Clean Power Plan Repeal: Myth vs. Reality

With EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s announcement that the Trump Administration was formally proposing repeal of the so-called “Clean Power Plan” (CPP), certain voices in the blogosphere and media predictably went nuts. In the formal response from IER, we have already applauded the announcement as promoting liberty in energy markets and keeping energy more affordable for American households. In the present post, let me further respond to some of the (hysterical) reactions that are based on myths.

Myth #1: “The Obama Administration never started a ‘war on coal.’ This is a bogus GOP talking point.”

Here it would be harder to find a smokier gun than then-presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, speaking in a public forum to the San Francisco Chronicle back in January 2008. In this clip he says, “…understanding what is at stake, and climate change is a great example. You know when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal. You know, under my plan, of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…”

And then in this clip, in what has become an infamous line, Obama says of his proposed cap-and-trade system, “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Now to be fair, in the clip I’ve hyperlinked, you can see the full context of that notorious statement, where a few moments earlier Obama says he is open to the idea of coal-fired plants so long as all of the greenhouse gas emissions are captured. Yet given the current technology and cost considerations, to insist on emission-free coal is effectively a ban on new coal-fired plants.

Indeed, Obama’s allies knew that this was the case. Writing in 2013, here is economist Paul Krugman, explaining why direct regulation to prohibit coal is a defensible policy, given the political realities:

As I’ve just suggested, the standard economic argument for emissions pricing comes from the observation that there are many margins on which we should operate.…Nonetheless, the message I took from [a book by William Nordhaus] was that direct action to regulate emissions from electricity generation would be a surprisingly good substitute for carbon pricing—not as good, but not bad.

And this conclusion becomes especially interesting given the current legal and political situation in the United States, where nothing like a carbon-pricing scheme has a chance of getting through Congress at least until or unless Democrats regain control of both houses, whereas the Environmental Protection Agency has asserted its right and duty to regulate power plant emissions, and has already introduced rules that will probably prevent the construction of any new coal-fired plants. Taking on the existing plants is going to be much tougher and more controversial, but looks for the moment like a more feasible path than carbon pricing. [Paul Krugman 2013, bold added.]

And there you have it: Paul Krugman was admitting in 2013 that theoretically, an open-ended government “price” on carbon would be preferable, but that in practice Krugman endorsed the EPA’s top-down planning of the energy sector, including the power plant rules that would “probably prevent the contruction of any new coal-fired plants.” And, far from contenting himself with stopping the construction of new plants, Krugman went on to hope that the federal government could “tak[e] on the existing plants.”

So when the fans of open markets in the energy sector complain of a “war on coal,” they aren’t imagining things. Leading figures, including Barack Obama and Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, publicly declared their opposition to coal-fired power plants.

Myth #2: “The EPA’s power plant rules wouldn’t have hurt coal. It was natural gas prices that would hurt coal.”

If this were true, then it wouldn’t make any sense for critics to complain about President Trump’s removal of the CPP, would it? Once again, some of the loudest environmental activists try to have it both ways. On the one hand, measures like the CPP are essential to ensuring that our grandchildren survive the ravages of climate change, while on the other hand, these regulations apparently have no impact whatsoever on energy sources or prices for consumers. These environmentalists need to make up their minds.

It is certainly true that falling natural gas prices are part of the reason the US has shifted some of its electricity generation away from coal and into gas-fired plants. Even so, the CPP was projected to have a serious long-term impact on coal generation.

As I explained in this previous IER post, we can use the EIA’s 2017 long-term energy outlook to get a sense of the government’s own forecast of the CPP’s impact. The following chart from the EIA shows two scenarios, with and without the CPP in force:

 

In the chart above, the right-hand side shows coal’s generation staying roughly level from 2020 through 2040, in the case with no Clean Power Plan.

Yet on the left side, the “Reference case” with the CPP staying in force, we see electricity generation from coal fall significantly from 2020 to 2040, by almost 500 billion kilowatt-hours per year, or about a third.

