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Supercars Taking Steps To Go Eco-Friendly

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Tesla Motors IPO was just $19 a share in 2010, and many on Wall Street thought the company was doomed for disaster. Boy, were they ever wrong. As of 5/5/2014, Tesla is trading at $216/share with specialized Tesla recharge stations starting to pop up across the country. This story of the “little electric engine that could” now looks to be one of the biggest, most daunting shadows to be cast over the car industry since the likes of Henry Ford.

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Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson said on October 31st, 2004,

“[Supercars] are designed to melt ice-caps, kill the poor, poison the water table, destroy the ozone layer, decimate indigenous wildlife, recapture the Falkland Islands, and turn the entire Third World into a huge uninhabitable desert… but only after they’ve nicked all the world’s oil.” 

10 years ago, this sentiment was amusing. Today, as we have become significantly greener as a species and woken up to the damage we’ve done to our planet, it’s not as funny. But what exactly is a “supercar” you ask? Let me give you a few brand names to point you in the right direction —

Bugatti. Ferrari. Lamborghini. Bentley. Aston Martin. Porsche. Mclaren. Koenigsegg. The list goes on. These are car manufacturers that produce vehicles designed for ultra high speeds. If it doesn’t have a top speed above 190 MPH, it’s not a “supercar.”

These cars are not just outrageously expensive to acquire, but to own and maintain as well. I recently had the privilege to drive a 2007 Bentley Continental GT with a W12 engine (that’s basically two V6 engines fused together to produce a monster with 610 brake horsepower.) Everything about it was kingly. Leather covering almost every square inch of the interior. Hand crafted wood panels, steering wheel, and dashboard… And my god was it comfortable. But there was one thing I noticed above all else while driving the car – it had a complete dismissal towards fuel efficiency (6 MPG, and it took premium). I suppose if you can afford a car with an original MSRB of $200,000, you aren’t exactly concerned with what you’re paying for gas. Yet curiously the car was 7 years old, and things have changed quite a bit since then.

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By 2025, California emission standards will require cars to get at least 54.5 MPG. Although California is largely the instigator of higher emission standards, the rest of the country is rallying behind them. Since 2007, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and New York have all adopted stricter emission standards for vehicles. They’re not as ambitious as California’s 2025 requirement, but it is instigative change none-the-less. And it’s not just here in the United States. If anything, we’re late bloomers to this trend. The European Union, Australia, and Japan all have strict emission regulations for vehicles in their respective countries.

So what does this mean for the future of the supercar? Will you be pulled from your vehicle and beaten by an angry mob of environmentalists who think you’re an eco-terrorist? Unlikely — the supercar game is changing as well.

Enter the Porsche 918 Spyder, the game changer for the supercar industry. It’s considered to be the successor to the now decade-old Porsche Carrera GT. The predecessor had a top speed of more than 205 MPH and got roughly 13 MPG. The 918 Spyder has a top speed of 216 and gets roughly 80 MPG! It’s a gas/electric hybrid that can run 18 miles on pure electricity alone.

Porsche’s 918 Spyder, a supercar that gets 80 MPH and has a top speed of 216 MPH

Only 918 are being built (thus the title, the “918”), and with a sticker price of $845,000, it certainly isn’t a car for the masses. But it is a vehicle that will no doubt change the future of supercars. Mclaren is catching on as well– their recent supercar, the P1, is also a gas/electric hybrid. It’s MPG isn’t nearly as impressive as the 918’s is, but the sheer fact that the car was produced in the first place speaks volumes to the future and importance of the technology. Oh, and now BMW has a $135,000, 95 MPG hybrid sports car as well — the i8. It’s top speed may only be 155 MPH, but its 4.5 second 0-60 is on par with many supercars today.

Mclaren P1

Mclaren’s Gas/Electric P1

Porsche and Mclaren aren’t the only companies waking up to the truth that change is upon them. At this year’s Beijing Auto Show, Bentley unveiled plans to introduce a plug-in hybrid SUV by 2017, and then introducing hybrid technology into their entire lineup thereafter.

Bentley's grand unveiling of a plug in system at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

Bentley’s grand unveiling of a plug in system at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show

The bottom line is the game is changing in the world of supercars. Rolls Royce, Ferrari, and Lamborghini are all developing hybrids of their own. Every car company “for the masses” are already producing hybrids and are even starting to turn towards fully-electric. In fact, Porsche CEO Matthias Muller recently said he sees Tesla as a serious threat.

Engines are getting smaller, but it does not mean the death of the supercar as we know it. It means the rebirth. Smaller engines that are turbo charged are not only more efficient, but faster too. It’s a win-win for both the drivers of these cars, and for the environment. The only negative consequence of this change is what will happen to the current supercars on the road? The 2005 Ford GT has been known to literally stoop to 3 MPG. In 15 years, will it even be legal to drive something like this any more, and what will this do to the value of these cars?

