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How Effective are U.S. and G7 Energy Security and Carbon Emissions Policies?

Following the announcement to withdraw the U.S. from the ‘Paris Climate Agreement’, major European and Asian countries have been very critical of President Trump’s decision. While such a U.S. action is clearly legal and allowed under the Paris accord, it appears possibly inconsistent with other G7 Countries’ agreements such as the ‘Rome G7 Energy Initiative for Energy Security’. Rather than just assume this decision to exit the Paris Agreement compromises the U.S.’s world leadership role, it’s important to review recent and likely future U.S., G7 and other countries’ past and projected future performances related to both ‘Energy Security’ and ‘Carbon Emissions’.

G7 Energy Security Policy – The ‘Group of 7’ (G7) Countries includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom (UK) and United States (U.S.).  These seven Countries have the largest economies of all Developed Countries in the world today and produce almost half of the world’s current total Gross Domestic Products (GDP).  G7 Countries also consume about one third of total world fossil fuels and currently generate about one quarter of total world carbon emissions (CO2).

The 2014 ‘Rome G7 Energy Initiative for Energy Security’ included addressing a broad range of security and business-environmental principles.  These include fully supporting free energy markets, increased domestic energy production and reduced demand (i.e. reduced imports), upgraded energy infrastructures and emergency reserves, and, encourage displacement of fossil fuels with lower carbon, alternative energy supplies.

The largest historic even that severely impacted most Countries’ energy securities was the 1973 the Arab OPEC oil embargo.   This OPEC embargo disrupted significant fractions of U.S., UK, Canada and Japan’s available imported oil supplies, and quadrupled world market oil prices.  This event created numerous energy crises, which led to major economic recessions.  As a result, a number of policy-actions were taken by G7 and other Countries that included creating ‘strategic petroleum (oil) reserves’ (SPR), reducing future oil demand (via increased efficiencies, alternative/biofuels, and nuclear power), and increased domestic energy supplies.  These energy independence/security policies varied among G7 Countries due to a broad range of factors, including limited available domestic oil & gas reserves and varying governments’ priorities.  For example, following the Arab OPEC embargo, the U.S. and France began rapidly growing their nuclear power generation-capacities to reduce the need for Power sectors’ petroleum fuels.  Today, France generates almost 80% of its power from nuclear; reducing its Power sector’s carbon emissions to small fractions of all other Nations.

The greatest potential risks to most Countries’ energy security today is still largely based on the level of required ‘net’ oil & gas imports needed to meet total domestic demands.  Refer to Table 1.

Table 1 – G7 and Major Developing Countries’ Oil & Gas Supplies, Demands and Net Imports

Data Sources – 2016 projection based on available IEA & EIA data 2014-16.  KBD = thousands of barrels per day, Total Oil (Domestic) Production and ‘Net imports = demand – production. 

Based on G-7 current needs for oil & gas imports, Canada clearly has the highest level of ‘energy security’ due to their large ‘net exports’.  The U.S. has the next highest level of energy security since it has relatively small net oil and gas imports, and, most of these imports come from Canada.  U.S. oil supplies security is further supported by its large SPR inventory.  The UK has the third highest level energy security due to relatively lower net oil & gas imports compared to the balance of G7 Countries, and most of its current oil & gas imports fortunately come from Norway.  The UK, however, relies on the overall EU for SPR supplies in the event of another major oil embargo; which could become problematic with the recent Brexit developments.

Japan, France, Germany and Italy directionally all have the lowest levels of energy security due to very large oil & gas imports.  These Countries have very little domestic production and must rely overwhelmingly on net oil & gas imports supplies to meet demands.  Unfortunately, most of these imports come from OPEC and Russia.  Fortunately, Japan, France and Germany have fairly large domestic SPR’s.

The largest Developing Countries, China and India, energy security’s data are included in Table 1 since their economies and oil & gas demands are similar to the levels of most G7 Countries.  Similarly, they require net imports far greater than Canada and the U.S., and therefore have relative low energy security levels.

Future Energy Security Risks and Challenges to Reducing Fossil Fuels Consumptions – As illustrated in Table 1, most of G7 Countries continue to be at substantial risk to current and future energy securities from potential loss of required oil & gas imports.  Unfortunately, despite over two decades of energy security and related carbon emissions policies and actions to reduce the need for fossil fuels, most G7 and Developed Countries still rely on at least 80% of their total energy supplies from oil, gas and coal.

A major energy security risk is likely the ongoing instabilities in the Middle East, such as Iran’s past threats to shutdown the Strait of Hormuz.  This action risks disrupting up to 20% of total world oil supplies and about 35% of total world marine oil shipments.  And, puts Japan and other Asian Countries, and the U.S. West Coast at the greatest risks.

Russia supplies almost 40% of EU natural gas.  If the current NATO-Russia relationship continues to decline, this could put much of the EU at considerable natural gas supplies disruption risks.  Unfortunately, Russia has a history of shutting off EU natural gas supplies.  Fortunately, the U.S. is expanding its exports of liquified natural gas (LNG).

