American Elephants

Sometimes This Climate Change Stuff Gets So Silly All You Can Do is Laugh by The Elephant's Child


Even when the President is off on vacation golf courses, he prepares his Weekly Address in advance. This week he returned to what he conceives to be the most urgent challenge of our time:

When I took office, I said this was something we couldn’t kick down the road any longer – that our children’s future depended on our action.  So we got to work, and over the past seven-and-a-half years, we’ve made ambitious investments in clean energy, and ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions.  We’ve multiplied wind power threefold.  We’ve multiplied solar power more than thirtyfold.  In parts of America, these clean power sources are finally cheaper than dirtier, conventional power.  And carbon pollution from our energy sector is at its lowest level in 25 years, even as we’re continuing to grow our economy.

We’ve invested in energy efficiency, and we’re slashing carbon emissions from appliances, homes, and businesses – saving families money on their energy bills.  We’re reforming how we manage federal coal resources, which supply roughly 40% of America’s coal.  We’ve set the first-ever national standards limiting the amount of carbon pollution power plants can release into the sky.

We also set standards to increase the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas every year through 2025.  And they’re working.  At a time when we’ve seen auto sales surge, manufacturers are innovating and bringing new technology to market faster than expected.  Over 100 cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks on the market today already meet our vehicles standards ahead of schedule.  And we’ve seen a boom in the plug-in electric vehicle market – with more models, lower battery costs, and more than 16,000 charging stations.

Late last month, the EPA said they were on track to meet the goals the Obama administration put out in 2012. They call for car manufacturers to produce fleets of vehicles that average 54.5 miles per gallon. An “average”—so if they make some gas-guzzling trucks, they need to sell a lot of hybrids to make up the difference. it also includes credits for more efficient air conditioning systems.  So it’s more like 40 miles per gallon. But nobody has any way of knowing because the EPA’s tests to make sure the car companies are hitting their CAFE numbers don’t work, at all.

The 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act specifies that “the Administrator shall use the same procedures for passenger automobiles the Administrator used for model year 1975.” In other words: When it comes to enforcing the only law that demands cars get better for consumers’ wallets and lungs, the EPA tests like your grandfather.

The president worries about carbon, but he’s talking about carbon dioxide (CO2) which is a natural fertilizer for plants — all plants including trees and food crops. The slight increase in CO2 in the atmosphere has meant a greening of the earth, which in turn has meant that famine and starvation are mostly ended — except in today’s Venezuela, where they really are starving.


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So our LFBiC (Leader-From-Behind-in-Chief), the supposed constitutional scholar and legal expert who has time and again shown himself to be rather a dolt on those subjects once again waxes eloquent on a subject that he probably learned all he knows of from reading a couple articles in Time and Mother Jones. And showing his famous honesty (“If you like your plan…”) in the process.

For example, let’s take a quick look at those CAFE standards. In one of the finest examples of innovation by government fiat, there’s some evidence that the standards did what they were supposed to do… in the beginning; Auto manufacturers were forced into improving the fuel consumption rates of their cars. The government (Democrats, mostly) like to claim this was all the government’s doing, but there were quite a few market forces at work, too. Rising gas prices and fuel shortages at the time, as well as the introduction of smaller Japanese imports into the US market, spurred manufacturers to get creative. Some successes (the Escort) and some failures (the Pinto) were the direct result. However. CAFE then, as now, was riddled with loopholes. The standards measured fleet consumption across a manufacturers entire product line. But in order to meet the standard, automakers didn’t have to actually MAKE the cars they sold under their brand. This is the reason behind those Detroit-Japan partnership S you saw a lot of (Ford and Isuzu, Chrysler and Mitsubishi, GM and Suzuki and Toyota, etc.). It was simple; Mitsubishi made a car, Dodge slapped their brand on it (the Dodge Colt), and voila! CAFE standards were met. This is just one example.

Another loophole was that automakers didn’t have to actually sell the vehicles. If you recall the EV1, made by GM in the late 90’s, is an example of this. The car, which looked like a relative of the cars from the Woody Allen movie “Sleeper”, was an all electric car that was leased to the general public as a “real-world engineering experiment”. After three years, GM cancelled all of the leases and took them all back (despite the interest of some lessors an some collectors, no EV1 was ever sold; most were crushed, and I think the only intact one is at The Smithsonian someplace). But during the production time frame, GM claimed the mpg of the EV1 as part of the CAFE standard (I think they rated it at 105 mpg) – until they were told to stop by the government.

Innovation in the auto industry takes years. Most, if not all, of the higher gas mileage engines in cars today have been in development for decades. The trend for higher mileage, lower fuel consumption cars is ongoing, but the Obama administration (especially the EPA’s Gina McCarthy) would have you believe that it’s THEIR efforts and THEIR regulations that made it happen.


Comment by Lon Mead

You are remembering cars I had forgotten, if I ever knew about them. (My father spent years trying to explain the internal combustion engine to me, and it just never took, to his disgust) Thanks for your good explanation.
Many large corporations are supporting Hillary, especially the tech industry, and the unions as well. They know she can be bought, and will side with them on H1B visas for cheap foreign labor. Then there are all the billionaires who are profiting from federal subsidies — Tom Steyer, Elon Musk.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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