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So I guess anyone out anywhere beyond the lower mainland is screwed after 2040?

There's a lot of BC that's far away from sources of power.

But then again, the BC government might as well be the Metro Vancouver government. They really give such a small amount of shits about anybody living outside the lower mainland.

Sure, if you take today's technology and apply it to 2040 then it doesn't paint a pretty picture. However if you assume that technology will advance over 20 years, then things do look better. Battery technology, cost of solar and other off-the-grid energy sources, and electric vehicle supply chains have changed significantly since 2000, and will likely continue to do so by 2040. It's very difficult to predict what things will look like by then.

And yep, in places like BC where most of the population lives in cities, you tend to get laws much more oriented towards what city dwellers want.

> Sure, if you take today's technology and apply it to 2040 then it doesn't paint a pretty picture.

Obviously, newer and improved tech would be even better, and if we have it, that's great. But I'm not convinced we need it.

Even if we were just stuck with today's 2019-era technology, we could still meet this mandate by 2040, just by widely deploying the green technology we already have on-hand today.

Rural and suburban communities don't need any reduction in quality of life to meet this mandate, we just need to deploy today's tech reliably out there.

Is rooftop solar even viable in the northern half of the province? High latitudes get way less sun.

Yeah in Northern BC solar is pretty marginal I think. BC does have heaps of hydro electric power though. There is a lot of potential for wind power off the coast of Haida Gwaii as well (and I assume many other places off the northern coast).

Have my girlfriend's father out for the weekend from Nanaimo. Just last night he was telling us about Kitimat where he grew up. They drilled tunnels through mountains to create enourmous hydro generating stations. Pretty interesting stuff. I'd be curious to hear more about the environmental impacts of that project—but yes lots of hydroelectric power up there—and potential for more if I understand correctly.


That's great for urban folks, but doesn't really help people living off the grid.

How do you get fuel for your gas combustion engine now? How do you get electricity now?

I personally am not in that situation, but people who haul diesel & other fuels out into the backwoods do exist. Batteries aren't quite as viable for that because they're way less energy dense and in general less environmentally stable.

Well, we have 21 more years to figure that out. Besides, it is not that all vehicles that take gas will suddenly disappear.

So there will be more than 21 years to discover an alternative.

There are some people using micro-hydro for off-grid living: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUNMjdmGIPI&list=PLEZ2hvCDKU...

I know a lot of people living off the grid who get their electricity via small-scale hydro.

Marginal as in not cost effective? Or marginal as in barely provides any juice?

With a decade or two more of cost scaling, we may be able to very effectively deploy solar in a lot of places we wouldn't consider today due to economics.

I don't know much about solar power, but in Haida Gwaii (which is pretty far North and fairly gloomy) in winter you get around 1-1.3kwh/m2. Doesn't seem like a lot?


> Is rooftop solar even viable in the northern half of the province? High latitudes get way less sun.

Most towns/cities aren't nearly as space constrained outside the lower mainland, so larger non-rooftop solar would be an option (along with the wind/hydro/etc that others have mentioned)

High altitudes can actually get a lot more sun if you are above the clouds. But BC isn’t really high altitude like Tibet is, they just have lots of mountains. Edit: read parent wrong, never mind about altitude.

Latitude, not altitude.

Oh oops. In that case, whether you get a lot of sun or not depends on what season you are in. But mostly northern BC is a rain forest like southern Alaska or even western Washington/Vancouver, not the best place for solar.

Solar power actually works better to the north where there is less cloud cover, eg see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_in_Alaska and https://energyhub.org/yukon-territory/.

Wind probably does pretty good up there.

Lots of mountains, but sparsely populated so they don't need to find all that many locations.

Wind only really makes sense offshore/on the Western coast of the island, and in a few other limited places. They stuck a turbine on the top of Grousse mountain (a PR stunt for the Olympics), and it barely moved.

Solar can work in the interior, but isn't much use on the coast.

Hydro is the main renewable source of energy out here. It has it's issues of course, but it does provide a lot of cheap, reasonably-green energy.

There’s a sense that individuals in rural areas will need to move into urban environments for the sake of climate change.

No thanks. Forcing millions from their homes is unlikely, and you couldn't pay me 1m to live in the city. Just because mostly that same population screwed up the countryside with irresponsible energy use does not entitle them to now ask me to move.

> Forcing millions from their homes is unlikely

You'll be lucky if it's mere millions: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/dec/21/devastat...

There’s historical precedent in the relocation of Newfoundland outports in the ‘60s. One reason that was given at the time was to move individuals into areas supported by modern infrastructure.

