Archive for January 28th, 2011

Wimp & Sellout Watch — No. 5

January 28, 2011

While we have high hopes that the newly empowered Republican Members of Congress will make every effort to fight the socialization of America, we are also aware that the GOP has an ignominious history of wimping- and/or selling-out, especially on environmental issues. Wimp & Sellout Watch is GreenHellBlog’s effort to spotlight the GOP’s weak links because:

In the 112th Congress, it should take more courage for GOP-ers to retreat than to advance.

Today’s update on potential wimps and sellouts to watch:

Rep. Fred Upton. Here’s yet another reason to worry about whether House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton is truly committed to blocking the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. Carbon Control News reported this morning that:

… while publicly calling for a more permanent approach [to EPA regulation, … Fred Upton] would support a two-year delay. “He takes it and act [sic] like it’s medicine but really he’s happy because the last thing he wants to do is have a 2012 campaign where this is an overhang.”

The source of this comment, according to CCN, is an aide to Sen Lisa Murkowski.

If this comment is accurate, then Upton only sees the EPA controversy as a potential personal political problem, not the threat to our economy and standard of living that it is.

According to the CCN report, Murkowski believes a two-year delay in EPA regulation is too little and too late because she…

… is concerned that simply revoking EPA’s GHG authority might not be enough to address states that have changed laws or revised Clean Air Act state implementation plans (SIPs) to implement EPA GHG rules. Further, EPA has issued federal implementation plans (FIPs) to take over GHG permitting in several states. Both SIPs and FIPs are federally enforceable under the Clean Air Act and their requirements have been upheld by judges even if other laws or rules contained differing requirements.

Sen. Ron Paul. Politico reported today that,

Paul so far is at least keeping his powder dry on a “clean energy standard” that Obama highlighted in his State of the Union Tuesday night. Obama called for 80 percent of U.S. electricity to come from “clean energy” sources by 2035 – including traditional renewable sources like wind and solar but also natural gas and Republican favorites nuclear and “clean coal.”

“I need to see more about it frankly before I can comment on it,” Paul said Thursday. “Let’s think about it and look at the specific proposal.”

We didn’t know that Rand Paul needed to “see more” about energy rent-seeking to oppose it. What kind of libertarian is he? Is Washington D.C. house-breaking him?

Sen. Rob Portman. Portman made Wimp & Sellout Watch — No.2 because of concerns for his “moderate” tendencies and his close friendship with anti-nuclear NRDC activist Dan Reicher. Politico reported today that,

A Portman spokesman said in an email that he wanted to be on the energy panel “because of the potential OH jobs tied to commonsense energy legislation that would spur growth in nuclear energy … clean coal, and natural gas production.”

Not only is “clean coal” a pipedream, it implies the demonization of carbon dioxide emissions, carbon caps and rent-seeking.

Don’t forget to check out previous editions of Wimp & Sellout Watch:

  • No. 4 — Spotlighting Rep. Fred Upton.
  • No. 3 — Spotlighting Rep. Mike Simpson.
  • No. 2 — Spotlighting Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rob Portman.
  • No. 1 — Spotlighting Sens. Chuck Grassley, Rob Portman, Lindsey Graham and Scott Brown, and Rep. Fred Upton.

Electric cars and cold weather don’t mix

January 28, 2011

From Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane:

Count me among the many thousands of Washington area residents who spent Wednesday night stuck in traffic as a snowstorm sowed chaos all around us. Being car-bound in sub-freezing weather for six hours can make a guy think. I counted my blessings. The situation could have been worse, I realized: My fellow commuters and I could have been trying to make it home in electric cars, like the ones President Obama is constantly promoting, most recently in his State of the Union address.

It is a basic fact of physical science that batteries run down more quickly in cold weather than they do in warm weather, and the batteries employed by vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf or the Chevy Volt are no exception.

The exact loss of power these cars would suffer is a matter of debate, partly because no one has much real-world experience to draw on. But there would be some loss. Running the heater to stay warm, or the car radio to stay informed, would drain the battery further.

Here’s how thecarelectric.com, a pro-electric Web site, candidly summarized the matter:

“All batteries deliver their power via a chemical reaction inside the battery that releases electrons. When the temperature drops the chemical reactions happen more slowly and the battery cannot produce the same current that it can at room temperature. A change of ten degrees can sap 50% of a battery’s output. In some situations the chemical reactions will happen so slowly and give so little power that the battery will appear to be dead when in fact if it is warmed up it will go right back to normal output. . . .

“In a car where all power is supplied by a battery pack you can see where this would be a problem. The batteries don’t produce as much power so the car has less power. The batteries also have to work harder so the effective range of the car is also significantly reduced. Charge time will also be longer. Cold has a negative impact on all aspects of battery operation.”

“Alongside the negative impact on the batteries cold also has a negative impact on the driver as well. Drivers need to be warm to operate the vehicle effectively so on top of the reduced range and power of the batteries just from the temperature they also must operate the car heater to keep you warm. This will further reduce the range of the car.

“If you live in an area where the winters get extremely cold an all-electric vehicle will have to be garaged and equipped with some kind of plug-in battery warmer for it to be effective in the coldest months of the year. Keep these thoughts in mind if you’re planning an electric car purchase; we don’t want you finding out the range of your car has been halved when it’s five below zero and you’re fifteen miles from home.”…