at moderate speeds in video--computers make that possible?

(I though the bubbles in the name were supercavitation technology, but maybe rather a description of the capsule?)

Apr 8, 2019, 10:03am Top

London introduces strict vehicle emission charges (Al Jazeera)

London motorists driving older, more polluting vehicles must pay a new charge from Monday as part of one of the world's toughest vehicle emissions programmes...

Jun 4, 2019, 7:52pm Top

If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?
Andy Newman | June 3, 2019

In the age of global warming, traveling — by plane, boat or car — is a fraught choice. And yet the world beckons.

The glaciers are melting, the coral reefs are dying, Miami Beach is slowly going under.

Quick, says a voice in your head, go see them before they disappear! You are evil, says another voice. For you are hastening their destruction.

To a lot of people who like to travel, these are morally bewildering times. Something that seemed like pure escape and adventure has become double-edged, harmful, the epitome of selfish consumption. Going someplace far away, we now know, is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change. One seat on a flight from New York to Los Angeles effectively adds months worth of human-generated carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

And yet we fly more and more...


Jul 28, 2019, 4:33pm Top

Uganda's bamboo bikes: 'A sustainable luxury' (BBC)

Video: Meet Kasoma Noordin, from Kampala in Uganda, who makes high-end bicycles with a difference. Rather than using metal or carbon, he makes his frames from a naturally strong and lightweight material that he grows himself: bamboo.

Aug 1, 2019, 4:13am Top

Thunberg certainly lives her convictions. Hopefully, video-conference technology via robots or whatever will one day negate need for personal attendance at such gatherings!

(Mid-August...hope no storms! A friend of my sister's, sailing from Toronto to Caribbean was rescued from sailboat already one foot under the sea. Took weeks/months for him to recover from the fright. )

Greta Thunberg to Cross the Atlantic by Emissions-Free Boat to Attend UN Climate Summits
Andrea Germanos | Jul. 30, 2019

Sixteen-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg will head to the Americas (mid-August), and, keeping in line with her climate commitment not to fly...she will make the voyage by fossil fuel emissions-free boat.

...two-week long trip...UK (to) New York City. Thunberg will attend events including the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York in September and the UN climate summit known as COP25 in Santiago, Chile.

...The boat, the Malizia II, is "a foiling sailboat built in 2015, which is fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity on board the vessel," according to a statement. It will be captained by professional sailors Boris Herrmann and Pierre Casiraghi, who is the grandson of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco...


Aug 1, 2019, 8:08am Top

Scientists reduce friction--at atomic levels at least:

Scientists seek materials that defy friction at the atomic level
Going super-slippery could help cut down on energy loss
Emily Conover | August 1, 2019By

...by scrutinizing atoms’ wily ways, scientists are devising new techniques to cut down on friction, going beyond known slippery surfaces like ice, Teflon and the banana peel of countless comedy gags. Some scientists have found ways to bring friction down to near-zero levels, a property known as superlubricity. Others are studying quantum effects that reduce friction.

...Atomic acrobatics might help turn friction up and down at will, a useful ability since there are times when friction, a force working against the motion of a sliding or rolling object, is helpful. The frictional force of tires on asphalt, for example, lets a car turn without spinning out. But friction also saps the car’s speed, so that more energy is needed to keep the vehicle moving.

...Some materials slide easily over one another, while others require extra oomph to move. That movability is described by a number called the coefficient of friction. The more slippery the pair, the lower the coefficient. The numbers below are estimates; exact values depend on conditions.

Sliding materials Coefficient of friction
Index finger on sandpaper 1
Tires on dry pavement 1
Tires on wet pavement 0.6
Steel on steel 0.6
Tires on icy pavement 0.2
Banana peel on linoleum 0.07
Steel on Teflon 0.04
Steel on ice 0.01

...Gaining the ability to wrangle friction could have real-world consequences. It’s estimated that a third of the energy that goes into powering fossil fuel–guzzling cars is lost to friction, converted into other forms of energy like heat and sound. The same hindrance affects just about every other machine imaginable, so that an estimated one-fifth of the world’s annual energy consumption goes to fighting friction. Reducing those losses would mean “huge savings”...


A. Sumant. “Superlubricity — near zero friction from nanodiamonds.” TEDx. November 30, 2018.

M. Dienwiebel et al. Superlubricity of graphite. Physical Review Letters. Vol. 92, March 26, 2004, p. 126101. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.92.126101.

