Alberto Cervantes and Katherine Blunt had a piece on this subject in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.
It’s a piece that I can only characterize as virtue-signaling. Their opening paragraph has this:
What does a lower-carbon home look like?… It uses heat pumps for heating and cooling, solar panels and batteries for electricity generation and storage, induction ranges for cooking and chargers for electric vehicles.
What they seem a pains to elide, though, are associated, unavoidable carbon footprints (as always, granting (which I do not, except arguendo) carbon footprints matter) and really nasty pollution.
What is the carbon footprint from the manufacture of heat pumps, solar panels, and batteries?
What is the carbon footprint from mining the raw materials? The carbon footprint from their transformation into the components for those heat pumps, solar panels, and batteries?
What is the carbon footprint from transporting materials from each prior stage of mining and manufacture to the next stage and ultimately to the end-use location?
What about the pollution from mining the ores necessary for these items’ components? The lithium, nickel, cadmium, and other battery metals are especially toxic to mine—and not only the metals, the mining tailings also are strongly polluting.
What about the toxic pollution from disposal of spent batteries—those toxic metals still are in those batteries that no longer work due to the simple nature of batteries aging and fading out of usefulness?
Energy efficiency always is a plus, if only from an economic perspective. But our goal should be energy efficiency, not limits on permitted energy.