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Smog Reduction: Ernie Eves is Clueless
In the past couple days there has been a fair bit of talk about Ontario Environment Minister Jim Wilson's not-so-bright suggestion to residents in this province that we should help reduce smog by refraining from using our barbecues. The big issue is that barbecues are (at worst) irrelevant compared to the smog producers that this provincial government has done nothing to address. As reported in today's Toronto Star:
Jack Gibbons, chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance, said Wilson's comments were "just ridiculous." "Ontario Power Generation's coal-fired power plants produce as much pollution as 6 million cars a year, so they are much, much more significant than your backyard barbecue," said Gibbons adding the impact of barbecuing is "so trivial that no one has ever quantified it." The coal-fired Nanticoke plant on the north shore of Lake Erie is the biggest in North America and is reported to be the largest single polluter in Canada. And as temperatures soar, the province's five coal-fired plants are working overtime.
The province actually has failed to do the bare minimum to help us reduce smog. About the best they have to offer is a booklet of tips on how to conserve energy. Unfortunately, this brainstorm came to them too late... the document is only being prepared now, according to The Star. Back to the Minister of Clean Cooking. He may actually be making things worse. From the Canadian Press, via The Globe and Mail:
But Mr. Gibbons said that using a gas or propane barbecue is actually a better way of cooking hamburgers or steaks. He said that using an electric stove in the kitchen draws on the province's limited power supply, some of which comes from coal-fired power plants. Mr. Gibbons also pointed out that a hot kitchen is likely to prompt people to turn up their air conditioner.
All this goes to show that our provincial Tory government cares so little about clean air that they don't care enough to have a professional and competently-briefed environment minister. What's worse is this little tid-bit buried in the above-mentioned Toronto Star article:
Meanwhile, Premier Ernie Eves said he is doing his bit to reduce smog by not using his barbecue. "I happened to order in Swiss Chalet last night instead of barbecuing," he said.
If Eves really said this, and really thinks that having chicken cooked over fire in an air-conditioned restaurant and then driven by car to his house is going to reduce smog, then he is pure stupidity. UPDATE: While I was waiting for Blogger to work, Margaret Wente scooped me.

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