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EVs again - the sensible approach

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Spectric

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how many amazon depots are anywhere near a rail line?
Exactly, goes to show that they were not forward thinking when laying out their infrastructure. There is a cardboard producer up here that has dozens of lorry loads of logs delivered a day from Scotland, yet they can see the railway from the factory. These lorries travel through small towns and villages causing conjestion and pollution yet there is no willpower to change, sound familiar.

Using trains for freight and transferring loads for local delivery is a non-starter. Stations will need a goods yard, materials handling systems, separate vehicles required at each end.
A perfect example, to much effort required so lets not bother. This is why global climate change is a given, we waste money building HS2 but not to make a real change to get heavy diesel lorries of the road, the hardest to make into EV's.

If anyone watched the news this morning about climate change and that the UK has had more sun, more rain and higher temperatures again breaking records and it is now realised we have past the point at which major change will become the norm, plus we probably have about five years in which to stop using all fosil fuels to prevent total chaos then is it not time to stop worrying about it because no one is going to take any real action so lets just get on and enjoy butchering wood or perhaps we need to get together and build woodern homes that float, might be a bit strange in the future using a tablesaw with the thing swaying.
 

D_W

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Rail either loses due to time or cost. Switching from trucks to trains isn't going to save the world.

Sound like the BBC is probably having good luck with ratings with their programs. I predict next year will be normal and no more records will be set than would be in any other year.
 

Noel

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If you want to yap about political figures and politics please take it to OT2 or go elsewhere.
 

Trainee neophyte

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These lorries travel through small towns and villages causing conjestion and pollution yet there is no willpower to change, sound familiar.
The real failure is in growing trees up mountains rather than next to the rail terminus. Trees are felled, logged and loaded onto trucks which must then get to civilization. Is it sensible to then offload the logs onto flatbed railway trucks, ship them, then reload onto trucks to get to the factory which is also not at the rail terminus? Perhaps we should lay rail tracks directly from the forest to the pulp mill.
 

Spectric

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Unfortunately we have lost the victorian engineering ability where anything could be done, some say that the massive loses of large numbers of people from single communities due to the great war did not help. On the flip side I suppose they started global warming but were not aware as the changes took some time to become noticable.
 

Terry - Somerset

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The most intelligent solution by a considerable margin is to behave intelligently.

Whether trains taking the strain of HGVs is economically or environmentally sound is worth debating. Assuming that anyone who questions the use of trains displacing road freight is making a solely financial judgement is misplaced.

Trains and the associated infrastructure also use energy.

The intelligent solution is to change behaviours to minimise total energy consumption rather than focus on one element (HGV transport). This may include:
  • buy local and seasonal
  • design and retrofit properties to minimise energy use
  • repair, recycle and reuse - extend the life of clothes and consumer goods
  • local not regional infrastructure - hospitals, schools, shopping centres - to minimise travel
  • stop building out of town retail parks to reinvigorate local towns and communities
  • make it easier and cheaper for people to move if changing jobs (eliminate stamp duty) to reduce commuting
Personally I favour the market to encourage change rather than additional regulation. This would involve reducing PAYE in favour of taxes on embedded energy, and taxing home energy consumption to encourage investment in more efficient homes.

In principle this could be tax neutral - those who are most responsive to change would benefit most, those reluctant to change current behaviours would face an significantly increased tax bill.

The only real questions are (a) how quickly does the transition from income tax to a carbon tax happen, and (b) which government (if any) would have the courage to implement such a radical scheme (probably none based on past performance).

The elephant in the room as always is population. David Attenborough noted in a recent talk that since he started broadcasting global populations have grown by 3 times. Unless this is actively addressed there is little prospect of avoiding climate change without a very unpleasant transition.
 

DrPhill

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Some very good and thoughtful points there. We need mature discussion of all of them. I hope I do not stray too close to the forbidden political zone, but......
I do caution against the simplistic assumption that population growth is a root cause of the problem. I feel this is often used by high consuming societies to shift blame to lower consuming countries.
The countries where population is increasing are generally very low consumers of materials and energy. The rich countries are by far the largest consumers, and their consumption is growing, even though in many cases their locally bred population is declining. The problem is not population growth as such, but the number of people multiplied by their consumption.
Here for example is a good chart: Data Visualisations – materialflows.net
1627588809570.png

As you can see the overdeveloped world is consuming far more than the underdeveloped world, even though most population growth is happening in the underdeveloped world. The biggest reductions in consumption growth will be achieved by reducing per capita consumption in the overdeveloped world, not by controlling population growth in the underdeveloped world. That is not to say that we should ignore population growth - and it is easy (but not politically) to achieve in poorer countries by giving women the education they want (so they can create the opportunities to earn the money to feed their families), and control over their reproductive systems.

