New York State is currently suffering the impact and effects of Hurricane Sandy (the so-called ‘Frankenstorm’). That has necessarily led to a lot of online discussion, and, of course, rant, on whether it was caused by global warming. Here are some example articles that caught my attention:
The big question everyone wants answered is ‘Was Hurricane Sandy caused by climate change?’ And, of course, it’s a question to which we don’t know the answer, nor could ever expect to know the answer. Climate change can make such events more statistically likely, or more energetic, but it doesn’t cause any particular event – there were hurricanes before climate change, as is well known.
A better question is ‘Did climate change have an effect on Hurricane Sandy?’ and that seems to be a question we can attempt to answer. Essentially the effects of climate change are higher sea levels, more energetic winds and more water in the atmosphere, each of which likely contributed to making Sandy impact worse than it would otherwise have been.
Overall I would say the Guardian article addresses the issues most thoroughly and objectively. However, from the Washington Post article I’ll take the best summary:
“The endless debates about whether this or that particular hurricane can be blamed on global warming are fascinating. But they can also distract from the more basic fact that our cities and infrastructure are quite vulnerable to future temperature increases and sea-level rise. And Hurricane Sandy, unfortunately, is a grim reminder of that.”
Last month I finally got to see a Zoe ‘in the flesh’ at my local Renault dealer. It was a left-hand-drive example that I understand was conducting a familiarisation tour of dealers. I only had a brief time to take a look at it as it was on a tight timetable – there was unfortunately no time or opportunity for a test drive.
I was given a brief tour by Andy Heiron, who took time to me show me around it and to describe some of its key features, including the charging system, EV tyres and R-Link.
I learnt some interesting points of information:
Although this Zoe was fitted with 17” alloy wheels – as are many of the examples seen in publicity shots – the special EV tyres developed by Michelin for the Zoe are only available for the 15” and 16” wheels. These EV tyres can give up to 10% improvement in range compared to other tyres.
Deliveries will take place in the fourth quarter of 2012 in France, but will not happen in the UK before the end of the first quarter of 2013.
The Zoe is currently ‘on tour’ as part of the Z.E. Tour 2012 but is only on static display at those events. UK customers will instead get a chance to see the Zoe close up at official dealer ‘VIP’ evenings during November.
Orders for the first UK deliveries will be taken in January and February.
My personal impressions of the Zoe were very positive, though I didn’t have a lot of time with it. I sat in the back and found it fairly spacious and overall the vehicle seemed slightly bigger than I expected. It seemed smart and well made.
The boot, though full of a variety of charging cables, was a good size. I also liked the rear door handles which are very neatly built in to the window frames. Overall I was very pleased with what I saw and look forward to getting my own Zoe as soon as possible.
For a clear and straightforward summary of the current climate change situation this video presentation by David Roberts (edited by Ryan Cooper) is highly recommended:
It is certainly difficult for me to watch something like that and not feel the need to change my ways. For me that’s not just having solar panels and buying an electric car, but also seeing what else I can do to reduce my carbon footprint.
What about you? If you have any comments, please reply below.
The Zoe has been voted ‘Best Green Car’ of the 2012 Paris Motor Show by listeners of French radio station RTL and readers of the magazine Auto Plus. The new Clio was awarded ‘Best Production Car’; both were chosen from a shortlist of around 10 cars pre-selected by journalists from RTL and Auto Plus.
Zoe claimed 51 per cent of the votes in the ‘Best Green Car of the 2012 Paris Motor Show’, a sign, according to Renault, that the public sees the Zoe as a real car which combines attractive lines and innovative technologies with extreme respect for the environment.
According to Carlos Tavares, Renault’s Chief Operating Officer:
“These awards recognise the renewal process that the Renault range has undergone. They also mirror the outstanding welcome these two sensuous and innovative models have received from the public.”
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