Since most of current G7 and World oil & gas supplies are consumed primarily as motor and heating fuels, it’s unlikely that G7 or other Countries will be able to substantially reduce their demand for these fossil fuels in the near future.  Yes, continuous progress will likely be made in replacing Power sectors’ fossil fuels with renewables and possibly nuclear.  However, all technologies are costly, have limited application feasibilities, and will take many decades to displace the majority of existing fossil fuels needed for Power generation and other Sectors’ heating and transportation fuels.  Other than reducing the need for heating fuels by increased efficiency upgrades and replacing limited Residential & Commercial buildings’ heating systems with electric heat pumps and/or geothermal technologies, replacing the need for fossil heating fuels in the Industrial Sector is very challenging, with limited alternatives; such as for producing steel, cement, petrochemicals, synthetic materials, etc.

There is a major limitation of how quickly more efficient and cleaner energy technologies can reasonably become a dominate reality, such as for the Transportation sector’s average on-road vehicles.  The most feasible-effective alternative to ‘internal combustion engine’ (ICE) vehicles’ will likely be eventual displacement with ‘electric vehicles’ (EV’s).  However, it will probably take many decades before this strategy effectively replaces the majority of existing ICE fleets.  Today there are about 1.3 billion on-road ICE vehicles in service in the world and only about 1.3 million are on-road EV’s.  Yes, the number of annual EV sales is increasing fairly rapidly and costs are coming down, but it will still take many decades before EV’s reasonably become the most dominate mode of on-road transportation, as needed to substantially reduce the need-demand for current petroleum motor fuels.

G7 and other Countries’ Recent Fossil Fuels Consumptions and associated Carbon Emissions – Climate Change and the need to reduce carbon emissions has been a growing World priority since the creation of Kyoto Protocol.  Since the late 1990’s Developing and Developed Countries populations, economies, fossil fuels consumptions and associated carbon emissions have grown to historic highs.  Refer to Table 2.

Table 2 – G7 and other Countries’ Demographics, Fossil Fuels Consumptions and Associated Carbon Emissions – 2016

Data Sources – Global Carbon Atlas, IEA and EIA data.  $T/yr. = $Trillion per year, MBbl/day = million barrels per day, TCF/yr. = trillion cubic feet per year, Quad Btu/yr. = quadrillion Btu per year, and MMT/yr. = million metric tons per year.  CO2 emissions data based on fossil fuels consumptions only and excludes other greenhouse gases.

Table 2 shows that in 2016, G7 Countries’ total populations represent 10% of the total world, produced 48% of total GDP’s, consumed 34%/37%/17% of total world oil/gas/coal fossil fuels, and produced 27% of total carbon (CO2) emissions.  This compares to China with 19% of total world population, 15% of total GDP, consuming 12%/5%/52% of oil/gas/coal, and also producing 27% of total world carbon emissions.  China’s relatively high carbon emissions are due largely to consuming over half of total world coal production.

India and all other Developing and Developed Countries account for the balance of the world population (71%), GDP (37%), fossil fuels consumption (54%/58%/31%, oil/gas/coal), and the 46% balance of carbon emissions.  These non-G7 Countries (excluding China) consumed almost 30% more coal than G7 Countries.

Possible Carbon Emissions Impacts of the Recent Paris Climate Agreement – During 2015-2016, all G7 and Develop Countries, and nearly all Developing Countries ratified the Paris Agreement.  The Paris Agreement updated previous G7 commitments made in the original Kyoto Protocol and subsequent agreements, and, included Canadian and U.S. support.  Based on the recent Paris Agreement development, a summary Table 3, was created to illustrate past and projected/pledged Countries’ carbon emissions.

Table 3 – G7 and Other Countries’ Baseline and Projected/Pledged Carbon Emission

Data Sources – Global Carbon Atlas, IEA and UNFCCC data.  Note: A negative ‘reduction’ is equivalent to an ‘increase’.  U.S. original projected 2030 emissions are based on a 28% reduction 2005-2025 and an 80% reduction 2005-2050.

Total G7 carbon emissions increased by +1,138 MMT/yr. (12%) 1990-2005, and are projected to decrease by 3,640 MMT/yr. (36%) 2005-2030; prior to the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris agreement.  Unfortunately, all of G7 carbon reductions have been and will continue to be offset by growing China, India and other Countries’ carbon emissions.  A major gap in the Paris Agreement is that China’s emissions are not based on reducing any past baseline year, and, will only be capped at some (unspecified) level in 2030.  India has only agreed to reduce its Power sector’s carbon intensity by 2030 and many other Countries have vaguely agreed to similar directional reductions in recent/current carbon emissions & intensities.  Many Developing Countries appear to have tied their future carbon levels/intensities to receiving part of $100 Billion/yr. in subsidies established in the Paris Agreement; funded by Developed Countries.

