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Sunday December 29, 2019 – Miami Trip – Over Christmas I had to be in Miami for a family gathering. It is the first time I have flown anywhere in at least 10 years and I have blown my carbon budget for the year. Still, it was good getting out of California for a change and it gave me a chance to see somewhere that has not adopted the California emissions rules.
Flying came as something of a shock after so many years. It certainly hasn't become more comfortable and now you have to pay for checked baggage. On the fight out there was no meal service and on the flight back to LA we had to buy a sandwich. Passing through security at the airport is also much harder than it used to be although I have to say that the guys at the security checkpoint, especially at LAX, were moving things along pretty quickly.
Flying is pretty essential if you want to travel long distances and it is one of the last things that need to be addressed to go fully carbon neutral. I know we have electric planes under development but I suspect they will only be good for short haul flights initially. For longer haul flights we are probably going to need to rely on biofuels or hydrogen produced using renewable energy for the immediate future.
One of the things that I noticed about Miami is that there seemed to be very few electric cars on the road. Tesla appeared to dominate and I probably saw 3 to 5 of them each day, perhaps a few more than that on one of the days we were there. I also saw a BMW i3 and two BMW i8s. I would see more in a 10 minute walk in downtown Beverly Hills.
What really shocked me is that in the five days I was in Miami I didn't see one Chevy Volt, Chevy Bolt, or Nissan Leaf. I didn't even see common plug-in hybrids like the Prius Prime, Fusion Energi and Cmax Energi. Even conventional hybrids appeared to be in short supply though I did see a few Prius and at least one Fusion hybrid.
I checked on plug-share and there did appear to be a pretty good supply of chargers, even a couple at the local Whole Foods, but I didn't take the time to go there and see if they were being utilized. One thing I did notice was that there were a few chargers being show at apartment buildings and condominium units which is a good sign.
I also expected to see a lot of NEVs on the road as they are quite popular in Florida, but I only saw a few GEMS mostly in Fort Lauderdale where they were being used as shuttles. I also saw some NEVs called ICON on Key Biscayne. They looked more like golf carts that NEVs but they did have seat belts and license plates so I assume they are street legal, at least in Florida.
Another shock was to observe just how low lying this area of Florida is. It appeared that many buildings were built right on the water so sunny day flooding should be no surprise. A drive down US 1 through the Keys also illustrated just how low lying these islands are. I could see massive destruction from the storm surge if a category 5 hurricane should hit this area.
Sea level rise may also be an issue. The highest point on Key West is 18 feet above see level and the average for the Keys is six feet above sea level. There has already been some high tide flooding in one Key Largo neighborhood and there is talk about raising the level of some roads. However, if we don't stop the melting of ice in Greenland and the Antarctic then the Keys are basically going to be toast as is large areas of southern Florida.
It appears to me that we need to see a lot more EVs rolled out in Florida and I assume many other states that do not follow California emission rules. This means that the car makers need to get a lot more serious about rolling out cars across all fifty states instead of concentrating on the ZEV mandate states. Florida would also be a good area for Solar so they should be doing more to move in that direction.
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