Wall Street Journal Op-Ed: Electric Cars Dirtier than Gas Cars

By · March 14, 2013

Toyota RAV4 Electric

Darell Dickey's Toyota RAV4 electric complements his Prius. Some of these older EVs have traveled more than 100,000 miles. (Flickr/Kqedquest)

What if we’re totally wrong about this electric car thing, and in fact they’re worse for the environment than conventional gas cars, even SUVs? That’s the provocative claim of long-time anti-environmental gadfly Bjorn Lomborg in a March 11 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

Lomborg has been down this road before. He’s the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, the latter suggesting that “many of the elaborate and expensive actions now being considered to stop global warming will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, are often based on emotional rather than strictly scientific assumptions, and may very well have little impact on the world's temperature.”

The Energy Equation

Now he’s saying something similar about electric cars, basically that making them (and their batteries) consumes far more energy and produces more carbon dioxide emissions than the same process for conventional cars. Predictably, his report got heralded on Fox News. But Lomborg’s numbers are hotly disputed. Here's the Fox video:

Felix Kramer, founder of DrivingElectric.org, says that "Lomborg's writings on EVs are a whining sideline to his main interest, climate change, where he tries to spread confusion through misinformation and disinformation. Rebutting his specifics is somewhat beside the point." But Lomborg can be convincing, and backs up his charges with numbers, so into the specifics we will go.

Building a gas car produces 17 percent of its lifetime CO2 emissions; the electric car generates nearly 50 percent that way, Lomborg says, citing a study by the Journal of Industrial Ecology. The EV produces 30,000 pounds of CO2 in manufacturing, the gas car 14,000 pounds.

Lower Production Numbers

Luke Tonachel of the Natural Resources Defense Council says that other studies assign much lower production CO2 to the EV. An analysis by Argonne National Laboratory, for instance, says the EV will emit roughly a third of the emissions cited by Lomborg. Further, Tonachel says, “Vehicle production emissions are still a relatively small percentage of what the car will produce in its lifetime. Use emissions significantly outweigh production emissions.” Most analyses I’ve seen put production emissions at 10 percent or less than the total.

Nissan LEAF

The LEAF comes with a long warranty. It's not likely to be headed for the junk heap at 50,000 miles. (Nissan photo)

The Journal of Industrial Ecology study that is the basis of Lomborg’s report aims to point out that there are reduced benefits from operating EVs on a coal grid. That’s obviously true. But the Journal story also concludes that “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.”

Lomborg also says that when electricity generation is considered, EVs emit the equivalent of six ounces of CO2 per mile. But gas cars produce 12 ounces per mile.

Looking at Lifecycles

Lomborg does finally get around to looking at lifetime emissions, but he sets up something of a straw man by basing his gas-cars-are-better numbers on an EV driven just 50,000 total miles. Get it to 90,000 miles, he admits, and the EV is ahead.

Max Baumhefner, also of NRDC, says that the 50,000-mile EV “is fanciful. Both the Chevy Volt and Nissan LEAF electric powertrains are backed by 100,000-mile warranties, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be driven much further.” He cites older Toyota RAV4s that have logged well over 100,000 miles.

A study by Dr. Deepak Rajagopal, an environmental economist at UCLA, and co-author Guillaume Majeau-Bettez estimates an EV driven 90,000 miles and powered on “average European electricity” would have 20 to 24 percent emissions reduction. The chart below is based on his numbers, if the California grid is used for charging.

UCLA chart

The battery EV powered by California's clean energy acquits itself in Dr. Rajagopal's analysis. (UCLA graphic)

Baumhefner also points out that the EV’s environmental profile improves each year, as the grid gets cleaner. “The benefits of driving on electricity will only increase in the future as more and more coal plants are retired and replaced by cleaner and renewable resources,” he says.

Finally, Baumhefner points out that Lomborg cherry-picked the lowest-possible number, $5, for the economic damage done by an extra ton of carbon dioxide. He uses that $5 to conclude, “An optimistic assessment of the avoided CO2 associated with an electric car will allow the owner to spare the world about $44 in climate damage.”

In fact, says Baumhefner, the federal study Lomborg cites offers four possible values, and $5 is the lowest one—it also cites $21, $35 and $65. “By most accounts, the ‘best’ estimate [of global warming impact] is at least four times higher than Lomborg’s figure,” Baumhefner says.

Fun with numbers. Lomborg has a long paper trail with this kind of thing. His conclusions usually get vigorously disputed, and that’s the case here as well.


· · 5 years ago

Make no mistake, we are at war with the right wing political oil machine. They use their wealth to fund fake "reports" such as Lomborg's, and then they crank up their Fox News team and the many trolls to spread the lies further throughout the media.

It's a crime against humanity that they are perpetuating, and the crime is made worse by a non-responsive media that is too lazy, jaded or bought off to do the real work of finding the truth.

We will win in the end, but they are definitely slowing us down.

· · 5 years ago

Here's the letter I sent to the WSJ editor:

It's hard to know where to begin in pointing out the errors in Bjorn Lomborg's facts and logic ("Green Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret," March 11), but let's take him at face value for a moment. He says that switching from gas cars to electric ones and using anything but coal for power would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 24%. Not a bad start, when we need to eliminate 80% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The point is we need both -- cleaner power and plug-in cars -- as quickly as possible. There is no "cart before the horse": This is a double team, and we won't succeed unless we support both simultaneously.

And as for his contention that electric cars save only $44 in global warming costs (a controversial figure, but let's use it for now), replacing the more than 254 million cars in the United States with electric ones would avoid nearly $11.2 billion in costs. Temporary government incentives to enable this transition are a great deal for taxpayers.

· · 5 years ago

Nice write up and as a Republican and concerned citizen for our environment I want to make sure that no one lumps all Republicans in with the small, but be it loud few who are anti EV's. Most of us are Pro EV's but also look at where the future will be with depleated batteries and how they will be taken care of and the cost that really is happening to our environment when they are produced.
So far, I would have to say the Chevry VOLT / Opel Ampera are the best options for the best of both world and with the coming Cadilac ELR and Fiskar models, things look like most new models in the coming years will have some sort of hybrid option.

· · 5 years ago

This is so tiresome -- it's not only about CO2 emissions, but about particulate pollutants, ozone, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, etc. many of which get blown directly into our faces and into our lungs by ICEs. The EV has no direct tailpipe emissions.

Which one would you rather sit in while it's parked in your closed garage, Lomborg: an EV or an ICE?

Finally, ICEs will never, ever, ever, ever be powered by renewable sources. EVs can be, and, in fact, are being powered by renewables.

· · 5 years ago

Wow. Nice look at the worst case scenario.

How about the best case scenario? What if I lived in British Columbia (and I do!), where more than 95% of the power comes from hydro dams?

Well, then that "use phase" bar goes right to zero or near enough it doesn't matter, doesn't it?

I'm sure that Lombard would sputter and say something about how This Is America And We Use Coal... Maybe I'm just putting words in his mouth, but coal only accounts for 42% of nationwide electrical production, with some states burning a lot less coal than others. So stick that in your smokestack and make electricity from it.

· · 5 years ago

Oh wait, I have a better response (I'm not known for my quick wit).

So ah, where *is* this mythical place powered only by coal, anyway?

· · 5 years ago

Here's a strong technical rebuttal posted in the WSJ comments:

David Hrivnak Wrote:
Let me quote Robert Llewelyn who did a great job of digging into the initial study.
When they calculated the materials that went into making electric motors for cars, they accidentally used a static electric motor (the sort of thing you’d use to drive a large milling machine or industrial lathe) instead of a small, compact motor that would be found in a Nissan Leaf or similar car. Their calculations were for a 1,000 kg motor, the motor in the Nissan Leaf weighs 53kg. As you can imagine, an error of this magnitude could skew the figures rather badly.
Well, their entire prognosis rests on the amounts of materials used and the ability to re-cycle those materials efficiently and economically at the end of the car’s life. A 1,000 kg motor contains 91 kg of copper, copper is expensive and it’s mining and production has, without question, a negative environmental impact. All cars use a lot of copper, the wiring loom, the starter motor etc. Electric cars use a little bit more, that phrase is accurate, they use a little bit more. Not 90kg more.
The report also ‘casually misjudges’ the size, weight and copper content of the frequency inverter, the bit of an electric car that transforms the AC current fed in from the electricity supply, into the DC current stored in the battery. These units do indeed contain copper but the report happened to measure a large, industrial scale frequency inverter you’d find in a factory tool shop. The factory one contains 36kg of copper, the one in the Nissan Leaf is 6.2 kg, total weight, most of which is the steel box it's housed in.
They then analysed battery chemistry which no EV maker uses, battery capacity that no plug in car uses, then skewed the figures of how much coal is burned to generate the power to charge the non existent batteries in the mythical car.
Essentially, the report is trash from start to finish. It's sad really because it raised some very important points. The main one being we really should stop burning coal to make electricity. That I totally support. But in their zeal to prove their utterly spurious point they pushed too far. They've shot themselves in the foot and the BBC likewise.

· · 5 years ago

Well, Fox and Rupert Murdock might desparage EV's due to their "High Carbon Footprint", but I'm with the HALF of the country who says lets have it. Since increasing atmospheric concentration of co2 by 10 times (like hot houses do), causes the most delicate flower to flourish, I don't consider this plant food, and building block of life, a pollutant.

Everyone's worrying about this Non-Issue, when we just passed the second anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi Units 1, 2, and 3 tripple meltdown, then tripple melt through (3 china syndromes for those who remember the movie), and this Worst Industrial Accident of All Time has the strange anomoly of getting WORSE as time goes on. The 3 coriums are still underground somewhere, contaminating ground and Pacific Ocean water, making free-range Tuna and Salmon dangerous to eat.

And of course making the entire Pacific Ocean more and more lethal as time goes on.

FOX won't say boo about this problem since that might cause GE-Hitachi, and Westinghouse-Toshiba nuclear plant sales if people started worrying about this real problem rather than the nonexistent former one.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland Are you saying that climate change is a non-issue? Really? That's ironic considering that Mr. Lomborg has been thoroughly debunked on that subject, too.

Cleaning up Fukushima will take many decades, and probably they will never be the same.

Back on topic - thank you Jim for this post. It will be an uphill battle against the FUD about EV's (and climate change, for that matter), and it needs to be taken head on.


· · 5 years ago


Yeah, in my opinion. But then only 5% of us here would agree. I have no idea who this Lomborg dude is, but if he works for fox or wsj, he's probably suspect. The only one I trust from fox most of the time is Judge Andrew Napolitano, and even he's been mincing his words lately since the last time he had a decent program the higher ups cancelled his show..

The start to handling Fukushima would be for the "Industry" to level with what is really going on there. My prediction is that people in Northern Japan, are, in the coming decade, going to start dropping like flies, even worse than Chernobyl. The latest figure I've seen on that catastrophe (much misinformation there also, some Americans claimed the operators were drunk, when in actuallity, their operators were more highly trained then our Nuclear operators - Communist politics in this case almost destroyed a country. Fukushima has to be worse.)

Fukushima is being treated by the Nuclear Industry as the black sheep relative no one is allowed to talk about. They keep talking about "Partial Meltdowns" (I suppose 99.999% is strictly speaking, partial), and they avoid the 'melt through' issue at all, and this unbelievably in engineering journals. Then they release glowing reports of how the radioactivity of the 'Reactor Vessel' is coming down, which is very good, since the reactor core is now 50 feet under the building!!!! You can't make this stuff up. And this is reported in Politics-Free enginneering journals. The latest serious report (minus all the fluff) I've seen is that it will take 60 to 70 years to go and "Reclaim the Cores". Digging out 3 molten radioactive cores (equivalent to about 240 Hiroshima Bomb radioactivities) (aside: bombs are much 'cleaner' than Nuke plants), is a bit of an engineering challenge... I'd love to be the guy who has to go 'get' them 70 years hence.

Climate change is a tough sell lately, seeing as there has been none in the past 15 years, and Europe is having its coldest winter in 7 years. Of course many scientists blame exceptionally cold weather on "global warming".

· · 5 years ago

I was so excited about EV's and their potential that I took our house and both EV's to net zero with a ton of solar. I'm not alone in this, and I think it's been a catalyst for a lot of folks. None of these guys report that aspect of EV's but I'm happy to leave these morons on the dark ages where they belong.

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland
"Climate change is a tough sell lately, seeing as there has been none in the past 15 years, and Europe is having its coldest winter in 7 years. Of course many scientists blame exceptionally cold weather on "global warming"."

Are you kidding? Quoting from NOAA:
"Including 2012, all 12 years to date in the 21st century (2001–2012) rank among the 14 warmest in the 133-year period of record. Only one year during the 20th century—1998—was warmer than 2012."

And do you understand the meaning of the word "global"? The temperature in Europe in one particular winter is not the global temperature.

