On Wednesday, September 23, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom of California issued an executive order that announced California would require all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state to be Zero-Emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035.
It’s imperative that we all switch from internal combustion engines to electric cars for several compelling reasons. The most important is that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions enough to save the planet depends upon it. But what’s particularly exciting is: we can magnify the benefits of EVs by managing when we charge them.
Last month, we predicted that summer temperatures might drive high demand — high enough to cause a peak day! Indeed, despite the depressive effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on regional electricity demand, weeks that saw 90+ degree days across New England were enough for us to call peaks on July 20th, 27th, and 28th. A peak electricity demand day is a day on which extreme weather (usually hot temperatures) leads to a spike in electricity demand; these spikes are associated with more expensive and polluting electricity than usual.
It is mid-June 2020 and another day of unrest in America. As I scan the news, I learn that the environment has been under attack. Again. President Trump recently signed an executive order to dismantle the process requiring environmental reviews of large infrastructure projects, including oil and gas pipelines. I also learn that the administration is proposing restrictions that would further weaken air pollution controls. As I dig more, I find out that it could get a lot worse for clean water too.
Sadly, I am not surprised. It has been 4 years of chipping away at environmental protections; it’s a long list covering everything under the sun, from vehicle efficiency standards to wildlife protection. I shut down my laptop and step outside. I need fresh air.
Last month, we covered some of the impacts that COVID-19 and the resulting stay-at-home orders have had on our electric grid. This month, the pandemic has continued to drive low electricity demand and record low electricity prices. Even better, low demand and higher than ever solar production has led to a greener grid. But as temperatures rise and stay-at-home orders relax this summer, can we expect low demand, prices, and emissions to continue?
For over one hundred years, the fossil fuels we’ve spewed into the sky have wreaked havoc on the planet. We can say with equal certitude that for over four hundred years, institutional racism has wreaked havoc on people of color.
Tags: Climate change
Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Electric Vehicles
In a recent post, we refreshed the notion of why driving an electric car is a better choice for the environment, even in areas that rely on fossil fuels for most of their electricity generation: in one word, efficiency. An electric vehicle is 3-4 times better at converting energy to miles driven compared to a combustion engine. In New England, the average electric car emits 73% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than a gasoline car on a per-mile basis. The emission reductions are even greater in the Massachusetts communities – and soon Rhode Island communities – that have adopted the model of green municipal aggregation.
Furthermore, a recent European study has concluded that electric cars are a better option for climate in 95% of the world already on a lifecycle basis, which includes manufacturing and end-of-life processes. While battery production certainly has environmental impact, there is a growing number of applications to give batteries a second life, turning a conundrum into opportunity, further reducing waste.
Editor’s Preface: Paola Massoli has been working as a research analyst on our advocacy team. Paola has a PhD In Atmospheric Science and is finishing up a master’s degree in Sustainability & Environment. Recently she has been thinking about lessons we might be able to learn from COVID-19 that could prepare us better to tackle the climate crisis.
Tags: Climate change
Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which is celebrated worldwide to remind us of how important it is to take care of our planet.
In those days, it seemed like there was some awakening. A few months after the first Earth Day, Neil Young released the song, After the Gold Rush, with its great line – “Look at Mother Nature on the run / In the 1970s”. Activism, set to music, would surely result in long-lasting change, right?
Tags: Climate change
Have you been hearing from "green" electricity suppliers like CleanChoice Energy? You might want to support renewable energy, but are skeptical if your money will actually go toward shifting our electricity away from fossil fuels.
This is a valid concern, and (because of our awesome Green Powered electricity program) one we hear often. That's why we address it pretty regularly on our blog.