Buy electric cars…that’ll save the planet…oh wait!

I love it when news stories like this hit the headlines.

They show the lunacy of Green thinking.

In this traffic-packed Dutch city, electric cars jostle for space at charging stations. The oldest exhaust-spewing vehicles will soon be banned from the city center. Thanks to generous tax incentives, the share of electric vehicles has grown faster in the Netherlands than in nearly any other country in the world.

But behind the green growth is a filthy secret: In a nation famous for its windmills, electricity is coming from a far dirtier source. Three new coal-fired power plants, including two here on the Rotterdam harbor, are supplying much of the power to fuel the Netherlands’ electric-car boom.

As the world tries to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and combat climate change, policymakers have pinned hopes on electric cars, whose range and convenience are quickly improving. Alongside the boom has come a surging demand for power to charge the vehicles, which can consume as much electricity in a single charge as the average refrigerator does in a month and a half.

The global shift to electric cars has a clear climate benefit in regions that get most of their power from clean sources, such as California or Norway. But in areas supplied by dirtier power, like China, India and even the Netherlands, which is on track to miss ambitious emissions targets set for 2020, the electric-car jump has slimmer payoffs. In some cases, it could even worsen the overall climate impact of driving, experts say.

The dilemma highlights the crucial importance of clean electricity in global goals to slash greenhouse-gas emissions, the focus of a December summit in Paris. Cutting transportation-related emissions can help – but not if pollution is simply shifted from the tailpipes of cars to the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, which generate 40 percent of the world’s electricity.

And the problem with so-called cleaner energy is that it isn’t (both the cars and the wind generators utilise massive and destructive amounts of rare earth metals and other poisons in their manufacture). To top off the clean lie the methods of power generation that aren’t nuclear or fossil fuel driven are highly erratic. If the wind doesn’t blow there is no wind generation, if it gets too cold there is no wind generation, if the wind blows too hard there is no wind generation. Solar power only works at night if you store the energy…and then you have the same issues as cars with batteries and toxins.

Nothing is green in reality.

But that doesn’t mean we should be polluting, so cleaning up emissions on a pollution basis is perfectly acceptable, but just don’t lie to me about climate change being the reason we need cleaner emissions. We need cleaner emissions because we like blue sky, clean rivers, lakes and seas and air we can breath.

I’m all for cleaner energy, I just don’t want to be then driving around inside a smug cloud.


– NZHerald

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