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Hydrogen is Big Oil’s Last Grand Scam 

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By Alex Grant, Principal, Jade Cove Partners, San Francisco, USA, & Paul Martin, Chemical Process Development Expert, Toronto, Canada

Exxon first correctly identified combustion of their hydrocarbon products as the cause of future catastrophic climate change as early as 1977.¹ But for decades, Exxon successfully ensured that their investors and the world’s governments would not know what they knew. Exxon, and other fossil fuel companies, waged a multi-generational information war of spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) about climate science and new energy technology so that the market for their hydrocarbon products would not contract.², ³ It was the same playbook used by the tobacco industry to prevent cigarette regulations, which was sometimes operationalized by the same lobbyists.4, 5, 6

Meanwhile, climate has changed, and it will continue to rapidly change away from the slow dynamic equilibrium that we took for granted when we built a planetary civilization, unless we stop using the atmosphere as a free CO2 disposal facility. Many of our lives will be worsened by climate change, some of them will be lost, and we know exactly who caused it and let it happen. The fossil fuel industry’s unquestionable multi-generational FUD campaign has allowed them to scam trillions of dollars out of us while they desecrated the global commons. The smoky skies of Russia, California, and Australia are both a testament and a vision of the future if we don’t transition to a low-carbon energy system.7

We can transition if we electrify everything. Electrical energy can be used to perform most of the operations required to make a technological world spin. Electricity can be produced using wind turbines, solar panels, and hydroelectric dams, emitting on average less than 30 gCO2/kWh compared to methane’s 400 gCO2/kWh and coal’s 1,000 gCO2/kWh. That low-carbon electricity can be stored in batteries or in pumped hydro to operate electronics, vehicles, houses, communities, industries, and entire countries.8, 9

Today, markets for solar power, wind power, batteries, and electric vehicles (EVs) are growing rapidly because they have been demonstrated to be extremely cheap at scale. As of 2020, solar is the cheapest energy humans have ever harnessed,10 to the extent that it is economical to “waste” large quantities of it (which, as a reminder, we already do if we don’t capture it with solar panels).11 Wind power is following a similar cost decline, and in some cases, pairs well with solar’s intermittency profile. Meanwhile, lithium-ion batteries are successfully stabilizing entire grids that are powered by solar and wind.12, 13, 14

Financial markets have realized the opportunity for these technologies to create significant value. As investors were locked inside with their children for most of 2020, they came to appreciate the importance of the transition to a low-carbon energy system to their own offspring’s future.15 The value of equities exposed to electrification and decarbonization took off like rocket ships, while the value of equities exposed to the old energy system tanked. The most exceptional market story of 2020 was the increase of Tesla’s market capitalization. By the end of the year, it was more valuable than ExxonMobil, and as valuable as all of the world’s incumbent auto manufacturers combined.16

In 2020, there was also a fair share of conversation about hydrogen’s role in the new energy system. Historically, a vision of a “hydrogen economy” has interested technologists, where hydrogen could be produced by splitting water electrochemically, then recombined with oxygen in the air to make water again, releasing useful energy in the process. It was thought that this could be applied to ground transport, aviation, or stationary energy storage. A decade ago, EVs powered by lithium-ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were seen as competing solutions for decarbonizing ground transport. However, EVs have scaled up, have been enthusiastically adopted, and are now being deployed rapidly by Tesla and other auto manufacturers, while the same has not occurred for fuel cell vehicles. So why did hydrogen receive so much attention in 2020 when no hydrogen-powered technology company had any significant breakout, and the transition away from conventional internal combustion engine vehicles appears to strongly favor EVs?

This is a curious situation, as major fossil fuel companies have been asking governments around the world for Covid-19 stimulus funding to invest in hydrogen technology production.17 The International Energy Agency poses the hydrogen opportunity as: “There have been false starts for hydrogen in the past; this time could be different. The recent successes of solar PV, wind, batteries, and electric vehicles have shown that policy and technology innovation have the power to build global clean energy industries.”18 But why exactly could this time be different for hydrogen, just because EVs have been so wildly successful? What logic justifies this conceptual leap?

