- Demand for Tesla Motors’ new lower-priced electric car surprised even the company’s CEO Friday as 198,000 people plunked down $US1,000 ($1302) deposits to reserve their vehicles.
The orders came from across the globe even though the car isn’t scheduled for sale until late in 2017.
That was $7.5 billion worth in the first day it went on sale.
There’s a cautionary note at Deutsche Welle:
- After more than a decade of operation without a single year-end profit, Tesla is at a make-or-break moment with its Model 3, an all-in bet on the future of electric vehicles. If it doesn’t work out, the company seems unlikely to survive. But in any case, Musk’s ultimate goal – bringing forward the EV revolution – looks sure to live on.
Some experts on the BBC the other night put Tesla’s chances of survival at less than 50%. But the concept has arrived and others will soon be making competitive electric cars.
The Greens are arguing for concessions to encourage purchase, including waiving stamp duty and access to bus lanes. Here’s a graphic of what other countries do:
2. Redflow takes on Tesla Powerwall with ZCell home battery
Redflow uses zinc–bromine flow technology rather than lithium iron. The main advantages are that it can discharge power more rapidly, can empty right out, doesn’t overheat, lasts longer and is recyclable. With ZCell you get 10kWh for between $17,500 and $19,500, compared to Powerwall around $9350 for 7kWh.
Neither is yet a decent money-saving proposition. Redflow is banking on well-off people with a conscience to get the market established.
3. Antarctic melting will push sea levels higher than previously thought
- Antarctica has the potential to contribute more than a metre of sea-level rise by 2100 and more than 15 metres by 2500, if emissions continue unabated. In this case atmospheric warming will soon become the dominant driver of ice loss, but prolonged ocean warming will delay its recovery for thousands of years.
At Climate Central our John Church was a bit cautious, but positive towards the paper, saying the projections were not unrealistic. NASA scientist Eric Rignot said the projections were “absolutely realistic.”
Rignot said James Hansen’s alarming paper, now revised, where he was a joint author, was a worst case scenario.
On 8 February Carbon Brief reported on two studies on ice sheet melting that give no joy. One, for example, looks at the implications of the IPCC RCP4.5 scenario (see Figure 1 of this post – it involves emissions of 538ppm). It sees sea levels of 25 metres eventually, with this warning:
- Approximately 1.3bn people today – 19% of the global population – live in coastal areas less than 25m above sea level, the paper notes.
These estimates are conservative. As I pointed out in Scoping long-term sea level rise paleoclimate evidence indicates that 380 (360-400)ppm gives a temperature variance of 2.7 to 3.7°C and SLR of 25m (±5).
4. Arctic sea ice record
The winter Arctic sea ice extent maximum is the lowest on record:
- The maximum extent is 1.12 million square kilometers (431,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles) and 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 square miles) below the previous lowest maximum that occurred last year.
January and February have been exceptionally warm. This chart is an attempt to represent how much freezing has been going on:
As you can see this year has dropped off the chart.
- This winter, that warmth reached astounding levels, with air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean ranging from 4°F to 11°F (2°C to 6°C) above average in nearly every region.
This has set us up for a record summer low, but doesn’t by any means ensure it.
Nearly $1 trillion (£700bn) is being invested in new coal-fired power plants worldwide despite the fact that the demand for electricity generated from coal has declined for two years in a row, shows a new report released today.
- Last year the global power sector added at least 84 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power capacity. This is a 25 percent increase from 2014.
As the report explains, across the world a generating capacity equal to 1,500 coal plants is either in construction or in various stages of planning. The amount of capital potentially wasted on these plants comes to US$981 billion.
Yet, the average coal plant is running fewer and fewer hours each year.
- 11GW of thermal capacity is lying idle. Last year saw the first drop in India’s annual coal power installations since 2006 and the report expects this the drop “to be even more pronounced” in 2016.
In this context the Queensland Government has approved mining leases for the $21.7 billion Carmichael coal mine and rail project in the Galilee Basin, a move termed “morally bankrupt”. Seems Adani will not finally make an investment decision until the two current court cases are resolved. That will take a while and sense may finally prevail.
6. Giant new step in biofuels!
- The plant will use biomass material such as sugarcane bagasse and possibly prickly acacia as feedstock for the production of bio crude oil, which will then be distilled into saleable kerosene and diesel products.
The US and Australian navies are involved.
I can only find good news. Does anyone have reservations?