· · 5 years ago

Bill, my friend, I'm not quite sure how you can be so spot on regarding Fukashima and the perils of nuclear power, yet so off base on the climate change thing. Not wishing for another debate on this here and now, but I'm going to guess that you're in the 1% category among regular posters on this blog regarding this issue, not 5%.

Incidentally, it was 92° F in Tucson today, about 5° above the previous high temperature record for March 14th. The end of this summer will mark the 30th year I've lived here. I've seen the seasonal changes and there are carefully plotted statistics to back up my empirical observations that, on average, it's getting warmer and drier here. Indeed, it's possible that it's getting colder and wetter on average elsewhere. "Change" does not always equate to "warming."

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland
The 10x CO2 increase that you say is so great for flowers is great if we want to make the world a great place for flowers. However, I think most of us would rather have the world be a great place for humans. It is dangerous and irresponsible for us to be changing the composition of our one global atmosphere without nearly complete certainty that those changes will not have negative results for humanity.

At the same time, I think many folks opposed to nuclear power are not making a fair assessment. Nuclear provides a ton of air pollution free energy, and it's waste is completely contained under normal operation. It takes a major disaster and poor management for a nuclear accident to occur, at which point the problem can become regional. But even then, few, if any, will die from it. Compare that to coal where the waste problem is global and people are considered to die daily from it, and that is under normal operation. Yes, nuclear has it's issues. But the answer isn't "no nukes"; the answer is "better nukes".

· · 5 years ago

Uh, where to begin....Noted, a few cold winters in britain then a few cold winters in Europe, then very cold winters in Moscow doesn't necessarily prove anything. Noted. But you'll excuse me if I see the vague outline of a pattern.


Growing up in the "Flower Child Generation" , (although I wasn't one), I want to make the world safe for flowers.
One thing that you said is dead wrong, Nuclear is *not* completely contained, otherwise there would be no need for "Routine" Tritium releases. I suppose the higher incidence of lukemia within 5 miles of almost all nuke plants is just a coincidence.

@Benjamin Nead

My how we jump to conclusions. I just state my opinion and don't usually come down hard on someone unless I've been specifically targeted first. But whatever. Since you MOVED to Arizona and are not a long term resident, you don't recall the draught in the 1950's. Since CO2 concetrations were 100 ppm less then, its reasonable to assume there is another mechanism at work here. For a white paper on the subject:



Please rephrase exactly what you are stating with a bit more detail. I'll respond to that then. Uh, yeah I understand what Global means. Many of your friends apparently do not. When every one was worried about shrinking ice extent in the Arctic, few bothered to mention that the Global Ice Extent at the time was actually increasing (hint: this includes Antartica).

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland

It may very well be your opinion, and you're certainly entitled to it, but that doesn't mean you can't be wrong. You are wrong in a way that is deleterious to yourself and everyone around you.

For example, "CO2 is plant food" ? Really? That might be true in some quixotic sense, but that does not mean that elevated CO2 is necessarily good. We can actually do this experiment, comparing plant growth with and without elevated CO2 under various conditions (PDF). What we find is that elevated CO2 actually hinders or even hurts plant growth when it's combined with any other factor, such as a change in precipitation of soil nitrogen content. It seems that too much CO2 is in fact bad for plants, perhaps in a way similar that too much food is bad for people.

The article you cite (scienceandpublicpolicy.org) appears to be highly suspect. The fact that "Christopher Monckton" comes up should trigger some serious bullsh*t alarms...

· · 5 years ago

Can someone explain the relatively large "Battery/Engine" red portion on the BEV graph, please? Is this graph from the study that Lomborg was basing his erroneous article on, or is it from credible data? If it is the latter, I'm curious about why it is so large?

Another point: it takes a lot of energy to get the fossil fuel into your tank. In fact, it takes as much - or more - electricity to make the gasoline as it does to drive an electric car the same distance that the gasoline would drive an ICE car. And when you also add in the natural gas and the water and all their overhead energy that are used to get gasoline or diesel - and the large advantage the EV has becomes huge.

The "long tailpipe" argument is effectively negated, when you are being intellectually honest, and count the full carbon footprint for both electricity and fossil fuels. And when your electricity comes more and more from renewable sources - as they are - then the advantages of EV's becomes world changing.

This is were both the finite supply of fossil fuels and uranium, and the climate change that fossil fuels are causing - come together in a terrible way - and how wonderful a solution EV's are!

We already have a near perfect nuclear fusion reactor that will serve us for free for the next BILLION or so years. It is located at a safe distance - about 93 million miles away - and it transmits all the energy we could ever need, distributed all around the earth so that all life can work.

Some life forms can make electricity inside their cells from the suns energy, and then use that energy to make their own food - these are the cyanobacteria and the plants. All the other lifeforms are totally dependent on the photosynthesis both for the oxygen and the food they eat.

Let's choose to not soil our only planet, okay? Let's instead choose to cooperate with the cycle of life - we cannot survive without it. We can use our brains to do the right thing, and that has to be based on our best understanding of how the world works.


· · 5 years ago

Not only these batteries cars works bad and pollute but also the public chargers pollute the parking spaces because it is reserved to only electric cars that never show-up so a business installing batteries chargers lose a valuable parking space. I often go to restaurants or shopping malls and the parking places are hard to find and the parking places for disables take even more place, so if you add chargers these parking spots will be empty most of the time and cost money to the store owners. Also some will go charging their electric cars but won't show up in the business because they only need the chargers and not to buy anything.

· · 5 years ago

LOL@gorr.. wow, you must have been in a hurry if that is the best you can do on this one! Feeble, man, feeble.

· · 5 years ago

@NeilBlanchard: The bar graphs represent the total amount of CO2 (equivalent) amortized over the life of the vehicle. A car engine represents a fairly low CO2 burden to create, and so the red battery/Engine portion is tiny. A battery requires more energy to create, therefore has a much larger CO2 burden in its manufacture. A hybrid has a gas engine AND a battery, but the battery is much smaller compared to a EV so the hybrid's red bar is larger than the conventional vehicle's but smaller than the EV's.

Point of note: The DoE report on the subject cited ~7.5kWh of energy to deliver a gallon of gasoline to your vehicle. That energy is not necessarily electricity. In fact since refining is a thermal process it's fair to say that it's probably mostly heat energy which they get by burning a portion of the oil and its refinery byproducts.

· · 5 years ago


All I can say man is you say I'm wrong without proof. Uhhhhhh... Noted.
However, you realize your track record attacking me has been pretty poor. This is a much more generic complaint, therefore I have nothing specific this time to refute, other than plants can survive with less water (water starved), IF they have sufficient CO2.

I think we all are getting hung up on the 1000% increase in CO2. There is absolutely no chance that there will be evan a 50% increase in CO2 concentration, let alone twenty times that. Al Gore claimed that and was immediately shot down, but he just went on screaming "THE EARTH HAS A FEVER!!!!". As I say, this might be a hard sale in Europe this season. Might not be superbelieveable in Moscow this year either. .Rather as if I gave my kid a 1000 calorie candy bar, eating the candy bar is survivable, but I don't have the food available to increase the caloric content by even a 50 calorie amount. Meanwhile everyone is saying my kid is going to get fat by feeding her an extra 5 calories.... I was making a one-time proportional example, not saying I was politicing for a 10x increase. Such an increase would be physically impossible.


I think most handicapped people might disagree with you. But true, that's just my perception.

· · 5 years ago

Increased lukemia around nuclear power plants is either a fabrication or due to other factors. Tritium release and the radiation exposure from it is miniscule. The NRC calculated a maximum annual dose of less than 0.1 mrem from the unintended tritium releases at the Braidwood Station in Illinois, and that was for a higher than average unintended release. Compare this to a calculated yearly does of over 300 mrem from natural sources, or 1.9 mrem from Coal power plant fly ash.

If you subscribe to the linear no-threshold philosophy, then any increased radiation exposure is to be avoided, but the amounts from normal nuclear power plant operation are so small that it should be at the bottom of anyones list of things to worry about.


· · 5 years ago


Let me quote from your link, "...Stimulation of plant
growth by elevated CO2, for example, may
be strongest when water is limiting (14),
when nutrients are abundant (15), or when
plant species diversity is high (6). Simulated
ecosystem responses to future global
changes depend strongly on such interactions.
In many settings, simulated warming
increases decomposition more than net primary
production (NPP), leading to a loss of
carbon (16). In others, elevated CO2 and N
deposition tend to increase NPP more than
decomposition, leading to carbon storage....".

Thanks for proving my point for me.

· · 5 years ago


"...What is Tritium?

Tritium (3H) releases ionizing radiation in the form of a beta particle.1

Tritium is a byproduct of nuclear power reactors, which can release thousands of curies or more of tritium every year.2

Tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years. This means it will be dangerous for at least 120 years, since the hazardous life of a radioactive isotope is ten to twenty times its half-life.3

No economically feasible technology exists that can remove tritium from a reactor’s waste water that is released to the river, lake, or ocean that provides the reactor’s cool-ing water. And no economically feasible technology exists to remove tritium from the reactor’s gaseous and steam releases to the air.
Therefore, every nuclear reactor releases tritium as a part of its routine operation and not just as the result of accidental leaks or spills.

No monitor exists that can detect or record the true amounts of tritium in the continuous flow of waste cooling water released, or in the amounts vented to the atmosphere. Therefore, no one really knows how much tritium is released every year."..

That was from 'beyondNuclear's' website. I also ran into several articles saying piping in our old leaking nuclear plants' tritium is no big deal since the routine releases allowed by the NRC swamp the amount leaking into the ground.

As far as Leukemia being a wive's tale, take a look at this:

"...The "International Journal of Cancer" has published in January a scientific study establishing a clear correlation between the frequency of acute childhood leukemia and proximity to nuclear power stations.

The paper is titled, "Childhood leukemia around French nuclear power plants - the Geocap study, 2002-2007."

This devastating report promises to do for France what a set of 2008 reports did for Germany - which recently legislated a total phase-out of all its power reactors by 2022 (sooner if the Greens get their way).
The French epidemiology - conducted by a team from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), the Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire (IRSN) and the National Register of hematological diseases of children in Villejuif, outside Paris - demonstrates during the period from 2002-2007 in France the doubling of childhood leukemia incidence: the increase is up to 2.2 among children under age five.

The researchers note that they found no mechanistic proof of cause and effect, but could find no other environmental factor that could produce the excess cancers.

Without getting overly technical, the case-control study included the 2,753 cases of acute leukemia diagnosed in mainland France over 2002-2007, and 30,000 contemporaneous population "controls." The children's last addresses were geo-coded and located around France's 19 nuclear power stations, which operate 54 separate reactors. The study used distance to the reactors and a dose-based geographic zoning (DBGZ), based on the estimated dose to bone marrow related to the reactors' gaseous discharges.

All operating reactors routinely spew radioactive gases like xenon, krypton and the radioactive form of hydrogen known as tritium. These gases are allowed to be released under licenses issued by federal government agencies. Allowable limits on these radioactive poisons were suggested to governments and regulatory agencies by the giant utilities that own the reactors and by reactor operators themselves. This is because their reactors can't even function without regularly releasing radioactive liquids and gases, releases required to control pressure, temperature and vibrations inside the gigantic systems. (See: "Routine Radioactive Releases from Nuclear Power Plants in the United States: What Are the Dangers?" from BeyondNuclear.org, 2009)

In Germany, results of the 2008 KiKK studies - a German acronym for Childhood Cancer in the Vicinity of Nuclear Power Plants - were published in both the International Journal of Cancer (Vol. 122) and the European Journal of Cancer (Vol. 44). These 25-year-long studies found higher incidences of cancers and a stronger association with reactor installations than all previous reports. The main findings were a 60 percent increase in solid cancers and a 117 percent increase in leukemia among young children living near all 16 large German nuclear facilities between 1980 and 2003. These shocking studies - along with persistent radioactive contamination of Germany from the Chernobyl catastrophe - are largely responsible for the depth and breadth of anti-nuclear public opinion all across Germany......."

So your last two posts have spread misrepresentation without documentation. Frankly, its not my job to correct everything you write, since it is time consuming. So I think I'll just leave it as , "lets agree to disagree".

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland: "All I can say man is you say I'm wrong without proof. Uhhhhhh... Noted."

You say that, then you immediately discuss and even quote the proof I gave you in an attempt to support your own point, which even the carefully quote mined passage does not actually do. Thus proving that you are knee-jerk reactionary, functionally illiterate AND dishonest.

Let's continue reading the study I cited...

"Each of the treatments involving increased temperature, N deposition, or precipitation (alone or in combination) tended to increase aboveground biomass and NPP, but elevated CO2 consistently dampened these increases. The three-factor combination of increased temperature, precipitation, and N deposition produced the largest stimulation of NPP, but the addition of CO2 reduced this to 40%. The suppressive effect of elevated CO2 was even clearer for below ground biomass, where the average effect across all treatments was a decrease of 22%."

Please refer to the pretty picture on page 3. Compare the unshaded bars (ambient CO2) to the shaded bars (elevated CO2) and tell me with a straight face that elevated CO2 does not hinder plant growth.