If anything, the success of lithium-ion batteries and EVs shows that hydrogen is not needed in many places where it was previously proposed, with batteries being deployed in both trucks and small aircraft, long contemplated as sure-fire market segments for hydrogen.19 If batteries have captured most of these market segments for energy technology, then why do we need hydrogen? Hydrogen proponents again and again make a “cleantech adjacency argument” for the fuel: they believe that the success of batteries in various applications justifies investment in hydrogen, but there is no obvious logic for this conceptual leap, since batteries appear to be winning. Fossil fuel companies have employed the cleantech adjacency argument more aggressively than almost any other industry.20 

Because hydrogen is similar to methane (both are gases that release heat when reacted with oxygen), it allows oil companies to re-purpose some of their petrochemical infrastructure for the new energy economy and leverage historic technical expertise. Hydrogen is more interesting to oil companies than batteries, because they know better how to control it using existing infrastructure and technical experience. But do oil companies have the same ideas about hydrogen as technologists have for decades?21

To dissect that question, let’s examine the main proposed pathways for producing hydrogen. Below is a schematic of the different ways that hydrogen can be made from different feedstocks. In popular discourse, these hydrogen products are differentiated by color signifiers. In 2019, 95% of hydrogen was brown and black (from methane and coal), and this has not changed significantly in the last year.22, 23, 24

Blue and green hydrogen appear to be compelling opportunities to assist with decarbonization by transporting energy around as hydrogen and releasing it where it is needed. Green hydrogen has been a passion project of technologists since the 1970s, but has historically not been able to economically compete with brown and black hydrogen because electrolyzer technologies that enable it are not mass-manufactured, thus are too capital intense.25

Though hydrogen is certainly needed to make chemicals like ammonia which we depend on for fertilizer, there are a number of technical issues with the various visions of using hydrogen as an energy technology. Some of these include: 

  1. Methane leakage is a huge problem with methane extraction and transport. In blue hydrogen schemes, this problem is not included in the scope drawn by fossil fuel companies. For context, standards for methane emissions from US infrastructure are so bad that France recently rejected more American fracked methane from being sold in Europe.26, 27
  2. Hydrogen cannot be substituted into parts of the methane pipeline network at high concentrations because it embrittles the materials that those pipes are made of. This means that significant infrastructure would need to be built to move hydrogen around, which EVs don’t need because most buildings already have electricity. Low-pressure hydrogen is 4× less energy dense on a volumetric basis than methane, meaning some of the useful functions of methane pipelines cannot be replicated with hydrogen. Medium and high-pressure pipes would need to be replaced, but every compressor in the network would also need to be replaced either way, partly because the energy consumption to move it would increase by a factor of three.28, 29, 30
  3. Blue hydrogen sounds good in theory but there is a problem. It doesn’t exist. More specifically, carbon capture and storage (CCS) doesn’t meaningfully exist at commercial scale. If CCS is viable or needs to become viable, then governments should mandate all large CO2 streams (like already existing power plants and chemical operations) to use CCS. This would largely solve the climate crisis. However, fossil fuel companies do not promote mandatory CCS because they know that it would make the use of their hydrocarbon products too expensive, thus destroying their business, and accelerating the transition to non-hydrocarbon energy technologies. Further, conventional CCS in a blue hydrogen context would likely only capture upwards of 70% of the CO2, and the rest of it would be emitted unless more sophisticated processes like oxy-fuel autothermal reforming are substituted.31, 32
  4. To the extent that energy is necessary to convert water or methane into hydrogen, that energy could be converted into electricity and delivered directly to the wheels of an electric vehicle, instead of passing through an intermediate hydrogen chemical, losing energy with each conversion. For example, around 3× more wind turbines would need to be built in order to power a fuel cell vehicle fleet (~30% efficient) compared to an EV fleet (~90% efficient) just based on how much energy is lost along the way from wind to wheel. This is one reason why converting all of Europe’s vehicle fleet to hydrogen would consume more renewable power than its entire 2019 electricity demand.33
  5. There is no hydrogen transport infrastructure the same way there is a vast, global electricity transport infrastructure. According to IRENA, only 15% of hydrogen in Europe today leaves the site where it is produced, meaning it is entirely consumed at its source. This dramatically diminishes the value proposition of hydrogen-powered ground transport, and is a major reason why there is a single-digit number of fuel cell vehicles available but hundreds of EVs on the market in 2021.34