To be clear, these EIA forecasts include assumptions about coal, natural gas, and renewables pricing and technological breakthroughs. Even so, the CPP in these forecasts made the difference between coal-generated electricity output holding steady versus falling by a third.

We at IER are not in the business of picking winners and losers in the energy sector. If coal loses market share because of developments in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, then consumers will benefit from more affordable energy.[1]

However, if coal is hampered by government regulations and/or taxes, then this makes energy more expensive. It does not represent innovation or a boon to consumers.

Myth #3: “The Clean Power Plan was essential to the battle against climate change.”

Earlier I pointed out that many critics of the Trump Administration were being inconsistent: On the one hand, they pooh-poohed the warnings that the CPP was hurting the coal sector. On the other hand, they went ballistic saying that the CPP was essential to stop climate change. Those positions can’t both be true.

However, the mirror-image of these claims can be true. Specifically, even though it’s true that the CPP would reduce US coal-fired power generation significantly, it does not follow that the CPP would significantly impact climate change.

For example, climate scientists Pat Michaels and Chip Knappenberger used a standard computer model to estimate that the Clean Power Plan, if it remained in force, would at most have made the global temperature in the year 2100 a mere 0.019 degrees Celsius lower than it otherwise would have been.

Conclusion

Some of President Trump’s most vociferous critics vacillate between mocking him for doing nothing, and freaking out because he’s doing what he said he’d do. No one can deny that Trump campaigned on ending the “war on coal.” The administration’s action on the so-called Clean Power Plan is consistent with that pledge. Contrary to the myths being floated by pundits and bloggers, there really was a war on coal, the fortunes of coal weren’t just due to natural gas prices, and ending the CPP won’t make a big difference to measured climate change.


[1] Some critics allege that “fracking” involves violations of property rights of local landowners. If this were the case, then the practice would not be beneficial to all consumers. Our statements in the text refer to a situation where all market transactions are voluntary.

The post Clean Power Plan Repeal: Myth vs. Reality appeared first on IER.

Advertisements

Writing Headlines that Serve SEO, Social Media, and Website Visitors All Together – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Have your headlines been doing some heavy lifting? If you’ve been using one headline to serve multiple audiences, you’re missing out on some key optimization opportunities. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand gives you a process for writing headlines for SEO, for social media, and for your website visitors — each custom-tailored to its audience and optimized to meet different goals.

https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/tcbd2xegic?videoFoam=true

https://fast.wistia.net/assets/external/E-v1.js

Writing headlines that serve SEO, Social Media, and Website Visitors

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/346681833&color=%23ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about writing headlines. One of the big problems that headlines have is that they need to serve multiple audiences. So it’s not just ranking and search engines. Even if it was, the issue is that we need to do well on social media. We need to serve our website visitors well in order to rank in the search engines. So this gets very challenging.

I’ve tried to illustrate this with a Venn diagram here. So you can see, basically…

SEO

In the SEO world of headline writing, what I’m trying to do is rank well, earn high click-through rate, because I want a lot of those visitors to the search results to choose my result, not somebody else’s. I want low pogo-sticking. I don’t want anyone clicking the back button and choosing someone else’s result because I didn’t fulfill their needs. I need to earn links, and I’ve got to have engagement.

Social media

On the social media side, it’s pretty different actually. I’m trying to earn amplification, which can often mean the headline tells as much of the story as possible. Even if you don’t read the piece, you amplify it, you retweet it, and you re-share it. I’m looking for clicks, and I’m looking for comments and engagement on the post. I’m not necessarily too worried about that back button and the selection of another item. In fact, time on site might not even be a concern at all.

Website visitors

For website visitors, both of these are channels that drive traffic. But for the site itself, I’m trying to drive right visitors, the ones who are going to be loyal, who are going to come back, hopefully who are going to convert. I want to not confuse anyone. I want to deliver on my promise so that I don’t create a bad brand reputation and detract from people wanting to click on me in the future. For those of you have visited a site like Forbes or maybe even a BuzzFeed and you have an association of, “Oh, man, this is going to be that clickbait stuff. I don’t want to click on their stuff. I’m going to choose somebody else in the results instead of this brand that I remember having a bad experience with.”

