Posts Tagged ‘Air pollution’

Electric vehicles have no impact on emissions

January 22, 2014

If electric vehicles are to succeed they will have to provide the consumer with some real benefits by way of cost or convenience which are more than for feeling good. That in turn depends upon the further development of battery technology and increasing the range of the vehicle on a single charge. The cost of the vehicle and the speed of charging are other key factors.

The supposed environmental benefits are largely illusory since they merely shift the source of power generation (combustion from the internal combustion engine in a vehicle) to a power plant. In the United States this power generation is most likely to be fossil fired (coal or shale gas). A new study shows that even if electric vehicles made up more than 40% of all vehicles, emissions would be largely unchanged. As of 2012 electric vehicles made up about 0.5% of new vehicle sales and about 0.06% (170,000 of 254 million) of all vehicles on the road in the US.

( new study from North Carolina State University indicates that even a sharp increase in the use of electric drive passenger vehicles (EDVs) by 2050 would not significantly reduce emissions of high-profile air pollutants carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxides. … The researchers ran 108 different scenarios in a powerful energy systems model to determine the impact of EDV use on emissions between now and 2050. They found that, even if EDVs made up 42 percent of passenger vehicles in the U.S., there would be little or no reduction in the emission of key air pollutants. …..

The energy systems model also showed that key factors in encouraging use of EDVs are oil price and battery cost. If batteries are cheap and oil is expensive, EDVs become more attractive to consumers.

“How Much Do Electric Drive Vehicles Matter to Future U.S. Emissions?” Published: online January 2014 in Environmental Science & Technology

Abstract Image

Energy System Model

Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles—known collectively as electric drive vehicles (EDVs)—may represent a clean and affordable option to meet growing U.S. light duty vehicle (LDV) demand. The goal of this study is twofold: identify the conditions under which EDVs achieve high LDV market penetration in the U.S. and quantify the associated change in CO2, SO2, and NOX emissions through mid-century. We employ the Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System (TIMES), a bottom-up energy system model, along with a U.S. dataset developed for this analysis. To characterize EDV deployment through 2050, varying assumptions related to crude oil and natural gas prices, a CO2 policy, a federal renewable portfolio standard, and vehicle battery cost were combined to form 108 different scenarios. Across these scenarios, oil prices and battery cost have the biggest effect on EDV deployment. The model results do not demonstrate a clear and consistent trend towards lower system-wide emissions as EDV deployment increases. In addition to the tradeoff between lower tailpipe and higher electric sector emissions associated with plug-in vehicles, the scenarios produce system-wide emissions effects that often mask the effect of EDV deployment.

EPA particulate experiment subjects warned “.. there is the possibility you may die from this…”

October 5, 2012

I am amazed.

I would not have thought it possible that for whatever the ends a government agency could justify such means.

JunkScience carries a report today:

EPA admits to Court: Human subjects ‘may die’ from air pollution experiments

EPA has admitted to a federal court that it asks human guinea pigs to sacrifice their lives for regulatory purposes — and $12 per hour.

EPA has responded to our emergency motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) against its ongoing human experiment (called “CAPTAIN”) involving the air pollutant known as PM2.5.

In the declaration of Martin W. Case, the EPA clinical research studies coordinator for CAPTAIN, Case claims he verbally warns study subjects before the experiment as follows:

… My first approach after being introduced to the subject by the medical station staff is to ask the subject if they have read the consent form. The subjects for CAPTAIN have been given the informed study consent form on a previous visit, and, they are also given the same consent to read again if they have not read the consent the day of the training…

I provide participants with information about fine particles (PM2.s). I say that PM2.s are particles so small that they are able past through your airways and go deep into your lungs, these particles are so small that your usual lining and cilia of your airways are not able to prevent these particles from passing into your lungs, Therefore, if you are a person that for example lives in a large city like Los Angeles or New York, and it’s been a very hot day, and you can see the haze in the air, and you happen to be someone that works outside, and if you have an underlying unknown health condition, or, you may be older in age; the chances are that you could end up in the emergency room later on that night, wondering what’s wrong, possibly having cardiac changes that could lead to a heart attack; there is the possibility you may die from this


China: Cutting power generation to cut emissions makes things worse

November 7, 2010


The Skyline of the City

Guiyang-skyline: Image via Wikipedia


Xinhua reports on a diesel shortage because electricity consumers are forced to use diesel generators as authorities shut down power generation to reach “emissions targets”. Needless to say the emissions from the diesel generators are a lot worse than the forced power shut-downs they replace!

An unprecedented diesel shortage is sweeping through Chinese cities, as numerous enterprises have to resort to diesel fuel to generate electricity to continue operation during periods of forced power outages. Local governments are rushing to switch off electricity as part of their commitment to the central government on energy conservation and emissions reductions.