All of the G7 EU Countries agreed to reduce their 1990 level carbon emissions by 40% in 2030.  President Obama originally agreed to reduce U.S. 2005 level carbon emissions by 26%-28% in 2025.  Canada has agreed to possibly reduce its 2005 baseline emissions by 17% in 2020 and 30% in 2030.  And, Japan has agreed to possibly reduce their 2005 baseline emissions by 26% in 2030.

Based on the original 2015 Paris Agreement commitments, the U.S. was projected to account for 2,235 MMT/yr. reductions 2005-2030, or about 60% of total G7 reduced carbon emissions during this period.  Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris accord means that G7 and World carbon emissions will possibly increase.  Note: China’s + India’s carbon emissions are projected to increase by 3-times U.S. original Paris Agreement reductions 2005-2030; assuming full compliance with the Paris accord pledges by these countries.

U.S. and Other Countries’ Projected Carbon Emissions – The U.S.’s recent actions to cancel the ‘Clean Power Plan’ (CPP) and withdraw from the Paris accord will effectively eliminate all U.S. projected carbon emission reductions 2015-2030.  Refer to Figure A.

Figure A – Projected U.S. and Other Countries’ Carbon Emissions – 1990-2030

Data Sources – Tables 1-3

Figure A graph shows that with the U.S. cancelling the CPP and exiting the Paris accord, U.S. carbon emissions are projected to possibly increase by only 80-90 MMT/yr. 2015-2030.  While this 2015-2030 U.S. carbon emissions projected increase is somewhat disappointing, it’s relatively small compared to major Developing Countries.  China and India’s carbon emissions in full compliance with the existing Paris accord are projected to possibly increase by 2,300 MMT/yr. during 2015-2030.  By 2030, China will continue to be the largest source of world carbon emissions, generating nearly twice the level of CO2 emissions as the U.S. even following its exit from the Paris accord.  All other World Countries’ (excluding China, G7 and India) are projected to increase by 4,000 MMT/yr. 2015-2030 despite full Countries’ Paris accord compliance.  Note, that India’s carbon emissions are projected to almost equal the level of G7 Countries (excluding U.S.) following the U.S. exit.

In Conclusion – The U.S., Canada and UK have clearly made the greatest progress in improving their energy securities over the years.  Since 2000, France, Italy and the UK have made the greatest progress in reducing their carbon emissions ‘percentages’ (17%, 21% & 27%, respectively).  However, on a world ‘unit mass’ emissions basis, Germany, the UK and the U.S. have made the greatest annual fossil fuels carbon reductions (69, 149 & 425 MMT/yr., 2000-2016).  These carbon emission reductions were due primarily to reductions in coal and petroleum consumptions, and ‘fuels switching’ to natural gas and renewables.  The U.S. by far has made the greatest progress in reducing its actual-unit carbon emissions during this century.

European G7 Countries are clearly disappointed in the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris agreement, since President Obama’s pledge to substantially reduce U.S. future carbon emissions would have represented up to 60% of total G7 pledged carbon reductions 2005-2030.  Unfortunately, President Obama failed to seek and obtain U.S. Senate approval of the Paris Agreement, and only made an executive pledge.  This past President pledge did not make the Paris Agreement equivalent to a legally bidding ‘treaty’, which fully enabled the current President to withdraw from all of President Obama’s previous commitments; carbon reductions & funding Developing Countries’ subsidies.

Without renegotiating the Paris Agreement into some form of a legally bidding ‘International Treaty’, the Paris accord will essentially continue to be just a list of semiformal political pledges.  Other than negative news critics and political fallout, the current Paris Agreement does not hold signatories legally liable for failure to comply with their current accord pledges.  If President Obama had actually convinced the Democratically controlled (Harry Reid’s) Senate to pass some form of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) prior to 2015 (when the Democrats lost control of the Senate), President Trump’s recent executive order to exit the Paris Agreement could have been prevented.

One factor that made the past Senate approval of any legally bidding law or treaty very problematic is that compliance with significantly large future carbon emission reductions is expensive.  Rarely mentioned in the news media today is the fact that most G7 Countries’ motor & heating fuels and electric power market costs are at least ‘double’ that of the U.S. and Canada.  In the case of Germany, which has established the largest percentage of (non-nuclear) renewable power generation in the world today, Germany also has domestic Consumer power costs triple the U.S.  This factor is possibly one of the major reasons why past Democratic and current Republican Senates’ have not passed any significant carbon reduction legislation during Obama’s Presidency.  Substantially increased energy costs was also likely a major factor motivating President Trump’s recent decision to pull the U.S. out of the current Paris Agreement.  By mitigating a substantial increase of U.S. motor & heating fuels and power costs to levels similar to those found in Europe, has potentially prevented inhibiting future U.S. domestic economic growth.

John Miller's picture

Thank John for the Post!

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Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on June 21, 2017

Trump certainly did not “withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.” In fact he sought to engage and re-negotiate terms of US obligations under the agreement. They immediately told the US “NO!” So OK, done, over. A real opportunity for purposeful dialog was pissed away.

I have a lot more confidence in US Carbon sequestration and biofuel technology contributions to get hung up on your “emissions only” criteria.

Also, I was asked to attend an “Enbridge Line 3” meeting. The original pipeline was buried in peat, swamp, forest, lakes, with a Minnesota frost dept over 5 feet, in the 1960s. A reasonable person would accept the pipeline probably needs to be re-engineered and upgraded. Since I didn’t expect reasonable people at the meeting, why waste the time??

Just wait until the current generation of 80 year old farmers retires. The leftists will hire a team of lawyers to figure out how the Russians stole all our food.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 22, 2017

Rick, Trump is a very experienced business man. He knows that when you enter a deal that commits you to significant obligations and associated costs and the other parties have substantially few or no legally binding obligations or significant costs, its likely a bad deal. Possibly one of the primary reasons other Paris accord signatories do not support renegotiating the agreement is that they don’t want to put their political status-perceptions of not supporting the agreement signed by nearly all countries, at significant risk. If the current Paris and past related agreements were truly designed to commit signatory Countries to make significant reductions in their carbon and other GHG emissions a reality, they would have originally required that the agreement be developed in a legally binding form of an International Treaty; with specific penalties for non-compliance of committed-approved carbon emissions reductions.

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on June 22, 2017

John

Obama to cement his legacy, and thinking Hillary would be elected, agreed to much greater reductions than China and India and the EU. Of course they did not want to renegotiate.

Please read my article.
http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-energ...

COP21 pledges, if fully implemented, would reduce world CO2 émissions from about 60 billion metric ton to about 56 billion Mt in 2030.

With the US leaving it will be about 57 billion Mt.

But, to achieve 2C by 2100, it would need to be 42 billion Mt in 2030. The required investments would be in the tens of trillions of dollars to achieve that reduction in 14 years.

However, from there the downward path would need continue to ZERO by about 2080. That would be a truly mind boggling challenge, and with 10 to 12 billion people on the planet.

All those numbers can be obtained from the United Nations Environment Project, UNEP, website.

It is always prudent to have some estimates of capital costs to implement any endeavor.

– The present world investments in RE systems to achieve the Current Policy Trajectory goal of 60 billion Mt of CO2eq (for 3.7 C) is about $300 billion/y, of which China spends about $100 billion/y.

– The investment required to implement COP-21 pledges to achieve 56 billion Mt (for 3.5 C) would be at least $500 billion/y during the 2016 – 2030 period.

– The investment required to achieve 42 billion Mt (for 2 C) would be at least $2 trillion/y during the 2016 – 2030 period.

– The investment required to achieve 39 billion Mt (for 1.5 C) would be at least $2.5 trillion/y during the 2016 – 2030 period.

A table with above values is in this URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/cop-21-world-renewable-energ...

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on June 22, 2017

John,

“Russia supplies almost 40% of EU natural gas. If the current NATO-Russia relationship continues to decline, this could put much of the EU at considerable natural gas supplies disruption risks. Unfortunately, Russia has a history of shutting off EU natural gas supplies. Fortunately, the U.S. is expanding its exports of liquified natural gas (LNG).”

Russia is very much interested in being a reliable gas supplier to the EU.
The US is very interested in forcing Russia out of the EU market.

Ukraine failed to pay for the delivered gas on several occasions, so Gazprom closed the valve.
Flow was restored after Ukraine paid.

Ukraine had been stealing gas that was meant for transit to Europe.
Russia closed the valve and insisted on metering before opening the valve again.

At this time, if Ukraine wants Russian gas, it must pay ahead of time in cash.
When the check clears, Russia opens the valve.

The EU has been loaning money to Ukraine so it can pay the Russians for gas.

Poland had delivered some Russian gas to Ukraine, and when Ukraine did not pay, Poland closed the valve.

Ukraine is a very corrupt, deadbeat country run by an oligarchy bought and paid for by the EU, the US, the IMF and World Bank.

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on June 22, 2017

The US is in a far better position then most people realize. We worked through almost all of the issues (political and technical) and came up with multiple solutions. The costs are falling for the new products and various regulations/policies are being tested on smaller scales. California is very comparable to Germany in size, GDP and renewable energy.

it will still take many decades before EV’s reasonably become the most dominate mode of on-road transportation, as needed to substantially reduce the need-demand for current petroleum motor fuels.

You will see a mass exodus from gas powered vehicles in the US when gas goes to $4/gal again. Which is a -far- different story the last two times it happened. EVs have started to earn some public acceptance in the market. The designs and prices are improving.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on June 22, 2017

Willem, interesting that you ascribe personal motives to Obama’s signature on COP21, that he did it to “cement his legacy”. Questions:

1) What basis do you have to support Obama as Egomaniac, vs. Obama as President Concerned about Global Environmental Health? Compared to our current president for egomania, he’s a rank amateur.

