• Jan 29th 2008 at 8:19PM
  • 28


Boston Legal is an ABC TV series about a law firm. In the episode Green Christmas (first aired Dec. 18, 2007), the law firm, Crane Poole and Schmidt, is sued by a group called "Green People" for fraud because they said they were green but actually were not. In the court case, a board member of Green People is asked which car he drives? He says a hybrid, to which the Boston Legal firm's lawyer Katie responds saying a Hummer is greener because of the way batteries are made. On top of that, she says hybrids reduce the cost of driving which encourages more driving and in the end more pollution. You can watch the video above. Here's exactly what Katie says:

Hybrid batteries contain nickel that is mined and smelted in a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. A plant that has caused so much environmental damage and acid rain that NASA uses the so-called dead zone around the plant to test its moon rovers. ... That nickel then has to be shipped via massive containers to a refinery in Europe. Then off to China to be made into nickel foam, then to Japan to be manufactured, then finally all the way back to America. All that, just to put a single hybrid battery into a car. When you combine all the energy it takes to built and drive a hybrid it adds up to almost fifty percent more that it does to build and drive a Hummer.

A few comments to my posts on the hybrid in the Knight Rider TV movie, said things like like "spare me." Yes, the Knight Rider TV movie is a remake of a cheesy '80s TV show, but it might inspire Ford to make a hybrid Mustang. Boston Legal's 10 million viewers probably believed the statements about hybrid batteries. My point is: Culture matters. It's probably more important than things like politics, technology, brand or anything. It really does not matter that the hybrid Hummer/Prius study has been discredited (many, many times) or that this argument is just stupid for the simple reason that batteries are recycled by law. If it's repeated on shows like Boston Legal, it's "fact."

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[Source: ABC]


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  • 28 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      I agree with The Other Bob. If you don't drive very much it would be better for the environment (and your budget) if you kept your same car until it broke down. I drive less than 3000 miles per year, I plan to keep my truck until the wheels fall off.
      • 7 Years Ago
      cowboy bob; While it might be temping to "shoot 'em all and let god sort 'em out", it's probaly not practical. When trying to choose between who is a liar, and who is a damn liar, just look at the money. Follow the $ trail and it usually leads you to the truth. In this country it usually ends with someone elses hand in YOUR pocket.
      For the record; At this point in time I beleive diesel-electric hybrids hold the most promise in the near to mid-term. Add some solar collecting paint, and a removable small wind generator and you got your green transport. check this out- http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/windcart.html

      Imagine a smaller charger, about the size of a 10 in house fan. It would easily plug in and out of a socket on the car roof. Like a boat light. As for the show. It's about lawyers.


      Lawyer = professional liar
      • 7 Years Ago
      Granted this study seems like rubbish but in terms of Li-Ion batteries - is there a heavy environment cost for them? Is their production very energy intensive? It just seems like when something is so expensive it is taking some kind of input, energy, materials, mining? What was spent to make the ~$30K of batteries in a tesla?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Other Bob-- How fortunant you live so close to employment. For some, however, living close to their job is a luxury they cannot afford."

      Oh, BS. I'm a poor-ass grad student, and I live in a nice place very close to my place of employment. You can afford to live close to your place of employment, you just choose not to and justify it to yourself. I'm sick of the "but the infrastructure/my income/my society/my special circumstances give me a free pass!" argument. You're gonna have to do better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @MajorGeek:

      If one truly wanted to reduce unnecessary energy consumption in the US, the most beneficial starting place is actually heating/cooling. The energy wasted in heating/cooling dwarfs that used by consumer driving. Further, the rate of return is better (you get more benefit for less dollars), and people are more willing and able to improve their heating/cooling than they are to fundamentally change their transportation modes.

      Unfortunately, the "green" powers that be aren't really interested in making a real improvement, not as much as they are in taking away people's choices and current vehicles. Those who do tend or prefer to focus on the realities are most often shouted down as heretics or in bed with big oil, or "it isn't enough!" (translate: it doesn't fund MY pet pipedream!) accusations.

      May more people speak the sentiment you espoused in that post.
      • 7 Years Ago
      MajorGeek:

      Try this: add up the cost of heating and cooling your house and then add up the total fuel bill of all your family's vehicles. For many people the latter will be greater than the former. Then you must consider the energy cost used to manufacture the various autos versus the cost to manufacture the house which will outlast by many times all of the autos. How can you say that energy use amongst consumers isn't important when so many people are complaining about the cost of gasoline?


      "I would have trouble pulling a 6500lb trailer with a Prius!!"

      For most people this is a non-issue b/c they have no reason to do such a thing. Now there are people who rationalize buying a vehicle that can do this by finding things that they might want to tow in their future but I ask is that really such a "need" or is that just a manufactured "want?"

      The bottom line is that the Prius gets you from point A to point B reliably while using very little gasoline. If you find that threatening to your lifestyle or Ron Paul -patterned beliefs that is your problem.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm with cowboy bob. Houses that are 5 or 10 miles from my job cost about $100,000 more than houses that are 20 miles from my job. I'll just drive those 40 miles a day in a cheap sub-compact and accept it is the best trade-off I can afford to make between my finances and my sense of environmentalism.
      • 7 Years Ago
      When we all wake up and realize that saving fuel is a good idea for the wallet and environment, we also need to look at many other things. Oversized homes, aerosol cans, food waste and more that many people use daily and have a negative impact. Things everyone can do every day to make a difference regardless of their vehicle. I like the lady down the road who drives a Prius, yet lives alone heating and air conditioning (northeast weather) a 3,500 square foot home. Wonder how much is wasted their as opposed to a 1,200 square foot home? I don't know whats "greenest" and really dont care, I will let the market sort it out.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The simple fact is that everyone has an ax to grind. I don't know who to believe, and think everybody on both sides is a lying SOB. Both sides take "facts" and skew them to fit their argument. I don't believe any of the B.S. from both sides. E-85, Biodiesel, Ethanol, and Hybrid supporters along with all the Exon/Shell/BP 'ers are all a bunch of decietful carperbaggers. Shoot all the lying bastards.
      • 7 Years Ago
      It is a good example of the underhanded and sometimes dishonest tactics used by lawyers. The best defense would be knowing the subject, thus knowing when they are fudging the truth.

      In this case, if the plaintiffs (Green People) had known about that bogus "Hummer is greener" study and the rebuttals to it, they could have countered it easily. But someone so shallow as to file such a frivolous lawsuit is probably clueless and unprepared.

      Good thing the show is fiction!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well that's typical. Why would they even do that? Don't they fact-check? What have they got against hybrids?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The need for cars is already mentioned here, but what I'd like to point out is this: people should not forget that we have a choice in picking our cars.

      It's true that maybe a Corolla is just as good for some than a Prius, but then again, maybe that Corolla owner could've also done well with a Yaris. My point is that often times we choose our vehicles based on personal desires. Not that there is anything fundamentally wrong with that, but sensibility and needs should also be considered before we rationalize our way to justify vanity.

      The truth is, people often buy more car than they need. Maybe the family car could have been a Toyota Matrix instead of the Highlander (hybrid or not). Towing capability is often wasted and maybe better off just to rent. 4-wheel-drive may sound like it will give the driver invincibility on the road, but sometimes maybe just good tires or get off the road and stay at the hotel be better choices.

      I can go on and on... in the end, US is a car-centric society, we will never get rid of our cars. I just hope that sensibility will triumph over the long run.
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