KABOOM! From The “NOW You Tell Us???” Files: There Are Huge Environmental Problems With Electric Cars

jackheadexplosion

I think what really made my head explode this time was that I was so stupid as to not see this one coming. I so, so want to be able to trust scientists, the news media and the government. They got me again.

From the New York Times, not Fox News or Breitbart:

Atop a long-dormant volcano in northern Nevada, workers are preparing to start blasting and digging out a giant pit that will serve as the first new large-scale lithium mine in the United States in more than a decade — a new domestic supply of an essential ingredient in electric car batteries and renewable energy. But the project, known as Lithium Americas, has drawn protests from members of a Native American tribe, ranchers and environmental groups because it is expected to use billions of gallons of precious ground water, potentially contaminating some of it for 300 years, while leaving behind a giant mound of waste….Lithium is used in electric car batteries because it is lightweight, can store lots of energy and can be repeatedly recharged. Other ingredients like cobalt are needed to keep the battery stable.But production of raw materials like lithium, cobalt and nickel that are essential to these technologies are often ruinous to land, water, wildlife and people…Mining is one of the dirtiest businesses out there.That environmental toll has often been overlooked in part because there is a race underway among the United States, China, Europe and other major powers. Echoing past contests and wars over gold and oil, governments are fighting for supremacy over minerals that could help countries achieve economic and technological dominance for decades to come….

“Our new clean-energy demands could be creating greater harm, even though its intention is to do good,” said Aimee Boulanger, executive director for the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, a group that vets mines for companies like BMW and Ford Motor. “We can’t allow that to happen.”

Because it is the Times, and it will always do its utmost to bury a lede if it might harm the agenda of its Dark Leftist Masters, the headline is “The Lithium Gold Rush: Inside the Race to Power Electric Vehicles” and the story is buried in the arcane Business section. If the newspaper were fair and honest, the headline would be, “The Frightening Truth About Electric Cars And How We Have Been Lied to About Their Environmental Effects.”

Why are we reading this after the state government of California and the Biden administration have “committed” to electric cars as essential to saving the word from global warming? Were scientists hiding it? Were activists unaware of it? Were journalists so lazy that they didn’t look into such a basic question as what a national conversion to electric cars might do to the environment, or were they also hiding the reality to advance a political agenda?

Picking up from the Times piece, Ed Morrissey writes,

However, the environmental issues don’t end with mining. Manufacturing batteries is a highly toxic process, for instance, but battery disposal is even more so. Each car has its own battery, which means we’re already dealing with this, but forcing vehicles to go electric means multiplying those issues exponentially. The life cycle of the batteries will likely encourage shorter life cycles for vehicles as well, as the replacement costs of batteries might make disposal a better idea than refits. Even more problematic is the question of energy distribution. Internal combustion engines allow for efficient production of energy within each car as needed, without needing to account for peaks and valleys in usage. Our current electric grid has become less reliable of late thanks to green-energy mandates, such as in California, where rolling blackouts are a regular summer feature before everyone’s car needs a charge from the grid. Where will the necessary energy originate to charge hundreds of millions of vehicles every day? Rather than use local internal combustion engines for power on demand, we will have to burn massive amounts of fossil fuels in less-efficient ways to provide the energy — or turn America’s vehicles into stationary statues for most of their life cycle.

None of this has been sufficiently debated, explored, publicized or explained for the public to understand the problems and trade-offs. This is typical, but what is terrifying is that the government’s leaders and policy-makers also don’t understand the problems and trade-offs of the massive economic and industrial policies they are putting in place.

Your homework: Check and see if the Times story or its content shows up in any broadcast news reports.

50 thoughts on “KABOOM! From The “NOW You Tell Us???” Files: There Are Huge Environmental Problems With Electric Cars

    • But that’s just not true, Mitch. Do an informal poll. They are ‘known” in the sense that someone knows about them, but they are not widely known or discussed in the popular media, nor emphasized in academia, nor part of political discourse. Your statement would be just as appropriate if outer space aliens landed in Central Park or if Elvis turned up alive.

