Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Live Earth Pledge #5

Pledge #5 from Live Earth:

"To fight for laws and policies that expand the use of renewable energy sources and reduce dependence on oil and coal;"

Nice action statement. There are many ways to expand the use of renewable energy, whether solar or wind or garbage: the latter I also consider a renewable energy source, a sacrilegous idea, I know, in the eyes of Millerites. Here in Toronto, the University of Toronto is working with the City of Toronto to set up a solar power generating station by 2009. But the technology is still not there yet, in terms of the ability of solar panels to efficiently harness the sun's energy, as this will power only 200 homes. Also, there's still the concern I wrote about in Pledge #2 post. Still it's a start, a start with how we create energy from the sun.

As for the latter part of this pledge -- Premier Dalton McGuinty has pledged to close Nanticoke. On the surface this is a good thing. But he has moved back the closing date at least twice, and he has not proposed a replacement power plant of the less air-polluting variety. That leads me to question the credibility of McGuinty's pledge. Even with conservation efforts and the well-off buying their own solar and wind plants for their homes, Ontario's electricity use will increase for the simple reason that one-quarter of Canda's 200,000+ immigrants move to Toronto each year. From numbers alone, that's going to result in a hefty increase in electricity usage, especially over the long term. McGuinty is being disingenuous by pretending closing Nanticoke will not lead to brown outs or black outs. I also question his environmental commitment when he has not even considered retrofitting Nanticoke to convert it into a clean coal plant. He knows perfectly well that if we are not producing sufficient electricity to meet our needs, we will be importing it from Ohio, which shows no movement toward cleaning up its coal plants. Ohio will be happy to have Ontario's business. They will simply make more money and puff out more pollution that will waft over southern Ontario and Toronto, leading to more deaths and disability here. McGuinty will have switched the potential to use clean coal for the certainty of using very dirty coal. But he will look green to all those who see only that he's closed down Nanticoke.

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