Notable conflicts

There are some notable direct conflicts in here.

  1. Keywords for SEO can be really boring on social media sites. When you try and keyword stuff especially or be keyword-heavy, your social performance tends to go terribly.
  2. Creating mystery on social, so essentially not saying what the piece is truly about, but just creating an inkling of what it might be about harms the clarity that you need for search in order to rank well and in order to drive those clicks from a search engine. It also hurts your ability generally to do keyword targeting.
  3. The need for engagement and brand reputation that you’ve got for your website visitors is really going to hurt you if you’re trying to develop those clickbait-style pieces that do so well on social.
  4. In search, ranking for low-relevance keywords is going to drive very unhappy visitors, people who don’t care that just because you happen to rank for this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should, because you didn’t serve the visitor intent with the actual content.

Getting to resolution

So how do we resolve this? Well, it’s not actually a terribly hard process. In 2017 and beyond, what’s nice is that search engines and social and visitors all have enough shared stuff that, most of the time, we can get to a good, happy resolution.

Step one: Determine who your primary audience is, your primary goals, and some prioritization of those channels.

You might say, “Hey, this piece is really targeted at search. If it does well on social, that’s fine, but this is going to be our primary traffic driver.” Or you might say, “This is really for internal website visitors who are browsing around our site. If it happens to drive some traffic from search or social, well that’s fine, but that’s not our intent.”

Step two: For non-conflict elements, optimize for the most demanding channel.

For those non-conflicting elements, so this could be the page title that you use for SEO, it doesn’t always have to perfectly match the headline. If it’s a not-even-close match, that’s a real problem, but an imperfect match can still be okay.

So what’s nice in social is you have things like Twitter cards and the Facebook markup, graph markup. That Open Graph markup means that you can have slightly different content there than what you might be using for your snippet, your meta description in search engines. So you can separate those out or choose to keep those distinct, and that can help you as well.

Step three: Author the straightforward headline first.

I’m going to ask you author the most straightforward version of the headline first.

Step four: Now write the social-friendly/click-likely version without other considerations.

Is to write the opposite of that, the most social-friendly or click-likely/click-worthy version. It doesn’t necessarily have to worry about keywords. It doesn’t have to worry about accuracy or telling the whole story without any of these other considerations.

Step five: Merge 3 & 4, and add in critical keywords.

We’re going to take three and four and just merge them into something that will work for both, that compromises in the right way, compromises based on your primary audience, your primary goals, and then add in the critical keywords that you’re going to need.

Examples:

I’ve tried to illustrate this a bit with an example. Nest, which Google bought them years ago and then they became part of the Alphabet Corporation that Google evolved into. So Nest is separately owned by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Nest came out with this new alarm system. In fact, the day we’re filming this Whiteboard Friday, they came out with a new alarm system. So they’re no longer just a provider of thermostats inside of houses. They now have something else.

Step one: So if I’m a tech news site and I’m writing about this, I know that I’m trying to target gadget and news readers. My primary channel is going to be social first, but secondarily search engines. The goal that I’m trying to reach, that’s engagement followed by visits and then hopefully some newsletter sign-ups to my tech site.

Step two: My title and headline in this case probably need to match very closely. So the social callouts, the social cards and the Open Graph, that can be unique from the meta description if need be or from the search snippet if need be.

Step three: I’m going to do step three, author the straightforward headline. That for me is going to be “Nest Has a New Alarm System, Video Doorbell, and Outdoor Camera.” A little boring, probably not going to tremendously well on social, but it probably would do decently well in search.

Step four: My social click-likely version is going to be something more like “Nest is No Longer Just a Thermostat. Their New Security System Will Blow You Away.” That’s not the best headline in the universe, but I’m not a great headline writer. However, you get the idea. This is the click-likely social version, the one that you see the headline and you go, “Ooh, they have a new security system. I wonder what’s involved in that.” You create some mystery. You don’t know that it includes a video doorbell, an outdoor camera, and an alarm. You just hear, “They’ve got a new security system. Well, I better look at it.”

