Monthly Archives: April 2012

So what about these Electric Vehicles (EV), anyway? Wouldn’t it be cool to test drive one?

Answers to these questions and more can be found at Moraine Valley Community College!

We’re hosting an information session all about EV’s… best of all, it’s free!  Learn more and get your pedal to the metal on May 23rd!!!

About the Presentations:

  • EV 101 – A panel discussion covering everything from basic electric vehicle terminology to perspectives from the automotive manufacturers and utility companies
  • Electric Vehicle Charging – Charging options, consumer behaviors, safety considerations, and electric rate options for EV owners
  • Incentives – Rebates, tax breaks and other incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure
  • Local pilot projects – Lessons learned from current electric vehicle projects and from electric vehicle owners

Details about the event  at

Unintended Consequences and The Conundrum of Sustainability

Considering the size of the global economy, driving toward sustainability is a very challenge and complex puzzle. I recently heard New Yorker writer David Owen talk about the challenges of complexity on the EconTalk podcast David Owen on the Environment, Unintended Consequences, and The Conundrum. I am not sure I absolutely agree with Owen, but his arguments are definitely worth considering. He challenges us with the question, what if our efforts to live in a more sustainable way are  actually do more damage than good? One of his examples is with efforts to make more fuel efficient cars. By making cars more efficient, we are actually making driving cheaper and encouraging people to use more gas (and therefore, putting more carbon into the atmosphere). In this podcast, Owen is talking about his new book The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions Can make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse. Here is the podcast description from the EconTalk website:

  • David Owen of the New Yorker and author of The Conundrum talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in his book. Owen argues that innovation and energy innovation have increased energy use rather than reduced it and similarly, other seemingly green changes do little to help the reduce humanity’s carbon footprint or are actually counter-productive. Only large reductions in consumption are likely to matter and that prescription is unappealing to most people. Owen points out that New York City, ironically perhaps, is one of the greenest places to live because of the efficiencies of density. The conversation concludes with a discussion of how to best approach global warming given these seeming realities.

Why No One Wants to Say Climate Change

The Newshour reports on a new report from NOAA, Feeling the Heat: March Shattered Temperature Records Across U.S. Over 15,000 record high temps were broken in March. Many city nighttime low temps were higher than the record high temps. Yet, the scientists are being careful not to directly attribute this to climate change.

The Newshour reports that climate scientist Jake Couch said, “I can’t point my finger and say ‘this was climate change. But this is what we expect with climate change.”

Notice that he didn’t say that the high temperatures were caused by climate change. Why? Probably for several reasons. First, media savvy. To make a definitive claim would definitely invite controversy. Second, climate can be erratic. If a string of high temps equals climate change, does a string of cooler temps disprove climate change? Climate scientists must be very careful not to over simplify evidence or theory. This opens to the door to misunderstandings.