Now you try to argue something about "1000% increase in CO2" - hyperbole much? Who said anything about that? The experiment used ambient (~390ppm) and elevated (690ppm) conditions. Unless you have adequate experimental evidence to argue that the observed effect of increased CO2 somehow vanishes at lower concentrations then you don't have a leg to stand on. The fact remains that if you increase CO2 levels plants actually do not grow as well as they should under similar conditions.

· · 5 years ago


Your condescending, insulting tone of voice is why I dislike discussing this subject with people like you. However " the pretty picture " shows that the first year the growth increased, while under stress.. In subsequent years growth started falling off, still under more strss. The point of this study I'm not quite sure, although I know there are plenty of studies which just plain won't get done if there is no downside to elevated CO2 that will be shown.

However, the one point you are not mentioning is that these Test Plants are stressed in other ways, usually by too much nitrogen.

Dr. Sherwood B. Idso, a lead author of the IPCC, from his May, 2007 study showed, when testing 'non-stressed' plants with the only change being a 300ppm CO2 percentage increase ( a huge change), the degree of increase mentioned in his following table:

C3 Cereals 49%
C4 Cereals 20%
Fruits and Melons 24%
Legumes 44%
Roots and Tubers 48%
Vegetables 37%

These are admittedly idealized conditions, but they show more useful info than showing performance of 'stressed plants'. You can stress a plant, particularly a delicate one, to the point of dying even though it has plenty of CO2 available. So what?

I am admittedly not a botonist. I have to rely on some point on expert opinion. I also to some very minor extent look at the motivation of the person stating it. But Truth is where you find it. What bugs me is that most people on here apparently cannot approach this subject in a cool, reasonable and engaging manor.

Even my friend Ben Nead calls me "way off base" on this subject (without providing a shread of evidence, mind you), while at the same time saying I'm "spot - on" re: Nuclear Plant problems.

Ben, if you are reading, the reason is on this subject I am trying to prove a negative, at least I feel thats part of it.

With the Nuclear subject, I can at least show people getting sick and dying.

Its rather like asking me to prove Purple Paint is NOT BAD. You'll excuse me if I'm not quite sure how to defend it.

· · 5 years ago

@Frank H.

Only the third graph looked right to me.. The other graphs only show continually rising temperatures which doesn't make sense if you're my age.

In the 70's all the climatologists were worried about a "New Ice Age" , and Global Cooling.

The earth was actually actually getting quite abit warmer from 1895 to the 1940's, then it started getting noticeably cooler, until about 1974. Then it started warming again up to about 15 years ago. Let me see if I can dig up an honest graph.

And the sea level changes are, excuse me, bogus. Ustatic changes take thousands of years. Fast sea level changes are more often due to the seashore (land) sinking.

Look at page 8 of 60 ( a US Rural Temperature Graph)


· · 5 years ago

I don't know about an engine being low carbon to produce - smelting aluminum takes an *immense* amount of electricity, and there are hundreds of parts in an ICE and in the transmission.

My question is: where did the data that was used to make the bar graph come from? What is it about batteries that takes so much energy to make?

If the data came from the Lomborg article, or the study he was referencing, then all bets are off - it is highly suspect.

As for the 7.5kWh of "energy" going into producing each gallon of gas - that is fine. That energy alone could drive the 2013 Leaf almost 26 miles (or likely much farther), which is farther than the average car in the US; which is up to a whopping 23.8MPG.

Bill, here's the most accurate temperature graph for the past 11,300 years:


And another detailed article discussing this new paper:


The Arctic ice is already fracturing and breaking up - about 51 DAYS earlier than last season. Arctic ice is in a death spiral.


Anthropogenic climate change is here and now - it is all too real.


· · 5 years ago


That Hockey Stick has been debunked several times, but frankly I'm too tired to do it. I've spent too many hours today looking up all this stuff. But as far as the Arctic Ice being in a "death sprial", that's obviously true. It was in the same death spiral 3 times in the 20th century.

"....Gore says the Arctic has been warming faster than the rest of the planet. It is not. While it is in general true that during periods of warming (whether natural or anthropogenic) the Arctic will warm faster than other regions, Gore does not mention that the Arctic has been cooling over the past 60 years, and is now one degree Celsius cooler than it was in the 1940s. There was a record amount of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in 2001. Several vessels were icebound in the Arctic in the spring of 2007, but few newspapers reported this. The newspapers reported that the North-West Passage was free of ice in 2007, and said that this was for the first time since records began: but the records, taken by satellites, had only begun 29 years previously. The North-West Passage had also been open for shipping in 1945, and, in 1903, the great Norwegian explorer Amundsen had passed through it in a sailing ship...."

· · 5 years ago

Bill, you are very much mistaken about the so-called "hockey stick" graph being wrong - it is in fact been confirmed over and over. The BEST study headed by Dr. Richard Muller is the most famous of these:


Anthropogenic climate change is settled science. Only FUD-rakers are saying otherwise - a tactic they adopted from the tobacco lobby. And they are just as wrong.


· · 5 years ago


Well, no offense Neil, but you're starting to do what most others start doing here, just saying I'm wrong and using the collective approach like ( "All Clean Bathed people believe what I do!!"), rather than take points calmly one by one and discussing them. The Hockey Stick I was refering to was that infamous one that managed to find its way into the IPCC report. As far as your link referring to Berkeley avg temperatures, I would imagine they have risen 1 1/2 degrees centigrade over the past 200 years. Thats why I use rural temperatures to avoid the otherwise confusing "city effect".

· · 5 years ago

Actually, everyone disagreeing with me made do a rethink, but finally I'm ok with it. It's ok to think for myself. Thats why I made a decent amount of money in the financial markets since the saying there is "The Herd is Always Wrong". Most people most of the time do the wrong thing. And its hard to avoid becoming part of the herd. But I watch "The Herd", and do the opposite. My point is, if everyone thought like me, I wouldn't be in the shape I'm in.

· · 5 years ago

Actually, everyone disagreeing with me made do a rethink, but finally I'm ok with it. It's ok to think for myself. Thats why I made a decent amount of money in the financial markets since the saying there is "The Herd is Always Wrong". Most people most of the time do the wrong thing. And its hard to avoid becoming part of the herd. But I watch "The Herd", and do the opposite. My point is, if everyone thought like me, I wouldn't be in the shape I'm in.

· · 5 years ago


The BEST study was specifically designed to look at the heat island effect as well as the overall conclusions about climate change, and Dr. Muller was a strong skeptic of climate change going in. But, he is a scientist and he changed his position after doing the hard work in the study - the data show that anthropogenic climate change is happening here and now.

Are you ignoring any other settled science? Plate tectonics might not be accurate or precise and we certainly don't know all the answers - so why do you accept it as settled science? What about the structure of the atom - nobody can show you a picture, so why do you accept it? Ditto for evolution, and DNA, and astrophysics, and chemistry - and what about gravity? Nobody can prove there is gravity, let alone how it works - although they did just find the Higgs boson... What's a boson, you may ask? Climate change is much more tangible than particle physics.

When 97% of all the scientist doing climate related work accept it as settled that humans burning fossil fuel is the major cause of the climate change we are seeing right now - how do you think you know better than them? The principles of climate change were first established in the late 19th century. The military planners are calling climate change *the* most critical threat to our security. The glaciers and ice sheets all around the world are melting much more quickly than they had been. The ocean is more acidic than it was, and sea level is ~8" higher than it used to be.



· · 5 years ago

@Neil Blanchard

I'll have to do some of my own research on the points you mentioned, but anything the federal government funds these days I'm sure has the UN's "Agenda 21" all over it, or at least in concert with it. Therefore, any 'results' must be in keeping with the general rubric. The one liner is I'm not instantly won over by any of the points you've made in your last post, and additionally, some of the points don't 'sound right', let me answer 2 or 3 of your points.

As far as Evolution goes, I used to believe this up until I turned 18, then I realized that Darwin's Theory of Evolution can't possibly be true since it violates Laws of Probability. Athiest Carl Sagan gave a couple of examples that proved it beyond the shadow of a doubt for me. (It didn't disuade his unfailing believe in it though).

Ok Sea level rise, yes the sea level is rising at 7" per year. Its been doing this at the same 7" per year since about 1850. Since huge hydrocarbon use world wide did not really start until after world war 2, and the sea level rise is still rising at the same rate, its not being forced by increased carbon dioxide.

About glacial shortening, this is continuing at the same rate over this 190 year trend.

"...Gore says that “the ice has a story to tell, and it is worldwide.” He shows several before-and-after pictures of glaciers disappearing. However, the glacial melt began in the 1820s, long before humankind could have had any effect, and has continued at a uniform rate since, showing no acceleration since humankind began increasing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. Total ice volumes in three of the last four Ice Ages were lower than they are today, and “global warming” had nothing to do with that..."

As far as particle physics goes, I remember in my 3rd semester class many of the students were having problems with Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, in other words the dual wave/particle nature of things. When the professor left the room I spoke up and said, well, when you get down to these magnifications everything is moving spacially and in time, so a partial explanation is that its hard to precisely fix position and internal momentum. One of the other students spoke up, " I think he's onto it". So yeah, I have no problem with the concept of photons, for instance. I tend to make more money with every Solar Panel sold.

· · 5 years ago


Correction: 7" per Century, not year as I mistated. I wouldn't want to be a climate change alarmist.

· · 5 years ago

I'm not so sure about your statement that ". . . huge hydrocarbon use world wide did not really start until after World War II", Bill.

Humans have been burning coal on a wholesale level since the Industrial Revolution got underway in the late 1700s.

Also . . . please look around and see who's vehemently opposed to the UN's Agenda 21 . . .


· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead

The world was at war in the first half of the twentieth century. While there was some industrialization in America, Britain, and Germany, the vast consumerism didnt' really take place until after world war 2. While there were steel plants in the north east in the 1800's I'm talking proportion here. Coal usage didn't really get going until the 20th century. Wood was the primary fuel previously. The situation got so bad that Teddy Roosevelt threatened to 'cancel Christmas" due to a shortage of Douglas Fir trees. Compare that to our record growth of forests now, being fed by the elevated levels of Carbon Dioxode.

Next point, I could care less who else is opposed to Agenda 21. I'm opposed to it. The final goal is to strip me of my house and my freedom. My idealized living quarters are a few hundred square feet, little more than a jail cell. Of course, my property taxes will increase for the priviledge of existing on my particular speck of dirt. And of course our leaders like Al Gore, are of course exempt. He will still be allowed to have his 6 mansions, have private jets fly him around anywhere he wants to go, and use 30,000 kwh per month, its "sustainable", you see, due to him purchasing Carbon Credits from himself. ( Students in Montreal howled Gore from a speech there yelling "What about all your swimming pools?". Glad to see someone can see plain hypocracy). How Nice. Except I can't purchase carbon credits from myself, and very few can. Its rather like all the Coal power plants shutting down. Except if General Electric is an owner, then of course, its exempt.

I don't go for this "We're all Equal", (except some of us are more equal than others).

Next point: Several posters have said "Why don't you agree with the concensus? Do you think you're better than 97% of the Learned Scientists and Protectors of the Human Race"?

Let's examine what "Consensus" there is and what it actually believes.

"... > The Russian Academy of Sciences and the US Association of State Climatologists are just two of the scientific organizations that have trenchantly expressed serious doubts about the imagined “consensus” on climate change. They have recently been joined by the Administrator of NASA, who has said that it is arrogant to make the Panglossian assumption that today’s climate is the best of all possible climates, and still more arrogant to assume that any of the more or less futile remedial measures which have been advocated will make any significant climatic difference. The Administrator ought to know: for it is his organization that gathers much of the weather data via satellite upon which the rickety edifice of the climate-change “consensus” is constructed.
A growing number of scientists who had previously subscribed to the alarmist presentation of the “consensus” are no longer sure. They are joining the numerous climatologists – many of them with outstanding credentials – who have never believed in the more extreme versions of the alarmist case. Indeed, many scientists now say that there has been no discernible human effect on temperature at all. For instance, Buentgen et al. (2006) say: “The 20th-century contribution of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosol remains insecure.”Let the last word go to Mike Hulme, Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK, who has himself undergone something of a conversio morum on climate change, and has written:

> “The IPCC is not going to talk about tipping points; it's not going to talk about five-meter rises in sea level; it's not going to talk about the next ice age because the Gulf Stream collapses; and it's going to have none of the economics of the Stern Review. It's almost as if a credibility gap has emerged between what the British public thinks and what the international science community think. …


> “Over the last few years a new environmental phenomenon has been constructed … - the phenomenon of ‘catastrophic’ climate change. It seems that mere ‘climate change’ was not going to be bad enough, and so now it must be ‘catastrophic’ to be worthy of attention. The increasing use of this pejorative term - and its bedfellow qualifiers ‘chaotic’, ‘irreversible’, ‘rapid’ - has altered the public discourse around climate change.