Step five: Then I can try and compromise and say, “Hey, I know that I need to have video doorbell, camera, alarm, and Nest.” Those are my keywords. Those are the important ones. That’s what people are going to be searching for around this announcement, so I’ve got to have them in there. I want to have them close to the front. So “Nest’s New Alarm, Video Doorbell and Camera Are About to Be on Every Home’s Must-Have List.” All right, resolved in there.

So this process of writing headlines to serve these multiple different, sometimes competing priorities is totally possible with nearly everything you’re going to do in SEO and social and for your website visitors. This resolution process is something hopefully you can leverage to get better results.

All right, everyone, we’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/10/writing-headlines-that-serve-seo-social.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

China’s New Environmental Problem: Battery Disposal

In 2016, China became the world’s largest electric vehicle market accounting for over 40 percent of the electric vehicles sold worldwide. China passed the United States which had the highest electric vehicle sales in 2015. In 2016, China had over 1 million electric vehicles, which was an 87 percent increase over the previous year. They added 336,000 new electric car registrations; this included battery only and hybrid models. Electric vehicles range in price from $6,000 to $200,000 (for the most expensive Tesla model).[i] Like several European countries, China is planning to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles in favor of electric vehicles at an unannounced date.

China’s success in promoting electric vehicles is due to lucrative subsidies—thousands of dollars worth of subsidies—provided to buyers of these vehicles. For example, in Shanghai, a license plate costs about $15,000 if one is lucky enough to win the right to it in the lottery. However, if you choose to buy a plug-in hybrid, Shanghai will provide the license plate without cost.

China has decided to switch from subsidizing buyers to enforcing a quota system on manufacturers. Under the proposed quotas, most local and foreign automakers must earn points equivalent to 10 percent of vehicles they produce in China and import into the country in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. By 2025, 20 percent of new car sales must be New Energy Vehicles.[ii] The plan applies to carmakers that produce or import 30,000 cars or more annually.[iii] Automakers that fail to meet the target will have to purchase credits from competitors that have a surplus.[iv]

The government has also subsidized charging stations for electric vehicles. As of December 2016, China had 300,000 charging stations. The country has ordered state-owned Chinese power companies to speed up installation of charging stations.

Electric cars make sense in China because of its dense and crowded cities that often mean shorter driving distances. China has an extensive high-speed rail system that reduces the need for long-distance road trips. In 2016, China had the largest electric car stock in the world with about a third of the global total. China is also the global leader in the electrification of other transport modes with over 200 million electric two-wheelers, 3 to 4 million low-speed electric vehicles and over 300 thousand electric buses.[v]

Battery Recycling and Disposal

But despite all the pros for electric vehicles in China, the country has a big problem with battery disposal. Electric car batteries are toxic if not disposed of properly and China does not have an official policy regarding their disposal. The problem will begin to escalate next year, and by 2020 China is expected to have almost 250,000 metric tons (276,000 tons) of batteries that need disposal—nearly 20 times those in 2016.[vi] (See graph below.)

The average lifespan of a lithium-iron phosphate battery, which is the primary type used in China’s electric vehicles, is around five years. Most batteries installed on electric vehicles during the 2012 to 2014 period will be retired around 2018.

Unusable electric vehicle batteries in China

* Forecast

Source: https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-booming-electric-vehicle-market-is-about-to-run-into-a-mountain-of-battery-waste/

Batteries can be recycled, but recycling them is not easy due to the sophisticated chemical procedures involved. If not handled properly, the heavy metal contained in the battery can lead to contamination of the soil and water.

In China, car manufacturers are responsible for recycling their batteries, but many of them expect battery suppliers to handle the recycling. China’s battery recycling industry is relatively small and scattered, and recycling operating costs are high. Even in the European Union, only 5 percent of lithium-ion batteries, another common type of battery power used in electric vehicles, are recycled.

