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Are you aware of the environmental impact of making electric car batteries?

This past fall I wrote a diary about electric cars at the turn of the 20th century. Back then there were more electric cars than cars with internal combustion engines. It didn't take long for that to change, primarily due to Ford creating the conveyor-belt assembly line model for building cars.

In that diary I wrote about the need to include embedded carbon, which is the amount of CO2 created when building cars, whether gas powered or electric vehicles (EV's), in addition to knowing how much CO2 is generated while driving to determine the overall goodness in slowing down climate change. As a very short summary, it all depends upon the specific model of vehicle, but in general a Prius for example puts out roughly half the CO2 as does a Honda Accord.

One big difference however is the carbon footprint of building electric and hybrid cars is a lot more compared to that of building a regular car, primarily due to the production of the batteries. The bottom line is you need to drive a hybrid car around ~90,000 miles before you hit the break even point in total carbon footprint compared to that of a typical combustion engine powered mid-sized sedan. After that, the Prius wins in having a smaller total carbon footprint.

This is only true, it turns out, depending upon how electricity is made where you live.

The EPA determined that positive CO2 affects on climate change gained from driving electric or hybrid vehicles is canceled if the electricity used to charge them comes from coal fueled power plants. In other words, if you live in West Virginia and drive a Prius or Tesla, you aren't really doing anything to lessen climate changing CO2 levels, but it isn't the fault of your Prius, it's the fault of how that electricity is made.

If you live in California you are helping to slow down climate change after you've driven ~90,000 in one of these vehicles because we get the bulk of our electricity from hydroelectric dams and natural gas. With the terrible drought we're currently going through, more electricity will come from natural gas powered plants which will shift that some.

Since we all need to drive, the reality is hybrid and electric cars make a difference in the long run affecting climate change positively after you drive them for some time and if you don't get your electricity from coal powered plants. As the old saying goes, your mileage may vary.

Well, that's if you stick to CO2 emissions as your yardstick of impacting the environment. There's still another thing we honestly need to consider ---> the environmental cost of producing batteries for EV's and Hybrids. I'll go into that more later on.

How about Tesla vehicles? They are 100% electric and have what is claimed to be the best batteries in the business. These batteries are jointly made by Panasonic, Toyota and Tesla. However superior these batteries are in terms of storing electricity, they are actually far more toxic to make compared to other types of batteries. Sadly, the more you really dig into the truth about making batteries for EV's or Hybrids, things aren't too green at all but rather become a toxic murky gray.

Here's a direct quote from an article written by Motley Fool (block quote below). Keep in mind they write articles specifically oriented to folks who invest in stocks of companies, so it comes from that angle. They want you to know the pluses and minuses. Still it is an eyeopening article for environmentalists too:

http://www.fool.com/...

Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy undertook a study to look at the environmental impact of lithium-ion batteries for EVs. The study showed that batteries that use cathodes with nickel and cobalt, as well as solvent-based electrode processing, have the highest potential for environmental impacts, including resource depletion, global warming, ecological toxicity, and human health. Panasonic's automotive grade li-ion batteries, which contain lithium, nickel, cobalt, and aluminum, and a proprietary cathode geometry developed jointly by Panasonic and Tesla and are currently used in the Model S.
What? To get lithium is very environmentally damaging in turns out, so much so that we'd rather import it than extract it ourselves. We have plenty of lithium in the USA, but we don't process it here. It's imported primarily from Argentina (52%) and Chile (44%) with a little coming from China (3%). There are two ways of getting lithium. You either mine it in hard rock that contains it or you chemically remove it from earth that contains it. The second way is done using salar brines which is done in a series of evaporative ponds. This is the primary way it's gotten because it costs less than 1/2 as much to do compared to the hard rock mining method.

Understanding what happens to produce the batteries used in EV's and Hybrids, the EPA actually concludes the only positive thing about them is the eventual savings in belching CO2 into the atmosphere after you've driven one of these vehicles long enough to surpass the embedded carbon cost. That's the one positive they actually see because the environmental costs of making the batteries unfortunately creates a toxic mess. Drat!

salar-brine_large

Salar brines use "salts" to extract lithium. A quick review of organic chemistry 101 here: Chemically speaking any metal when combined with an acid creates a "salt." If you take HCL (hydrochloric acid) and mix it with NaOH (sodium hydroxide), you end up with table salt (NaCL) and water. Salar brines used to extract lithium are far more complicated requiring several different salts made of metals other than Sodium (Na). This link takes you to a good explanation about how this is done for those that care to find out more: http://metals.about.com/...