So, why is the fossil fuel industry trying to convince Covid-19 stimulus capital allocators in governments around the world to fund new hydrogen projects? O&G companies surely understand the major drawbacks of hydrogen for transport and other new energy system uses where it is currently not used. Based on technical and commercial realities, we believe that their messaging on hydrogen should be viewed as disinformation. The hydrogen story pushed by fossil fuel companies is a new chapter in their multi-generational “FUD” campaign to preserve the profitability of extracting and processing hydrocarbons, specifically methane. 

More precisely, it is a bait-and-switch scam

Most people think of green hydrogen when they think of hydrogen. But fossil fuel companies are suggesting that the “hydrogen economy” could get started out running on brown hydrogen, then switch later on to blue hydrogen, and yet later on to green hydrogen, as CCS and finally electrolyzer technology becomes less expensive. Despite the theoretical low CO2 emissions of blue hydrogen (assuming methane leaks are solved, CCS developed and paid for, hydrogen transport infrastructure developed, etc.), they know it will always be cheaper to simply dump the CO2 in the atmosphere than capture it. So, voters and investors might think they’re getting green hydrogen funded by Covid-19 relief packages, but they are actually being propositioned with polluting blue hydrogen, and will most likely end up with more brown hydrogen.

Switching later on to blue and green hydrogen does not make sense because that is not how CAPEX works. When a large project like a chemical plant or mine is built, it costs hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. The reason investors give money to build big projects is because after they pay for themselves after a couple years, investors continue earning dividends from the operation for decades. Chemical plants don’t get built for 5–10 years then switched off. They get built for 20–50 years. So, hydrogen infrastructure built in the 2020s will almost certainly continue to operate for decades. If it’s brown hydrogen, that would represent continued significant CO2 emissions that we do not have a carbon budget for. 

The relative scale of historic investments in new energy technologies by fossil fuel companies corroborates the fact that they are unlikely to scale up CCS or even solve methane leakage issues any time soon. Exxon claims to have invested around $10 billion into low carbon energy technology R&D since the year 2000, or about 0.2% of its revenue in that period.35, 36 Meanwhile, Tesla raised $12 billion in 2020 alone37 and LG Energy Solutions committed to invest $10 billion into a new battery manufacturing project in Indonesia in December 2020.38 Exxon could have been investing so much more. Its tiny commitments to technology development compared to other firms demonstrates that it has never actually cared about advancing new energy technology or reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, in 2020, a document leaked from Exxon showed that the company actually plans to continue investing in fossil fuels, and even increase emissions in the 2020s!39, 40

Exxon and most other fossil fuel companies never did, currently don’t, and never will actually care about mitigating climate change. They only care about maximizing the value of their historical assets and infrastructure to buoy market capitalizations. Asset valuation write-downs would hurt share price, so in a sense, they are fulfilling their first order fiduciary duties to their shareholders to make sure they can extract value from methane assets.41 This might seem creepy and sadistic, but it is characteristic and the incentives are clear.

When challenged on their long-term plans for hydrogen, fossil fuel companies’ cleantech adjacency arguments for hydrogen mostly crumble. For green hydrogen to flourish, we must entirely throw ourselves into it now, not later. This is necessary in order to achieve economies of scale for manufacturing electrolyzers, which will bring the cost of green hydrogen down, just as Tesla was able to bring down the cost of making EVs in the 2010s by focusing on them. Unfortunately, hydrogen lacks high value transitional markets like cellphones and laptops which were what took lithium-ion batteries from high-cost oddities to commercial scale for EVs in just two decades.

