Why Electric Vehicles Are Great Winter Cars

The reality is, electric vehicles are great winter cars.

Winter is not the easiest season for getting around. Electric cars, like cars with internal combustion engines, function less efficiently in the cold. But while we accept and ignore the limitations of traditional vehicles, reports from groups like AAA misrepresent cold weather concerns about electric vehicles, fueling anxiety about vehicle range.

Cold weather range is becoming less of an issue with the rapid advancement of battery technologies.  Every year, electric vehicle ranges get longer.

Take my family’s experience as an example. Our first 2012 Nissan LEAF had only 73 miles of driving range. This year the same vehicle has a battery that offers a 151-mile range and in a couple of months you will be able to get a LEAF with an even bigger battery and a range of well over 200 miles. So, range is becoming less of an issue and truthfully we never had any issues with it. My wife has a 35-mile round trip commute so she could manage it even with the 2012 LEAF, but nowadays with longer range electric vehicles, things are really easy. Battery electric vehicles available in Minnesota this year have ranges between 151 to 335 miles and people who want even more flexibility in their daily driving range should choose one of the plug-in hybrids that can take you up to 640 miles. See all plug-in EV models available in Minnesota here. 

Many reasons to love electric vehicles in the winter

The best part of electric vehicles for me in the wintertime is the fast heating system. Many electric cars have a heat pump heating system that works like the traditional AC, but in reverse. This system is incredibly fast in heating up the car. I tried it the first time with our 2016 Nissan LEAF. It was a typical 16 degree Minnesota winter day. I went into our cold garage and reversed the car outside to the alley. While I waited for the garage door to close I wondered why the automatic fan was already running and to my surprise it was already pushing lukewarm air from the heating ducts. I drove less than a block and the air coming out was already hot. I had never experienced this kind of heating performance from any car before. MORE


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) speaks alongside Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) at a news conference about the Green New Deal, in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. The measure, drafted by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey, calls for a sweeping environmental and economic mobilization that would make the United States carbon neutral by 2030. (Pete Marovich/The New York Times)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks alongside Sen. Ed Markey at a news conference about the Green New Deal, in Washington, Feb. 7, 2019. Photo: Pete Marovich/Redux

“I REALLY DON’T like their policies of taking away your car, taking away your airplane flights, of ‘let’s hop a train to California,’ or ‘you’re not allowed to own cows anymore!’”

So bellowed President Donald Trump in El Paso, Texas, his first campaign-style salvo against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey’s Green New Deal resolution. There will surely be many more.

It’s worth marking the moment. Because those could be the famous last words of a one-term president, having wildly underestimated the public appetite for transformative action on the triple crises of our time: imminent ecological unraveling, gaping economic inequality (including the racial and gender wealth divide), and surging white supremacy. MORE

Fear and Frustration Over Climate Trigger New Climate Movements

“I was wilfully deluded until I began covering global warming,” says author and journalist David Wallace-Wells. He’s the author of The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story Of The Future which begins with these gripping opening lines “It’s worse, much worse, than you think” that are like a voice from your worst nightmare. “People should be scared – I’m scared,” says Wallace-Wells.

Fear for our future and frustration with the inability of the political establishment to deal adequately with the climate crisis are driving the world’s youth to rise. And they will not take no for an answer. They are not, in any way, deluded about their future.

Wilfully Deluded

I began following global warming and climate change over a decade ago. At first I naively thought that climate science—the facts—would galvanize the world into taking rapid and immediate steps to bend the curve on greenhouse gases and the warming of the planet. But that did not work out that well. MORE

A troubling new map shows what your city’s climate may look like in 60 years. San Francisco may feel like Los Angeles, and New York may be more like Arkansas.

heat wave los angeles

San Francisco may soon experience the heat waves that currently hit Los Angeles. Eelphoto1/Getty Images

A new study shows what the climates of various US cities might be like in 60 years. New York City will have a climate like the one Arkansas has today. The Bay Area will feel more like Los Angeles.

The research is accompanied by an interactive map that lets users see which place has a climate that’s similar to what their city might experience in the future.

The study’s authors found that overall, if carbon-dioxide emissions continue to increase unabated, the climate in North American cities will shift to be more like the current climates in places 500 miles to the south. MORE


Oil and gas industry rewards fossil fuel growth at its peril, report warns

An aerial view of operations in Canada’s oil sands. Photo by Andrew S. Wright

Canadian oil and gas companies are rewarding their executives for expanding fossil fuel activity despite global economic and environmental realities that make this unsustainable, says a report from Carbon Tracker.

But they are far from alone. Carbon Tracker’s team of financial specialists found that 92 per cent of 40 incentive schemes they analyzed at major oil companies worldwide contained rewards to executives for increasing fossil fuel production, growing reserves or resource volumes, or both.

