One of the best things about ignoring all the hype and just using common sense is when you are proven right. The only thing better than that is when the Kool-aid® drinkers start to realize that you were right as well. What the heck am I talking about? Electric cars.
For close to five years, as long as I’ve been blogging, I’ve been saying that there is no way electric cars could be better for the environment–and not just because they’d have to run on electricity generated by carbon based fuels. Batteries are nasty.
Their manufacturing process alone is far more detrimental than that of building and then operating a standard modern-day combustion engine. And Batteries don’t last. That means you need to replace them with new nasty batteries.
Then there’s the argument that it will help us end our dependence on foreign energy. Battery power makes us more dependent. 80% or more of the stuff you need to make a battery suitable for a car comes from China, Bolivia, and Chile. So while the US has enough coal, gas, and oil to become the largest, most environmentally conscious extractor, user, and exporter of these abundant and affordable resources, the progressive solution to energy independence is batteries made from stuff we don’t have–and that is without talking about how we’ll ever charge them.
Despite these common sense realities, what do we get? Less offshore, the war on coal, and the unaffordable, highly subsidized Chevy Obamamobile powered by nasty batteries, with short shelf lives, and a womb to tomb environmental footprint that is worse than a combustion engine vehicle.
So what about the Kool aid drinkers “coming around” on the idea that electric cars are as bad or worse?
The National Academies’ assessment didn’t ignore those difficult-to-measure realities. It drew together the effects of vehicle construction, fuel extraction, refining, emissions, and other factors. In a gut punch to electric-car advocates, it concluded that the vehicles’ lifetime health and environmental damages (excluding long-term climatic effects) are actually greater than those of gasoline-powered cars. Indeed, the study found that an electric car is likely worse than a car fueled exclusively by gasoline derived from Canadian tar sands!
The National Academies’ study stood out for its comprehensiveness, but it’s not the only one to make such grim assessments. A Norwegian study published last October in the Journal of Industrial Ecology compared life-cycle impacts of electric vehicles. The researchers considered acid rain, airborne particulates, water pollution, smog, and toxicity to humans, as well as depletion of fossil fuel and mineral resources. According to coauthor Anders Stromman, “electric vehicles consistently perform worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles, despite virtually zero direct emissions during operation.”
And from earlier in the same article…
Electric-car makers like to point out, for instance, that their vehicles can be charged from renewable sources, such as solar energy. Even if that were possible to do on a large scale, manufacturing the vast number of photovoltaic cells required would have venomous side effects. Solar cells contain heavy metals, and their manufacturing releases greenhouse gases such as sulfur hexafluoride, which has 23 000 times as much global warming potential as CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. What’s more, fossil fuels are burned in the extraction of the raw materials needed to make solar cells and wind turbines—and for their fabrication, assembly, and maintenance. The same is true for the redundant backup power plants they require. And even more fossil fuel is burned when all this equipment is decommissioned.
Solar farms themselves use up tons of real estate, alter the Eco-systems in which they are placed, and require vast quantities of water to keep them clean and as effective as they can be, for what that might be worth. Wind, by the way, is also passing its zenith as Spain, England, and other Environmentally fashionable EU nations like Germany discover that not only did it cost more, create fewer jobs, produce less electricity, and fail to deliver on any of its promises…that the turbines are turning into Easter Island-esque relics of an post-industrial age experiment in Gaia worship.
There is room in my heart for Environmental Atheism, and not just because it is one of those pagan Gods thou shalt not worship things. The green cult is run by members of the Red cult of socialist who discovered just a few decades back that you could still be wrong about everything and get somewhere because most people knew less about the planet and its complex nature than the average temperature modeler at the UN’s IPCC Home for environmental rent seekers. If you just yell loud enough and tell people your opponents want to see your babies roasted alive by the sun (assuming you “had” to have babies because Republicans refused you your “right” to contraception and decent “how to prevent a family” planning services) or drowned by the rising sea levels–uncle Noah is building a boat with two of every smart phone on it–the facts, including what you can observe with your own senses, didn’t really matter, jut the yelling mattered. The people would agree just to get you to shut the hell up so they could get back to their Smart Phones and reality television, which is ironic because the best non-reality reality TV out there has to be what has passed for science coming out of the UN/IPCC for years. It’s climate voyeurism. Climate models gone wild. I’ll show you my hysterically flawed climate model that can’t explain why I’ve been wrong for 16 years if you show me yours and we’ll agree that our detractors are flat-earth, knuckle-dragging shills to big oil even though oil spends its own money and the Greens are institutionalized corporate-welfare queens living off the taxpayer host and would die without other people’s money or elcted
Demogouges Democrats to extract that reasource for them by force.
The environmental dictators expect a sharp salute and a heil Gaia! You will give to the GREEN FÜHRER or else! No, not for the sake of the earth but in spite of it.
So the Democrat light bulb ban that forces subsidized curly-q mercury bombs on American Families (made in China–the bulbs and sometimes the families) are bad. The Democrat solar boondoggles we wasted billions on just for bankruptcies–really bad even if they stay afloat. Ethanol is worse than standard motor fuel, ruins engines, worse mileage, and corn demands tons or real-estate, and requires tons of water as well as loads of fertilizer, with long term down-stream eco-system impacts. Batteries require lithium, Graphite, and heavy metals from far-away places that don’t love us, whose massive wholesale extraction to meet any expanded demand would outweigh any of the supposed benefits… particularly given where they come from. Wind? Ack! Did I miss anything from the lefts greening of their
the earth project pockets in pursuit of political power?
I do have a solution. Sadly, it is the same one I’ve been proposing for at least five years; full scale development of carbon energy extraction, technology, and refinement in the US. Millions of new jobs. Affordable energy that takes the economic jack-boot off the throats of American Families. All paid for by…the companies doing all the actual work. No bailouts. No boondoggles. No borrowing from China to pay for workers to sit in factories doing nothing, or for solar-panel presidential photo-ops at soon to be bankrupt, taxpayer-propped up facilities. Less, debt, lower taxes, more revenue, jobs, wealth, and prosperity.
But it will never happen. Democrats won’t let it. Carbon fuels must die, even it means higher energy costs, less reliable supply, and more damage to the globe, if you even believe that CO2 is really an issue in the first place. They would rather spend tens of trillions globally and keep or drive people into poverty from the expense for failure than let oil and gas companies spend their own money to develop cheaper, more reliable and useful energy, that really does create jobs and power and the world.
(Actually, it could happen, but you’d have to replace all the Democrats and their bureaucratic flunkies.)