        • He’s been hiding out in the Heartbreak Hotel (in the Ghetto), holding his Teddy Bear as he quivers in fear of Suspicious Minds.Now and then there’s a Fool such as him…

          • Nicely done. I guess only fools rush in when they can’t stop falling in love. I do wish they’d stop stepping on my blue suede shoes. If they do it again, I’ll tell ’em, “Don’t be cruel!”

            jvb

            • I never appreciated Elvis sufficiently when he was alive. The Sirius Elvis channel has been a revelation on many levels”: 1) The guy had an incredible voice, versatile, wide ranging… 2) Early Elvis, who sung in his head voice, was just as amazing as late Elvis, who sang in his chest 3) The guy could sing anything 4) He channeled both Buddy Holly and Bing Crosby!

              My favorite Elvis song is “A Fool Such As I” with “Suspicious Minds” second.

              • Agreed. I am amused by the “Elvis Campy Vegas Guy” but he was a tremendous talent, with quite a range. If you want see and hear a great talent, check our Puddles Pity Party, the Sad Clown with the Golden Voice. Here is his version of “Royals” with Scott Bradley’s Postmodern Jukebox.

                jvb

                • Like so many other iconic talents, the amazing thing is what he didn’t do, and might have, with better advice and management. He was a natural actor, for example, and could have been great. (Streisand wanted him to do “A Star is Born”) He had astounding chemistry with Ann-Margret, and they should have teamed up in more high energy, sexually charged movies (Col. Parker thought she was too good).

              • I watched his 1968 “Comeback Special” for the first time some years back and was astonished at what an incredible performer he was. Even though he hadn’t performed live music for years before recording the special, his confidence and on-stage comfort is plain to see. His movies are like seeing a panther in a zoo, and the live performance is like seeing the same animal stalking through a forest. He’s in his natural element with an audience watching, telling little stories, goofing around with the band, etc. Anyone whose only image of Presley is the Las Vegas, sequined-jumpsuit Elvis should watch that special, and see what a force of nature he was when he was at the top of his game.

                What he might have done with a better manager than Colonel Parker, and fewer yes-men in his life enabling his destructive tendencies…

      • Simply because something is not discussed in the media that does not absolve people from asking questions about environmental solutions. I am not a tree hugger but I do value cleanliness in my environment so when I am told we must do X to get sustainable energy I ask questions and so do most of the people with whom I associate. I am of the opinion that everything requires balance all of one and none of another usually fails to yield an optimum result

        Lithium is a metal so it is a mineral that must come from the ground. It is not rocket science to formulate the question how is it mined and processed and what is the environmental impact of such mining and processing. Batteries themselves are treated as hazardous waste, especially lead acid ones. Best Buy, Lowes, Home Depot and virtually every auto parts store has a bin to return dead batteries. We are subsidizing home owners to install solar cells on their roofs. You cannot run you TV or refrigerator off these cells you must have a battery array and a converter to change DC current into AC current. Your ability to run your home on solar power is dependent on the available square footage for solar cells and the size of of you battery storage capacity. Lower cost lead acid batteries emit hydrogen gas and can lead to house fires or explosions. The cost of a lithium car battery can range from $5,500 for the Nissan Leaf to $15,000 for the Chevy Volt. https://batterymanguide.com/electric-car-battery-replacement-cost/ Tesla’s goal is to bring the cost down to $125.00 per KwH x 80KwH or $10,000 for its vehicles. Now consider the storage capacity needs of a home with 200 amp service. Is it possible to go off grid and survive? Sure but don’t plan to have the same lifestyle and amenities of fossil fuel powered electricity.

        There is no excuse for failing to accept responsibility for not seeking information about products that are being touted as environmentally friendly. I remember when everyone labeled their products as “organic” until we had to regulate that definition. Even now organic does not mean what it actually means – carbon based.

        How in the world can someone not know about the environmental costs of mining? People have been protesting mining runoff for years. Our EPA was created in large part to formulate regulations regarding strip mining and land reclamation and remediation. If you only believe that fossil fuels lead to green house gasses and green house gasses lead to global warming and your only concern is that the polar caps will melt and flood cities you are woefully ignorant. If the polar caps did melt completely the lack of differential weights of the fresh and salt waters when they meet in the northern waters would cause the land warming ocean currents to stop moving which would likely end up causing a precipitous drop in temperatures which would lead to a new ice age.

        To be honest I am actually growing weary of the pseudo environmentalists who simply parrot global warming talking points while consuming vast quantities of water bottled in thin plastic containers then leaving them for others to pick-up and dispose of them properly. over the last 8 weeks I have collected 30 bags of trash from the Western Maryland Rail trail. Bottles and energy bar wrappers along with hundreds of disposable masks were left by many who talk a good game about environmentalism but don’t walk the talk.

