Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The collision between a heavy Ebell and an SUV

Another day, another half-assed old lie:
Ebell cited a 2001 study by the National Academy of Sciences that examined the earlier CAFE standards imposed in the 1970s... [which] "noted that downsizing of vehicles in the 1970s and 1980s may have contributed to an additional 1,300 to 2,600 fatalities (alone)" - a number that could add up to thousands more deaths on American highways under the new CAFE standards, Ebell said.
The Climate spotted this point back in 2004 while listening to a Myron Ebell interview from 2001. Those were the days when he didn't have to get by on coverage from fellow astroturfing organizations such as the Conservativecast News Service. Calls on the services of Mr. Rent-A-Lie are getting so thin on the ground that one of his comrades specially thanked the "Senior Staff writer" for calling.

The fact that Myron has been reduced to recycling a seven-year-old talking point for the benefit of a fixed news website that has tried and failed to get taken seriously outside a narrow spectrum of wingnuts proves he is no longer useful to his cause. If his direct employer, the CEI, was followed its economic interests, they'd dump him tomorrow and hire some other well-speaking individual who is unknown to the world, fix him up with some bogus credibility, and send him off on his quest to mislead the public through the good offices of incompetent journalists.

Also in the same article was:
"Our main concern is that CAFE standards limit consumer choice," Ebell said. "And second, the increase in fatalities."

There could be other victims of the CAFE standards, said Ebell. The American men and women who work for automakers could face job cuts, a possibility that would be devastating in states like Michigan, which has the highest unemployment in the nation at 7.4 percent.

"It seems to me that when Congress says over and over again that they care about protecting American jobs and then pass something like this, I think they are being incredibly short-sighted," Ebell said.
As usual, the claims are irrelevant, unsubstantiated, and false. Where there is a basis for the information beyond an outright fabrication by Ebell's sick mind, a hyperlink to the citation is not given so as to make it awkward to uncover the fact that he has fundamentally misrepresented the position of the source.

The Climate has found a copy of the report he is referring to. On page 28, after much beating about the bush, the paragraph reads:
[T]he majority of the committee believes that the evidence is clear tha past downweighting and downsizing of the light-duty fleet, while resulting in significant fuel savings, has also resulted in a safety penalty. In 1993, it would appear that the safety penalty included between 1,300 and 2,600 motor vehicle crash deaths that would not have occurred had vehicles been as large and heavy as in 1976.
On page 24 it adds:
[F]uel economy improved dramatically for cars during the late 1970s and early 1980s, without much change since 1988. That increase in fuel economy was accompanied by a decline in average car weight and in average wheelbase length. Thus, a significant part of the increased fuel economy... is attributable to the downsizing of the vehicle fleet. Since 1988, new cars have increased in weight and the fuel economy has suffered accordingly, although increasing mass is not the only reason for this decline in fuel economy.

The potential problem for motor vehicle safety is that vehicle mass and size vary inversely not only with fuel economy, but also with risk of crash injuries. When a heavy vehicle strikes an object, it is more likely to move or deform the object than is a light vehicle. Therefore the heavier vehicle's occupants decelerate less rapidly and are less likely to be injured.
There is a detailed dissenting opinion on the safety-weight issue, which states:
Part of the difficulty of estimating the true relationships between vehicle weight and highway safety is empirical: reality presents us with poorly designed experiments and incomplete data. For example, driver age is linearly related to vehicle weight, and vehicle weight, size, and engine power are all strongly correlated. This makes it difficult to disentangle driver effects from vehicle effects. As another example, pedestrian fatalities are more concentrated in dense urban areas, where smaller vehicles predominate...

There is no dispute, to the best of our knowledge, that if a collision between two vehicles of different mass occurs, the occupants of the heavier vehicle will generally fare better than the occupants of the lighter vehicle...

When a crash occurs, other factors being equal, (1) The lighter the vehicle, the less risk posed to other road users. (2) The heavier the vehicle, the less risk posed to its occupants. [These] two laws make it clear that there are winners and losers in the mass equation. In free markets, this relationship causes a kind of market failure called an externality, which leads to oversized and overweighted vehicles...

Heavier cars impose a higher fatality risk on the drivers of other cars than lighter cars. A complement to this effect is that the driver fatality risk in the heavier car is lower. However, the reduction in the fatality risk for the driver of the heavier car is less than the increase of the fatality risk for the driver of the lighter cars. Thus the variation of weight among cars results in a net increase of fatalities in collisions.
In other words, the car safety/weight issue is an arms race where the drivers of the heaviest cars win, but everyone on average loses -- except the oil companies who get to sell more oil, and brain-dead automobile executives who profit from technological stagnation.

As the report makes clear on page 22:
Regulations such as the CAFE standards are intended to direct some of industry's efforts towards satisfying social goals that transcend individual car buyers' interests. Inevitably, they divert effort from the companies' own goals...

[T]he total employment in automobile manufacturing in the United States reached its highest level ever (more than 1 million) in 1999.
And on page 18 there's:
The average price of a new vehicle has risen from just under $15,000 in 1975 to over $20,000 today (1998 dollars). Virtually all of the price increase came after 1980, by which time most of the increase in passenger car fuel economy had already been accomplished.
There is a lot of other good information in this report that contradicts every single premise that Myron Ebell has ever said and, were it applied faithfully, would have the potential to move things forwards.

Myron, as part of his job, will have read every single word of this authentic report. And then, like the evil son of a snake that he is, he consciously selected one single paragraph from it, twisted the entire meaning of the report by 180 degrees, and used the words misled his fellow human beings, idiotic reporters fool enough to call him for comment, and the entire political system for the purpose of tricking them into supporting self-destructive policies that could lead to the extinction of the species. That's ultimately where he wants to take us.

In this world it is difficult to imagine a force so malicious as that which drives this man to do what he does, day after day, throwing his mental faeces into the accumulation of human knowledge, knowing full well what the consequences are going to be for future generations.

It's no longer done for the buzz of getting on TV, for the respect, for the power and money. It's all now down to the bloody-minded habit of doing the wrong thing for so many years that he is not fit for any other purpose.

This man's career has got to end for the sake of common decency. His continued employment and corporate-funded activity is proof that the business elite is still actively trying to kill us off.

In eighty years time when our grand-children are old and the environment has been well and truly savaged, the inherited class of the business elite will have rewritten history in order explain how their forefathers had attempted to save the planet, but were powerless in the face of public opinion. They'll say, the badly-educated masses who dominated the market with their purchasing power were unwilling to make the right sacrifices, and that is how we got here.

However all of these future attempts at reinterpretation will be contradicted by the fact that Myron Ebell was still employed in 2008. No further information will be required to demonstrate the burden of responsibility.


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