Yes, recycling batteries is an issue. Conditions in rare earth mines are an issue.
But when you want to "consider hidden costs" of EVs you should do the same for ICE cars. And there are lots of these, including building, maintaining and recycling supertankers, refineries, pipelines, oil wells on land and in the sea, causing oil spill every decade, keeping oil tyrannies in charge, fueling resource wars in 3rd world countries.
But it's status quo so it doesn't count.
Transporting 70kg of meat in a 2 tons metal box, which is sitting unused 95% of its life, using 10 sq meters of public space. ~25% of the materials used on a car aren't recyclable and end up in a landfill. With an average lifespan of 12 years and 1.4 billion vehicles on earth that's a lot of waste.
And that's not even talking about the current trend of ditching nuclear for intermittent energy sources while at the same time increasing our reliance on electricity
The argument of cars wasting space is a very city-centric view, in which people live in a very densely populated area. The surface area of this planet is around 500e6 km^2, of which about 1/3 is land-area (~166e6 km^2). Of course not nearly all of that is inhabitable, but if we assumed that every person owned a car, they'd all combined take 8e9 * 10 m^2 = 8e4 km^2 of space, or < 0.0005% of available land.
Very, very rough estimation, but just to poke fun at the ridiculous claim that allocating 10 m^2 for every person's transportation device is wasteful. We got enough space, it's just our way of living stacked on top of each other, which is weird.
Sure, it could be more efficient, but people's basic desires aren't numbers to do cold optimizations like that on.
I don't think cars are a "desire" either, it's more of a need we imposed ourselves because of the way we chose to live, and we see where this is leading us: polluted, pedestrian hostile cities, the creation of large commercial centers outside of cities which in turn created a need for more cars, &c.
Visit any medium/big city and imagine it without parked cars, these small 10 sq meters quickly add up and would change the way you perceive the city. No more noise, no more danger for pedestrians, maybe more apartments, parks, trees/vegetations, terraces, bicycle lanes, community gardens, &c.
I believe the current form of EVs are the last breath of a dying beast, personal vehicles are bound to disappear of city centers. I commute by bike and I see traffic jams every single day in virtually every major streets of my city, jams made of mostly 5 seats cars being used by one person.
Even within cities, the situation is pretty rough, there's just too many cars, and too little public transportation.
This creates a vicious cycle, nobody wants to move to the city because of the cars, the smog, the noise, and traffic, so everybody moves out, except that most people have to commute in the city.
I have since moved to Copenhagen, and I have not used a car in 2 years, buses are always packed but there's always another one coming in 5 minutes, and a bike is more than sufficient for my needs.
Contrasting the two was eye opening, and Copenhagen isn't even a Metropolis like NY or Tokyo.
I hope that pedestrians and cyclists reclaim cities from cars. Vastly more efficient, better for our health, the environment, noise pollution, and far safer for children.
"It could be more efficient", it is already more efficient in a lot of part of the globe as not every countries created themselves a society that depends on every single person having a car to be able to go to work. Do you mean those people basic desires are not fulfilled?
Imagine how much more efficient it could be without cars.
But yes, people living a rural life usually need cars. And their lifestyle is less efficient. Both can be true at the same time.
When will medium and heavy duty EV trucks be available? What companies are working on these? Are they all-wheel drive? How heavy of a trailer can they tow and how far? Are any of them flat-beds with a 5th-wheel hitch option?
At least that's how I use my car. And it sometimes gets down to -25C here in the winter and I've seen over a meter of snow on the roads a few times. Funnily enough - when it happens usually more people use public transport cause a big bus have easier time driving over that than a small personal cars, and besides you don't have to shovel the snow for half an hour in the morning to take a bus.
Not counting the actuall walk into the nearest stop, and how much humans they might try to fit into a single bus or train wagon.
Guess which option people go to.