“This discourse is now characterised by phrases such as ‘climate change is worse than we thought’, that we are approaching ‘irreversible tipping in the Earth's climate’, and that we are ‘at the point of no return’. I have found myself increasingly chastised by climate change campaigners when my public statements and lectures on climate change have not satisfied their thirst for environmental drama and exaggerated rhetoric. It seems that it is we, the professional climate scientists, who are now the (catastrophe) sceptics. How the wheel turns!”

So we see, I agree with the Scientific Consensus. Its you Ben, who refuse to believe, no offense.

I would wager the last quotes are New Information for you.. Please think about them a bit. Since I am not a Climate Scientist, I have to defer to expert opinion. Heads of prestigious organizations, with no other "Axe to Grind", are sufficiently expert for me. Many will be unswayed, but I was asked how I can in all humility, believe what I do? The preceding experts allow my opinion to be classified as "humble" due to agreeing with their "consensus". Its the British Public, who in the expert's opinion is out of step (and 50 % of Americans also, the other 50% of us got it right and keep getting it right).

· · 5 years ago

I really shouldn't get involved with these debates. I know it is pointless as no minds will change.

But I got interested about this cut-and-paste quote:

"The Russian Academy of Sciences and the US Association of State Climatologists are just two of the scientific organizations that have trenchantly expressed serious doubts about the imagined “consensus” on climate change."

Well, as you might guess, this sentence or minor variations thereof is plastered all over right wing websites. In fact, a Google search for "US Association of State Climatologists" generated ONLY right wing quotes - only by playing with the search did I find that the real name is American Association of State Climatologists. Apparently some individual mistakenly called them "US" instead of "American" in an anti-global warming memo and through the magic of cut-and-paste-without-verification it's all over the right wing web.

Of course, trying to find evidence that this organization " trenchantly expressed serious doubts about the imagined 'consensus' on climate change" is a lost cause. The organization has never made such a statement, or any statement on the topic, because it would be against their explicit policy. They have made statements about things like asking for improved funding for climate research and infrastructure - which is consistent with their mission.

What apparently happened was that two members of the organization made personal statements skeptical of climate change and that got exaggerated as if it were the whole organization. Also, the size of the organization tends to be exaggerated too - this is a small body. As it turns out several of their members actually contributed to IPCCv4 so certainly they aren't of a single mind.

So, the first sentence basically lies in the same way Lomborg lied. And the second statement? Well, I can't be sure who "Administrator of NASA" is. If they mean the Director of NASA, Jim Hansen, who issued the first warnings in 1988 and has been consistent on the topic, then they are taking him out of context. If they mean the Bush administration appointee who was over Hansen in 2007 (when this whole write-up was apparently drafted) then it has no credibility as that political appointee had no credentials in the area.

This is how zombie lies are formed - someone writes them up and a lot of people who agree politically copy-and-paste-without-verification until they become stuff that "everyone knows". 75% of voters in 2010 responded in exit polls that Obama had raised federal income taxes - he hadn't, he'd lowered them, but they believed it. Over 50% of Americans in March 2003 responded that they believed Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11 even though the Bush administration had made no such claim and there was no evidence for it. Zombie lies. So, saying that "HALF of America agrees with me" may be interesting but it adds zero credibility to any argument.

· · 5 years ago

@Red Leaf

Noted. I think its brave for the 2 members who did speak out. Officially, I would assume the organization cannot go against the polemic.

Saddam Hussein was our good buddy (Donald Rumsfeld sold SH the chemicals to gas the Kurds, there's that photo op which you always used to see of them shaking hands), until he decided to accept Euros for Iraqi Oil. The US Gov't supported him during the Iran/Iraq war.

I wasn't aware that Obama had the authority to raise or lower taxes in the first place.

Plenty of younger americans will see what happens to their taxes if they don't have an approved health care plan come 2014. However Obama campagned on not having anyone's taxes be raised unless th ey make $250,000.

I'm not so sure Bush comes off 'blameless' regarding the Iraqi War. Ask the first responders (firefighters) to the WTC how much assistance they're getting with their illnesses. Those that are still talking, that is. Christie Todd Whitman was another piece of work.

As far as who was behind 9/11 that is much too hot a subject to touch.

Well, half of America disagrees with me too. I'm ok with that. Aren't you?

· · 5 years ago


The Russian academy of Sciences reference was admittedly more authoritative, for people who care about authoritativity:

"...Scientists Of The Russian Academy Of Science: “Global Warming Is Coming To An End – Return To Early 1980s Level”

By P Gosselin on 21. Mai 2012

The German langauge Voice of Russia here reports a news item you’ll never hear from the mainstream media. Top scientists of Russia’s most prestigious academy say global warming is ending.

Hat-tip: European Institute for Climate and Energy.

Here’s the Voice of Russia report I’ve translated in English:

Global warming is coming to an end: In the coming years the temperature over the entire planet will fall and the cooling will provide a character of relief. This is the conclusion reached by Russian scientists from the Physics University of the Russian Academy of Science.

The process of a general temperature decrease has already begun, according to the research. After having peaked in 2005, the average temperature on Earth is now returning to the level of the 1996-1997 years, 0.3°C lower.

According to the scientists, global temperatures will fall another 0.15°C by 2015, which corresponds to the climate of the early 1980s.”

· · 5 years ago


The Nasa Administrator is Michael Griffin from a 31 May 2007 NPR interview, to wit:

"...The following are excerpts from Griffin's conversation with Steve Inskeep, edited for clarity:

It has been mentioned that NASA is not spending as much money as it could to study climate change — global warming — from space. Are you concerned about global warming?

I'm aware that global warming exists. I understand that the bulk of scientific evidence accumulated supports the claim that we've had about a one degree centigrade rise in temperature over the last century to within an accuracy of 20 percent. I'm also aware of recent findings that appear to have nailed down — pretty well nailed down the conclusion that much of that is manmade. Whether that is a longterm concern or not, I can't say.

Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?

I have no doubt that ... a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of Earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change. First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown. And second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings — where and when — are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.

Is that thinking that informs you as you put together the budget? That something is happening, that it's worth studying, but you're not sure that you want to be battling it as an army might battle an enemy?

Nowhere in NASA's authorization, which of course governs what we do, is there anything at all telling us that we should take actions to affect climate change in either one way or another. We study global climate change, that is in our authorization, we think we do it rather well. I'm proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to, quote, battle climate change....".

This should put an end to the question as to whether these are Zombie Quotes. No matter. My synopsis said the administrator considered it arrogant. He used the exact same word.

I have to say its rather insulting to disparage someone else's work with out checking it first.

· · 5 years ago

@Red Leaf:

I used to think you were a nice guy, but then you write "....If they mean the Bush administration appointee who was over Hansen in 2007 (when this whole write-up was apparently drafted) then it has no credibility as that political appointee had no credentials in the area.
(From Wikipedia)
Dr.. Griffin currently holds seven academic degrees.[2][3] He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1971; a Master of Science in Engineering in aerospace science from the Catholic University of America in 1974; a Doctor of Philosophy in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland in 1977; a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California in 1979; a Master of Science in applied physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1983; a Master of Business Administration from Loyola University Maryland in 1990; and a Master of Science in civil engineering from George Washington University in 1998.[2][3]

He has worked at the Jet Propulsion Lab and APL. Dr. Griffin has been a professor at various universities, teaching courses in spacecraft design, applied mathematics, guidance and navigation, compressible flow, computational fluid dynamics, spacecraft attitude control, astrodynamics, and introductory aerospace engineering. He is the lead author of more than two dozen technical papers, and is co-author with James R. French of the graduate astronautical engineering textbook, "Space Vehicle Design". ISBN 1-56347-539-1

HOW DARE you say this Clearly accomplished man is not qualified to express an opinion.

· · 5 years ago

By citing Dr. Griffin's impressive accomplishment's, Bill (none of which, however, encompass the study of meteorology or climate science,) and implying that some are hostile to him for expressing his opinion, you should have more than passing respect that the vast majority of scientists who ARE schooled in this particular branch of scientific study and who happen disagree with the very few climate change deniers you happen to ally with.

If I have a toothache, after all, I typically consult a dentist before seeking dental advice from, say, a cardiologist . . . even if the latter has done more schooling in their specified field.

Yes, many of us are a bit tired of Al Gore's double standard when he doesn't practice what he preaches. But the vast majority of those who really are climate scientists don't live a particularly opulent lifestyle. It also begs the question of who, exactly, is allegedly making these climate scientists rich? If they were only motivated by getting their money from the highest bidder and had absolutely no interest in getting at the truth, wouldn't they simply be selling their services to the petroleum companies and simply skewing their studies in their interests?

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead

Sorry, you are putting yourself in the embarrassing position of not realizing what even those broad branches of science entail. We're friends so I'm not going to embarrass you. I'll embarrass Gore instead, since some people consider him a source authority.

This is regarding, "An Inconvenient Truth".

"...Gore says that ice-melt allows the Sun to heat the Arctic Ocean, and a diagram shows the Sun’s rays heating it directly. It does not. The ocean emits radiant energy at the moment of absorption, and would freeze if there were no atmosphere. It is the atmosphere, not the Sun that warms the ocean. Also, Gore’s diagram confuses the tropopause with the ionosphere, and he makes a number of other errors indicating that he does not understand the elementary physics of radiative transfer. ..."

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead

Very few? The only people I hear you guys quote are Al Gore, and Jim Hensen. I've quoted far more GROUPS of people than that, let alone more individuals. But if you want me to start naming names, I will, and , included with be that horribly right wing sympathizer, the co-founder of Greenpeace.

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead

This gets into an area of politics that I don't care to get into, but some of the names involved are Kenneth Lay, Maurice Strong, Ted Turner, and Al Gore.

One person I will discuss however is Margaret Thatcher. She was having difficulty with her Coal Miners. She wanted the General Strikes stopped.

She put all kinds of money on the table for Scientists to find out a reason why Coal is bad and should be deemphasized. So of course they did that.

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead

This gets into an area of politics that I don't care to get into, but some of the names involved are Kenneth Lay, Maurice Strong, Ted Turner, and Al Gore.

One person I will discuss however is Margaret Thatcher. She was having difficulty with her Coal Miners. She wanted the General Strikes stopped.

She put all kinds of money on the table for Scientists to find out a reason why Coal is bad and should be deemphasized. So of course they did that.

· · 5 years ago

@Benjamin Nead

I suppose after mentioning it, sooner or later I'm going to have to do it, so here's a list of 13 Climatologists and/or IPCC Lead Authors:

Prof Dr. Nir Shaviv - University of Tel Aviv "Three to Ten times CO2 in the past as currently".

Prof Dr. Tim Ball, Dept of Climatology, Winnipeg, "Most important Greenhouse Gas is Water, 95%".

Prof Dr. Ian Clark, Dept of Eath Sciences, University of Ottawa "Co2 lags temperature changes by 800 years, Co2 never drove climate change in the past".

Prof Dr. John Christy, IPCC Lead Author, Given award for developing new method for measuring temperatures in the atmosphere; "Water is the most important Greenhouse Gas".

Dr. Piers Corbyn, Climate Forecaster, Weather Action. Bet money against England's pretigious Met office and Won cash, several times. "No changes in climate due to Co2 in the past 1000 years".

Prof Dr Philip Stott, Dept of Biogeography, University of London, "London was much warmer in the middle age warm period, confirmed by Chaucer, than now".

Prof Dr. Paul Rieter, IPCC and Pasteur Institute, Paris : " Malaria not a tropical disese, biggest outbreak reaching Arcangelsk at the Arctic Circle killed 600,000 in the early 20th century". Also, '2500 of the world's top scientists are bogus once you look at bibliographies, since the climatology scientific field is small. Plus if you disagree with the conclusions, it dosesn't matter since they won't take your name off the list".

Prof Dr. Richard Lindzen, IPCC & MIT " Whenever you hear that all scientists agree and therefore you should too, in Science that is Pure Propganda". "The one thing you Shouldn't say, is 'this may not be a problem'." (!!!)

Patrick Moore, Cofounder of Greenpeace, AGW nonsense is killing Africa, preventing life saving development.

Dr. Roy Spencer, Weather Satelite Team Leader, NASA " If it can be indicated that a catastrophe is near, then all kinds of money will flow to your research project".

Prof Dr. Patrick Michaels, Dept of Environmental Services, University of Virginia, "Anyone who goes around saying AGW is responsible for the 20th century warming, hasn't looked at the basic numbers." , and, "Tens of thousands of jobs depend on AGW now, its a BIG BUSINESS"

Nigel Calder, Ex Editor, "New Scientist", "AGW is a religion", and "the whole thing stinks", and "its a Looney Idea".

Dr. Frederick Singer, Ex-Director US National Weather Service, "Computer Models of increased AGW are disproved by the temperature evidence".

Prof Dr. Syun-ichi Akasofu, Director, International Arctic Resource Centre; "Co2 greatly increased between 1940 and 1975, temperature went way down", and "Arctic Ice Extent is seasonal and will cause no problems".

