Cut your emissions

Posted 6/26/19
We know how to respond to climate disruption: stop using fossil fuels. With few exceptions, I have not seen appeals to the public to reduce fossil fuel use from PT city councilors, county …

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Cut your emissions

Posted

We know how to respond to climate disruption: stop using fossil fuels.

With few exceptions, I have not seen appeals to the public to reduce fossil fuel use from PT city councilors, county commissioners, PUD or Port commissioners, Hospital District commissioners or other elected officials. Why not? It feels like they are standing on the sidelines waiting to see how bad it will get. We elected and trust them. Now we need them to respond to this existential emergency.

Where to begin? The largest source of greenhouse gases in Jefferson County is private vehicles. Ninety-nine percent of the 39,000 registered vehicles in the county are powered by diesel and gasoline. Let’s set a goal of replacing 50% of these vehicles with electric vehicles within five years, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 90,000 metric tons annually.

To achieve this goal, we need to be motivated to leave a better world for our grandchildren. I can hear the arguments against EVs already. EVs are for rich people. Wrong. Low mileage used Leafs can be bought inexpensively. The batteries will die and I’ll be stuck with a big bill. Wrong. For each 10,000 miles driven, you’ll save more than $1000 on fuel and maintenance if you charge at home. After 60,000 miles, you’ll have saved more than enough to buy a new 40 kWh Leaf battery in the very unlikely event that it fails. Worried about range? Buy a used plug-in hybrid EV like I did.

I’ve driven 5000 miles in 18 months, used the gasoline engine when needed, and consumed only 21 gallons of gasoline.

Encouraging the public to change longstanding habits requires leaders and role models. You elected officials are a crucial resource for this task. Please step up and help create a success story in Jefferson County that will echo nationally.

TOM ENGEL

PORT TOWNSEND

Editor's note: This letter was misattributed in the print edition. It was submitted by Mr. Engel.

Comments

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Dawn mohrbacher
You remind me of the man who parked his EV in front of my store to stomp in and tell me that my "furs" were fake. In his plastic tennis shoes no less. Apparently I'm supporting the oil industry by selling fake fur. He DROVE DOWN to tell me this. Do you have a clue what your fossil imprint is when you get rid of an old car and have a new one made? And..I move furniture...shall I break it up to fit into one of those stupid things? Pop on down and buy a table. We can smash it up small enough to fit in your EV car....
Thursday, June 27
Mike Loriz
Tom- On a recent road trip on I-84 through NW UT and SW ID we were cruising along with traffic at 80-90 mph. We passed a lovely Tesla S doing 40 MPH. I think he was out of juice and limping to his next charging station. EVs are not for everything. More importantly, you only focused on the point-of-use carbon question. The much bigger question, IMHO, is that of from where is the power coming? Because if we load up the roads with EVs that are powered by a dirty and inefficient grid, we are not helping things. In my engineering classes in college, I learned that electricity is very high-quality power. Unfortunately, it is inefficient to transport. The industry guess is that 50% of generated electric is lost prior to use. Residential code even reflects this: Underground service wires have to be much larger gauge than aerial lines due to the air's ability to carry away waste heat.So, if you plug in your Leaf and pull extra Bonneville juice, some other schmoe is going to pull juice from a coal plant in MT, and half the power will be lost enroute. I am very pro-solar. We have 12 panels on our PT house which on a net annual basis make more power than we use. We give power away each April 30. I feel good about being a clean generator. I feel decreasingly good about hydro power. It is carbon neutral, but is hell on fish, Orcas, and all sorts of other things. Do you worry about that when you plug in your Leaf at home? Using DC transmission lines helps the efficiency problem. They are expensive. Last time I checked, China now has over 50. We have 2. One is used to carry lots of PNW Bonneville hydro juice to SoCal, where they wanted low-Carbon electric.They paid through the nose for it, and subsidized out rates. Not so much anymore. CA has gone on a solar binge. It would not surprise me if that DC line carries juice North one of these days. I'm quite sure our juice will get more expensive as Bonneville loses that subsidy. I do not want to sound anti-EV. I'm not. If you have solar panels on your house that are cranking more than you can use, and you plug the Leaf in while the sun is shining, more power to you. Ouch. Sorry, But the problem is a bit complicated in the big picture: throw a bunch of EVs into the mix, and all you will likely do is postpone the retirement of coal-fired plants in MT and Centralia. I read that this April, renewables (wind, solar,hydro, nuke) briefly and barely made more juice in the US than coal. I like that trend. I think it might be better if you lobbied your local government and PUD to put solar PV panels on every municipal building in the city and county. Then, get the electric cars. I am absolutely amazed that in this uber-green/left area that there are so few solar panels, particularly on municipal buildings. Any comments, PUD? City?
Thursday, June 27