2 - change transport
3 - travel to neighbouring city
4 - change transport
5 - travel to city area where customer is located
6 - change transport
7 - travel to the actual neighbourhood where customer building is located
1 - travel directly to customer building
But does anyone ever think "I don't want to have access to a car at all"?
Rich people in dense cities, even ones that don't want to drive themselves, travel by car all the time - they might not be driving themselves, though. Sometimes they travel by helicopter, which has even more externalities.
You have to look at what the wealthy do in terms of understanding what people want - if someone doesn't ever have or take a car because they can't afford it, that doesn't mean they wouldn't want to.
People want to snap their fingers and be at their destination. Not surprising and not very useful to know.
The only reason alternatives aren’t viable is because we actively choose to make them not viable. They’re viable all over the world. Just not here because we’d rather shackle ourselves to oil and debt instead.
I should add that even if we all agreed to turn back that dial and get back to self sustainability it is not something you can just turn on. This requires a few generations for this to be functional for entire families.
When I was a kid, and that wasn't a long time ago, we had grocery stores in every large streets, they all closed and relocated to the new commercial complex 5km outside of the city. My grandparents used to be able to literally cross the street and buy their food, now they have to rely on family member to go shopping for them.
This comment is outlandish. In vast swathes of the non-American developed world (Europe, Japan, etc) walking, cycling, and public transport are perfectly normal ways of getting around that many, if not a majority, of elderly people use on a daily basis without any difficulty whatsoever. And indeed these people are widely considered to be thriving - in no small part because they remain physically active and engaged in their community, which is another convenient upside of avoiding car culture.
Not exactly the stone age, as your comment mentions. Like the parent comment says, the majority of the potential negatives associated with avoiding car culture are in themselves a consequence of car culture in the first place.
This is by design. That's it. There's nothing stopping elderly people from walking to grocery stores except that we build in a way to make that impossible. They'd probably live longer and be healthier (as we all would be) if we walked a little more. It's very easy to test this - how do most people in the world including the elderly get their groceries?
> I should add that even if we all agreed to turn back that dial
I wouldn't be so quick to suggest that walking is turning back the dial anymore than stopping smoking is.
Also most places where people live have grocery stores in walking distance here. But that's just another example of "car culture vs walking culture".
BTW another very common sight in countryside is old people biking or walking with a bike. That way they don't need to carry the stuff they bought. And if they get tired they can use the bike as a "walking help".
This is the village where my family comes from: https://goo.gl/maps/XrzEjhMF7VUmdVVRA
It's a village of under 500 people in the poorest part of the poorest region of the EU. The nearest city of about 20 000 people is 25 km away. There's 3 bus stops and 3 grocery shops in this village, as well as a primary school, public library, firestation, medical place(sorry no idea how to translate that, there's a few nurses and a doctor), post office, bank and a church.
If you notice the shop has 4 bikes and 2 cars parked. That's about normal. Most customers probably walked in.
If driving a car was required to live half of the (mostly elderly) population of this village would have to move to a retirement house somewhere cause they probably can't drive anymore (or at least not in big-road traffic which would be required to get to the city).
But YMMV (literally ;) )
So is personal grocery hauling. There are trailers that can carry 50kg/100lbs of cargo that you just hitch to your bicycle.
That leaves the question of larger deliveries for stores. There are hybrid (muscle + electric) person sized vehicles (I think ups has some for example) that can deliver larger amounts of cargo with a reasonably sized vehicle.
But even then, I’d happily accept delivery trucks early in the morning or late in the evening if that was the only large and noisy vehicles using city roads. I don’t think most of the pollution (air and noise) or the danger to all other living beings in cities come from delivery trucks. No, it’s mostly personal cars.
i like to image the future as using things like the Citroen skate concept from a couple days ago, or other similar-ish strategies of using some kind of detachable tug or tractor that is summonable on demand.
The fossil fuel industry wants you to believe that decarbonizing a modern economy is impossible. They want their product to be absolutely essential and irreplaceable.
