Green Weenie of the Week: The Electric Car (Again!)

This week is only a few hours old, but we have winner already for our coveted Green Weenie Award.  And it’s a repeat winner—the electric car!  This really is necessary because of the commenter who suggested that we idiot Californians deal with our high gasoline prices by getting electric cars; yeah, great idea with our long commutes and near highest in the nation electricity rates.

Anyway, electric cars win their second Green Weenie in a month on the back of a new study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology of the total lifecycle of electric cars which finds their environmental impact is often higher than diesel or gasoline powered cars.  Let the BBC explain the crushed hopes of green weenies everywhere:

In essence, they considered how the production, the use and the end-of-life dismantling of a car affects the environment, explained co-author Prof Anders Hammer Stromman.

“The production phase of electric vehicles proved substantially more environmentally intensive,” the report said, comparing it to how petrol and diesel cars are made.

“The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles.”

In addition, producing batteries and electric motors requires a lot of toxic minerals such as nickel, copper and aluminium.

Hence, the acidification impact is much greater than that of conventional car production.

“Across the other impacts considered in the analysis including potential for effects related to acid rain, airborne particulate matter, smog, human toxicity, ecosystem toxicity and depletion of fossil fuel and mineral resources, electric vehicles consistently perform worse or on par with modern internal combustion engine vehicles, despite virtually zero direct emissions during operation,” according to Prof Stromman.

As Glenn Reynolds says: Heh.  To which we add our trademarked summary: Losers.

Walter Russell Mead (I’m going to have to start following his breakfast diet, by the way) offers the right coda:

Green jobs, green energy, green cars: the record of green public policy is far more problematic than most environmentalists are willing to acknowledge. Like the “peace activists” of the 1930s whose foolish policies helped Hitler stage a bid for global mastery by disarming the democracies, green activists today are often doing more harm than good.

The world needs better environmental policies; unfortunately, environmentalists are often some of the biggest obstacles to clear thinking and smart policy. The movement isn’t ready for prime time.


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