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Bottom Up, Top Down

June 22, 2014 in Climate Change, EV News, Oil

Richard Heinberg Photo courtesy of Post Carbon Institute

Richard Heinberg
Photo courtesy of Post Carbon Institute

By Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute

Those of us who have some grasp of the urgent dilemmas posed by climate change and peak oil face a terrible conundrum. The whole system of industrial civilization is moving toward collapse. How can we reverse course to avert an unprecedented series of crises that might entail massive human mortality and the more or less permanent crippling of planetary ecosystems? I can think of two broad strategies:

Top down. Convince the folks in charge that it’s in their interest to change directionthat is, to reorganize financial, food, transport, and manufacturing systems on a no-growth, low-carbon model. Advantage: this audience at least theoretically has the power to organize a comprehensive and rapid energy descent. Recall the rapidity with which the US re-organized its economy at the start of World War II. Disadvantages: the elites’ incentives are all in the current direction of growth-at-any-cost, many of the key players remain in denial about the nature and severity of the fundamental problems facing society, and social systems are structured to eject leaders who rock the boat.

Bottom up. Convince the general public to organize a change in direction from the grassroots. Communities could self-organize to lower energy consumption, create green jobs, and localize their economies. Advantage: this avoids the authoritarianism implicit in the first strategy. Disadvantages: it’s almost impossible to reach all or most of the general public unless you have a huge megaphone (which leads us back to the Top-Down strategy), the general public does not have the capability to quickly restructure large complex systems (finance, manufacturing, transport, etc.), and most people identify their personal interests with those of the collapsing system.

Transition Initiatives are making a valiant effort at a bottom-up strategy. Various prominent environmentalists have pursued a top-down strategy (most recently, PCI Fellow Bill Rees has published an important paper titled “Avoiding Collapse,” a last-ditch effort to awaken global policy makers).

It’s not at all clear that either strategy will succeed. If anyone can think of a third broad strategic approach, there are lots of us who would be keen to know of it.

Meanwhile, the least helpful thing I can think of to do right now is to identify with either the Top Down or the Bottom Up approach and then attack people pursuing the complementary strategy. Of course, tactics within these broad categories are always up for discussion and it’s fair to point out instances of incompetence in the application of tactics. But if we do have a chance at averting the worst forms of societal and ecosystem collapse, that chance probably lies in cooperation among actors pursuing different but complementary strategies.

This article is a repost (6-20-14), credit: Post Carbon Institute.

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California Investing Millions to Build Hundreds of EV Charging Stations

June 20, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, San Francisco

Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Brown

Photo courtesy of Office of Governor Brown

SACRAMENTO – The California Energy Commission approved funding for cutting-edge clean energy projects at its monthly business meeting yesterday, including money for hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations, an innovative natural gas fuel tank, and emerging but proven technologies that are ready for the marketplace.

Electric Vehicle Fueling Infrastructure

To continue building the infrastructure needed to charge California’s growing number of electric vehicles, the Energy Commission approved 15 grants totaling more than $5 million to install 475 electric vehicle chargers in communities throughout California, including the cities of San Francisco, Burbank, Torrance and San Diego and the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles. These grants are funded by the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP).

“The Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program continues to support California’s goal of 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025,” said Commissioner Janea A. Scott. “These community investments assist in building the network of charging stations needed, and help accelerate growth in the electric vehicle market.”

Natural Gas Advancements

To develop and demonstrate an advanced natural gas storage tank for light-duty vehicles, the Energy Commission approved a $1.2 million contract with BlackPak, Inc, funded by the Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) natural gas program. BlackPak plans to build a storage system from carbon materials that will allow natural gas to be stored at a lower pressure. The system would reduce complexity and cost. The material can be easily formed into a range of shapes, allowing designers to integrate the storage system into a vehicle’s design without sacrificing passenger space. The award provides financial support to develop a prototype of the technology, building upon funding provided by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) for early research and development. The Commission also approved PIER grants to develop natural gas plug-in hybrid vehicles to Transportation Power Inc., Efficient Drivetrains Inc., and Gas Technology Institute for $900,000 each.

“Developing alternative and cleaner transportation fuels and technologies are essential if California is to achieve its long term greenhouse gas reduction goals” said Chair Robert B. Weisenmiller “Our federal partners, including ARPA-E, are key players in advancing these initiatives.”

