Originally published April 27 2015
Overhyped electric cars and ethanol are 'greenwashed' scams that ultimately cause more pollution than fossil fuels
by Julie Wilson staff writer
(NaturalNews) Driving an electric vehicle may not be as green as you might think, especially if you're living in a region that produces most of its electricity by burning coal, according to new research presented by Christopher Kennedy, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto.
A new study called "Key threshold for electricity emissions" explains how electric vehicles may actually be worse for the environment than conventional gas-powered cars, according to reports.
The study's lead researcher set out to understand how actions made by households or individuals wishing to be more green by lowering their carbon footprint actually affects the environment, such as purchasing electric cars or replacing gas furnaces with electric heat pumps.
Do electric cars really reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
Kennedy's study incorporated several life cycle studies conducted in North America and Europe that not only examined tailpipe emissions but also looked at where the electricity needed to regenerate batteries comes from, as well as how the fuel is produced.
In an interview with CBC's The Current, Kennedy discussed the discovery of the "key threshold for carbon intensity of electricity, at which buying the green car actually reduces the emissions or does not."
The key threshold is approximately 600 tonnes (metric tons) of CO2 emissions per gigawatt hour, or the amount of carbon produced per unit of electricity. For example, burning coal to generate electricity produces about 1,000 tonnes of CO2 per gigawatt hour, while burning natural gas produces about 500 or 600. Hydroelectric, nuclear and renewable energy uses close to zero.
Canada's progressive stance on electricity
It turns out that Canada is doing quite well in this respect, as it has some of the lowest carbon electricity out of countries that are part of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), whose mission is to promote economic and social well-being worldwide.
According to Kennedy, only three provinces in Canada are above the 600 threshold -- Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia -- while the majority is very well below it. As of 2012, nearly two-thirds of Alberta's electricity is supplied through coal burning.
British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland are really low, under 20 tonnes of CO2 per gigawatt hour, making them the best places to own an electric car thanks to their use of hydroelectric power.
In regions where electricity is supplied through coal burning, electric cars may produce 3.6 times more soot and smog deaths than gasoline-fueled vehicles because of the pollution caused by generating the electricity, according to a study published in December of 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The corn-based ethanol scam
The use of corn-based ethanol is another example of greenwashing. Corn-based ethanol was initially said to be a greener alternative to conventional gasoline. While the government claims that the best ethanol can produce as much as 90 percent fewer lifecycle emissions than gasoline, this turns out to be false when you look at the amount of fossil fuels burned to produce and transport the corn.
Not only is ethanol bad for the environment, but it's also a scam designed to keep taxpayer dollars subsidizing large-scale agrochemical-dependent monoculture farms growing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Part of America's over $18 trillion in national debt was racked up due to "[u]nnecessary taxpayer spending on mature industries such as corn ethanol."
Ethanol has also been proven to be bad for gas tanks and "can damage internal combustion engines by increasing exhaust temperatures and indirectly causing component failures," as admitted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Ethanol can increase the proportion of oxygen relative to hydrocarbons in motor vehicles, leading to an increase in exhaust gas temperatures, as well as deteriorating emission control hardware and performance over time.
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