Y. Song. Robust microscale superlubricity in graphite/hexagonal boron nitride layered heterojunctions. Nature Materials. Vol. 17, July 30, 2018, p. 894. doi: 10.1038/s41563-018-0144-z.

B. Weber et al. Molecular insight into the slipperiness of ice. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. Vol. 9, May 9. 2018, p. 2838. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.8b01188.

Z. B. Fredricks et al. Tuning Nanoscale Friction by Applying Weak Magnetic Fields to Reorient Adsorbed Oxygen Molecules. Condensed Matter. Vol. 4, December 20, 2018, p. 1. doi:10.3390/condmat4010001

S. Kawai et al. Superlubricity of graphene nanoribbons on gold surfaces. Science. Vol. 351, February 26, 2016, p. 957. doi: 10.1126/science.aad3569.

T. Zanca et al. Frictional lubricity enhanced by quantum mechanics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Vol. 115, April 3, 2018, p. 3547. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1801144115.


Edited: Aug 4, 2019, 3:40pm Top

UK Government releases vision for biodiverse railway lineside

The Department for Transport (DfT) has set out a clear strategy for how it expects Network Rail to protect and enhance the UK’s lineside environment...

This ambitious document challenges Network Rail to achieve no net loss in biodiversity across the network by 2024, deliver a net gain in biodiversity by 2040 and produce a vision statement and biodiversity action plan by December 2019.

These targets build on the good practice Network Rail already deploy across the network to ensure vegetation does not delay journeys...

Aug 23, 2019, 5:21am Top

UK rail line becomes first in world to be powered by solar farm (Guardian)

The world’s first solar farm to power a railway line directly is due to plug into the track near Aldershot, paving the way for solar-powered trains.

From Friday, about 100 solar panels at the trackside site will supply renewable electricity to power the signalling and lights on Network Rail’s Wessex route.

The 30kW pilot scheme could pave the way for a larger project capable of directly powering the trains that use this route from next year.

The solar breakthrough comes as Network Rail plans to spend billions of pounds electrifying rail lines to avoid running trains on diesel. This could help reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and costs.

Solar panels are already used to power the operations of train stations, including Blackfriars in central London. But the Aldershot project is the first time a solar array will bypass the electricity grid to plug directly into a railway’s “traction” system...

Aug 23, 2019, 7:27am Top

>28 johnthefireman: Cool! Some day trains could decarbonize much shipment of containers now done by trucks and ships? Looks like ferries are also going electric with Ontario (no coal) taking world's largest in 2020.

World’s largest all-electric ferry completes its maiden trip
Fred Lambert - Aug. 21st 2019

...Ferries are a good place to start electrifying cargo transport on the sea since they cover the same routes again and again. It makes it easy to plan for the range and charging solution of all-electric ferries.

The operators of the first all-electric ferry in Norway, the ‘Ampere’, reported some impressive statistics after operating the ship for over two years...

They claim that the all-electric ferry cuts emissions by 95% and costs by 80%.


Sep 7, 2019, 4:25am Top

Trump is challenging California's right to curb car pollution (Al Jazeera)

White House contests authority of most populous state to regulate auto emissions, but Sacramento may have a legal edge...

Sep 10, 2019, 1:20am Top

UK bus firms vow to buy only ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles from 2025 (Guardian)

Bus operators have pledged to buy only ultra-low or zero-emission vehicles from 2025 as they called on the government to outline a national strategy to encourage more people to use buses...

Edited: Sep 18, 2019, 11:07am Top

KLM replaces plane with high speed train (Railway Gazette)

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is to replace one of its five daily flights between Brussels and Amsterdam Schiphol with reserved seat capacity on a Thalys high speed train service from March 29 2020.

This is intended as the first step in a programme to gradually cut back the number of flights between Brussels and Amsterdam, with passengers using rail to connect with intercontinental flights at Schiphol. This would support the airline’s sustainability initiatives, and enable airport slots to be used for flights to long-haul destinations...

Sep 18, 2019, 11:08am Top

>32 johnthefireman: Dang! How gracious and forward thinking that is.

Sep 19, 2019, 12:35am Top

Trump strips California of power to set auto emission standards (BBC)

The White House has stripped California of its right to set its own vehicle emissions standards and banned other states from setting similar rules.

