The Greenhouse Gas Pollution of Air Travel

The Greenhouse Gas Pollution of Air Travel

The question of greenhouse gas emissions from air travel is gaining more angst.  I will present here a virtual trip with an estimate of its pollution from a European web calculator.

There are many aspects to this question, and I will present my hopeful solution.  Air travel only contributes 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, but it is growing rapidly.  There is promise of smaller, slower electric planes for trips of a few hours length.  Electricity is much cheaper fuel than aviation fuel.  However, 80% of the emissions are from much longer flights.  The Boeing 737 Max was designed with more forward engines to save 10% on fuel.  But this caused some instability that had to be corrected with a program, which could go out of control.

Before the math, I will explain that I hope that modern communications can eliminate much business and conference travel.  I also hope that YouTube and 4K TVs can show you drone pictures of world sites that you can’t even see yourself, educational museum guides, and guided tours without traffic or rushing to keep up with the guides.  This also allows you to avoid cramped airline seats, sick or wide fellow passengers, predators on metros, long lines, overcrowded streets, people in front of the paintings, questionable food, highly overpriced and cramped European hotels, endless reservations, etc.

Government funding for conferences has been declining, and therefore limited to more senior or leading researchers, whereas modern communications can allow all students to observe them at almost no cost.  Important government agency presentations should not be limited to those who can make it to Washington D.C., which also favors nearby Eastern states.

The website that I am using is, which is available in English as well as other languages.  In order to get a long range trip, I chose Rome to London.  I also took the option of including greenhouse gas secondary effects as well as direct emissions.  One kilogram is equal to 2.205 pounds.  One liter is equal to 0.264 liquid gallons.  I will leave the emissions in kilograms (kg) for ratios, but convert airline results into pounds in the end.  The calculator also compares airline emissions to autos and trains.

CO2 emissions are 273 kg for a plane, 395 kg (871 lbs) for an average gasoline powered car with one passenger (less if European diesel), and 56 kg (123 lbs) by rail.  However, when secondary emission effects at high altitude are added, the car and rail stays the same, but the flight is increased to 410 kg (904 lbs).  The increase of 410 kg over 273 kg is a 50% increase in effective emissions.  That makes the flight to auto ratio 1.04, and the flight to rail ratio 7.32.  However, London to Rome is 1,780 km (1,106 miles) by car (18 hours and 43 minutes), 1,968 km (1,223 miles) by rail (14 hours and 30 minutes), and 1,440 km by air (895 miles).  The flight time is only 2 hours and 30 minutes long, but extra time is added going from a city point to another city point, plus showing up early, plus baggage pickup.  So they list it as 7.17 hours.  A two passenger car of course gives only half the emissions per passenger, and a four passenger car gives a quarter of the emissions per passenger.

Normally, I evaluate car travel for an average 25 miles per gallon, and 20 lbs of CO2 emissions per gallon.  So the round trip gives 2×871=1,742 lbs of emissions.  The round trip distance is 2×1,106 = 2,200 miles.  Dividing by 25 mpg gives 88 gallons.  Multiplying by 20 lbs of emissions per gallon gives 1,760 lbs of CO2, agreeing with their 1,742 calculation.

US per capita CO2 emissions is 16.49 metric tons or 18.2 US tons.  The round trip flight from Rome to London is then 2 x 904 lbs/(18.2 tons x 2000 lbs/ton) = 0.050, or 5.0% of US per capita emissions.  

The sustainable amount of emissions in our future is 2,000 kg (4,409 lbs or 2.2 tons) per person, so the round trip flight is 820 kg/2,000 kg = 41% of the eventual greenhouse gas limit.  Besides, eventually trains and cars will be electrified, and the eventual electric energy sources close to zero emissions.

The air distance from Los Angeles to New York is 2,451 miles or 3,944 km.  For such a round trip flight or 4,902 miles we estimate as proportional to the 1,790 round trip flight above, giving (4,902/1,790) x 1,808 lbs = 4,951 lbs or 2.48 tons of emissions.  Dividing by 18.2 tons per capita, gives 13.6% of the US per capita emissions.  In 2017, California’s per capita emissions was only 10.2 tons, so the LA-NY RT flight of 2.48 tons is 24.3% of a Californian’s per capita emissions .  Quite different from the 2% of worldwide emissions due to air travel.

This analysis also gives travelers and companies an estimate of how much carbon offsets are needed for various air travel.

Posted in Air Quality, Air Travel Emissions, Climate Change, Energy Efficiency, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy, Transportation | Leave a comment

California and US Dependence on Persian Gulf Oil

California and US Dependence on Persian Gulf Oil

Trump’s advisors had to have told him that about 20% of the world’s oil comes through the Strait of Hormuz, where the drone was shot down, and the tankers were mined.  This includes his friends, the Saudi’s, with their oil and their income source.  The 2018 data is that about 17 million barrels per day pass through the Strait of Hormuz, and World oil usage is about 100 million barrels per day.

