LETTERS: How green are we?

But we can make changes, like Germany has, by giving up all nuclear energy production.

The latest American National Geographic — Cool It: The Climate Issue — includes a world map of the binding pledges made by countries to reduce greenhouse gases over two decades.  Canada’s efforts have been judged as “highly insufficient,” even lower than the U.S.

We could blame it all on Alberta’s tar sands, or B.C.’s methane-producing cattle ranchers, or on all of the people who insist on taking vacations that require air flights, or even on most of us who refuse to give up our cars and pick-ups.

But we can make changes, like Germany has, by giving up all nuclear energy production (by 2022), and shifting to solar and wind energy sources. That country is now getting one-third of its electricity from those two sources alone. Although they still get 44 per cent of their power from dirty coal, their production from wind and sun is growing so quickly coal production will soon become unprofitable.

In 1990 a bill was introduced and passed in Hamellburg, Bavaria, giving that town the right to produce their own electricity and feed it into the national grid and give the producers a “feed-in tariff.” By 1993 small producers began to receive money to cover their costs of production. By 2000, new laws gave feed-in producers a 20-year guarantee of costs plus a good cash return on their investment.

No wonder, then, that turbines on the land and photo-voltaic cells on homes have covered Germany.

Associations within communities are now investing in both forms of renewables, and are getting a healthy return for their money.

Why cannot our towns and cities’ home/condo/store owners form associations which would see the installation of PV cells on their member’s homes, garages, barns, stores which, when tied into our electrical grid, allow them, at the very minimum to receive a rebate for the power they produce?

The next step would be wind turbines built and maintained by an association (co-op) of owners. Land owners in Ontario who have had these installed are making a good dollar simply by leasing their land to producers.

There is no end to how “green” we could become.

Frank Martens