New: Re: The Trickle-Down Theory of Global Warming (Public Comment)

Jeff Hoffman
Wednesday January 27, 2016 - 03:40:00 PM

Russ Tillman's column is so blatantly wrong about everything I don't know where to start, but I'll try to do this in the order presented.

First, electric cars are much better for the environment than any cars that burn gasoline. Tillman's claim that "A $70,000 Tesla Model S produces carbon similar to a 31 mile-per-gallon gasoline-powered car" is patently false. If an electric car is charged by electricity from solar panels, it produces no pollution at all, including carbon dioxide. And by the way, it's carbon dioxide, not carbon. 

Next, the California high speed rail train would be electric. Again, if the power were to come from solar panels and wind generators along the tracks, the trains would produce zero pollution. So again, Tillman's claim that "The greenhouse gas emission-equivalent for a typical airplane carrying 116 passengers would be a train carrying 130-280 passengers" is totally false, because it doesn't apply to the high speed rail project. (I actually have some objections to portions of this project, such as the proposed route through the Pacheco Pass wilderness, and don't support it as is, but not for Tillman's reasons.) 

Third, traveling by train is less environmentally harmful than flying for other reasons than just air pollution and global warming. Planes create hideous noise, dump their toxic fuel before they land, and airports take up massive space that could otherwise be used for wildlife. Planes have also killed many birds by hitting them or the birds flying into the jet engines. 

Finally, Tillman seems to think that spending money is what is needed to solve environmental problems. While it's true that in some isolated cases spending money can help the environment, that is rarely what is needed. Overconsumption -- i.e., spending money -- is one of the root causes of all environmental problems (the other being overpopulation). My guess is that Tillman is a leftist and thinks everything is about money, but money has nothing to do with the environment and spending money will usually not help or save it. 

I suggest leftists stick to writing columns about subjects on which they have some knowledge, such as economics. As a long time environmentalist, I can vouch for the fact that leftists look foolish when they write about the environment. To be clear, by "leftists" I mean people who prioritize economic issues. For real environmentalists and the environment itself, that priority is the real problem, not whether one is on the left or the right.