There are three East-West pipelines from the Persian Gulf states, which could avoid a Strait of Hormuz blockade.   The pipelines have the capacity of 6.8 million barrels per day.  Currently, 2.8 million barrels per day are unused, which is only 16% of the normal flow with tankers.

The following graphs include 2018 data on the Persian Gulf sources of oil, and the destinations of the oil, which pass through the Strait of Hormuz.  In an October 11, 2018 article I used available data that Persian Gulf oil was 17% of US imports, which is now 18%.  I also used that Persian Gulf oil was 8.5% of US oil consumption, which is now 7%.  But I also pointed out that California dependence on Persian Gulf oil was 25%.

Posted in Affairs of State, California Oil, Oil | Leave a comment

Democratic Caucuses Convert to Primaries in 2020

Democratic Caucuses Convert to Primaries in 2020

Many of Senator Sander’s state wins in 2016 were from caucuses.  He won’t have this advantage in 2020.  We will present comparative numbers.  Wyoming will decide later whether to convert to a party run primary

In 2016 there were 18 caucuses, of which 14 were states.  That was 18 out of 59 entities, or 31%.  Sanders won 11, and Clinton won 7.  Clinton won 31 of the 41 primaries.  So Sanders had 11 caucuses and 10 primaries for 21 entities.  Clinton had 7 caucuses and 31 primaries for a total of 38 entities.  The total entities was 59.   The extra seven entities in 2020 are 4 territories below, Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and Democrats Abroad.

In 2016, the pledged or bound delegates for Sanders totaled 1846, and for Clinton totaled 2,205, with 711 uncommitted and 1 unavailable, for a total of 4,763.

Ten of the states which have converted from caucuses to primaries are shown below.  We give their Pledged, Unpledged, and Total delegates, ordered by their totals.

Primary State…Pledged……..Unpledged……Total

Washington.         89.                 18.               107

Minnesota.           75.                  17.                92

Colorado.             67.                  13.                80

Kansas                 33                      6                  39

Utah                      29                     6                  35

Maine                   24                     8                  32

Hawaii                  22                    9                   31

Nebraska.            25.                    4.                 29

Idaho.                  20.                    5.                 25

Alaska.                 14.                    4.                  18

Changed total:  398.               90.               488


Caucus State

Iowa.                    41.                    8.                 49

Nevada.               36.                   12.                 48

Wyoming*.           13.                     4.                 17

Territory Caucuses

American Samoa.   6.                    5.                 11

Northern Mariana. 6.                    5.                 11

Guam.                        6.                   5.                 11

Virgin Islands.         6.                    5.                 11

Caucus totals:      114.                  44.               158

In 2020, there are only three states left with caucuses.  The total of caucus delegates is only 158, out of 4,532 total delegates, or 3.5%.  The total caucus pledged delegates, which are the only ones who can vote on the first ballot, are 114 out of 3,768 total pledged, or 3.0%.  Wyoming only has 17 delegates, and will not change this much if they hold a primary.

The total delegates of caucus states which changed to Primary states in 2020 is 488, which is 10.8% of the total 4,532 delegates.  The total pledged delegates of caucus states which changed to Primary states in 2020 is 398, which is 10.6% of the total of 3,768 pledged delegates.

Adding the Caucus delegates to those that changed to primaries gives 3.5% plus 10.8%, which is 14.3%.  So the party’s move to democratic primaries has cut caucus delegates from 14.3% or 1/7, down to 3.5%.  For pledged delegates, which are the only ones that count on the first ballot, the total would have been 3.0% plus 10.6% giving 13.6%.  So pledged caucus delegates have been cut from 13.6% down to 3.0%.

However, two of the four February primaries are actually caucuses.  Irrespective of the small number of delegates involved, which is 49 for Iowa and 48 for Nevada, they give high publicity weight to the leading candidates.  Their combined total of 97 delegates is only 2.1% of the total delegates.  The Iowa caucus is the first contest on Monday, February 3, 2020, and the Nevada caucus on Saturday, February 22, 2020 is the third contest.  In between is the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, February 11, 2020.

Posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries | Leave a comment

What Kind of War Advice is Trump Getting?

What Kind of War Advice is Trump Getting?

Update:  Saturday evening.  Trump has ordered cyber attacks against the Revolutionary Guard.  The Washington Post article said it was against military communications, but also that it was against missile launches.  So its extent is unclear.  They also asked US industries to be aware, since Iran had been probing them and the energy sector.   While we don’t  know the details of how long Iran will take to patch this cyber attack, it perhaps should have been saved for when a real US military operation took place.  Also, opening a new area of confrontation, essentially allows Iran to escalate to a very serious cyber attack on the US homeland, something it would not otherwise be capable of.  Many years ago, we cyber attacked Iranian uranium centrifuge enhancement, but they overcame that.  Another reason you don’t want to interfere with military computers when not needed is that they can tell if you are about to shoot down an attacking jet, or a civilian airliner, as the US did over the Gulf.  The military computers can also tell if a drone is over their territory or not.