This is a pretty good cross section of people, many with impecable credentials (such as John Christy, the very TOP of his field). who stated the "Inconvenient Truths"

· · 5 years ago

How is it possible to get the environment to go along with a conspiracy? The Arctic ice is breaking up about 51 days earlier than it did last season.



· · 5 years ago


I'm not expert in this field obviously, but I'm making the easy assumption that when someone says "Seasonal", they are saying it is Cyclic, as are seasons. In other words using the slightly more broad meaning of the word, such as open season on free speech.

· · 5 years ago

@Neil Blanchard

Certain days this month have been 25 degrees colder than last year (2012 was an exceptionally warm March in the Northeast). Am I worried that 2014 is going to be 25 degrees colder, 2015, 50 degrees colder, 2016 75 degrees colder, 2017, 100 degrees colder and so on? In a word, no. Actually, certain days have been 55 degrees colder. So extrapolating that trend I better move to the south pole soon to warm up!!

· · 5 years ago

I think fox news (Rupert Murdock) is getting money from big conglomerates, and is trying to scare the public about electric cars and/or make them mad about the tiny weany subsidies they have been given to date, since that will hopefully kill business for smaller operations in competition with the Oil and Gas Big boys, and then they can swallow up their formerly small independent businesses at bargain basement prices..

I'm confident that the American People are not quite so dumb. Even Joe Six pack can't get riled too much over this, especially if he has a friend with a Volt or a Leaf who likes it and says " Why don't you buy one?".

· · 5 years ago

The mass of Arctic ice is collapsing:


There were about 4X more high temperature records set last year for every 1 record low. And the number of nighttime low temperatures that were higher than ever before (I hope that makes sense?) is a worrying trend.

In a "normal" year, the number of record highs should be about 1:1 with the number of record lows. In 2012, there was about a 4:1 ratio of record highs to record lows.


· · 5 years ago

Blah, blah, blah, so many words, so little thought.

Let's cut to the chase......

Any so-called authoritative source claiming EVs increase pollution levels each time they plug into the wall outlet in order to recharge their batteries always - ALWAYS - bases their conclusion upon a collection of statistics that ignore real world factors -- which is why their argument is faulty and therefore worthless.

EVs typically recharge at night when electric power plants operate at overcapacity. This extra load EVs draw falls well within the surplus capacity produced, which means EVs are simply utilizing unused power that is available to be used and NOT causing more power production (and more pollution) to occur at the plant.

Here's the fact - EV charging at night enables a more efficient usage of energy produced in America -- they use energy that already exists and would otherwise be wasted.

That, combined with the all the pollution costs EV miles save vs. ICE miles can lead one to only conclusion -- EVs substantially REDUCE pollution.

· · 5 years ago

As I say, I defer to the real expert opinion.

· · 5 years ago

So Little thought? There's more information in my posts than most white papers.

· · 5 years ago

Peter Sorensen:
As a Dane, I am embarrassed every time I get across Lomborg, and as an environmental reseacher I was close to his political, false-scientifically and manipulated agruments when he was founded by the, at that time, right wing goverment in Denmark !!

EV, in colder areas has one benefit that outrules all alternative cars: There will always be a strong energy loss when any chemical energy (oil, gas, coal, biofiules hydrogene) is transmitted to work. Some far future technology is claimed to solve this,but that is not real for transport now or the next many years. It is thus silly to make this transmission locally in the car due to all the waste heat (70-75 % waste totally and only 25-30 work for the car). It is much better to make this transmission from chemical energy to work (=electricity) central in powerstations (coal, gas others) at utilize the spill energy to e.g household heating and warm water. The electric cars has a much higher yield (more than 70 % work when also the loss in battery etc. are included). In Denmark we are utilizing the spill heat in most power stations for house holds and this made even coal generated electricity used in cars much better than any fuel based car.

A last issue and as a supplement to the copmments from Tra2S above: If you have a lot of wind power in the system, there will tend to be overflow of electricity during the nights, thus if the electricity for the EV are changed during night time it will expanded the "window" for Windmill production. This also increases the fraction of wind produced energy running into the EV to a much higher fraction that the average fraction during day time. E.g. if 20 % of the electricity is produced from wind mills (in Denmark the fraction is even higher I believe) then the fraction of wind power during night time will be much higher due to lower usage, thus a night time changing of a EV car will contain much more that 20 % wind power in an area as Denmark.

Nice web place, I am new here :-)

· · 5 years ago

@Bill Howland - You have a lot to offer the EV community with your perspective, so I'm glad you're here. Though I disagree with you on climate change, I don't see why EVs can't be a hallmark of the new conservative right that supports American (GM and Tesla) manufacturing, energy independence, and lower taxes (by removing ALL subsidies for all energy producers). You could be their spokesman and liberal hysteria anti-dote. You've clearly got the time to do it too ;).

@borsting ... thanks for sharing your experiences in Denmark. It's actually really exciting to think that wind energy and EVs could be complimentary in improving how renewable energy spikes can be smoothed out (which is always the criticism from fossil fuel supporters). Although the wind doesn't always blow nor sun always shine, if you have a good buffer of batteries, in EVs or other storage farms, this is quite a viable way to move forward. A win-win. ICE vehicles will never be able to help us in this way. (Though perhaps gorr would point out hydrogen might - the losses from hydrogen would be so much higher - both in conversion and seepage - we're much better off just using batteries).

· · 5 years ago


Well, I'll be taking some spare time off to do my taxes. hehehe... I get my self into a bind and then to properly respond I have to do a LOT of research.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but there is someone much better than I to do this. BOB LUTZ. I have only heard him make a self-serving comment once, and that was disembling the cancellation of the Caddy Converj (now ETS).

Another reason I'm not your man is that some political subjects I won't touch. The information is out there for people seriously looking.

"....“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize. - Voltaire”

· · 5 years ago

@Neil Blanchard

If you're worried about the Arctic, Declining Solar output, or holes in the ozone layer, I'd agree with you THAT is a man mind problem, but its more due to Aluminum and Barium Oxide ChemTrails. Click on this link then watch the 28 minute video (scroll a bit down and click the arrow).


They show several interesting pictures of interiors of planes, and the end result, dead forests.

· · 5 years ago

While watching the above link you may also want to watch the 'link within a link' which brings up the 94 minute movie "What in the world are they Spraying?", and its sequel, "Why in the world are they Spraying"?

I'd think Northern Californians would be very interested in this, since all these silly spraying programs (and its not a trivial amount, the video says its in the neighborhood of 20 million tons of Aluminum and Barium ) since its killing your forests. And its becoming a world wide problem since the fish are dying (as if growing radiation from Fukushima isn't enough of a problem in the Pacific Ocean, and radioactive Vermont Milk).

This is another reason why its so important to realize the beneficial 'naturalness' of carbon dioxide. Here's what I mean:

These SILLY SCIENTISTS are saying since there's so much 'pollution' already in the air (UNTRUE, as per above) , that 20 million more tons of VERY TOXIC Bioavailable Aluminum and Barium ain't gonna hurt.

Its true Bauxite is a huge portion of the earth's crust, but the key difference is it isn't Bioavailable to cause toxicity.

Since so many forests worldwide are dying, and ocean problems, the world wide oxygen level is already going down,

I wish more people would get concerned about these real problems and let go of the fake ones.

· · 5 years ago

My Gran Pa often said: "Yah kin have a great crop in the field, but yah godda have a good separadah if you wanna get it in the granary".

· · 5 years ago

My Gran Pa often said: "Yah kin have a great crop in the field, but yah godda have a good separadah if you wanna get it in the granary".

· · 5 years ago

@At the Bridge

Thats why when I went to school in Raleigh for a few months I could understand the locals, but when the guys from High Point, NC got together I'd have to ask the locals "did you understand what they said?", and they said, 'we're having difficulty but we can translate', whereas I couldn't pick up even an And, Or, But, or any other article.