        If you wonder why we have spent many years in Afghanistan you might want to read the article below from 2010.

        https://www.mining.com/1-trillion-motherlode-of-lithium-and-gold-discovered-in-afghanistan

        • “Even now organic does not mean what it actually means – carbon based.”

          Heck, it doesn’t even mean what people think it means in the context of agriculture. Most people, if you asked them to define what “USDA certified organic” means, would offer up some variation on the concept of a farm that follows “natural” practices, eschewing the use of herbicides and pesticides. But certified organic operations can still use chemical pesticides from an approved list of dozens of options. I suspect most organic produce buyers would be dismayed to visit a large organic farm operation and see them spraying large amounts of “natural” pesticides in much the same way that conventional farms use synthetic chemicals. Up until two years ago, organic farms could use rotenone in unrestricted amounts, which is “natural” in the sense that it’s plant-derived, but is a potent fish toxin that can cause tremendous damage in runoff water that reaches natural bodies of water. Most people who buy organic foods probably don’t think such products are used in producing their food.

  1. They’ve known about the problems with Lithium mining for quite a while, I’ve read about it for many years, but when it’s primarily being done out of the USA it’s out of sight, out of mind, and someone else’s problem; however, now the growing demand for Lithium and greed is bringing this to our shores in a very big way but in reality we cannot compete with the known Lithium reserves and production of some other countries.

    On a related note; the over population of the Earth is a scourge upon the Earth and until people join in on the one-and-done or adopt instead concepts of children the population will continue to grow and the Earth will continue to be destroyed trying to meet the needs of the continuously growing population. As birth rates continue to exceeding death rates world wide, what happens when the population reaches that balance point where the human race can no longer provide for any more population growth? Who dies, who chooses who dies, and what wars will it spawn?

    At some point in time Mother Nature will probably rebel against the scourge.

    • The problem with Lithium has been drummed for years, yes. Watt’s Up With That and Not a Lot of People Know That are a couple of blogs that have been raising that cry for quite some time.

      But I would disagree with world population issues. We are overpopulated if you look at hunter/gatherer subsistence, or medieval farming levels of technology, or “organic” foods methods, but at no point in time in history have we had more food available per person, or more people per capita with access to clean drinking water, or more people outside of poverty. As we continue to innovate, we find more ways to support more people, and there are no real bounds that we know of how many people we can support on our planet.

      After all, there’s our favorite example of cramming everyone in the world into the state of Texas, and each person could have their own 1,000 square feet.

      The problem with electric vehicles and lithium batteries is actually a lack of innovation. Lithium batteries are the best we have right now, and to pursue the EV path (which would ruin the refinery where I work, full disclosure), we would have to make all these EVs with lithium batteries. Innovation in battery technology might change matters dramatically. But instead we’re chasing a problem whose severity is high questionable with outdated solutions.

      • Ryan,
        You make some good points on ingenuity and the adaptability of human beings but none of those points actually counter “as birth rates continue to exceeding death rates world wide, what happens when the population reaches that balance point where the human race can no longer provide for any more population growth?” Ingenuity and the adaptability of human beings are fabulous things but we cannot base our choices today on the hope of knowledge that has not yet been obtained. Yes, necessity is the mother of invention but improvise and adapt may eventually hit a knowledge barrier that cannot be overcome.

        Logic dictates that if world population growth remains positive and not negative then we will reach such a point in human history because physical resources and ingenuity can only take us so far, the reality of physical resources and the needs of human anatomy eventually takes over. You cannot create something from nothing, something (resources) is always used to create something else (need). Here is a reality check; how many people can the earth’s water supply support if absolutely 100% of the available water supply on planet Earth is used every single day? Yes that’s an extreme outlook but eventually the human race could very well exceed a sustainable population because there is not an endless supply of water on planet Earth. It’s not likely to happen in the next few hundred years but the next few thousand years, who knows. We don’t know where the balance point is for human sustainability on planet Earth, we just know we haven’t reached it yet.

        We know for a fact that if the population of the Earth is decreased that all the things that are required to happen to support the existing human race will also decrease. That means that the overall need for things that generate pollution are reduced, the amount of trash humans create is reduced, the amount of animals and vegetables needed for human consumption is reduced, the amount of land used to create our food is reduced, the amount of natural resources needed to support human life is reduced, the amount of manufacturing needed to support the human race will be reduced, the amount of vehicles on the road could be reduced, the overall amount of electrical power that is needed will be reduced, the amount of CO2 and CO expelled into the atmosphere will be reduced, etc, etc. At this point in our knowledge of the world around us and our knowledge of science the inverse of this is also true.