In several days of planning and discussions, did nobody tell Trump how many Iranian casualties there would be for the various options he was given?  Especially after he warned Iran that if America suffered a single casualty it would be very costly?  With Global Hawks (also the name of the drone) National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, figuring out the consequences of the planned action, how come they did not tell Trump this basic and crucial data, and what it would cause?  Why, when Trump asked the generals, did they not know this immediately, but had to ask somebody else for this info?  Why did Trump only think of the casualties as a 10 minute to go afterthought?

Trump sought out and appointed these old hawks.  Trump is responsible for how the National Security apparatus, the State Department, and the Military (now without a real and experienced Secretary of Defense) function together in the War Room where they meet to direct such operations in real time.  What kind of trust does this imply if a nuclear threat initiation has only 10 minutes to respond to, and hundreds of million lives would be at stake, and not just 150?

CNN speakers don’t really believe Trump’s story, where he is the hero in the end.  Where nobody else thought about the casualties.

The whole war scenario lies just on Trump’s shoulders from the git-go.  Trump’s ego quirk of having to tear down everything that Obama accomplished had him claiming from the start of his campaign that the Iran Treaty was a “disaster”.  Yet it dismantled what Iran had done to making nuclear weapons, under international inspections, and would stand for fifteen years.  Iran had been following the agreement, until just now when Trump not only applied our trade sanctions, but threatened to impose them on any countries that traded with Iran.  Where did Trump get the authority to do this?  The signers to the Iran treaty were the United Nations P5+1, where the P5 are the permanent member states of the Security Council.  They consist of the US, China, France, Russia, and the UK, and Germany is the +1.  The P5 are also the largest nuclear powers.

Trump has decided that he must now regain his macho, and has threatened that if there is a war, it will be obliteration like you’ve never seen before.  And he still wants to talk, with no preconditions.   What has Iran done, other than live up to the denuclearization treaty?  Yes, it has looked out for the interests of Shia Muslim groups in the Middle East.  It has also developed its missiles, and suffered sanctions for this. But the Trump reaction is due to the nuclear issue, not the others.

Did anybody advise Trump that about 20% of the world’s oil comes through the Strait of Hormuz, where the drone was shot down?  This includes his friends, the Saudi’s, and their oil and their income source.  The 2018 data is that about 17 million barrels per day pass through the Strait, and World oil usage is about 100 million barrels per day.

There are three East-West pipelines from the Persian Gulf states, with the capacity of 6.8 million barrels per day.  Currently, 2.8 million barrels per day are unused.  This is only a fraction of the normal flow with tankers.

The following graphs include 2018 data on the Persian Gulf sources of oil and the destinations of the oil that pass through the Strait of Hormuz.  In an October 11, 2018 article I used available data that Persian Gulf oil was 17% of US imports, which is now 18%.  I also used that Persian Gulf oil was 8.5% of US oil consumption, which is now 7%.  But I also pointed out that California dependence on Persian Gulf oil was 25%.

Posted in Donald Trump, Iran, North Korea Nuclear Threat, Nuclear Weapons, Oil, Saudi Oil Imports | Leave a comment

Electric Car Energy and Carbon Tax Charges, Compared to Gas Vehicles

Electric Car Energy and Carbon Tax Charges, Compared to Gas Vehicles

The typical energy to miles ratio for electric cars is that 0.3 kWh (kiloWatt-hours) of electricity takes an electric vehicle one mile.  The inverse of this is that one kWh of energy will drive the car 1.33 miles.  

The CA greenhouse gas emission average in 2017 was 0.50 pounds of CO2 emission per kWh.

Greenhouse gas emissions for gasoline are about 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon.  

The energy for an average 15,000 miles driven a year for a commuter with an electric car is given by: 

15,000 miles x 0.3 kWh/mile = 4,500 kWh.  Multiplying by the California average of 0.50  lbs CO2/kWh gives 2,250 lbs CO2 of emissions for that distance.   Dividing by 2,000 lbs/ton gives 1.125 tons of CO2 for an electric car.  This CA average is also about the same as SC Edison’s.

An average gas car gets 25 mpg.  So 15,000 miles/25 mpg takes 600 gallons for the year.  Multiplying by 20 lbs emissions per gallon, this gives 12,000 pounds of emissions, or 6 tons.  Comparing 6 tons with gas to 1.125 tons with electricity gives a ratio of 5.33 for gas/electric, or 0.1875 electric to gas emissions.  So in California or with SC Edison, electric cars only have about 20% of the emissions of gas powered cars, for the same distance.

