In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The Vauxhall Corsa E goes on sale in the UK in early 2020, and its latest ad is full of surprises.
  • Kansas emissions are at their lowest in four decades. Here’s why.
  • A school district in British Columbia has reduced its emissions by 25% over the last five years.
  • Must-read: ProPublica‘s investigative work about how oil companies avoid accountability.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Vauxhall’s ‘Easter eggs’

The new all-electric Vauxhall Corsa E was announced earlier in 2019, and it’s due to go on sale in January 2020. (Opel vehicles are sold in the UK under the Vauxhall brand.) So Vauxhall is getting ready with a spiffy new ad it’s just released. Watch it closely — the Vauxhall Corsa E ad has got a lot of clever messaging about green energy, fossil fuels, and the importance of “switching up” to electric vehicles.

It starts with a large digital clock that displays “23:59” and then the word “plug.” This could be referring to New Year’s Eve and the car’s launch in 2020 — and it could also be referring to the Doomsday Clock that recognizes climate change as a major threat.

The voice-over then says, “It’s time to play by new rules … to forget about the past” — and it shows an older man wearing a cowboy hat and holding flowers standing in a “graveyard” full of tombstones shaped like gas pumps. A man sporting a cowboy hat in a British ad? Hmmmm. Nothing in ad messages is accidental. Is it a dig at the US, who isn’t playing ball in the climate summits? And the ad couldn’t be clearer in its declaration that gas is dead.

It then states, “It’s time for you to wake up to 100% electric.” The choice of the words “wake up” are provocative. Check out the ad below, and let us know down in the comments what you think:

Wind power cleans up Kansas

Kansas has reduced CO2 emissions for the last decade, putting emissions in the state at their lowest level in 40 years. How? By adopting wind energy and moving away from coal.

Kansas News Service explains the context:

According to the US Energy Information Agency, Kansas emitted 58.2 million metric tons of CO2 in 2017. That’s good enough to make Kansas only the 31st largest emitter in the U.S.

While it’s below the national average, on a global scale: ‘Kansas, if it were its own country, would be one of the top 60 CO2 emitters,’ said Joe Daniel, an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

So, when Kansas sees a reduction in emissions like it has in the past decade, it matters, he said.

Why the move to green energy in this red state? Because wind is cheaper than coal. 36% of electricity is produced by wind in the midwestern state now. Four new wind farms came online in 2019 in Kansas. As we’ve pointed out before, green energy is bipartisan among the American public.

But as Kansas News Service rightly points out, there’s still the nearly 20 million metric tons of transportation emissions that need to be reduced.

Small but significant steps in schools

When Queen Elizabeth II of Britain made her Christmas Day speech, she said, “It’s worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change.”

And that’s why the school district in Richmond, in British Columbia, Canada, is to be commended for reducing its emissions by 25% over the last five years. Initiatives have included LED lighting, solar, and energy conservation.

As the Richmond News reports:

In total, the district reduced its carbon emissions by 1,700 tonnes [metric tons], according to the school board — the equivalent of taking 350 cars off the road, and saving approximately [CAD] $60,000 worth of carbon taxes.

The school board also approved CAD $200,000 for solar initiatives in 2019. For example, in the district:

In September, Ferris Elementary was named the greenest school in Canada for its environmental initiatives, for example, reducing garbage by 80%, growing fruits and vegetables in school gardens, replacing vending machines with refillable water coolers, and encouraging students to walk and cycle to school.

Oil spills in Louisiana

ProPublica is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. They partnered with the Times-Picayune and the New Orleans Advocate, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network, to produce an excellent piece of investigative work on the lack of accountability in the oil industry.

The article is headlined, “How Oil Companies Avoided Environmental Accountability After 10.8 Million Gallons Spilled.” It digs into the background of the fact that:

Louisiana still hasn’t finished investigating 540 oil spills after Hurricane Katrina. The state is likely leaving millions of dollars in remediation fines on the table — money that environmental groups say they need as storms get stronger.

It’s a thorough look at industrial pollution in Louisiana, and it’s relevant on a national scale in the US. You can read the entire article in full here.

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