What Happens Now After The IPCC Report?

There’s going to be more news coverage on climate. There will be far less tolerance of denialism and more pressure on governments to act. But will anything change quickly? Probably not.

I think governments like ours in the U.K. will maybe do something positive. Some small gesture to shut us environmentalists up, or attempt to. But they will not change tack and immediately shut down coal plants, stop pushing fracking, scrap nuclear power station plans and start building onshore wind and battery storage.

They won’t acknowledge the climate crisis as a crisis and act accordingly. The only way that could happen would be if everyone gets together to put them under pressure. But that hasn’t been the case so far and there aren’t many signs of that changing quickly enough to make a big enough impact.

I talk to quite a few people at work about climate, and Brexit, and US politics etc. They’re all left leaning people around my age or less. And only one of them voted in the EU referendum or prior general elections. They complain about how Brexit will likely screw everything up, make things more expensive, damage our environment even more, and have no real positive impact at all. But they didn’t make their opinion count at the polling station.

It’s incredibly frustrating to know how different the result could have been. I don’t believe for a second that there are any leave voters that didn’t vote. But remain voters on the other hand. We are talking about a huge number that didn’t turn up for Britain.

When right wingers talk about the will of the people, they don’t mention this. They don’t mention the fact that the electorate is not a static thing. The people who will vote in a second referendum are not the same as the people who voted in 2016.

But going back to climate change. I think that the net is closing in on the deniers. The corrupt governments of the world cannot continue to run amok in the way they have done. Every year, every month, every day even, the world is going more progressive. And their days in power are numbered. It might not seem like it with the Kavanaugh travesty, the horrific front runner in Brazil’s election etc. But we are getting there.

Now that we have a very clear idea of what the state of play is, and what needs to be done, thanks to the IPCC report. It makes it much easier to hold governments to account. So every year, we’ll know exactly what has been done and who’s failing to address the crisis. The scientists can single out bad governments.

The issue is that we’re extremely short on time. By the time the next one of these reports comes out, what will it say? Get off your fucking asses and do something right now? That seems honestly not too far from reality. Such is the madness of the plight we’re in. You see these reports, and you get energised. You go outside and see everyone just driving around in their big SUVs, and you’re perplexed. Have these people seen the same report as me?

We just have to be patient, and wait for the next, even more dire warning. Because people truly do not get it. STILL. THEY DO NOT COMPREHEND THIS CRISIS.

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The Most Progressive Motorcycle Manufacturer in 2018 is….. Harley-Davidson?

This can’t be right. Harley-Davidson, that company that makes huge, old fashioned, rumbly, V-Twin cruisers. They’re leading the charge into electric motorcycles. I never thought I would be saying that.

They are reinventing themselves at pace into a company fit for the future with plans for multiple electric bikes. A powerful naked bike, urban runabouts, even an ebike. I would like to know of anyone who predicted this.

The biggest aspect to this, is the fact that they’re blowing Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and the rest out of the water. This has got to be hugely embarrassing for all of the major manufacturers. Beaten to electric by the company everyone expected to be consigned to the history books because of the rise of electric, not embracing it.

Even BMW and Piaggio, who are embracing the change more than the others, haven’t done anything for a long time, and keep delaying their debut EV respectively.

When I was a kid, I was drawn to Harley-Davidson. Then over time I lost interest as I got more and more into technology and modern designs. But now it’s great to see the transformation they’re on the path towards, and I’m fully back onboard as a fan of the company. I just hope they can convince their customers to make the switch, while simultaneously attracting a whole new audience.

I really hope it pays off for them, because it would have been so easy for them to bury their heads in the sand and do nothing. But they came out swinging, fighting for a better future for the company.

Motoring journalists have been brainwashed to misreport on EVs

A trend I’ve been noticing recently is that motoring journalists, or people who have been involved in the motor industry for a significant time, don’t really understand EVs fully even if they like them and want to encourage their take-up.

Nico Rosberg, Jason Fenske (of Engineering Explained), Tiff Needell, Countless other motoring journalists and many more besides. These people are EV curious or already big fans, but because they’ve been so entrenched in the motor industry, they don’t really get EVs and what makes them different. They compare charging with fuel stations. They talk about range in a way that suggests everyday use means taking long road trips all the time, and that EVs could only possibly work for city driving. Which to me is ridiculous. I would never want to drive in a city if I could avoid it.