The waiver allowed the state - America's most populous - to set stricter standards than the federal government.

President Trump says the move will cut car prices and the impact on emissions will be minimal.

But it is likely to spark a legal battle over states' rights.

California has already taken steps to block the administration's efforts.

"We will fight this latest attempt and defend our clean car standards"...

Sep 19, 2019, 11:39am Top

>34 johnthefireman: That headline is misleading. Trump is trying to do that but California will sue and it will be tied up in the courts for a while, possibly until the next president who will reverse course if she isn't Trump.

Sep 21, 2019, 2:48am Top

>35 jjwilson61:


States sue Trump over blocking of California emissions rules (Al Jazeera)

A group of 23 states on Friday sued to block the administration of President Donald Trump from undoing California's authority to set strict car pollution rules...

Oct 14, 2019, 11:45am Top

Electric cars could be just another ecological disaster (Asia Times)

Around the world, consumers have so far been reluctant to embrace electric cars, but a tipping point will come when there are sufficient charging points and drivers realize that a car that runs on fossil fuel has no resale value. And when that happens, whether the electric car is going to save us or destroy us will depend on what type of power we use to charge its batteries...

Oct 31, 2019, 1:02am Top

Could electric roads spark a green transport revolution? (BBC)

Specially adapted trucks in Germany are being tested on electric roads. Power is fed directly to the vehicles from overhead power cables. It's costly - but could cut carbon emissions.

Probably not economically viable on any scale, but an interesting concept.

Edited: Oct 31, 2019, 5:58am Top

Huh--I remember seeing cable buses in downtown Toronto in my youth. Apparently originated in UK and US.

The History of Toronto's Trolley Buses (1922-1993)
James Bow | December 16, 2013

Electric buses (sans cables?) seem to be the next-gen thing these days in many cities, e.g.,

TTC puts first all-electric bus into service on Toronto roads
Gabby Rodrigues | Updated June 12, 2019

(Electric ferries, too--Kingston/Wolfe Island, Ontario will soon have the largest, though that's a record that won't long stand, I bet!)

Oct 31, 2019, 6:03am Top

>39 margd:

Yes, trolley buses were widespread in London in my youth, and as you say they still exist in Toronto and probaby one or two other places. Wiring routes in a city where all the trolley buses on a particular route belong to the same company, though, is on a rather different scale than wiring long distance motorways. But who knows, it might happen.

Nov 8, 2019, 12:16am Top

A negative development: Qatar Airways operates 9-minute flights between Maastricht and Liège (The Brussels Times)

They're operating a 9-minute cargo flight on a route that takes only 30 minutes by train. As one Liege city councillor says, "This is an ecological aberration”.

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 11:00am Top

>41 johnthefireman: Takeoffs and ascension burn the most fuel, so 9-minute flights must be the worst!

>39 margd: BC and Washington State are buying electric ferries that look MUCH bigger than Wolfe Islander IV!

"The Washington State Department of Transportation says the huge Seattle ferries together burn through 4.7 Million gallons of diesel each year: almost 18 Million litres. That is just over a quarter of the whole system’s 18 Million gallon / 68 Million litre annual burn."

Until shore charging infrastructure is in place, west coast ferries will continue to burn fuel, sounds like.

Also, unless just too decrepit, fuel-burning ferries will no doubt be sold to other uses. The fuel-burning Wolfe Islander III will serve as backup during busy summers and in emergencies--it has 15-20 years left in its lifespan I think?


Nov 9, 2019, 11:56pm Top

How airships could return to our crowded skies (BBC)

Hybrid airships already produce a fraction of the pollution of a conventional aircraft. Now HAV has been given over £1m ($1.3m) by the UK government and industry to reduce it to zero by developing an electric propulsion system for the massive aircraft...

Edited: Nov 11, 2019, 3:51am Top

Climate change: Speed limits for ships can have 'massive' benefits (BBC)

Cutting the speed of ships has huge benefits for humans, nature and the climate, according to a new report. A 20% reduction would cut greenhouse gases but also curb pollutants that damage human health such as black carbon and nitrogen oxides. This speed limit would cut underwater noise by 66% and reduce the chances of whale collisions by 78%...

