The world’s 16 largest ships create as much CO2 as every car on the planet. It is better for the environment to keep running a 20-year old car than to scrap it and draw on more natural resources to buy another one. Firing a coal power station to create energy for a car battery is dirtier and less efficient than burning fuel to power an engine to power a car. There isn’t enough lithium ion on the planet to meet the world’s escalating electric car ambitions. And so the list goes on.
Getting clarity on what is and what isn’t true isn’t easy - or sometimes even possible - but on the issue of electric cars it does seem that the legislators are determined to force our hands. Come what may, within a generation or two we will be buying (or leasing, or subscribing) to them, because that is what governments around the world are determining, be it (covertly) for their economic gain or (publicly) through a belief that it will help to solve an impending environmental crisis.
But is it the right decision, and how will we ever know? The landscape is moving and, in many regards, not even measurable. On the latter point, take the mining of lithium ion, for instance. If you believe some of the headlines, much of it is mined by child labourers in dangerous conditions for a pittance and at a huge local environmental cost. There is no value that can be ascribed to that, no measurement in terms of g/km of CO2, but few would find it acceptable.