SC Edison has a discount rate for charging electric cars called TOU-D-Prime, which means a Time Of Usage rate.   The prime hours are to avoid the hours of 4 pm to 9 pm, when solar power is falling off, and both businesses and homes are using power.  During week days in the Summer, the rate is 14 cents/kWh.  During the Winter October to May, the rate is 13 cents per kWh.  During the forbidden hours, the rate is 40 cents an hour.  These rates apply regardless what you are using the power for.

For the SC Edison area, the cost electric power for the 15,000 miles is the cost of 4,500 kWh.  Multiplying this by $0.14/kWh is $630 for electricity to drive 15,000 miles.  The standard gas powered car uses 600 gallons for 15,000 miles.  At $4 per gallon, this costs $2,400.  Taking the ratio of $630 for electricity to $2,400 for gas gives 630/2,400 = 0.26, or roughly a quarter of the cost with electricity.  The savings is $2,400 – $630 = $1,770 a year.

I don’t know how long batteries last, but say that you keep the car for 10 years.  That means your savings are about $18,000.  That is far greater than the extra cost of an electric vehicle.  With just a fraction of that, you can invest in safe driving warnings and electronics.  It will eventually cover automatic driving software and devices, and also save you energy with smoother driving and lighter vehicles.

We now look at the cost of the Carbon Tax on both electric and gas vehicles for 15,000 miles.  We use the Citizens Climate Lobby proposal of an initial carbon tax of $15/ton of CO2.  We then also evaluate it after five years of $10/ton of CO2 increases, which adds up to $65/ton of 

CO2.  For 15,000 miles in a year, the gas car uses 600 gallons, and at 20 pounds of CO2/gallon gives 600×20 = 12,000 lbs, or 6 tons.  For electricity from SC Edison or the California average, we calculated above 1.125 tons of emissions.

At $15/ton of emissions at the start of the Carbon Tax, for gas we have 6 tons x $15/ton = $90 a year in tax.  For electric, we have 1.125 tons x $15/ton = $17 a year in tax.  The difference is $73 a year.

At $65/ton of emissions after 5 years of increases, for gas we have 6 tons x $65/ton = $390 in carbon tax a year.  For electric cars, we have 1.125 tons x $65/ton = $73 a year in carbon tax.  The difference is $317 per year.  


Posted in Electric Cars, Electric Power | Leave a comment

Direct Carbon Tax Costs for Households in California and the Orange County Area

Projected Carbon Tax Costs for Households in California and the Orange County Area

With Carbon taxes being considered at various rates, we show how to convert from consumer units to pounds of CO2 for various energy sources.  Since there are local prices for gasoline, electric power, and natural gas, we will estimate their effects in Orange County, California.  This is an update of an older article, now including the Carbon Tax proposal of the Citizens Climate Lobby, and links to their 2019 Conference.

For gasoline, each gallon gives 19.6 pounds of CO2 per gallon.

Coal burned to electricity gives 2.21 pounds of CO2 per kWh.

Natural gas burned to electricity gives 0.922 pounds of CO2 per kWh, or only 42% of what coal yields, in California’s highly efficient combined cycle natural gas power plants.  In addition, we have lots of renewable and clean power, so the state average is 0.48 pounds of CO2 per kWh.  SC Edison is 0.50 pounds of CO2 per kWh. SDG&E is 0.53 pounds of CO2 per kWh.

Natural gas for heating produces 11.7 pounds of CO2 per therm.

Now for local prices.

California has higher gasoline prices than much of the rest of the US since we produce clean mixtures, and either get gasoline from California, or imported from the Middle East and Pacific Ocean countries.  Lately in my travels I have seen prices for regular from $3.69 to $4.09 per gallon.  If a typical commuter drives 15,000 miles a year at an average 25 mpg, the commuter will use 600 gallons.  That would generate 11,760 pounds of CO2 a year.  It would also cost about $2,400.

SC Edison covering Orange County has a Tier 1 rate of $0.16 per kWh to 317 kWh, a Tier 2 rate of $0.22 per kWh to 1,268 kWh, and High Usage rate of $0.31 per kWh, which includes generation, tax, delivery, and bond charges.  The company has apparently been snooping on my neighbor’s meters, and told me that their average is 560 kWh.  This is actually the state’s overall average.  The cost for this is $104 per month, or $1250 a year.  At 0.50 pounds CO2 per kWh, the average consuming household generates 280 pounds of CO2 per month, or 3,360 pounds of CO2 per kWh per year.

Coal is not of mix of our local utilities, and only 4% of in-state power is produced by coal.  There is more used from out-of-state by long range LADWP contracts.

