Major Increase in EV Charging Stations Across U.S.
While electric vehicles only make up a tiny 0.2 percent of passenger cars around the world, that number is growing, and growing fast. In 2016, there were 2 million EVs on the world's roads, up from "virtually non-existent" in 2012. Nearly 200,000 electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2017 alone, a new record.
This boom in electric car ownership has corresponded with growth in public charging infrastructure. EVgo, the largest public network of fast-charging stations in the U.S., charged 40 million miles of electric driving in 2017. That's a dramatic increase compared to the 22 million EV miles charged in 2016.
The EVgo network increased by 20 percent last year, and now has more than 1,000 DC fast chargers across 66 markets nationwide. Network usage set a record with 1.1 million charging sessions, an increase of 50 percent.
Impressively, EVgo said that the 13 million kilowatt hours delivered from the network corresponded to 1.6 million gallons of gasoline saved and prevented the release of 9,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.
"2017 was an extremely successful year for EVgo, and not only did we add the 1,000th charger to our network, but we also delivered more fast charging power to EV drivers than ever before, with a resulting impact of 1.6 million gallons of gasoline saved," said Cathy Zoi, EVgo's CEO. "We are extremely pleased to see such rapid growth not only of our network, but also of EV sales across the board, and we are proud to be at the center of this rapid change toward a more electrified world."
The company expects this growth to continue as more long range electric vehicle options come to market, and deliveries strengthen for EV's such as the Chevy Bolt, 2018 Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model 3.
Experts say that the rise of electric vehicles is all but inevitable. Within six years, the cost of owning an EV will be cheaper than purchasing and running a gasoline or diesel model, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicted.
"People are more likely to invest in plug-in cars once they feel confident they'll always find a place to recharge their batteries away from home, and fast. In fact, the availability of public charging infrastructure is a leading factor in EV adoption.
"While the vast majority of charging occurs at home, public charging stations enable EV drivers to take extended trips. They also facilitate EV ownership by households reliant on on-street parking."
But more and more companies—even ones you wouldn't expect—are waking up to the electric car revolution.
Futurism reported that oil giant BP is investing $5 million in FreeWire Technologies, a U.S. manufacturer of rapid charging systems for electric vehicles. In November, Shell teamed up with IONITY (a partnership between BMW, Ford, Volkswagen and other automakers) to build a High-Power Charging network in Europe.
The Electric Vehicle Charging Association reported there were more than 50,000 charge points (public and private) in operation in the U.S. in 2017, up from 45,000 the year before. The organization also projects major growth for the industry over the next few years.
"Globally, the EV charging infrastructure industry is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 46.8 percent from 2017 to 2025, reaching $45.59 billion in revenue by 2025," the association said. "In the U.S. alone, revenue increased by 576 percent over five years, growing from $27 million in 2011 to $182 million in 2016. If the annual increase in revenue matches the 11 percent growth rate from 2015 to 2016, the U.S. could see more than $276 million by 2020."
The switch away from traditional gas guzzlers couldn't come soon enough. According to the International Energy Agency, in order to limit temperature increases to below 2°C by the end of the century, the threshold set by the Paris agreement, the number of electric cars will need to reach 600 million by 2040.
Are Electric Vehicles Finally Taking Off? Here's What You Need to Now https://t.co/F435eQsyFq @BusinessGreen @Ethical_Corp— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1517488228.0
By Karen L. Smith-Janssen
Colette Pichon Battle gave a December 2019 TEDWomen Talk on the stark realities of climate change displacement, and people took notice. The video racked up a million views in about two weeks. The attorney, founder, and executive director of the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy (GCCLP) advocates for climate justice in communities of color. Confronted with evidence showing how her own South Louisiana coastal home of Bayou Liberty will be lost to flooding in coming years, the 2019 Obama Fellow dedicates herself to helping others still reeling from the impacts of Katrina face the heavy toll that climate change has taken—and will take—on their lives and homelands. Her work focuses on strengthening multiracial coalitions, advocating for federal, state, and local disaster mitigation measures, and redirecting resources toward Black communities across the Gulf South.
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"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."
