Eddy County, New Mexico: Aerial view of the “Oil Patch” in the Permian Basin, revitalized by the fracking industry. ©2014 Julie Dermansky for Ocean 8 Films

The latest on the good, the bad and the ugly

Thanks to Resilience.org, where a lot of these quotes originated.

The Good

Batteries for EVs: Industry-wide cost estimates for battery packs for electric vehicles have declined by approximately 14 percent annually between 2007 and 2014, from above $1,000 per kWh to around $410/kWh, according to a systematic review of more than 80 different estimates by a team from the Stockholm Environment Institute. The cost of battery packs used by market-leading BEV manufacturers is even lower at $300/kWh. The results further suggest that it is possible that economies of scale will continue to push cost towards $200/kWh in the near future even without further cell chemistry improvements. (4/20)

The Bad

US emissions: For the second year in a row, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States have increased. However, unlike 2013, when emissions and gross domestic product (GDP) grew at similar rates (2.5 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively), 2014’s CO2 emissions growth rate of 0.7 percent was much smaller than the 2014 GDP growth rate of 2.4 percent. (4/21)

An Environmental Protection Agency rule to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the existing power fleet could bring almost 100 GW of new natural gas-fired generation to the US by 2030, the North American Electric Reliability Corp. said in an assessment released Tuesday.

Clean Power Plan: Gina McCarthy, administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency, said at CERAWeek that the Clean Power Plan, which calls upon the US power sector to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, mainly through the retirement of coal-fired power plants, should be considered a major plank in the nation’s low-carbon future. Final rules governing the plan are now to be issued in June. Between 108,000 MW and 134,000 MW of coal retirements are envisioned by 2020. (4/24)

Eddy County, New Mexico: Aerial view of the “Oil Patch” in the Permian Basin, revitalized by the fracking industry. ©2014 Julie Dermansky for Ocean 8 Films

Eddy County, New Mexico: Aerial view of the “Oil Patch” in the Permian Basin, revitalized by the fracking industry. ©2014 Julie Dermansky for Ocean 8 Films

The Ugly

Here is a report in the Climate News Network on a paper in Science Ecosystem services lost to oil and gas in North America. This is the introductory paragraph of the report:

Fossil fuel prospectors have sunk 50,000 new wells a year since 2000 in three Canadian provinces and 11 US states, and have damaged the foundation of all economic growth: net primary production − otherwise known as biomass, or vegetation.

The paper itself makes explicit what the underlying process is, namely,

the space and infrastructure required for horizontal drilling and high-volume hydrolic fracturing are transforming millions of hectares of the Great Plains into industrialized landscapes, with drilling projected to continue.

We can thank our “leadership” in Congress and in the Rhode Island State House for keeping their lead feet firmly planted on the gas, as the globe careens—fossil-fueled by shale gas and oil—on the meth bridge to nowhere. Will they be the heroes or the villains of future history or will history be history?

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