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A car running on coal

Zero emission

Before you jump to your keyboard and send me some hate mail, I want to clearly state that I do support any initiative that would protect our little blue planet. That is, genuine initiatives, not delusions.

When looking at energy, emissions, pollution, etc… it is necessary to consider the complete chain, rust and all, not just a shiny link in the middle. For example, let’s take the electric car, which is invariably qualified as zero emissions (ZE). Really?!

In most countries, and definitely in South Africa, the majority of electricity is produced from coal (here, by the current arch villain Eskom). Not exactly a ZE process. So, today, most electrical vehicles actually run on coal. Yuck. And I can’t resist mentioning the absurd situation during load shedding: a petrol or diesel generator is needed to recharge the batteries.

Now, you are going to tell me that you use renewable energy. While in most cases much better, this is still not ZE. The production of solar panels can hardly be called a ZE process. And nor is the construction of wind farms or dams.

ZE is as much a myth as perpetual motion. The best we can hope is to reduce emissions and energy usage, and compensate the best we can for what we use. Plant a tree? Oops! Trees require fresh water.

If we are serious about saving the world for future generations, we should perhaps fundamentally change some of our habits. Reduce our meat consumption comes to mind. Not a popular concept in our country.

Please share with us your best ideas on this subject, even if controversial.

This article was submitted by Patrice Lasserre, founder of Board Whisperer – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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