Oil is irreplaceable (with current technology) to a very limited extent, but plastics and petrochemicals account for less than 10% of all oil consumption. Aviation is also less than 10%. Cars account for the majority of all oil use. We should be able to cut oil use to 25% of the current total with no deep changes to our standard of living.
It’s even more extreme for coal. Only a tiny percentage of coal is used for metallurgy. Almost all of it goes to electricity production.
(My biggest issue with the electric vehicle enthusiasts I have known is that they seem to assume that EV's have zero hidden external costs. It's as if all the extra electricity needed was going to come from magic elves at the North Pole, via wires in hyperspace that no NIMBY could see or object to. (Let alone fail at scale, say, after a hurricane.) And Santa was going to bring EV's for all the human who aren't well-to-do home owners like them. Plus practical charging options, etc. for those folks - including the "living in their car" homeless working poor.)
Turbines in powerplants have about 50% efficiency. Best ones up to 60%.
Even if you get all your energy from fossil fuels it's better to burn them in powerplants than in small inefficient ICEs in cars that most of the time aren't even working in optimal conditions and start/stop constantly.
Especially using fast charging technology.
And ironically, using grid renewables decreases relative efficiency, since they require more deployed infrastructure (collection, transmission, etc) per kilowatt-hour generated, since intermittency has to be factored in, as well as the embedded cost of whatever supplies power when the sun isn't shining and wind isn't blowing, whether that be hydro, batteries, natural gas peakers, or nuclear.
I'd also expect significant improvement over time. We're just getting good at GaN fets & SiC fets, which usually have a couple % boost to efficiencies versus classic semiconductor chemistries. Newer lower internal resistance batteries provide more power on demand and heat up less, again boosting efficiency. Where-as with cars we've had a number of historical events pushing us towards efficiency, huge incentives to make trucking or other major industries more efficienct, and yet we've seen dwindling returns on optimization investment: we're already very good at gas. Short of jumping to turbines or other radical leaps.
You also havent accounted for energy costs to store, transport/distribute gas, in spite of holding that against electric vehicles. I expect that's probably >15% efficiency loss there too for gas. We could go deeper & assess the energy inputs required to produce these units of power, a gallon of refined low sulfur highway gas versus the kWh produced by solar, nuclear, natural gas, or, heaven forbid coal at the power plant. Again i feel like gas is rapidly losing efficiency marks versus the competiton.
Off the cuff I'd expect >3x energy efficiency net.
Unfortunately I can't remember where I found that information.
Average car burns 10 liters per 100 km so that's 0.5 kWh per 100 km.
According to  best Tesla uses ~15 kWh per 100 km.
That's 30 times more.
"Stranded in Yemen’s war zone, a decaying supertanker has more than a million barrels of oil aboard. If—or when—it explodes or sinks, thousands may die."
Summary - The unmaintained, rusting tanker is at the entrance to the Red Sea (and thus the Suez Canal). The side in the Yemeni civil war which controls it is enjoying considerable benefits from the ongoing threat of a huge oil spill. Diplomatic efforts at a resolution have gone nowhere.
Note - In the context (derelict tanker, crude oil), the term "explode" refers only to the explosion of some flammable vapors at the top of the oil tanks. That would (very likely) still be enough to start breaking up the ship, thus spilling ~all the crude oil.
EDIT: I’ve finished it (long article). All I can take away from that is that the current situation and short and long term outlooks are all extremely bleak.
The non-explodey solution is most likely going to require *both* sending enough money to Houthi leadership to save face, plus turning up with enough muscle to ensure an agreement to remove the oil is honoured.
The US military has never been a force for good, nor a force for evil either. The US military, like all other militaries, is a force for its own country's purposes and goals only. The rest is propaganda.
History has put the US in such a position this propaganda, and the area of control of its military, is extremely widespread.
Of course, and for everyone but contrarians, sometimes the US has goals that are a net good. Sometimes the US doesn't, and sometimes the US uses the military inappropriately for commendable but open-ended goals. This isn't open-ended, and not having the tanker is a net good, and you'll notice I emphatically did not suggest using only the US military. I suggested the US military provide security for whatever deal is struck.