The rate per therm of SoCalGas for natural gas is $0.85, plus a fee and tax gives $0.95 per therm.  In Southern California, natural gas use is mainly for winter heating, but also for water heating, clothes drying, and cooking.  I’m going to use an old average of 400 therms per household per year.  At 11.7 pounds of CO2 per therm, that gives 4,680 pounds of CO2 per year per household.  The cost of that is $380 per year.

So lets summarize CO2 emissions per year:  gasoline gives 11,760 pounds per commuter, the average household generates 3,360 pounds through electricity, and the average household generates 4,700 pounds through natural gas.  For one commuter, the household generates 19,820, or about 20,000 pounds of CO2 per year.  For two commuters, that gives 31,600 pounds.  For three commuters, we have 43,340 pounds.  Those are 10 tons, 16 tons, and 22 tons of CO2 a year, respectively.  Each long range commuter adds 6 tons a year.

For a one commuter household, the yearly cost is $2,400 for gas, plus $1,250 a for electricity, plus $380 for natural gas, totaling $4,000 a year.  Each additional commuter adds $2,400 a year.

Close to suggested carbon tax values, we will estimate the costs of taxes for rates of $12.50, $25, and $50 per ton.

For one commuter, the yearly household taxes would be $125, $250, and  $500.

For two commuters, the yearly household taxes would be $200, $400, and $800.

For three commuters, $275, $550, and $1,100.

Even at the $50 a ton rate, for one commuter, the $500 a year tax is 12.5% or 1/8 of the energy cost of $4,000 a year.  At the $25 a ton rate, it is 1/16 or 6%, and at the $12.50 a ton rate it is 1/32 or 3%.

June 8th to 11th was the Citizen Climate Lobby 2019 conference and lobbying in Washington, D.C.  They met with almost all of the Representatives in the Congress.  Their House bill H.R. 763 starts a Carbon Tax and Distribution at $15 per ton of emissions, and increases that by $10 per ton each year until emissions decline sufficiently.  They want to eliminate coal power by 2025.  Using our above numbers, we evaluate for $15 of emissions, and after 5 years of raises, for $65 per ton.  For one commuter, a household generates 10 tons a year, for two commuters 16 tons, and for three commuters 22 tons in our area.

For one commuter, the yearly household taxes start at $150, increasing to $650 after 5 raises.

For two commuters, the yearly household taxes start at $240, increasing to $1,040 after 5 raises.

For three commuters, the yearly household taxes start at $330, increasing to $1,430 after 5 raises.

At 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gas, which is 1/100 of a ton, the $12.50 tax per ton would be 12.5 cents per gallon.  The $25 tax per ton is 25 cents per gallon, and the $50 tax per ton is 50 cents per gallon.

The Citizen Climate Lobby tax on gasoline starts at 15 cents per gallon, and rises to 65 cents per gallon after five years.  For California, where the average price of gas is now about $4 per gallon, this starts out at 3.75%, and rises to 16.25% after 5 raises.  For the lowest gas price areas of the US, at about $2.50 per gallon, this tax starts at 6% and rises to 26% after 5 raises.

The videos of the conference are at the highlighted link, or:

The PowerPoint or PDFs of the talks at the conference are here.

Since the majority of the emissions are from gasoline, you really need incentives to buy hybrids, or plug-in-hybrids, or electric cars.  Or incentives to carpool.  Or to work at neighborhood distributed offices.  Or to shop at neighborhood express stores.  Or to eat at neighborhood restaurants.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Environmental Rules Rolled Back by Trump

Environmental Rules Rolled Back by Trump

The New York Times has documented 83 environmental rules rolled back or being rolled back by the Trump administration.  It has also noted 10 that have been reinstated by the courts.  We report their short accounting, and then highlight those concerning energy and greenhouse gas pollution.  We comment on the long lasting nature of several of the rollbacks.   The article has been updated June 7, 2019 on the web, and is by Popovich, Albeck-Ripka, and Pierre-Louis.  The list is based on research from Harvard Law School and Columbia Law School.

There are 83 total rollbacks, of which 49 are completed, and 34 in progress.  Trump is trying to complete actions by the end of this year, conveniently out of the election year in 2020, or, from his point of view, accomplishments to tout in the election year.  The use of the word “overturned” by the times is that the initial regulation was overturned, or completed, as in the first sentence above.  It does not mean that the rollback itself was overturned.  In addition, their article lists ten rules that were reinstated after lawsuits.  Five of those were relevant to energy efficiency and greenhouse gases.

In Air Pollution and Emissions, there are 22, with 10 overturned, and 12 in process.  All but one allowing more mercury pollution would increase greenhouse gas emissions.

In Drilling and Extraction, there are 18, with 9 overturned and 9 in process.  Most of these concern increasing areas for oil and gas production, but only one would directly lead to more greenhouse gas emissions.  However, they open a vast amount of national land and sea to oil, gas, and coal drilling, with removed environmental restrictions.

