May. 22, 2019

Suzuki short circuits when it comes to electric vehicles

The following has been submitted as a letter to the editor of the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

David Suzuki sure gets lot of news coverage. I note in your paper today another column from him; this time on electric cars.

It is difficult to believe Dr. Suzuki given his poor record on farmed salmon when his Foundation (partly funded by American interests) took down 23 items on its website critical of the salmon farming industry as a result of criticism from Vivian Krause and others exposing the erroneous information contained there.

His new foray into electric cars is again a feeble attempt to justify electric cars ignoring the fact that many electric cars are not as green as fossil-fuelled-driven cars. A German study from the University of Cologne showed that diesel cars in that country emitted less CO2 than the Tesla 3 electric cars. The energy used in the production of the batteries and the energy used in the production of the cobalt and lithium used in the batteries makes the electric car less green. Add to that is the fact that most of the cobalt used in batteries comes from mines in the Republic of the Congo where slave labor conditions exist as well as the use of child labor. Additionally these mines operate with outdated environmental regulations.

More bizarre is Suzuki’s reference to Norway where the heralded subsidies for electric cars comes from the oil and gas revenue the country produces. And it is still producing oil and gas. It's the country’s largest export. 

Then he further embarrasses himself in referring to China whose consumption of coal increased in 2018 by 3.1 per cent, according to the country’s National Energy Administration. Furthermore, that government agency also announced the restarting of construction of coal plants in four Provinces given the demand for electricity outstripped supply.

India is also referenced. Yet according to a paper by the Brookings Institute two months ago, it states: "We expect coal to remain the dominant fuel in the power sector in India, through 2030 and beyond."

Only today we see the financial troubles of Tesla surfacing as investors are fearful that the many promises made cannot be realized. Despite the billions of taxpayer money provided, the company has not made a cent of profit.

The problem with people like Dr. Suzuki is that they are ideologues providing only their side of the story when a more balanced, comprehensive and realistic discussion on environmental matters is long overdue.