Assuming we're living in reality, what non-force-backed solution do you propose that doesn't end with "Thankyou for $ASSET. There has been problem. Send more $ASSET."... Forever?
We also have some odd policies regarding SA - the recent transfer of ownership of the UK Football (Soccer) club Newcastle United is shrouded in mystery because the UK government granted special secrecy to the incoming Saudi owners. No, this is not fiction.
There's a whole history of unpopular decisions regarding SA, and the wider UAE in general, in the UK. Many times trade (notably arms) sanctions have been called for and routinely ignored. E.g. when the tragic living and working (read: slave) conditions of much of the immigrant workforces were revealed.
Whataboutism would instead say something like: Well France is supporting it too, why are you focusing so much on the U.S.?
The overthrow of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh by Obama which was the first step to destroy Yemen:
We're talking the same Obama who got a Nobel peace prize, right?
The same Kissinger that the Clintons embraced:
Kissinger continued to violate the signed truce after being awarded the Nobel.
Obama is commander-in-chief of the US military and therefore ultimately responsible for the AC-130 gunship that repeatedly bombed and strafed a field hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a week ago.
Weirdly, the aircraft was almost certainly using a 40mm cannon made by Bofors, a company that was once owned by Alfred Nobel, the founder of the peace prize.
Two dozen people were killed, including three children. Among the adults were the staff and patients of the charity that runs the hospital, Médecins Sans Frontières. Doctors Without Borders, as it is also known, was given the Nobel in 1999 for its “pioneering humanitarian work on several continents”.
So a Nobel Peace Prize-winning President is being condemned for sending a gunship to kill the staff of a Nobel Peace Prize-winning charity using weapons made by the company that the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize used to own.
It didn't? As the article describes, people have been aware of the problem for years already.
It was also discussed here last year
Here is another report from 2018
Just tell the Saudis that while we might not approve of their war in Yemen, they can go get the oil and sell it at regular market price.
That said I am curious if anyone would buy the oil if someone went there with a tug boat and fetched the ship.
The problem with colonial forces installing democracy in 3rd world countries is that eventually they leave, and then all the old problems come back, AND the native liberal and progressive movements are completely compromised as traitors.
ISIS exists because of USA (and other countries - including my own) involvement in the middle east.
Britain was in India for 150 years and it was barely enough.
It’s been reported on for a while, I first noticed article about it last year.
I'm also reminded of the SS Richard Montgomery, which is another "if we leave this for a generation maybe it will go away" situation: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Richard_Montgomery
Potentially the crude has weathered off so much over the years that it's no longer degassing, and less scientifically I think if the tank vapours haven't found an ignition source yet, they probably won't.
However corrosion never sleeps. The cargo tanks don't leak straight into the sea; you have ballast tanks too. If I had to guess, the next threat might be a leak into the pump room resulting in fire.
But ships have a periodic inspection regime under that they call "class rules" - this ship hasn't been in class for 5 years.
That is an insane period of time to be carrying hydrocarbon while being out of class.
There are hundreds of threats to this tanker and it is difficult to predict how it could fail, including complete loss of the vessel.
Explosion in the first place requires enormous amounts of oxygen. Even with inert atmosphere replaced with air, the volume is just too low.