The blockquote below is also from the same Motley Fool article:

Friends of the Earth, Europe states:
The extraction of lithium has significant environmental and social impacts, especially due to water pollution and depletion. In addition, toxic chemicals are needed to process lithium. The release of such chemicals through leaching, spills or air emissions can harm communities, ecosystems and food production. Moreover, lithium extraction inevitably harms the soil and also causes air contamination.
So, I must confess I don't really know what to make of the whole picture of driving cars, no matter what type of vehicle we choose to drive. I think it really depends on what you prefer to drive and how you predominantly drive. We certainly need a better way to make batteries for EV's and Hybrids. And wouldn't it be great if people could charge their cars from a solar panel or two. I know that since we plug our hybrids and EV's into our home electrical systems AC current must then be converted into DC for the car batteries to store. Since solar panels make DC it shouldn't be hard, I'd expect, to create a direct conversion from the panels to the DC car batteries.


UPDATE:




I've been contacted by someone who apparently really knows about all types of lithium batteries. While I was trying to spotlight the environmental costs of getting lithium and making batteries for Hybrids and EV's, I do not know the chemistry involved with the many different types of lithium batteries which I'm told number in the dozens and include lithium polymer, lithium sulfate, and lithium manganese. Perhaps another more knowledgeable person will write a diary about that and the environmental costs of each type of lithium battery.
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Latest Updates on Kossack Regional Meet-Up News Below the New Day sunrise cloud

:: COMMUNITY BUILDING UPDATES ::
Let's build communities!

Every region needs a meatspace community like SFKossacks.
We take care of each other in real life.
I urge YOU to take the lead and organize one in your region.
Please tell us about it if you do and we're here for advice.


THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

:: Regions Organizing ::
>>>Instructions on HOW TO FORM A NEW DAILY KOS GROUP
NEW GROUPS IN THE PROCESS OF ORGANIZING:
Send a Kosmail to the organizers and ask for an invitation to the group.
Northern Indiana Area: Kosmail Tim Delaney

Long Island: Kosmail grannycarol

Northern Michigan: Kosmail JillS

Nebraska: Kosmail Nebraska68847Dem

Westburbia Chicago Kossacks: Kosmail Majordomo

Caprock Kossacks (Panhandle/Caprock/Lubbock/Amarillo area) : Kosmail shesaid

West Texas Kossacks (including Big Bend Region and El Paso) : Kosmail Yo Bubba

Vermont Kossacks: Kosmail 4Freedom

Note to the above new leaders: Feel free to leave a comment any day reminding readers about your new group. Also, tell us about your progress in gathering members. Kosmail me when you've chosen a good name for your group and have created a the group. Then I'll move you to the NEW GROUPS LIST. When you've planned a date for your first event I'll make a banner for you to highlight your event in our diaries and your diaries.
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These are the groups that have started since * NEW DAY * began. Please Kosmail navajo if you have started a group before that.
NEW GROUPS LIST:

California Central Valley Kossacks - Formed: Jul 29, 2012, Organizer: tgypsy

New England Kossacks - Formed: Aug 6, 2012, Organizers:
Clytemnestra for Lower New England (Conneticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island)
nhox42 for Upper New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont)

Houston Area Kossacks - Formed: Aug 7, 2012, Organizer: Chrislove

Kossacks in India - Formed: Aug 14, 2012, Organizer: chandu

CenTex Kossacks - Formed: Sep 9, 2012, Organizer: papa monzano

Central Ohio Kossacks - Formed: Sep 26, 2012, Organizer: VetGrl

Kansas City Kossacks - Formed Oct 15, 2012, Organizer: [Founder stepped down]

Phoenix Kossacks - Formed Oct 16, 2012, Organizer: arizonablue

Chicago Kossacks - Formed: Oct 31, 2012, Organizer: figbash

Koscadia the Pacific Northwest coast from Northern California to Alaska  
- Formed Oct 17, 2012, Oganizer: Horace Boothroyd III based in Portland, OR

Boston Kossacks - Formed: Nov 7, 2012, Organizer: GreyHawk

Motor City Kossacks South East Michigan (Detroit) Area - Formed: Nov 10, 2012, Organizer:  peregrine kate

Pittsburgh Area Kossacks - Formed: Nov 12, 2012, Organizer: dweb8231

Salt Lake City Kossacks - Formed: Nov 17, 2012, Organizer: War on Error

Twin Cities Kossacks - Formed: Nov 17, 2012, Organizer: imonlylurking

Dallas Kossacks North Texas - Formed: Nov 21, 2012, Admins: Catte Nappe and dalfireplug. Please contact them to join the group. An Event Organizer needed.