Major global oil and gas companies are still rewarding executives for expanding fossil fuel production despite its long-time unsustainability, a new report from @CarbonBubble warns.

The incentive schemes were in place in 2017. Carbon Tracker is a London-based think tank that maps the risks and opportunities related to a global shift to less carbon-intensive energy supply. MORE

Indigenous technologists using tech tools as path to self-determination

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A Musqueam student from one of the cohorts involved in a tech training program organized by the First Nations Technology Council, 2018. Photo supplied by the First Nations Technology Council

Ward said Indigenous peoples have always exercised sovereignty, but that many forms of self-determination, whether cultural or economic, got stripped away through colonial systems that Canada is only beginning to meaningfully grasp.

“As we reclaim the label of inventors and technologists, we’re able to put an Indigenous lens and worldview on the creation of these technologies,” he said.

Ward said Indigenous self-determination in a technologically-advanced world necessarily involves data sovereignty.

Animikii focuses on developing custom software that empowers their clients rather than relying on off-the-shelf software and online services from the likes of Google and Facebook, which often claim data as their own. MORE

Noam Chomsky: ‘In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive.’

Image result for Noam Chomsky: 'In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive.'

Noam Chomsky: Take a standard story. There are reports on what’s happening. So, if you look at the New York Times today, for example, there’s a pretty good article on the new discoveries on the melting of the polar ice caps which happens to be, as usual, more drastic than the (earlier) estimates; that’s been typical for a long time. And it discusses the probable impact on sea level rise, albeit conservatively, given how dramatic it has obviously been. So, there are regular articles that appear — it’s not that global warming is ignored. On the other hand, if you look at a standard article on oil exploration, the New York Times can have a big front page article on how the U.S. is moving towards what they call energy independence, surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia in fossil fuel production, opening up new areas, Wyoming, the Midwest, for fracking. They do a long article, maybe 1,000 words — I have one particular example in mind — it will mention environmental consequences, it may harm the local water resources for ranchers, but literally not a word on the effect on global warming. And that happens in article after article in every outlet — the Financial Times, the New York Times, all the major newspapers. So, it’s as if on the one hand, there’s a kind of a tunnel vision — the science reporters are occasionally saying look, ‘this is a catastrophe,’ but then the regular coverage simply disregards it, and says, ‘well, isn’t this wonderful, we won’t have to import oil, we’ll be more powerful,’ and so on.

Noam Chomsky: ‘In a couple of generations, organized human society may not survive. That has to be drilled into people’s heads constantly.’

So, they’re not making the connection?

It’s a kind of schizophrenia, and it runs right through society. Take the big banks, JP Morgan Chase, for example. They’re the biggest bank and CEO Jamie Diamond is an intelligent man. I’m sure he knows the basic facts about the dire threat of global warming, yet at the same time they’re pouring investments into fossil fuel extraction, because that’s the business model. They have to make a profit tomorrow. MORE

Howard Levitt: Trudeau’s ‘sunny ways’ brand can’t survive allegations of full-scale criminality

Make no mistake: interference with a prosecution by influencing a prosecutor to go lightly or make a deal is a criminal matter

Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet this week.Justin Tang /THE CANADIAN PRESS

People naturally react more adversely to the misconduct they don’t expect than any bad behaviour they do. That is why the SNC-Lavalin scandal could be the downfall of the Trudeau government: Canadians expected sunny ways from this prime minister and his office — not alleged criminal deception.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weathered scandals before. They did little real damage. Taking advantage of a billionaire’s private island, prancing around India in native garb while partying with a former Sikh terrorist, even allegations that he once sexually harassed a young reporter at a keg party didn’t ruin his reputation. After all, he was already viewed as callow, intellectually lightweight and entitled. All those mistakes were consistent with Canadians’ existing view of him.

But they were also led to believe he was open and accountable, which makes suggestions someone in the Prime Minister’s Office may have breached the Criminal Code quite another matter. And make no mistake: allegations of interference with a prosecution by influencing a prosecutor to go lightly or make a deal is a criminal matter. And it increasingly appears that he or a member of his staff did just that. SOURCE

Liberals’ Indigenous child welfare bill just about ‘politics,’ says prof who saw draft

Draft bill suggests only Indigenous groups with provincial, federal agreements could create own rules

Dennis McPherson, associate professor of Indigenous learning at Lakehead University, said the draft child welfare bill does not recognize true Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare or guarantee any funding for communities. (Submitted)

Ottawa’s promised “turning point” Indigenous child welfare legislation seems to have been designed with politics in mind because it sounds good but doesn’t change much, according to an Ojibway academic who reviewed a draft version of the bill.

Dennis McPherson, associate professor for Indigenous Learning at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University, said the draft version of the bill does not recognize true Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare or guarantee any funding for communities.

“It doesn’t change a whole lot as far as I can see, in that the ultimate voice is still the minister,” said McPherson. MORE