2) With U.S. per-capita emissions currently 2-3x that of China and 15x that of India, why shouldn’t the U.S. be responsible for greater reductions? Are Americans entitled to make more of a mess than other citizens of the world?

Willem Post's picture
Willem Post on June 22, 2017

Sean,
For Detroit to design vehicles, build plants and produce 8 million of EVs per year (plus 8 million gasoline vehicles per year), several decades will elapse.

Oil is at $42 a barrel, lower than in 1973 on an inflation adjusted basis

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 22, 2017

Sean, following the 2007-09 great recession average U.S. gasoline prices did approach $4/gal. ($3.70 – $3.80/gal.; reference EIA data) during 2011-14 when crude prices were $95-$98/Bbl. (WTI spot data reference). During this same period U.S. gasoline consumption increased from 8.75 to 8.92 million Bbl./day (EIA reference data ) or by 1.9% when gasoline prices approached $4/gal. As you are aware, as a result of increases in U.S. crude oil production (largely from hydraulic fracturing technologies developments) and World oil markets becoming over supplied, the price of crude and gasoline dropped substantially; about 50% and 40% respectively.

Based on these recent-historic data, the mass exodus of ICE vehicles may require some form of carbon taxes in order to increase the price of gasoline well above $4/gal. Also, a mass increase of EV’s will require not only more cost-effective prices (purchase + operating costs, ICE vs. EV) and a massive expansion of EV recharging infrastructures.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 22, 2017

Willem, good points. It’s interesting that the Ukraine was the major reason why Russia has embargoed natural gas; i.e. them not paying their gas bills. One of Russia’s motivations to annexing the Crimea could have been repossessing this part of the past USSR and mitigating this gas market revenue risks. Just kidding. Anyway, I agreed, the risk of Russia embargoing G7 Countries’ natural gas supplies appears to be relatively low (compared to OPEC oil), since these EU Countries are obviously the major sources of paying The Ukraine’s gas bills in recent years. Another factor that reduces this energy security/gas imports disruption risk is the fact that the Russian economy relies fairly significantly on their natural gas exports to the EU.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 22, 2017

Willem, you make some excellent points. The data and information you have provided are many of the reasons why current and past analyses and negotiated agreements have relatively questionable and possibly have relatively small probabilities of actually mitigating future climate change to target levels. The costs are very significant and could be difficult to justify, and when you add in the probability of future temperatures’ projections accuracies, which makes it more difficult to justify the enormous expenditures. That’s why the issue of population levels will likely grown in significance in the future as to what outcomes are truly affordable and sustainable on an international basis.

Jarmo Mikkonen's picture
Jarmo Mikkonen on June 22, 2017

John & Willem,

Transport and industrial processes are very hard to tackle. I happen to live in one of the countries that can possibly take the challenge, along with the other Nordic countries. Unfortunately, India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, sub-Saharan Africa matter, not us.

I think 2 degrees is possible, 2.5 likely. Technology decides.

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on June 22, 2017

Trump is a very experienced business man. He knows that when you enter a deal that commits you to significant obligations and associated costs and the other parties have substantially few or no legally binding obligations or significant costs, its likely a bad deal.

Experienced doesn’t imply good. Obama knew it was kind of crappy but getting everyone at the table to agree to move in the same direction and create the equivalent of a “space race” was far more important. Plus there is roughly 7 TRILLION that will be spent on the new renewable products by 2040. Trump is sided with FFs which will be like 3 trillion over the same time frame according to bloomberg new energy finance group. “penny wise and dollar dumb” is what comes to mind.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on June 23, 2017

Willem, don’t forget to reduce the numbers by the money not spent in new conventional capacities and not spent in fossil fuel. Don’t wonder if the numbers becime negative.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on June 23, 2017

MAyor reduction of the risk of ukraine not paying it’s bill to russia are the reduced imports of Ukraine of russian gas, heading towards zero.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on June 23, 2017

EV recharging is mainly done at home, where infrastructure mainly exists. So recharging is “only” neccesary at highways, where it is being built. And manybe, later on as demand side management, at places of labour.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on June 23, 2017

A mass increase in EVs is not required.  Anything which substitutes non-petroleum energy will do.  Biofuels are endlessly promoted as the solution, but one has to be a propagandist or innumerate to say that.  The net primary productivity of the globe is just plain too small for biofuels to do more than fill gaps.

This leaves PHEVs, which are in a surprisingly strong position.  Annual US LDV sales are running about 17 million.  If each and every one was a PHEV carrying a 10 kWh battery pack, it would only require the output of 3.4 Tesla Gigafactories to equip them.

If 10 kWh of grid electricity replaces 1 gallon of fuel and each battery pack is charged 1.5 times a day on average, fuel savings would mount up at the rate of about 600 mbbl/day per year.  After 10 years with 170 million PHEVs on the road, US LDV fuel consumption would be down by roughly 2/3 and net petroleum imports would have been eliminated.

