CNN chief climate correspondent Bill Weir made an appearance on Wednesday’s CNN News Central to condemn gas-powered vehicles and to sing the praises of electric ones, which apparently can save lives, according to a study by the American Lung Association. Weir also cited the study’s claims that an all-electric vehicle base would reduce things like asthma attacks, “lost work days,” and health costs, as well as claiming that it would right the “unjust” racism here, because pollution “really, really affects communities of color.”
Weir began his pitch by citing the study and explaining its findings. It claimed that, if the nation goes electric by 2050, there will be “89,300 fewer premature deaths” from air pollution. It also said that there will have been “2.2 million fewer asthma attacks,” as well as “10.7 million fewer lost workdays” and “$978 billion in public health benefits” as the result of the “cleaner air.”
Of course, these numbers were mostly fabricated from conjectures based loosely on past data points and the political agenda of those who recorded and reported them.
One thing that the study did get right was the fact that transportation produces the greatest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, at 28 percent, but the reliance on facts ended there. The study also omitted details such as electricity coming as a close second in greenhouse gas emissions, at 25 percent (which would only increase with the use of more electric cars), and the fact that 80 percent of electricity comes from non-renewable sources, especially fossil fuels and coal.
The American Lung Association itself acknowledged that power plants “emit harmful pollutants” when generating electricity. However, this only prompted them to encourage more renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind power, which require more facilities and money to produce the same amount of energy. In addition to this, many government-run initiatives to create more solar farms or wind turbines are opposed by locals for many reasons, including the reduction of their property’s value and the preservation of the area’s natural beauty and wildlife.
Weir then cited the study’s claims that “the burdens of unhealthy air” affected “communities of color disproportionately,” since apparently they often lived “next to highways and power plants,” and thus were “64 percent more likely than a white person to live in a community impacted by unhealthy air and 3.7 times more likely to live with the most polluted air in the United States.”
Essentially, Weir was claiming that American pollution was racist too, specifically targeting those “communities of color” in an “unjust” way. Of course, there was no mention of how the process to obtain the minerals needed to make the batteries for electric cars was damaging to the environment, like the cobalt mine Hunter Biden helped China purchase in Africa.
Transcript of the segment below (click Expand):
CNN News Central
SARA SNIDER: All right. A new study claims that a move to electric cars is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for our health. The American Lung Association says that if everyone were to switch to zero-emissions vehicles here in the United States, the nation would see nearly 90,000 fewer premature deaths by 2050.
CNN’s Bill Weir is joining us now. How did the—the American Lung Association actually come up with the—the 90,000 people number?
BILL WEIR: Well, Sara, you know, while we focus easily on the heat-trapping pollutions, carbon dioxide, methane, natural gas, that’s heating up the planet, the American Lung Association has this really long data set on stuff that gets into our bodies, and our lungs. And they, they ran modeling looking at the emission standards of our current fleet to what it would be if we were to electrify in the United States by 2035.
And it’s a pretty stunning thing, just by eliminating the kind of pollution that comes out of tailpipes and dirty fuel power plants would save over 80,000 lives, almost 90,000 lives. It would prevent 2.2 million asthma attacks ov—by 2050. It would save almost 11 million lost work days, overall, and save the economy close to a trillion dollars in health savings. This has been the case of a lot of academics, who says that just getting off of fossil fuels, the health benefits would pay for the cost of transitioning there as well.
This doesn’t take into account, interestingly enough, the impact of wildfire smoke. More wildfires, a product of a—of a heating planet. In New York City, we just hit an air quality index of 351, anything over 350 is Code Red for everybody, so there’s that concern, but this looks at just cleaning up the fleet of vehicles of the United States, but there’s a long way to go, Sara.
Less than five percent of cars sold are—are electric these days. It’s huge—it’s about to uncork. There’s huge pent-up demand, there’s huge incentives now in the Inflation Reduction Act.
But this also affects folks—communities of color disproportionately around the country, so the American Lung Association trying to say this is unjust, our choice of fuels not only warms things up for everybody, but really, really affects communities of color living next to highways and power plants.
SNIDER: We have reported that many times, I know you have. Thank you so much, Bill Weir, for that update for us