Emerging Technologies

The Energy Commission approved $4.4 million in PIER grants for proposals demonstrating emerging energy efficiency technologies that are past the “proof-of-concept” stage and ready to be demonstrated in an industrial setting under “real-world” conditions. Grants include funds for:

  • A novel infrared technology for dry blanching fruits and vegetables on a commercial scale that is up to 40 percent more energy efficient compared to methods currently used to produce crisp fruit and vegetable snacks.
  • A filtration system for wastewater treatment that uses a chemical reaction instead of the current energy-intensive processes.
  • A combustion system that uses an energy-efficient low-swirl burner that can switch between natural gas, propane and biogas in real time — which could make use of biogas from small source generators economically viable.

Also approved at the business meeting:

  • Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System: A $2.3 million loan for South El Monte to install solar PV systems at city-owned facilities. Each year, the project is expected to produce a million kilowatts of electricity, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save the city approximately $135,000 in utility expenses. The loan is funded by the Energy Conservation Assistance Act.
  • Biodiesel: A $5 million ARFVTP grant was approved for Crimson Renewable Energy. The money will be used to upgrade equipment at its existing facility and increase biodiesel production from 17 million gallons to 22 million gallons a year.
  • Alternative Fuel Readiness Plans: The Commission also approved two more ARFVTP projects to help various regions of the State develop strategies for the deployment of alternative fuel infrastructure.

View all items that were on the June business meeting agenda.

This article is a repost (6-19-14), credit: CEC.

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Formula E – Donington Park shakedown

June 20, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV enthusiast, EV News, FIA Formula E

Video courtesy of Formula E.

Photo courtesy of Formula E

Photo courtesy of Formula E

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SFO Hosts Clean Vehicle Event

June 19, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, San Francisco, Sustainable San Francisco

Airport highlights clean vehicle infrastructure, announces high-speed charging stations for EVs

Photo courtesy of San Francisco International Airport

Photo courtesy of San Francisco International Airport

SAN FRANCISCO – June 19, 2014 – The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) today announced the latest enhancement to its Clean Vehicle infrastructure, outlining plans to install four high-speed electric vehicle (EV) chargers at the Airport’s Cell Phone Lot.  The 480-volt “fast-chargers”, which can fully charge most EVs in about 30 minutes, were made possible by a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), who will supply the units to SFO.

“We are proud to be an industry leader in Clean Vehicle policy,” said Chief Operating Officer Ivar Satero. “We have achieved this through strong partnerships with the California Energy Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, and the San Francisco Department of the Environment. The acquisition of high-speed charging stations is yet another example of this support, and gives our electric vehicle users added incentive to make SFO their airport of choice.”

SFO announced its Clean Vehicle Policy in 2000, outlining a goal to achieve 100% clean air vehicles in specific fleets through regulations and a program of incentives that encourages operators to purchase clean air vehicles such as vans, taxis and hotel courtesy shuttles. To date, nearly 5,000 clean air vehicles operate at SFO. Additional improvements include the creation of the AirTrain light rail system, which eliminated 600 daily round-trip bus runs around the Airport. For more information on the Airport’s Clean Vehicle Policy, visit:

About San Francisco International Airport 

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 34 international cities on 29 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with 78 cities in the U.S. on 15 domestic airlines. SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow us on and

This article is a repost, credit: SFO.

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Harley-Davidson Reveals Project Livewire™, The First Electric Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

June 19, 2014 in Electric Motorcycle, Electric Vehicles, EV News

Image courtesy of Harley Davidson

Image courtesy of Harley Davidson

H-D Invites Consumers to Ride, React and Shape the Future of this New Bike

MILWAUKEE – Innovation, meet heritage. Today, Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) reveals Project LiveWire – the first Harley-Davidson® electric motorcycle.

In keeping with the company’s customer-led product development approach, starting next week select consumers across the country will be able to ride and provide feedback on the bike, helping to shape the future of Harley-Davidson’s first-ever electric motorcycle.

While not for sale, Project LiveWire is specifically designed for the purpose of getting insight into rider expectations of an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.”

Spurred by this heritage, the Project LiveWire Experience invites customers to test ride, provide feedback and learn more about the story of the motorcycle. Even those who don’t yet ride will have the opportunity to feel the power of Project LiveWire through Jumpstart – a simulated riding experience.

A 2014 U.S. tour – kicking off with a journey down Route 66 – will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships now through the end of the year. In 2015, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the U.S. and expand into Canada and Europe.

“This builds on many recent reinvention successes for Harley-Davidson.” said Levatich. “In just the last few years, we’ve broadened our reach to serve an increasingly diverse society, as well as reinvented our approach to product development and manufacturing. This has resulted in cutting-edge products like the recently launched Project Rushmore touring bikes, Harley-Davidson Street 500 and 750 models and this reveal of Project LiveWire.”

An Innovative Approach to Advance the Possibilities of Personal Freedom

This exciting new ride blends the company’s styling heritage with the latest technology to deliver a new expression of the signature Harley-Davidson look, sound and feel.

“Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar – not an electric car,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “It’s an expression of individuality and iconic style that just happens to be electric. Project LiveWire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand.”

The bike offers a visceral riding experience with tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.

“The sound is a distinct part of the thrill,” said Richer. “Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”

Longer term plans for retail availability of Project LiveWire will be influenced by feedback from riders along the Project Livewire Experience tour.

“We offer a no excuses riding experience in everything we do and we are led by what our customers tell us matters most,” said Richer. “Because electric vehicle technology is evolving rapidly, we are excited to learn more from riders through the Project LiveWire Experience to fully understand the definition of success in this market as the technology continues to evolve.”

Helping Preserve and Renew the Freedom to Ride for Generations

As riding in the great outdoors is one of the best elements of motorcycling, sustainability remains a core strategic focus at Harley-Davidson.

“Preserving the riding environment is important to all of us,” said Levatich. “Project LiveWire is just one element in our efforts to preserve and renew the freedom to ride for generations to come. As a company that has seen success for 111 years, we think in generational terms about our great riding environments for the next 111 years.”

Fans can learn more about Project LiveWire, as well as specific dates and locations for Project LiveWire Experience stops at Harley-Davidson also invites anyone who is interested in the possibilities of the future to follow and engage with the company on its social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson’s website at

This article is a repost, credit: Harley Davidson.

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Murphy, Corker Unveil Bipartisan Plan to Shore Up Highway Trust Fund, Boost Economic Growth

June 18, 2014 in EV News, Oil, Politics

Highway Account Courtesy of USDOT

Highway Account
Courtesy of USDOT

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today unveiled the first bipartisan proposal to shore up the Highway Trust Fund by making changes to the federal motor fuels tax, which funds improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems. The proposal would create a long-term, stable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund and enact tax relief for American families and businesses.

“For too long, Congress has shied away from taking serious action to update our country’s aging infrastructure,” said Senator Murphy. “We’re currently facing a transportation crisis that will only get worse if we don’t take bold action to fund the Highway Trust Fund. By modestly raising the federal gas tax, we can address a crippling economic liability for this country—the inability to finance long-term improvements to our crumbling national infrastructure. I know raising the gas tax isn’t an easy choice, but we’re not elected to make easy decisions – we’re elected to make the hard ones. This modest increase will pay dividends in the long run and I encourage my colleagues to get behind this bipartisan proposal.”

“Growing up in Tennessee as a conservative, I learned that if something was important enough to have, it was important enough to pay for. That’s how we’ve governed in the Volunteer State, which has resulted in the second best transportation system in the country without having one penny of road debt,” said Corker. “In Washington, far too often, we huff and puff about paying for proposals that are unpopular, yet throw future generations under the bus when public pressure mounts on popular proposals that have broad support. Congress should be embarrassed that it has played chicken with the Highway Trust Fund and allowed it to become one of the largest budgeting failures in the federal government. If Americans feel that having modern roads and bridges is important then Congress should have the courage to pay for it.”

The federal Highway Trust Fund provides more than half of the country’s spending on transportation projects and will begin to run dry in July, likely halting the construction of any new transportation projects without action from Congress. This will create a $50 billion hole in states’ 2015 transportation budgets and a $160 billion hole in state budgets over the next decade if left unaddressed.

The federal gas and diesel taxes, which are used to fund this account, have not been updated in over 20 years — despite the desperate need for road and bridge improvements. As a result, the purchasing power of the gas tax is approximately 63 percent of what it was in 1993, and continues to decline. A change to the federal gas tax would not only strengthen purchasing power, it would also create thousands of new jobs and allow states to invest in long-term economic development projects.

The senators’ proposal would increase the federal gasoline and diesel taxes by six cents in each of the next two years for a total of 12 cents. This would provide enough funding to offset current MAP-21 spending levels over the next 10 years and replace all of the buying power the federal gas tax has lost since it was last raised in 1993.

The plan would index the gas tax to inflation, using the Consumer Price Index (CPI), to ensure that it remains viable into the future.

To offset the revenue raised from increasing the gas tax to pay for roads and transportation projects, Murphy and Corker propose providing net tax relief for American families and businesses. Examples of tax relief could include: permanently extending some of the tax provisions in the “tax extenders” bill that already have broad, bipartisan support, creating potentially billions of dollars in permanent tax relief for American families and businesses over the next 10 years alone; or another bipartisan proposal to reduce taxes by at least the amount of revenue raised from the gas tax over the next decade.

Historically, this proposal has received bipartisan support. Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George H.W. Bush all raised the gas tax in order to fund the Highway Trust Fund and make infrastructure improvements.