Conclusion

China is now the largest market for electric vehicles and it is growing due to lucrative subsidies and a future quota system. Its dense and crowded cities are conducive to the use of electric vehicles. However, China will soon be confronted with another environmental problem in the disposal and recycling of batteries.


[i] Parallels, China Moves To Increase Number Of Electric Vehicles On Its Roads, April 25, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/25/525412342/china-moves-to-increase-number-of-electric-vehicles-on-its-roads

[ii] Seeking Alpha, China To Ban All Petrol And Diesel Cars? Seriously?, September 12, 2017, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4106266-china-ban-petrol-diesel-cars-seriously?auth_param=1cqlaa:1crgicp:88f670313bfce71bb4d0f3f9532dae50&dr=1

[iii] Wall Street Journal, China Sends a Jolt Through Auto Industry With Plans for Electric Future, September 28, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-sets-new-deadline-for-electric-car-production-1506608295?mg=prod/accounts-wsj&mg=prod/accounts-wsj

[iv] Independent, China to ban petrol and diesel cars, state media reports, September 10, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-petrol-diesel-car-ban-gasoline-production-sales-electric-cabinet-official-state-media-a7938726.html

[v] International Energy Agency, Global EV Outlook 2017, https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/GlobalEVOutlook2017.pdf

[vi] Quartz, China’s booming electric vehicle market is about to run into a mountain of battery waste, September 28, 2017, https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-booming-electric-vehicle-market-is-about-to-run-into-a-mountain-of-battery-waste/

The post China’s New Environmental Problem: Battery Disposal appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/10/chinas-new-environmental-problem.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com

China’s New Environmental Problem: Battery Disposal

In 2016, China became the world’s largest electric vehicle market accounting for over 40 percent of the electric vehicles sold worldwide. China passed the United States which had the highest electric vehicle sales in 2015. In 2016, China had over 1 million electric vehicles, which was an 87 percent increase over the previous year. They added 336,000 new electric car registrations; this included battery only and hybrid models. Electric vehicles range in price from $6,000 to $200,000 (for the most expensive Tesla model).[i] Like several European countries, China is planning to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles in favor of electric vehicles at an unannounced date.

China’s success in promoting electric vehicles is due to lucrative subsidies—thousands of dollars worth of subsidies—provided to buyers of these vehicles. For example, in Shanghai, a license plate costs about $15,000 if one is lucky enough to win the right to it in the lottery. However, if you choose to buy a plug-in hybrid, Shanghai will provide the license plate without cost.

China has decided to switch from subsidizing buyers to enforcing a quota system on manufacturers. Under the proposed quotas, most local and foreign automakers must earn points equivalent to 10 percent of vehicles they produce in China and import into the country in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. By 2025, 20 percent of new car sales must be New Energy Vehicles.[ii] The plan applies to carmakers that produce or import 30,000 cars or more annually.[iii] Automakers that fail to meet the target will have to purchase credits from competitors that have a surplus.[iv]

The government has also subsidized charging stations for electric vehicles. As of December 2016, China had 300,000 charging stations. The country has ordered state-owned Chinese power companies to speed up installation of charging stations.

Electric cars make sense in China because of its dense and crowded cities that often mean shorter driving distances. China has an extensive high-speed rail system that reduces the need for long-distance road trips. In 2016, China had the largest electric car stock in the world with about a third of the global total. China is also the global leader in the electrification of other transport modes with over 200 million electric two-wheelers, 3 to 4 million low-speed electric vehicles and over 300 thousand electric buses.[v]

Battery Recycling and Disposal

But despite all the pros for electric vehicles in China, the country has a big problem with battery disposal. Electric car batteries are toxic if not disposed of properly and China does not have an official policy regarding their disposal. The problem will begin to escalate next year, and by 2020 China is expected to have almost 250,000 metric tons (276,000 tons) of batteries that need disposal—nearly 20 times those in 2016.[vi] (See graph below.)

