This article for the Telegraph by Jeremy Warner begins as follows:
It has become something of a cliche, but it also happens to be true. If you want to do your bit for the planet, forget Tesla and other super expensive electric vehicles; just carry on driving the same old gas-guzzling banger you’ve always had.
As much if not more carbon tends to be expended producing a new car as actually driving it. You are going to have to do an awful lot of miles in the old one before you match the carbon costs of buying a newer version.
It was a slightly different, but similar point that Carlos Tavares, chief executive of the world’s fifth-biggest car maker, Stellantis, was making this week when he said that “green inflation” could soon make owning a vehicle the preserve of the rich.
The prevailing narrative – both in the motor industry and among political leaders sold on the idea that the transition to an emission-free world can be accomplished without significant damage to lifestyles – is that as demand grows, the price of EVs will steadily come down until they are eventually accessible to all.
Not so, argues Tavares; the coming energy transition is going to be hugely resource intensive, driving up costs across the board. He didn’t quite spell it out, though he hinted at it, so let me do so instead; it is entirely plausible that the monumental carbon costs of establishing the new infrastructure needed for a net zero world, nevermind its physical cost, could itself trigger the very same environmental catastrophe it is supposed to forestall.
Green lobbyists vehemently dispute such claims, pointing out that though the transition will burn a lot of carbon initially, this will progressively decrease, eventually disappearing entirely.
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