World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity — This is Your Second Notice!

❝ Twenty-five years ago, the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity”…These concerned professionals called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” In their manifesto, they showed that humans were on a collision course with the natural world. They expressed concern about current, impending, or potential damage on planet Earth involving ozone depletion, freshwater availability, marine life depletion, ocean dead zones, forest loss, biodiversity destruction, climate change, and continued human population growth. They proclaimed that fundamental changes were urgently needed to avoid the consequences our present course would bring.

On the twenty-fifth anniversary of their call, we look back at their warning and evaluate the human response by exploring available time-series data. Since 1992, with the exception of stabilizing the stratospheric ozone layer, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse…

❝ As most political leaders respond to pressure, scientists, media influencers, and lay citizens must insist that their governments take immediate action as a moral imperative to current and future generations of human and other life…

Read it and weep, folks. But, I’d rather you get angry, get active. More than 15,000 scientists signed on, this time. There is no shortage of principled avenues of opposition to this crap.

Take a bite out of Big Oil with an efficient small car

sheila likes her new ride

Here’s an unsurprising fact: Big Oil is making huge profits. Here’s one that might catch your eye: car owners are spending nearly as much gassing up as they paid to buy their car.

Crunching a few numbers, the Union of Concerned Scientists spells out in a new report how consumers could be saving thousands through buying a fuel-efficient vehicle. Oh, and buying oil company stock is basically futile.

…Whenever someone pumps their tank at a gas station, if they’re spending $50, $33 will go directly to oil companies. If the driver bought the car in 2011 and drives it for 15 years…they would be spending more than $22,000 on gasoline, $14,000 of which goes directly to oil companies.

Gas stations aren’t making that much money off drivers filling up their tanks – only about 81 cents of an average $50 fueling go to the local gas station owner. “In the end, gas stations make more money off the bottled water, beef jerky, and other things you buy inside than off the fuel you buy outside,” said Joshua Goldman, the report’s author and policy analyst for UCS’s Clean Vehicles program.

Drivers owning shares in oil company stock are not going to make back their money spent at the gas pump…Spending more on fuel-efficient vehicles like a hybrid is worth it over the vehicle’s lifecycle cost, the Union of Concerned Scientists says. For example, a Ford Fusion SE Hybrid may cost $3,500 more than its base conventional gas model, but consumes $9,000 less in gasoline over its lifetime.

Something that motorheads figured out long ago. Even just buying a small, well-designed car and driving it sensibly makes a difference.

My extended family never has fit the consumption targets the big automakers used to delight in. I’ve had my pickup truck 20 years, now. My wife just parked her 30-year-old Volvo and replaced it with a Ford Fiesta 5-door. Even without the turbo eco-boost configuration, her mixed-drive commute is already beyond 39mpg consumption numbers.

Electric vehicle drivers save up to $1,200 a year

Drivers of electric vehicles such as General Motors Chevrolet Volt and Nissan’s Leaf may save as much as $1,200 a year compared with operating a new gasoline-powered compact car, scientists studying improved fuel economy found.

With gasoline at $3.50 a gallon, drivers who plug cars into electrical outlets would save $750 to $1,200 a year instead of buying gas for a new car that gets 27 miles a gallon when driving 11,000 miles a year, the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a study released today.

“While in this early electric vehicle market these products have higher up-front costs, knowing how much one can save by using electricity instead of gasoline is an important factor for consumers,” the study by the…group said.

The study, which also evaluated emissions benefits of electric vehicles based on owners’ locations, didn’t compare the total costs of ownership of electric and conventional vehicles…

Consumers need to make the decision about whether the higher upfront cost is worth the fuel savings, said Don Anair, the study’s author, on a conference call with reporters.

“The cost of the electric vehicles today vary pretty widely based on the models that are out there,” he said. “It’s important for consumers to understand what the potential savings are on fuel costs, and that can help them make a decision about buying a vehicle…”

The average U.S. gas price was $3.91 as of yesterday, according to U.S. motorist group AAA. That’s a 19 percent increase so far this year.

Electric is still our family preference; but, we can’t reasonably afford the upfront cost.

Frankly, our immediate plan – if one of our high-mileage rides dies – is to buy an econobox. Keep it for our minimum 10 years. See where the price of all-electric or extended range EV cars are at, then.