And British Airways and other airlines are to "review" a practice which creates excess CO2 to save a few dollars...

BA to review 'fuel tankering' after Panorama revelations (Guardian)

Carrying excess fuel saves airlines on fuel bills but has adverse environmental impact

Edited: Nov 14, 2019, 7:26am Top

Growing demand for SUVs 'could negate electric car benefits' (Guardian)

The world’s thirst for oil will continue to grow over the next two decades, with climate-damaging emissions climbing until at least 2040, the global energy watchdog has warned, pointing the finger at the growing appetite for gas-guzzling cars.

Growing demand for SUVs in the US, China, Europe and elsewhere could negate all the environmental benefits of the increased use of electric cars, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says. Because of their size, SUVs are harder to electrify than smaller vehicles...

I have to confess I drive a large 4WD diesel, but I hesitate to call my 20-year old Land Rover an "SUV". Mine isn't a Chelsea Tractor (a UK soubriquet for the large SUVs which are used only to pick up the kids from posh private schools in an exclusive part of London where the chance of going off-road is roughly similar to that of a snowball in hell), it's a working vehicle which we need as we have to negotiate a rough and frequently muddy 25 km dirt road to get to the nearest tarmac road. There are now electrification kits available for Landies, used on some tourist safari vehicles, but at the moment the cost looks to be in the region of USD 30,000, the range is only about 60 km or so between recharges, and since I am off grid I would have to invest in a lot more solar panels and batteries in order to be able to charge it. Not an option at the moment. Maybe prices will come down and technology will improve.

Dec 11, 2019, 5:22am Top

World's first fully electric commercial aircraft takes flight in Canada (Guardian)

The world’s first fully electric commercial aircraft has taken its inaugural test flight, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and flying for 15 minutes...

The e-plane – a 62-year-old, six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver seaplane retrofitted with a 750hp electric motor – was piloted by Greg McDougall, founder and chief executive of Harbour Air. “For me that flight was just like flying a Beaver, but it was a Beaver on electric steroids. I actually had to back off on the power,” he said...

Edited: Dec 14, 2019, 4:43am Top

A Major but Little-Known Supporter of Climate Denial: Freight Railroads (The Atlantic)

In the fight against climate change, the nation’s freight railroads have painted themselves as heroes. Rail is the “the most environmentally friendly way” to move cargo over land, says the Association of American Railroads, the industry’s trade group. The industry’s four biggest companies agree: “Railroads are essential to moving {climate} objectives forward,” says CSX Transportation, the largest railroad east of the Mississippi.

Yet for almost 30 years, the biggest players in the freight-rail industry have waged a campaign to discredit climate science and oppose almost any federal climate policy, reveals new research analyzed by The Atlantic.

The four largest American freight railroads—BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific, and CSX—have sat at the center of the climate-denial movement nearly since it began, documents and studies show. These four companies have joined or funded groups that attacked individual scientists, cast doubt on scientific consensus, and rejected reports from major scientific institutions, including the United Nations–led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Their effort has cost at least tens of millions of dollars and outlasted individual leaders and coalitions...

Jan 3, 11:54am Top

Throwing Our Car Culture Under the Bus | Dan Hendry | TEDxOttawa (11:45)
Jan 2, 2020

Dan Hendry has a simple but powerful model to transform public transportation and it starts with training youth. On-bus orientation and free passes has increased high school ridership from 28,000 to close to 600,000 annually in Kingston, Ontario. The underlying philosophy in the development of this project has been: with encouragement, mastery of transit tools, true life experience and a bus pass in hand students will gain independence and confidence. This confidence in themselves and their experience will facilitate students to use the bus now locally, and in the future, anywhere their lives might take them. Follow Dan on Twitter @SustainableDan Dan strives toward promoting sustainable initiatives for the Limestone District School Board, and is the manager of community based learning & innovation at St. Lawrence College. His concern for the environment is what drives him to take initiative in promoting sustainable solutions within the Kingston community. He continues to engage in initiatives that promote positive sustainable change throughout the Kingston community. His combined interest in sustainability, innovation, entrepreneurship, student mentorship, and community have been well integrated into his personal, academic, and professional experiences. Dan is continuously seeking new opportunities to connect with like-minded professionals who engage in sustainable & innovative initiatives within the community. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx


Jan 14, 5:17am Top

Why you shouldn't feel too guilty about flying (Business Insider)

But I also think the debate around flying -- particularly the Swedish notion of flygskam, or flight shame -- reflects a larger problem in the way we talk about climate change.

