The Disinformation Games

Your safe space for games and challenges related to misinformation and disinformation!

Case study: The Boom of Green Cars

"Dieselgate" was a turning point which had many people turn to electric vehicles as a more environmentally friendly option of driving around. But in some respects, green cars can be just as bad for the environment as traditional cars. So what can we make of this? Green cars don't emit climate-damaging greenhouse gases or health-harming nitrogen oxide. They are quiet when they run and are easy to operate. Electric vehicles seem to have a lot of advantages over cars that run on gasoline or diesel. Green cars offer a quick solution to two societal needs: reaching national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and tackling air pollution in city centers. Nevertheless, the overall carbon footprint of a battery-powered car "is similar to that of a conventional car with a combustion engine, regardless of its size." This was the conclusion of a 2011 study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IFEU) in Heidelberg. Controversy? Let us find out!

Green Cars

Recommended for: high school students, university students, adults

Available building blocks4

Tags: environment, sustainable development, cars, transportation, pollution

Tips for educators

Building block 4. Does government policy affect/support the transition to electric cars?

What is the European policy on electric vehicles? The EU is committed to decarbonising its transport systems and supporting alternatives to conventional combustion engine technologies and fuels. Electric vehicles are just one element in this policy. Some policy strands encourage the development of renewable fuels and energy, others aim at the infrastructure needed for expanding the use of electric vehicles such as recharging points across Europe. Specific pieces of legislation set targets for how much carbon dioxide (CO₂) new vehicles can emit per kilometer. These have helped incentivise manufacturers of low-emission vehicles, including electric cars. An example policy could be to establish low-emission restriction zones in some big city. How can we evaluate such a policy proposal? What is the reason for it being put forward? What are its expected consequences What other plans for the future are there?

Suggested resources

1. Do you know where to find „low emission zones“ in the EU?  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

2. Fiscal instruments favouring electric over conventional cars  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

3. Followed by the article about how the governments worldwide can make good plans and show the way of the best transition.  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

4. Batteries on wheels: in the future, electric cars can power homes  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

5. The article focuses on charging infrastructure disparity in EU countries  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

6. Can we really go all-electric? Do we really see all the drawbacks? What about the practicality of the matter? The article looks at electric car industry from a different angle.  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

7. Tesla's future products  [Open from webarchive if link broken/inactive]

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes represent the competences which learners are expected to develop as a result of the training intervention:

1. The learner will be able to understand global market of electric cars
2. The learner will be able to explain and understand what is the EU status and policy on promoting green cars
3. The learner will be able to explain and understand the benefits and drawbacks which owning a green car presents
4. The learner will be able to differentiate between facts and misleading information

Suggested teaching methods

> Study of available materials online
> Brainstorming
> Use of mindmapping software
> Discussions
> Teamwork
> Group reflection and self-evaluation of work tasks
> Creating list by topic based on agreed criteria
> Extract relevant information from sources and construct lists of characteristics
> Online search

Suggested learning activities

1,5 hours

> Introduce the topic of government policies on green cars – worldwide and in EU

> Divide class in 2 groups – instruct the groups to find available resources about:
a) European standards and policies on eliminating the air-pollution
b) why to own an green car? What are the benefits? Closer look on government incentives and taxes.
c) what obstacles are there when driving an green car? What is nearest charging station? How far can I travel with an green car.
d) are we prepared to go all-electric? What are the industry requirements in order to do so? Car industry is one of the largest industries in the world employing thousands of people. The same goes for the oil industry. Can the industry react quickly enough?

> Start a debate. The main aim of the case study is to allow the students to learn how to work with information. Educator should stay neutral moderator of discussion. Compare the quality of listed arguments. There are many aspects and available resources about electric cars. In this case study follow the topic of environment, we are not focusing on other aspects, otherwise we might get out of the main topic (e.g. problems of electric cars in different weather condition, not enough opportunities to get the the baterry charged, differences between types and brands)

> Summarise the debate. Direct attention to fact-checking and source-checking based on the Eggshell model. Each groups checks the resources of their opponents.

> Ask the group to re-evaluate their position and the arguments already used in the debate. Encourage self-reflection with focus on information/disinformation. In full group: enlist, explain, provide example to properties which may indicate disinformation or manipulation.

De Facto pillars

Systemic Causality: Explain systemic causality. Ask the learners to reflect and debate whether the global conversation on green cars exhibits the properties of an issue which falls within the systemic causality pattern.


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