Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Anti-Idling Laws Environmental Time Wasted

Politicos in Canada’s largest city are debating whether to follow the lead of some surrounding municipalities, and put in place 60-second anti-idling laws.

The proposed law would mean anyone who pulled over, and left their vehicle engine running for one whole minute in Toronto, Canada, could be charge with excess idling, and be handed a traffic ticket. The proposed fine is $125CDN.

Politicians see anti-idling laws as an environmental way to raise some green – they reduce the number of cars idling on our city streets, while pumping in more revenues to the city in the form of fines paid by offenders.

What the proposed anti-idling law really is, is another cash grab by our city’s politicians.

Anti-idling laws can work – provided the time set on them is reasonable. Giving people a mere 60 seconds – one minute – to turn off their vehicle is ridiculously short.

If you stop to pick up your spouse and kids, and help load up their bags, toys and other things, if you didn’t turn off your car, you’d be charged $125CDN easily.

Helping your elderly relatives into or out of the family car could just as quickly cost you a $125CDN anti-idling fine, as they often take more time to do the things we take for granted.

Regardless of the short time-span for the proposed anti-idling law, laws such as these actually aren’t as environmentally-friendly as you think.

Oh reducing vehicle idle times does cut the amount of pollution being spewed out into the atmosphere, especially when done on a grand scale.

But an even better investment of our tax dollars would be funding green transportation alternatives. Investing in stricter vehicle emissions such as California does in the USA is a start.

Even better, would be mandating hybrid, electric or alternative fuelled green vehicles on our streets – which can be done. It’s just our politicians lack the courage, and enjoy the kickbacks from the petroleum industry and automotive industry lobbyists too much to really make a stand for the environment.

If we phased out gas-powered vehicles over time, the same way we phased out lead-based fuels in the 1970’s – then automakers would be forced to manufacture and sell vehicles which were truly green.

And then anti-idling laws would be a thing of the past, because a truly environmentally-friendly vehicle, is a zero-emission vehicle.

Zero-emission vehicles exist, just the oil and gas industry is so powerful they keep these green forms of transportation out of sight. We’ve seen fully functional electric cars, motorcycles and bikes, which produce zero-emissions. Solar-powered vehicles and hydrogen-powered ones are also zero-emission ones, but these do have some limitations to overcome. But if more research was being done on these – thanks to governments mandating environmental modes of transportation – these obstacles may be overcome.

Our lawmakers – our politicians – have the power to do the right thing, by making and enforcing laws which benefit us and our planet.

It is just a matter of getting our politicians weaned-off the kickbacks from the powerful oil and automotive sectors long enough to smell the roses on the green side of the fence.

And that’s going to take a lot more hard work – as money sometimes smells better than roses.

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