electric vehicles

CNN Wrongly Blames Electric Cars for Unethical Cobalt Mining

A foreman holds cobalt in his hand in Rwanda

This week, CNN published a startling multimedia report on cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The investigation revealed troubling conditions in so-called “artisanal” cobalt mines, where hand mining operations are carried out with a combination of unsafe working conditions and child labor. As is all too often the case with resource extraction — whether for cobalt in Congo, oil in Ecuador, or coal in West Virginia — unsafe, unhealthy local labor practices deserve media exposure.

Unfortunately, CNN’s promotion of the investigation and headline misappropriate the blame, leaving casual readers to conclude that electric vehicles are responsible for these awful labor conditions.

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Why EPA’s U-turn on Auto Efficiency Rules Gives China the Upper Hand

Mustang tailpipe close-up
By Greg Dotson, University of Oregon

The Trump administration on Monday, April 2, took steps to ease pollution and efficiency rules for new passenger cars and trucks, giving automakers a reprieve from more stringent Obama-era standards. But in the process, the move could yield global leadership in the auto sector to the Chinese.

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Auto Alliance Pushed Climate Denial to Get Trump Admin to Abandon Obama Fuel Efficiency Standards

Car getting refueled at the gas pump

The Trump administration officially announced Monday that it will scrap fuel economy and emissions targets for cars and light-duty trucks sold in the United States and set new weaker standards, effectively undermining one of the federal government’s most effective policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

As the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times anticipated late last week, the two agencies responsible for auto standards — the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — both claimed that their internal reviews have found the Obama-era standards to be too strict, and that the agencies would go back to the drawing board to revise standards for model years 2022-2025. 

The weaker standards, expected to be revealed in coming months and reported to be well below the current targets of 54.5 miles per gallon (or roughly 35 miles per gallon in real-world driving conditions), will be celebrated as a victory for the automakers, which have been lobbying the Trump administration since the day after the presidential election and which used a major trade group to peddle climate science denial in support of the rollback.

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The Energy Equality Coalition's Koch-Fueled Attack on the Federal Electric Car Tax Credit

Electric car with tax credit form

The federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit has survived House and Senate negotiations and will not be repealed by Congress’s tax reform bill. The fate of the $7,500 tax credit had been uncertain after House Republicans voted to eliminate the financial incentive in their version of the tax bill.

The credit, which was adopted as part of the 2009 stimulus bill and which has strong bipartisan roots, has come under a renewed series of attacks in recent months, including from groups with close ties to the Koch brothers and other fossil fuel–funded think tanks and front groups.

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Renewable Energy Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Far Better Than Fossil Fuels

Electric car charging next to a bicycle

In their efforts to discredit renewable energy and support continued fossil fuel burning, many anti-environmentalists have circulated a dual image purporting to compare a lithium mine with an oilsands operation. It illustrates the level of dishonesty to which some will stoop to keep us on our current polluting, climate-disrupting path (although in some cases it could be ignorance).

The image is a poor attempt to prove that lithium batteries and renewable energy are worse for the environment than energy from oilsands bitumen. The first problem is that the “lithium mine” is actually BHP Billiton’s Escondida copper mine in Chile (the world’s largest). The bottom image is of an Alberta oilsands operation, but it’s an in situ underground facility and doesn’t represent the enormous open-pit mining operations used to extract most bitumen.

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The Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit is a Bipartisan Success Story, Which House Republicans Want to Undo

As the House and Senate develop their respective versions of a tax reform bill, the $7,500 federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit is positioned to be a potential bargaining chip. The House’s version of the bill, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” includes a repeal of the EV tax credit.

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Where Are Canada's Missing Electric Cars?

Canada's missing electric vehicles

The race is on for electric vehicle supremacy.

Last week, China — the world’s second largest economy and consumer of about one-third of new cars — announced it will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, in a move that is expected to accelerate the global push into the electric car market.

China joins Norway, France and the U.K. in announcing plans to phase out vehicles with internal combustion engines.

Goldman Sachs recently estimated that electric vehicles will make up 32 per cent of global auto sales by 2040.

So, as the world moves toward the rapid adoption of electric vehicles, where is Canada in all of this?

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How Electric Vehicles Could Take a Bite out of the Oil Market

Electric cars charging at stations

By Amy Myers Jaffe and Lewis Fulton, University of California, Davis

When will cars powered by gas-guzzling internal combustion engines become obsolete? Not as soon as it seems, even with the latest automotive news out of Europe.

First, Volvo announced it would begin to phase out the production of cars that run solely on gasoline or diesel by 2019 by only releasing new models that are electric or plug-in hybrids. Then, France and the U.K. declared they would ban sales of gas and diesel-powered cars by 2040. Underscoring this trend is data from Norway, as electric models amounted to 42 percent of Norwegian new car sales in June.

European demand for oil to propel its passenger vehicles has been falling for years. Many experts expect a sharper decline in the years ahead as the shift toward electric vehicles spreads across the world. And that raises questions about whether surging electric vehicle sales will ultimately cause the global oil market, which has grown on average by 1 to 2 percent a year for decades and now totals 96 million barrels per day, to decline after hitting a ceiling.

Energy experts call this concept “peak oil demand.” We are debating when and if this will occur.

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Koch-funded Group, Fueling US Forward, Echoes America Rising Squared in Misleading Attack on Electric Cars

Electric car

Fueling U.S. Forward, the Koch-funded campaign to “rebrand” fossil fuels as “positive” and “sustainable,” has released a new video attacking the “Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars,” signaling a possible strategic pivot from straightforward fossil fuel cheerleading to electric vehicle (EV) and clean energy bashing.

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Drive an Electric Car? One in Three States Now Charge You Extra

Tesla electric car

A few months ago, early in the state legislative sessions, we reported on how lawmakers in nine states had introduced bills that would penalize electric vehicle (EV) drivers by charging higher registration fees. Now that the state legislative sessions have mostly wrapped up, it’s time for a review of how these bills fared, and how many states have implemented this extra financial burden on anyone who buys or leases an electric car.

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