Showing posts with label feebates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feebates. Show all posts

Monday, October 21, 2019

Which policy can help EVs most?

In many countries, it has been proven hard to implement policies that help electric vehicle (EVs). In France, fuel taxes have triggered huge protests. In Ecuador, huge protests followed a steep rise in fuel prices, as a result of a decision to end gasoline and diesel subsidies.

An analysis conducted by Arctic-news compares eight policies on two criteria, i.e. how effective they are from a policy perspective and how popular the policies will likely be. As the image below shows, many policies are little or no better at helping EVs than continuing with business as usual (BAU).

“Tightening fuel economy standards may aim to reduce fuel use,” says Sam Carana, editor of Arctic-news, “but the Jevons paradox shows that this may lead to people buying more powerful cars, drive longer distances, etc. Moreover, it does little to help EVs, in fact, it may make it cheaper for people to keep driving fossil fuel-powered cars.

Sam Carana adds: “Subsidies for EVs aren't popular with pedestrians and cyclists, or with people who use public transport to go to work. These are often the poorest people and they feel that money that is spent on subsidies for EVs comes at the expense of social services for the poor. Subsidies are unlikely to gain popular support. Similarly, when subsidies for EVs take the form of tax deductions given to EV buyers, this mainly benefits those who can afford to buy EVs. Additionally, this reduces overall tax revenue, leaving less money for social services.”

“Taxes aren't much better, they may make driving a polluting car more expensive, but as long as people keep driving polluting cars, it won't help EVs and it won't help much with the climate crisis either. Higher taxes on fuel and cars haven't made EVs much more common in Europe than they are in the U.S., where such taxes are lower. The worst form of tax is 'Cap & Trade', as it enables people to keep driving polluting cars by paying for emission cuts elsewhere. Even if those cuts are indeed made elsewhere, they aren't made locally. Tax and Dividend seeks to get popular support by promising people part of the revenue, but this means the money isn't used to fight pollution and it may even be counterproductive, by helping people to keep driving fossil fuel-powered cars. Simple carbon taxes therefore seem more effective, while they may also be more popular with the poor, since more of the revenues can be spent on social services.”

Sam Carana: “Local feebates are the best way to go. It makes sense to add fees to the price of fuel, and - in order to most effectively facilitate the necessary transition to EVs - the revenues are best used to support EVs locally, which also helps such polices gain popular support locally.”

The analysis also looks at a wider set of local feebates, such as fees on sales of fossil fuel-powered cars, with the revenues used to fund rebates on local sales of EVs. Fees on facilities that sell or process fuel could also raise revenues that could be used to fund rebates on, say, EV chargers.  Furthermore, differentiation in fees on car registration, on car parking and on road toll could all help make EVs more attractive.

In conclusion, a wide set of local feebates can most effectively facilitate the necessary changes and can best gain local support. The climate crisis urgently needs comprehensive and effective action, as described in the Climate Plan, which recommends implementation of local feebates to facilitate the necessary changes.

An associated issue is the Urban Heat Island effect, as illustrated by the image on the right. Buildings, roads and cars can significantly increase temperatures and pollution including ozone at surface level.

One way to reduce temperatures, pollution and road congestion is by using electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) air taxis.

Lilium plans to start offering air taxi services from 2025. While using about the same amount of electricity as an EV traveling over roads, the Lilium Jet travels as fast as 300 km/h and has a radius of 300 km.”

Sam Carana adds: “In practice, most trips are less than 10 km. A fleet of 10,000 Lilium Jets could cater for all trips otherwise made by cars in an area where one million people live.”

In theory, this could remove virtually all cars from a city, resulting in less need for roads, bridges, tunnels, parking spaces, garages, driveways, airports, etc. These air taxis can use the roofs of large buildings for landing and take off, or dedicated areas in parks or custom-built places along the shore (see image below).

This also means there will be less need for resources, infrastructure and space to manufacture, sell and service vehicles. As a result, urban centers could use the spaces gained for more trees, parks, footpaths and bike-ways, while becoming more compact, enabling people to live closer together and closer to workplaces, shops, restaurants, educational and medical facilities, etc. As cities become more compact, the average trip within a city will become shorter in distance and take up less time.

Local councils should be keen to help make this happen, for a number of reasons. A fleet of air taxis can help combat road congestion, global heating, including the Urban Heat Island effect, and pollution by cars. At first glance, creating places for 10,000 air taxis to land and take off may look like a big job, but shopping centers and businesses will be keen to accommodate air taxis. Moreover, it is very attractive when considering that 10,000 air taxis can replace the need for up to a million vehicles, as well as the need to build and maintain the associated roads, bridges, tunnels, parking spaces, garages, etc. It can also double the amount of land available for parks, houses and other buildings. Lilium plans to start offering commercial services from 2025, so it's time to start planning now and create places for air taxis to land and take off where they will be needed.


• Climate Plan

• Feebates

• Who are the gilets jaunes and what do they want?

