Friday, June 27, 2008

DR. HYPOCRITE AND HIS HYBRID CAR

In the world of feel-good environmentalism, where the incantation to “reduce, recycle and conserve” achieves virtually nothing except provide you with a sense of moral superiority over your redneck neighbour, driving a hybrid car is the equivalent of pulling out a bottle of vintage Beaujolais before your boss and his wife at a dinner party. Snob appeal.

So it could only be for His Holiness, CBC darling Dr. David Hypocrite, one of Mother Corp’s anointed all-time top ten Greatest Canadians, to be driving a Toyota Prius. But guess what? It turns out its all for show. It’s all bull shit. And the word has been out for more than a year. But any environmentalist of his reputed caliber with a “holistic” vision, should have seen it.

The Toyota Prius is a hoax. Forget the focus on fuel economy, on depleting oil supplies. Look at the broad issues. Of energy costs incurred from inception through disposal, as only 15% of energy costs occur while driving the vehicle. Look at raw material production, sourcing, car production, car maintenance and the disposal of the vehicle at the end of its life. Look at, as a CNW Marketing Study put it, from “Dust to Dust”. When analyzed from that perspective, CNW’s verdict was unequivocal. A Hummer was will last three times longer, and use less continued energy over its lifespan, as incredible as that may sound to the conventional green mind.

Building a Toyota Prius is not an environmentally friendly process either. Toyota buys 1000 tons of nickel from that toxic nickel plant in Sudbury, Ontario---not a significant portion, but a contribution nonetheless---where it escapes a canopy of sulphur dioxide enroute to the coal-burning economy of China, which converts it to “nickel foam”. From there it goes to Japan and then by oil fuelled ships to the United States to become batteries for a “green” car. It would be poetic justice if the environmentalist who bought his Prius had to tour a battery manufacturing plant, or have a bucket of toxic goo delivered with his new car to his townhome in the suburbs.

And how long do these batteries last? Dr. H. confided that he was needing to replace his battery for $2000. But another customer called his Toyota dealer and was told that the cost of replacing the battery and the inverter for this “green” car whose lifespan is 100,000 miles was going to set him back a cool $4500. Now just think what that will do to re-sale values. Yes gas prices are high. But now you have to put up $4500 to get this hybrid on the road. Looks like the Sierra Club is going to send a lot of metal to our junk yards. And as one critic observed, “if we have problems disposing of flashlight batteries because of the harm done to the done to the environment, how are we going to dispose of batteries used to power cars?” Imagine if every Green Party dupe, every socialist bore, every holier than thou CBC listener bought a battery operated car, how many nuclear power plants would be needed to recharge the batteries? What would that do to cancer rates?

It’s no wonder that, according to the CNW study, the combined energy to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship of green energy crusaders, takes almost 50% more energy than a hated Hummer. The Prius costs $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles, while the Hummer costs a mere $1.95 per mile , in relation, over its expected lifespan of 300,000 miles. Of course, there are better alternatives to either in the Toyota Scion x B at $0.48 per mile or a Chevy Aveo.

Given these facts, one wonders why those literate in environmental matters and endowed with investigate skills would have fall prey to the marketing fad of hybrid vehicles? The answer can be found in this sentence from the March 14, 2007 issue of Science and Technology News: “The Toyota Prius has become the flagship car for those in our society so environmentally conscious that they are willing to spend a premium to show the world how much they care.” Stress upon the word “show”. Yes indeed. It is more important in yuppie Greendom to be seen to be ecologically correct than it is to be ecologically correct---or effective. And Doctor H. is a Master of Show. He is, after all, in show business. For his behaviour consistently conflicts with his professed ideals.

He rails against climate change but has sired five Suzukis who, if average, collectively emit 214 metric tonnes of green house gasses annually or 86 times more GHG than my compact Japanese car. That’s right. His five Suzukis do more damage than my one Suzuki. He would do the environment a greater favour by ditching the Prius and getting a conventional economy car to commute between his several energy-guzzling homes and to the airport, where he could make his plane trips to the Queen Charlottes to rendezvous with his native friends who provide cover for him to over-fish and over-hunt for needed “r an r”. Recharged, he can fly back to YVR, total CO2 expenditure .756 tonnes, and spend the same carbon on a connecting flight to his Ivory Tower at the CBC Studio in Toronto. The CBC Thought Police will then give him a podium to tell the world how us white-ass consumers are living beyond our means and having no respect for limits---like the natives, who are a model for us all, at one with nature. You know, the folks who get a free pass from environmentalists like Doctor H. while hunting the endangered polar bear, narwhals, and belugas with modern machines and signing contracts with logging, oil, gas and mining companies.