However, the blackouts have apparently led to the linking effect of the diesel shortage. Long queues of cars and even “Sold-out” signs at gas stations are increasingly common scenes in many cities. Additionally, the market monitoring of the China Chamber of Commerce for the Petroleum Industry has acknowledged that more than 2,000 privately-owned gas stations in southern China had shut down due to their not having diesel fuel to sell.

During the period of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), China sought to reduce energy consumption per GDP unit by 20 percent. In the first four years of the 11th five-year plan, a 15.6 percent reduction (compared to between year 2005 and year 2009) was reached. But energy consumption per unit of GDP increased 0.09 percent in the first half of 2010, year on year. In a hurry to meet their regional targets assigned by the central government, many local governments chose the blackout method for enterprises in the remaining two months. This method quickly spread to many provinces around China.

In Wenzhou city of Zhejiang Province, with China’s most prosperous private economy, power supplies for some enterprises will be cut for two to four days following one day with electricity. “My company’s electricity consumption is about 150,000 kw-hr, but the local government’s allotment is only 60,000 kw-hr.” said the owner of an export-oriented farm products deep-processing company, who only gave his surname, Ye. Just as is being done by many of his peers, Ye had to purchase a diesel generator with 200,000 yuan (about 30,000 U.S. dollars). It will cost him an additional 10,000 yuan (about 1,500 U.S. dollars) to generate electricity, twice the normal cost for electricity.

“The irrational blackout policy by some local governments is contrary to the energy conservation and emissions reduction target as was set by China’s 11th Five-Year Plan,” said Dr.Zhang Jianyu, China Program manager of the U.S. Environmental Defense Fund. Also, more emissions and fuel consumption might be produced by the diesel generators. “The blackout is not a wise choice. What the local governments need to do now is to pay attention to change the mode of economic growth with high efficiency and low energy consumption,” said Zhong Yongsheng, deputy director of the Center for China’s Urban-Rural Development Studies.

Environmentalism gone mad.

Microbes ate the oil and now plants clean up pollution

October 22, 2010

Not only do microbes eat up methane and other oil wastes faster than expected, it now seems that vegetation eats up air pollution to a much greater degree than thought. A new paper in Science finds that oxygenated volatile organic compounds (oVOCs) are taken up by deciduous plants at an unexpectedly fast rate–as much as four times more rapidly than previously thought.

T. Karl, P. Harley, L. Emmons, B. Thornton, A. Guenther, C. Basu, A. Turnipseed, K. Jardine. Efficient Atmospheric Cleansing of Oxidized Organic Trace Gases by VegetationScience, 2010; DOI: 10.1126/science.1192534

From Eurekalert:

“Plants clean our air to a greater extent than we had realized,” says NCAR scientist Thomas Karl, the lead author. “They actively consume certain types of air pollution.”

The research team focused on a class of chemicals known as oxygenated volatile organic compounds (oVOCs), which can have long-term impacts on the environment and human health. “The team has made significant progress in understanding the complex interactions between plants and the atmosphere,” says Anne-Marie Schmoltner of NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences, which funded the research. The compounds form in abundance in the atmosphere from hydrocarbons and other chemicals that are emitted from both natural sources–including plants–and sources related to human activities, including vehicles and construction materials.

The compounds help shape atmospheric chemistry and influence climate.

Eventually, some oVOCs evolve into tiny airborne particles, known as aerosols, that have important effects on both clouds and human health.

By measuring oVOC levels in a number of ecosystems in the United States and other countries, the researchers determined that deciduous plants appear to be taking up the compounds at an unexpectedly fast rate–as much as four times more rapidly than previously thought.

The uptake was especially rapid in dense forests and most evident near the tops of forest canopies, which accounted for as much as 97 percent of the oVOC uptake that was observed. Karl and his colleagues then tackled a follow-up question: How do plants absorb such large quantities of these chemicals?

The scientists moved their research into their laboratories and focused on poplar trees. The species offered a significant advantage in that its genome has been sequenced. The team found that when the study trees were under stress, either because of a physical wound or because of exposure to an irritant such as ozone pollution, they began sharply increasing their uptake of oVOCs. At the same time, changes took place in expression levels of certain genes that indicated heightened metabolic activity in the poplars.

The uptake of oVOCs, the scientists concluded, appeared to be part of a larger metabolic cycle. Plants can produce chemicals to protect themselves from irritants and repel invaders such as insects, much as a human body may increase its production of white blood cells in reaction to an infection.

But these chemicals, if produced in enough quantity, can become toxic to the plant itself.


%d bloggers like this: