{{ 'Go back' | translate}}
Njus logo

Climate news | Njus International

Extreme Temperature Diary-July 16, 2019/ Major U.S. Heat Wave Day One

Climate Guy On Climate

Tuesday July 16th … Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to
'Tuesday July 16th … Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials). Major U.S. Heat Wave Day One The proverbial writing is on the wall now. Starting today the CONUS east of the Rockies will have a significant, albeit short lived heat wave starting Wednesday and lasting at least through Sunday. The only historical significance of this episode will be numerous daily record high maxes and minimums that should be established from the Midwest into the Northeast. I rather doubt that there will be many all-time or monthly high maxes or mins coming from this heat wave looking at the forecast strength of the associated heat dome, but we will see . One reason why the heat wave will probably not last too long will be what in meteorologist’s jargon is called “retrogression.” The heat dome will set up over the East but quickly retrograde westward towards the Rockies allowing a Canadian cold front to put the kibosh on the heat wave early next week. The heat dome may strengthen well beyond 594 decameters at 500 millibars as it moves westward, though, so perhaps the heat wave may not end so quickly in the central and southern Plains and might intensify in portions of the West. Here is where that “merciful” front will be located by Monday morning from the GFS model as denoted by the stripe of precipitation stretching southwest from the Northeast states to Arizona: A refreshingly milder air mass should have already made its way into the Midwest by Monday. Tomorrow heat will be building across the Plains. The remnants of Barry may temper readings some, but will be increasing heat indexes in the Northeast: I started posting many informative social messages on this event yesterday. Here are many more from today, with just a dash of humor. As usual, any newer messages that cross my radar during Tuesday will be listed at the top of this article. Check back from time to time to see if I have listed more: Facing a #heatwave in your area? Check out @NOAA 's guidance on staying informed (in the US), planning, the do's and don'ts of extreme #heat , and the warning signs of heat-related illness. https://t.co/s6G0DaQoGp pic.twitter.com/HOw3fmRaKD — Global Heat Health Information Network (@heathealth_info) July 16, 2019 Talk about #Heat ! Most will feel temperatures in the triple digits as this #heatwave blazes through the central and eastern U.S. Stay up to date on what you can expect here: https://t.co/VwP6DI9yMg pic.twitter.com/xuIQCgkuEZ — WeatherBug (@WeatherBug) July 16, 2019 Air conditioning tips: How to stay cool in the summer heat https://t.co/1Iv0uQkk9c via @usatoday #cooling #heatwave — Green Air SoCal (@air_socal) July 16, 2019 Heatwaves are deadly. They are increasing. And they are preventable. It is up to us to take action and avoid massive impacts around the world. Check out the new #heatwave guide for cities to better understand the problem and what we can do about it. https://t.co/KZSzp0HFgy https://t.co/bSVtsokJac — Erin Coughlan de Perez (@CoughlanClimate) July 16, 2019 Triple digit head indices across several states from TX to the mid-Atlantic…& it’s only midday. We’ve several days of dangerous heat ahead…take it easy if you absolutely must be outdoors. #heatwave #heatsafety pic.twitter.com/QF0JlhLkvx — Tornado Quest (@TornadoQuest) July 16, 2019 Current look at South Carolina and most of the east coast going into this weekend #HeatWave #scwx pic.twitter.com/88wj5DUKfQ — Pee Dee Weather (@PeeDee_WxSC) July 16, 2019 #HappyTuesday ! Hot enough for ya! #summer #heatwave pic.twitter.com/IddDqzRrOo — Teaqueen (Carolyn) (@Teaqueen180) July 16, 2019 JOURNALISTS covering the #heatwave ! Get the latest science on the linkages to #climatechange in plain language w/refs and experts in this new resource I developed with @RealSciLine . @RTDNA @sejorg @NABJ @NAHJ @EndClimtSilence @ClimateCentral @Mason4C https://t.co/YdpVoKceJr — Susan Hassol, Climate Communication (@ClimateComms) July 16, 2019 15 Ways to Keep Cool and Stay Healthy in the Summer Heat – https://t.co/Z68gUtt88E #heatwave #summer #fruitpops #gazpacho #healthcoaching pic.twitter.com/6TqPWMPgCk — Karen Azeez (@Karenazeeznyc) July 16, 2019 With this weekend's forthcoming heat, here's a look at heat index values on 7/22/2011 – aka, when the entire eastern half of the CONUS became Brownsville, TX #heatwave #Brownsville #nope pic.twitter.com/D1CBk5PUpo — Ben Frechette (@benfrechettewx) July 16, 2019 Our hottest temperatures so far this season are in the forecast! #heatwave pic.twitter.com/E2fgfYqEbh — Samantha Augeri (@SamanthaAugeri) July 16, 2019 Dangerous #heat & #humidity will impact the region this weekend… Highs will be in the mid to upper 90s, but this is what it will really feel like on Saturday. #NBC4NY #heatwave #hot pic.twitter.com/5iuvv6ZgA8 — Storm Team 4 NY (@StormTeam4NY) July 16, 2019 Here's some information about the #heat index for people who have recently moved to Missouri or Illinois. The heat index helps us understand how the heat + humidity combo can be more dangerous than it looks based only on the air temperature. #stlwx #midmowx #mowx #ilwx #heatwave pic.twitter.com/C95cLwgckJ — NWS St. Louis (@NWSStLouis) July 16, 2019 #heatwave rolling in starting tomorrow for those of you w/pets keep them inside & it’s a shame that you have to tell a parent this but DO NOT leave your child(ren) in the car, repeat…DO NOT leave your child(ren) in the car. Inevitably someone will #staycool pic.twitter.com/Gr4RdRTcrk — Dawn parks (@DawnparksDawn) July 16, 2019 Heads up: major #heatwave expected Wed – Sat (possibly longer). Heat index values will be between 100-110° each day from the late morning through the early evening hours. #stlwx #midmowx #mowx #ilwx pic.twitter.com/AQTgVvHOT9 — NWS St. Louis (@NWSStLouis) July 15, 2019 How hot will it feel on Saturday? I'll just leave that there. #heatwave pic.twitter.com/FBKd4ynODH — Dave Epstein (@growingwisdom) July 16, 2019 A #heatwave will expand from the Plains and Midwest to the East this week: https://t.co/ks2Rb6HzOC pic.twitter.com/R9eVpLaCg9 — The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) July 15, 2019 Stepped outside for one second. Stay cool #toronto #heatwave pic.twitter.com/i6UPoDriYs — Eve_L ❥ (@elle_evil) July 16, 2019 A prolonged period of DANGEROUS HEAT is in the forecast across Pennsylvania this Wednesday through Sunday (7/17-7/21). Be #prepared and stay safe with these 5⃣ tips. Learn more about #heatsafety : https://t.co/YzpxB40OHI . #PAwx #HeatWave #HeatIndex #SummerSafety pic.twitter.com/hkcmQNOlrR — Ready PA (@ReadyPA) July 16, 2019 When the two of my kids were younger and we did not have the luxury of the finer things in life…We made the best of the #heatwave with some old fashioned buckets along with homemade ice pops!@tracydavidson pic.twitter.com/SHD8BgW2JN — Positive MAG (@PositiveMAG1) July 16, 2019 July HEAT will spread from the Great Plains to the East Coast by late week… With high humidity levels, heat indices will be particularly dangerous so prepare and take all necessary precautions. Here are the details from Weather Concierge – https://t.co/39ijXr4l6C pic.twitter.com/GD7FW94P57 — Tom Moore (@TomMoorewx) July 16, 2019 #TuesdayMorning Reading – #heatwaves : \'By 2050, hundreds of U.S. cities could see an entire month each year with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees\' Your members of #Congress need to hear from you. https://t.co/UdBhU5s908 via @usatoday — Silicon Valley North (@CCLSVN) July 16, 2019 Found this gem on my Facebook feed this morning #Tulsa #Heatwave2019 #okwx pic.twitter.com/rLCNVdzAKo — Kate Tillotson (@TulsaVeteran) July 10, 2019 Huge heat dome with feels like temperatures pushing 105 to 110+ especially in the major cities of the east from NYC to Philly to DC to Raleigh. Dangerous from Friday through Sunday and perhaps longer down south. Will bake in the Ohio Valley and Midwest too. #heatwave pic.twitter.com/RVlmaJbfi4 — Jeff Berardelli (@WeatherProf) July 16, 2019 Here is more climate and weather news from Tuesday: (As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.) \'July on course to be hottest month ever, say climate scientists\' by @JonathanWatts for The @Guardian : https://t.co/3PDw6co9iW — Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) July 16, 2019 Scientists find carbon from thawing permafrost is released into the atmosphere at higher rates than previously thought https://t.co/7bq0eE5bp4 GHG that have long been trapped in frozen ground are released & soil microbial activity also converts organic matter into CO2 & methane — Climate Resilience (@1o5CleanEnergy) July 16, 2019 Au moins 3 jeux de données climatiques indépendants ( @NASAGISS , @CopernicusECMWF & JMA) concluent que juin 2019 a été le mois de juin le plus chaud sur le globe depuis le début des mesures à la fin du 19e siècle, battant juin 2016. #climat #climate #climatechange #GlobalWarming pic.twitter.com/RtHAylk6cE — Etienne Kapikian (@EKMeteo) July 16, 2019 The extremely heavy rain from #Barry finally materialized, albeit in a different place than initially expected. The latest @NWSWPC advisory on Barry has one rainfall total near 2 feet in Ragley, Louisiana (23.43”) pic.twitter.com/vYpedPMb6M — Eric Blake (@EricBlake12) July 15, 2019 Success or Bust? The Forecast of #Barry The answer to that question depends on your perspective. My @ForbesScience with mentions @GregPostel @EricBlake12 @bhensonweather @pppapin @SteveWAFB @geofffox and I put the climate change stuff in perspective too: https://t.co/PcYIOPaL08 — Marshall Shepherd (@DrShepherd2013) July 15, 2019 Check out @wildweatherdan 's wonderful evocation of what Monday's weathercast in eastern MD would have looked like with 1954 technology. https://t.co/2K7u3jnW0O — Bob Henson (@bhensonweather) July 16, 2019 #TuesdayMorning Reading – #Shipping + #Hydrogen : \'The technology is all here…There's no reason why we couldn't make all these vessels zero emission today.\' The Dawn Of Low-Carbon Shipping https://t.co/MduSAsbh1L #EnergyTransition #Transportation — Silicon Valley North (@CCLSVN) July 16, 2019 My new blog: Scientists from ETH Zurich have published a paper in Science with the claim that a massive tree planting effort could offset two thirds of our CO2 emissions to date. Why this is too good to be true. https://t.co/KM0ccvw9XG — Stefan Rahmstorf (@rahmstorf) July 16, 2019 (If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.)  Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”'

Want to Inspire More People to Act on Climate Change? Broaden the Framing

Climate Inter Press Service

“It has never happened before,” is a sentence that is becoming excessively common in the news  due to a changing climate where new extremes are becoming normal.In  Kansas and across the Mid-west, farmers and citizens are battling with
'Downpours flood the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.Credit: Farid Ahmed/IPS By Esther Ngumbi ILLINOIS, United States, Jul 16 2019 (IPS) “It has never happened before,” is a sentence that is becoming excessively common in the news  due to a changing climate where new extremes are becoming normal.In  Kansas and across the Mid-west , farmers and citizens are battling with record-breaking flooding events.France and  Alaska , recently saw record-breaking warm temperatures.In Mexico , a never before witnessed event happened when a freak hailstorm trapped vehicles in up to three feet of ice.Meanwhile, as all these firsts happen, countries across the world are divided on the issue of climate change.On one hand, we have those that acknowledge it is time to act with urgency.On the other hand, we have those still in denial.Emerging still, is a school of thought, which thinks that this generation has lost its fight on climate change and that it will only take an entire new generation.I do acknowledge climate change is real and that humanity needs to act with a sense of urgency.However, to bring sustainable long-term change, we need everyone to act.How then can we be more convincing?What is the way forward?I do acknowledge climate change is real and that humanity needs to act with a sense of urgency.However, to bring sustainable long-term change, we need everyone to act.How then can we be more convincing?What is the way forward?There is no single answer as to the way forward, but instead, many approaches must be taken.First , since the new normal of climate change has no boundaries, we need to frame the issue of climate change broadly to reach as many groups as possible, including Christians, farmers, youth, conservatives, liberals, rich and poor.It means tailoring messages to specific groups using metaphors and examples that trigger new thinking about the personal relevance of climate change.For Christians, for example, we can frame the need to take climate change as a moral duty.For the youth, it can be framed as a human rights issue . Young people have a right to inherit a livable planet.Second , it is important to show people how climate change will directly affect them.A recent survey revealed that half of Americans think climate change will not affect them personally in their lifetime hence; they choose not to worry about it.However, there is evidence that people that have been impacted by climate change related disasters are more likely to worry about it.A recent study reported that experiencing a severe weather event increased concern about climate change.Third , we must encourage activists, including young activists such as Greta Thunberg . Convinced that climate change will have huge impacts on their generation, many young people of today are acting with a sense of urgency.Importantly, rising activists should be included in all climate related high-level meetings and places of decision-making and their ideas be implemented.Doing so will prove to them that we care about their voice and that in the race to mitigate climate change, their ideas and activism is valued.Moreover, we need to ensure that all voices are nurtured —black, white, gay and lesbians.A current scan of the activists who are highlighted continues to be mostly white and straight.This must change.Reiterating the fact that climate change impacts have no boundaries, we must encourage and highlight activists from all the backgrounds and from all the continents including the African continent.Doing so will reinforce the message that everyone –black, white, poor, rich can stand up for climate change.Fourth and powerful yet, is the need to encourage climate change believers to run for political offices.We have seen how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has consistently stood up for meaningful climate change mitigation policies to be implemented.We need a million more Ocasio-Cortez’s in positions of power.Moreover, we need diversity in the politician voices.Fifth , importantly, science must continue to take on a center role with scientists innovating new strategies to mitigate climate change.For instance, the focus must be channeled onto the major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions including power generation, transport, growing food, manufacturing and buildings and creating methods that are not as bad for the environment.Clearly, we will continue to experience new, harsher realities partly brought about by the changing climate.We all must strive to continue reaching out to everyday citizens with the message that everyone — regardless of their stance on climate change — can proactively do something.Time is of essence.Esther Ngumbi  is Distinguished Post Doctoral Researcher, Entomology Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Illinois, World Policy Institute Senior Fellow, Aspen Institute New Voices Food Security Fellow, Clinton Global University Initiative Agriculture Commitments Mentor and Ambassador . The post Want to Inspire More People to Act on Climate Change?Broaden the Framing appeared first on Inter Press Service .'

Can planting trees save our climate?