Cost is no obstacle.  If battery packs cost $200/kWh, 10 kWh adds $2000 to the vehicle price.  Given that start-stop is already going fleet-wide along with the electrification of A/C, power steering and other power-hungry accessories, most of the cost in the powertrain is already rolled in.  Replacing 550 gallons of fuel per year at even $2.50/gallon with 5500 kWh at $0.15/kWh saves $550/year and pays off before most car loans; if fuel goes to $4/gallon the payback time falls to about 1.5 years.

greggerritt greggerritt's picture
greggerritt greggerritt on June 23, 2017

What all of the authors and letter writers forget is that people around the worlld, expecially, but not exclusivbely in places that hold elections and have some freed om of the press, are resisting all new fossil fuel infrastructure. When it hits the fan, (maybe at the next hurricane to destroy an American city) fossil fuel use is going to be resisted even more strongly. Forget Presidnet Toxic Dump, watch the resistance.

greggerritt greggerritt's picture
greggerritt greggerritt on June 23, 2017

The reason Paris was non binding was it was obvious the lunatic climate deniers in the US Senate would not have passed binding. And the deniers are going to be held responsible for the millions who die.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 23, 2017

Jarmo, agreed, lower carbon Transport and Industrial processes will be challenging. Not only is the technologies developments key, but also the technologies’ costs compared to current and developed alternatives.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 23, 2017

Sean, agreed, the ‘space race’ was fully discretionary and beneficial to a few Developed and Developing countries. In the case of the Paris Agreement, it’s probably more important that it be a legally bidding treaty that contains limited discretionary outcomes and requires signatory Countries to comply with their clearly defined carbon reduction commitments. Why would Developed Countries fund $100 Billion/yr., if there is substantial risk that the World would receive little or no benefit (reduced carbon emissions) if less than democratic Developing Countries spend the funds on other priorities?

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 23, 2017

Helmut, agreed, in-home recharging does help reduce the need for public recharging infrastructures. However, all technologies have the limitations and can be less efficient (required/length of recharging times) and less convenient (need to plan/schedule trips within battery capacity limitations) than existing ICE vehicles and available petroleum fueling stations. Yes, the public will make the switch in time and adjust their schedules as needed, but location will also become an increasing constraint for many EV’s. Those who live in Cities/urban locations will be much better off than those who live in more rural settings. Also, ambient weather conditions (temperatures) will create major limitations on EV’s; particularly in the winter freezing conditions. Today’s batteries don’t operate very efficiently in freezing temperatures.

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on June 23, 2017

It is short sighted to say US Crude production sent global oil prices down. It is maybe partially true. There were several things going on, as we went on an all out blitz against oil prices trying to hit every angle. We broke OPEC, we devalued the potential profits from existing reserves, we became more fuel efficient, and we mostly quit using oil for electric generation.

EVs are already cheaper to operate. It is roughly $2/gal gas (depending on electric prices, and vehicle efficiency). And less routine maintenance as there are far fewer moving parts. The cost of the actual vehicles are higher and were initially projected to be the same price as a gas powered car by 2030. Battery tech, and manufacturing have vastly improved, and were are looking at 2022, and potentially doubling battery capacity by then. They are also recouping some of the initial investments in the technology which in turn allows for price drops.

$4/gal will do it, for most commuters and businesses but getting the cars the same price will have a similar effect, and really if projections are right, the next “oil crisis” will be around 2022. so we -might- get a double whammy. We could be on a 2nd gen model 3 and Bolt, and a 3rd gen Volt. The hybrid pickups tech is starting to heat up. You have action in the semi-tractors, SUVs, etc.

The biggest factors are trust in the technology, and people adjusting to it. Then on the other hand, there are places where currently it just won’t work which is okay too. If you knock out most of city and surburbia, it frees up oil resources for people who really need it.

You might be able to tax the crap out of oil, but you don’t make a whole lot of friends forcing people to adopt a new technology before it is cost effective. Obama was clearly avoiding going down that path. His objective was to lower the overall costs, not to raise them. He just realized we didn’t have all the pieces of tech we needed and we needed to get started developing them and making them cost effective. Most of it is in preparation for the next oil crisis. Where you can quit swearing at the gas station attendant, quit writing your congressman, and quit complaining about the oil conspiracy, you can actually do something about it. Install solar, buy an EV, battery backup, etc. You met your own needs.

Ironically it is mostly the people who were saying “git r done” 10 years ago and saying they want “freedom” are the ones who aren’t doing it and are actually fighting it. Even though the goal is exactly what they say they want.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 23, 2017

Agreed, if carbon efficient biofuels become a greater reality, the need for massive EV fleets will be reduced. However, the development of lower carbon (full-lifecycle carbon balance <50% of displaced petroleum) is still challenged; particularly for most advanced biofuels (cellulosic, algae, etc.).