Fossil fuel companies are hardly even hiding their long-term lack of interest in green hydrogen. It would be absurd to give them a seat at the table and allow them to guide capital allocators towards brown hydrogen infrastructure buildout. Tesla did not ask incumbent auto manufactures for advice on how to make EVs. They focused on first principles technology development, forged their own way, and even eschewed conventional and historic auto-manufacturing practices so as to not be contaminated with antiquated problem-solving structures.42

If fossil fuel companies want to survive, they must create low-carbon, long-term shareholder value. There are a few ways to do this, including: 

  1. Stop wasting time and energy trying to scam the European Union and other governments into using Covid-19 relief for extending the life of methane assets.43, 44
  2. Graciously cede leadership in energy technology to batteries and renewable energy. Become chemical companies. Double down on green hydrogen for chemical processing like ammonia synthesis for fertilizer. Find sensible new markets for hydrogen as a chemical reagent, not an energy commodity. Hydrogen, like all chemical products and intermediaries, must be decarbonized, and green hydrogen is the best way to do it as prices of wind and solar continue to drop.45, 46, 47
  3. Use drilling and well completion technical expertise to scale up geothermal energy or other non-hydrocarbon industries which need to surgically maneuver underground fluids.48, 49, 50 O&G companies could also leverage their experience with managing large capital projects to help build the extractive industries which are necessary for manufacturing electronics and batteries. This includes investing in lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, and graphite extraction and processing projects.51, 52, 53
  4. Be the limited partner to the energy transition. After oil prices fully recover from the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021–2022, low-cost O&G companies will be profitable for a couple more years until demand starts to drop because of higher EV market penetration. That profit could be used to passively invest in new energy system technologies and projects, such as electricity, which emits less than 40gCO2/kWh emissions, and energy storage projects like battery farms.54

Because of the “dematerialization” effect associated with the energy transition,55 there will be less operating income to be collected in the new energy system than in fossil fuel production. Thus, only the fossil fuel companies which pursue these opportunities now are likely to still exist within a decade or two. This is why we call hydrogen their “last” grand scam: this scam won’t work.


Alex Grant is a Forbes 30 Under 30 honoree in Energy 2021. He is Principal at Jade Cove Partners, a technology advisory based in San Francisco. He is Partner at Minviro, a life cycle assessment firm based in London, and Technology Innovation Advisor to Zelandez, a lithium brinefield services company. He has a B.Eng. from McGill and a M.Sc. from Northwestern. 

Paul Martin is a senior chemical technology expert based in Toronto. He has brought numerous novel chemical processes to life for global clientele in his 30-year career, including processes which convert methane into other chemical products, hydrogen production technologies, and battery chemical processing. He has an M.A.Sc. from the University of Waterloo and is an Ontario licensed professional engineer. 

Acknowledgements 

Thank you to our engineer friends who graciously reviewed this article and provided helpful feedback. Special thanks to a friend at a California EV company who argued enthusiastically in favor of green hydrogen. Perhaps when you are in the thick of it, other grass may seem greener.

