It’s time we stopped figuratively kicking the tires of internal combustion automobiles like a bunch of mindless anarchists plummeting the target of their wrath du hour after they’ve fallen and are crouched in a fetal position.
The politically correct propaganda machines paint vehicles powered by fossil fuels as the No. 1 enemy of mankind and Mother Earth although cow flatulence comes a close second.
But ask yourself this question: Have cars not protected our health?
That might sound a tad crazy given the assumption among many that grandmother driving her 2010 Buick to the grocery store in Manteca is melting the polar ice cap and setting in motion rising sea levels to flood Alexandria-Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district in New York City.
Ponder what life would have been since mid-March without cars. They have been used as social distancing bubbles to allow people to do curbside pickups, collect free school lunches, collect diplomas, and countless other tasks including getting COVID-19 testing.
It’s funny that many who correctly support social distancing protocol demanding people stay in their car for a variety of reasons from waiting for a doctors’ appointment to picking up school-issued devices for their children are among those who just seven months ago wanted to get rid of cars. They favored mass transit such as the New York subway that can be the equivalent of rolling coffins during the pandemic.
The number of people patronizing restaurants via drive-thru windows and curbside service has gone through the roof. Compare this to the progressive mantra over the years that labored heavily to try and ban new restaurants from having drive-up windows with limited success except for so-called “progressive” enclaves.
Their rationale has merit. Idling vehicles are more prone to creating air quality issues as fuel burns less thoroughly.
But like everything else it is wrong to view gas-powered vehicles or the impact of such vehicles at drive-up windows or idling at a traffic signal in a vacuum.
There are people with limited mobility that benefit from drive-up windows. And certainly, during the ongoing pandemic many people have used drive-up windows like there is no tomorrow in order to stay safe and healthy.
Cleaner burning cars are a must. But if the goal is to reduce fossil fuel consumption and “save the planet” there is a ton of evidence that manufacturing battery packs and electricity generating plants to power electric cars will end up increasing the carbon footprint of vehicles.
Given technology is constantly evolving, the electrical car being a Trojan horse of sorts for increasing the carbon footprint of vehicles might not pan out as being correct. But even if a Tesla in every garage lowers the carbon footprint what are the consequences?
Newton’s third law stating for every action there is an equal and opposite action was referencing physics. But in reality, it is a truism about virtually everything.
Change is never done in a void.
We already know that no matter how carefully wind turbines are placed there will be bird casualties. Granted they may not be as great as those inflicted on hawks, eagles, and tiger birds that the original windmills near Altamont Pass did in their rotate and chop cycles. But even the best designed wind turbine is akin to a kid taking out a BB gun and killing a bird or two every few days.
Proponents and opponents are all over the map when it comes to wind turbines and bird kills. Those that believe in wind as a perfect electricity generator dismissing such concerns by saying cats kill more birds annually in the United States that wind turbines.
The point is if wind turbines didn’t exist, they wouldn’t be killing birds.
Assuming people believe the United States Fish & Wildlife Service is still a “Dragnet-style” agency just wanting “the facts, madam”, a 2018 study put the wind turbine kill at 140,000 to 500,000 birds a year.
Based on a Department of Energy target of increasing wind energy six-fold — a level that is way below what the infamous Green New Deal calls for — the USFWS estimated a bare minimum of 1.5 million birds will be killed to essentially help power electric cars and such on an annual basis. Maybe the government can issue bird kill stickers for every 1,000 miles driven.
Solar power — more specifically large installations in the desert used to focus the sun rays using mirrors — can kill birds as well. The number that biologists have settled on for one controversial Mohave Desert solar power plant is 3,500 birds killed a year
It seems a reasonable tradeoff in exchange for 550 megawatts of electricity, but is it? Deserts consist of some of the most fragile and intricate ecological systems on the planet. What will the long-term impact be on not just birds but keeping insects in check and predators fed?
To be fair in the long run wind and solar power could work out for the best for mankind although not necessarily every other creature on the planet.
What can’t be disputed is the shift to solar and wind power will bring with it negatives if magnified enough by wide spread installation will carry a price. So, what if we accelerate bird deaths just to make sure we meet a 2045 green mandate in California.
Do not misconstrue the point as being we should not pursue electric cars and assume technology will not evolve. If anyone has been around the block a few times nothing ever plays out as the Chicken Littles, Doomsday crowd, Greek chorus, or the Greta Thunbergs of each generation as they breathlessly claim it will.
Depending upon whose count you go by, there have been three or four target years from 1960 forward that sages predicted the world would run out of food before we started celebrating New Year’s Eve to usher in the start of 2020.
At the same time everything from reformulated gas to scrubbing technologies on smoke stacks have made our air much cleaner today than it was in 1960 despite having 150 percent more people in California.
The problem with initiatives that are more like decrees such as the action of the California Legislature that set in motion Gov. Gavin Newsom’s edict banning the sale of new vehicles in California by 2035 to meet a greenhouse gas target in 2045 is that they only take into consideration addressing the problem they are targeting. And while they might note in environmental impact studies some negatives, not only do they rarely address such negatives but they never weigh them in light of other government initiatives.
Take birds, as an example.
Let’s say you are a Los Angeles Basin environmentalist who is all in for electric cars and powering them with green electricity from wind turbines and such. You may concede it will increase bird kill but consider it a small price for birds to pay so you can brag about lowering your carbon footprint.
But then you embrace plans to protect water that Los Angeles “stole fair and square” from Northern California by pushing for the Delta tunnel. That means water that can be relied on to counter saltwater intrusion in the only Delta on the Pacific Coast from Alaska to the tip of Chile along the Pacific Flyway will bypass the Delta via a tunnel to be dumped at the base of the California Aqueduct pumps near Tracy.
This, of course, will change the environmental balance of the Delta and likely contribute to the death of more birds.
Going green without thinking everything through is definitely not for the birds unless the only bird one cares to protect is the one you extend using your middle finger to anyone who dares question the validity and impacts of a politically correct driven green measure.