Skeptical Environmentalist Bjrn Lomborg Says Electric Cars Kill More Than ICEs

Ronnie Schreiber
by Ronnie Schreiber
skeptical environmentalist bjrn lomborg says electric cars kill more than ices

In an op-ed in USA Today, headlined “Electric car benefits? Just myths“, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjørn Lomborg, calls for people to “stop our green worship of the electric car,” arguing that EVs end up costing society a lot of money while doing little to cut emissions of carbon dioxide. Even more provocatively, Lomborg claims that because EVs are, for the most part, ultimately powered by coal fired electrical generating plants, the pollution associated with cars that run on electrons will end up killing almost twice as many people as that created by gasoline powered vehicles.

He says, for example, that the total life cycle CO2 emissions of the Tesla Model S will be about 44 tons, compared to an Audi A7 Quattro’s ~49 tons. At the current trading rate of $9/ton on Europe’s carbon emissions market, that works out to what Lomborg describes as just $45 in climate benefits for the $7,500 tax credit by which American taxpayers subsidize the purchase of EVs. “That’s a bad deal,” is how the Danish professor describes it.

Lomborg’s academic background is in the field of political science, but he’s taught statistics as a poli-sci and business professor for over a decade. As a gay, vegetarian Scandinavian, he’s probably nobody’s stereotype of any kind of global warming skeptic. His 2001 book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, posits controversially that many commonly accepted environmental claims are wrong. As a result he’s been the target of accusations of scientific misconduct. Lomborg doesn’t dispute the existence of global warming and says that it’s a serious problem that needs to be addressed long-term but he asserts that our current reactions to it are not cost-effective.

From Lomborg’s editorial:

It is time to stop our green worship of the electric car. It costs us a fortune, cuts little CO2 and surprisingly kills almost twice the number of people compared with regular gasoline cars.

Electric cars’ global-warming benefits are small. It is advertised as a zero-emissions car, but in reality it only shifts emissions to electricity production, with most coming from fossil fuels.

Discuss among yourselves.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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