Former Governor and Co-Chair of Building America’s Future Ed Rendell said, “Instead of sitting on their hands as they watch America’s roads and bridges further deteriorate, Senator Murphy and Senator Corker have the courage to step up and offer a real solution. Building America’s Future calls on Congress to follow the Senators’ lead and act decisively to prevent the Highway Trust Fund from going bankrupt. Without more revenue, the Trust Fund will run out of money in August and thousands of critical projects will be cancelled or delayed all over the country and nearly 600,000 jobs could be lost. This would be a major hit to America’s economy and cannot be allowed to happen. This is a time for real leadership and Senators Murphy and Corker have answered that call.”

“A well-designed, modern infrastructure enables the business activity that leads to economic growth, which is exactly why predictable, sustainable, growing sources of revenue are needed to support the federal Highway Trust Fund,” said Janet Kavinoky, executive director of Transportation and Infrastructure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We thank Senator Murphy and Senator Corker for their proposal that will generate a constructive conversation in finding a way to fund the investment necessary for our highways, highway safety, and public transportation.”

James T. Callahan, General President of the International Union of Operating Engineers said, “The Operating Engineers appreciate the work Senators Murphy and Corker have done to forge a bi-partisan proposal that secures critically important funding for our nation’s transportation infrastructure. A long-term funding solution brings certainty to transportation planners and the construction industry, while securing hundreds of thousands of family wage jobs for construction workers. Dedicated, multi-year funding is the only solution if we are to rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges the right way. No more quick fixes. No more temporary patches. We urge every lawmaker to support this proposal and to move swiftly before the Highway Trust Fund runs dry.”

“Our transportation network is key to the long-term economic competitiveness and growth of our cities, towns, and suburbs,” said John Robert Smith, Chairman of Transportation 4 America and former Mayor of Meridian, Mississippi. “Communities across the country are stepping up and raising additional revenue to meet their transportation challenges but cannot solve these needs alone. With the Highway Trust Fund set to become insolvent as soon as next month, Senator Murphy and Senator Corker’s proposal takes the important step of ensuring communities will have a strong, reliable federal partner as they invest in their economic future.”

“Americans are willing to pay a little more if it means they will have access to better roads, bridges and transit systems,” said Bob Darbelnet, AAA President and CEO. “It is time for our nation’s leaders to stand with Senator Murphy, Senator Corker and others that support improving our country’s transportation system.”

To read more about the Murphy-Corker proposal, click here.

Mass Transit Account Courtesy of USDOT

Mass Transit Account
Courtesy of USDOT

This article is a repost, credit: Senator Murphy.

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Ocean Acidification, By US State Department

June 18, 2014 in Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Pollution

Oceans regulate our climate and our weather. They are essential for cycling water, carbon, and nutrients. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, the oceans have absorbed nearly 30 percent of human generated carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As carbon dioxide mixes with ocean water, the water becomes more acidic — today, the oceans are 30 percent more acidic than they were before the Industrial Revolution. Even more troubling is that the chemistry of the oceans is changing 10 times faster than at any other time in the past 50 million years, making it challenging for organisms to adapt to these new conditions at the same rate.

More acidic oceans will have broad and significant impacts on marine ecosystems, the services they provide, and the coastal economies which depend on them. In addition to decreasing our carbon emissions, it is critical that we understand the process of ocean acidification and its impacts. A necessary first step toward developing a better understanding is to monitor and measure the ocean to learn what changes are occurring and when. This requires a network of scientists around the world collecting, organizing, and analyzing data on ocean acidification — a global ocean “vital signs” monitoring network focused specifically on ocean acidification and its effects on ocean health. A new and growing Global Monitoring Network for Ocean Acidification is starting to be developed and will require strategically placed monitoring equipment and trained personnel to be effective and help us to understand and respond to this growing problem.

Ocean acidification is one of the three topics — along with sustainable fisheries and marine pollution – discussed at the U.S. Department of State’s Our Ocean Conference. Learn more about these issues and the conference at

President Barack Obama, with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, center, talks with EPA staff members who worked on the power-plant emissions standards, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) Courtesy of White House

President Barack Obama, with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, center, talks with EPA staff members who worked on the power-plant emissions standards, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Courtesy of White House

For more information:

  • Read the “Our Ocean” Conference Agenda for June 17, and watch the live webcast of events on
  • Join Secretary of State John Kerry and Bill Nye “The Science Guy” for a Twitter Q&A at 10:00 a.m. EDT on June 17.
  • Follow the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental, and Scientific Affairs (OES) on Twitter, and like OES on Facebook.

This article is a repost (6-17-14), credit: State Department. Video courtesy of State Department.