Report: Green cars can save us!

A new study says radical behavioral breakthroughs such as “mass conversion to vegetarianism and bicycle commuting” are not necessary for California to meet its greenhouse emissions targets for 2050. 2006 legislation mandates greenhouse gas emissions in California must be 80% below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) modeled various conservation schemes as well as a mass transition to electric vehicles, then determined the electrical requirements of the state based on these changes. “Meeting the goal requires unprecedented levels of energy efficiency, completely decarbonizing electric generation, and switching almost all fossil fuel use to electricity,” says Dr. Jim Williams, lead author of the study.

To power all of those electric plugin cars, study authors acknowledge the state needs to build the equivalent of two new nuclear power plants every year for the next 40 years.


More –> Contra Costa Times: California energy report says state can slash greenhouse gases by another 80 percent.

The report was published last Friday in Science.


  1. The bike/ped/transit crowd probably relies too much on the carbon emissions argument.  I suspect within 20 years all cars will be electric just because we’ll be out of oil!  Not covering the whole planet with sprawling crap is a better long-term environmental argument for escaping car-dependence.

    Although I admit that global warming seems to be a argument that works well with people.

  2. I take issue with the article when it says nuclear doesn’t pollute. It absolutely does pollute, most obviously the radioactive waste which nobody wants in their back yard. Not to mention the unthinkable but INEVITABLE accident or disaster.

    Also fair to say all other renewable energy sources have some footprint on the environment in terms of the resources and materials used in the construction of those plants. But I have yet to see a “windmill disaster” that rivals Chernobyl or Japan… Am I missing something obvious?

  3. the obvious would be that windmills and solar cannot match nukes energy density. if we don’t have enough space for 80 nukes just think were are we gonna put all of those impactless windmills? 

  4. “Coal disasters” that are far worse than nuclear are going on all around us. Over 10,000 people per year are killed by coal, but we don’t see it because it gets written up as asthma or emphysema or cancer, etc. It also tends to be concentrated among the poor, who live near the plants, so nobody in power cares.

    Note: nuclear, especially the way we do it (without breeder reactors) is pretty crappy too. It’s still better than coal.

  5. The huge wind farm out at Altamont Pass east of the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the largest in the world and generates about 125 MW. You need 20 wind farms the size of Altamont Pass (50,000 acres or 79 square miles) to equal the energy output from San Onefre (84 acres).

    Looking at these numbers, I don’t see how even e-vehicles can be considered sustainable.

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