Editorials 1.9.2017 05:45 am

‘Green’ cars can still backfire

Charging ports are seen at the Menlyn Shopping Mall during the Greenmile event, 30 August 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Charging ports are seen at the Menlyn Shopping Mall during the Greenmile event, 30 August 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Don’t forget that, for the foreseeable future, our electricity will be generated by coal-fired power stations, which have an impact on the environment.

A seductive marketing argument from carmakers is that by buying an electric or hybrid vehicle, you will be saving the planet.

For the same money, though, you could buy and plant thousands of trees which would have more of a long-term impact on keeping the air cleaner.

One must always be aware of “environmentally friendly” solutions with a hidden downside. We wish the City of Tshwane well in its efforts to make a “green” statement by acquiring electric and solar-powered vehicles.

The city has “no option” but to go that route, says its chief of staff, Marietha Aucamp. But we caution about blindly following the electric car wave.

Don’t forget that, for the foreseeable future, our electricity will be generated by coal-fired power stations, which have a huge impact on the environment.

And the nuclear energy touted as a replacement also has serious drawbacks, while alternative sources, including wind and solar, are still in their infancy.

If we are serious about protecting the environment, we should spend as much energy persuading people to save energy – turning off the lights in the Tshwane municipal building at night would be a good start – as we are in signalling our environmental virtuousness.

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