The idea of people needing to congregate into large, dense urban centers while global climate change apparently wreaks havoc on our food supply chain is down-right psychotic.

How significantly has battery technology really changed? As far as I can tell, batteries haven't become that much better. I don't see how they'll become that much better in the future either.

20 years ago the EV-1 was the state of the art, with 26 KWh of NiMH batteries. And that was a massive advancement over the lead acid batteries the EV-1 used when introduced a couple of years prior.

In the '80's kids RC toys were powered by a fat yellow battery the size of a hot dog bun that basically everyone from that era will recognize.

Today, a single rechargeable AA battery can hold twice the power as that '80's hot-dog battery. That's a big improvement, over 10x more dense, with more improvements in the pipeline.

> In the '80's kids RC toys were powered by a fat yellow battery the size of a hot dog bun that basically everyone from that era will recognize.

I know what you're talking about - but if you're talking about things like the Tamiya Grasshopper or similar - those RC vehicles were not "kids toys" but rather hobbyist-grade RC. At the time, a full setup would cost a few hundred dollars; even today, to purchase a new Tamiya RC kit vehicle, it will set you back a couple hundred when you factor in everything.

I know this because I recently did it; the car was a little over $100.00 off Amazon, then I had to pick up the electronics (which I didn't go cheap on), plus I added some "hop ups" (better motor, ball bearing upgrade, tires, etc). Then the battery and charger.

So - even today - I wouldn't classify it as a "kids toy" (teenage and older hobbyists don't qualify as "kids" in this sense, but that's just my opinion of course); there's too much money involved. If you or someone you knew had one of these plus all the other stuff, they were a lucky person indeed (a friend of mine in middle school had one, back when the ESC was resistance-based - I went in a different direction, and had a bunch of computer crap - so I guess we were both lucky in different ways).

I consider kid's RC toys to be anything costing under $100.00 and "ready-to-run" (RTR), usually without any kind of real servo or speed controls (that said, even that level has changed greatly; what you can get today for around $50.00 beats the pants off of anything you could get for that amount in the 80s - even in 80s dollars).

You'd need 6 AA batteries to deliver the same voltage as one of those RC car packs and give a direct comparison.

They were typically 6x sub-C cells, with a capacity of 1000mAh. (I remember paying extra for a 1300mAh pack!). You can get 5000mAh cells today, so it's a 5x improvement.

There's also hydrogen in addition to battery electric.

For most of B.C wood-gasification would be a great solution!


You can't haul electricity into the wilderness.

When I was out deep in the wilderness on mountains in the middle of Asia far far far off the grid and away from even roads, there was no petroleum to be found, but the inns I stayed in always had electricity (either via local hydro, solar, or both).

It's a humorous irony that people see petroleum as vital for off-the-grid living. A dependence on regular petroleum deliveries is not really that "off-grid".

> There's a lot of BC that's far away from sources of power.

How do they get power now? Anywhere that has electricity today could be charging electric cars today. And fuel cells exist, for the limited use cases where electricity isn't ideal

I think what OP is saying is currently you can drive between communities and not have to worry about filling up (600km to a tank). If your EV only gets 400km, how are you going to get between those locations. As another commentor pointed out, there is a lot of time for charging stations to be built.

400km is the current range, not the range in 2040.

It's more the hundreds of kilometers of wilderness between many communities in BC.

Today's zero emission Fuel Cell cars already have average range of over 560km. (See the 2019 Honda Clarity, for example). And this law doesn't take effect for another 20 years. We can probably get these communities some hydrogen refueling stations by then.

560km in -20F weather? Not sure about that. Also that Honda wouldn't take a snow drift without falling apart. People who live in cities take their public services fore granted. If you're out in the country you NEED a truck and almost certainly a plow to attach to it.

I live in Michigan, I drive through the upper peninsula every winter. My EV does get reduced range below freezing, but it still works just fine.

And Hydrogen Fuel supposedly works much better than EVs in the extreme cold. https://www.greencarreports.com/pictures/1090078_toyota-tout... (They tested at -22F in Yellowknife, Canada)


Slightly off-topic, but I hate that most climate change issues get framed in discussions as "everyone needs to move into cities, where they will instantly be dirt poor and have terrible lives".

There's no reason we can't keep rural/suburban communities quality of life high and still take the tech we already have, and just use it to help our suburban/rural communities reduce their CO2 usage. We have a lot of technology to do this already, but we need to more aggressively deploy it.

> but we need to more aggressively deploy it.

...you mean, more aggressively market it in a way that people won't mind paying out the --- for it, right?

