Andrew Revkin at Dot Earth has a good discussion with Lee Schipper about the problems with the US-China deal on producing electric cars. Without repeating the post, the essence is that zero-emissions cars don’t solve the traditional problems that planners have been struggling with for a long time.
“Creating a zero-carbon car for China tomorrow won’t solve the much bigger problems of urban congestion, traffic fatalities and the paving over of once-beautiful cities to make room for more cars,” Dr. Schipper said. “The discussions should back up. Energy is only a means to an end. What are the ends, urban access and mobility, or cars for a small minority?”
This isn’t to say that China and the US shouldn’t be building electric vehicles. Only that a carbon-free car is just that, a car, with all its other attendant issues and urban design challenges/drawbacks.