After weeks of waiting to see what would come out of the EPA transition team headed by Myron Ebell – a renowned climate change denier – it appeared for a while that President-elect Trump might surprise and head towards the middle of the road. A meeting early this week with Al Gore gave hope to some that Trump would heed the warnings of the majority of the scientific community and moderate his thinking on climate change.
In July, Green Car Reports ran a story about an intrepid driver – John Briggs – who made the trip from Boston to Silver Spring, Maryland in his Nissan Leaf. The narrative highlighted some of the key issues that remain to be overcome in order for electric vehicles (EVs) to truly make it to prime time. The key challenges Briggs faced had to do with both the range of the vehicle and the charging network that currently supports (or doesn’t) longer-range trips.
The week before last was a busy one: three days in San Diego at the Energy Storage North America Conference and two days in Iceland at the Arctic Circle conference. San Diego was sunny and warm and the conference was highly technical. Reykjavik was windy, cool, and rainy, and the conference was very broad-covering all things arctic.
This month, the American Meteorological Society released its 240+ page State of the Climate in 2015 report. The information is not pretty. The report’s introduction notes that,
“In 2015, the dominant greenhouse gases released into Earth’s atmosphere—carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide – all continued to reach new high levels. At Mauna Loa, Hawaii, the annual CO2 concentration increased by a record 3.1ppm, exceeding 400 ppm for the first time on record. The 2015 global CO2 average neared this threshold, at 399.4 ppm…Owing to the combination of El Nino and a long-term up-ward trend, Earth observed record warmth for the second consecutive year…Above Earth’s surface, lower troposphere temperatures were near-record high.”
Electric vehicles are sexy. They accelerate from zero to sixty in no time. Some of the coolest models from BMW and Tesla have gull-wing doors. And they are beginning to gain traction in the market. To date, some half a million have been sold in the U.S. This year, we are on a record pace both in the U.S. and globally. Last year, 550,000 EVs were sold worldwide. This year, the numbers are already at 308,000 through the first half of the year. Those numbers may appear large, but in the context of the nearly 89 million vehicles sold worldwide last year, they are still quite small, implying tremendous room for future growth.