This week, I got a spate of emails from folks who were concerned about hybrids after columnist George Will dredged up the highly inaccurate CNW paper on hybrid vehicles' environmental impact. Toyota had a solid response printed in today’s Washington Post, and were kind enough to mention UCS as one of those who have shed some light on this issue, as we did on this post almost a year ago.
Will’s lack of homework extended even farther, and Alden Meyer, UCS director of strategy and policy also wrote a response that I thought I’d share:
In his zeal to discredit efforts to address global warming, columnist George Will rests his baseless argument on two highly suspect sources ("Fuzzy Climate Math," April 12).
First, Will cites Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, whose book, "The Skeptical Environmentalist," was roundly condemned by the Danish scientific community as having no credibility. Will recycles Lomborg's assertion that it would cost too much to cut global warming pollution. But the cost of inaction - rising sea levels, severe drought, reduced crop yields, spread of diseases - would dwarf to the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Second, Will cites a dubious report by CNW Marketing Research that says that if one looks at the life cycle of a Hummer versus a Prius, the Hummer is cleaner. In fact, 85 to 90 percent of a vehicle's global warming pollution comes from producing its fuel and driving it, not manufacturing (or disposing of) it, according to studies by MIT, Argonne National Labs and Carnegie Mellon's Lifecycle Assessment Group.
Ultimately, Will's “can’t do” argument poses a false choice between cleaning up pollution and economic well-being. California is a case in point. Its residents consume 40 percent less electricity than the average American - and the state's economy is booming.
We have the technology and know-how to deal with global warming. What we need is federal policymakers to join the states, cities, and companies already taking responsible action to cut global warming pollution.
As far as I’m concerned, case closed. But I thought the same thing when we wrote about this back in August…
Posted by: ScottN