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WSJ: Bjorn Lomborg: Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by ToddRLockwood, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    Bjorn Lomborg: Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret - WSJ.com

    I found the report this article was based on. Here's the part that was not emphasized in the article...

    Although EVs are an important technological breakthrough with substantial potential environmental benefits, these cannot be harnessed everywhere and in every condition. Our results clearly indicate that it is counterproductive to promote EVs in areas where electricity is primarily produced from lignite, coal, or even heavy oil combustion. At best, with such electricity mixes, local pollution reductions may be achieved. Thus EVs are a means of moving emissions away from the road rather than reducing them globally. Only limited benefits are achieved by EVs using electricity from natural gas. In the absence of foreseeable improvements to electricity mixes, a more significant reduction in GWP could potentially be achieved by increasing fuel efficiency or shifting from gasoline to diesel ICEVs without significant problem-shifting (with the exception of smog).

    Conversely, the combination of EVs with clean energy sources would potentially allow for drastic reductions of many transportation environmental impacts, especially in terms of climate change, air quality, and preservation of fossil fuels. The many potential advantages of EVs should therefore serve as a motivation for cleaning up regional electricity mixes, but their promotion should not precede commitment to grid improvement. Consideration of alternative vehicle technologies should be undertaken from the perspective of benefits across time. While EVs may only offer minor benefits or even setbacks under an initial grid, their development and market penetration should be evaluated together with realistic scenarios for grid development in the long term.



    The entire report can be found here: Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles - Hawkins - 2012 - Journal of Industrial Ecology - Wiley Online Library
     
  2. Dan5

    Dan5 Member

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    Guess I'm the resident LCA expert here so I'll chime in:
    1. Can't use it for a Model S comparison, it does not use NMC or FePO4- highlighting eutrophication is not correct and CAN NOT be translated to the NCA Tesla uses. kind of a duh moment- phosphates are a major contributor for eutrophication- FePO4
    2. Failed to account for emission system (precious metals anyone??)
    3. Used a low mileage (actually went against the ISO LCA standard for no apparent reason except they felt like it)
    4. 273 kg battery- that's NOT a leaf battery, that's a Model S weight battery, off there big time
    5. Brakes don't wear as much on an EV
    6. incidental gas/fueling spills not covered

    It's just a horrid study
     
  3. markwj

    markwj Moderator, Asia Pacific

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    Not again...

    EV Myths: #3 EVs are not environmental in the long-run

    I think Robert Llewelyn said it best:

    First the BBC, now the WSJ... This report is well and truly brodered.
     
  4. ToddRLockwood

    ToddRLockwood Active Member

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    And, on the ICE side of the equation, I don't believe they mentioned the impact of refining and distribution of gasoline.
     
  5. Volker.Berlin

    Volker.Berlin Member

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    Just in case that you are looking for the source of the Robert Llewelyn quote, I found it here:
    The LlewBlog - Electric Cars - The Truth WillOut.

    Robert Llewelyn doesn't even mention Bjorn Lomborg in that blog post which is no surprise because he wrote that post five months earlier, to the day, than Lomborgs Dirty Little Cheat was published. Llewelyn directly tackles the original report which dates back to October 4th, 2012:
    Comparative Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Electric Vehicles - Hawkins - 2012 - Journal of Industrial Ecology - Wiley Online Library
    (Thanks to ToddRLockwood, above, for digging up that link.)
     

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