I mean - someone is going to have to pay for it, either now, or later. But people don't want their bills rising crazy high, and they really won't want to pay for their neighbor's solar panels or whatnot (I'm talking the United States right now, where we can't even agree on proper health care coverage - it might be a different case in BC).

I'm not sure how it will be solved. Probably like everything else - in a panic.

> people won't mind paying out the --- for it, right? (snip) But people don't want their bills rising crazy high

So, today in 2019, I can buy 100% clean renewable electricity, from the local heavily-regulated electrical utility. The "market rate" price of this is exactly 1 cent extra, per kilowatt hour. - https://www.consumersenergy.com/-/media/CE/Documents/renewab...

According to the US EIA, the average household uses about 867kwh per month. Most Michigan households could switch to 100% renewable electricity, for a real-world price of $8.67 extra per month. That's it. No fees, no installation, no new equipment. Literally check one box, get 100% renewable energy.


I know Michigan is not British Columbia. I am aware these costs vary by region. I know not everyone can afford this, and that it is a position of privilege to be able to spend an extra $9/month on fancier electricity. But the cost here is literally cheaper than Netflix, and it prevents about 1.2 tons of CO2 from hitting the atmosphere (per household, per month).

I don't think I'm exaggerating at all, when I say we really have all the tech we need, and we really just need to deploy it everywhere. Yes, it costs more. But only a little bit more, for such a huge benefit, it seems like an obvious thing we should be doing.

Trucks are the next target for electrification, and the results will certainly be much better all around. Electric motors go hand in hand with endless torque, and four wheel drive (including four full independent drives) is much simpler for an electric vehicle.

They haven't come to market yet but IMO trucks are going to make kickass platforms for fuel cell & electric. Their chassis can handle extra weight for extended range better than passenger vehicles, and the P100D has been dyno'd at more than 900lb-ft of torque. I am also hopeful electric motors will do great things for 4LO.

This might mean that those living less sustainably may have to pay more. From an externalities point of view, this might be a good thing.

> This might mean that those living less sustainably may have to pay more.

I would strongly urge you to be careful with this language. Don't be so quick to assume folks living rural/suburban lifestyles are living any less sustainably.

These folks are what make city living possible in the first place. And city folk have plenty of huge-CO2-footprint problems of their own that everyone conveniently forgets, because it isn't literally dumping gasoline into an automobile.

> I would strongly urge you to be careful with this language. Don't be so quick to assume folks living rural/suburban lifestyles are living any less sustainably.

If they aren't, they don't have anything to worry about when very unsustainable practices are abolished.

> These folks are what make city living possible in the first place.

A minority are, and they'll have to charge more for those services.

> And city folk have plenty of huge-CO2-footprint problems of their own that everyone conveniently forgets, because it isn't literally dumping gasoline into an automobile.

What are some examples of those city-specific CO2 problems?

> Don't be so quick to assume folks living rural/suburban lifestyles are living any less sustainably.

I wasn't thinking only of carbon footprint, but also of things like electricity and water hookups. The cost to provide basic utilities in rural areas has to be a lot higher per capita than in the city.

The vast majority of those living outside of major cities are those growing food or working in key resource industries like lumber and mining. Those that are not in those industries are in supporting industries like grocery stores and barbers.

More and more people are losing farms that have been in their families for generations. The average farmer is a grandfather/grandmother and trends show no sign of shifting towards a younger demographic. Younger people see working on the farm as an economic risk. Increasing taxes on rural folks would be a massive mistake. Mark my words, by 2040 farmers will be rare if nothing changes and the price of food will sky rocket not from climate change but from lack of a labor force.

Or are you saying that the added emissions from living outside of a city are not worth undertaking because we just don't need those resources? That's nonsensical.

"The vast majority of those living outside of major cities are those growing food or working in key resource industries like lumber and mining."

This isn't remotely true. The overwhelming bulk of people living outside of major cities simply live outside of major cities. In the United States some 4 million people own or work on farms. 60 million people live in rural locations. I highly doubt the other 56 million are in forestry and mining.

Some people live in rural places for no particular reason than that's where they like to live. I live in a rural location, and I certainly don't gnash and gnaw about how everyone is going to starve unless I have a black-soot belching F350. I can actually imagine a world where I can live sustainably as well.

The number of farmers is decreasing not because it is harder to be a farmer, but because farming is becoming more efficient and mechanized. Food is not becoming more expensive relative to everything else, it is becoming cheaper.

Rural communities are being hit because the amount of labor in key resource industries keeps going down. So kids move to the city where they can find a future, and so on. It’s been like that for a couple of hundred years.

