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Hybrids–The Real Running Cost

July 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

There has been some debate about fuel efficiency in hybrids, so I am reposting this road test in the Express last year about the new Volvo XC60 Hybrid

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It contained the usual glowing comments that most expensive cars get, but it did contain this criticism:

 

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Given that the hybrid cost about £9000 more than its diesel equivalent, which has a spec of 49.6 mpg, it hardly offers value for money. I guess that the sort of people who would be prepared to fork out £56000 for one might not regard that as a problem though.

More to the point though, the government is banking on hybrids to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. If this Volvo is typical of the breed, hybrids may not make as much difference as our glorious leaders hope!

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Chris Grayling Expects!

July 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

Do politicians live on another planet?

The Mail reports on Chris Grayling’s latest piece of advice:

 

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Diesel cars may still be the most sensible option for many families who drive long distances, the transport secretary Chris Grayling said yesterday.

Despite a pledge to see the end of petrol and diesel vehicles on UK roads by 2040, Mr Grayling said new diesels were not destined for the scrapheap just yet.

He said: ‘If you are doing long distances on the motorway, maybe the new generation of diesel engines are the right option for now.

‘My advice today is ask yourself what kind of motoring you are doing and find the right solution for it. If you live in a large town or if you are driving around in an urban area in a city in today’s world I would be encouraging people to buy an electric vehicle or a plug in hybrid.’

Mr Grayling also said it is ‘well worth’ people trading in their ‘old polluting vehicle’ for a new cleaner car if they can afford it.

Unveiling its ‘Road to Zero’ strategy to tackle air pollution, the Government said at least half and as many as 70 per cent of new cars should be ultra-low emission by 2030.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5935537/Diesel-cars-best-option-long-journeys-says-transport-secretary.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

 

Of course, looking at your driving patterns is important in deciding between petrol and diesel, something most of us probably do already.

But does he not realise that hybrids cost a lot more than conventional cars? Does he think we’ve all got thousands of pounds sitting around to spend on a hybrid?

 

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https://www.ford.co.uk/shop/price-and-locate/build-and-price#/catalogID/00R/?code=R3E

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https://www.ford.co.uk/shop/price-and-locate/build-and-price#/catalogID/00R/?code=ZAP_RA2:R3D

 

As for EVs, while they might be suitable for driving short distances round town, what does he suggest we do when we go off on that longer journey? Buy another car?

Booker & Those “All-Time Heat Records”

July 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

I’m pleased that Booker has followed up my story about the Washington Post scam:

 

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https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/

 

For those who have not read it, my post on the story was here.

 

 

The Stevenson Screen at Strathclyde Park, Motherwell

Future Energy Scenarios – 2018

July 14, 2018
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

 

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http://fes.nationalgrid.com/fes-document/

The National Grid has just published this year’s Future Energy Scenarios (FES). It is the usual mish mash of wishful thinking and make believe.

 

As usual there are four scenarios:

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In terms of meeting 2050 targets, the “Two Degrees” option is probably most realistic (albeit totally unachievable!):

  

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Let’s look at a few highlights. (Much of this detail is available in the Data Workbook, available here – warning: it is a long download!)

Read more…

Greenland’s Lost Summer

July 14, 2018
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

Greenland meltdown latest:

 

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Millions of shorebirds descend on the Arctic each year to mate and raise chicks during the tundra’s brief burst of summer. But that burst, which usually begins in mid-June, never arrived this year for eastern Greenland’s shorebirds, a set of ground-nesting species. Instead, a record late snowpack—lingering into July—sealed the birds off from food and nesting sites. Without these key resources avian migrants to the region will not reproduce in 2018, experts say. Breeding failures like this may grow more common because some climate change models predict increased springtime snow in the shorebirds’ nesting habitat.

Snowmelt usually allows shorebirds to begin nesting on eastern Greenland’s treeless tundra during the first half of June, says Jeroen Reneerkens, an avian ecologist at the University of Groningen who has studied these birds since 2003. However, when he arrived this year at Zackenberg Station on June 14 to survey sanderlings, a species of Arctic-breeding shorebird, he found they had nowhere to construct their nests. “The tundra was 100 percent covered in snow, and it was a very deep layer,” he says, estimating an average depth of about one meter. “It was a big shock to see the place like that,” he adds.

Most years, mid-June is also a time of song in eastern Greenland—shorebirds croon to attract mates and defend breeding territory. But this year the tundra was “truly silent,” Reneerkens says. “That was very unusual.” The few shorebirds he did encounter, including sanderlings, ruddy turnstones and red knots, wandered the snow-free patches outside the station’s buildings in search of food. “They were just starving,” he says. “I realized these birds were not getting ready to breed at all. They’re just in survival mode.”………………

 

Researchers elsewhere in the Arctic are also reporting unusually late snowmelt this year, with repercussions for shorebirds. Richard Lanctot, a researcher for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, believes record late snowmelt inhibited nesting near Utqiavik (formerly Barrow) on the northern coast of Alaska. His group’s nest count this summer so far is among the lowest since they began monitoring in 2003. Shiloh Schulte, an avian ecologist who works in northeastern Alaska for the conservation nonprofit Manomet, says snowmelt was more than two weeks later than normal in his region. He noticed flocks of long-billed dowitchers and American golden plovers gathering to migrate south without breeding. “Everything needs to be timed perfectly for these birds to be successful,” Schulte says of the short Arctic summer. On Southampton Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, shorebirds nested at less than half their typical densities due the late snowmelt, according to research scientist Paul Smith of Environment and Climate Change Canada. Even with similar trends throughout the North American Arctic, nowhere has been hit harder than eastern Greenland.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/late-snowpack-signals-a-lost-summer-for-greenlands-shorebirds/

 

And naturally, it is all the fault of global warming!

