We Greenies are supposed to be celebrating the advent of the electric car.
BurbanMom (one of my all-time favourite blogs) linked just the other day to an article in which singer Neil Young is pouring bucket loads of his own money into developing an electric car.
The movie Who Killed The Electric Car? was paired with Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth in Australian cinemas. And as a self-proclaimed Greenie, I remember bewailing the Reva electric car which has been effectively barred from sale in Australia by Government red tape - and, one suspects, the powerful lobbying of petroleum interests.
Clearly, the electric car is being presented to the world as a 'clean and green' option. We can have our cake and drive it too, apparently.
Sorry, but I'm about to don my Cassandra-style robes, and burst this happy bubble. The dream is all rot. It will have to remain a dream - along with healthy fast food and holiday flights to the moon.
But you can bet, right about now, the Coal Industry is rubbing its highly profitable hands with glee. And the nuclear industry is patting itself on the back.
The electric car will suit them perfectly. Yet another use for all that dirty power. They can keep feeding our addiction for private transport without personal effort, and promote the silly idea that we can switch easily to electric cars so green that their exhaust is butterflies and fresh air.
Say NO! to the electric car!
Where does your electricity come from right now? Do you even know?
If you live in the US, Europe or Australia - or pretty well anywhere in the world - it is likely that at least a portion of your electricity is generated by coal or nuclear.
Even if you're getting your electricity from 100% green tarriff at home, what about the electricity at your workplace? At the restaurant you ate at last week? At the lunch place you go to with your friends on Fridays? At the supermarket that keeps your food nicely chilled and safe until you buy it?
And if we move to electric cars, we're going to send the demand for electricity skyrocketing. Yet more coal, and even more nuclear power stations. Do you want them in your neighbourhood?
I'll be honest - I don't want them ON MY PLANET, let alone my neighbourhood!
Don't think for a moment that all that power is going to come from wind or hydro. Coal is cheap, and with a lot of lobbying behind it, it will be perfectly placed to fill the energy needs of millions on millions of electric cars the world over. The nuclear lobby is powerful too, and will want a piece of the electric car pie.
Don't think that carbon sequestration and capture is on the cards any time soon either. "Clean coal" is a crock, as Kiashu points out in his excellent blog post on the subject.
Not so clean and green
So where does this leave us?
I won't be buying an electric car when they flood onto the market in the next few years. Instead, I'll be one of those people inevitably labelled as 'wackos' who will be fighting the flood.
As for the hydrogen car, which you may have heard about, hydrogen cells are best thought of as energy carriers. Hydrogen is a good energy store, but where do you get the energy to create the hydrogen from? Uranium again?
As an aside, world "peak uranium" pessimistic estimates range from 1980 to 2035. Whether uranium peaks in the foreseeable future or not, it does have some major issues which for the sake of brevity and sanity I cannot go into here.
I don't think we need more cars on the road and on the planet, electric or otherwise. And I certainly don't think we need more coal dug up, or more nuclear power stations, or more power stations - green or otherwise - so we can drive around our neighbourhoods instead of being a part of them.
I think we need to learn to love our own two feet once more. We need to learn to relocalise. We need to use public transport more.
We need to plan journeys, and grow our own food where possible. We need to understand that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The electric car is simply one more way to increase climate change, while fooling ourselves into believing we're 'clean and green'. It's a greenwash, in much the same way that carbon offsetting is. It's about as environmentally-friendly as the fake-recycled packaging on a Big Mac.
We need to face reality. Change is needed. Let's learn to love our legs, and love our local communities, and support our local businesses, and embrace the countryside that we live in.
There's something wonderful in having a sense of place and home, and a sense of belonging. Maybe it's time to face reality - humanity should just chuck the car keys out the window, and walk a different path together. One where we can actually smell the roses, instead of driving over them.