· · 5 years ago

Lifecycle Analysis Comparison of a Battery Electric Vehicle and a Conventional Gasoline Vehicle
Kimberly Aguirre Luke Eisenhardt Christian Lim Brittany Nelson Alex Norring Peter Slowik Nancy Tu
Advisor: Dr. Deepak Rajagopal Client: California Air Resources Board
June 2012
1. Abstract
California continues to be an environmental leader with the implementation of AB32. The California Air Resource Board (CARB) has enacted several programs to ensure the success of this groundbreaking bill. This study, in association with CARB, calculates the energy inputs and CO2 equivalents emissions of a conventional gasoline vehicle (CV), a hybrid vehicle, and a battery electric vehicle (BEV) to determine the lifecycle environmental costs of each specific to California. A hybrid model’s results were generated based off of a weighted-average of CV and BEV results, using 1⁄6 of the battery from the BEV data. Data used were a compilation of the California GREET model, Argonne National Laboratory articles and other relevant peer- reviewed literature. The base cases of these models were then analyzed to test the sensitivity of a variety of assumptions, including carbon intensity of gasoline and electricity, varied electricity mixes, battery lifetime, and fuel economy. A cost effectiveness for each vehicle type was also calculated; the hybrid vehicle was found to be the most cost effective for reducing CO2. The net present cost of all vehicles was also calculated resulting in the hybrid being the least expensive over its lifetime, followed by the CV, and finally the BEV. The main purpose of this study was to examine the environmental impact of each vehicle type, taking into account the lifecycle energy usage and both CO2 equivalents and air pollution emitted. In terms of environmental impacts, the BEV was determined to have the least overall impact, followed by the hybrid, and lastly the CV.
2. Introduction
Climate change continues to become more of a driving force on different aspects of social living. Researchers are better able to understand, predict, and now witness the extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and subsequent resource shortages that will occur as climate begins to shift to a new equilibrium. With this in mind, we are witnessing a shift in how policymakers and scientists are addressing the best methods to mitigate these impending impacts.
One possible method for creating a more sustainable society is by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is measured by decreasing CO2 equivalents. Targeting the transportation sector as a major emitter of carbon dioxide equivalents is a step in the right direction in regards to reducing emissions. Revolutionizing the vehicle fleet that is currently on the road will be a key change by introducing an alternative fuel fleet. When looking at alternatives for fossil fuels, there needs to be an understanding of what type of vehicle requires the least amount of energy, produces the least amount of carbon dioxide emissions, and has the least overall impact on the environment.
Consequently, our research delves into examining and quantifying lifecycle energy requirements and emissions of a battery electric vehicle (BEV), a hybrid vehicle, and a conventional gasoline vehicle (CV). To collect all of the applicable data, we made a number of assumptions based on trends we saw throughout our literature review. We are interested in what scenarios a BEV will prove to be a better alternative to a hybrid and a CV. We conducted lifecycle assessments for both the BEV and CV, and used weighted averages and extrapolation to produce the data for a hybrid vehicle. We performed a sensitivity analysis to determine the effects on energy and emissions of changing several important variables, which included the carbon intensity of gasoline and electricity, the electricity mix, the life of the battery, and the fuel economy of the CV and BEV. We focus specifically on driving the vehicles in California (CA), but we also expanded our analysis to include the effects of charging the BEV with a United States (U.S.) average electricity mix and a Chinese average electricity mix.
Emissions and energy are two means of classifying a more sustainable vehicle fleet, but we also conducted cost analyses. From this we can determine if BEVs are not only
environmentally sustainable but also economically sustainable. With this data we can weigh the BEV lifetime cost and compare it to the hybrid and CV lifetime costs to conclude which alternative vehicle is the most sustainable for the environment and the economy.
3. Methods
We defined our system boundary for this LCA to include all direct inputs and outputs from resource extraction to waste and recycling. We also included some indirect inputs such as the transportation needed to move the vehicle components from the manufacturing facilities, to the vehicle assembly factories, and finally to the dealership. The detailed flow diagrams of our systems are found in Appendix A and B. We then conducted an inventory analysis for each vehicle by collecting numerical data on the unit processes shown in Appendix A and B. The data came from various sources including published articles, government websites, and the California GREET Model, a large database released by the California Air Resources Board containing information on air pollutants and carbon and energy intensities for different transportation fuels. The entire list of unit processes and its corresponding sources are found in Appendix C.
Vehicle Assumptions
In the process of building our data inventory and creating our base case, we made several assumptions based on relevancy and the trends from the sources found in Appendix C. First, we assumed the design of the cars to be exactly the same, excluding the CV engine and the BEV battery. The total weight of the CV used in our LCA is 1500 kg, comprising of 1275 kg of vehicle parts and 225 kg for the engine. The BEV assumed weight is 1575 kg, consisting of the same 1275 kg of vehicle parts but also a 300 kg lithium-ion battery. According to the findings of Southern California Edison, the effective vehicle life assumed for both vehicles is 180,000 miles based. Most existing lifecycle assessments on BEVs imply no battery replacement. Moreover, the Nissan Leaf manufacturer states that the battery pack is designed to last the life of the car. Yet others such as Notter et al. accounted for a full battery replacement. We estimated an average value of 1.5 batteries for our calculations due to the need of partial replacement over the battery’s lifetime. As a battery is continuously recharged and discharged, it slowly loses capacity resulting in reduced driving range. Hence, maintenance is required to maintain the BEV’s performance. For contemporary electric vehicles, the batteries are composed of separate modules that can be replaced individually. Therefore, the whole battery does not need to be replaced. An LCA of a hybrid vehicle was also conducted based on a weighted average between the CV and BEV data, assuming 1⁄6 of a battery being used.
The fuel economy of the CV is 31 mpg, which is comparable to a Nissan Versa or compact equivalent, 50 mpg for the hybrid, which is comparable to a Toyota Prius, and 100 mpg-eq for the BEV, comparable to the efficiency of a Nissan Leaf battery (.21 Kwh/Km). To calculate the BEV miles per gallon equivalents, we began with the energy density of gasoline, 121 MJ/gallon. We multiplied 121MJ/gal * 1kwhr/3.6MJ * 1km/0.21Kwh * 1mile/1.609 km to get 100 miles/gallon of gasoline equivalent. A final assumption used was the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conversions rates for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxides to carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2eq) in our final calculations of total CO2eq emitted.
Electricity Mix Assumptions
Because our base case assumed all charging will be done in California, we therefore used the current California electricity mix for our calculations. These values were taken from “California’s Power Content Label” by the California Energy Commission, and consisted of: coal (7%), nuclear (14%), natural gas (42%), total hydropower (13%), wind (5%), geothermal (5%), solar (0%), and biomass (2%). Part of the sensitivity analysis, which is explained below, included projecting the effects of future electricity mix in California. We therefore decided to use the 2020 projected mix based off of the implementations of AB32. AB32 calls for California to generate 33% of its electricity from renewable sources. With the future projections to contain 33% renewables, there will mainly be an increase in solar and wind power. We assumed that electricity produced from coal would be the source that decreased the most drastically, as it is the the most carbon intensive. Thus the electricity producing energy mix in 2020 will comprise of: coal (1%), nuclear (11%), natural gas (36%), total hydropower (13%), wind (15%), geothermal (5%), solar (5%), and biomass (2%).
A national electricity mix was also used to compare BEV lifecycle impacts between CA and the US. Data of the national mix was found from the Energy Information Administration. This mix contained: coal (42%), nuclear (19.28%), natural gas (25%), hydropower (8%), wind (3%), geothermal (0.36%), solar (0.01%), and biomass (1.3%). We are also interested in the widespread use of BEV in China and thus performed a sensitivity analysis on China’s electricity mix. Data of the electricity production mix of China came from the Institute for Energy Research’s “What Can the U.S. Learn from China’s Energy Policy?” China is overall more carbon intensive in their electricity production than the US, as a significant portion of their electricity source comes from coal. They also utilize less renewables in their production. The final mix used in our calculations were: coal (79%), nuclear (2%), natural gas (2%), hydropower (16%), oil (2%), wind (0%), geothermal (0%), solar (6%), and biomass (0%).
Transportation Assumptions
The three methods of transportation assumed in the movement of the vehicle parts, batteries, and whole cars are trucking, shipping, and rail. All methods of transportation utilize diesel fuel. The gasoline required was quantified by dividing the miles traveled by the average mileage per unit weight. This allowed us to scale everything down to the parts needed for one complete vehicle. We assumed batteries are made in China and shipped to San Pedro via large diesel cargo ships. Car parts are made in Mexico, transported to the US border via diesel trucks, and then shipped by rail to Detroit. Whole cars are then shipped by diesel train from Detroit to their final destination at dealerships in Los Angeles. Diesel trucks are used for short distances as well as to transport goods between the port and car dealerships. We assumed efficiencies of 99 ton-miles per gallon for diesel trucks, 380 ton-miles per gallon for trains, and 1,043 ton-miles per gallon for ships based on “Comparative Evaluation of Rail and Truck Fuel Efficiency on Competitive Corridors,” a Federal Railroad Administration paper, and an Iowa State University study by Baumel et al. Distances between destinations were calculated using Google Maps and emissions of these modes of transportation were calculated using the California GREET model.
Disposal and Recycling Assumptions
We assumed that all the car parts for both vehicles were recycled and disposed of in the same manner. From the literature, we discovered that there were a number of steps that went into disposal. These steps include: dismantling, shredding, separation, and transportation of the car parts to the junkyard. We accounted that these steps were the same for each of the BEV and CV only varying them slightly by weight. Where the two vehicles differ is in the recycling of the battery from the BEV. We included recycling of the lithium ion battery in the lifetime of the battery cycle from production to recycling. We did not include disposal of engine because we assumed that each engine was not disposed of and was instead remanufactured to be reused in other vehicles.
As mentioned earlier, we assumed that disposal of the BEV and CV only differ in their disposal of the BEV battery. The disposal of the car parts was held constant at 1297.33 MJ of energy and 53.51 kg of CO2. Currently battery recycling is a new and unproven technology, especially for batteries specifically tailored for BEVs. We are assuming lithium ion batteries to be the future method for battery technology in electric vehicles. While it is true other battery types such as nickel metal hydride were used in older models, most current models in the market as of this writing use lithium ion batteries. Our research on battery recycling yielded very limited data. Most studies show that battery recycling is not economically feasible due to the lack of demand for the raw material. Moreover, it is currently cheaper to use virgin battery raw material than recycled battery material since the latter is more energy intensive. But in the interest of future development of recycling, we included recycling in the lifetime of the battery.
Based on our findings in Ishihara et al., Nemry et al., and Staudinger and Keoleian, we determined that battery recycling required 31 MJ/kg, which, with a 300 kg battery per vehicle and operating under the assumption of 1 battery with partial replacement per vehicle life, equates to 13950 MJ of energy required to recycle the battery. We calculated, based on an emission intensity of energy of 1.51 kg CO2 per kg of battery, that this would lead to emissions totaling 680.76 kg CO2. Based on comparing our base case numbers, disposal remains an insignificant percentage of the overall totals. Disposal of a BEV is less than 1% of the total lifecycle energy and emissions. Limitations of this is the fact that our analysis assumed battery recycling to be included in a subset battery lifecycle analysis. Thus disposal remains an insignificant part of vehicle lifecycle energy and emissions. For CV, this is also true and only represents <1% of the overall lifecycle energy and emissions. Instead, including battery recycling in the battery lifecycle analysis provides a significant boost to the battery manufacturing sector of the base case thus accounting for its significant representation of approximately 20% of the total energy and emissions for the vehicle.
Sensitivity Analysis Methodology
After completing the base case, we performed sensitivity analysis on the various lifecycle stages and on several parameters to test for uncertainty. First, tornado graphs were created for both the CV and the BEV to display the sensitivity of MJ/mile and kg CO2eq/mile to the different lifecycle stages. The lifecycle stages that influence overall MJ/mile and kg CO2eq/mile for the BEV are manufacturing of vehicle parts, battery manufacturing, transportation of vehicle parts, charging, and disposal. The lifecycle stages that influence overall MJ/mile and kg CO2eq/mile for the CV are manufacturing of vehicle parts, engine manufacturing, transportation of vehicle parts, the fuel cycle, and disposal. The tornado graphs further below demonstrate which stages are the most influential. Furthermore, four individual parameters were tested: the carbon intensity of gasoline, the electricity mix, the life of the battery, and the fuel economies of the CV and BEV. We performed the sensitivity analysis by keeping the values of the rest of the unit processes constant, only changing each of the above parameters independently. The first parameter tested in a sensitivity analysis is the carbon intensity of gasoline. Because the carbon intensity of gasoline is increased with marginal
supplies coming from tar sands, we assumed that gasoline would become at least 15% dirtier. This 15% assumption is justified because it falls within an expected range of 8-37% from a Natural Resources Defense Council study by Mui et al. The next parameter tested was electricity mix variation. Four variations were compared when analyzing how the electricity mix affects our final results: base case (California’s current electricity mix), the US national electricity mix, the current mix in China, and a future California mix based on the projections of AB32.
The third parameter tested was the life of the battery. In the BEV base case it was assumed that one individual lithium ion battery had a lifetime of 120,000, therefore a total of 1.5 batteries would be needed for a vehicle lifetime of 180,000 miles. This 1.5 battery presumption was tested by calculating the lifecycle energy and emissions impacts of alternative scenarios where the battery does not have to be replaced at all (1 battery over the lifetime) or where the battery would have to be completely replaced once (2 batteries over the lifetime). The fourth parameter is the fuel economy of the BEV and CV. The base case fuel economy of 31 mpg for the CV was manipulated to find the mpg at which total lifecycle energy requirements and CO2 equivalent emissions were equal to those for the BEV. The fuel efficiency for the BEV in terms of km/KWH was also manipulated to see how a 10% battery efficiency change would affect lifecycle energy and emissions.
Monte Carlo Assumptions
