Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dalton could take the Terminator on the environment

A few weeks ago I mentioned that environmentalism is becoming the new mainstream. I cited California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as an example of this. He is a moderate Republican seeking re-election, and has obviously chosen the environment as one of his major campaign planks.

Yesterday he buttressed that plank a little more by setting a hard target for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in his state: not only will California cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, it will cut them to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Well, Schwarzenegger’s counterpart in Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, is also facing reelection (though he has more time than the Terminator). Few people realize McGuinty has put Ontario in easy striking distance of 1990 emission levels. How? By recommitting to nuclear power.

If Ontario were to refurbish or replace the nuclear reactors laid up in the 1990s, it could bring its electricity-sector GHGs to nine million tonnes below 1990. That would bring Ontario as a jurisdiction to within eight million tonnes of the target. (My June 8 post gives some of the backup numbers.)

How could we wipe out the remaining eight million tonnes? For starters, by encouraging further electrification in transportation, both in light-duty cars and mass transit vehicles. Others will surely have their own ideas. But it’s doable.

And we could accomplish this well before 2020.

We are truly this close. But McGuinty refuses to tout his nuclear plan as green. To find out why, read my next post.

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