Only time will tell.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/autos-must-average-545-mpg-by-2025-new-epa-standards-are-expected-to-say/2012/08/28/2c47924a-f117-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html

http://mde.maryland.gov/programs/Air/MobileSources/CleanCars/Pages/states.aspx

http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/environment/emission/

http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/environment/air_pollution/l28186_en.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/10777398/Bentley-reveals-hybrid-powered-luxury-car.html

http://clarksonisms.com/jeremy-clarkson-quotes/popular/27866-supercars-are-supposed-to-run-over-arthur-scargill-and-then-run-over-him-again-for-good-measure-they-re-designed-to

http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2014/4/10/Porsche-Sees-Tesla-as-a-Real-Threat-7719663/

 

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Two Guys In Mexico Created Vegan Leather From Cactus

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez have found a way to make "leather" out of cactus. It's one of many ways we can stop harming animals and start to implement environmentally friendly practices when it comes to developing some of our products.

  • Reflect On:

    When it comes to such products, the best thing you can do is vote with your dollar.

Although there are some heart-warming stories that are coming out of Australia right now, it’s truly devastating what’s happening there, especially for the animals. Approximately 1 billion of them have lost their lives due to the fires. In the midst of all of this, however, let’s not forget about the fact that hundreds of millions of animals are killed every single day for human consumption, as well as products that we buy, like clothing, for example.

Compassion is the main reason that the vegan market is thriving, and continues to grow, from food, all the way to to the manufacturing of multiple products. There are hundreds of examples to choose from, and one of the latest comes from Adrian Lopez Velarde and Marte Cazarez.

After finishing university, they found themselves growing more and more concerned about the environment and the treatment of animals, and as a result decided to come together, after years of friendship, to create a cruelty-free alternative to animal leather. They recently debuted “Desserto,” which is an organic leather made entirely from cactus. It’s the first of its kind.

The product is a great replacement for both animal and synthetic leather. It’s breathable and durable, the touch and feel is very similar to leather, and again, it’s a completely sustainable material. It’s also less water intensive, free from phthalates, free from toxic chemicals as well as PVC-free.

According to Vegan First,

The duo showcased the product last month at the International Leather Fair Lineappelle in Milan, Italy.

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Plant-based leather alternatives are a growing market, with innovators turning to pineapple, olives and coconuts to produce eco-friendly materials. Earlier this year, high-street retailer H&M unveiled a vegan jacket made from pineapple leather, while German footwear brand thies launched a line of leather shoes made from olive leaves. Closer to home, Kerala-based brand Malai fashions leather and accessories from coconuts!

It took the inventors two years to come up with the material. ‘Nopal leather’ is made through a series of processes that produce a powder which is then mixed and layered over cotton canvas. The recently presented the material at an international exhibition in Milan.

Things are changing quite rapidly on our planet, with a shift in consciousness in so many different areas, we change the world as a human collective. One of many great example comes from the fact that America’s largest milk producer has filed for bankruptcy.

The world is changing, and it’s changing fast, we are currently in the process of a great transformation, and have been for quite some time. Exciting times!

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Is A Carbon Tax What We Really Want?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Carbon Tax (and its sinister partner the Cap-and-Trade market) is the only "solution" that our leaders are proposing for Climate Change.

  • Reflect On:

    Is it not time to question specific 'solutions' to global problems that seem to always benefit the elite, and consider what might be proposed if the health and prosperity of humanity was really the sole concern?

If you are a person who actively supports the implementation of a worldwide carbon tax, it is likely that you have humanity’s best interests at heart. If you have participated in climate marches in order to help speed up the implementation of the carbon tax within your country, you are walking your talk. At CE we certainly appreciate those who take the time and effort to act selflessly in the interests of humanity. Ultimately, we believe that this is an important aspect of how we will improve living conditions on the Earth and actually evolve as a collective.

But let’s get into specifics here. Not about whether or not the science is settled on the matter of carbon emissions being the main cause of global warming, or even if the planet is actually warming–I have extensively questioned the mainstream perception here, here, and here. But for this article, I will assume the science IS settled, and therefore presume your activism is rightly based on your belief that rising levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere will cause catastrophic warming of the planet in the coming years. Let’s get specific about one particular ‘solution’ to the problem, which is the carbon tax.