Senner fears this nonbreeding year in eastern Greenland could herald an alarming trend. Climate models predict the Arctic atmosphere will hold more moisture as global temperatures rise, he notes. A wetter atmosphere means more snow in winter and spring, potentially causing late snowmelt to interfere with shorebird reproduction. He says the bird populations should be resilient to a single poor breeding year like 2018 but worries what might happen if this year’s catastrophe becomes standard. “Even though things aren’t normally as extreme as the current situation in Greenland,” he says, “this is the kind of thing that seems to be happening more and more frequently across the Arctic”—which is probably bad news for birds.

 

Of course, it was only two years ago that we were told Greenland’s summers were getting warmer.

Church of England to withdraw funds from polluting firms that fail to tackle climate change

July 13, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

The increasingly irrelevant Church of England has jumped on the virtue signalling bandwagon, and decided to withdraw funds from polluting firms that “fail to tackle climate change.”

From the Telegraph:

 

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The Church of England is to withdraw funds from polluting firms that fail to tackle climate change.

Companies including Shell and BP could face disinvestment from the church within five years if they do not fall in line with strict environmental measures.

Its General Synod, meeting this weekend in York, voted to bring in the timetable to put more pressure on companies which fail to meet the aims of the Paris climate accords.

Read more…

Capital Weather Gang Don’t Know What A Real Heatwave Is

July 12, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

 

 

Greg Porter, one of the Capital Weather Gang at the Washington Post reported last week on the Northeast’s intense heatwave:

 

 

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Since the past weekend, the first intense heat wave has kept a tight, sweaty grip on the eastern United States. As of Tuesday morning, about 80 million Americans were under some type of heat advisory. Forty-four of the 50 states expected to reach at least 90 degrees Tuesday afternoon. Expect both of those statistics to grow through the end of this week, as the brutal heat wave intensifies and expands to include the western part of the country.

On Monday, Washington, Philadelphia and New York all reported heat indexes — or “feels like” temperatures — in excess of 100 degrees. Record-warm overnight low temperatures were set in Albany and Burlington, Vt.

Tuesday could end up being even warmer — or at least it will feel warmer — since humidity was higher across the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/03/oppressive-heat-engulfs-the-northeast-and-it-spreads-west-this-weekend/?utm_term=.07e84780f3a9

 

 

As we know, Porter’s colleague, Jason Samenow, has already tried to link these heatwaves to global warming, talking of “record” temperatures, conveniently recorded in the middle of cities.

 

But how does it compare when we examine proper rural sites, such as Ithaca Cornell University in NY.

Read more…

Will Heatwave End Next Week?

July 11, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

I mentioned last week that the heatwave/drought might be coming to an end next week, and the latest jetstream forecasts seem to bear this out now.

 

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https://www.netweather.tv/charts-and-data/jetstream

 

Temperatures have already started to dip, and are forecast to drop further next week, with the north west expecting some rain.

By the end of next week, the jetstream forecast suggests a run of low pressure systems taking over.

Tornado Stats For 2017

July 11, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/2017/torngraph-big.png

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/2017/torngraph-big.png

 

2017 was a relatively busy year for tornadoes in the US, ranking third since 2005 on preliminary data.

This was mainly due to a spurt in numbers in January to March, most of which were weak EF-0 and EF-1 tornadoes. There were though three EF-3s in an outbreak in January, which sadly led to 20 fatalities.

 

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/2017/ptorngraph-big.png

https://www.spc.noaa.gov/wcm/2017/ptorngraph-big.png

 

As for longer term trends, regular readers will recall that we need to discount weaker tornadoes, as NOAA explain:

Read more…

The Road to Zero Plan Leads Nowhere

July 11, 2018

By Paul Homewood

From the Mail:

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After months of speculation, the Government has finally unveiled its plans to force motorists to ditch petrol and diesel cars and only drive electric models.

Called the Road to Zero strategy, it sets out the policies ministers hope will drive the nation’s 45 million motorists into zero-emissions vehicles over the next three decades.

While many of the changes are focused around the 2040 proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel motors and the optimistic prediction for an entirely electric road network just a decade later, some of the strategies are already in place today.

Road to Zero: Here is five ways the Government plans to switch motorists to electric vehicles in 2040 under new directives outlines in the Department for Transports latest proposals

Part of the transition to everyone driving electric cars in 2050 includes the target of at least half of new cars sold in 2030 being ultra low emissions models, including pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Mike Hawes, chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the prospect of this being achieved was slim, as car makers could not accelerate the technology at such a rate.

‘Achieving 50 per cent market share would require a nearly 23-fold increase in uptake from the current position of just 2.2 per cent,’ he said. 

‘We need realistic ambition levels and measures that support industry’s efforts, allow manufacturers time to invest, innovate and sell competitively, and provide the right incentives and infrastructure to take the consumer with us.’ 

While the SMMT wasn’t the only body to voice concerns about the strategy, the Road to Zero documentation confirmed that the plan will be reviewed in 2025, which could include revised strategies if not enough progress is being made in the switch-over to electrified cars.

Here are five focal points of the Government’s intention to make make a graduated switch to a low-emissions road network.

Read more…