'These Aren't Wildfires'<p>Sam Ricketts, who led climate policy and strategy for Governor Jay Inslee's 2020 presidential campaign, tweeted on September 11 that "These aren't wildfires. These are #climatefires, driven by fossil fuel pollution."</p><p>"The rate and the strength and the devastation wrought by these disasters are fueled by climate change," Ricketts told DW of fires that have burnt well over 5 million acres across California, Oregon, Washington State, and into neighboring Idaho. </p><p>In a two-day period in early September, Ricketts notes that more of Washington State burned than in almost any entire fire season until now, apart from 2015. </p><p>California, meanwhile, was a tinderbox after its hottest summer on record, with temperatures in Death Valley reaching nearly 130 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. It has been reported as the hottest temperature ever measured on Earth.</p>
<div id="29ad9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8346fe7350e1371d400097cd48bf45a2"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1306969603180879872" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Drought-parched wetlands in South America have been burning for weeks. https://t.co/pjAKdFcKPg #Pantanal https://t.co/ImN2C5vwcp</div> — NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)<a href="https://twitter.com/NASAEarth/statuses/1306969603180879872">1600440810.0</a></blockquote></div><p>As evidenced by Australia's apocalyptic Black Summer of 2019-2020, fires are burning bigger and for longer, with new records set year-on-year. Right now, Brazil's vast and highly biodiverse Pantanal wetlands are suffering from catastrophic fires.</p>
#climatefires Started in Australia<p>Governor Inslee this month invoked the phrase climate fires for arguably the first time in the U.S., according to Ricketts.</p><p>But the term was also used as fires burnt out of control in Australia in late 2019. In the face of a 2000km (more than 1,200 miles) fire front, and government officials and media who <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/trump-climate-change-denial-emissions-environment-germany-fake-heartland-seibt/a-52688933" target="_blank">played down the link to climate change</a>, Greens Party Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and a friend decided that reference to bushfires was inadequate. </p><p>"We both just said, we've got to start calling them climate fires, that's what they are," the Australian Senator told DW.</p><p>Hanson-Young says scientists have been warning for decades that these would be the effects of global heating. "We've been told these kinds of extreme weather events and destruction is what climate change would look like, and it's right here on our doorstep," she said from her home state of South Australia — where by early September fire warnings had already been issued.</p><p>"Calling them climate fires was making it absolutely crystal clear. It is essential that there's no ambiguity," she said </p><p>Having deliberately invoked the term, Hanson-Young soon started to push it on social media via a #climatefires hashtag. </p>
How to Talk About the Urgency of Global Heating<p>The need to use more explicit language when talking about extreme weather events linked to climate change is part of a broader push to express the urgency of global heating. In 2019, activist Greta Thunberg tweeted that the term "climate change" did not reflect the seriousness of the situation. </p><p>"Can we all now please stop saying 'climate change' and instead call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency?" she wrote. </p><p>"Climate change has for a long time been talked about as something that is a danger in the future," said Hansen-Young. "But the consequences are already here. When people hear the word crisis, they understand that something has to happen, that action has to be taken."</p><p><span></span>Some terms are now used in public policy, with state and national governments, and indeed the EU Parliament, declaring an official climate emergency in the last year. </p>
Words That Reflect the Science<p>But while the West Coast governors all fervently link the fires to an unfolding climate crisis, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to avoid any reference to climate. In a briefing about the fires, he responded to overtures by Wade Crowfoot, California's Natural Resources Secretary, to work with the states on the climate crisis by stating: "It'll start getting cooler. You just watch." Crowfoot replied by saying that scientists disagreed. Trump rejoined with "I don't think science knows, actually." </p><p>It was reminiscent of the anti-science approach to the coronavirus pandemic within the Trump administration, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/donald-trump-admits-playing-down-coronavirus-risks/a-54874350" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">at least publicly</a>. Fossil fuel companies are also benefiting from his disavowal of climate science, with the Trump administration having <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/opinion-trumps-paris-climate-accord-exit-isnt-really-a-problem/a-51124958" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">pulled out of the Paris Agreement</a> and reopened fossil fuel infrastructure like the Keystone XL pipeline. </p><p>But the science community has responded, with Scientific American magazine endorsing Trump's Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden, the first presidential endorsement in its 175-year history. </p><p>Hanson-Young says the use of explicit language like climate fires has also been important in Australia due to the climate denialism of politicians and the press, especially in publications owned by Rupert Murdoch. As fires burnt out much of Australia's southeast coast, they were commonly blamed on arson — a tactic also recently used in the U.S.</p>
Climate Rhetoric Could Help Decide Election<p>The language of climate has begun to influence the U.S. presidential election campaign, with Democratic nominee Joe Biden labelling President Trump a "climate arsonist."</p><p>Biden is touting a robust climate plan that includes a 2050 zero emissions target and a return to the Paris Agreement. Though lacking the ambition of The New Green Deal, it has been front and center of his policy platform in recent days, at a time when five hurricanes are battering the U.S. Gulf Coast while smoke blanketing the West Coast spreads all the way to the East. </p><p>People are experiencing the climate crisis in a visceral way and almost universally relate to the language of an emergency, says Ricketts. "They know something is wrong."</p>
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World's Richest One Percent Are Producing More Than Double the Carbon Emissions as the Bottom 50 Percent
A new report from Oxfam found that the wealthiest one percent of the world produced a carbon footprint that was more than double that of the bottom 50 percent of the world, The Guardian reported. The study examined 25 years of carbon dioxide emissions and wealth inequality from 1990 to 2015.
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