Global warming poses a real and pressing threat to the planet and to humanity and it’s clear that modern industrial societies must radically and quickly reduce the amount of carbon dioxide they are collectively injecting into the atmosphere.

SolarChargedDriving.Com editorial logo

But as important as reducing CO2 output is, it’s crucial not to forget that there are many other pollutants which result from our heavy reliance on gasoline-powered transportation.

Driving injects carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, and particulates into the atmosphere – and it creates the conditions for the production of hazardous ozone. These all have a negative impact on our quality of life and health, especially on our lungs.

For example, a clear link has been found between air pollution and asthma attacks. There is also growing evidence that air pollution, much of it caused by gas-powered automobiles, contributes to initiating asthma.

And a recent study of London children found that children ages eight and nine living in this major metropolitan city had a lung capacity five percent lower than the national average. Researchers suspect particulates produced by automobiles are largely responsible for the reduced lung capacity.

heavy traffic on I-25Not only does our obsession with CO2 tend to cause us to forget the local impact of gasoline-powered driving, it has helped fuel the misguided rhetoric of nuclear energy – which produces toxic waste with a life of hundreds of thousands of years – as a “clean” form of energy.

It’s also allowed conservatives to get away with simplistic, one-dimensional arguments that gloss over the multiple negative impacts of a fossil-fuel powered transportation fleet.

Here’s one example: Denver Post columnist Chunk Plunkett recently made the claim that taking the Denver light rail has more of a negative environmental impact than driving to work in a Toyota Prius.

His rather suspect comparative calculations focused only on CO2 and failed to take into account other pollutants.

Not only does our obsession with CO2 tend to cause us to forget the local impact of gasoline-powered driving, it has helped fuel the misguided rhetoric of nuclear energy – which produces toxic waste with a life of hundreds of thousands of years – as a “clean” form of energy.

Additionally, they did not account for the possibility of traffic jams. Nor did they account for the energy required to construct and maintain the vast highway system needed for a Toyota Prius.

What allowed Plunkett to get away with comparing auto travel and light rail travel solely along the axis of CO2? Arguably, our society’s obsession with CO2 — to the exclusion of other pollutants.

While we must train our attention on CO2, let’s not forget that other forms of pollution result from our addiction to fossil fuels and a transportation infrastructure rooted in – really, mired in – individually driven, gasoline-powered vehicles.

Solar-charging an EV will reduce your carbon footprint, possibly to zero if you’re able to power its batteries 100-percent annually off your home solar system. Just as importantly, it will also reduce your carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide output and reduce ozone, all of which stand as significant health and environmental threats.

So, when you tell the world you’re a solar-charged driver, by all means, talk about your carbon footprint. But please also remember to mention the other pollutants you’re eliminating by driving a true ZEV! They’re just as important as CO2, and they seem lately to have gotten lost in the CO2 hubbub.

{module 194}

Leave a Reply