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Global Warming: what's next after you see "An Inconvenient Truth"
Jun 7, 2006 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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We hope you'll all see the new film, "An Inconvenient Truth," as soon as it opens near you. For info and locations, see­. This film could help catalyze that "tipping point" we need to do "Whatever It Takes" to reduce greenhouse gases. The first step is to encourage people to go who would not be likely to go on their own. Write them, drive them, see it again with them!

How about the science behind the movie? Find interesting comments from top experts at RealClimate, the website that has emerged as the best "referee/debunker" of layperson-level scientific discussion about global warming. At­index.php/­archives/­2006/­05/­al-gores-movie/­, you might read the first posting, then look down at the most recent ones to get a sense of the discussion.

As citizens look for specific things to do and solutions to work for to reduce greenhouse gases, plug-in hybrids often take the spotlight. We highlight that in our flyer called "120V+E85: Plug-In Hybrids Plus Ethanol: We can Tackle Global Warming." We urge you to read and distribute it. This flyer begins with a strong endorsement of PHEVs by James Hansen, one of the nation's leading experts on global warming, and the center of controversy some months ago over his right to speak out independently: see­group/­calcars-news/­message/­281 and­group/­calcars-news/­message/­282

You can view/download this and other flyers at­downloads.html -- it's available by itself at­calcars-globalwarming.pdf or back-to-back with 10 PHEV Talking Points at­calcars-globalwarming+talking-points-2pages.pdf.

Before Earth Day, we posted a run-down of major Global Warming
Resources at­group/­calcars-news/­message/­357 (and
at blog version,­blogs/­power/­global-warming-resources. We
also have a page with basic resources on global warming at­globalwarming.html -- it needs updating but
it gives links to the all-important Pacala-Socolow "wedges" document, etc.

And if you want to ruin your day, see the "greenhouse gases are good for you" ads at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

Finally, don't forget to review our summary of the CO2 benefits of PHEVs and all-electric vehicles at­vehicles.html#cleaner, where you'll also find live links

How Much Cleaner than a Gasoline Car is a PHEV Charged from the Dirty (Coal) Grid?

California, New York, Massachusetts and other states have had Zero-Emission Vehicle Programs since the early 1990s because battery electric vehicles in those states, taking into account power plants, are far cleaner than gasoline cars in reducing urban air pollution and smog. The comparison keeps being raised, though the studies are conclusive.

Studies show that what is called the "well-to-wheel emissions" of electric vehicles are lower than those from gasoline internal combustion vehicles. In California, Air Resources Board studies show that battery electric vehicles emit at least 67% lower "greenhouse gases" than gasoline cars -- even more assuming renewables. A plug-in HEV with only 20 miles all-electric daily range is 62% lower: see printed page 95 in the 2004 study.

As for numbers keyed to the national grid, two government studies found plug-in HEVs would result in large reductions even with the national grid (50-60% coal). The GREET 1.6 model in 2001 by the US Department of Energy's Argonne National Lab estimates hybrids reduces greenhouse gases by 22%, and a plug-in hybrid by 36% -- see table 2. An Argonne researcher reached consensus with researchers from other national labs, universities, the Air Resources Board, automakers, utilities and AD Little to estimate in July 2002 that plug-in HEVs using nighttime power reduce greenhouse gases by 46 to 61 percent. Summarized in slide 11 at the November 2003 presentation by EPRI. For more in the media on this, see also May 2, 2005 followup to the April 11 Business Week story

See a concise summary on the subject by former US Department of Energy official Joe Romm.

Only PHEVs and battery EVs get cleaner as they get older - because the electric grid gets cleaner every decade. Plus more people are installing rooftop solar photovoltaic systems, and clean wind power is vastly expanding nationally (see study by eminent environmentalist Lester Brown cited at CalCars Kudos). Finally, looking at the non-electric fuel, instead of using gasoline for long-trips, PHEVs could run on bio-diesel, cellulose ethanol, or other bio-fuels to further reduce greenhouse gases.

PHEVs will generally recharge at night using excess power from plants that can't shut down completely -- so they don't add to the peak load. PHEVs might one day actually help reduce it by providing power from parked PHEVs' batteries during daytime hours (see 7. Vehicle-To-Grid below).


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