Cities will continue to subsidize rural areas with their taxes as a result. Less density means infrastructure is used less efficiently, and so need significant transfers of wealth from the cities to keep being viable. That is probably unavoidable, but the cities can also subsidize rural areas in leveraging EVs as well.

> The number of farmers is decreasing not because it is harder to be a farmer, but because farming is becoming more efficient and mechanized.

Yes, but if the children of farmers have left and aren't going to take on their parents' industry, what happens when they truly can't do it anymore? The machines don't run the farm, yet, they only make running it more efficient and easy. You still have to know what to do, and go out and get it done, and this isn't something that people can just pick up in a day.

If the natural apprenticeship mechanism that used to provide for this has been broken, what's going to replace it?

Technology progresses, the amount of labor needed to run a farm decreases. Not all the kids are leaving, just lost of them. Also, the farms are increasingly becoming corporations rather than family affairs anyways, they do find people to hire if they pay enough. Otherwise, they just reduce labor needs by mechanizing.

The real kick in the pants is that when you can get away with half as many farmers, because of improvements in agricultural technology, you can only support half as many grocery stores, doctors, gas stations and the like. The empty spaces get emptier, and less comfortable.

I'm not too worried about farms. Governments haven't had a problem with massive agriculture subsidies and I doubt that will change. Labor costs on farms may skyrocket but that will also throw fuel on the mechanization fire.

Food is cheap right now in part because of exploitation of labor. We probably should be paying more for our food.

I bet you can stick a snow plow on one of these: https://products.rivian.com/

I'm sure you could but this truck seems marketed towards people who haven't owned a truck. "Adventure Vehicle" sounds like its built for those soccer moms who would have otherwise gotten a Ford "Explorer". At best, its unproven. At worst, its every other eco-suv this time with a bed. The video preview doesn't even have a basic hitch ball on the back.

Aren't hitch balls normally optional? (Don't know, never bought a truck, never driven a new truck. Always used—and for those my dad was always having to install hitch balls himself)

I'm sure if you try hard and use all of your creative juices you can imagine that it's just the beginning of a flood of projects that will have completely changed things by 2040.

But even then, that truck you dismiss has an 11,000 lb towing capacity, some 800ft lbs of torque, etc. Sure sounds like a "soccer mom" vehicle...

Just because it can tow 11k per the SAE test (basically a power/brakes test in case anyone was wondering) doesn't mean it's actually good at it for most use cases. The recharge/refuel time hits electrics really hard with current tech. For a fleet vehicle that doesn't hit its range limit ever and can recharge all night it's probably great. For anything where you are pulling enough weight or putting on enough miles to need substantially more than a full charge in a day it's gonna be a massive pain.

"Muh torque" sure is nice but really isn't all that big a deal for rural use cases. Your average HNer's landscaper that drags 10k of truck and trailer through city traffic all day needs torque and power far more.

Don't forget the 4 independent motors!

I predict the term "quad" will have a completely different meaning for off-road enthusiasts in 2040.

You won't find much hydrogen infrastructure in rural BC. Also that range is for flat land, driving in mountainous terrain can take those numbers down dramatically.

That said, there's really only so many main highways in BC, and most of them have pretty decent charging infrastructure (in the Southern and Central bits anyway). The main exception is the route North of Whistler to Kamloops - charge stations in Lillooet would be a nice addition.

I grew up in a very small, isolated place in northern BC. Power was produced by a diesel locomotive engine up on blocks that ran 24/7. Except when it didn't, normally in the dead of the very long winter.

I briefly worked for a boss in Alaska who normally didn't have electric power at all. Everything was done by burning some fuel, including bathing. To check the mail, he had to take his boat downriver into town.

There will a big market for used trucks unless they make further changes to the emissions and inspection laws. Also, AirCare was cancelled, so older vehicles aren't currently under as much scrutiny as a few years ago.

Look at it through their eyes. Screwing "those filthy hicks that hold us back" is a fringe benefit. They'd never admit it but they don't feel bad for making everyone else suffer, after all thats's what you get for voting for the "wrong" party.

I think you're ascribing an intent that's just not there. Certainly I've never met anyone whose prime motivation was trying to screw rural folks. Certainly there are some people that are quite out of touch, but I think their heart is mostly in the right place.

In actual fact I've met many farmers, loggers, and even a friend in the petroleum industry that all take climate change very seriously.

Once you move away from partisanship, I think you'll find there's a lot of support for this even in places you wouldn't expect it.

Maybe the Greens who only hold three seats in urban/suburban Vancouver Island, but the NDP hold several seats in rural, interior BC and they're more supportive of BC's traditional resource economy.

