(Re: Added Burden Offers No Climate Solution — letter, April 15)
THE federal government ‘charge for pollution’ has been widely labelled as a “tax,” which unfortunately is an emotionally charged word. Whatever you call it, it’s still the most effective way to draw attention to the burning of fossil fuels and its climate consequences. It becomes much more effective, however, when combined with reasonable alternatives such as electric cars that work well in our country and better building and renovating procedures that ensure our houses can be more efficiently heated.
In 2006, a movie came out called An Inconvenient Truth by Al Gore which woke me up and started me on a search for better ways to do things.
Home heating and transportation produce almost one half of the earth’s man-made pollution. Find ways to build smaller and better insulated homes, then heat with electricity.
The production of electricity now in Canada by water, wind and solar is as cheap or cheaper than nuclear, gas, diesel or oil-fired plants. Did you know that methane gas collected at Thunder Bay’s landfill is piped off to fire two electric generators which feed into the electricity grid?
Electric cars, trucks, buses and long-haul transports are in the works or being produced right now. For the people in the outlying towns, or those who wish to travel, electric charging stations are in the works for Highways 11 and 17 all across Ontario.
The previous Ontario Liberal government was setting up chargers in partnership with McDonalds and Tim Hortons but those plans stopped with Doug Ford. Petro Canada and Tesla are proceeding still with charging stations. Do an internet search for either CAA or Tesla for lists of all of the charging stations presently available.
What do you need for electric cars and trucks in the north? What is the distance you usually drive each day? Double it. Look for an electric car that is rated to travel that distance on a full charge. The reason for the doubling is that in winter, a lot of the electricity in your battery is used for heating your car, so you need extra charge to cover the driving. Heating and other amenities will use up approximately 30 per cent of the charge in your battery.
Once you know what you want, arrange for a Level 2 (220V) hook-up from your electrical panel to where the car will be parked. That will cost approximately $1,000. Just like a gas car, electric vehicles appreciate a garage and it sure saves on scraping ice and snow.
You can drive an electric car for about 25 per cent of the cost of what you would pay for an equivalent gas car. You take a minute to plug it in each evening (so it charges when electricity is cheapest in Ontario) and have a full charge next morning. No fuss, no muss, and cheaper to boot.
Climate change is a major issue we all face. We are responsible for ourselves and should endeavour that each of us does whatever we can to address this problem. Governments — both federal and provincial — have to do the big things like subsidies, charging stations and other infrastructure.
Unfortunately, we cannot always live exactly as we have done in the past. Change is necessary, and we all have to do our part.
(Originally published April 18, 2019)