American Elephants


Electric Cars are Clearly the Wave of the Future! by The Elephant's Child

This is the Roberts electric car, built in 1896. According to the Daily Caller, it gets exactly the same mileage Chevrolet advertises for the Volt: a solid 40 miles to a charge.  Robert Bryce, in an earlier article about electric cars dug up a clip from the Los Angeles Times, dated May 19, 1901.

The electric automobile will quickly and easily take precedence over all other kinds of motor carriages so soon as an effective battery of light weight is discovered. The very great weight of the storage battery as at present constructed militates against its use for automobile propulsion except within limited areas.

So this is progress over the last 100 years.  The idea has been constant that there was a looming breakthrough of electric cars, just as soon as battery technology improved. This is not really fair, because battery technology has improved tremendously, but internal combustion engine technology has improved even more.  Thousands of man hours of engineering talent have gone into improving the internal combustion engine and its associated systems.  Every time the electric car was reintroduced to compete with an internal combustion automobile, it was less competitive than the time before.

Engineers have said that as far as battery technology goes, we have reached the end of the periodic table of elements, and we need some unknown breakthrough to have a significant change. We are, as I understand, not far from brownouts and blackouts, as the Obama administration tries to “bankrupt coal,” as Obama promised. We certainly aren’t going to get enough power from wind and solar to transport a society on electricity. Millions and millions of vehicles plugged in to recharge on the current grid? I don’t think so.

The impetus behind killing the coal industry, behind subsidizing electric cars, behind wind farms and solar arrays, behind the protests over a Canadian pipeline, behind banning drilling, behind banning the use of our own abundant supplies of fossil fuels is a mistaken belief that emissions of carbon dioxide are a cause of climate change, and that we can do anything about them in any case.  We can’t.

Europeans are waking up to the fact that all their wind farms and  all their solar arrays have had no effect whatsoever on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and there aren’t any green jobs.  And then there’s the fact that the planet stopped warming over ten years ago, and has been cooling a little ever since. The IPCC has been discredited, and the public is growing cooler towards the whole global warming enterprise.  Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who leads a coalition with Australia’s Greens, has just passed a carbon tax to the fury of a majority of Australians, so we will have a clear demonstration of how well that works.

This is a Detroit Electric, produced by the Anderson Electric Car Company in Detroit, Michigan.  Production ot this automobile powered by a rechargeable lead acid battery began in 1907.  Photo Courtesy of the Library of Congress.   They really are cute.


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Where to start on a post fabricated entirely of debunked myths, unsubstantiated claims, opinions masquerading as facts and perhaps even outright lies?

Debunking a few of the biggies:

1. Claim: “…the planet stopped warming over ten years ago, and has been cooling a little ever since.” (no citation)

Reality (clearly, you don’t do climate research):
-“People who claim we can stop worrying about global warming on the basis of a cooler year or a cooler decade – or just on questionable predictions of cooling – are as naive as a child mistaking a falling tide, or a spring low tide, for a real long-term fall in sea level.” –New Scientist (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17808-climate-myths-any-cooling-disproves-global-warming.html)
-The claim (a global warming denier canard) “cherry-picks a microtrend” — which is always a suspect method of analysis.
In fact, 2010 is tied with 2005 as the hottest year on record. (NOAA: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2011/20110112_globalstats.html) But even so, a microtrend–picking 10 years of a trend to supposedly mirror a long-term trend, whether cooling or warming–is flawed, so it’s bad science.
-“Since 1998, temperatures have dipped, soared, fallen again and are now rising once more.” (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17808-climate-myths-any-cooling-disproves-global-warming.html)
– Long-term trends are the best way to determine if global warming or cooling is happening. 10 years of data cannot forecast a long-term trend. Especially if you cherry-pick the warmest year as the starting point.

2. Claim: “killing the coal industry” is a goal of the Obama Administration. (It should be–in order to save our planet, especially our oceans, the rampant destruction of which puts us at the brink of a devastating “mass extinction event” (see Shocking Oceans Report: http://www.stateoftheocean.org/ipso-2011-workshop-summary.cfm)–but the facts show differently.):

Reality:
– The Obama Administration announced in March 2011 a dirty coal initiative that “effectively enables more than 300,000 megawatts of coal-fired energy — 30 times more dirty energy development than renewable energy. …despite his administration’s rhetorical embrace of clean energy, Obama is effectively using modest wind and solar investments as cover for a broader embrace of dirty fuels.”(http://www.grist.org/article/2011-03-23-obama-administration-announces-massive-coal-mining-expansion)
– The supposedly “socialist” Obama has welcomed Brazil’s “recent offshore oil discovery and added, ‘When you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers … the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.'” (same source as above)
– Obama supports environmentally destructive “green energy”: “In Brazil, he touted the country’s reliance on biofuels and hydropower, both of which are blamed for Brazil’s massive deforestation.” (same source as above)

3. Claim: “The IPCC has been discredited…”
– The findings of the IPCC are supported and endorsed by every major scientific organization in the world. Wikipedia (quoting legitimate, verified sources): “In the scientific literature, there is a strong consensus that global surface temperatures have increased in recent decades and that the trend is caused mainly by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases.[3][4][5] No scientific body of national or international standing disagrees with this view,[6][7] though a few organisations hold non-committal positions.”
– Lest you jump on the “consensus” word–a favorite target of unlearned conservatives–note that it says a consensus in the “scientific literature.” Clearly this fails to imply some kind of devil’s pact among scientists to secretly agree on a pack of lies in order to make money–which is a prevailing, yet bankrupt and obviously paranoid theory disingenuously promoted on conservative blogs and talk radio.