Being far from everything is going to be a niche activity in the future. Most people will gather into settlements that are compact enough and large enough and few enough to be interconnected by electric rail.

That said, I prefer a carbon tax which allows each individual to make their own choices of how to spend their carbon budget. Perhaps you'd like to spend your carbon budget on driving all over BC, while I'd like to spend mine on eating beef or whatever.

Yeah, and how are people in the rural areas of BC going to be doing if we don't hit zero emissions by 2050?

We need to be treating that as a hard limit. And yes, that means sacrifices, behavioral changes, and - probably - a drop in standard of living. Or at the very least, life that looks pretty different than it does now.

But the alternative is the natural world collapsing out from under us and society coming apart at the seams as a result.

I can't imagine there won't be exception for Northern BC, Farm/Industrial Vehicles, etc...

First paragraph says "All light-duty cars and trucks sold in British Columbia would have to be zero-emission by 2040 under legislation tabled Wednesday."

Side note, why do articles about legislation rarely include a link to the actual legislation?

Here it is: https://www.leg.bc.ca/parliamentary-business/legislation-deb...

Because modern news is all about juicy headlines. Facts are boring.

Literally the first line "All light-duty cars and trucks sold in British Columbia would have to be zero-emission by 2040 under legislation tabled Wednesday."

That leaves a lot of room for exceptions. Is a Ford F-350 considered "light duty"? I don't think it would be. Certainly the feller bunchers, ore trucks, and tractors that I'm used to seeing at work around Northern BC wouldn't be considered "light duty".

Do Canadians use the British sense of the word tabled (begin debate) or the American sense (halt debate)?

The way a word means its opposite in different countries is literally a pain in the neck.

Thinking on it, I usually see it used in the British sense in politics, but often the American sense in business.

I try to avoid it; it's even more ambiguous than most Canadian compromises between British and American English.

I'm used to the latter, but I've heard both. Definitely confusing, I try to avoid it now and say "punt" instead. Probably confusing those that aren't familiar with (American) football.

Definitely the former in this case. British Columbia uses a British parliamentary system.

We're a weird bunch. Just because we use the concept of houses doesn't mean that we use the same words in the same way as Britain at all. Especially not if we need to work with Washington state a lot.

I was going to say the same thing. Lower Mainland? That could work.

Price George, BC? Yeah, no.

Yeah, how would an electric car even carry enough energy to heat the cabin long enough to make it to McBride, Chetwynd, or Kitimat? Seems like a major stretch.

I learned recently that the Leaf doesn't have any thermal management - we'll certainly need vehicles that are designed for Northern climates.

But given how popular the Teslas are in Norway, I think there's probably hope. Even if we're just talking about the little cars at first.

Once the batteries have sufficient capacity, you can just devote some of the spare capacity to heating during a trip.

In theory you could also have a dedicated heater than ran on LNG or similar. Might be a "less bad" compromise to enable EVs in such situations until the technology evolves to go full electric.

You realize the BC Government isn't even based in Metro Vancouver right?

The NY state government isn't based in NYC either. That doesn't mean their wealth doesn't buy them outsize influence.

Yeah...tell them that. You'd think they were.

2040 is pretty far away, plenty of time for the techs, markets and infrastructures to mature.

Besides, it's only about new ones. You'll still have 10 good years of second hand cars, probably 20 since anticipation will make people stock on models they think they'll sell well. And of course you'll have the obvious delay that is exceptionally given at the end of every single of those big shifts.

So 2040-60 seems a reasonable target given how important it is for humanity. And a deadline will give incentive to find solutions.

It's more of a rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic target. That is far too late to accomplish anything useful.

Sure. But then again, if 20 years isn't enough time to build charge stations... actually, I'm not finishing that sentence: 20 years is more than enough to build charge stations where they're needed.

I mean, come on: if even Terrace already has three charge point, I'm pretty sure the rest of our province isn't some lame duck unable to build what is needed to meet the needs of the people who live where they live.

I'm sure there will be provisions in place for exceptions

Today's compromise is tomorrow's loophole.

If the IPCC is right, we're all screwed unless we cut global CO2 emissions in half by 2030. So...yes?

Politicians like to create laws and make promises about the distant future which they cannot be held accountable for.

If they would really care they would tax all vehicles except electric and hybrids starting from 2025 and increase the tax every year, so be 2030 no one would buy pure ICE car unless they absolutely have to.

I think the market will take care of that soon enough. At least this legislation makes the long term infrastructure investment a no-brainer.

There's also car industry Jobs to think about, no politician wants to put that at undue risk.

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