In supporting a carbon tax, your recommendation is that the citizens of each country should be willing to contribute some more of their own wealth to their government in order to enact their regional or national carbon tax scheme (I’m assuming you realize that all ‘taxes,’ regardless of who they are directly levied upon, eventually trickle down and affect everyday citizens). Another way of saying this is that you are advocating for citizens of the world to be willing to experience an overall decline in their current standard of living in order to implement the global carbon reduction targets of the Paris Accords. This is simple economic math.

How Does The Carbon Tax Work?

First, let’s define what a carbon tax is:

Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits. The government sets a price per ton on carbon, then translates it into a tax on electricity, natural gas or oil. Because the tax makes using dirty fuels more­ expensive, it encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency. Carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels like coal, natural gas and oil.

Carbon tax is based on the economic principle of negative externalities. Externalities are costs or benefits generated by the production of goods and services. Negative externalities are costs that are not paid for. When utilities, businesses or homeowners consume fossil fuels, they create pollution that has a societal cost; everyone suffers from the effects of pollution. Proponents of a carbon tax believe that the price of fossil fuels should account for these societal costs. More simply put — if you’re polluting to everyone else’s detriment, you should have to pay for it. (source)

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And so, if you support a carbon tax, then you agree that ‘the price of fossil fuels should account for these societal costs.’ And the societal costs are, presumably, a monetary equivalent to the deleterious effects of global warming on humanity. But does the carbon tax actually fulfill your main objective, to save the planet and create a better future for our children? The next series of questions is designed to address this.

Pertinent Questions

1. Are carbon emissions really “pollution”? I believe the above statement is misleading when it characterizes carbon tax as a form of ‘pollution tax,’ wherein CO2 emissions are naturally equated as ‘pollution.’ I feel ‘pollution’ refers to something that has a direct negative effect on life on the planet, that slowly poisons humans, animals and plants that breathe in these substances. Indeed, in the case of plants, CO2 is their oxygen, and CO2 has no harmful effects on living beings. If there is genuine concern for living beings, why has there been no concerted effort to stem the real air pollution factories put out, that cause a haze in some major cities that actually makes it hard to breathe?

2. Does a carbon tax guarantee a reduction of carbon emissions? Quite simply, no. At best, a carbon tax “encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency.” I think it would be more accurate to say that the carbon tax is financial punishment for people and businesses who want to maintain their current standard of living. In most cases, those who can afford the cost of maintaining their standard of living will simply pay the extra money to do so, and, as we have seen so far, CO2 emissions will continue to rise.

The notion that “carbon tax also makes alternative energy more cost-competitive with cheaper, polluting fuels” is another red herring. Corporations and businesses are driven by profit, nothing else. There is no chance that the majority of businesses will adopt the currently available alternative energy sources unless they are proven to be more cost-effective. Does this mean that taxation will increase until companies are essentially forced to adopt alternatives? Likely, if those in charge really press for meaningful reduction of CO2 emissions. Please note, though, that this can bring many companies to the breaking point, where they will have to reduce wages and compromise on working conditions in order to stay in business and continue to make a profit. Does this sound like a solution for the benefit of humankind?

3. Is the carbon tax the only solution available? Certainly not. There are undoubtedly many alternative solutions, including the large-scale cultivation of hemp, a proven carbon-sequestering crop which I speak about here. We just never hear about these. They are never promoted by Big Money. If we pay close attention, we will see that any natural, truly communal solutions to global warming, actions that have a direct impact on human well-being, are not even considered by the authority, let alone studied. Only the carbon tax and it’s even more sinister partner, the cap and trade system, are promoted by the authority. And that’s because there is money to be made for the elite with these solutions.

4. Where does the tax money go? This is the crux of the matter. There is no promise that the tax money collected by governments will somehow find its way to directly benefit the people. And even if there is a promise, it is unlikely that the promise will be kept. Few would disagree that government taxation has been uncovered as a black hole that ultimately enriches the global elite and the corporatocracy and only scraps filter down to the general population. Powerful interests provide money to politicians, and in turn, the politicians give tax money back to those same powerful interests in the form of government contracts. When we support a carbon tax, we support the maintenance and enrichment of a corrupt system.

5. Does a carbon tax represent humanity coming together to create a better future for itself and the planet? The carbon tax is founded in the old-world notion that only fear tactics and the manipulation of individual self-interest can bring about positive change. We will never be able to ‘come together’ as a global community if what we are really supporting is a mechanism that works off of fear and self-interest. It is important to distinguish a true grass-roots movement that comes together spontaneously through individuals who want to create change for the betterment of the human community. Currently, these are movements that not only DON’T get support from Big Money (because there would be no return-on-investment), but are often actively THWARTED by Big Money. It is clear which movements these are, because participants are subtly condemned by the mainstream press. The Yellow Vest movement is an example. The Brexit movement. The ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, at least before it got co-opted. Meanwhile, nothing but praise is heaped on climate activists, gun-control activists, or people raising money to help Western medicine find a cure for cancer. This is because these movements ultimately support the financial elite’s infrastructure and agenda.

