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Will Oremus at Slate writes—Actually, Electric Cars Are Good for the Planet:

Here’s a news flash, courtesy of tech blog the Verge: “Electric cars won’t save the planet.”

The argument, based on a policy analysis from a civil engineering professor at North Carolina State University, hinges on two points.

First, passenger vehicles account for only about 20 percent of U.S. emissions today. So even if they all ran on fairy dust, we’d still be polluting the air in plenty of other ways. And second, electric cars don’t run on fairy dust: Most of them run on power from the U.S. electricity grid, a lot of which comes from burning coal and natural gas (for now, anyway).

Both of these things are true, and it’s also true that electric cars on their own won’t save the planet. True, but trivial—and, all in all, a lazy and counterproductive thing to say. Of course electric cars on their own won’t save the planet. Who on Earth would disagree with that? At the risk of belaboring the point, here is a brief partial list off the top of my head of other things that won’t save the planet:

    •    Planting trees
    •    Recycling
    •    Ending slavery
    •    Curing cancer

Does that mean we shouldn’t try to do them? Obviously not. Yet a mantra like “electric cars won’t save the planet” is sure to be used by defenders of the status quo to argue that we should all keep driving gas-guzzlers.

Besides, the headlines don’t match what the study actually says. The media reports make it seem like the researchers found that U.S. emissions won’t drop significantly even if 42 percent of Americans are driving electric cars by 2050. But the study wasn’t looking at the direct emissions impacts of electric vehicles. It was looking at the overall U.S. emissions picture under a set of complex scenarios involving different levels of adoption of electric cars. [...]


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2006Shifting Focus On Domestic Spying:

In just about a week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the legality of President Bush's domestic spying program. While we've (rightfully) been focused on the Supreme Court debate, the media has already begun to sweep this scandal as well under the rug. Bust this excerpt from an ABC News poll article:
NSA—A better result for Bush, noted above, is the apparent lack of traction for critics of the warrantless NSA wiretaps. A clear majority now says such wiretaps are acceptable, 56 percent, compared with 43 percent who call them unacceptable. That compares with a closer 51 to 47 percent split earlier this month.
Most polls have approval of the program hovering around 50%-55%. FISA and FISA courts and warrants and probable cause are complicated subjects, so it's understandable that many Americans view this issue as a simple false dichotomy between civil liberties and security. Karl Rove and the Republicans have already planted the seed in the media and the talking points have taken firm root: this may or may not be outside the law, but  don't we want to spy on terrorists?

Tweet of the Day:  

Murka: That country where executing someone slowly over 25 minutes is not cruel and unusual.
@emptywheel



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, we were supposed to be talking about the SOTU and the multiple "responses," but all that's on anyone's mind today is Michael Grimm. Joan McCarter joined us, noting apparent Republican concessions on the ACA, and the complete absence of abortion as an issue in the official response, though it dominated the day on the House floor. Greg Dworkin noted Snowden's Nobel nomination, the Gop's difficulty dealing with ACA success & The Math of Medicaid expansion. More on Grimm's checkered past and on Uber, "tech libertarianism," and the "disruption" model.


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