There has been no East Anglia “scandal” of global warming (debunked). The IPCC is discredited only to those for whom science equals a Rush Limbaugh report touting the latest recycled,et already debunked, claims of Patrick Michaels (a shill for the conservative advocacy group, the Cato Institute). In an echo chamber, there is no room for new or real knowledge.

Mr. Elephant, the elephant clearly NOT in the room is the gross lack of factual information in your post. Each is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

I suggest doing full, wide-ranging research on debunked global warming myths, with an eye toward finding truth, not ideas that fit a predetermined view. Science, after all, is about truth-seeking, not seeking to validate one’s previously held opinions, however contrary to available facts. SkepticalScience.com and RealClimate.org are excellent starting points.

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Comment by USSnoozNworldRetort

It’s interesting to see what people write, as it reflects what they think and how they think:

“Millions and millions of vehicles plugged in to recharge on the current grid? I don’t think so.”

What’s true is not necessarily what you think, or I think, but what science and factual discovery prove is true. Science doesn’t always track “common sense.”

And much of what is posted above isn’t thinking at all. It’s parroting without judgment. It’s not even common sense.

For example, let’sanalyze this:

“Every time the electric car was reintroduced to compete with an internal combustion automobile, it was less competitive than the time before.”

How do you know that battery power is less competitive because the gas engine is “better.” What about its polluting ability makes it “better” or worse? Shouldn’t that be a factor in comparing battery vs. combustion engines? Yet it isn’t factored into our capitalism-dominated system, so the gas engine industry doesn’t bear the costs of mass pollution and consequent global warming and ocean destruction.

This is because corporations are designed to “externalize costs–pass them on to others whenever possible, in order to make a bigger profit. In so doing, they exhibit behavior that, if it were seen in a person, is sociopathic–inherently destructive to others. So the prevalence of combustion engines is likely a result of mass sociopathic behavior that destroys the environment. (See thecorporation.com for more enticing information)

Combustion engines are better only if “better” means faster or more powerful. What to do about unintended negative consequences of millions of combustion engines?

Is the Microsoft operating system more popular than Apple’s because it is better? No, for a long time it wasn’t–it was simply marketed more effectively. What if the same thing occurred in the automobile industry?

It’s one thing to write an opinion blog, but yours isn’t even identified as such. Judging by the confidence with which you state your claims, you appear–perhaps to the ignorant–to be an authority on everything posted, from batteries to Obama’s policies, to the validity of the IPCC’s reports and its credibility.

(Aside: Did you know that the IPCC doesn’t do research? According to the IPCC website, it “is a scientific body. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It does not conduct any research nor does it monitor climate related data or parameters.”

So the IPCC evaluates thousands of research papers and determines trends in knowledge advances in order to better the world through dissemination of the findings of climate science investigations–and thank God it does. Maybe humanity will collectively act before it’s much too late for our survival. It’s already too late to stop some processes that have irreversible destructive consequences now and will for hundreds of years.)

Yet, even though you act as an authority on these matters, in every case in my post above I’ve debunked your claims. Where are you getting your opinions? How is it you have such little discernment between opinion and fact? Why don’t you at least investigate the claims you read before recycling them? Why not skeptically inquire as to the credentials of those making claims to see if their claims have been scientifically refuted? Do you check whether industries like gas and coal support their research–thus subjecting it to bias in favor of those industries?

A little-known fact: The entire, much-vaunted US justice system is based, almost to a scientific standard (indeed so, with modern forensics and DNA testing) on the rule of law, which rests entirely on evidence? So justice, in many ways (though much less perfectly), mirrors science in its commitment to truth-finding.

If you were a judge, I would weep for the atrocities you might commit using vigilante justice dependent on mere hearsay or circumstantial evidence. By restating myths long debunked, you essentially, in this metaphor, convict the innocent and, in fact and deed, murder the truth.

Your post above is thus highly irresponsible. Since you seem committed to publishing and broadcasting your ideas, I hope you do better research in advance, and cite it as often as possible. You owe it to your readers.

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Comment by USSnoozNworldRetort

[…] ideas that have never worked very well.  The Volt goes about the same distance on a charge as the 1896 Roberts electric car.  There’s more, of […]

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Pingback by Has Obama Lost His Cool? « American Elephants

[…] but they don’t go significantly farther on a charge than the 1898 Roberts electric car which went a solid 40 miles on a single charge. MoreLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a Comment Leave a […]

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Pingback by The Paradox of the Electric Car: A Puzzle. « American Elephants




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