Climate RealClimate

In recent weeks, a new study by researchers at ETH Zurich has hit the headlines worldwide (Bastin et al. 2019). It is about trees. The researchers asked themselves the question: how much carbon could we store if we planted trees everywhere in the
'In recent weeks, a new study by researchers at ETH Zurich has hit the headlines worldwide ( Bastin et al. 2019 ). It is about trees. The researchers asked themselves the question: how much carbon could we store if we planted trees everywhere in the world where the land is not already used for agriculture or cities? Since the leaves of trees extract carbon in the form of carbon dioxide – CO 2 – from the air and then release the oxygen – O 2 – again, this is a great climate protection measure. The researchers estimated 200 billion tons of carbon could be stored in this way – provided we plant over a trillion trees. The media impact of the new study was mainly based on the statement in the ETH press release that planting trees could offset two thirds of the man-made CO 2 increase in the atmosphere to date. To be able to largely compensate for the consequences of more than two centuries of industrial development with such a simple and hardly controversial measure – that sounds like a dream! And it was immediately welcomed by those who still dream of climate mitigation that doesn’t hurt anyone. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true. Because apples are compared to oranges and important feedbacks in the Earth system are forgotten. With a few basic facts about the CO 2 increase in our atmosphere this is easy to understand. Mankind is currently blowing 11 billion tonnes of carbon (gigatonnes C, abbreviated GtC) into the air every year in the form of CO 2 – and the trend is rising. These 11 GtC correspond to 40 gigatons of CO 2 , because the CO 2 molecule is 3.7 times heavier than only the C atom. Since 1850, the total has been 640 GtC – of which 31 % is land use (mostly deforestation), 67 % fossil energy and 2 % other sources. All these figures are from the Global Carbon Project , an international research consortium dedicated to the monitoring of greenhouse gases. The result is that the amount of CO 2 in our air has risen by half and is thus higher than it has been for at least 3 million years ( Willeit et al. 2019 ). This is the main reason for the ongoing global warming. The greenhouse effect of CO 2 has been known since the 19th century; it is physically understood and completely undisputed in science. Room for more trees? Sheep grazing on deforested land in New Zealand. (Photo S.R.) But: this CO 2 increase in the air is only equivalent to a total of just under 300 GtC,although we emitted 640 GtC! This means that, fortunately, only less than halfof our emissions remained in the atmosphere, the rest was absorbed by oceansand forests. Which incidentally proves that the CO 2 increase in theatmosphere was caused entirely by humans. The additional CO 2 doesnot come from the ocean or anywhere else from nature. The opposite is true: thenatural Earth system absorbs part of our CO 2 burden from theatmosphere. Conversely, this also means that if we extract 200 GtC from the atmosphere, the amount in the atmosphere does not decrease by 200 GtC, but by much less, because oceans and forests also buffer this. This, too, has already been examined in more detail in the scientific literature. Jones et al. 2016 found that the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere amounts to only 60% or less of the negative emissions, when these are implemented on the background of a mitigation scenario (RCP2.6). We can alsocompare the “negative emissions” from tree planting to our otheremissions. The 200 GtC would be less than one third of the 640 GtC totalemissions, not two thirds. And the authors of the new study say that it wouldtake fifty to one hundred years for the thousand billion trees to store 200 GtC– an average of 2 to 4 GtC per year, compared to our current emissions of 11GtC per year. That’s about one-fifth to one-third – and this proportion willdecrease if emissions continue to grow. This sounds quite different from theprospect of solving two-thirds of the climate problem with trees. And preciselybecause reforestation takes a very long time, it should be taboo today to cutdown mature, species-rich forests, which are large carbon