        Changes in population can greatly change lots of things on planet Earth.

        I know this is veering off the original topic, I have no problem ending my own tangent here.

        • How do you recommend stopping people from having children? Some cultures and religions demand as many children as possible.
          Don’t get me wrong: there’s always been a part of me that saw true reason when dippy Rose of The Golden Girls said “that’s where we got married, and got our license to have children”. The audience laughed, but I remember thinking even as a little girl that some people SHOULD require a permit to procreate!

          Obviously that’s a terrifying concept on paper (a violation of basic human rights, I know), but when you think of all the precious children out there (who should be entitled to some basic human rights of their own), either in homes where they’re being neglected in multiple ways by their parent(s), or in foster care where they’re often horribly abused…the concept isn’t quite so terrifying.

          • CD-Patriot wrote, “How do you recommend stopping people from having children?”

            You are implying that I wrote or implied that they should be stopped, as in forcing the issue, that’s NOT what I wrote or implied.

            Please reread what I actually wrote…

            “…until people join in on the one-and-done or adopt instead concepts of children…”

            Using the words “join in” directly implies that the individual makes their own choice.

            • Oh absolutely, Steve. Please forgive my poor phrasing…I meant what would you recommend to entice people to voluntarily stop having multiple children? It’s so ingrained in many cultures & religions. I wish that more people WOULD adopt from the tens of thousands of kids in the foster care system, or at least adopt a one-and-done attitude (which would not just reduce the population and strain on the world’s resources but also improve the quality of life for that child significantly).
              But what can we do to help that along? Too many people keep having children they cannot afford, for a variety of reasons. I know some who have them simply to collect government checks. The attitude of so many is at the terrible expense of the children. And I think that needs to be fixed. But again-how?

              • CD-Patriot wrote, “Oh absolutely, Steve. Please forgive my poor phrasing”

                Thanks for your effort to apologize, I appreciate it. You are forgiven. 🙂

                CD-Patriot wrote, “I meant what would you recommend to entice people to voluntarily stop having multiple children?”

                That’s the 7.6 billion question!

                There’s no single campaign that would work across all cultures, but it’s something that would need to be a world wide life long continuous campaign across multiple generations for a few hundred years encouraging people to do it. It won’t work on everyone but maybe over time cultures can shift enough to turn the tide away from a positive population growth and lean heavily towards an overall negative population growth.

                As a comparison joke; the US government used to pay pig farmers to raise fewer or no pigs so the price of pork would remain high.

                Since you asked; here are some possible ideas…

                Governments could offer tax incentives, like the first child gets a nice tax credit and any children after that get none.

                Environmental groups could actively promote one-and-done ads to promote a better environment.

                Anti-poverty campaigns could promote one-and-done to help lower income families elevate their purchasing power.

                Campaign to show the population the positives to only having one child.

                They could change welfare payouts, send extra money for the first child and no extra for any additional children.

                Liberals/progressives have been promoting free child care, how about the first born is free and all those after that cost the parents.

                Liberals/progressives have been promoting free college, how about free college for the first born and all others the parents have to pay for college.

                How about first born children get free education from Kindergarten all the way through a bachelors degree, all other children the parents have to pay for it all.

                (Note: I’m not in favor of free child care or free college, I was just using them as examples)

                The US Government could cut off foreign aid to countries that don’t actively promote the one-and-done idea.

                I’m sure loads of people could come up with loads if similar ideas, none of which are forcing anything on anyone, people can still choose but there are consequences to those choices.

                It really would be a massive cultural change for most countries.

        • Steve,

          I know this is veering off the original topic, I have no problem ending my own tangent here.

          Actually, I think this is very much on topic, because energy utilization is is population based. Whether or not there is anthropogenic warming, it remains true that as the human population increases, the amount of energy demanded will generally increase, as well, which will require additional resource utilization. Those resources are indeed finite, and of course a function with unbounded growth will eventually grow larger than any finite number. I fully agree with you there.