It's a conversation that is heavily skewed toward individual behavior and personal choice -- how much I fly, what kind of car you drive, whether we've installed efficient light bulbs. And that obscures a much bigger, and more important, picture.

While we fret over our own actions -- and each other's -- we are failing to ponder much more consequential questions about how the systems that shape our lives have led us to this point of crisis. Questions about corporate malfeasance, the power of big money and decades of political failure.

The finding that just 100 companies -- including vast oil and gas concerns -- are responsible for 71% of all greenhouse gas emissions since 1988 has provided a framework for a different way of thinking about this problem.

This approach, rather than blaming individuals for living in the world as it is, places responsibility on big fossil fuel companies that have known for decades what their products were doing to the climate but chose to propagate doubt about the overwhelming scientific evidence instead of working to develop cleaner alternatives.

It also places it on the politicians who have too often done their bidding, failing to use their power to demand reductions in carbon emissions.

"The big polluters' masterstroke was to blame the climate crisis on you and me"...

Interesting argument (by "an environmental journalist, and I care tremendously about the climate"). While it doesn't remove the need for individuals to take their own responsibility for climate change, it's an interesting thought that the big corporations have done a first class PR job of shifting all the focus to individual actions while themselves continuing to produce 71% of the greenhouse gas emissions.

Jan 14, 2:10pm Top

Airless tires

Bridgestone Airless Tires Are Coming to a Semi-Truck Near You—But First, Bikes

The company's airless tires are composed of three pieces—the wheel, the "web," and the tread.

The company has developed an airless truck tire rated to support 5,000 pounds at speeds of up to 75 mph without overheating. (A comparable pneumatic tire would need to be inflated to 120 psi for the same duty cycle.) Apparently, the time saved by fleet managers no longer needing to check and maintain tire pressures—as well as spent repairing punctures and blowouts on the road—is significant.

Kimpel also told us that this is a sustainability play for Bridgestone, given that unlike pneumatic tires, the rubber tread can be replaced as it wears without worrying about whether it's airtight. They don't know yet about the service life of the wheel and web, though they say they're looking into how the components can be reused to maximize sustainability. Bridgestone has been eyeing airless tires for years, and it isn't the only tire manufacturer looking at the tech—Michelin has been toying with the idea, too.

Feb 11, 11:45pm Top

Is this the start of an aviation revolution? (BBC)

As air journeys go, it was just a short hop into the early morning sky before the de Havilland seaplane splashed back down on the Fraser River in Richmond, British Columbia. Four minutes earlier it had taken off from the same patch of water. But despite its brief duration, the flight may have marked the start of an aviation revolution.

Those keen of hearing at the riverside on that cold December morning might have been able to pick up something different amid the rumble of the propellers and whoosh of water as the six-passenger de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver took off and landed. What was missing was the throaty growl of the aircraft’s nine-cylinder radial engine.

In its place was an all-electric propulsion engine...

Edited: Feb 14, 9:40am Top

Climate change means longer take-offs and fewer passengers per aeroplane – new study (The Conversation)

As the local climates at airports around the world have changed in the past few decades, the conditions that pilots have relied on in order to take off safely have changed too. Our new research suggests that higher temperatures and weaker winds are making take-off more difficult. In the long run, this means that airlines are delivering fewer passengers and cargo for the same amount of fuel...

climate change isn’t just about temperature – winds are slowing down and changing direction around the world too. This is a problem for airport runways that were built many years ago to align with the prevailing winds at the time.

Research has predicted that take-off distances will get longer as the climate warms. This is because higher temperatures reduce air density, which the wings and engines need to get airborne. With reduced headwinds, aeroplanes also need to generate more groundspeed just to get into the air. Once they’re up there, they’re subject to in-flight turbulence, which is getting worse due to climate change increasing the energy in jet stream winds...

It's close on 25 years since I was involved in running humanitarian airlifts in Sudan, but I seem to recall that a C-130 taking off in the relative cool of dawn could carry 19 tons of food aid to drop on people's heads, while the same aircraft taking off in the heat of the afternoon (with the temperature often in the forties C) could only carry 12 tons. A big difference.

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