reservoirs and avaluable treasure trove of biological diversity. There is another problem that the authors do not mention: a considerable part of the lands eligible for planting are in the far north in Alaska, Canada, Finland and Siberia. Although it is possible to store carbon there with trees, albeit very slowly, this would be counterproductive for the climate. For in snowy regions, forests are much darker than snow-covered unwooded areas. While the latter reflect a lot of solar radiation back into space, the forests absorb it and thus increase global warming instead of reducing it ( Bala et al. 2007 , Perugini et al. 2017 ). And increased regional warming of the Arctic permafrost areas in particular would be a terrible mistake: permafrost contains more carbon than all trees on earth together, around 1,400 GtC. We’d be fools to wake this sleeping giant. And thereare other question marks. Using high-resolution satellite maps and Google Earth,the researchers have analyzed where there is a suitable place for forests wherenone is currently growing, leaving out farmland and cities. With the help ofmachine learning technology, natural areas around the world were evaluated todetermine the climate and soil conditions under which forests can thrive. Thefree and suitable land areas found in this way amount to 1.8 billion hectares –as much as the combined area of China and the USA. But formany of these areas, there are probably good reasons why there is currently noforest. Often they are simply grazing lands – the authors respond that theyhave only assumed loose tree cover there, which could even be beneficial forgrazing animals. The Dutch or Irish pastures would then resemble a savannah.Nevertheless, there are likely to be considerable obstacles of very differentkinds on many of these areas, which are not apparent from the bird’s-eye viewof the satellites. The authors of the study also write that it is unclear howmuch of the areas found would actually be available for planting. Therefore,I’d still consider it optimistic to assume that half of the calculatedtheoretical planting potential can be realized in practice. Then we’re talking of1-2 GtC of negative emissions per year. But that is precisely what we will needurgently in the future. The current global CO 2 emissions can bereduced by 80-90 % through transforming our energy, heating and transport systems– but there will remain a rest that will be hard get rid of (e.g. fromagriculture, industrial processes and long-haul flights) and that we will haveto offset in order to stabilize the global climate. The studyby the ETH researchers has another important result that has hardly beenreported. Without effective climate protection, progressive warming will leadto a massive loss of existing forest cover, especially in the tropics. At thesame time, the models are not yet able to make reliable statements on howforests can cope with new extremes, fire, thawing permafrost, insects, fungiand diseases in a changing climate. Global warming threatens massive forest losses (red), especially in the tropics. Fig. 3 from Bastin et al., Science 2019 The massiveplanting of trees worldwide is therefore a project that we should tacklequickly. We should not do that with monocultures but carefully, close to natureand sustainably, in order to reap various additional benefits of forests onlocal climate, biodiversity, water cycle and even as a food source. But we mustnot fall for illusions about how many billions of tons of CO 2 thiswill take out of the atmosphere. And certainly not for the illusion that thiswill buy us time before abandoning fossil fuel use. On the contrary, we need arapid end to fossil energy use precisely because we want to preserve theworld’s existing forests. Links Would a large-scale tree restoration effort stop climate change? Forest expert Marcus Lindner from EFI points to the fires in Russia and the success story in China. How to erase 100 years of carbon emissions? Plant trees-lots of them. National Geographic shows the importance of indigenous peoples as guardians of the forest. Restoring forests as a means to many ends The commentary in Science on the Bastin study revolves around the question of how sustainable reforestation can be designed with multiple benefits beyond mere carbon storage. Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis Guardian'