          My comment about ingenuity was actually an attempt to directly answer the question: “as birth rates continue to exceeding death rates world wide, what happens when the population reaches that balance point where the human race can no longer provide for any more population growth?” My point about technological levels show something that should be very distressing, if we think about. My wife crunches the numbers on this, but if we converted to 100% “organic” methods (and I have to add the scare quotes because to a chemical engineer, as she is, organic just means that the molecule contains carbon), the world could only support a population of 100 million or so. So by those standards, we’ve already passed the population the world could support.

          Think for a moment if we hit a true grid down situation. No electricity at all. That means no refrigeration, no AC, no running water (because those pumps require electricity), no internet. You might still have steam-driven motors available for a time, but those are few and far between at the moment. And if the steam source trips off (maybe because the electricity-dependent control system goes offline), those are done. How long could people survive such a state? How many would survive? We’d find out really quick that, absent those systems, there’s no way we could provide for the population we have today.

          Thus, remove a vital technology, and we very quickly move from positive growth rates to negative. To an extent that gives a vague answer to your question. At some point, if we’ve tapped out the resources, people will die from not having access to those resources. Since humans will still be human at that point in time, however far in the future that may be, that will guarantee wars, which will usher in death and devastation, and I can only imagine the violence would continuously escalate as scarcity continued to exert itself.

          I suppose we could chase several avenues in this thought experiment. For example, suppose we reach an equilibrium, where from utilization of renewable resources, we can support a maximum population X until the sun burns enough of its hydrogen to enter its last stages as a star. Then we would probably enter a time of conflict between those who would strictly issue permits to reproduce, to always keep the population no more than X, and those who would want to leave it to individual families to worry about regulating their populations. I suppose there’s a hundred alternatives in between that I’m not even imagining.

          Another path is we hit a resource tipping point, where we’ve tapped out our non-renewable resources without ever establishing reliability in renewable resources, and that sends us into an accelerating decrease of available resources. Scarcity will ensure a great many people die of starvation, privation, and so on, even apart from conflict.

          Of course, there’s always the heat death of the universe, in which ultimately nothing will survive anyway…

          • The problem is unbelievably complex but it always seems to come down to this, population vs resources that support the population. Reduce the population and the resources last longer, use up the resources and the population dies for one reason or another. It seems to me that planning ahead by encouraging a one-and-done culture has a more positive outcome as opposed to a more negative outcome. People that don’t physically exist cannot die because of the lack of resources.

            Since we have absolutely no real control over the limitations of available resources, the engineering/science based mind in me identifies the root cause as population and the solution is population reduction by encouraging negative growth. I just don’t see any way to avoid it in the long run.

            • I think there are two things that should be considered, though. First, we’re nowhere close to what the world can support right now, so any efforts to curtail population growth will run into severe ethical difficulties. We’ve see what happened in China when they implemented a one-child policy: a grossly lopsided gender imbalance that led to a generation of men desperately seeking some way to have relationships, such as a group of men “sharing” a wife, where she provides a (male) child to each one in turn.

              Second, there are alternatives to encouraging one-and-done. Given that replacement rates require at least two children for every couple, at the very least it should not be any worse than a two-and-done. But there is also the possibility that people will self-select and not need incentive to have fewer children. A UN study from 2017 apparently shows that half the world’s nations are not making replacement rates. There are a variety of reasons why, but that suggests to me that the human race might naturally adjust to resource limitations without need of outside encouragement.

              On the other hand, we are talking about humans…

              • Ryan wrote, “First, we’re nowhere close to what the world can support right now, so any efforts to curtail population growth will run into severe ethical difficulties.”

                Where is the ethical difficulty to promoting one-and-done? I don’t understand this point.

                • Steve,

                  A one-and-done policy is intrinsically disordered, because it is ordered toward human extinction. Carried out to its conclusion, a strict, permanent one-and-done policy will halve the population in each generation until there is no one left. Now, I know a rebuttal would say that we wouldn’t carry out such a policy to it extreme conclusion, but my point is to establish what the policy is ordered toward.

                  But promoting a one-child policy runs into other difficulties. If it has no teeth, it is an unethical policy because there’s no enforcement. If it has teeth, then it interferes with the liberty of the family. It interjects the state at an untenable and unacceptably intrusive level into the lives of each family. Depending on how strong the enforcement goes, the one-child policy leads to forced abortions and sterilizations, elective abortions so that parents get the child they want (no genetic abnormalities, the correct sex (usually male), and other atrocities we’ve seen in countries (such as China) that have strictly enforced one-child policies. Even in places where one-child families were encouraged and not strictly enforced (such as Japan), the policy led to extreme demographic issues, where now an elderly-heavy populace has brought about all manner of economic difficulties.