References

  1. Scientific American, 2015. Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago.
  2. BBC, 2020. How the oil industry made us doubt climate change.
  3. The Guardian, 2018. Shell and Exxon’s secret 1980s climate change warnings.
  4. Center for International Environmental Law, 2016. New Documents Reveal Denial Playbook Originated with Big Oil, Not Big Tobacco.
  5. Scientific American, 2016. Tobacco and Oil Industries Used Same Researchers to Sway Public.
  6. Merchants of Doubt, 2018.
  7. NASA, 2019. Satellite Data Record Shows Climate Change’s Impact on Fires.
  8. Jacobson, Delucchi, Cameron, and Mathiesen, 2018. Matching demand with supply at low cost in 139 countries among 20 world regions with 100% intermittent wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) for all purposes.
  9. Jafari, Korpas, and Botterud, 2020. Power system decarbonization: Impacts of energy storage duration and interannual renewables variability.
  10. CarbonBrief, 2020. Solar is now ‘cheapest electricity in history’, confirms IEA.
  11. Quartz, 2020. It’s time to start wasting solar energy.
  12. Bloomberg, 2020. Two Years On, Elon Musk’s Big Battery Bet is Paying Off in Australia.
  13. Energy Storage News, 2020. California utility PG&E breaks ground on 730MWh Moss Landing battery project.
  14. New York Times, 2021. Electric Cars Are Better for the Planet — and Often Your Budget, Too.
  15. Financial Times, 2020. Climate change: asset managers join forces with the eco-warriors.
  16. Bloomberg, 2020. Tesla Overtakes Exxon’s Market Value in Symbolic Energy Shift.
  17. Hydrogen Europe, 2020. Post Covid-19 and the Hydrogen Sector.
  18. International Energy Agency, 2019. The Future of Hydrogen.
  19. NBC News, 2020. The largest electric plane yet completed its first flight — but it’s the batteries that matter.
  20. Corporate Europe Observatory, 2020. The hydrogen hype: Gas industry fairy tale or climate horror story?
  21. My Climate Journey, 2020. H2 Debate with Gene Berdichevsky & Jigar Shah.
  22. International Renewable Energy Agency, 2019. Hydrogen: A Renewable Energy Perspective.
  23. International Renewable Energy Agency, 2018. Hydrogen from Renewable Power.
  24. Forbes, 2020. A Look at the ‘Colors’ of Hydrogen That Could Power the Future.
  25. Jones, 1970. Toward a Liquid Hydrogen Fuel Economy.
  26. Environmental Defense Fund, 2020. Tackling methane emissions: Europe’s climate blind spot.
  27. Quartz, 2020. France fires a warning shot in the carbon trade wars.
  28. Equity Lifting Solutions, 2020. What is “linepack”?
  29. Northern Gas Networks, 2020. H21.
  30. New York Power Authority. Hydrogen Fact Sheet.
  31. NREL. Hydrogen Analysis Production Models.
  32. Martin, 2018. Mirai FCEV vs. Model 3 BEV.
  33. Climate Home News, 2020. Why the hydrogen bubble could burst in Europe’s face.
  34. New York Times, 2020. California is Trying to Jump-Start the Hydrogen Economy.
  35. ExxonMobil, 2019. Annual Report.
  36. ExxonMobil, 2019. Innovating energy solutions: Research and development highlights.
  37. ArsTechnica, 2020. Tesla plans to raise another $5 billion as value soars above $600 billion.
  38. Electrek, 2020. LG signs massive ~$10 billion deal to make batteries in Indonesia.
  39. S&P Global, 2020. ExxonMobil focused on core oil and gas as renewable returns too weak: official.
  40. Bloomberg, 2020. Exxon’s Plan for Surging Carbon Emissions Revealed in Leaked Documents.
  41. Reuters, 2020. Shell to write down assets again, taking cuts to more than $22 billion.
  42. Recharge News, 2020. EU need us: Gas giants say green hydrogen too small and expensive.
  43. Euractiv, 2020. Five countries object to EU’s latest hydrogen ‘manifesto’.
  44. Recharge News, 2020. Governments are being ‘sold a pup on blue hydrogen from methane’.
  45. C&EN, 2019. Why the future of oil is in chemicals, not fuels.
  46. BP, 2020. BP Australia announces feasibility study into hydrogen energy production facility.
  47. Bloomberg NEF, 2020. Liebreich: Separating Hype from Hydrogen – Part Two: The Demand Side.
  48. Texas Geo, 2020. Pivot2020 – Kicking Off the Geothermal Decade.
  49. New York Times, 2014. Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help from Oil and Gas Drilling.
  50. Ball, 2020. Macro Energy Trends and the Future of Geothermal Within the Low-Carbon Energy Portfolio.
  51. Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, 2019. Are Big Oil, Auto, and Energy the Next Major Investors for Lithium.
  52. Roznowski, 2020. MP Materials – 10x Investment Idea.
  53. Goldman Sachs, 2015. Lithium is the New Gasoline.
  54. Reuters, 2020. Past its peak? Battered oil demand faces threat from electric vehicles.
  55. Ausubel, 2015. The Return of Nature.