• Ecuador's Morena scraps fuel subsidy cuts in big win for indigenous groups

• Ecuador’s Government Crisis, Explained

• What's happening in Ecuado? Protests over fuel subsidies reach sixth day

• The Jevons Paradox

• Keeping Your Cool: How Communities Can Reduce the Heat Island Effect

• Hotter Summers Mean More Health Risks In Urban Heat Islands

• Lilium Jet

• Electric Transport group at facebook

• Air taxis group at facebook

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Rapid Transition to a Clean World

100% clean and renewable wind, water, and solar (WWS)
all-sector energy roadmaps for 139 countries of the world

[ click here for explanatory video of above image ]
Above image is from an excellent study by Jacobson et al., showing that it is technically feasible and economically attractive to shift to clean energy facilities between now and 2050. This will create net jobs worldwide. It will avoid millions of air-pollution mortalities and avoid trillions of dollars in pollution and global warming damage. It will stabilize energy prices and reduce energy poverty. It will make countries energy independent and reduce international conflict over energy. It will reduce risks of large-scale system disruptions by significantly decentralizing power production.

Given that there are so many benefits and there are no technical and economic barriers to complete a 100% shift by the year 2050 (and 80% by 2030), why not make an even faster transition?

Sam Carana suggests that feebates, especially when implemented locally, can best facilitate the necessary shift. Moreover, when energy feebates are implemented jointly with feebates in further areas, greenhouse gas emissions could be cut by 80% by 2020, while soils, atmosphere and oceans could be restored to their pre-industrial status over the course of the century.

[ the above emission cuts and feebates images were used in a meanwhile dated 2011 post ]
To achieve the most effective and rapid shift, Sam Carana recommends implementing two types of feebates, i.e. energy feebates and further feebates such as fees on sales of livestock products while using the revenues to fund rebates on soil supplements containing biochar.

Sam Carana adds that further lines of action will be needed to prevent Earth from overheating, warning that comprehensive and effective action is needed as described in the Climate Plan.

The image below shows that a shift to 100% clean (WWS) energy by 2050 (80% by 2030) could reduce CO2 to ~350 ppmv by 2100.

[ from Jacobson et al. 2015 ]
Energy feebates are the most effective way to speed up the shift to clean energy. Further feebates could make additional cuts in greenhouse gases emissions, while also removing carbon from the atmosphere and oceans, allowing us to aim for bringing down carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to 280 ppmv by the year 2100.


- How Renewable Energy Could Make Climate Treaties Moot (2015)

- 100% Wind, Water, and Solar (WWS) All-Sector Energy Roadmaps for Countries and States

- The Solutions Project - 100% Renewable Energy

- Feebates

- Climate Plan

A new study by Jacobson et al. shows that it is technically and economically feasible to shift to clean energy...
Posted by Sam Carana on Saturday, November 21, 2015

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Obama's Power Plant Rules: Too Little, Too Late, Too Ineffective

On June 2, 2014, the Obama administration through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that states must lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted for each unit (MWh) of electricity they produce.

1. Too Little

Under the EPA rules, the nationwide goal is to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30% from 2005 levels. This will also reduce other pollutants.
Sam Carana: The goal should be an 80% cut in emissions. Reductions should not be averaged out over different types of emissions, but instead the 80% reduction target should apply to each type of emission, i.e. 80% cuts in CO2 and 80% cuts in CH4 and 80% cuts in black carbon, etc.
2. Too late

Under the EPA rules, states must meet interim targets during the 2020s, but they can delay making emission cuts provided they will on average comply with targets by 2030. Moreover, the EPA suggests that they can from then on maintain that level subsequently.
Sam Carana: For over six years, I have been calling for an 80% cut in emissions by 2020. When people now ask if I still believe such reductions are feasible given the lack of action over the years, I respond that, precisely because so little has been achieved over the years, it now is even more imperative to set a target of 80% emissions cuts by 2020. If we start cutting 13.4% off this year's emissions, and keep cutting emissions by the same amount each subsequent year, we'll be under 20% (i.e. at 19.6%) by 2020. 
3. Too ineffective

