Saturday, January 25, 2014

Seems Like a Good Thing

"By switching to Natural Gas, LA's bus fleet runs 80% cleaner."

So sayeth the commercial on TV. That seems like a great thing, right?

This is one of those things to me that just puts a happy face on it and walks away. It's very nearly greenwashing. How so? How can anything about this be negative?

Let's start by thinking about our demand for natural gas. The process of fracking to get it out of the ground is anything but clean. The methane released - and methane leaks that are entirely possible - could make that 80% really pale. Relying more heavily on even more fossil fuels is not the answer.

You know what runs cleaner than a bus on natural gas? A bus that doesn't run at all. Buses are better than too many cars. Even better - lower population going fewer places. Not feasible? There are plans out there for monorails and even better things, and supertrains, but for some reason we cannot be bothered to litter our landscape with rails. Or give up our cars. Or put the money into these better technologies. 

The ad could read, "By switching to natural gas, LA's bus fleet is putting a Band-aid on the real issues by using a temporary fix," and it would be just as accurate. 

And better. 

And more honest. 

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