 



 


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Waymo CEO Krafcik Steps Down — Does It Mean Anything?

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The longtime CEO of Waymo, John Krafcik, has been leading what many consider to be the leading autonomous driving company since 2015 — 6 years. Though, the news is that Krafcik and/or higher-ups at Alphabet decided it was time for him to find a new passion. He is stepping down as CEO and Waymo will now be led by co-CEOs, Dmitri Dolgov, previously Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and Tekedra Mawakana, previously Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The top question is: does this mean anything? Is Krafcik stepping down because he has failed to deliver on key targets? Is commercial rollout going too slowly? Are autonomous capabilities progressing too slowly? Has Krafcik accomplished what he set out to accomplish and is now ready for either new challenges or early retirement?

Notably, Krafcik recently got into a little communications tussle with Tesla. Krafcik claimed that Tesla’s “full self-driving” system isn’t the right approach toward a fully autonomous vehicle. He considers it a dead end.

“It is a misconception that you can simply develop a driver-assistance system further until one day you can magically jump to a fully autonomous driving system,” Krafcik said in an interview with Manager Magazin.

Naturally, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sees it differently. He expects that the only way to get to truly useful self-driving vehicles is through the vision + deep machine learning system it is continuously improving. It must feel like a frantic race to solve a giant puzzle to many of the members of these teams — that’s certainly what it looks like from the outside. With the different approaches, though, it’s not just a race — one of the companies may be putting the puzzle together in the wrong way.

(NNs = neural networks.)

 



 


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The Fossil Fuel Industry Used Deception To Conceal Damage To BIPOC — NAACP Report

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The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) just published a report titled Fossil Fuel Foolery, which identified 10 tactics that the fossil fuel industry used as excuses for not accepting accountability for its impacts on the environment and human health. DesmogBlog noted that the industry used a long list of deceptive tactics that concealed environmental destruction harming Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as low-income communities. Not surprising — the fossil fuel industry only cares about money, and if the planet and human health stand in the way of that, so be it.

The article gave a snapshot of the report findings, and one of the most disturbing things I took notice of was the common tactic that the NAACP described as “co-opt community leaders and organizations and misrepresent the interests and opinions of communities,” sometimes with financial support, to “neutralize or weaken public opposition.”

In short, fossil fuel companies and utilities pour donations on churches, nonprofits, and advocacy organizations to pretty much secure the local community buy-in on projects that generate pollution. The article said it plainly: “to stifle the push towards renewable energy.” And that also includes misrepresenting the community through one or two hired hands.

One example noted in the article is Florida Power & Light’s donation of around $225,000 to the NAACP’s Florida state chapter between 2013 and 2017. Just after these donations, the Florida chapter began repeating industry talking points against the growth of solar energy. This helped accelerate the NAACP’s Initial 2019 report. In addition, the fossil fuel industry and its allies shift the blame onto the very communities affected the most by pollution to distract from the impact of industry operations. This sounds like a narcissistic abuser. Hurt someone and then blame them and convince them it’s their fault.

Last month, President Biden brought attention to a common nickname that encompasses my own city, Cancer Alley. In Louisiana, Cancer Alley is an area along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge (where I live) and New Orleans — the River Parishes of Louisiana where numerous industrial plants are located. This area has clusters of cancer patients and the constant coverage by the media led to the nickname.