Here’s some questions for Dr. H. and his many millions of loyal CBC groupies across the land, and for those enamoured with hybrid cars. Since roughly 60% of us drive a car every day, mathematical symmetry would project that each year an additional 150,000 immigrant drivers would become daily users of Canadian roads. What dear green leftie, is the point of energy conservation of any kind in the face of your blind, determined and deliberate effort to create more energy consumers through mass immigration of the ridiculous scale of recent decades ? What is the point of improving efficiency but not reducing total energy consumption?

We don’t need energy efficient cars so much as fewer drivers.Fewer people fewer drivers.

8 comments:

S. David Lalonde said...

If you do not believe in climate change due to human intervention, then the discussion of conservation for conservation sake is moot. However, there is still an economic argument for each individual to change their transportation methods, whether by driving a more fuel efficient vehicle or by changing to public transit or bike riding.

If the answer, as you say, is to have fewer drivers on the road, how do you propose we accomplish that? Carbon taxes / shift will make people feel the pain every time the fill up, and this will get drivers off the road. But, if I need to drive, I still can lower the economic hit by choosing an efficient vehicle, such as a hybrid SUV (Escape) or a four banger sub compact (Yaris).

Tim Murray said...

How do I propose to have fewer drivers on the road? Isn’t it an obvious inference Mr. Lalonde from what I just said? We stop importing drivers! 150,000 each year who give birth to more drivers at a higher rate than other Canadians. Dah. Without immigration, without birth incentives, with the death rate steady , our population drops and by attrition alone the driving population declines. In the meantime, you can implement all those lovely soft green nostrums like public transit, more bikes, car pools and sub compacts. But again, per capita consumption is not relevant. Total consumption is. Population growth is what drives that. In fact, between 1980 and 2004, 88% of the increase in US energy consumption was accounted for by population growth and only 12% by increased per capita useage. In other words, it wasn't that more people were favouring SUVs than compacts, it was that there more drivers on the road each year. Two to three million in fact. Now driving a fuel efficient car is always a good choice for your pocket book and, in my opinion, for the atmosphere, so go ahead and make that choice if you must drive. But please let's not pretend that the answer lies in all of us making similar choices and then growing the pool of drivers by 1% annually through immigration which will wipe out those gains.

Rick Shea said...

Mr. Lalonde obviously hasn't thought about the economic implications of what he is proposing. Getting drivers off the road means a huge shift in the way workers, including our increasingly-beleaguered middle class, carry out their lives. Draining money from their pocketbooks, while businesses and the wealthy write off the tax as a cost of doing business, will increase social tensions, allow less disposable income for the gluttonous hyperconsumption that our economy needs in order to avoid collapsing like a house of cards, and fails to account for the fact that additional expense is required to replace current vehicles with more fuel efficient ones (and a recent analysis shows that hybrids actually cost more and have a greater environmental impact over their entire life cycle than many conventional cars). Complete the circle, Mr. Lalonde, and think about the implications of proposing that the poor and middle class subsidize the wealthy's lifestyle, again. Be careful, Mr. Lalonde. You don't want to piss off the middle class, as they have become rather accustomed to a certain lifestyle and will not be at all happy if only a few are enabled to continue with that lifestyle.

Rick Shea said...

Mr. Lalonde obviously hasn't thought about the economic implications of what he is proposing. Getting drivers off the road means a huge shift in the way workers, including our increasingly-beleaguered middle class, carry out their lives. Draining money from their pocketbooks, while businesses and the wealthy write off the tax as a cost of doing business, will increase social tensions, allow less disposable income for the gluttonous hyperconsumption that our economy needs in order to avoid collapsing like a house of cards, and fails to account for the fact that additional expense is required to replace current vehicles with more fuel efficient ones (and a recent analysis shows that hybrids actually cost more and have a greater environmental impact over their entire life cycle than many conventional cars). Complete the circle, Mr. Lalonde, and think about the implications of proposing that the poor and middle class subsidize the wealthy's lifestyle, again. Be careful, Mr. Lalonde. You don't want to piss off the middle class, as they have become rather accustomed to a certain lifestyle and will not be at all happy if only a few are enabled to continue with that lifestyle.

