fuel efficient vehicle

environmental rambles #1: the market is unequipped to handle the fight against climate change

It just occurred to me that for all I post about politics, I don’t actually post about my area of expertise—that being environmental policy and sustainable measures. And as I’m getting deeper into conversations with people, I forget how much I just assume is known. So here’s a loose series I’m going to begin. I have no outline or general idea about how long these posts will be.

The key issue when tackling *climate change* or environmental degradation (ugh do I have to write a post that explains how this is a real problem? Please no.), and frankly the key issue when tackling anything in this political climate, is money. Because solving any problem usually requires shelling out, and we have a very entrenched economic system where profit is valued above all else. For instance, with healthcare, consider how many conversations there were about the burdens on small to mid-sized business, or costs shifting to states, or how best to implement price controls. It’s the first thing anyone looks at.

Climate change is tough, because our largest sources of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions are electricity, transportation, and heating. It seems logical to tackle the actual shit we burn to power this stuff, which is why there’s a push for renewables, or for nuclear energy (97% renewable, but that 3% is a Problem). Ditto for mixing our gas with ethanol (there’s claims that GHG emissions are net-zero because corn fields act as carbon sinks, but honestly, corn production in the USA is its own damn topic), or the push to mass transit, telecommuting, the purchasing of off-sets for travel, and electric cars.

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me when im the only person on the bus: this is a huge market failure.  we could be riding together in a much more fuel efficient vehicle right now.  mass transportation certainly does have its flaws


Future of Flight Taking Shape: Electric Motors and Shape-Changing Wings Pass Tests

A passenger seated over the wing of a future airplane might have a very different view out the window if two recently completed NASA flight tests are any indication. 

Last week the agency announced a large model aircraft equipped with 10 electric motors attached to rotatable wings and rear tailplanes had successfully completed an initial test flight. If all goes well, the new design could make next-generation unmanned aerial vehicles for long-endurance military, agriculture and other monitoring missions. A personal aerial vehicle version of the design could also carry up to four people when scaled.

Meanwhile, a separate team announced equally satisfactory airworthiness results for a jet equipped with wings built without traditional flaps. Instead, the jet flew 22 research flights with monolithic wings whose trailing edges bend and flex. The morphing wings have been cleared to be built into future large transport aircraft. See pictures and learn more about the two advances below.

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