President Biden spoke out about the petrochemical facilities that dump out the large quantities of toxic pollution onto predominantly Black communities, and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) accused the President of slamming our area. Considering Senator Cassidy’s stance in favor of fossil fuels, this isn’t surprising. Earlier this year, President Biden signed executive orders to transform our nation’s heavily fossil-fuel-powered economy into a clean-energy one and paused oil and gas leasing on federal land. President Biden also targeted removing subsidies for those industries. Senator Cassidy and Senator Kennedy spoke out against the President’s orders and in favor of the fossil fuel industry.

“Biden’s executive orders are counterproductive. They eliminate jobs and send them overseas to countries with worse environmental standards, increasing global emissions. We don’t need symbolism — we need solutions. So far, all we are seeing from this administration is an ‘energy’ agenda that betrays the working Americans who thought that this President was going to work for them.” — Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)

DeSmogBlog noted that when United Nations human rights official issued a statement last month calling ”the development of petrochemical complexes” in the region “a form of environmental racism,” Senator Cassidy had some words to say about this. It should be noted that Senator Cassidy received around $600,000 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry during the 2020 election season. The fossil fuel-addicted senator pointed to obesity and cigarettes as the causes of cancer instead of the rampant pollution.

Late last year, I went down to the riverfront and was fortunate to have had my N95 mask — the chemicals from the plant across the river not only created a haze but made the air foul. That smell was well worse than cigarette smoke. I wrote about it here because it was so striking.

The Top 10 Fossil Fuel Industry Tactics

The NAACP listed the top 10 fossil fuel industry tactics that shift the blame and responsibility of its impact on BIPOC communities. They are as follows:

  1. Invest in efforts that undermine democracy.
  2. Finance political campaigns and pressure politicians.
  3. Fund scientists and scientific research institutions to publish biased research.
  4. Say government regulations hurt the economy and low-income communities.
  5. Deny or understate the harms polluting facilities cause to people and the environment.
  6. Deflect responsibility–shit blame to the communities they pollute.
  7. Co-opt community leaders and organizations and misrepresent the interest and opinions of communities.
  8. Exaggerate the level of job creation and downplay the lack of quality and safety in jobs.
  9. Praise false solutions while claiming that real solutions are impractical, impossible, or harmful for BIPOC and poor communities.
  10. “Embrace” renewables to control the new energy economy.

Some Key Highlights From The Report

The highly detailed report actually has information that is highly disturbing. For example, in 1980, ALEC founder Paul Weyrich stated: “I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

In 2010, the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission determined that limited political spending by corporations restricted their constitutional right to freedom of expression. This shifted the political power away from citizens to corporations and special interest groups.

Also, leading up to the 2020 election, the American Petroleum Institute spent over $5 million in lobbying practices. The group funneled money to campaign contributions — mostly financing the Senate Leadership Fund, which is a super PAC that supports the Republican Party. From the report:

“With financial support from the fossil fuel industry, politicians actively support destructive energy practices, falsely claim that emissions, not fossil fuels, are the enemy and draft diluted environmental agendas that focus on planting trees instead of shutting down industrially polluted, cancerous alleys.”

E = MC2: Enviro-lies = Manipulaiton X Ca$h

In this section of the report with the clever above headline, it noted that the Center for American Progress identified over 50 research agreements in a 2010 report. These agreements were between universities and major energy companies, where the companies donated a range between $1 million and $500 million toward energy-related research.

Another example cites a 1997 study by the National Centre for Cancer Institute which found that the chemical benzene, which is found in crude oil and gasoline, was connected to the development of chronic diseases in workers exposed to it. Following this report, several petrochemical companies gave nearly $40 million to fund scientific research “designed to protect member company interests.” One example of this type of research is the Shanghai Research Project which published research that supported the petrochemical companies’ practices.

Fossil Fuel Emissions Kill

The report noted that around 63,000 Americans are killed each year by air pollution and these Americans are disproportionally BIPOC and low-income community residents. Senator Cassidy can blame fat people and cigarettes all day, but it won’t change the fact that 40% of communities of color and low-income communities live within three miles of power plants that emit particulate matter that taints our air quality. Last year when the Exxon plant had that explosion — and, yes, despite what officials said, there were reports of an actual explosion (I was less than five miles away from the explosion) — who knows what was pumped into our air?