The Southern California Inland Empire Kossacks - Formed: Dec 3, 2012, Organizer: SoCaliana

Los Angeles Kossacks - Formed: Dec 17, 2012, Organizer: Dave in Northridge  

Northeast Ohio Kossacks - Formed: Jan 16, 2013,  Organizer: GenXangster

Kansas & Missouri Kossacks - Formed: Jan 17, 2013, Organizer: tmservo433

I-77 Carolina Kossacks who live from Columbia, SC to north of Winston-Salem, NC. - Formed: Jan 30, 2013, Organizers: gulfgal98 and eeff

Indianapolis Kossacks - Formed: Feb 6, 2013, Organizer: CityLightsLover

Southwest Ohio Kossacks - Formed: May 10, 2013, Organizer: Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN

Northern Arizona Kossacks - Formed:  Jul 5, 2013, Organizer: Sam Sara

Mexican Kossacks - Formed: Apr 14, 2013, Organizer: roberb7

New York Hudson Valley Kossacks - Formed: Oct 27, 2012, Organizer: boran2

North Carolina Triangle Kosmopolitans - Formed: Aug 2, 2013, Organizer: highacidity

Silicon Valley Kossacks - Formed: Oct 31, 2013, Organizer: Glen The Plumber

Seattle and Puget Sound Kossacks - Formed: Dec 17, 2013, Organizer: EagleOfFreedom

Las Vegas NV Kossacks - Formed: Oct 22, 2013, Organizer: miracle11

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ESTABLISHED GROUPS LIST: (List will grow as we discover them)

SFKossacks Founded by navajo, Formed: May 2, 2005

Maryland Kos Founded by timmyc, Formed: Feb 23, 2011. Contact: JamieG from Md for a group invite.

New York City Founded by Eddie C - Contact the group organizer for meet-up events: sidnora

Baja Arizona Kossacks, Event Organizer: Azazello

Three Star Kossacks Tennessee, Founded by maryKK, Formed: Apr 8, 2011

Nashville KosKats, Founded by ZenTrainer Formed: Jan 30, 2012

Virginia Kos Founded by JamieG from Md, Formed: May 3, 2011

Kos Georgia Founded by pat208, Formed: Feb 13, 2011

Colorado COmmunity Founded by Leftcandid, Formed: Feb 13, 2011

New Mexico Kossaks Founded by claude

Philly Kos Founded by mconvente Formed: Aug 29, 2011

DKos Florida Founded by ThirstyGator, Formed: Feb 14, 2011, Currently organizing: Kosmail Vetwife to be included in next event.

Oklahoma Roundup Founded by BigOkie, Formed: Feb 13, 2011, Currently organizing: Kosmail peacearena to be included.

DKos Asheville Founded by davehouck, Formed: Feb 13, 2011 - Organizing Assist by: randallt

San Diego Kossacks Founded by La Gitane, Formed: Nov 18, 2011

Massachusetts Kosmopolitans Founded by mem from somerville, Formed: Feb 13, 2011

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:: Event Reporting ::
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LIVEBLOG NYC Kos Meetup 1/12/14


by ericlewis0for New York City

Wow. Boom! ericlewis0 blew us all away on Sunday. He provided a LIVE BLOG of the NYC event complete with photos and bonafide commentary from the attendees. Amazing!

imageimage
Photo 1 L-R: In the orange, thankgodforairamerica, ghchaucer2, sidnora, joanbrooker, dave g & kathny Photo 2 L-R: Plf515, Laura Clawson, mets102, son of broccoli, Communitygis, no exit, designthefuture & mattc129

Please visit ericlewis0's diary for the live blog commentary from the attendees! Enjoy! You can join NYC Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to sidnora.

sidnora promises her faithful follow-up diary and she could likely have food pr0n. I hope so. I live for explicit photos of the fries at Spitzer's Corner.