In Infrastructure and Planning, there are 13, of which 12 were overturned and 1 is in process.  One of these directly concerned greenhouse gas emissions.

Concerning Animals, there are 10, with 8 overturned and 2 in process.

In Toxic Substances and Safety, there are 5, of which 3 are overturned and 2 in process.

In Water Pollution, there are 7, of which 4 regulations were overturned and 3 are in process.

In Other, there are 8, with 3 overturned and 5 in process.

Adding these up, gives 83 total, with 49 overturned, and 34 in process.

While another Democratic President will occur someday with our seesaw government, we see a lot of long term damage that cannot be corrected.  Pollution of water resources in fossil fuel extraction will still be there.  Non-burning of methane can give enhanced warming effects for a half life of 7 years by a factor of 80 over CO2 produced by flaring.  A lot of methane emission can be simply stopped by closing leaks.  Excess CO2 given off by inefficient coal plants can be created for the 70 years lifetime of a newly built plant.

Cars produced without increased CAFE standards will be on the road for 15 years in the US, and then used in poorer countries.  Air pollution produced by unfiltered power plant emissions and autos goes into peoples lungs and lasts a lifetime.  This also includes SO2 and mercury pollution.  Excess CO2 in inefficient power plants, or just CO2 produced in fossil fuel plants instead of clean energy sources will last a hundred years producing global warming.  The part of CO2 that goes into the ocean will continue to acidify the ocean.

Wells drilled into new leases can last a long time until the leases expire.  Offshore oil drilling is now allowed, almost everywhere, except in Republican Florida, the most important swing state.  Hydrofluorocarbons in air conditioning are still allowed.

The continuing removal of science from the administrative departments actually creates legal grounds for challenging any weak or removed regulations since all such rules have to be based on the best science.  Other rules are being challenged because they did not allow for public comments, or that they are illegal.

Posted in 2020 Election, 2020 Primaries, Air Quality, CAFE Standards, California Smog, Climate Change, Climate Science, Coal, Donald Trump, Energy Efficiency, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Ocean Acidification, Offshore Oil Drilling, Oil, Paris Climate Accord, Regulations, Science Funding, Trump Administration | Leave a comment

Slicing the Democratic Primary Pies with Three Leading Candidates

Slicing the Democratic Primary Pies with Three Leading Candidates.

Previously, we showed how the Democratic district vote would be split between two candidates, because only candidates with more than 15% of the vote were to be counted, and only two existed at that time.   Now, however, the Quinnipiac University poll shows three candidates with 15% or over.   So we analyze this particular case for 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 delegates per district.

To start with, the poll has not only Sanders beating Trump, with 53% to 40%, but so do the next five Democratic candidates.  In the Democratic Primary country-wide, we have Biden at 30%, Sanders at 19%, Warren at 15%, Buttigieg at 8%, Harris at 7%, and others 3% or lower.  13% are undecided or not available.  The accuracy was pm 3.5%.  

The first Democratic rule is to drop everybody below 15%.  The three above 15% add up to 64%.  The other 36% may end up voting for the top 3 by the time they get to vote.  Anyway, for now, they are dropped.

The second Democratic rule is to rescale those above 15% to 100% by multiplying by 100/64 = 1.5625.  

This gives Biden 46.875%, Sanders 29.685%, and Warren 23.4375%.  

These will be used for all districts, regardless of the number of delegates.

The third rule is to multiply this times the number of delegates for the district, which is mostly 4 or 5, but also 3 or 6.  

We start with 5 delegates.

Biden has 2.34, Sanders has 1.48, and Warren has 1.17.

The fourth rule is to first look at the whole numbers, giving Biden 2 delegates, Sanders 1 delegate, and Warren 1 delegate.

There is still 1 delegate left.  This is given to the leading fractional number, which is the 0.48 to Sanders.  

So we have Biden 2, Sanders 2, and Warren 1 for five total delegates.

Next, we do the case of 4 total delegates.  

Multiplying by 4 gives Biden 1.875, Sanders 1.1874, and Warren 0.9375.  Truncating, Biden gets 1 and Sanders 1, with Warren 0.  The rest are to be awarded in order of the highest fractional remainder.  Since Warren wins the fraction, she almost has 1, so she gets 1.  Biden has the next highest fraction,  so he should get another delegate.  Thus, Biden has 2, Sanders 1, and Warren 1.   

For 6 delegates, Biden has 2.8125, Sanders 1.7811, and Warren 1.406.  So Biden gets 2, Sanders 2, and Warren 1.  The sixth delegate goes to the largest fraction, which is Biden.  Finally, Biden has 3, Sanders 2, and Warren 1.

For 3 delegates, Biden has 1.406, Sanders 0.891, and Warren 0.703.  Clearly, Biden gets 1, and 2 are left over.  Sanders is highest, and Warren also close to 1.  Biden would round off lower to 1.  So Biden 1, Sanders 1, and Warren 1.  Equal.  Despite Biden actually having twice the vote of Warren.