The initial primary explosion could cause significant enough destruction to the ship that it acts like the “scatter charge” in a thermobaric weapon, spreading the undetonated oil sufficiently into the air that a larger percentage of the onboard oil is detonated as part of a “single event”…
However the more likely and no less disastrous outcome is the primary explosion of the fuel vapour damages the ship without sinking it (the explosion will be centred on the upper portion of the storage tanks) most likely blowing the top off of one (or more) of the storage tanks and potentially damaging the structural integrity of the ship without sinking it. An extremely likely outcome from this will be ignition of whatever remains of the oil in a burst storage tank, (which even if not “burst open” will likely have been structurally damaged so that fresh air can get in) leading to a fire onboard and due to the established lack of maintenance, that fire has a high likelihood of spreading through much of the ship (possibly aided by any oil movement induced by the primary explosion) which will heat up any undamaged storage vessels and turn them into (depending on the state of the pressure relief valve maintenance) potential pressure cookers full of fuel or sources of further burning fuel vapour…
So I don’t think they were trying to necessarily mislead as much as simplify the scenario for the audience. Most people don’t find it interesting to dissect cascading failures and map out the energetic potential effects. Most people would be fine saying “it blew up” even if it was technically two or three individual explosions interspersed between hours of being on fire before one final still in tact hot tank of oil went off like a pressure cooker turning into a fuel air explosion that shredded the ship into shrapnel.
Oil doesn't detonate, even if scattered by an explosion. Fuel-air explosions require very specific conditions it's entirely unlikely those conditions could be met with crude oil. Thermobaric weapons use chemicals like ethylene oxide that are: 1) highly volatile, 2) easily dispersed [no thick like oil], 3) have a very broad air-fuel mixture range which is flammable.
Could the vapor explode and spread burning oil everywhere? Sure.
Could it explode, distributing microscopic oil particles in such a way to sustain a fuel-air explosion? Highly unlikely.
Regardless of the failure mode, there’s probably a few that people haven’t thought of yet.
Liquids can't burn in air, only gasses can.
(Technically it's possible to make a liquid oxidizer and evenly mix it into the fuel, in which case it should be able to burn, but that's not something that can happen normally as there are very few room temperature liquid oxidizers. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triethylborane and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triethylaluminium ))
More importantly, high enough temperature and if you're unlucky the metals in the ship turn out to be thermite...
So that scene in "The Equalizer" when Denzel Washington blows up that oil tanker would in reality become a massive oil spill, or fire?
That would have been a strange plot twist, the equalizer himself being the cause of a massive environmental disaster :-)
Remember when the protagonist in Surrogates caused sudden, global economic and infrastructural collapse, possibly killing billions of people off-screen, just because he wanted to have richer sex with his wife?
Who can blame him :-)
So this ship stores an amount that fuels about 1% of the world for a day.
How many such ships are there, and how many are in as bad a state as this one?
That’s a 1km x 1km x 1km cube of oil every 60 days.
And when you factor in coal usage, it is t going to be pretty.
For anyone else whose mind jumped to the same conclusion as mine.
This is what war is for.
And they're still around, so no, they haven't been bombed enough. Dead people don't hold ships hostage.
You really don't want the Americans and the Russians to ever agree that your atoms don't deserve to be bonded together anymore.
No thank you.
Personally I've simply set up archive.today as a custom search engine in my browser exactly for situations like this. Take the original URL, chuck it in the archiver and read away.
People don't even realize how potentially dangerous is gasoline station a few blocks away or fertilizers magazine just outside their town or department of chemistry on the nearby University.
For some reason those dangers are not (yet) that sexy to be described in the alarmistic article.
42 Terajoules per kiloton of oil * 300 = 12.6 Petajoules
12.6 Petajoules = 3 Megatons of TNT
Basically oil alone is not a great source of energy, oil+oxygen is; and it's very hard to get a mix of oxygen and thick crude oil.
Seems unlikely that an explosion is the largest worry.
I lost my bet, i had a bet, that 5 months after we are out of Afghanistan, the warmongering would start again.
We embargoe a regime, its infrastructure is falling into disrepair, and now that disrepair is a reason to go in?
Pothole repair jobs with bunker-busters in Iran? Infrastructure demolishion and rebuilding as a service via the Military Industrial Complex? A construction company called the MOAB-mob?
If the saudis mercenaries cant win and they don't get the genocide properly done, at least pay for better bad journalism to draw the US into another firefight/fist-aid mission.
It never stopped? The war in Yemen has been going for years, and the China hawks seem to have survived the change in US government just fine.