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Houston Area Kossacks banner

Houston Area Kossacks Meet-Up Pr0n, Pizza Edition


by Chrislovefor Houston Area Kossacks

Our intrepid Houston Area Kossacks got together again. It was time for socializing after all the Battle Ground Texas work many of them did last year. Here's to gearing up for more work this year.

Chrislove is the group organizer and he can be seen in the photo below on the top right:

 photo 3ec874ca-fed6-4a6b-89f3-78176201c5b1_zps0c186ba7.jpg
Top L-R: doraphasia, cosette & Chrislove
Bottom L-R: htowngenie & MarciaJ720
 photo zzaj_zps5d004b9d.jpg photo dyo5_zpseb896d7c.jpg photo afc7_zps23c0c74f.jpg photo nt9o_zpsd29547af.jpg
L-R: mjbleo, Mary, flekk17 & TDDVandy

Please visit Chrislove's diary for amazing food pr0n photos! Enjoy! You can join Houston Area Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to Chrislove.

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Motor City Kossacks Banner

Motor City Kossacks Meetup Report re Sat. 1/4; Reminder re NN14 Meetup Th. 1/9 @ 7pm Sidetrack, Ypsi


by peregrine katefor Motor City Kossacks

A polar vortex could not stop six Motor City Kossacks from getting together on January 4th. Kudos, all! ACA Daily Kos celebrity, Brainwrap attended and brought the group up to date on his work.

Even folks from the White House are quoting his figures now. He also observed how odd he thought it was that the mainstream media (and governmental) sources were 1) not talking to him directly, seemingly content to take his numbers as valid, and 2) not conducting similar statistical aggregations on their own. We shared his astonishment, but agreed that he is doing an important job.
Also in attendance were prolific diarist BFSkinner, user ID 162795 and has been around since long before 2008. Amber6541, famous pootie/woozle diarist with an old user ID of 157580 and sydneyluv, who beat them all with the user ID of 132330. Long timers, these three!

Discussion included Michigan's crucial statewide elections in 2014 and the need to displace Rick "the Nerd" Snyder.

As hosts for upcoming NN14, the Motor City Kossacks are ready for their first meeting with the NN14 staff this January 9th. peregrine kate expressed the need to hear from as many politically radical, grass-roots organizers in Detroit during NN14 as possible and coalesce all this collective energy. All who attend this early meeting will get to shape the agenda. Please kosmail peregrine kate to attend this important event.

Here's one photo:

Four Kossacks at Sweetwater Tavern meetup
L-R: Four Motor City Kossacks: Amber6541, Brainwrap, sydneyluv, BFSkinner

You can still recommend peregrine kate's diary and see many MORE photos! Enjoy! You can join Motor City Kossacks by sending a Kosmail to peregrine kate.

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:: Events Currently on the Books for Kossacks  ::
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Logo for Three Star Kossacks group.  Font used is Cooper, selected especially to emphasize the Nashville-area Congressman who deserves to be primaried.
AND
 photo Nashville-KosKats-banner-wTEXT_zps27b135a0.jpg
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Saturday, January 25th

Tennessee Three Star Kossacks & Nashville KosKats Meet-up

TIME: 4:30 PM
LOCATION: TennSixteen Food & Drink
1016 Woodland St • Nashville

ORGANIZER: Send marykk a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. marykk
2. Sandy on Signal (Guest of Honor)
3. jnhobbs
4. ZenTrainer
5. Patrick is Lucky
6. Meg
Maybees:
Latest diary: Nashville Meet up with KosKats and 3 Star Kossacks
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Dkos Asheville
 photo the-cantina-biltmore_zps9107bc71.jpg
Saturday, January 25th

Asheville Kossacks Meet-up

SPEAKERS:
Asheville City Councilman Gordon Smith
Sarah Zambon from the League of Women Voters.