For 7 delegates, Biden has 3.281, Sanders has 2.078, and Warren has 1.640.  The whole numbers give Biden 3, Sanders 2, and Warren 1, adding to 6.  Warren has the largest fraction, and gets the last one.  The final number is Biden 3, Sanders 2, and Warren 2.

For 8 delegates, Biden has 3.75, Sanders has 2.37, and Warren has 1.875.  The whole numbers give Biden 3, Sanders 2, and Warren 1.  There are two left over delegates, which by fractional ordering gives Warren 1 and Biden 1.  The end result is Biden 4, Sanders 2, and Warren 2.  These breakups get closer to the vote percentage as the number of delegates increases.

In California’s 53 House districts, there are 1 with 3 delegates, 16 with 4, 18 with 5, 13 with 6, 3 with 7, and 2 with 8.

We make a table of the results for B, S, and W delegates for districts with a given number of delegates:

Del.  B.    S.    W

3.      1.     1.     1

4.      2.     1.     1

5.      2.     2.     1

6.      3.     2.     1

7.      3.      2.    2

8.      4.      2.    2

Applying this to the number of districts for each number of delegates, gives a total number of delegates for

B.     S.     W

125.     89.    58

These total 272 delegates.

The percentage of delegates for each candidate is now compared to their relative percentages of the top three candidates, which are over 15%.

B has 0.460, S has 0.327, and W has 0.213.      Compare this to their vote ratios:

B with 0.469, S with 0.297, and W with 0.234.  The law of large numbers to the rescue.

Since the apportionment of delegates is really a round off to the nearest whole delegates, when you put enough together, it gives a convergent approximation.  It’s like pixelating a picture, still leaves an approximation of the picture.  Three about equal pixelizations of 4, 5, and 6 delegates are being merged here.

Posted in 2020 Primaries | Leave a comment

Americans and Californians at Risk From Air Pollution

Americans and Californians at Risk From Air Pollution

The American Lung Association Report “State of the Air, 2019” on the Most Polluted US Cities and Counties evaluates three kinds of air pollution, and people at risk in those cities and counties.

We start with the ranking of US Cities with the worst Short Term (24 hour) PM2.5 particle pollution of 2.5 micron particles, or smaller.  These enter into the bloodstream through the lungs.  The two largest cities in the top 25 are in California.  They are at #4, San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland with 9.66 million, and at #7, Los Angeles-Long Beach with 18.79 million, and where I couldn’t take a deep breath for my first 22 years.   The weighted average of days in the three year period 2015-2017 in unhealthy ranges are 13.2 for Los Angeles County.

Next, we examine Annual PM2.5. The leading population centers are again the above two for Short Term pollution, with #5 Los Angeles-Long Beach now edging out #6 San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland.  We have to note that California has actually made great reductions in air pollution since the Clean Air Act of 1963, with additions in 1970 and 1990.  The EPA air quality design value for Los Angeles County is 12.6, and is rated as a Fail.

For Ozone pollution, let’s make this simple, but harsh.  Of the twenty five most ozone polluted counties in the US, all but five are in California,  The exceptions are #12 Maricopa (Phoenix) in Arizona, #16 Harris (Houston) in Texas, #17 Fairfield in Connecticut , #21 Jefferson (Denver) in Colorado, #22 Clark (Las Vegas) in Nevada, and #23 Salt Lake (Salt Lake City) in Utah.

By far, the largest county population for ozone is Los Angeles at #3, with 10.2 million people.  Their three year weighted total of days is 161.2.  Instead of just counting the number of days, the days are weighted by 1 for an orange level of pollution, 1.5 for red, and 2.0 for a purple level.  The next largest counties in California with bad ozone are #8 San Diego with 3.34 million and 45.0 weighted days, and #25 Orange County with 3.19 million, but with a much smaller weighted days score of 17.8.  All of the top 25 have been given a grade of F, however.

We look at Los Angeles-Long Beach with 18.79 million for the count of people at risk from air pollution.  There are 4.32 million under 18.  2.51 million are 65 and older.  0.27 million have Pediatric Asthma.  1.14 million have Adult Asthma.  0.64 million have COPD.  0.89 million have Cardiovascular disease.  1.48 million have Diabetes.  2.58 million are at greater risk in poverty.  7,800 have lung cancer.

There are an amazing 213,000 American and Canadian deaths a year from air pollution, which is about 1/14th of all deaths.  In addition, many others suffer and have conditions complicated by air pollution.