The first generation of electric airplanes is almost here

Climate Grist.org

About 170 companies are racing to electrify air travel. We talked to the guy who is currently leading the pack.
'It’s no secret that the air travel industry has got some major problems . Aviation entrepreneur Kevin Noertker will be the first to admit that — and to list them for you. Flights are expensive, noisy, and disruptive, Noerkter says, and they pollute like nobody’s business, fueling climate change and poisoning fenceline communities. (Not-so-fun fact: The U.S. banned leaded street gasoline in 1996, but planes with piston engines are still burning the stuff.) Some eco-conscious souls have quit air travel cold turkey , but Noertker says there’s another solution: Follow Elon Musk’s lead and replace jet fuel with batteries. Noertker and his team at the Los Angeles-based startup Ampaire are developing first-generation electric aircraft — and they’re far from the only ones. Something on the order of 170 companies have joined what Noertker calls an electric aircraft “arms race.” Several made a splash at the Paris Air Show a couple weeks back. Others are already experiencing turbulence . For Ampaire, the skies are looking pretty blue. The company recently had its first public test flight , putting the highest-capacity electric airplane ever in the air — a retrofitted, hybrid-electric, six-passenger Cessna. Shortly afterward, Ampaire landed an order for 50 of the planes from Personal Airline Exchange, a startup that bills itself as the Airbnb of private air travel (think Uberpool, only with airplanes). Noertker, Ampaire’s CEO and co-founder, who made Grist’s list of emerging green leaders this spring, told us a little bit about the journey. Q. Why is electric aviation having its moment in the sun right now? A. There are a few things. One is technology. All this great technology that’s being developed by ground transportation and automotive is creating lower-cost, lighter-weight, high-power electric vehicle systems. There’s also the emissions. Airlines acknowledge their carbon footprint, and that brings a broader discussion. But the real driver here is the economic benefits. While the emissions reductions, pollution reduction, noise reductions are benefits for the communities [near airports] and for the world as a whole, the reason the airlines and operators are looking to adopt electric planes is because their operating cost is so significantly lower than a fueled alternative. Q. How did you decide to get into this business? A. Back in 2015, my cofounder, Cory Combs, he pitched this crazy idea of electric airplanes over to me. He basically said, “Electric vehicle technology can electrify planes. This is going to change everything. Do you want to figure out how to go get this done?” We were at a restaurant in Pasadena, sitting on the patio. And I remember sitting there, and Cory showing up with a big stack of papers, where he detailed out not only the viability of electric aircraft, but also some of the designs that he had come up with for incredibly high-performance planes — planes that were only possible if you used electric. First look, it looked impossible. Electric aviation has seemed impossible forever. But then you dig in, and you realize, not only is it possible, but it makes great business sense, and it’s probably one of the most important things that you could be doing in aviation today. Q. Have there been any moments where you thought, wow, this just might not work after all? A. Oh, absolutely. The core underlying technology is there, but no one had ever built and flown an electric aircraft of this size. There are two very critical things: One is getting that weight and balance right. And then the other is getting the system integrated safely . Safety is absolutely at the core of everything aviation. If you’re not safe, you don’t get trusted, if you’re not trusted, you don’t sell. And worst case scenario, actually hurt people. There was this existential question of, are retrofits of planes a viable path, instead of going after brand new planes from the get-go? There were times where we were looking at it — it just didn’t seem like we’d be able to have enough energy stored in the batteries to give you a long enough flight carrying enough people to make a meaningful product. And there were a few times where we really had to scratch our heads in order to make sure that we were designing the system and integrating it right. Q. So how did you land on (excuse the pun) smaller, regional aircraft, instead of some other market? A. We approached the airlines, we approached private pilots, we approached basically everybody who flies or might want to fly an airplane. We were looking at medical applications like air ambulances. We were considering vertical takeoff and landing, like urban, on-demand air taxis. We were talking to helicopter operators, and all these groups, trying to be like, who really needs this? Who has a problem that needs to be solved? Who has a business that needs an electric airplane? A lot of these businesses could benefit from an electric airplane, but a lot of times the value proposition is just not fully closed yet, with existing regulations or technology or demands. Q. When do you think larger-capacity, longer-distance planes will be in the game? A. It depends on the specific plane type and what you’re expecting it to do. But you’re moving people, not planes, right? Well, the majority of people are flying 500 miles or less. So sure, we may not be able to fly over the ocean, but we’ll probably be able to get all people who are flying 500 miles or less on fully electric planes. Now, they may not be holding 250 people at a time. Maybe they’ll be 70- or 100-passenger planes. But it’ll serve the need. It’ll offset the emissions. We may not have the big planes, but we will have the routes that move all the people. And that’s really what the game is. Q. What does your ideal world look like? And how do we get there? (On an electric plane??) A. If you’re looking at planes, I’d like a world where you had none of the emissions, none of the noise and burdens. A world where people can be connected without feeling like they are negatively impacting the environment, the community, their pocketbook. You know, I don’t get to see my nephews very often. They’re up in Seattle. And it’s because air travel is expensive, and you’ve got to book so far in advance. It would be wonderful if, like choosing to drive to the store, I could jump in an on-demand plane and fly out there without this being like a massive, expensive thing. I think the world would be so connected. And if you connect with people, then you realize that you’re not that different. I think the more you connect people, the more the world feels like a small place. This story was originally published by Grist with the headline The first generation of electric airplanes is almost here on Jul 16, 2019.'