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BEV’s Are Uncertain, Nuclear is Real

Before you draw conclusions about my mental fitness to question electric vehicle orthodoxy, please understand that I own a battery electric vehicle (BEV) and find it superior personal transportation technology. Saving the earth? Not so much.

There are many studies claiming BEV carbon emissions superiority to internal combustion engine (ICE) automobiles. There are also many studies making it clear the jury will be in session for many years before we have a definitive answer. At best, life cycle emissions comparing BEV’s with ICE automobiles is currently a wash, more BEV emissions up front versus more ICE emissions over time. Also, claims of efficiently recycling BEV batteries at scale to reduce life cycle emissions are unproven.

A recent study from Volvo needs to be seriously considered. Volvo concludes that carbon emissions from mining and processing materials in their BEV XC 40 are 70% greater than those from the comparable ICE XC40 model. They project cumulative BEV emissions begin to be lower than those from the comparable ICE model after 146,000 km (90,000 miles) based on electricity charging the BEV coming from the current global mix of power plant energy sources. That’s about 10 years of driving. The study makes no assumptions about emissions related to end of life recycling for either vehicle.

Volvo projects BEV versus ICE emissions break even at 84,000 km (52,000 miles) based on their measure of the power plant energy mix of the 28 European Union countries; again, without knowledge of comparable recycling emissions and costs. A bit better, but still a highly uncertain projection.

This Volvo study by a very interested and experienced participant in the automobile business makes clear that governments are chasing a marginal and uncertain (if not phantom) benefit in subsidizing and promoting BEVs. This compares to known and real CO2 emission benefits from nuclear and solar power.

BEVs are the wrong initial focus for government subsidies if the goal is to materially impact carbon emissions with any certainty. Emphasis on lowering power grid carbon emissions will provide the foundation upon which BEVs may make both environmental and economic sense in the long run. If they really want tangible results, governments need to stop subsidizing BEVs and spend those dollars on a major program to put nuclear back into the power generation mix while also promoting utility scale solar fields.

Posted in Freedom.

Political Sentiments

I was out for a morning walk a few days ago and came across this yard sign:

It is on the road side of a beach front home that is for sale for $3.2 million on the New Jersey coast .

I wonder what this sign means. I looked up the text and only found tee shirts for sale.

I did find references to “check your privilege” which college age people apparently say to those who say things that indicate they are “privileged,” like being in college I presume.

So, what am I being asked to do here? How exactly do I “fight for those without my privilege?”

I know I am privileged because I live in a republic that protects personal freedom and asks for personal responsibility in exchange.

I know I am privileged because my parents loved me and worked hard to provide the best possible education and opportunities for their family.

How do I identify those who do not have “my privilege” so I can “fight” for them? Will they contact me and tell me what I can do for them? What does “fight” mean in a tangible sense?

Are the people who own the $3.2 million beach front house going to give the proceeds of the sale to a charity that is going to “fight for those without their privilege?” Will they then have lost “their privilege” and ask others to “fight” for them?

Is this anything more than a political sentiment designed to help communicate feelings of moral superiority?

Please educate me.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Freedom, Responsibility.

Charities of Freedom

William P. Barr’s speech at Notre Dame on October 11, 2019 begins a critical discussion.

People of faith, whether or not participants in an organized religion, need to be respected at all levels of government if we are to avoid a national tyranny where government determines and coerces what it believes to be acceptable moral beliefs and behavior. Stated another way, our freedom depends on government getting out of the business of telling us how to think and what to believe.

One approach to getting off the government morality train is to make all government social programs subject to specific taxpayer support. Between 30% to 40% of the Federal budget is spent supporting charity approved by party politics, not by the voters (food stamps, medicaid, certain aspects of Social Security and Medicare, and many other programs such as subsidized housing and loans). We can stop the government morality train by restructuring the scope of Federal government support for social programs as follows:

  • Establish a requirement that every taxpayer contribute 30% of their taxable income to 501(c)(3) charities in place of all current Federal social program funding.
  • Convert all Federal social programs to independent 501(c)(3) charities with independent Boards of Directors.
  • Each taxpayer specifies those 501(c)(3) charities they want 30% of their taxable income to support. Tax deductions for additional charitable contributions above 30% of taxable income goes away.
  • The IRS distributes the funds according to taxpayer designations.

The consequences of such an approach will contribute significantly to maintaining high quality charitable programs while restoring our personal freedom.

  • Each social program will be funded by voluntary contributions, ending political battles about program funding (abortion for example).
  • The Federal government will shrink while tax revenues remain constant presuming no changes in rates.
  • Annual changes in charitable funding will be tied directly to national income.
  • Each social program will have to prove its worth to the taxpayers in a competitive environment, improving both quality and efficiency.
  • Current overlapping social programs will naturally consolidate, improving both quality and efficiency.
  • Spending power will transfer from a national bureaucracy to the individual taxpayer.
  • Questions about the morality of particular beliefs and behaviors are resolved by individuals voting with their own money.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Freedom.

Politician vs. Public Servant

A politician is any person who enjoys exercising power for the purpose of imposing their values on those who disagree with them.

A pubic servant is any person who enjoys exercising power for the purpose of serving the interests of their constituents.

A politician wants to spend your money on priorities they value.

A public servant wants to spend your money on priorities that serve the larger interests of their constituents.

A politician uses the law to impose their priorities on you.

A public servant uses the law to protect your freedom to pursue your own priorities.

Feel free to expand this list by commenting.

Regards, Pete Weldon

Posted in Freedom.

A Helpful Cacophony of Claptrap

The phrase “cacophony of claptrap” means a loud harsh or strident noise constituting pretentious nonsense. This phrase captures the reality of 21st century “news.”

But why is this helpful?

News is first and foremost a business focused on attracting eyeballs for the purpose of selling advertising. Switch between various news Web sites and television programs and it becomes immediately apparent that the focus is on feeding a self selecting audience what they want to hear and see.

Web sites are an easy place to experience the inherent audience expectation and thus source bias. Review any subset of news Web sites over several weeks and distinguish each based on the issues they tell you are “news” and how long they beat on a particular issue.

Here are a few sites to review as examples:

The evidence is clear that the survival instinct (selling advertising to make payroll) too often dominates even a pretense of journalistic integrity.

The good news is that a broad spectrum of news sources keep beating their particular drum, providing the interested observer opportunity to study bias, seek alternative sources of information, and make up their own mind about the importance or relevance of any particular issue.

Should we tell the publishers, editors, and commentators at news operations that their pretentious nonsense is performing a public service by exposing their comparative bias, or did they figure out on the morning of November 9, 2016 what their readers and viewers already knew?

Posted in Freedom, Responsibility.