The average lifespan of a lithium-iron phosphate battery, which is the primary type used in China’s electric vehicles, is around five years. Most batteries installed on electric vehicles during the 2012 to 2014 period will be retired around 2018.

Unusable electric vehicle batteries in China

* Forecast

Source: https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-booming-electric-vehicle-market-is-about-to-run-into-a-mountain-of-battery-waste/

Batteries can be recycled, but recycling them is not easy due to the sophisticated chemical procedures involved. If not handled properly, the heavy metal contained in the battery can lead to contamination of the soil and water.

In China, car manufacturers are responsible for recycling their batteries, but many of them expect battery suppliers to handle the recycling. China’s battery recycling industry is relatively small and scattered, and recycling operating costs are high. Even in the European Union, only 5 percent of lithium-ion batteries, another common type of battery power used in electric vehicles, are recycled.

Conclusion

China is now the largest market for electric vehicles and it is growing due to lucrative subsidies and a future quota system. Its dense and crowded cities are conducive to the use of electric vehicles. However, China will soon be confronted with another environmental problem in the disposal and recycling of batteries.


[i] Parallels, China Moves To Increase Number Of Electric Vehicles On Its Roads, April 25, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/25/525412342/china-moves-to-increase-number-of-electric-vehicles-on-its-roads

[ii] Seeking Alpha, China To Ban All Petrol And Diesel Cars? Seriously?, September 12, 2017, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4106266-china-ban-petrol-diesel-cars-seriously?auth_param=1cqlaa:1crgicp:88f670313bfce71bb4d0f3f9532dae50&dr=1

[iii] Wall Street Journal, China Sends a Jolt Through Auto Industry With Plans for Electric Future, September 28, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-sets-new-deadline-for-electric-car-production-1506608295?mg=prod/accounts-wsj&mg=prod/accounts-wsj

[iv] Independent, China to ban petrol and diesel cars, state media reports, September 10, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-petrol-diesel-car-ban-gasoline-production-sales-electric-cabinet-official-state-media-a7938726.html

[v] International Energy Agency, Global EV Outlook 2017, https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/GlobalEVOutlook2017.pdf

[vi] Quartz, China’s booming electric vehicle market is about to run into a mountain of battery waste, September 28, 2017, https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-booming-electric-vehicle-market-is-about-to-run-into-a-mountain-of-battery-waste/

The post China’s New Environmental Problem: Battery Disposal appeared first on IER.

China’s New Environmental Problem: Battery Disposal

In 2016, China became the world’s largest electric vehicle market accounting for over 40 percent of the electric vehicles sold worldwide. China passed the United States which had the highest electric vehicle sales in 2015. In 2016, China had over 1 million electric vehicles, which was an 87 percent increase over the previous year. They added 336,000 new electric car registrations; this included battery only and hybrid models. Electric vehicles range in price from $6,000 to $200,000 (for the most expensive Tesla model).[i] Like several European countries, China is planning to ban the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles in favor of electric vehicles at an unannounced date.

China’s success in promoting electric vehicles is due to lucrative subsidies—thousands of dollars worth of subsidies—provided to buyers of these vehicles. For example, in Shanghai, a license plate costs about $15,000 if one is lucky enough to win the right to it in the lottery. However, if you choose to buy a plug-in hybrid, Shanghai will provide the license plate without cost.

China has decided to switch from subsidizing buyers to enforcing a quota system on manufacturers. Under the proposed quotas, most local and foreign automakers must earn points equivalent to 10 percent of vehicles they produce in China and import into the country in 2019 and 12 percent in 2020. By 2025, 20 percent of new car sales must be New Energy Vehicles.[ii] The plan applies to carmakers that produce or import 30,000 cars or more annually.[iii] Automakers that fail to meet the target will have to purchase credits from competitors that have a surplus.[iv]

The government has also subsidized charging stations for electric vehicles. As of December 2016, China had 300,000 charging stations. The country has ordered state-owned Chinese power companies to speed up installation of charging stations.

