I recently watched a video with my father regarding the fact that “zero emissions” cars actually do end up causing emissions (due to creation, where the power is produced, etc.) and I wanted to add in my two cents on a few topics related to unreasonable expectations.
And just a heads up, this may end up being quite rant-like. You have been warned.
Now lets start off with renewable energy, climate change, and the opinions surrounding it:
I should start off by saying that I believe in climate change, the science that says it is happening is based in the same principles that brought you the computer you are working on. Similarly I do believe that humans are (the majority) cause of climate change. However I would like to set aside both of those views for a moment and ask a question:
Even if humans were not responsible for climate change (or it is not happening), how is moving to renewable energy a bad thing? By reducing our dependency on finite sources of fossil fuel and foreign countries, would that not stabilize the country’s economy? What about the fact that by distributing the grid’s power supply it could stabilize the power grid, causing there to be less failures. By rejecting renewable sources as a “hippy thing” these are guaranteed losses. It only goes down from there.
Now we are going to move on to the argument of “zero-emissions” cars, before we continue I would like to point out that the cars are in-fact lower emissions than other petrol-powered cars in their weight-class. So, even if they are not “zero-emissions”, why should we look down on a lowering of emissions. This is where we get into a rather annoying perspective I have started to see a lot:
Perfection is key, anything else is irreverent.
Now that might seem like a Hyperbole but it is not. There are a people who will say “the fact is that ‘zero-emissions’ cars aren’t actually that green, you have to remember [insert reason(s)] that makes a impact, it’s not worth the minor reduction in the footprint for me to buy one.” Now before we go further I want to switch tracks for a second to self-driving cars…
Self driving cars is one of the areas that currently suffer from the same argument of “perfection or go home”. The current perspective is that a self-driving car has to be a “zero-fatality” car otherwise we shouldn’t use it… In fact some say that it should even be a “zero-accident” car, it shouldn’t even get into minor ones. But we should ask ourselves the following question about self-driving cars:
If self-driving cars are even 5% safer than human drivers, why should we not switch?
It’s the same thing with “zero-emissions” cars: If the car is even 5% less harmful to the environment than a similar petrol powered one, why should we not encourage the switch? Humanity has this weird thing about seeking perfection when sometimes just being that little bit better is good enough.
So, in summary: we should never forget that marginal gains are better than no gains at all.