Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Tuesday, 8 November 2005


A recent report in the New Zealand Herald said: 'Sixty-five per cent of Americans believe the US Government should make a major funding commitment to transform the automotive industry from a petrol- and diesel-based system to a hydrogen-based system.

'Fifty-nine per cent identified hydrogen-powered vehicles as those with the best chance for long-term success, compared with 23 per cent for hybrids and 18 per cent for traditional petrol-powered engines.

It would be astonishing if 65% of New Zealanders even knew about FCVs, let alone realised that they were THE future, but it is encouraging that even in the most profligate nation on earth, 65% believe in hydrogen. Sadly, though, not for today--only 'long term.' And sadly, they are not pushing the technology like the Moon-shot, so as to get if for themselves and the rest of the planet ASAP--as if without out there was no tomorrow. But, even more sadly, the US government is not listening to the people. Or to the planet. True, it is working on the technology, but not at the breakneck speed, not on the war-footing that we need. Far more money is going on status-quo stuff.

Nor is Honda listening, because it is now trumpeting a system that will produce hydrogen for its FCX from natural gas. But that still makes carbon-dioxide as a leftover, chaps, which is doubly bad, because it increases the level of the major greenhouse gas, and because it still keeps taking oxygen out of the air it keeps us heading down the 17.5-18% at which we would all be asphyxiated. It still clings to the Black Stuff monopoly.

Nice fuel-cell stack, Honda, and 5000psi bottles, and ultracapacitors between the stack and the motors, but, oh dear, why of why are you waiting till you can get get the thing can start at minus 30 degrees Celsius before you think about masss-production? Vast swathes of the planet never go down to anything like that, so stop making feeble excuses. There is no need to have a car that will start at the South Pole before you release it to the rest of the world. Especially with global-overheating hotting things up.

The real reason why carmakers are in no hurry to get FCVs rolling off their production-lines is that it would dump them on the scrapheap of history. Their empires would quickly cease to exist. Electric cars are easy to build, so countless companies could build them, but with ICVs (internal-combustion vehicles) the car companies have the monopoly. With FCVs they would be just another player--and others would be better at it because they would not have all that legacy thinking holding them back and distorting their designs into pretzels.