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An EV charging station in an OnRoute service station in King City, Ont., on July 26.Christopher Katsarov/The Globe and Mail

Fuelling the EV debate

Re “Of all top-heavy Liberal climate policies, electric-vehicles mandate is the worst” (Report on Business, Dec. 21): Our family has been happily driving a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, around Victoria for the past four years.

It has an electric-vehicle range of more than 40 kilometres which, for the most part, means that we do all our daily commuting and errands in full electric mode. Occasionally, when we do more trips in a day or go on a road trip up Vancouver Island or over to the Lower Mainland, the gas engine seamlessly kicks in so that we never have range anxiety.

It charges overnight on a 110-volt household circuit at BC Hydro’s residential rate, and we only visit a gas station two to three times a year to top up the tank. For many Canadians, a PHEV would be an ideal solution to their transportation needs as it has been for us.

Jamie Alley Saanich B.C.

Imposing a single solution to a complex issue would be poor policy. Moreover, it restricts people’s freedom of choice.

For my wife, a Prius Prime works as her employer’s office has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating and many charging stations. For myself, the absence of charging stations in our old apartment building or at work is a problem. Owning a Camry hybrid, I can’t justify the cost of a plug-in hybrid or full electric vehicle.

There are much better ways to reduce greenhouse gases, such as shutting down coal-fuelled power plants. I believe a comprehensive, data-driven approach to climate policy would place the electrification of private vehicles rather far down the list.

John Shepherd Richmond, B.C.

Government goals for electric-vehicle adoption are not matched by the infrastructure development required for the transition. And consumers are not going to spend more on an EV if it won’t get them where they need to go.

Mark Fields, former Ford chief executive, was interviewed on CNBC this month breaking down the number of charging stations that would need to be put in place to meet EV adoption targets. His point: Targets will not be met without a massive effort and expenditure above what is happening now.

The Globe and Mail ran an article earlier this year about HIF Global developing an e-fuel that could be used by current engines and filling-station infrastructure without adding to CO2 emissions (“Can e-fuels be an alternative to EVs? We go to the Porsche-backed facility in Chile to find out” – Drive, March 3). If that actually works, it is a huge fact that is not being discussed in the debates about the energy transition.

If The Globe would follow that development with assessment by a knowledgeable expert, it could be an important contribution to the pragmatic transition away from energy sources that add CO2 and more destructive power to our atmosphere.

Scott Campbell Forest, Ont.

Re “Dear Ottawa: Mandating EV sales is a bad idea” (Report on Business, Dec. 20): When Hurricane Fiona struck in 2022, we were without power for 18 days. When the gas station was restored, we were happy to have that noxious fuel so we could run our generator to have light, heat and internet.

Our Maritime grid is fragile, evident again this month in New Brunswick (“More than 30,000 people in N.B. remain without electricity 48 hours after storm” – Online, Dec. 20). I see no way that by 2035, we will have a system so robust that we can depend on it for our survival.

We have well water at our house, but the pump is electric. We have a propane tank, wood stove and now two generators and many gas cans. Alongside of this we installed a $45,000 (after government rebates) solar array.

Yet we priced an electric vehicle and it still makes no sense, even with rebates and our own electric generation. Honestly, I don’t see the EV revolution as possible here anytime soon without massive investment in infrastructure.

Eric Fitz Belfast, PEI

Other side of the cap

Re “Federal emissions cap is dangerous economically and constitutionally” (Report on Business, Dec. 27): The author of this opinion piece fails to acknowledge three important aspects of this difficult policy topic.

First, greenhouse gases released in one province do not stay within those borders and have potential consequences across Canada. Accordingly, the problem of reducing emissions is clearly one of national concern and presumptively invites the federal government to get involved. This is a fact of Canadian federalism, and it is not limited to climate policy.

Second, the provinces have failed to address this problem. Alberta, for example, has implemented an intensity-based emissions limit on large oil and gas emitters for approximately 15 years, over which time absolute emissions from the sector have continued to increase. It is no surprise that in a world increasingly concerned with greenhouse gas emissions, the federal government feels it is necessary to do something in the face of provincial failure.

Third, the author suggests the federal government should expedite a solution by referring the question of constitutionality to the Supreme Court. However, there is no law for the Supreme Court to assess. Canadian courts do not assess policy proposals, and at the moment that is all the federal oil and gas emissions cap is.

Shaun Fluker Associate professor of law, University of Calgary

Unspoken costs

Re “Black gold” (Letters, Dec. 28): A letter-writer notes that “chanting solar panels and windmills” will not build any hospitals, schools, housing. Unfortunately, as usual, fossil fuel enthusiasts omit the words “climate change” in the economic analysis.

Michael Dettman Vancouver

The letter-writer describes Canada’s oil and gas industry as “our golden goose.” Fair enough, but let’s be clear.

Over all, the temperature of the planet is the result of a necessary balance between heat absorbed from the sun and heat reradiated to space. (This is basic physics and not open to debate.) When we double the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere, we reduce to rate of reradiation so the Earth’s temperature must rise until the original rate of radiation is regained. The more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the higher that new temperature will be.

Even if we stop all carbon emissions today, it will take thousands of years before carbon dioxide in the atmosphere returns to preindustrial levels. The choice for humanity is to quickly curtail carbon emissions or see millions of people die because of crop failures etc.

Brian Swinney Burlington, Ont.

Oil has indeed been the basis of civilization for the past 100 or 150 years. It has made possible the killing of many millions in world wars and many other conflicts, including those raging on today. The climate is warming because of its unrestrained burning, along with ever-worsening consequences.

I’m not so sure it has been beneficial to humanity. If only we had the wisdom and forbearance to use this very useful resource sparingly. Tragic that we couldn’t have been further ahead with renewable energy before the first wells were dug around Petrolia, Ont.

Ed Janicki Victoria

While some people may believe the letter-writer’s claim that the oil and gas industry is the “foundation of modern civilization,” there is no doubt whatsoever that the continued burning of fossil fuels will inevitably bring an end to our civilization. An unlivable planet is too steep a price to pay for any amount of generated wealth.

Liz Addison Toronto

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