Under the EPA rules, states could comply by either reducing CO2 emissions from their power plants or buying credits or offsets from elsewehere, e.g. through cap-and-trade programs. States can choose to use existing multi-state programs or create new ones.
Sam Carana: The goal should be a genuine 80% cut in emissions in each and every state. It is good to delegate decisions to states regarding what works best locally to achieve such reductions. However, schemes such as cap-and-trade, carbon credits and offsetting keep local polluters dirty by allowing them to claim credit for progress made elsewhere. A state buying credits from beyond its borders does not genuinely reduce its own emissions, making it even harder for it to reach its next targets (which should be even tighter), while also making it harder for targets to be reached elsewhere.  
The bigger such schemes grow, the more they become fraught with difficulties, twisted with irregularities and riddled with political chicanery, making them prone to fraud and bribery, often beyond the administrative scope and legal reach of local regulators. 
Such schemes are inherently counter-productive in that they seek to create ever more demand for polluting activities; they will continue doing dirty business until the last possible 'credit' has been sold, burning the last bit of fossil fuel from irrealistic carbon budgets that are fabricated inside the dark politics of compromise, campaign-funding and complacency. 
Such schemes are designed to profit from keeping the dirtiest power plants going and prolonging their lifetime beyond any reasonable purpose, in efforts to perpetuate the scheme itself and extract further money that, instead of being used to benefit the cleaner solutions, is then often used to finance further pollution elsewhere and spread the reach of such schemes. Such dreadful conduct is typically hidden away in a web of deceit custom-made to avoid the scrutiny of public accountibility.
And what if states fail to reach targets? The EPA suggestion to use such schemes effectively delays much local action, while encouraging states to negotiate with each other. This opens up the prospect of states blaming each other and taking legal action rather than genuine action. If the trappings of such schemes make states fail to reach targets, penalties could be imposed, but that still does not guarantee that targets will be reached; furthermore, given the complexities of such schemes, policing them poses additional burdens on administrators, police, courts and lawyers. Huge amounts of money and time have already been spent on court cases to postpone action, rather than on building genuine solutions.  
The best way to cater for non-compliance is to prepare federally-administered fees, to be levied on sales of polluting products, and with the revenues used to fund federal projects that do reduce emissions. As said, it's good for the EPA to encourage states to each work out how best to reduce their respective emissions, provided that each state does indeed reach set targets. Where a state fails to take the necessary action, the EPA should resume control and call for federal fees to be imposed in the respective state. 
The Clean Air Act calls for the 'best system of emissions reduction' to reduce emissions from power plants. The best system is one that levies fees on pollution and then uses the revenues to fund rebates on the cleaner products sold locally.  
Such combinations of fees and rebates (feebates) are the most effective way to make our economy sustainable, as part of the comprehensive action that is needed to avoid climate catastrophe. For more details on comprehensive and effective action, see the ClimatePlan blog


- Methane Man

- Climate Plan

Friday, February 28, 2014

President Obama, why don't you use your powers?

President Obama, why don't you use your powers to more effectively reduce the danger of catastrophic climate change?

As an example, you could direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose fees on sales of gasoline. The revenues of such fees could then be earmarked to fund ways to make the use of genuinely clean energy more attractive.


The duty to act on climate change can delegated to states, provided that sufficient progress is made to combat climate change. States can thus to a large extent decide what action and what mix of policies they feel will work best where. Where such progress is lacking, federal authority can resume control, impose fees in the respective state and decide to direct (part of) revenues to federal programs, such as construction of high speed rail tracks that cross state borders, waste management in national parks, federal research grants into ways to combat climate change, etc.

State administrators can similarly decide to delegate their authority to local levels, allowing each local council to implement feebates believed to work best in the respective area. And similarly, state administrators can resume control in case of a lack of progress in a specific area, and direct the revenues to state programs.

Further action

Further action will be needed to reduce the danger of catastrophic climate change, which calls for a comprehensive climate plan such as described at

Friday, January 11, 2013

President Obama, here's a climate plan!

President Obama, now is the time to act on climate change! Climate change won't wait. There are encouraging signs indicating that a summit is being organized, to be hosted at the White House, to launch a comprehensive climate action plan with broad-based and bipartisan support.

What plan? Well, here's a climate plan!

The first line of action of most climate plans is to cut emissions. Two types of feebates, working separately, yet complimentary, can cut emissions most effectively and can be implemented locally in a budget-neutral way, without requiring complicated international agreements:
  1. energy feebates (pictured above) in sectors such as electricity, heating and transport, and 
  2. feebates in sectors such as agriculture, land use, waste management and construction (pictured below).
Pictured on the left are feebates that impose fees on sales of Portland cement, nitrogen fertilizers and livestock products. This will make further cuts in emissions.

The revenues are then used to fund rebates on clean construction and on soil supplements containing biochar and olive sand, which will remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in buildings, soil, river banks, roads and pavement.

Working seperately, yet complimentary, energy feebates and feebates in agriculture and other sectors can dramatically bring down carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and oceans; as a result, atmospheric carbon dioxide could be brought back to pre-industral levels of around 280ppm by the end of the century.

For further discussion, also see Towards a Sustainable Economy
Thus, these two feebates will be effective on two lines of action, i.e. on cutting emissions and on reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and oceans.

Even with these measures, temperatures will keep rising for some time, as excess ocean heat will get transferred to the atmosphere over the years and as aerosols (particularly sulfur) fall away that are currently emitted when fuel is burned and thus mask the full wrath of global warming.

Continued warming comes with numerous feedbacks. Combined, these feedbacks threaten to trigger runaway global warming, i.e. warming that will cause mass death, destruction and extinction.

How to avoid mass-scale death, destruction and extinction
This means that, in addition to the first two lines of action, further lines of action will be necessary, i.e. Solar radiation management, and Methane management and further action. Further action includes regulatory measures such as ending commercial flights over the Arctic and support for pyrolysis to avoid burning of biomass. The image below pictures several methods of Arctic methane management that should get high priority, given the threat of hydrate destabilization in the Arctic.
Arctic Methane Management

Fees imposed on commercial flights could fund solar radiation management, while the feebates described above will also be most effective in further lines of action, i.e. in Arctic methane management and further action.