Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

10 November 2020

Proposing Cradle-to-Grave Evaluations for All Vehicles

Proposing cradle-to-grave evaluations for all vehicles
by KATIE SINGERwsimag.com, 3 November 2020

Letter to Greta Thunberg: why maintaining a gas-guzzler may cause less harm than buying a new e-vehicle

Dear Greta,

You know how manufacturers promote electric vehicles (EVs) because they have “zero-emissions?” I wonder if this is really true.

Because EVs do not emit GHGs at the tailpipe,
they're called emissions-free
Evaluations of any vehicle’s ecological impacts usually don’t reach from cradle to grave. They focus on the car’s energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while it operates1. Most evaluations do not include embodied energy or emissions—what’s used and emitted during manufacturing. They do not count GHGs or toxins emitted while extracting and smelting ores, producing the vehicle’s electronics, lubricants, brake fluid, solvents, body and tires. Evaluations do not count what is emitted while designing, forming, cutting and bending metals and plastics…and transporting materials between stations. They don’t count miners’ or assembly workers hazards. They don’t count the ecological and public health impacts of vehicle maintenance, repair, disposal or recycling.

If we determine a car’s environmental impacts by looking exclusively at its operational driving time, are we fooling ourselves?

How electric vehicles are different

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