Dear Sanctimonious Greens: your beloved electric cars harm Gaea!!

Posted by: Phineas on February 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Your goddess will be angry with you…

According to a recent study by researchers at UT-Knoxville, electric cars have a greater pollution impact than comparable (and evil, EVIL, EVIL!!) gasoline-powered vehicles:

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” [Chris] Cherry said. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to. Prior studies have only examined environmental impacts by comparing emission factors or greenhouse gas emissions.”

Particulate matter includes acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. It is also generated through the combustion of fossil fuels.

For electric vehicles, combustion emissions occur where electricity is generated rather than where the vehicle is used. In China, 85 percent of electricity production is from fossil fuels, about 90 percent of that is from coal. The authors discovered that the power generated in China to operate electric vehicles emit fine particles at a much higher rate than gasoline vehicles. However, because the emissions related to the electric vehicles often come from power plants located away from population centers, people breathe in the emissions a lower rate than they do emissions from conventional vehicles.

Still, the rate isn’t low enough to level the playing field between the vehicles. In terms of air pollution impacts, electric cars are more harmful to public health per kilometer traveled in China than conventional vehicles.

(Emphasis added)

The key is that the electricity needed to charge the batteries of those virtuous electric vehicles has to be first generated somewhere; in China, the vast majority comes from plants using fossil fuels. The effect is simply to transfer the generation of pollutants from where the vehicle is used to where its power is created.

Bear in mind, this study was conducted in China, which relies overwhelmingly on coal. While the US generates far less of its electricity from coal, it’s still significant — about 46%. (See Table 1.1) And China’s pollution controls are notoriously weak, so coal-fired plants in the US probably generate far fewer pollutants than their Chinese counterparts. Still, coal is a dirty fuel source, one of the great demons in the Cult of Anthropogenic Global Warming, and air pollution does not respect national boundaries.

Preening Greens charging their Volts and Leafs and Priuses and oh-so Smart ED cars should perhaps remember that their virtue comes at the cost of (environmental) sin.

RELATED: It’s similar to that other fetish object of the Green cult — wind power. The wind is so unreliable a source that, to make sure the power grid stays up, backup coal, gas, and even nuclear plants have to be kept running on standby for those times when the wind stops or blows too fast. Kind of defeats the purpose, no? Unless that purpose is just to make oneself feel good, or profit from government subsidy… or both.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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6 Responses to “Dear Sanctimonious Greens: your beloved electric cars harm Gaea!!”


  1. The Proggy (Progressive) way, just like that of a two-year-old, is to do first, then see the reaction. P_Lo said “We have to pass the bill, so we can see what’s in the bill.” (gotta be one of the all-time STOOOPIDEST statements ever made in Congress!)

    THX for the article. :)

  2. Steve Burri says:

    Here’s a similar take that I posted in 2006.

    Unfortunately, the plant shut down a couple of years later.

  3. Carlos says:

    “…and air pollution does not respect national boundaries.”

    Well, duh! If a pic of the world from high enough orbit could be taken to show the wind-blow factor from China and India to the rest of the world (especially including the United States) one would see that a majority of the world’s pollution does not in fact come from the United States but primarily from these two bastions of human concern and compassion.

    In simpler terms, the AGW and Gaiea thing is simply a back door way to gain control over the masses, whom history has shown are more than willing to give up their freedoms in exchange for wonderful-sounding empty promises.

  4. Casey says:

    Sorry, guys, but this isn’t much of a story. If you do any real digging on US power plants, you’ll find out that even the high-sulfur-coal plants have low emissions, due to stringent pollution requirements.

    Bottom line, this is not a valid study. It’s analogous to saying US or French nuke plants aren’t safe because of what happened at Chernobyl.

    Hybrid or plug-in cars are not a “fetish.” Selection of a vehicle depends on one’s objectives. A soccer mom in charge of the local team would find a Smart Car quite useless, vice a young single professional. Neither one might find a truck useful, as opposed to someone who hauls loads or pulls a heavy trailer.

  5. Drew the Infidel says:

    Electric cars, like the rest of the green baloney, are a stupid idea that will never catch on. It is more of that hippie “ecology” agenda.

  6. Carlos says:

    @Casey: If you and the greens are so sure about that, sir, then why does our GreenieWeenie-in-Chief want to effectively shut down every coal-fired plant in the U.S.? Something there is amiss.

    Could be all he wants is to price electricity out of reach for the “99%”? Or take control of our lives through the administration of who gets electricity and who doesn’t? Or a combination of both?

    It’s just like his policies on the exploration, capturing and use of oil – all he wants is the power to control who has it and who doesn’t, effectively controlling society. Pretty effectively Marxist, I’d say.