#9 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…

Reason #9 – Seen a Volt lately?


I’m neither a denier nor a zealot …  so, according to British writer (& phrase-coiner) Matt Ridley, I’m a “lukewarmer”.

In a prior posts, I covered: (1) Unsettling science (2) Expired doomsday predictions (3) The “97% of scientists” baloney  (4) Dinking with the data  (5) Temperature readings – plus or minus (6) What’s the earth’s temperature? (7) The Climategate Emails and (8) Low on American’s worry list

Let’s move on…


Reason #9 – Seen a Volt lately?

In a prior post, we presented some survey data indicating that climate change is far down the list of things concerning average Americans.

Survey data is always subject to some interpretation, and surveys often contradict one another.

So, let’s look at some hard data.


Flashback to 2008: former President Barack Obama set a goal of getting one million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.

So, how’s it going?


In a nutshell: not so good.

The dogs just aren’t eating the dog food.

According to Reuters:

Back in 2008, President Barack Obama set a goal of getting one million plug-in electric vehicles on the roads by 2015.

Since then, his administration has backed billions of dollars in EV subsidies for consumers and the industry.

In 2009, the administration dedicated $2.4 billion of the $787 billion stimulus bill to promote battery and EV production.

The U.S. Energy Department awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in low-cost loans to spur electric vehicle manufacturing by companies (think, Elon Musk’s Tesla).

And, consumers have been able get a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for buying electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.


Yet today, only about 400,000 electric cars have been sold.

Last year, sales fell 6 percent over the previous year, to about 115,000, despite the industry offering  deep discounts.

EVs account for fewer than 1 % of the 17.4 million cars and trucks sold last year.

That doesn’t include sales of more mainstream gas-electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius.

But hybrid sales also fell last year – by 15 percent, to 384,000 – and now comprise just 2.2% of all vehicle sales.


Some factoids:

California, which has imposed zero-emission vehicle mandates,  accounts for about 40 percent of all electric car sales in the U.S.

Worldwide, there are about 2 million electric cars on the road.

“China is by far the largest electric car market, accounting for more than 40 percent of the electric cars sold in the world and more than double the amount sold in the United States.” Source

In order to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), the target set by the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, the world will need 600 million electric vehicles by 2040, according to the IEA.


Bottom line:

If folks are really concerned that the earth is warming and that emissions are the main cause … why aren’t they putting their money behind the cause?

My view: If you’re not driving an EV, then you lose some of your legitimacy for lecturing people on human-caused global warming … and, you certainly shouldn’t be advocating for dishing tax dollars to line Elan Musk’s pockets.



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One Response to “#9 – Why I’m lukewarm to climate change…”

  1. James J. Angel Says:

    Hi Ken,

    If you look in the parking garage, you will see that I drive a Volt. Great car! Fast acceleration, and it only costs 2 cents a mile to drive.



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