You can read the NAACP’s full report here.

 



 


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Reports: Tesla Plans To Start Building 5 Semi Trucks A Week

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Tesla is building a low-volume Tesla Semi production line, and once it’s complete, Tesla reportedly plans to produce 5 Tesla Semi electric trucks on a weekly basis, reports Yahoo! Finance. The article noted that the low-volume production line is being built in a new building in the industrial park where the Nevada Gigafactory is located. Tesla is also still planning for volume production of the Semi trucks to be manufactured at Giga Texas once it’s able to ramp up battery production there.

On Monday, Tesla received a new order for 10 of its Semi EVs along with two Megachargers. Benzinga reported that this was backed with almost $2 million in federal government support. The Mobile Source Air Pollution Review Committee is investing in a clean transportation initiative on California’s southern coast. As a part of this investment, it awarded MXS Leasing LLC, which is a logistics company based in California, $1.8 million for the deployment of 10 Tesla Semi Class 8 semi trucks and an additional $560,000 for the deployment for two overhead electric cranes.

Momentum, the company that assisted MHX with its application for the funding, said that the deal includes two Megachargers at MXH’s Fontana, California, site. Just after that news broke, Tesla’s Elon Musk tweeted that Semi demand isn’t a problem, but that near-term cell supply makes it hard to scale the Semi. He also noted that this limitation will be less onerous next year.

Although many seem to view this as another delay, it should be noted, as Teslarati pointed out, that Elon Musk was talking about the difficulties of scaling the Semi’s manufacturing. The idea of Tesla actually producing its first few Semis in 2021 still seems possible.  This thought seems backed up by the new report noting that Tesla plans to produce 5 of its Semis on a weekly basis once the low-volume production line is completed.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/02/reports-tesla-plans-to-start-building-5-semi-trucks-a-week/

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Chevy Bolt Sales Jump 53.7%

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The Chevy Bolt is not the most exciting or flamboyant electric car on the market — it’s not a Tesla or the Ford Mustang Mach-E. However, it is the electric vehicle I see most often on the roads around me aside from all of Tesla’s models. It’s exciting and uplifting to see them, even if the car never put a tingle in the back of my neck.

One thing the Bolt does have in common with the Mach-E is that, love it or not, its sales are pretty weak. That’s not going to change, because it’s a vehicle class that is just not that popular in America. However, the good news is that things are looking up for the little Bolt EV.

In the first quarter of 2021, the Chevy Bolt EV’s sales rose 53.7% over its sales in the first quarter of 2020. In fact, it was the Bolt EV’s best first quarter in history. (Admittedly, it’s not a very long history, but the Bolt EV was the first long-range, semi-affordable electric car on the US market.)

The Bolt EV had 9,025 US sales last quarter, up from 5,873 sales in the first quarter of 2020. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the Bolt EV had just 9,025 US sales last quarter. Multiply that by 4 and you don’t even get to 40,000 sales a year. Heck, you don’t even get to 37,000 sales a year.

You’re not going to cut enough emissions, GM, with under 40,000 electric vehicle sales a year in the 2020s. Tesla likely scored more than 22,000 first-quarter Model 3 sales in the US and 43,000+ first-quarter Model Y sales here. GM needs to understand why its EV of a similar age does so much worse, and how the company could get closer to Tesla’s numbers. The electric revolution is not going to slow down, and a model getting under 100,000 — let alone under 40,000 — annual sales is not going to be seen as a leader for long.

“What about the Bolt EUV? It’s bigger than the little Bolt EV.” Well, we’ll see. …

Chevy Bolt EUV fleet ready for test drives. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Chevy Bolt EUV with attractive backdrop. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

Inside a Chevy Bolt EUV. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

 



 


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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/04/02/chevy-bolt-sales-jump-53-7/

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