As far as PHEV’s, agreed they have strong potential in the near future compared to EV’s; especially when you add regenerative braking technologies. One factor I suggest doing some more analysis on is the ‘efficiency’ and full-lifecycle of charging-discharging PHEV 10Kwh batteries. I am sure you understand the process does not have a 100% efficiency.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 23, 2017

Greg, agree-to-disagree. The political strategy of ‘keeping fossil fuels in the ground’ may not be very effective until alternative low carbon energy sources can truly replace most fossil fuels. Blocking fossil fuels infrastructure projects such as pipelines can be counterproductive, especially when you take into account the oil & gas is still going to be produced due to local-world demand, and pipelines are far more efficient, cleaner and safer than alternative truck, rail & barge transportation.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on June 23, 2017

I think we’re talking past each other here.

Agreed, if carbon efficient biofuels become a greater reality, the need for massive EV fleets will be reduced.

My point is that it’s not going to happen.  Even if the billion-ton vision became a reality, a billion tons of biomass at 40% carbon by dry weight only has enough carbon to make about 4.2 billion barrels/yr of octane, about 11-12 million barrels/day.  Note that this requires a source of hydrogen so that all of the carbon can be re-fixed as fuel; most biofuel processes lose roughly half of the input carbon as CO2, as fermentation losses or for process heat.

The USA consumes about 19 million barrels of petroleum per day, plus large amounts of natural gas and a substantial amount of steam coal.  Replacing less than 2/3 of the roughly 40% of energy that’s supplied by petroleum isn’t remotely sufficient.  If your target only gets you to 27% decarbonization, you are planning to fail.

especially when you add regenerative braking technologies.

Why don’t you ask the guy who owns one?  One of my favorite tricks is to leave the gear selector in “L” and click off the cruise control at just the right place so I’m down to 15 MPH at my turnoff.  It’s all regenerative braking.

BTW, I overestimated the potential fuel savings above.  The average vehicle sold in the US is now achieving 25.3 MPG (EPA rating, which few drivers get up to) and would consume 593 gallons/yr.  Savings from going to PHEV are on the order of 2/3 (unless you’re a fanatic like me), so the annual savings would be closer to 400 gallons.  400 gal * $2.50/gal – 4000 kWh * $0.15/kWh = $400/yr savings, still paying for the battery in 5 years.  If electricity comes at off-peak rates or if the vehicle can sell grid services like down-regulation while it’s charging, that payback could be faster.

wind smith's picture
wind smith on June 23, 2017

Well, if an income based carbon tax won’t pass congress the next best option is making it more difficult and expensive to use FF. Like the 55 mile/gal. Obama put in place and spoiler Trump dumped.

Rex Berglund's picture
Rex Berglund on June 23, 2017

Some good news, albeit from one study, is that the potential of V2G shows that it could actually improve vehicle battery life by around ten percent over a year, whereas I’ve always heard the opposite.

And more good news, an 18 month joint effort between PG&E and BMW has shown that EVs can actually stabilize the grid.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on June 23, 2017

That is not the first paradoxical battery-life result to appear.  Back in 2002, AC Propulsion found “Figure 23 shows the progression of measured capacity of the pack over the course of the testing. The pack finished the testing with 13% more capacity than at the start.”

The rest of AC Propulsion’s white papers are worthwhile reading also.  They were doing grid stabilization long before the idea of greenwashing with cheesy burlap and eucalyptus trim came to anyone at BMW.  (My burlap-lined i3 swag-bag is coming apart down to its ordinary canvas skin, showing just how badly the idea of “sustainable” materials was handled there.)

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on June 24, 2017

Why would Developed Countries fund $100 Billion/yr.,

The US committment is 3B of 10.3B pledged to the green climate fund total. We pay the UN 15M for the commission on clean energy.

Where are you getting 100B/yr?

There are two good reasons why we wanted to be involved. The first is we want people in other countries to see, you don’t need to run diesel generators for electricity. which gets back the oil argument. But it also cuts down on the reason why they need to poke holes in the pipelines and steal it. In mexico it is like $500k/day is stolen from their pipelines which fund their mafias, it is similar in northern africa and the middle east.

The second reason, is because they are buying our stuff, which we need tested for reliability and it gives our new companies an opportunity to develop a track record, because our utilities won’t buy their products because of the risk of going out of business.

last, it provides an in road to trading. We have products they want, and are willing to buy so we are establishing a trade relationship with them. Which helps open up an opportunity to reduce the trade deficit.

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on June 24, 2017

GM can currently crank out around 400k between the volts and bolts. All their new platforms are including electric drivetrains in the design phase. The platform life is like 5-12 years. 2030 is probably the latest for almost their entire fleet. It is far more cost effective and you end up with a far superior product to do it that way then try to retrofit an Electric drivetrain on an existing vehicle. Ford supposedly is doing something similar. as well as nissan and kia.

Whether they release the electrified version depends on market conditions and whether they can get the price/performance out of the vehicles. 2x density batteries, solid state batteries, and far lower prices for batteries will play a huge role but we are looking at roughly 2022-5 for similar gas and electrics to be the same price.