We did a Monte Carlo analysis, via an excel add-in tool, in order to account for uncertainty in addition to the variability we covered in sensitivity analysis. We chose to perform the analysis on areas that were determined to be the most uncertain and sensitive to change. We determined the area that was most uncertain in a CV was the use phase. Performing the uncertainty analysis allowed us to determine how the range will change based on different scenarios. Uncertainty differs from variability because uncertainty allows us to change within a given set of unknowns compared to variability which is a known change. For a BEV, we figured the most uncertain variables to be battery manufacturing, in addition to use phase. Battery manufacturing is an uncertain variable because there is little literature available on how to project more efficient manufacturing into the future. An uncertain aspect of BEV charging is how different carbon intensities affect the BEV, much like a sensitivity analysis. We want to see where the mean and most likely event will occur as our scenarios change within given uncertainties.
Cost Effectiveness and Net Present Cost Assumptions
To determine the cost effectiveness, we performed a net present value calculation. The base prices used were $35,000 for the BEV, $15,000 for the CV, and $20,000 for the Hybrid. These prices were based off of Kelly Blue Book fair purchase prices for a Nissan LEAF (BEV), a Nissan Versa (CV), and a Toyota Prius C (hybrid). The effective base price of the BEV is lowered by $7500 after federal tax incentives, however this is not included in our calculations. A $3,000 mandatory home charger is included, however. We also predicted the BEV battery would need to be partially replaced for $10,000 after 8 years, based on a current price of $30,000 for a full replacement which should fall with improving technology. The interest rate was assumed to be 5%. A gasoline base price of $3.82 per gallon was based off of the California average for 2011. We used an electricity price of 12 cents per KWH based off of California averages. We calculated a gasoline price increase rate of 12.6% based on a 15 year California average from "U.S. Gasoline and Diesel Retail Prices" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration and found that electricity increased at a rate of 6% based on residential electricity
prices provided by EIA. Finally, we decided that the 180,000 miles would be traveled equally over 15 years.
4. Results and Discussion
Our results begin with our base cases for energy inputs and CO2 equivalents emissions for our three vehicle types. Then we show the corresponding air pollution emissions for the CV and the BEV. Next, the results of our sensitivity analyses are shown with corresponding graphs and tables, which illustrate the sensitivity of our base case to changing assumptions. Monte Carlo Uncertainty analysis and cost studies are also included.
a. Base case
i. Lifecycle Energy Results
Figure 1. Energy Inputs Lifecycle Comparison
Our preliminary results, or “base case,” for the energy requirements of each vehicle type show that over their lifetime (manufacturing, transportation, use, and disposal), the CV requires 858,145 MJ, the BEV requires 506,988 MJ, and the hybrid requires 564,251 MJ of energy. Figure 1 shows this lifecycle comparison, categorizing the phases by color within each bar on the graph. The use phase contributes most significantly to the energy use of all three vehicle types. Battery production, included in the lifecycles of the BEV and hybrid vehicle, also played a major role in lifecycle energy requirements.
Our base case results suggest that a BEV uses the least amount of energy of all the vehicle types analyzed in this study, followed by a hybrid and a CV. The results of the CV lifecycle analysis show that by far the greatest source of energy intensity is the use phase, at 95% of the lifecycle energy. This is due to the amounts of energy required to extract and process the gasoline and the energy intensity of the gasoline itself. Other life stages such as the manufacturing of vehicle parts, engine manufacturing, transportation, and disposal contribute minimal energy requirements. Similarly for the BEV model, the use phase, which consists of
generating the electricity needed to charge the battery, requires the most energy of all phases: 74% of the total energy used over the lifetime.
Interestingly, the battery manufacturing phase also contributes significantly, with 19% of the lifetime energy requirements. Vehicle parts manufacturing, transportation, and disposal are not significant to the overall lifecycle energy inputs of a BEV. A hybrid’s energy requirements, as predicted, all in-between the CV and BEV, with the greatest energy needs coming from the use phase at 89%. Due to the smaller size of the hybrid battery, our calculations suggest that a hybrid’s battery manufacturing only accounts for 4% of the lifecycle energy inputs. For all cases, transportation, vehicle parts manufacturing, and disposal phases were negligible.
ii. CO2 Equivalents Results
Figure 2. CO2 Equivalents Lifecycle Comparison
Our base case of emissions produced over the entire lifecycle of the vehicles (measured in CO2 equivalents), reveals that a CV produces 62,866 kg CO2 equivalents, a BEV produces 31, 821 kg CO2 equivalents, and a hybrid produces 40,773 kg CO2 equivalents (Figure 2). The lifecycle emissions results follow the same trend as lifecycle energy results, revealing that the BEV is the most efficient, followed by the hybrid and the CV.
For all three vehicle types, the use phase contributes the most CO2 equivalents emissions; the use phase can be attributed to 96% of CV emissions, 91% of hybrid emissions, and 69% of BEV emissions. Battery manufacturing is accountable for 24% of the BEV’s lifecycle emissions, but only 3% of hybrid’s lifecycle emissions. The BEV produces the lowest amount of emissions and is therefore the best in terms of environmental impacts overall.
iii. Energy and Emissions Per Mile Driven
Table 1. Energy and Emissions Per Mile Comparison Table
Energy (MJ/mile)
Emissions (kg CO2eq/mile)
Table 1 shows the per mile comparison of a BEV, CV, and hybrid with respect to lifetime energy and emissions. Given a vehicle lifetime of 180,000 miles, each mile driven in a BEV requires 2.82 MJ and produces 0.18 kg CO2 equivalents, each mile driven in a CV requires 4.77 MJ and produces 0.35 kg CO2 equivalents, and each mile driven in a hybrid requires 3.14 MJ and produces 0.23 kg CO2 equivalents. The CV is 41% more energy intensive and 49% more emitting than the BEV. The CV is also 34% more energy intensive and emitting than the hybrid. The hybrid is 10% more energy intensive and 22% more emitting than the BEV.
iv. Air Pollutants
Figure 3. CV Lifecycle Air Pollutants
Figure 3 displays lifecycle air pollutants of the CV. Use phase (red) dominates over the lifecycle. Note the values of grams polluted over the lifecycle. Emissions for the CV (figure 3) are an order of magnitude higher than that of the BEV. It may seem deceiving. Figure 5 is a more accurate way to compare lifecycle air pollutants of the CV vs BEV.
Figure 4. BEV Lifecycle Air Pollutants
Figure 4 illustrates air pollution over the lifecycle of the BEV. The majority of pollution comes from the production of electricity (shown in blue). Air pollutant emissions during use phase are only PM10 and PM2.5 (see figure 4). This is due to brake and tire wear while in motion. There is no pollution during use for VOCs, CO, NOx, or SOx. Pollution occurs during electricity production, and thus is a point source. This has potential for facilitated trapping of pollutants. If technology moves in a way to allow air pollutants to be trapped, stored, or removed by reactions, use of the BEV has even more potential to reduce air pollution.
Figure 5. Lifecycle Air Pollutants Comparison
Figure 5 is a combined graph of the lifecycle air pollutants for the CV and BEV.
Air pollution has serious impacts on the environment and human health. VOCs, CO, NOx, PM10, PM2.5, and SOx make up the non-greenhouse gas pollution from each vehicle type.
● VOCs react with NOx in the presence of sunlight to form ozone. In the troposphere, ozone is a serious air pollutant, causing smog. Ozone prevents the human lung from inhaling to full capacity. High concentrations of ozone inhibit plants rate of photosynthesis.
● CO also contributes to the formation of smog, reducing visibility. To the human body, carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to vital organs.
● NOx has minor human health impacts, mainly respiratory related. It also reacts with VOCs in the presence of sunlight to form ozone.
● PM10 & PM2.5 are a main factor in visibility reduction. High concentrations also may have some effect on the human respiratory system.
● SOx can react in the atmosphere and form small particles. Particulate matter may have respiratory effects if exposed to high concentrations.
b. Sensitivity Analysis
i. Energy and Emissions Sensitivity
Tornado graphs were created for both the CV and the BEV to display the sensitivity of MJ/mile and kg CO2eq/mile to the different lifecycle stages. The lifecycle stages that influence overall MJ/mile and kg CO2eq/mile for the BEV are manufacturing of vehicle parts, battery manufacturing, transportation of vehicle parts, charging, and disposal. The lifecycle stages that influence overall MJ/mile and kg CO2eq/mile for the CV are manufacturing of vehicle parts, engine manufacturing, transportation of vehicle parts, the fuel cycle, and disposal. The tornado graphs further below demonstrate that the stages with the largest bars are the most influential.
Figure 6. BEV Energy Sensitivity
Figure 6 demonstrates that a change in energy intensity (MJ/mile) during the electrical charging process will be the most influential in the overall lifecycle energy intensity for the BEV. A change in MJ/mile during battery manufacturing will also greatly impact the overall energy
intensity of the BEV. This proves that charging and battery manufacturing are crucial contributors to BEV energy intensity.
Figure 7. BEV Emissions Sensitivity
Figure 7 demonstrates that a change in emissions intensity during the electrical charging process (or use phase) will be the most influential in the overall lifecycle emissions intensity for the BEV. A change in kg CO2eq/mile during battery manufacturing will also greatly impact the overall emissions intensity of the BEV. This proves that charging and battery manufacturing are crucial contributors to BEV emissions intensity.
Figure 8. CV Energy Sensitivity
Figure 8 demonstrates that a change in energy intensity during the driving stage will be by far the most significant contribution to the overall lifecycle energy intensity for the CV. A change in MJ/mile during the manufacturing of vehicle parts is also influential but not as critically as the actual driving of the CV.
Figure 9. CV Emissions Sensitivity
Figure 9 demonstrates that a change in emissions intensity during the driving stage will be by far the most significant contribution to the overall lifecycle emissions intensity for the CV. A change in kg CO2eq/mile during the manufacturing of vehicle parts is also influential but not as critically as the actual driving of the CV.
ii. Future Projections of Carbon Intensity for Gasoline and Electricity Mix
While a lifecycle analysis of current data is useful, it is important to extrapolate data into the future when deciding on a vehicle that will last for 180,000 miles. Assuming that gasoline is progressively getting dirtier as we explore tar sand technology, CVs will become more polluting with time. Because hybrids also consume gasoline during the use phase, the hybrid model also becomes more polluting with time. BEVs however will become more efficient and less polluting as the electricity mix is shifted towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Figure 10. CO2 Equivalents Lifecycle Comparison
Figure 10 is a compilation of our base case results and our projected results for the year 2020 based on gasoline getting 15% dirtier with increased extraction from tar sands and California’s electricity mix getting cleaner with increased power coming from renewable energy sources. If gasoline becomes 15% dirtier because of increased extraction from tar sands then CV and hybrid CO2 equivalents emissions will be 15% higher than the base case values. Based off of California’s goal to have 33% of its electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020, we calculated the lifecycle energy inputs and emissions of a BEV charged with 33% renewables and found that the use phase emissions fell from 22,012 kg CO2 equivalents to 15,283 kg CO2 equivalents, a 31% decrease.
Figure 11 below shows the carbon intensity of electricity. From the graph we hoped to determine the requisite kg of carbon dioxide equivalents produced per KWH in order to make the difference in CV and BEV equal to zero. Effectively this would make the CO2 emissions equal for both cars. If electricity had a higher intensity, this would make the BEV worse than a CV from an emissions standpoint. The break even point in terms of carbon intensity is 0.87 kg CO2eq/KWH. We can see from the figure that the base case is current at approximately 0.34 kg CO2eq/KWH. This means that carbon intensity would have to more than double in order for the break even point to occur. At the break even point, however, there are still benefits to driving a BEV; electricity production occurs at a point source. CO2 emissions from electricity production come from a stationary location and thus have the potential to be confined. CV emissions are a mobile source and thus are harder to capture.
Figure 11. Carbon Intensity of Electricity
We did a similar analysis and graph for increasing carbon intensity of gasoline which can be found in the Appendix D. As expected, the graph demonstrates that as carbon intensity of gasoline increased, the difference in emissions between the CV and BEV also increases and never approaches zero.
iii. Variations in Electricity Mix
By substituting the electricity mix for different regions of BEV operation, we were able to see how energy intensity and emission intensity varies during the lifecycle. The different electricity mixes considered, besides the California mix used in the base case, were the AB32 projected mix with 33% renewables, the U.S. mix, and the Chinese mix.
Table 2. BEV Energy and Emissions Intensity for Different Electricity Mixes
Life Time
Energy (MJ/mile)
Emissions (kg CO2eq/mile)
California AB32 2020 Projected 33% Renewables
CA Electricity Mix (Base Case)
U.S. Electricity Mix
China Electricity Mix
In comparison to the California base case mix, the AB32 2020 projected 33% renewables mix demonstrates a decrease of 18% in emissions intensity and a decrease of 22% in emissions intensity. The U.S. electricity mix entails an increase of 29% in energy intensity and an increase of 61% in emissions intensity, when compared to California. China’s electricity mix yields an increase of 43% in energy intensity and an increase of 122% in emissions intensity. Figure 11 and Figure 12 further display the energy and emissions intensity percentage differences among electricity variations. Our sensitivity analysis of electricity mix dependency shows that California’s electricity mix with 33% renewables, is the most energy efficient and the least polluting, followed by the base case California mix, then by the U.S. average national mix, and finally by China’s average electricity mix. California not only has the highest percentage of renewables, but also the lowest percentage of electricity coming from coal-fired power plants, which lowers emissions considerably. Thus, it is more energy and emissions efficient to charge a BEV in California than it is to charge it elsewhere in the United States or in China.
Figure 12. Electricity Mix Comparison-Energy
Figure 12 shows how the electricity mix impacts the lifecycle energy inputs requirements of a BEV by comparing the California base case to a future projection of 33% renewables in California, of the U.S. national average mix, and of China’s average mix. The graph is normalized and the changes are seen as percentages rather than in MJs.
Figure 13. Electricity Mix Comparison-Emissions
Figure 13 shows how the electricity mix impacts the lifecycle emissions of a BEV by comparing the California base case to a future projection of 33% renewables in California, of the U.S. national average mix, and of China’s average mix. The graph is normalized and the changes are seen as percentages rather than in CO2 equivalents.
iv. Battery Lifetime Analysis
In the BEV base case, it was assumed that half of the battery modules would have to be replaced once during the lifetime of the vehicle. To test the sensitivity of this partial replacement, calculations for the energy intensity and emissions intensity were done assuming different circumstances where either one complete battery would have to be replaced or the battery would not have to be replaced at all.
Table 3.
Energy (MJ/mile)
(kg CO2eq/mile)
BEV, battery replaced once during lifetime
BEV, battery partially replaced(50%) (base case)
BEV, no battery replacement
The battery technology used in BEVs is constantly evolving and becoming more efficient. While we assumed that 50% of the battery would need to be replaced once over the lifetime of the BEV in our base case, we feel that this will not hold true for BEVs in the future and that less replacement will be necessary. To analyze this decreasing scale of battery energy requirements and emissions, we tested our data by decreasing the number of batteries from 1.5 to 1 to determine how fewer battery resource needs would impact the overall lifecycle impacts, and also tested our results if the full battery needed to be replaced and changed the number of batteries to 2. Running sensitivity analysis on the life of the lithium ion battery found in the BEV