                  Since a one-and-done policy is intrinsically disordered, and its normal application leads to known problems, its application must meet several criteria for it to be ethically used. First and foremost, the question of whether there were alternatives that were not intrinsically disordered, or were less disordered than the one-and-done policy, I answered previously in the affirmative, supposing a human population could be stabilized and maintained at a particular quantity.

                  But as you said, this question is very complex, and very dependent on the situation. What alternatives are available depends on the situation. When I say the human population could be stabilized and maintained at a particular population, I also have to include the assumption of growing toward a limit and then remaining at the limit. A different situation could unfold like this. A resource currently available could allow the human population to grow to, say, 20 billion, but once that resource is exhausted, the world could only support 15 billion. Or 100 million. In other words, the future limit on the human population is smaller than the current population. How does that change the analysis? Does this make the one-child policy the least disordered option available, or are there still better alternatives?

                  Second, does the one-child policy introduce graver evils than it is combating? I believe this is the battleground where the utility of the policy hangs its hat. Your original comment seems to indicate the problem of population is immediate and urgent (with which I disagree), and the method through which we avoid mass death, death committees, and resource wars is to begin paring down the population. But again, in order for the policy to be effective, the one-child policy would have to have the teeth to ensure the successful paring down of the population, which I think has been demonstrated leads to the state enforcing abortions and sterilizations. In other words, we have not avoided death committees, we’ve just targeted a certain population (the unborn) for death.

                  Third, does the policy have a chance at succeeding? Since it is ordered against human life, humans will naturally struggle against it. (Those Catholics will certainly be a stubborn bunch…) Without extreme measures to control the masses to make sure the one-child policy achieves its end, families will defy the policy and seek to have more than one child. So not only will the policy introduce comparable evils to the alternatives, it also doesn’t seem likely to work in practice, not over an extended period of time.

                  As a final observation, given the reaction of people during the pandemic and mask mandates, I can believe that a one-child policy will also green-light abusive and discriminatory behavior against people who have children, who are pregnant, and who even voice a desire to have children. If the populace believes that the survival of the species is under imminent threat, that will lead to worse behavior than we’ve seen during the pandemic.

                  • Ryan Harkins wrote, “A one-and-done policy is intrinsically disordered, because it is ordered toward human extinction. Carried out to its conclusion, a strict, permanent one-and-done policy will halve the population in each generation until there is no one left. Now, I know a rebuttal would say that we wouldn’t carry out such a policy to it extreme conclusion, but my point is to establish what the policy is ordered toward.”

                    But Ryan, that’s really not even a logical conclusion because a strict, permanent one-and-done policy is not what we’ve been talking about. The one-and-done I’m talking about is not a policy, as in something that is enforceable, strict or permanent, it’s a concept of personal self control who’s overall purpose is to reach a more reasonable global population that doesn’t destroy the planet we live on with pollution and rapidly deplete natural resources that support human life. It’s understood that since what I’m talking about it is not mandatory and not forcibly imposed on everyone not everyone will agree or abide with a one-and-done inspired culture, the goal is to achieve a negative population growth as opposed to positive population growth and it can be a very small negative population growth, even the low single digits over time will make a big difference in lots of things.

                    Since this would be a voluntary concept promoted by a culture change I see absolutely no ethical issues. I’m sure some of the religions of the world will have an issue with this idea but it’s not unethical to promote or choose to abide by the one-and-done concept. Why don’t people adopt a child or two after their first born child, that doesn’t change the population growth.

                    By the way; with roughly fifty-nine million baby boomers in the USA and a birth rate of roughly four million per year, depending on how rapidly baby boomers in the USA, such as myself, die off there’s a good chance that the USA might get a few years of negative population growth.

    • Michael T Ejercito asked, “what is wrong with just rolling with the effects of global warming, both beneficial and baneful?”

      What’s wrong with that? Really?

      Simply put; if we just roll with the effects global warming cannot be reasonably politicized to smear those they oppose.

    • We can’t roll with the changes because we’ve become very soft. Previous generations considered nature as something to tame. Change the flow of rivers, built coastal fortifications, and many other ways to bend nature to our desires. The previous generations were willing to pick up everything they could and sell off or give away everything else and move someplace they’ve never seen to try a new life. We don’t have that will anymore. To a previous generation’s mindset, it’s just more of a challenge to be tackled. Now we’re afraid of anything that changes.