Electric cars make sense in China because of its dense and crowded cities that often mean shorter driving distances. China has an extensive high-speed rail system that reduces the need for long-distance road trips. In 2016, China had the largest electric car stock in the world with about a third of the global total. China is also the global leader in the electrification of other transport modes with over 200 million electric two-wheelers, 3 to 4 million low-speed electric vehicles and over 300 thousand electric buses.[v]

Battery Recycling and Disposal

But despite all the pros for electric vehicles in China, the country has a big problem with battery disposal. Electric car batteries are toxic if not disposed of properly and China does not have an official policy regarding their disposal. The problem will begin to escalate next year, and by 2020 China is expected to have almost 250,000 metric tons (276,000 tons) of batteries that need disposal—nearly 20 times those in 2016.[vi] (See graph below.)

The average lifespan of a lithium-iron phosphate battery, which is the primary type used in China’s electric vehicles, is around five years. Most batteries installed on electric vehicles during the 2012 to 2014 period will be retired around 2018.

Unusable electric vehicle batteries in China

* Forecast

Source: https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-booming-electric-vehicle-market-is-about-to-run-into-a-mountain-of-battery-waste/

Batteries can be recycled, but recycling them is not easy due to the sophisticated chemical procedures involved. If not handled properly, the heavy metal contained in the battery can lead to contamination of the soil and water.

In China, car manufacturers are responsible for recycling their batteries, but many of them expect battery suppliers to handle the recycling. China’s battery recycling industry is relatively small and scattered, and recycling operating costs are high. Even in the European Union, only 5 percent of lithium-ion batteries, another common type of battery power used in electric vehicles, are recycled.

Conclusion

China is now the largest market for electric vehicles and it is growing due to lucrative subsidies and a future quota system. Its dense and crowded cities are conducive to the use of electric vehicles. However, China will soon be confronted with another environmental problem in the disposal and recycling of batteries.


[i] Parallels, China Moves To Increase Number Of Electric Vehicles On Its Roads, April 25, 2017, http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2017/04/25/525412342/china-moves-to-increase-number-of-electric-vehicles-on-its-roads

[ii] Seeking Alpha, China To Ban All Petrol And Diesel Cars? Seriously?, September 12, 2017, https://seekingalpha.com/article/4106266-china-ban-petrol-diesel-cars-seriously?auth_param=1cqlaa:1crgicp:88f670313bfce71bb4d0f3f9532dae50&dr=1

[iii] Wall Street Journal, China Sends a Jolt Through Auto Industry With Plans for Electric Future, September 28, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-sets-new-deadline-for-electric-car-production-1506608295?mg=prod/accounts-wsj&mg=prod/accounts-wsj

[iv] Independent, China to ban petrol and diesel cars, state media reports, September 10, 2017, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-petrol-diesel-car-ban-gasoline-production-sales-electric-cabinet-official-state-media-a7938726.html

[v] International Energy Agency, Global EV Outlook 2017, https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/GlobalEVOutlook2017.pdf

[vi] Quartz, China’s booming electric vehicle market is about to run into a mountain of battery waste, September 28, 2017, https://qz.com/1088195/chinas-booming-electric-vehicle-market-is-about-to-run-into-a-mountain-of-battery-waste/

The post China’s New Environmental Problem: Battery Disposal appeared first on IER.

What Do People Think About Climate Change?

A national research project sponsored by the Institute for Energy Research and the American Conservative Union Foundation consisting of ten focus groups and a nationwide survey (1018 registered voters, margin of error 3.1%) discovered that:

There is little enthusiasm for taxing energy. When asked about a tax on carbon dioxide, 44% of respondents opposed, while 39% favored. More importantly, when asked whether they trusted the federal government to spend the money from such a tax wisely just 18% said they did, 74% said they did not.

Even among those who ranked climate change as an important risk (identifying it as a 6 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10), just 42% indicated taxing energy was an appropriate response to climate change.