Edit: here is the same chart but per-capita rather than by country - just in case some thought us under-represented:
1627588965601.png
 

Anthraquinone

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To quote Dad's Army - We are DOOMED - DOOMED

No matter what we do in Europe and perhaps America the mega population centres of Asia and the Far east will be so far behind in adopting the technology that by they try the earth be completely screwed.

Too may people wanting too much of the limited resources we have = disaster.

Terry is right population is THE problem. It needs something with the infection rate of Covid and the lethality of MERS or SARS to sort that out. Would society survive that - probably not.

Keep smiling

AQ
 

Anthraquinone

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DrPhill

Having worked in some of these underdeveloped countries I know from experience the people there aspire to the living standards we have in the west. With the population we have on this planet that is just not possible.

I do not see how any Government will be able to or even want to reduce the consumption of their populations sufficiently to make a difference.

I wish there was a way to make that happen for the sake of my grandchildren but I do not think it will.

AQ
 

Jacob

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The most intelligent solution by a considerable margin is to behave intelligently.

Whether trains taking the strain of HGVs is economically or environmentally sound is worth debating. Assuming that anyone who questions the use of trains displacing road freight is making a solely financial judgement is misplaced.

Trains and the associated infrastructure also use energy.

The intelligent solution is to change behaviours to minimise total energy consumption rather than focus on one element (HGV transport). This may include:
  • buy local and seasonal
  • design and retrofit properties to minimise energy use
  • repair, recycle and reuse - extend the life of clothes and consumer goods
  • local not regional infrastructure - hospitals, schools, shopping centres - to minimise travel
  • stop building out of town retail parks to reinvigorate local towns and communities
  • make it easier and cheaper for people to move if changing jobs (eliminate stamp duty) to reduce commuting
Personally I favour the market to encourage change rather than additional regulation. This would involve reducing PAYE in favour of taxes on embedded energy, and taxing home energy consumption to encourage investment in more efficient homes.

In principle this could be tax neutral - those who are most responsive to change would benefit most, those reluctant to change current behaviours would face an significantly increased tax bill.

The only real questions are (a) how quickly does the transition from income tax to a carbon tax happen, and (b) which government (if any) would have the courage to implement such a radical scheme (probably none based on past performance).

The elephant in the room as always is population. David Attenborough noted in a recent talk that since he started broadcasting global populations have grown by 3 times. Unless this is actively addressed there is little prospect of avoiding climate change without a very unpleasant transition.
Current opinion seems to be that it's too late and climate change is here with us and not going away. Channel 4 news seems to be doing a fair job of spelling things out - worth watching and catching up on recent episodes too.
Over population isn't the problem it's the solution; it's a basic survival technique throughout the living world - when the going gets tough in many species plant and animal, reproduction goes into over-drive. There may be mass casualties but it increases the chances of species survival.
Hence pop growth is greatest in some of the poorest and most stressed human communities. It's easy to forget that we too are an animal species with our own ecology, and everything we are or we do is entirely "natural".
Conversely when the living is easy in those parts of the globe where life is peaceful and civilised, there is a 'problem' of falling population and low birthrates. This includes China, which has abandoned its single child policy.
To reconcile these societal differences there is an obvious solution, but it would be highly political and upset the snowflakes!
I'll copy this post and put it in the padded room, in case anybody wants to reply
 
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D_W

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Some very good and thoughtful points there. We need mature discussion of all of them. I hope I do not stray too close to the forbidden political zone, but......
I do caution against the simplistic assumption that population growth is a root cause of the problem. I feel this is often used by high consuming societies to shift blame to lower consuming countries.
The countries where population is increasing are generally very low consumers of materials and energy.
This falls apart unless you assume the population centers will always stay low means - see china.

You could've made this argument for China about 30 or 40 years ago, that the population is large, but it's wrong to put the blame on population.

The problem is both. It's a per capita use issue, but it's also a population issue. What does the average poor person consume in electricity now per individual. what was that figure in 1921, 100 years ago?

It's across the board. the reality of it is also that you're not likely to get a workable solutions out of anything but the high energy use societies (which are higher technology).


You cannot assume that high population areas won't become economically advanced.

here's the world figure per capita (not just china).