shows that if the battery lifetime range were to increase so that only 1 battery was needed instead of 1.5, making replacement unnecessary, the BEV would become 6.57% more energy efficient and produce 8.47% fewer emissions. If all of the battery modules required replacement during the life of the BEV (or one whole extra battery), the energy per mile would be 3.001 MJ/mile and the emissions per mile would be 0.191 kg CO2eq/mile. Requiring two batteries over the BEV lifetime rather than a single battery increases the CO2 equivalents emissions by 17.9%. While battery efficiency does carry some weight in the overall lifecycle emissions; it is the still the use phase and charging of the battery that impacts lifecycle emissions the most.
v. Fuel Economy Analysis
Because the drivetrains of BEVs and CVs differ so extensively, it is important to be able to compare their efficiencies against each other; using conversion factors found in GREET, we were able to use the metric of miles per gallon equivalents to compare the CV and BEV base cases. In our base case we assumed that a CV had a fuel economy of 31 miles per gallon of gasoline, which is comparable to the fuel economy of a Nissan Versa. The BEV was assumed to have an efficiency of 100 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalents, which is comparable to the fuel economy of a Nissan Leaf. In terms of lifecycle energy input requirements, for a CV to equal a BEV in energy usage, a CV must achieve an improved fuel economy of 54 miles per gallon of gasoline. Similarly, the CV would have to increase its fuel economy from 31 mpg to 63 mpg to meet the lifecycle emissions of a BEV. While CV technology is likely to improve with time, the gasoline will also become more polluting, potentially negating the efficiency increases in conventional engine technology.The fuel efficiency for the BEV in terms of km/KWH was also manipulated to see how a 10% battery efficiency change would affect lifecycle energy and emissions. These battery efficiency results are visible in Appendix D.
c. Monte Carlo Uncertainty Analysis
When performing a Monte Carlo Analysis on BEV Greenhouse Gas emissions, we ran an Excel plug in that ran 1000 iterations. For the analysis, we held a number of variables as constant because they played little role in affecting the overall value for emissions. For BEV, we assigned variable parameters to battery manufacturing and charging because we were uncertain about how they would change over time. Our results from this analysis shows that at our current base case standards, the emissions are at 31,820.56 kg CO2 for lifetime carbon emissions. When looking at Figure 14, we can see that this number is an outlier. From Figure 14, we interpret this statistical result to mean that as electricity sources become less carbon intensive and more focused on renewables, the lifetime CO2 equivalents will decrease. The mean from this standard bell curve shows the most frequent occurrence will be between 24000 and 25000 kg CO2 over the whole lifetime. This is a stark contrast and dramatically reduced from the base case values. The implications of this is that cleaner energy inputs and less battery replacement trends the BEV towards a more favorable vehicle.
Figure 14. Monte Carlo Uncertainty Analysis for BEV GHG emissions
For a CV, our base case analysis equates CO2 equivalents to 62,866.2 kg over the lifetime. When conducting the Monte Carlo uncertainty analysis on the CV GHG emissions, we kept vehicle parts manufacturing, engine manufacturing, transportation of parts, and disposal as constants because these had little effect on the overall outcome and emissions level. Instead we performed a uncertainty test on the GHG emissions from the use phase. When looking at Figure 15, we see that our base case emissions value is at the low end of the frequency. As gasoline mix becomes dirtier because fuel sources are moving towards the marginal and more energy intensive extraction, then it will shift the mean emissions higher. According to the 1000 trials ran in the assessment, there will be more likely occurrences of 70,000 kg CO2 being emitted over a lifetime of a CV.
Figure 15. Monte Carlo Uncertainty Analysis for CV GHG emissions
d. Cost Analyses
i. Total Lifecycle Cost and Payback Period
The BEV will cost the consumer an estimated $52,203.95 over its 15 year, 180,000 mile lifetime. This lifecycle cost includes a mandatory charger for the electric vehicle, which must be installed at the owner’s home for $3,000, as well as a $10,000 partial replacement battery after 8 years or 100,000 miles. This figure does not include government tax credits which would lower the cost by $7,500. Although the sticker price of the BEV is only $35,000, the net present cost including the charger and replacement battery is $45,435.56. The electricity usage adds $7,435.56 over its lifetime. The Hybrid vehicle is the cheapest over its whole lifetime at $40,906.50. The upfront cost is $20,000 and the lifetime cost of gasoline adds up to $20,906.50. The Conventional Vehicle is $48,720.17 over it’s lifetime. The upfront cost for the CV is only $15,000.00, but the gasoline costs add up to $33,720.17.
Figure 16. Net Present Cost Comparison
The hybrid vehicle is the cheapest over its lifetime, followed by the CV. The BEV is the most expensive. The time it takes to recover the initial difference varies depending on how much gasoline will cost in the future and what the interest rate is. These rates will change the usage costs at each year.
Based on our calculated differences in usage costs, a consumer should be willing to spend an extra $26,284.61 on a BEV compared to a CV or an extra $13,470.95 compared to a hybrid for the vehicles to have the same lifetime costs. This means that the BEV does not pay itself off over its lifetime since the BEV costs $30,435.56 more than a CV. If one takes into account government subsidies, the BEV is effectively $7,500 cheaper. After 13 years, the consumer would have spent $30,374.78 on gasoline for a CV or $6,906.29 on electricity for a BEV. At this point the savings would be $23,468.49 which is greater than the initial subsidized vehicle price difference, meaning the extra initial cost for a BEV will have been paid off after 13 years.
Using the same calculation to compare a hybrid to a CV, the Hybrid’s extra initial cost of $5,000 will be paid off after 8 years. The gasoline costs will be $8,754.08 for a hybrid and $14,119.49 for a CV.
In Figure 17 below, we determined the rate of electricity price increase needed in order to equate the cost of the BEV and the CV. In doing so we held all other prices constant, which is a limitation. What we determined however is that in order for the costs to be equivalent, electricity prices must increase by a negative percentage, effectively decrease by approximately 5% to make the costs the same. The graph also shows that as electricity prices continue to increase, the cost differential between a BEV and CV will increase at a faster rate, effectively making the BEV a worse economic choice.
Figure 17. Breakeven Point for Cost of BEV and CV When Altering Rate of Electricity Price Increase
Alternatively this Figure 18 shows the difference in price between a BEV and CV when comparing them to rising gasoline prices. We wanted to analyze how gasoline prices had to increase, again holding all other prices constant, in order to break even and make the CV costlier than the BEV. Our findings indicated that the base case costs were very close to the break even point and that gasoline prices need to rise at a rate of approximately 13% per year, a much more reasonable expectation. From the graph, we determine that as the gasoline rate continues on an upward trend, the CV overtakes the BEV in terms of lifetime costs and quickly outpaces it.
Figure 18. Breakeven Point for Cost of BEV and CV when altering Rate of Gasoline Price Increase
ii. Cost Effectiveness
To calculate the cost effectiveness of the BEV and the hybrid, the incremental total lifecycle costs were divided by the lifecycle emissions avoided. Thus, an incremental cost of $3,483.78 was calculated based on the difference of CV total lifecycle cost of $48,720.17 and of BEV total lifecycle cost $52,203.95. The difference in emissions between the CV and the BEV was 31,045.64 kg CO2eq. This shows that for every additional dollar spent on the BEV compared to the CV, 8.91 kg CO2eq. are avoided or that it costs approximately $0.11 to avoid emitting 1 kg CO2eq. Similar approaches were taken to calculate the cost effectiveness for the hybrid compared to the CV and for the BEV compared to the hybrid. The cost effectiveness for the hybrid compared to the CV is -2.77 kg CO2eq/$ or -0.36 $/kg CO2eq. There is a negative cost for the hybrid here because the total lifecycle cost is lower than that for the CV, so there is no incremental cost for the emissions avoided. Although one saves money while also saving emissions with the hybrid, there is still a positive payback period because the consumer must wait 8 years to recuperate the additional upfront cost. Nonetheless, the hybrid is the more cost effective option for reducing emissions because even if the efficiency in terms of km/KWH increases for the BEV, there is still an incremental cost for the avoided emissions, whereas with the hybrid there is actually cost savings.
5. Limitations
Despite our attention to detail when conducting our study, there are certain factors that are difficult to account for in our project. As such, it is expected that the project has certain limitations. For example, most of our assumptions are based on current events and technology.
The future is very uncertain so these assumptions likely will change. The energy mix is one such inevitable change. Our base case employs current California and U.S. energy mixes but these will likely shift towards a higher percentage of renewables as the world shifts away from fossil fuels. This shift will result in widespread use of BEV’s being even more appealing. Battery electric vehicles are a newly emerging technology. As these vehicles get more popular, more firms will develop BEV’s to compete in the market. With increased popularity comes increased research and technological upgrades. BEV’s likely will become increasingly efficient in the future in terms of both their manufacture and fuel economy. With an increasing number of BEV’s on the road, the demand on electricity will also increase causing electricity rates to rise. Simultaneously, the cost of gasoline will fall as the need for it decreases. These two opposing trends will likely lead to a price equilibrium, which will determine the quantity of each vehicle type on the road. Therefore, our cost analysis has its limits.
Another factor limiting our project is national security. World events and conflicts are volatile events that influence energy prices. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to predict the effects of these events for our project so we did not incorporate national security in our study. In many ways, we implicitly considered the current state of world affairs by choosing our base energy prices for our study. The prices we chose are a function of the current state of the economy and international relations. By doing so, we automatically kept this factor constant when we made our projections but in reality, it is unpredictable. For example, most of our imported oil is from the Middle East, which is quite unstable, but this may not be the case in the future. Again our study is limited due to be being based on current information. Lifecycle analyses by definition describe the state of system at a specific point in time, and hence is limited.
6. Conclusions
After our base case, sensitivity analysis, and uncertainty analysis, all of our results point to one main finding: a BEV is more energy efficient, and less polluting than a CV.
Although it takes 13 years to pay off the extra initial cost of a BEV over the lifetime of the vehicle, a BEV can ultimately save the consumer money. With improving technology, batteries and their production will become more efficient and BEV costs will likely decrease, making an electric car more attractive in the future from the consumer’s standpoint.
The majority of CV lifecycle air pollutants are emitted on the road. This type of emission is a mobile source - pollution that is very difficult to confine. Air pollution from BEVs however are emitted during the production of electricity and thus are a point source. Pollution from point sources has the potential to be easier to mitigate. With future advances in capturing and storing or chemically removing air pollution, BEV’s will have an even lower impact on the environment. Reduced air pollution leads to improved visibility and public health benefits.
With AB 32, California has committed to increasing its renewable energy sources through climate action policy. AB32 mandates that California’s electricity mix contain at least 33% renewables by 2020. The production of clean, virtually emissions-free energy makes BEVs more appealing, especially as the charging of BEVs will increase electricity consumption. This increase in renewables is also likely to drive improvements in energy technology and efficiency.
Future research can project our analysis even further. We recommend continued analysis in battery production and recycling. Clearly the BEV is preferred in terms of environmental concerns. However, further research needs to be conducted on how to better meet consumers’ need with longer battery range and faster charging ability.
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8. Appendices
Appendix A. Flow Diagram of BEV Figure 19. Flow Diagram of BEV
Appendix B. Flow Diagram of CV
Figure 20. Flow Diagram of CV
Appendix C. Unit Processes and Corresponding Sources
Vehicle Parts Manufacturing- "Energy-Consumption and Carbon-Emission Analysis of Vehicle and Component Manufacturing," Sullivan, 2010.
Engine Manufacturing- "Energy-Consumption and Carbon-Emission Analysis of Vehicle and Component Manufacturing," Sullivan, 2010.
Battery Manufacturing- Argonne Battery Analysis article, 2010.
Fuel Cycle- CA GREET Model
Electricity Generation during Charging Phase - CA GREET Model.
“Greenhouse Gas Emissions for Renewable Sources of Electricity,” Sovacool, 2008. Battery Efficiency- "Battery Electric Vehicles: Performance, CO2 Emissions, Lifecycle Costs and Advanced Battery Technology Development," Baaker, 2010.
Current California Electricity Mix- California Energy Commission.
Future California Electricity Mix-Staff Report from the California Air Resources Board. National Electricity Mix- U.S. Energy Information Administration.
China Electricity Mix- Institute for Energy Research.
Transportation- Federal Railroad Administration, 2009. The Iowa State University Extension, 2012. CA GREET Model.
Air Pollutants- CA GREET Model.
Disposal and Recycling- Staudinger and Keoleian 2001. Nemry et al. 2008. Argonne Battery Analysis article, 2010.
Appendix D. Supplementary Data Tables and Graphs
i. Figure 21. Energy Inputs Lifecycle Comparison
Figure 21 is a compilation of our base case results and our projected results for the year 2020 based on gasoline getting dirtier with increased extraction from tar sands and California’s electricity mix getting cleaner with increased power coming from renewable energy sources.
ii. Figure 22. Energy Inputs Future Projections (2020)
Figure 22 shows our energy inputs requirements for each vehicle based on projections for the year 2020. Our future projections are based off of our findings in the literature that gasoline will become dirtier as tar sands become exploited and that California’s electricity mix will include 33% renewables.
iii. Figure 23. CO2 Equivalents Emissions Future Projections (2020)
Figure 23 shows our emissions for each vehicle will be based on projections for the year 2020. Our future projections are based off of our findings in the literature that gasoline will become dirtier as tar sands become exploited and that California’s electricity mix will include 33% renewables.
iv. BEV Battery Efficiency Analysis
Table 4. Lithium Ion Battery Efficiency Sensitivity Analysis
By altering the lithium ion battery efficiency from the original 0.21 KWH/km, we can note the effects of battery efficiency on the energy intensity and emission intensity during the lifecycle. A 10% increase in battery efficiency means a 7.45% decrease in MJ/mile and a 5.56% decrease in kg CO2eq/mile. Conversely, a 10% decrease in battery efficiency means a 7.45% increase in MJ/mile and a 5.56% increase in kg CO2eq/mile.
Energy (MJ/mile)
Emissions (kg CO2eq/mile)
BEV Base Case battery efficiency
10% more battery efficiency
10% less battery efficiency
v. Figure 24. CV Lifecycle Emissions with Changing Gasoline Carbon Intensity
Figure 24 shows CV lifecycle emissions as we increased the carbon intensity of gasoline. Based on our understanding, gasoline sources are moving towards the margin and becoming dirtier. As expected, when carbon intensity increases, the difference in CO2 emissions between a CV and BEV increases. This makes the CV a continually worse option by emissions standards.

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