Demand Destruction

us losing oil addictionWhile we’re waiting for our brothers and sisters in Lima to come up with a template for agreement in Paris next year, here’s a great story from Bloomberg about the demand destruction for oil.  (See my post, “Houston, You’ve Got a Problem,” for some background.)  If we keep on this trajectory for reducing greenhouse gases, an international treaty will be useful, certainly, but not essential. Continue reading


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ZEV MOU

states for zev mouDon’t you love acronyms?  ZEV MOU means “zero-emission vehicles memorandum of understanding.”  The eight states of California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont today signed an agreement to develop an action plan to collectively require 15% of all new vehicles sold in their states be either electric or hydrogen fuel-cell by 2025.  That should translate, as the rule phases in, to having 3.3 million ZEVs on their roads by that time.  California Governor Jerry Brown said:  “This is not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment.  From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.” Continue reading


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Better Place Has Gone to a Better Place

Bill at Better Place

We pulled over in Jutland for a coffee and a driver change, and lo and behold:  a defunct Better Place station.  I had not seen one of these.  As you may know, Better Place was a very ambitious plan to supply batteries, in a quick and easy swap – spent for fully recharged – which went out of business in May.  Being the cockeyed optimist I am, I take this as a sign of the burgeoning success of electric vehicles because the competition to the Better Place model was simply too much from “conventional” EVs.  (Actually, Tesla offers a battery swap option so there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea.  It’s just that the execution from Better Place was poor.) Continue reading


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Triple-E for Maersk

maersk_triple-e_smart-transportTriple-E stands for efficiency, economy of scale, and environment.  The illustration above shows how, for marine shipping, the first two lead to greater protection for the third.  The Triple-E ship is now being built for the Maersk Line, one of the most prominent shippers in the world with 25,000 people and 600 ships.  The first of 20 vessels, 400 meters long with a capacity for 18,000 containers, is being completed in a shipyard in South Korea and will be delivered this summer. Continue reading


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After Sandy – Smarter Power and Transportation

It seems more and more evident every day, with storms like Sandy upon us, that business as usual is no longer an option.  It’s certain that we have to accelerate our efforts to mitigate the greenhouse gases that are exacerbating, day by day, global climate change.  But we also have to adapt.  The sad reality is that we are seeing the unmistakable signs of a warming world and that the impacts of climate change are here to stay, probably for a hundred years or more.  As no less a personage than the New Yorker’s David Remnick writes this week, we can have No More Magical Thinking. Continue reading


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Lightweighting Vehicles

The demand destruction of oil for transportation, as I wrote recently, is in train.  (See Houston, You’ve Got a Problem.)  One of the key factors in this trend is the electrification of light-duty vehicles.  In order to fully realize this potential, though, it will be necessary for automakers to significantly reduce the weight of their cars and trucks.

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Houston, You’ve Got a Problem

This graphic represents what Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute think is a viable pathway to 0% oil use in the transportation sector.  It is part of the brilliant Reinventing Fire scheme “…for running a 158%-bigger U.S. economy in 2050 but needing no oil, no coal, and no nuclear energy.”  (I use Reinventing Fire as a textbook for my graduate class on clean tech.)

How do we get to zero oil use for transportation by 2050?  Continue reading


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