S. David Lalonde said...

Tim, we stop importing drivers while China adds 30 million new drivers to the roads every year? :)

I know that probably just plays into another one of your arguments, perhaps proving that anything we do to reduce pollution by individuals and industry in Canada is easily dwarfed by increases in pollution due to economic growth in Asia (China, India).

That's fine, I agree with that. I may be swayed one way or the other on environmental issues and our ability to change anything. However, the economic equation doesn't change. It also does not mean that we should do nothing.

Rick, the increased costs due to carbon taxes as proposed by the BC Liberals and federal Liberals will be offset by reduced income taxes, especially for the poor and middle class you mention. Sure, the rich may not care and can afford to pay more taxes. However, these pollution based taxes are also having the effect of redistributing wealth, from polluters to non-polluters, from the energy-hogs to the energy efficient, and from the rich to the poor and middle class.

I personally do not advocate anyone get rid of a perfectly good vehicle to save a few dollars in gas each month. If you really compare the cost to dump, say, a 3 year old SUV in favour of a brand new hybrid, you are likely going to lose out big time. You would be much better off keeping your current vehicle for at least ten years, until it is completely depreciated and starting to cost more in repairs than it is worth. At that point make the decision to buy the most efficient vehicle that meets the needs of your work and your lifestyle.

Regarding the house of cards, we are already seeing its affect in the United States. I hope to see a similar effect take hold in China, only much sooner. If they stop subsidizing their fuel then much fewer drivers will start driving. We are already seeing some products become TOO expensive to import from China because of their own internal demand for raw materials. If it eventually becomes too expensive to make stuff in China then their economy will have to cool off significantly and our own manufacturing base will have to spring back up to meet demand.

Anyway, I don't agree with stopping immigration, so don't bother using the 'importing drivers' argument with me. To me, I look at energy efficiency and carbon shift as good business (tied in with improved productivity) and can only mean improved quality of life for the poor and middle class in Canada.

Rick Shea said...

If you don't believe in stopping immigration, then exactly what do you consider the maximum population of Canada to be, and how will we know when we've reached that maximum? What do you think about the growing chorus of well-educated and very informed voices (including a former World Bank economist as well as the co-developer of the "ecological footprint) who claim that this planet can only support a small fraction of our current population on a sustainable basis? How can you justify promoting further population increases in other countries by allowing them to export their surplus to Canada, and in the process significantly increasing the ecological footprint of those immigrants? The last thing this planet needs is more Canadians (or Americans). And, given the evidence around us that we are at or near the limits with a variety of resources, doesn't bringing in even more people mean that there will be less and less for each individual, so how will this contribute to the wellbeing of the poor and the middle class in Canada? How can you be such a misanthrope as to deplete resources now and squander our children's natural inheritance so that they will suffer even more? You give the usual blather, without any substance. It's just a way of dragging out the collapse of our planet as long as possible so that the wealthy can continue to profit while the rest of us pay the price.


What's "good for business" is killing this planet, if you care to open your eyes and look around. Improved productivity means that our resources will be depleted much more quickly, more pollution will result, and more species will become endangered and extinct.

I suggest that you read historian Ronald Wright's "A Short History of Progress" and note the similarities between the current state of our so-called "civilization" and those collapsed civilizations of the past. The unfortunate part is that, while those past civilizations only brought down a local bioregion, we are on the brink, intelligent things that we are, of the ecological collapse of the entire planet.

We are at a point where we need to halt and reverse population growth on this planet, and Canada can be a leader, for the sake of our children (yes, I stopped at two, and that was a conscious decision many years ago, for the sake of the planet), or a victim, for the sake of profits and an unsustainable economy.

You and your ilk, Mr. Lalonde, will at some point in the future be on trial for economic and environmental "war crimes." Better call your lawyer now.

Tim Murray said...

“I don’t agree with stopping immigration, so don’t bother using the “importing drivers” argument with me. OK then, “ If you will not agree to turn off the tap, Mr. Lalonde, then don’t bother discussing your efficient ways of mopping the floor with me. You rule out an immigration moratorium without giving a reason and then go on about carbon taxes , fuel subsidies and maintaining old cars. Doctor I want to lose weight but I won’t talk about my nightly addiction to two litres of Hagen Daas.”