People of all ideological stripes and all demographic characteristics remain profoundly skeptical of the ability of government to do anything meaningfully and well. Consequently, they’re unwilling to pay for (or really even consider) anything that looks like a government mandate. Government action is considered a last, worst resort, used only when all other ideas have failed.

Carbon dioxide not considered a pollutant. A solid majority – 55% – said that carbon dioxide is needed for plant life and humans both exhale it and consume it every day. Just 31% said it is damaging the environment.

This (and other results) suggests three things:

First, the obsessive nature of the conversation about carbon dioxide escapes most people. In other words, debates around things like the Paris agreement is more noise than signal.

Second, carbon dioxide and climate change have become decoupled in the minds of many voters. This emphasizes one of the significant findings of this project, namely that climate change has become a catch basket into which all environmental problems have been tossed.

Third, this conversation is far from over. Sentiments about climate change remain as poorly formed and unsettled as they when this conversation began three decades ago. In other words, in spite of the time and billions of dollars spent, those who press this issue don’t seem to be any further along than they were when they started.

“This survey confirms what we have known for a long time. Voters think taxes on energy or its proxy, carbon dioxide, are a bad idea, and they do not trust the government to spend the money from such taxes,” said Thomas Pyle, IER President and ACU Foundation Policy Fellow.

“In the upcoming debate on tax reform, our elected officials should tread carefully when bringing proposals to impose energy or carbon dioxide taxes to the table,” said ACU leader Matt Schlapp.

To view the nationwide survey in the form of a graphic slideshow, click here. To view it in the form of a PDF, click here.

The post What Do People Think About Climate Change? appeared first on IER.

What Do People Think About Climate Change?

A national research project sponsored by the Institute for Energy Research and the American Conservative Union Foundation consisting of ten focus groups and a nationwide survey (1018 registered voters, margin of error 3.1%) discovered that:

There is little enthusiasm for taxing energy. When asked about a tax on carbon dioxide, 44% of respondents opposed, while 39% favored. More importantly, when asked whether they trusted the federal government to spend the money from such a tax wisely just 18% said they did, 74% said they did not.

Even among those who ranked climate change as an important risk (identifying it as a 6 or higher on a scale of 1 to 10), just 42% indicated taxing energy was an appropriate response to climate change.

People of all ideological stripes and all demographic characteristics remain profoundly skeptical of the ability of government to do anything meaningfully and well. Consequently, they’re unwilling to pay for (or really even consider) anything that looks like a government mandate. Government action is considered a last, worst resort, used only when all other ideas have failed.

Carbon dioxide not considered a pollutant. A solid majority – 55% – said that carbon dioxide is needed for plant life and humans both exhale it and consume it every day. Just 31% said it is damaging the environment.

This (and other results) suggests three things:

First, the obsessive nature of the conversation about carbon dioxide escapes most people. In other words, debates around things like the Paris agreement is more noise than signal.

Second, carbon dioxide and climate change have become decoupled in the minds of many voters. This emphasizes one of the significant findings of this project, namely that climate change has become a catch basket into which all environmental problems have been tossed.

Third, this conversation is far from over. Sentiments about climate change remain as poorly formed and unsettled as they when this conversation began three decades ago. In other words, in spite of the time and billions of dollars spent, those who press this issue don’t seem to be any further along than they were when they started.

“This survey confirms what we have known for a long time. Voters think taxes on energy or its proxy carbon dioxide are a bad idea, and they do not trust the government to spend the money from such taxes,” said Thomas Pyle, IER President and ACU Foundation Policy Fellow.

“In the upcoming debate on tax reform, our elected officials should tread carefully when bringing proposals to impose energy or carbon dioxide taxes to the table,” said ACU leader Matt Schlapp.

To view the nationwide survey in the form of a graphic slideshow, click here. To view it in the form of a PDF, click here.

The post What Do People Think About Climate Change? appeared first on IER.

from Raymond Castleberry Blog http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com/2017/10/what-do-people-think-about-climate.html
via http://raymondcastleberry.blogspot.com