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The Fallacy of EV

Excerpted from the Wall Street Journal Sept. 10, 2022.

By Bjorn Lomborg, President of the Copenhagen Consensus and visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution

Why does the world spend $30 billion a year subsidizing electric cars. In reality, electric cars are only sometimes and somewhat better than the alternatives, they’re often much costlier, and they aren’t necessarily all that much cleaner. Over its lifetime, an electric car does emit less CO2 than a gasoline car, but the difference can range considerably depending on how the electricity is generated. Making batteries for electric cars also requires a massive amount of energy, mostly from burning coal in China.

If every country achieved its stated ambitions electric-vehicle targets by 2030, the world would save 231 million tons of CO2 emissions. Plugging these savings into the United Nations Climate Panel model, that comes to a reduction of 0.0002 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.

The vehicles themselves pollute only slightly less than a gasoline car because their massive batteries and consequent weight leads to more particulate pollution from greater wear on brakes, tires, and roads. On top of that, the additional electricity they require can throw up large amounts of air pollution depending on how its generated. One recent study found that electric cars put out more of the most dangerous particulate air pollution than gasoline-powered cars in 70% of U. S. States.

The minerals required for those batteries also present an ethical problem, as many are mined in areas with dismal human-rights records.

The IEA has projected that if electric cars become as prevalent as they would have to be for the world to reach net zero by 2050, the annual total demand for lithium in that year alone would be 28 times current production. [Great idea, let’s dig up the earth’s crust with polluting mines so we can produce batteries].

A U.S. Energy Department lab found that even in 2025, the agency’s model electric car’s total lifetime cost will be 9% higher than a gasoline car using very, very generous assumptions that they are driven as much as their gasoline counterparts, which they are not and will not be.

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