Monday, January 25, 2016


Ideological purity isn't really my thing. Luckily, the mainstreaming of alt cars, including the Prius, has made a lot of these commentaries disappear. It's not as much fun to poke at things once they are widely accepted. But every once in awhile someone rears up on their hind legs and writes something truly boneheaded. Which, well, it's part of my job here to post that stuff. So, with apologies in advance...
Some of us might remember Reaganomics, and the idea that lower taxes for the rich would somehow put more money in the pockets of the non-rich. Now a similarly absurd approach is being used to "fight" global warming. 

Greenwashed toys only the rich can afford, which will do nothing to reduce global warming, are predicted to cause non-rich people to do other things that will reduce global warming. 

Two examples come to mind: Tesla and the California High Speed Rail project. 
These are the first paragraph's of this magnum opus. Just let all that sink in.
Tesla A $70,000 Tesla Model S produces carbon similar to a 31 mile-per-gallon gasonline-powered car. A $24,000 Toyota Prius get 50 miles per gallon. So mile-for-mile, a Tesla does almost twice the environmental damage as a Prius. And that is without considering the huge difference in price between the two cars. The $46,000 price difference, if spent on carbon offset credits, could get rid of the carbon the Prius would emit in ONE THOUSAND YEARS of typical daily driving. The numbers are a lot worse if a Tesla and a Prius are each driven for 20 years before being scrapped. The waste of the $46,000 that could have paid for carbon offset credits makes the Tesla's carbon footprint about the same as a 1 mile-per-gallon gasoline-powered car. 
Yet people who call themselves environmentalists claim that Teslas are good for the planet. That rich people driving around in expensive and evironment-destroying luxury cars will somehow convince average Americans to conserve energy.  
So, uh yeah, a Tesla gets the equivalent of 31 MPG because, well, because the author says so. It's expensive, it can't possibly actually be clean.

Cheers to the author for not slamming the Prius batteries, which is the usual go to here though I suspect, if I dug deep enough, I find some article with this asshat's name on it babbling about moonscapes in Canada and how filthy and naughty batteries are.

Oh, and let's not even play the carbon offset game. That con game should be shunned for what it is, mostly a con.

Further on...
California High-Speed Rail  The California High Speed Rail project is the most expensive public-works project in the history of the United States. It is estimated to cost up to $100 billion by the time it is finished. And yet, careful analysis by the Department of Civil and Evironmental Engineering at UC Berkeley has shown that this project might produce NO EVNIRONMENTAL BENEFITS AT ALL. In 2010, Mikhail Chester and Arpad Horvath summed up this research in a paper: "Life-cycle assessment of high-speed rail: the case in California". And in 2012, they were interviewed for an article in Berkeley News: "Future of California high-speed rail looks green". From the Berkeley News article: "The greenhouse gas emission-equivalent for a typical airplane carrying 116 passengers would be a train carrying 130-280 passengers." and “this is not the answer to the state’s greenhouse gas goals. This is a tiny piece of the puzzle.” In other words, a CHSR train might emit between 12 percent and 141 perent MORE carbon than an airliner carrying the same people. So California is throwing away $100,000,000,000.00 that could have been used to really help the environment. That much money would put solar panels on 5 million homes. Or do equally good things like build wind turbines or save parts of the Earth's rainforests. 
Again, this is somehow supposed to convince Americans to stop driving their cars and ride a bus or train that won't take them from where they live to where they work or back again.  
We could and probably should have a good discussion about rail. Suffice to say, in the space of this post, I'm going to dodge it but in general, I support any project that shifts freight and passengers away from trucks and cars and towards rail.

The rest of this steaming pile of juvenile journamalism isn't worth dissection. Follow the link if you must but I assure, there is no there, there.