In some cases, they even talk about well-to-wheel emissions and compare EVs running purely on coal to just the tailpipe emissions of gasoline cars. It’s totally unacceptable and just wrong.This misinformation spreads like wildfire. People won’t be aware of how easy it is to live with an EV and charge at home, or charge away from home on all different types of chargers to suit different situations. They won’t believe that EVs are cleaner or they’ll think that they can afford to wait until solid state batteries because lithium ion is supposedly so bad for the environment.

If people who like EVs are inadvertently misrepresenting them, then that’s the least of our problems. We’re facing another year or two of having to fight off a toxic cocktail of misinformation and flat-out lies.

On the plus side, this situation will naturally improve over time regardless. So we can look forward to the day where we no longer get presented with false information by people who’ve just read something anti-EV on Facebook or some tabloid not worth the paper it’s printed on.

SUVs / Crossovers: Are they actually better at anything?

With this post, I’m not talking about real 4×4 off-roaders that have an actual purpose. I’m talking about the bigger cars that have a higher ride height, are often FWD and don’t have any real off road capability to speak of.

These cars cost more to buy, use more fuel and handle worse than an equivalent hatchback or estate. They are likely to cost more to insure, take up more space on the road in many cases and generally are taking the car industry in the opposite direction to where we should be going in order to tackle all the huge problems we currently face.

The benefits people give for SUVs include a higher seating position for more comfort, a commanding view of the road, inherent safety in a larger vehicle, and apparently they are more stylish, although that is extremely subjective. They also hold their value better than the equivalent hatch. However, by the time you sell it, you’ve been spending significantly more money on fuel than you would otherwise have been, and that will have cut into the resale value advantage quite significantly.

The comfort argument I’m not an expert in since I’ve not been in SUVs much at all. However, I find it hard to believe that a similarly sized hatchback with a comfort focus couldn’t be as good of a ride. Especially as the most comfortable cars produced historically have been saloons and not high riding cars.

As far as the higher riding position, my Renault Zoe (B Segment hatch) has quite an upright seating position, so I don’t really think that element has to be exclusive to SUVs. Probably the reason it is mostly exclusive to SUVs is because they want to sell you a car that costs thousands more, and make that a prominent feature.

So far, I can’t see any advantage of SUVs, apart from the aforementioned hardcore off-roaders that I’m excluding from this argument against crossovers.

So what about electric SUVs? Surely if they’re being powered with 100% renewable energy then we can all drive huge SUVs everywhere. Not so fast. Yes, the environmental impact will be massively reduced with an electric SUV, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically the best choice. They’re still big and heavy, inefficient compared to smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic cars. They still wouldn’t have the exclusivity on seating positions or comfort. They wouldn’t necessarily be able to store as much stuff as estates. The tyres are likely to cost more to replace. They’re a pain in the ass to deal with in towns and cities, even if you have rear axle steering like some luxury models have now.

Just because they’re massively better than ICE cars doesn’t mean they’re immune to criticism. If you compare a Tesla Model 3 with a Model X, the 3 long range version has a battery pack of 75kwh and does 310 miles of range. The X 100D which is the longest range version, has 295 miles of EPA rated range. So that’s 15 miles less than a car with 25kwh less capacity.

I’m not saying you can’t create inefficient EVs. We create endless inefficient ICE vehicles. But as we’re currently limited by the number of battery cells we can create, it would probably make sense to focus more on efficient use of those batteries until we can ramp the production to a point where we’re no longer constrained. It also goes against the electric movement to reduce consumption and be smarter with how we use energy in general. That’s not to say cars like the New Roadster shouldn’t exist. That car will be a monster, but it will also be incredibly efficient when driven sedately. Not something you can say about electric SUVs. Especially ones that are significantly less efficient than the Model X.

Having said all that, what if we didn’t make electric SUVs on principle, and sales of EVs started stalling, while sales of ICE SUVs skyrocketed. No one wants that situation either. I just hope that I’m not forced in future to buy a car body style that I strongly disapprove of. We always need to have choice, even in the self driving future when we’re no longer driving ourselves and have no need for sporty handling or fun driving characteristics. Even then, I want any car I get in to be the most efficient it can be, while also giving me the comfort that we’ll all really prize when our sole focus is on getting somewhere in the most relaxing and enjoyable way possible.