Friday, July 11, 2008

Canadian obsession with fossil fuels

What is it with Canadians?

Western Canada has one of the most abundant sources of hydro-electricity in the world, but first they want to move their aluminium smelting operations to South Africa (a plan that seems to have been aborted by Eskom's failure to plan for more generating capacity) and now their municipalities are wanting to replace clean trolley buses with fossil-fuel guzzling diesels.

Real Estate Weekly:
After years of neglect and operational sabotage, city bean counters and Edmonton Transit administrators have finally succeeded in their obsessive quest to pull the plug on the city’s 70-year-old trolleybus system. Last month, they finally got a majority on council that was gullible enough to swallow the misinformation that trolleybuses are a technology of the past, not a way to a cleaner and greener future.

While municipalities around the world are expanding their electrically-powered public transit fleets, Edmonton city council voted seven-to-six to begin the process of dismantling the city’s trolleybus network by 2010. Instead, they’ll abandon proven trolley technology and buy 47 diesel hybrid buses that have an uncertain lifespan, burn more fossil fuels and spew more emissions at street level.

South African bus operators are not much better -- cities like Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town lost their trolley buses about 30 years ago. Of course they relied on coal-fired power stations, so they still used fossil fuels, though indirectly. But at least the coal was mined locally, and not imported. Cities in western Canada have no such excuse.

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