Posted in Air Quality, American Lung Association, California Smog | Leave a comment

Trump’s Decrease in Fuel Economy Standards

Trump’s Decrease in Fuel Economy Standards

No, I did not read the 515 page plan for the new CAFE standards from 2021 to 2026, now called SAFE (The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Rule for Model Years 2021-2026).  I just read the one page summary.  The new standards would replace the ones set in 2012 during the Obama administration.  Initially, the auto industry wanted relief, but now they want uniformity across all states, and a compromise standard.  California is leading 17 states with a suit for the original standards.  These states have a population of 140 million, with 40% of the American car buying public.  California had an exemption to set its own standards, which Trump would also remove.   Are the auto makers realizing that Trump may lose in court with a weak case, and that they are better off with a compromise settlement than with California winning?

There is a lot of confusion about standards.  I remember when the 2025 Obama standard of 54.5 mpg was set, but it was estimated that with exemptions for auto makers to produce more SUVs, the actual average was going to be around 43 mpg.  There also is the problem that SUVs are the choice of half of present US consumers.  There has also been 7 years of progress in producing electric vehicles of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and pure electric vehicles.  There are also commitments of Volkswagen and other auto makers to go all electric.  And the Paris climate accords.  And projections of future self driving vehicles, which can be built much lighter, when all vehicles are so equipped and safer.  The automatic cooperative driving will save on traffic stops and stop and go driving, as well as being programmed for more fuel economical driving.  Also, with more principal streets with timed signals, there is better fuel economy and relief from the freeways.  We still have our hopes of more communication related jobs cutting down on commutes.  Delivery services are replacing many shopping trips and closing malls and brick-and-mortar stores.  While we only see a growth in electric vehicles in Southern California, in the US, electric vehicles are only about 5% of new vehicle preferences.  There is also the advent of Uber and Lyft, saving on the need for car ownership, car rental, hunting for parking spaces, and parking spaces.  Drivers are also using fuel efficient cars to save expenses.

The Trump standard is 37.0 mpg average in 2021-2026, which would be on new vehicles.  The current Obama standard for 2025 is listed as 46.7 mpg, although is was initially 54.5, and estimated as 49 with air conditioning, but actually 43.  The Obama standard for new vehicles was supposed to be 36.6 mpg for 2017.  It is not clear if the replacement of 54.5 mp is 37.0 mpg, and so the actual average obtained will also be less than 37.0 mpg.  The Trump reduction in hybrid vehicles required in 2030 is a whopping one, from 56% to 3%.  You can see why the auto companies need to have a standard to prepare for, instead of the long term waiting for court cases to be settled, which is endless with Trump and Attorney General Barr.  Also, while looking 7 and 11 years down the line, Trump might be out in 1 1/2 or 6 years.  The Democrats are also considering rapid climate action as a prime issue.

The real fuel usage is in gallons per mile, not its reciprocal mpg or miles per gallon.  So let’s compare the reciprocals of 37.0 mpg versus 46.7 mpg and 54.5 mpg, with the present overall EPA estimate of 25.4 mpg.  The reciprocals, multiplied by 100 miles, are –

Mpg.  Gallons for 100 miles. Cost at $4.00/gallon

25.4         3.94.            $15.75

37.0.        2.70.            $10.81

46.7.        2.14.            $8.57

54.5.        1.83.            $7.34

While the savings in gallons and cost from 3.94 to 2.70 is 1.24 out of 3.70 or 33.5%, the drop from the present 3.94 to Obama’s 2.14 of 1.80 out of 3.70 would have been 48.6%.  The ratio of 33.5% to 48.6% is 69%.  So the Trump reduction is slightly over 2/3 of the reduction planned by Obama.  That is the most positive outcome, out of the confusion of numbers.

The 2012 announcement claimed that despite the estimated cost increase for the fuel efficient vehicles of $2,000 to $3,000,  the 2025 vehicles would save $8,000 a vehicle in fuel costs.  The Trump alternative says that there is comparatively only a 2%-3% increase in daily fuel costs.  If we test this with out numbers above, the fuel cost increases from Obama to Trump for 100 miles from $8.57 to $10.81 or $2.24.  Divided by the Obama $8.57, this is 2.24/8.57 = a 26% increase.  So it is actually 10 times larger than the Trump claim!

I realize now that most people in the country are paying around $2.50 a gallon.  Lucky you.  I am delighted to see some California stations at less than $4 a gallon.  This should make a big difference on the purchase of autos.  But all I notice around here are SUVs and Teslas.  To change to the $2.50 a gallon basis, just take every dollar figure above and scale by $2.50/$4.00 = 5/8.

The proposed standard also removes the greenhouse gas accounting of the effects of AC refrigerant, of methane, and of nitrous oxides, so they come up with an estimate of very low contribution to warming, and only evaluate the effect of the 2021-2026 period in 2100, and not the future continuance of lower standards.

Posted in 2020 Election, Air Quality, Automated Driving, CAFE Standards, Donald Trump, Electric Cars, EPA, Hybrid Cars, Paris Climate Accord, Transportation, Trump Administration | Leave a comment