  2. The issue here is not that this is being talked about, but that it is FINALLY being mentioned by someone other than disenfranchised conservative scientists and people with common sense. I personally have been talking to anyone I can about the problems of electric cars for about 13-14 years. I get dismissed as crazy despite the fact that I spent a good amount of time and effort working on an advanced degree in this stuff. Since 2008, anyone who tries to write a paper denying even the tiniest part of the green agenda gets silenced. My special area was Coal-to-Liquids and we were shut down by an Energy Group in favor of paramecium in tubes and antelope migration habits (for sagebrush consumption, not for wildlife protection), because we were discussing something that didn’t fit in the green agenda.

    This problem has been known about and certain scientists and engineers have been mentioning it, but we have been discredited and shot down because we are not “on the right side”.

    As a matter of full disclosure, cobalt (as well as molybdenum, niobium, nickel, etc) mining is necessary for petroleum vehicles as well. We cannot escape that, but the cobalt needed for petroleum is much smaller than for mass electric vehicle production. I have heard numbers of around 2000% more for electric vehicles, but I have not checked that out personally, rather heard it second hand.

  3. I wonder when the NYT will have to apologize for publishing the article and remove it? Probably, the first-time a so-called climate change denier uses the article to expose the problems stated in the article.

  4. I usually get excited by techie things, but the battery material and lifespan was already an environmental issue when laptop batteries became a thing years ago. We just don’t have the safe material to ramp it up for cars, the tech is volatile and unsafe like very early trains and internal combustion cars. It is literally not ready for prime time players and anyone pushing hard for it should think about asbestos clothing and mercury-laden skin cream before climbing on that bandwagon. I have no doubt a good solution will be found *someday* but this aint’t it. Some mistakes cannot be undone and rushing over event horizons is plain idiotic.

  5. I agree with most of it there, but strongly disagree with this one part of the op-ed you posted:

    Rather than use local internal combustion engines for power on demand, we will have to burn massive amounts of fossil fuels in less-efficient ways to provide the energy — or turn America’s vehicles into stationary statues for most of their life cycle.

    BS. Utter BS. Gasoline internal combustion engines are in the 20% efficiency range under load and are in the teen’s under average loading. (Idle burns fuel and does no work, for example.) No central plant is that bad, even when you include transmission, distribution and charging losses. Peaker plants are in the 30% range, coal is in the 40% range and base load gas plants are in the low 60%. 1/3 of electric energy comes from nuclear, hydro, wind and solar. None of those burn fossil fuels. Nuclear and hydro are declining, but wind is increasing about as much. The rest of the fuel has the advantage of energy diversity. You can’t put natural gas or coal in a car. Coal is in the same ballpark for CO2, natural gas is far lower.

    • Matthew B wrote, “You can’t put natural gas… in a car.”

      That’s a verifiably false statement.

      Some manufacturers that have made natural gas fueled cars are Honda, and Fiat. Ford, General Motors and Ram trucks have had Bio Fuel (Bio Fuel includes Natural Gas) vehicles in their lineups. Plus you can purchase conversion kits to convert gasoline powered vehicles to bio fuel.

      Here is a quick reference…
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_gas_vehicle

      • I should have been more specific – an EV allows for fuel flexibility. One day it can be one fuel, and switch the next. The efficiency point remains, the op ed is utter BS on efficiency.

        Yes, there finally are natural gas vehicles available, on a limited basis. The EPA was ridiculous about restricting them for a very long time with burdensome regulation. The technology has been around forever, but it wasn’t commercially viable until recently. Very low natural gas prices when diesel prices were high led to a lot of work on LNG for heavy vehicles. I was hoping it went further, but with the oil price collapse a couple years ago ended the trend towards the use of LNG. (LNG gives twice the capacity of CNG, but has the problem that it can’t just be left to sit as it will start to boil after a few days.)

        Right now CNG is pretty much limited to captive fleets. Utilities, delivery companies, etc… Widespread infrastructure just isn’t there. It’s been passed by EVs, with far more availability of charging. A quick google list puts it at 1,200 CNG filling stations and 41,000 EV charging stations.

  6. This is not really news to anyone who has been paying attention to batteries or electric cars. I have been hearing about these issues for many years now. Actually, when I read your Title I immediately thought you were going to talk about the negative environmental effects of batteries their attendant chemicals and mining techniques.

