Over at CNN.com, Rachel Oliver is taking a closer look at hybrid gas/electric vehicles (like the Toyota Prius) and the impact they could make in helping to constrain greenhouse gas emissions. It's an interesting piece, but she gets one thing very, very wrong:
A US Department of Energy (DoE) study found that 73% of the nearly 217 million vehicles on America's roads could be charged with existing power plants to generate the electricity to charge the cars - and greenhouse gases would fall by 27% as a result.Actually, it's Oliver who is missing the point. As we've mentioned time and again, nuclear reactors don't emit any greenhouse gases, so linking them with coal plants simply doesn't make any sense.
The problem is, existing power plants often means coal or nuclear power, so "dirty" energy powering "clean" cars kind of misses the point. The DoE study also found -- not surprisingly - that particulate emissions would increase with the power grid having to charge all these vehicles.
Then again, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It was back in May that some of our own polling discovered that much of the public was unclear on the role nuclear energy plays in constraining the emission of greenhouse gases and other pollutants while providing reliable and affordable electricity.
Still, Oliver is a reporter, and really doesn't have any excuse for being this sloppy. Shame on her.