I don't see older data than that, but you get the point. Per capita consumption is up by a factor of 3. In the US, I refer to this as the "energy efficiency factor". When I was a kid in the late 1970s and early 1980s, most of the stuff in the house was inefficient. The only two items that actually got regular use (other than the oven) were the fridge and a chest freezer (common back then as transport of vegetables from all corners of the earth wasn't as common, especially to rural areas).

Our cars got poorer mileage by a little (not much, but they were smaller and less powerful. We drove them half as far, traveled by air none, used fans instead of A/C and heated only part of the house in the winter). There is no viable long term academic answer that doesn't involve population decline. Anything else is naive. Of course, there is one other viable answer - just not do that much about it and wait until solving the problem has more economic value. It will, and that's probably the most reasonable answer.

The "jacob" answer (today we have to act, tomorrow will be too late.....then we get to tomorrow or next year, etc, none of it is actually true. At the outset of covid, there was suspicion that we couldn't make a viable coronavirus vaccine or we'd have had one already for the colds of that type. ...

..oops, we had to. it was important. To suggest that we can't manipulate carbon in the future or use another means when it becomes critically important - you won't get me to buy that.
 

Jacob

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....

The "jacob" answer (today we have to act, tomorrow will be too late.....then we get to tomorrow or next year, etc, none of it is actually true. ....
It's not "my" answer it's current expert opinion and the evidence is all around us, globally. COP26 looks like being potentially the most important world conference ever
....To suggest that we can't manipulate carbon in the future or use another means when it becomes critically important.....
It's already passed being "critically important" for instance in Lytton or Paradise in american west, just two small local examples for you. Maybe you don't see much in the way of news?
 

D_W

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COP27 will be the most important once it occurs, and then COP28 will be more important than that.

It's marketing. There is a lot of money at stake here. Of course the planet is also warming, but these things become like grants in the US university system. You need a hook to get the grant, because the grant money is coming from people who often are financially intelligent (they're managing large trusts), but who see one person who says "I suggest we wait and observe" and another who says "right now, we must act, we must study how we must act". Well, the first guy doesn't need money, but the second one says he does. He or she, or she who says they're a he or they that day - whatever it takes to have a pronoun and not get stuck with someone trying to drag down the discussion with that instead of talking about the purpose.

I'm not interested in the discussion until it starts talking about incentivizing solutions in away that are economically viable. if someone can find something that's actually gainful for humans and also sequesters carbon at the same time, we're off to the races.

But, no, I don't think it's that critical. I think the planet is warming - and the alarmists are using the definition of anxiety to get people riled up because they're competing with other people doing the same thing. That's their job. The PR people end up in charge, and now they're data driven. I doubt the outcome or outlook is really that much different than it was 25 years ago, but the profitability is way up.

Potential catastrophe in the future is an ideal hook. It can't be solved now, so you can just beat the drum endlessly and write off any bits and bobs where you're wrong. You haven't arrived at the date that the world ends yet, so there's no holding anyone to a point.
 

D_W

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It will all be fine in the end, whether humans are around at that point, is another matter.
Of course we will be around - it's just a matter of how many and where.

When the sun expands or another extinction event occurs due to a giant asteroid, then we may not fare quite so well.
 

Blackswanwood

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Making the use of cars less attractive in towns and cities would be a useful step. Changes are being made to the Highway Code that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists and more money is going into cycle lanes and highways.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I hope the law changes that cyclists have to use cycle lanes where provided - they cycle anywhere but on cycle lanes around here.

Changes in the law are fine, but I do wish the people who make them would realise that what is necessary in cities isn't necessarily good for everyone else - up to now most changes in any areas have been blanket cover.
 

Jameshow

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I hope the law changes that cyclists have to use cycle lanes where provided - they cycle anywhere but on cycle lanes around here.

Changes in the law are fine, but I do wish the people who make them would realise that what is necessary in cities isn't necessarily good for everyone else - up to now most changes in any areas have been blanket cover.
That's fine so long as they aren't shared with pedestrians or end every 100m.

Cheers James
 

Jacob

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I hope the law changes that cyclists have to use cycle lanes where provided - they cycle anywhere but on cycle lanes around here.

Changes in the law are fine, but I do wish the people who make them would realise that what is necessary in cities isn't necessarily good for everyone else - up to now most changes in any areas have been blanket cover.
Cyclists do use cycle lanes when they are fit for purpose but they very often are not. The Warrington "farcility of the month" site is down but there are a few images here: cycle lanes farcility of the month - Google Search
PS its archived here Cycle Facility of the Month
 
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