Brishen Hoff said...

s. david lalonde: If you think climate change is the worst human caused environmental problem, you obviously haven't done much thinking. How many species have been lost due to climate change? How many species have been lost due to habitat loss caused by an unsustainably high population of humans clearing land, building homes, overharvesting natural resources, and polluting?

I believe more species have gone extinct due to the latter and trends indicate that habitat loss, not climate change, will continue to be the worst threat to the quality of life on earth that biodiversity provides.

s. david lalonde: carbon taxes won't work to reduce total fossil fuel consumption unless:

A) the human population stops growing

B) people want to pay so much more for fuel that it will actually reduce their per capita consumption (mind you, there is a limit to how much their consumption can be reduced and still enable them to survive in this overpopulated world -- the world cannot support present populations without fossil fuel inputs)

As for your question on how to accomplish reduced total environmental impact... If you'd rather be part of the solution than the problem, here's what we'd like you to do:

http://biodiversityfirst.googlepages.com/WhatCanYouDo.htm

I think you meant to say:

"I still can lower the environmental hit by choosing an efficient vehicle, such as a hybrid SUV" and not "I still can lower the economic hit..." but you obviously didn't read Tim's article, which explains that hybrid vehicles are less environmentally friendly due to battery production and disposal and total embodied energy in the manufacturing and disposal process.

Here is a quote regarding Hybrid cars from a TVO forum by someone with the nickname "Calm":

"If we have problems disposing of flashlight batteries because of the harm done to the environment, how are we going to dispose of batteries used to power cars?

If we managed to give every Canadian a battery operated car, how many nuclear plants will need to be built in order to recharge the batteries? And where will all the nuclear waste be stored?

At this very moment, health experts are claiming that there is increased cancer rates within those people living near a nuclear power plant."


There is no technological solution for overpopulation. Every solution you can think of to keep the existing population alive for as long as possible would involve unacceptable environmental damage including continued species extinctions. The only sensible solution is to lower the human population humanely.

s. david lalonde: are you saying that because China is adding "30 million new drivers to the roads every year" that Canada may as well continue to grow its population as well? What about thinking globally and acting locally? In the absense of a world government, don't you think Canada should play a leadership role by reducing its population to a sustainable level so that other countries might follow our example? It is in our best interests anyway. How can you expect to stop global population growth if you are not in favour of reducing rapid immigration-driven population growth in your own country of Canada?

Overpopulation is a local and a global problem. Again, it is in our best interests to reduce overpopulation here locally, as we will see the benefits with a better environment locally and an increased quality of life with more space and natural resources per person and more biodiversity. Nevermind what China is doing, we have an obligation to act responsibly for our own good and as responsible global citizens. Then when our own house is in order, we can point the finger at China's messy house. But when we are growing Canada's population exponentially at a rate that it will double to 66 million in 70 years, we must stop our own ecological nightmare first.

s. david lalonde: You said "I don't agree with stopping immigration" May I ask, at what population for Canada would you agree with stopping immigration? 40 million? 100 million? 1 billion?

Again, what is the point of forcing each person to consume less while increasing the number of people and therefore the total environmental impact? Lots of little footprints gets the floor just as dirty as a few big ones.

You make lots of distinctions between poor and middle class and rich as though wealth distribution is a major factor in total environmental impact. In fact, if wealth was evenly distributed, each person on earth would live on less than a Mexican. This shows that the rich are a minority and the poor are the majority, which is more evidence of overpopulation. If wealth was distributed evenly, each person wouldn't have enough space and natural resources for a decent quality of life, and the total environmental impact would remain the same.

s. david lalonde: What do you believe is an optimum population for Canada?

I believe it would be less than 5% of present population at under 1 million:
http://ecologicalcrash.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-have-dream.html

s. david lalonde, so far your answers and comments have been lockstep with Elizabeth May in her debate on population/immigration/environment with Paul Watson. Like May, you have chosen the current brand of political correctness favoured by the media. Meanwhile Watson, has chosen the less popular, ecological correctness. You may read the debate here:
http://biodiversityfirst.googlepages.com/PaulWatsonVsElizabethMay.htm

s. david lalonde: Are you aware that according to footprintnetwork.org humanity is consuming earth's resources 30% faster than they can be replenished? Are you aware that each person must consume resources in order to survive?