Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

Earth on Fire: The Overheating Planet

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The reason some popular posts are tagged ‘no title’ is not because they have no title—they all do—but because the old Blogger embedded the title at the top of text, and the new software does not see that. You can see the titles in capitals at the start of each snippet. (It would be nice if Blogger introduced an upgrade program that could fix this little problem.)

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Friday, 7 October 2005

LIES, DAMNED LIES AND THE CAR INDUSTRY

The car industry--the Big Iron carmakers--would have us believe that they cannot yet mass-produce fuel-cell vehicles, because there are technical problems to sort out, and that years of effort and billions of dollars of R&D are needed before they can.

Bunkum. The only problem they cannot sort out is how on earth they are going to survive and keep making megabucks in the age of the electric vehicle--the age of Little Iron. Only Big Iron can make ICE vehicles for a reasonable price; therefore so long as the ICE is king they have the very profitable monopoly. But electric vehicles are comparatively simple to make and support--just as PCs are comparatively simple to make and support compared to the old mainframes. Little Iron would therefore annihilate Big Iron.

So Big Iron keeps spewing out a mix of green-washing (environmental pretence) and tired old lies. They pump out a few prototype vehicles, to keep the Californian Air Resources Board happy, and they talk about mass-production sometime (we promise, really and truly, cross our greedy little hearts and hope never the day), but they carry on making ICEs by the millions and trashing the planet. They pretend there are technical obstacles in the way of making FCVs (fuel-cell vehicles), they pretend those cannot be solved quickly (not enough brain, guys?), they keep inventing new obstacles, new excuses. First they said they needed hydrogen-storage bottles that could run at 350bar (5000psi). But those have been round for years--on the backs of firefighters. Then they said they needed 700bar (10,000psi). Those have now been there for a while. So now they say they have to develop metal hydrides, or nanotechnology.

Bunkum. Arrant damned lies. The storage problem has been licked. Long ago. Unless, that is, you swallow their line that a vehicle needs a range of 800 kilometres (500 miles) between refuelling stops. Since when did anyone need that between petrol or diesel stops? Since when were fuel-stations that far apart? Even if a fuel-cell vehicle could only go 150km, trading that for an untrashed planet would be to trade the occasional minor inconvenience for a global catastrophe. That range 'issue' is just one more in the army of straw men that the Big Iron boys keep setting up to con us all into thinking that there is a good reason why we are not driving planet-friendly FCVs, or at very least hydrogen-burners.

They also pretend that hydrogen-production is a problem. More bunkum. Yes, it is if you insist that you have to build a nuclear power-station first in order to get clean (!!!!!) electricity to drive your electrolysers. Or if you insist on using the electricity from coal-burning power-stations. Or if you are twice as insane and insist on extracting hydrogen from coal or oil (a process that spews out huge amounts of planet-trashing carbon-dioxide).

They are thus pretending that sunlight does not exist; they are thus pretending that solar power off solar cells, or wind power, does not exist. They are wilfully ignoring the perfect solution. Sunlight splits the water. Fuel-cells join it back. A pure cycle. At Humboldt State University, California, they have doing it since 1991 (not long enough, Big Iron?).

Then there is the current doozey of a lie, the one about having to have an interim step, i.e., the 'need' for those pathetic hybrids, which do nothing to reduce the total amount of carbon-dioxide we are spewing out. Individual vehicles spew less, true, but it is the total spew that is trashing the planet. But hybrids perpetuate the ICE status-quo, the Big Iron profiteering. They are not even green-washing, they are only sooty green flag-waving.

If you Big Iron boys and girls were not a greedy bunch of environmental Nazis you would have given us low-cost electric cars long ago. So stop being planet-trashers, stop spewing out weapons of mass-destruction, stop being mass-murderers, stop making the planet uninhabitable, start being responsible human beings. Or is that too much to ask.

Where there‘s a will there‘s a way...