The Takeaway

I have spoken to several people I respect who take the attitude that the carbon tax is not ideal, but at least it’s something. That they know the carbon tax leads somewhat to the enrichment of powerful people, but there’s no way around it, as that’s the only way anything gets done in the world. I question that notion. I question people’s acceptance of a very limited, even cynical, view of what humanity is capable of. We are at a time in history where we are ripe for making a shift in what we do and how we see ourselves, where we start to believe that the majority of humanity can be motivated to act purely out of love for one another. This shift will be fueled by the desire to reach for our individual sovereignty and no longer have global elite ‘leaders’ that control our destiny. When we collectively put more of our time and energy into this new paradigm and less into the old control mechanism that has hung over us all our lives, true solutions to the world’s problems will be readily at hand.

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The US Military Pollutes More Than 140 Countries

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The US Military generates more waste than almost 140 countries.

  • Reflect On:

    Given that our governments appear to have a regard for environmental welfare and "climate change" shouldn't we work towards less military to protect our planet?

As more awareness is raised and the concern for our planet and protection of our environment grows it’s clear that many people do care about minimizing their ecological footprint with the intention of making an effort to protect our planet. On the surface, it appears that our governments really want to make a difference as well, with all the emphasis put towards climate change and the media’s obsession with activist Greta Thunberg as well as the impending carbon tax that people will undoubtedly line up to pay.

But what really gets under my skin is the idea that people believe the government and corporations as a whole genuinely care about our environment. If they did, wouldn’t there be many more regulations already in place that ban the sale of millions of disposable plastic water bottles? We wouldn’t be shipping our recycling to foreign countries to be disposed of, and thus out of sight out of mind to the consumer and we certainly wouldn’t be pumping the military full of oil, waste and very environmentally unfriendly practices.

If We Want To Drastically Reduce Pollution We Must Drastically Change This War Machine

You may be shocked to learn that the U.S. military is one of the largest polluters in history and creates more waste and pollution than the majority most countries around the world. This comes despite the fact that we are led to believe that protecting our environment is a top priority for our government officials and those who we look towards to make the best decisions on behalf of the public.

According to information obtained by The Conversation through the Freedom of Information Act, a study proved that If the US military were its own country, the amount of fuel that it uses alone would make it the 47th largest emitter of greenhouse gasses.

Quartz put out an excellent article including many alarming statistics in regards to how much pollution the US military creates; here is a small excerpt,

In 2017, the US military bought about 269,230 barrels of oil a day and emitted more than 25,000 kilotons of carbon dioxide by burning those fuels. The US Air Force purchased $4.9 billion worth of fuel, and the Navy $2.8 billion, followed by the Army at $947 million and the Marines at $36 million.

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The US military has been overlooked in numerous climate change studies because it is very difficult to access data from the Pentagon and various US government departments. The United States was granted an exemption for having to report any military emissions in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol which was then closed by the Paris Accord.

Not More Green, Less Military

There have been attempts to, for lack of a better term, “Go Green” by the U.S. military, such as increasing renewable electricity generation on bases, however, this doesn’t even put a dent on the amount of pollution that is created. Sure, it’s better than nothing, but the solution here is not going green, we don’t need more green, we need less military.

Deeper Than Climate Change

Okay, and now for a controversial opinion, the climate on the Earth is changing, in some places, it is much warmer than it has been in previous years and in other places it is colder. Yes, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, but ice is also forming. Is this the result of human activity and the pollution of our planet or is this a natural cycle that the Earth goes through over and over again?

Please know that this is in no way taking the responsibility off our hands when it comes to polluting our planet. Regardless of whether or not climate change is in fact caused directly by human activity or not — is irrelevant to the fact that we should all be more mindful about what we are consuming and the waste we are personally creating on a daily basis. One of the most common arguments against the people who question whether or not climate change is caused by humans is the assumption that by merely questioning this we are attempting to justify the destruction of the environment.

Final Thoughts

Deep down, most of us do care about our planet and preserving it despite the fact that making the necessary changes in our lives is not a top priority for many who are way too busy just trying to survive and support their families. We are not as connected as our ancestors were with our Mother Earth, but most of us do have an innate desire to protect her.

When you consider the harm that the US Military alone is causing towards not only our environment but to our planet as a whole, including all of its inhabitants it may bring back the very important question, war — what is it good for?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, or perhaps we can awaken neutrality and see it as a wake up call to move towards shifting our consciousness away from the way war currently living and being.

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