Then you have charging networks and infrastructure, that are all being done.

The larger problem in the US is the avg age of the vehicles is 11 years, so you are looking at least another two decades just to clear out the existing fleet.

It wasn’t ever going to be quick transition, but it is designed to be cost effective.

Engineer- Poet's picture
Engineer- Poet on June 24, 2017

You don’t have to worry so much about replacing the existing fleet.  LDVs in the USA travel half their lifetime mileage in about their first 6 years.  An 11-yr-old vehicle probably has about 3/4 of its fuel consumption behind it already.

I think the real twist might come from a change in supplemental fuels for the PHEVs, like from fossil petroleum to biomass-sourced methanol with a tinge of MTG gasoline (call it Re-M85).  That wouldn’t be compatible with the legacy fleet, which would probably be left burning a much more expensive blend; consumers would react by dumping them.  We have a precedent for accelerated retirement of costly-to-run vehicles, right after the OPEC price shocks.  We’d even have political pressure from the auto industry to push the changeover to help boost sales.

There’s one proactive thing that would have to be done to make this work, and that is a requirement that new PHEVs be M85-compatible.  Given how small and powerful you can make an engine that runs on M85, that might not be a hard sell at all.  Reducing the sustainer to a 750 cc 2-banger would cut a lot of cost.

Helmut Frik's picture
Helmut Frik on June 25, 2017

I do not agree to this. Most trips with a ICE car do not exceed fuel capacity of the car, as well most trips with a BEV car do not exceede fuel capacity of the battery.
Difference is that IEC car can not be filled when standing in garage, while BEV can. So BEV is ususlly fully fueld up when the next trip starts, while fuel in the ICE car will run low over time.
So ICE cars need extra trips for refueling in regular intervals which BEV cars only need when the trip exceeds battery capacity. In such cases recharging of the BEV car takes longer, and has less infrastructure than ICE car. but if I look at my own car use, there are at least 10 extra fueling trips for ICE car on one on trip charging for BEV car.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 26, 2017

The $100 Billion subsidy target by 2020 was originally developed during the previous 2009 Copenhagen Climate accord, and carried over into the Paris accord.

The reason why India uses large numbers of diesel generators is due to economics and lack of utilities infrastructures availabilities. When centralized utilities don’t exist, distributed-small power sources such as ICE generators have been the only available-feasible solutions in many Developing Countries. Yes, solar PV is becoming more available and economic, but unfortunately not with the power storage needed to operate reliably 24-7; yet of course.

Sean OM's picture
Sean OM on June 27, 2017

The 100B/yr wasn’t an important part of the Paris agreement. It also wasn’t worth bringing it up for debate because it would go against the importance of getting everyone on board pointed in the right direction, and it was non-binding anyway.

Obama did a -lot- to get costs down and private money flowing and loan programs as well as get new, lower priced tech developed. This all greatly reduces the need for a subsidy system.

The reason why India uses large numbers of diesel generators is due to economics and lack of utilities infrastructures availabilities.

This is true for most developing and 3rd world countries. However, it is also kind of a misnomer to say solar isn’t available 24/7, when most places don’t run their diesel generators 24/7 either.

I would agree storage costs need to come down, but you can still knock out a lot of FF generation with solar while market is still ramping up. Battery tech is cost competitive in some cases even in the US and we have technology now to integrate it with the grid in several different ways. It is a matter of improving and scaling the tech to drive down prices.

When you are waiting for something, it never seems like it comes fast enough. We can get there with the tech we have today. However, tomorrow’s tech will be better and cheaper, so even if it seems like we are going backwards, we are still moving forward. It was never going to be a fast process.

John Miller's picture
John Miller on June 28, 2017

The unfortunate reality of the Paris Agreement is that many Developing Countries significantly based their carbon reduction commitments on some level of financial support-subsidies from Developed Countries. If the subsidies aren’t available to fund Developing Countries’ carbon reduction projects, don’t expect them to come close to meeting many of their pledged commitments.

As far as 24/7, on-demand power generation, if the solar PV panels are available during a given sunny day (4-5 hrs. based on average 20% capacity factor), of course they won’t need/operate their backup ICE generators. Also, other than when needed after sunset, backup-power supplies ICE generators are not operated; unless they are needed to charge storage batteries.

Darius Bentvels's picture
Darius Bentvels on June 29, 2017

Re-negotiation of the Paris agreement would have been a stupid thing to do for the other countries, because it signals to the population that those agreements can be changed any moment, hence are dubious.
It will take away a lot of the politically needed support of the population in all countries.
Hence the net result may be that nearly nothing will happen in the world.

Since USA, being by far the biggest polluter (>30% more CO2/pp than any other country), also didn’t do anything to meet the Kyoto requirement (20% less CO2 in 2020 compared to 1990), there was anyway little trust.

Why would world leaders degrade themselves in the eyes of their voters, by starting re-negotiations with the outcast in the family?

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