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: The Cantina
10 Biltmore Plaza • Asheville

ORGANIZER: Send randallt a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. davehouck
2. LamontCranston
3. randallt
4. joieau
5. Gordon20024
6. flwrightman
7. Otteray Scribe
8. emmasnacker
9. GordonNC (UID 5123 & City Councilman) GUEST SPEAKER!
10. cultjake
11. DawnN
12. Captain Sham
13. Mrs Sham
14. SteelerGrrl
15. SteelerGuy
16. Alecia
17. Mr. Alecia
18. Nic Goodman
19. Sarah Zambon (League of Women Voters) GUEST SPEAKER!
Maybees:
Munchkn
One Pissed Off Liberal
people power granny
Burns Lass
Aviator Doc
stellaluna
eternallyvigilant
Latest diary: DKos Asheville Update-Guest speakers!
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Motor City Kossacks Banner
Sunday, January 26th

Motor City Kossacks NN14 Panel-Planning Meeting

TIME: 1:00-3:00 PM
LOCATION: Private Office (Kosmail peregrine kate)
Southfield Road near 12 Mile • Southfield

ORGANIZER: Send peregrine kate a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. peregrine kate
2.
3.
Maybees:
Latest diary: Motor City Kossacks: First NN14 Panel Prep Meeting this Sunday 1/26, 1-3 PM, Southfield
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Golden Gate Bridge at sunrise with SFKossacks banner treatment
 photo GrizzlyIsland_zps294e19df.jpg
Sunday, January 26th

SFKossacks Welcome matching mole to San Francisco!

TIME: TBD, daytime car trip to the Delta for birding with lineatus
LOCATION: Grizzly Island Wildlife Area
2548 Grizzly Island Road • Suisun City
lineatus will have a spotting scope and a few spare pairs of binoculars, so novices can have something to use.

ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. lineatus
2. matching mole
3. tgypsy
4. kimoconnor
5. Kestral
6. bwren
Maybees:



TIME: 6:30 PM, evening event for city folk and to celebrate dharmasyd's and kimoconnor's birthdays!
LOCATION: Chenery Park
683 Chenery Street • San Francisco
Near Glen Park BART

ORGANIZER: Send lineatus a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. lineatus
2. matching mole
3. navajo
4. dharmasyd
5. side pocket
6. norm
7. kimoconnor
8. Glen The Plumber
9. remembrance
10. TLO
11. bwren
12. anonymous
13. navajo's guest
Maybees:
jpmassar
Latest diary: Dawn Chorus: Preview of Coming Attractions
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 photo LasVegasKossacksBannerTEXT_zps20a7924a.jpg
LasVegasDemocrats
Tuesday, January 28th

Las Vegas Kossacks SOTU Watch Party

TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Barefoot Bob's Beach Bar & Gaming
1590 E Flamingo Rd • Las Vegas

Northside of Flamingo, across from Blueberry Hill Diner, Barefoot Bobs is the old Murphy's Law Pub. We will be outside in the enclosed HEATED Patio with 2 big screen tv.s. We will be a private group and Happy Hour prices will apply!

ORGANIZER: Send miracle11 a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. miracle11
2.
3.
Maybees:
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SiliconValley Kossacks Banner by Glen The Plumber
 photo curb-appeal-2-10_zpsf3ae3545.jpg
Tuesday, January 28th

Silicon Valley Kossacks SOTU Watch Party

TIME: 5:00 PM
LOCATION: Lusty's Home
Address given privately to RSVPs • Silicon Valley

Event will be potluck, please bring a side dish to complement a crock-pot main course provided by Lusty. Desserts and tasty beverages are needed, also.

Discussion will be about how the Silicon Valley Kossacks can use their group effectively to support Mike Honda since he is being primaried.

ORGANIZER: Send Lusty a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. Lusty - Crock-pot main course
2. Glen the Plumber
3. remembrance
4. TLO
5. navajo - wine
6. BroadBlogs
7. BayAreaKen
8. MrNavajo - wine
9. SanJoseLady
Maybees:
Cali Scribe
Mr. Cali Scribe
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 photo SeattleBannerTEXT_zps86d1e352.jpg
DETAILS COMING VERY SOON! TBD

Seattle & Puget Sound Kossacks Inaugural Meet-up

TIME: TBD
LOCATION: TBD
[Address] • Seattle

ORGANIZER: Send EagleOfFreedom a kosmail to attend.

RSVPs:
1. EagleOfFreedom
2.
3.
Maybees:
Latest diary: [Waiting for linked diary]
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Send navajo a kosmail if you post a diary about an event so we can update our round-up.

Okay. Floor's open.
Tell us what you are doing on this NEW DAY?

Originally posted to Connect! Unite! Act! on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 07:30 AM PST.

Also republished by SFKossacks.

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