Are EV cars all that Green?

Editor, There have been a number of positive articles about tackling climate change in The Portugal News over the years, however, the article on 2/9/23 about how green are electric cars was not one of them.

The overall conclusion seems to be that nothing we do is actually going to work so it is best not to bother and hope to die before the worst effects of climate change kick in.

We have bought a small EV, second-hand, which we charge (in the UK) using electricity from a green energy supplier. I am not sure how this case would fit in with Douglas Hughes’ highly selective set of examples, but by my estimate, we have significantly reduced our carbon footprint and, got a car that is a joy to drive on the twisting roads in central Portugal.

A quick search online will show that the subject of lifetime vehicle emissions is extremely complicated, however, I did find a site which looked at lifetime emissions for a petrol car and an EV over 225,000 km. The total CO2 emissions are 54 tonnes for the petrol car and 17 tonnes for the EV ( Fossil fuel lobbyists would probably dispute the figures but there is a detailed explanation of how the analysis was done.

It is interesting to compare these figures with air travel. The possibility of holidays for single people in Bali is discussed on your travel page. The carbon footprint of a return flight to Bali, economy class, is 4 tonnes, which is roughly the same as the embedded carbon footprint of building a small petrol car (Citroen C1). The same journey first class has a carbon footprint of 16 tonnes.

So maybe governments should also persuade people not to use long-distance air travel for holidays, and especially not to fly first class.

David Irving, By email

Recycling of bottles and cans

Editor, I totally agree with Jim Lloyd’s letter to the editor 2 September 2023, regarding the problem of rubbish and overflowing bins in Portugal.

I am a resident of Australia, we have a 10-cent deposit refund scheme in place for certain juice, soft drink, beer and water bottles.

These can be taken to collection depots where on-the-spot cash refund is received.

Some could not be bothered to collect their refunds, so pass onto perhaps their grandchildren who collect for pocket money. Others less fortunate do hunt for cans and bottles in recycling bins.

As a result, there are very few bottles or cans left to litter.

Lorraine de Sousa, Loulé By email

Portuguese school system

EDITOR, Children are being FORCED to repeat a year, instead of progressing to the next year as normal, due to grades or behaviour.

This means the child will be older (and physically bigger) than all the other children in his class. The results of such a decision are obvious:

• The child will be ridiculed by the other pupils.

• The child will be bullied.

• The child will have severe inadequacy and anger issues, which naturally will manifest in him bullying other kids.

• The child will suffer psychological issues for the rest of his life.

• It will harm the child, the other children in the class, the parents and the teachers!

It’s shocking, it’s an outdated form of punishing the child and parents, and used as blackmail. ‘Forcing’ a child to repeat a year is an abuse that should be considered the same as sexual and physical abuse of a child; it should be banned and the perpetrators jailed!

Moreover, teachers are forced to do endless tests, exams and reports. Putting unacceptable pressure on them. They are overloaded with bureaucratic work.

An education system must be designed for the benefit and nurturing of children, it should not be a system of fear, bureaucracy and abuse, which it is now!

The Portuguese curriculum and subjects are very tough and difficult, but that does not mean it’s any good! In fact, it’s one of the worst in preparing pupils for work and life in the outside world.

By stark contracts, Finland consistently ranks as the top education system in the world, producing the best educated pupils. However, they do not test pupils or force them to repeat a year.

The facts and statistics are clear:

• Portugal is the country with the highest rate of ‘repeating’ children in the OCDE!

• Portugal is one of the least productive countries per capita in Europe.

• Finland has the highest education system in the world.

• Teachers in Finland are highly trained and respected, and the curriculum is designed to promote critical thinking and creativity.

• Finland has a holistic teaching and learning environment that aims to emphasise equity over excellence. There is no standardised testing system as students are graded individually with a grading system created by their teacher.

This is a draconian education system, used to ABUSE children, parents and teachers. It’s a system designed and run by ignorant, bureaucrats who hide behind anonymous, secretive panels. They remain unaccountable for their incompetence and the destruction they causing.

The Portugues education system need to be drastically reformed:

1. Eliminate forcing children to repeat a year, or using it as a threat.

2. Substantially reduce testing, reports and bureaucracy for teachers.

3. Focus on the welfare of children, parents and teachers.

James Smith, Albufeira, By email