On the weekend I had an argument with @unambig (Adrian), a former blogger turned journalist in BC, and @BSnowsell (Brandon) a Saskatoonian Conservative. They’ve said they are against government involvement in making infrastructure for sustainable transportation. Adrian is upset by the carbon tax, and Brandon wants no money put into giving electric powered vehicles a chance to replace gas vehicles.
His accounting of the situation is far from accurate. Trillions of dollars have gone into gasoline vehicle infrastructure throughout the 20th century. Watch Taken For A Ride, the story of how GM bought and undermined electric streetcar systems across America, and was convicted for its calculated and malicious actions to force people into cars on the Interstate instead. Brandon and Adrian who argue against putting a few Billion dollars into electric/hybrid cars to put them on par with gas vehicles, are making them start from a lopsided position.
Brandon: that’s a ludicrous argument. Infrastructure benefits both and therefore not for/against either vehicle. #commonsense
ADDED: [Brandon clarifies his position, and helps back up what I've said:] I am against public $$$ being used for electric recharge stations. Gas stations are private. Supply/Demand. #basicconcept
Existing infrastructure favours who it was built for. Tried gas in a totally electric car lately? Sheesh! Closest battery swap station is where? You say existing infrastructure favours both, which is plainly FALSE. The infrastructure, from freeways, to service station types and locations, favours gas vehicles. Complaining that an electric vehicle doesn’t travel as far is an artificial roadblock, because gas vehicles didn’t travel as far when they were first unleashed too. How many gas service stations along rural routes have dried up in the last decades as gas mileage got better?
ADDED: [There was no demand for freeways until GM manufactured the need by decimating public transportation. If the government doesn't promote and pay for infrastructure changes, individuals will not change behaviour. We don't have time to wait for supply/demand to drive change, because there will be little demand if the technology isn't made mainstream through government advertising and implementation. The "demand" by the way doesn't have to be for electric vehicles specifically, it is also represented by those demanding the Gov't do something now to stop climate change.]
The convenience of gas burning vehicles is completely outweighed by the dangers from climate change, smog, and resource depletion. Nothing else matters to people, if they are dead, or have no clean water, air, or food. Climate change is affecting our ability to have all of those three things now, and it is going to get much worse for most people on the planet, soon. Electric cars would give us another decade or more to work on better solutions.
We’ve switched personal transportation methods plenty of times in the last 100 years, we can’t stop now and settle on gas burning cars that get only 30 MPG. It’s really a matter of life or death. That’s why I’m passionate about this sort of progress. Eliminating inefficiency in how we travel is crucial, and can’t be delayed by people who don’t even understand science let alone the social and environmental havoc their transportation choices wreak.
More than one comment from Adrian was especially laughable.
You need to understand that people have to put economics first. Not everybody is in the position to do these things
You’re not offering change. You’re offering theoretical changes based on unproven science.
I don’t lack a conscience. I have perspective. People are more important than invisible gasses.
Only the wealthy can afford to have an environmental conscience
To sum up:
You need money to have a conscience. Without it, you can’t afford empathy for people dying from climate change, and can’t write free letters to MPs and newspapers crying out for cleaner technologies to get government support. Invisible gases are unimportant, (since Adrian doesn’t breath or count on air pressure to keep his insides, inside him) so long as we’re talking about climate change. Otherwise invisible gases pretty much rule our lives every second. And he’s completely fine with people putting destructive economic theories as their motivating factors, but heaven forbid you put environmental limits and the survivability of mankind, its achievements, and knowledge as a top priority instead while making a new economic theory that works better at preserving and building progress.