    There is work ongoing to create a battery with more common and sustainable elements, but this is sort of the holy grail in batteries. Widespread use of electric cars is also going to be an issue because of battery supply, there are just not enough, which is probably why Tesla has taken to manufacturing its own. In a lot of ways they are on the leading edge of this technology, as it will have enormous impacts on the price, quality, sustainability and volume of vehicles they can produce.

    Joe Biden and the State of California should be well aware of this, although I am not sure Joe Biden is aware of anything that is not whispered in his ear 30 seconds beforehand. But this is a different environmental problem than the one they care about. They care about carbon being put into the atmosphere, and don’t give two shits about ground water being contaminated or the toxic effects of lithium mining. This is the problem with the lefts myopic view of problems. They have no way to weigh the potential risks of solutions because they are so focused on one overblown issue or another to the exclusion of all others.

    • To say nothing of how to dispose of millions of dead/exhausted lithium batteries. Fossil fuels start to look pretty clean by comparison.

  7. It gets better every day, and we need to use our resources now to advance this research and development.

    https://scitechdaily.com/new-design-could-enable-longer-lasting-more-powerful-lithium-ion-batteries/

    Baby steps, but it will get there. The part of this that still gets me is the person who buys an electric car but their primary electricity source comes from a coal-fired plant. First you invest in your own home solar panel and battery storage system, then you can buy an electric car.

  8. This is a bit off topic, but I’m really getting to a point where anyone who loudly proclaims “Trust the Science!” is probably wrong. I saw a study referenced on Instapundit, then found a great discussion of it on Reddit. Despite finding that skeptics were actually quite rigorous in their handling of data and visualization they were obviously. It does not appear to have occurred to the author to wonder at any point if the skeptics were actually correct.

  9. Anyone who understands how electricity works already knows electric cars by definition are environmentally *more* disastrously than internal combustion engines – until they can figure out how to more efficiently and less expensively harness solar power for the same effort (and even then, solar power can be environmentally disastrous).

    The most efficient source of electricity is *fossil fuel burning* plants. That then have to “pipe” that power to charging stations, much of the energy is LOST in transmission…meaning that for every equivalent amount of power that reaches a car engine via “green” sources, a vast amount is wasted compared to the *direct* transfer of power found at the point of need that an internal combustion engine can provide.

  10. Anyone who thinks electric cars are “clean” or “green” is a dope. “Gee, it’s great! No exhaust! I’m a genius!” You know, morons.

  11. As with an increasing number of things, more and more people are only interested in parotting their favorite sources and not doing any actual investigation, assuming they know how, and are able to actually understand and analyze whatever they find. What you are asking of people is that they in fact think about life and actually know something. The same is true for what passes for discussions of “sustainability” in my industry, apparel. People largely know nothing beyond what someone tells them to believe, don’t know basic facts about the world, and are not capable of analyzing or thinking about the world around them. They’re also quite often simply incurious, with many designers being the worst, behaving as if whatever existed before them is not worth investigating, or at worst simply stupid.

  12. Gawd, I have a relative with an all-electric car – just test-drove it. Not bad; I liked the quiet acceleration. But now this. [snickering – as if I’ve not known about the un-greenness for years]

  13. The notion that this article is telling the world a carefully hidden secret is total nonsense. The full environmental cost of lithium production has long been factored into the electric car equation, and anyone with an interest in the subject could easily check it out.
    The article omitted to point out that electric cars on average produce the equivalent of less than two years worth of the annual environmental degradation of gasoline cars — over their entire lifetime! This includes the environmental issues associated with lithium production. I’m surprised that the left-leaning New York Times failed to print that. Maybe the right wing hack who wrote the article snuck it by the editorial board!
    Furthermore, the commentary by Mr. Morrissey shows an exceptional ignorance of energy issues. A motor car running at peak efficiency, let alone idling and just spewing fumes into the atmosphere, has an efficiency of between 25% and 35%, which is to say that only about 30% of the energy of the gasoline is converted into forward motion;the remaining 70%is dumped into the atmosphere as waste heat, contributing to global warming. An electric car being re-charged from the grid, worst case is getting its energy from natural-gas-burning turbines which have an efficiency of nearly 60%, but nowadays a significant percentage would come from solar or wind.

Leave a Reply to Jack Marshall Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.