Here's a simple calculation: if you want to increase reader outrage participation, just say that popular green icons are bad for the environment. William Baldwin, writing in Forbes, is testing the theory out with a three-pronged attack on hybrids, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and bottled water (I'll totally agree with him on the bottled water bit right off the bat). Here's his reasoning for ditching the Prius.
  • First, a Prius costs more.
  • Second, there are 30 extra pounds of copper and 22 extra pounds of nickel in a Prius compared to a ... well, Baldwin doesn't say. I'm assuming he means compared to a non-hybrid vehicle.
I agree that the excavating the extra metals from the earth does extra damage. Whether that does more damage than the extra gas a comparable non-hybrid would use Baldwin doesn't say. He cops out by saying, "Calculating the gains and losses would be quite a chore, even for an engineer". Weak.

Baldwin's weakest argument is this: "The hybrid's steep price tag is a signal that, directly or indirectly, it consumes a lot of the earth's resources". This reasoning can be dismissed with any one of the following names: Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Armani. Expensive usually mean lots of money was spent on advertising, not that there is any inherent value in the product. I thought Forbes understood economics. They certainly don't get green.

Update: yesterday I was able to read the article on Forbes. Today there seems to be a free subscription required page up. Is anyone else having trouble reading the original?

[Source: Forbes via TerraPass]

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