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How Electric Cars Save Human Lives

Thursday, 23 May 2013 14:17 By The Daily Take, The Thom Hartmann Show | Op-Ed
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Tesla Motors.(Photo: Kazuhisa OTSUBO / Flickr)If you've ever visited New York City during the summer, you know just how unbearably hot that city can get, and thanks to climate change, it's only going to get hotter.

And now, researchers have calculated that the rising temperatures will increase the death toll linked to a warming climate in Manhattan by as much as 20 percent by the 2020's.

In order to find how changing temperatures might affect Manhattan and the rest of the Big Apple, researchers examined temperature readings throughout the city.

They found that, in general, temperature was already increasing.

Daily records from Manhattan's Central Park showed that average monthly temperatures increased by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit from the period between 1901 and 2000.

And just this temperature kills people every year in Manhattan, from exposure to extreme heat, and extreme cold.

But, as climate change continues to rear its ugly head, more and more will die as a result of the extreme temperatures.

And while heat-related deaths are projected to increase by 20 percent in the 2020's, the numbers are even worse as we look further down the road.

Between the 2050s and 2080s, projections show a net increase of 15 to 30 percent in temperature related deaths, which would mean that, on average there would be 1,000 temperature-related deaths in Manhattan each year.

Extrapolate this across the nation, and unless we do something right now to curb the devastating effects of climate change, thousands of Americans will lose their lives.

Since cars are a major burner of fossil fuels, one of the actions that we should take right now is to invest more in cleaner and greener automobile technology.

That’s where companies like Tesla Motors come in.

Tesla, which employs more than 3,000 American workers, manufactures and sells electric cars.

Based in California, the company was one of many clean energy tech companies that was given a federal grant by the Department of Energy and the Obama Administration.

And you might recall during the campaign of 2012, Mitt Romney said in a debate that, like Solyndra, another clean tech company that was granted federal funds and went bankrupt, Tesla was a “loser.”

But fast forward just a few months, and the facts say otherwise.

Yesterday, Tesla announced that it had paid back in full its $465 million government loan, a whopping nine years early.

This is thanks in large part to the recent boom in Tesla sales and popularity.

In 2012, the Tesla Model S won the prestigious “Car of the Year” award from Motor Trend magazine

And, in the first quarter of this year, Tesla Model S sales were higher than sales of comparable models from Mercedes, BMW and Audi.

While the Model S comes in at a price tag between $70,000 and $100,000, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said this week that the company plans to make a “slightly smaller” model than the Model S, and the price may be slashed by up to 50%, making it easier for middle-class Americans to afford the clean,  green car.

But Tesla isn’t the only car manufacturer witnessing soaring sales of electric cars.

In 2012, there were an estimated 53,000 electric cars sold, triple the number from 2011.

These sales included sales of less-expensive electric car models like the Ford Focus Electric, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Prius.

And soon, even electric cars could be a thing of the past.

Researchers are now trying to create vehicles that run entirely off of hydrogen.

Hydrogen burns safely and slowly in fuel cells that use it as fuel to produce electricity through chemical reactions.

Despite what Republicans like Mitt Romney will tell you, green energy cars are the wave of the future. 

Motor vehicle emissions of CO2 account for more than 15 percent of global fossil fuel CO2 releases.

Just imagine what would happen to our environment, and our planet, if we replaced every gas-guzzling car with one that ran on clean electricity, or even clean hydrogen.

Make no mistake about it – climate change is the biggest threat that our planet has ever faced.

Fortunately, we still have the power to alter our planet’s destiny, and to create a no-carbon future. 

It’s time to ditch the gas guzzlers and go green.

And we'll save the lives of thousands of Americans while we're at it!

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