Friday, July 27, 2007

Top Climate Scientist on Lessons Not Learned from Electric Car Debacle

Dr James Hansen is perhaps the top climate scientist in the country. From his post at NASA he warned Congress and us what's up with global warming long ago. There are some lessons we need to learn as we are inundated with adverts about "clean coal," if we are not to get snookered as enviros did over the electric car.
California had a regulation that would have required automobile manufacturers to produce a small percentage of cars without emissions by such-and-such date, and a larger percentage later. Automakers despised this rule, and decided that they had enough clout to ignore it, arguing that it was impractical. Environmentalists seemed to conclude that they were overmatched. Rather than go to the mat, they decided to play ball with the automakers, to try to work with them, accepting promises that the automakers would do everything that they could to improve vehicle efficiencies and reduce emissions. [emphasis added]

The glee with which the automakers tracked down the trial electric cars that they had produced, and crushed the cars into small cubes, must have been palpable. Profit margins on large SUVs were much bigger. Automakers soon forgot their promises about better gas mileage, instead using technical efficiency improvements to make vehicles bigger and accelerate faster.
Read the full email at Joe Romm's blog Climate Progress.