Shift to electric cars, alternative energy sources now | Inquirer Opinion

Shift to electric cars, alternative energy sources now

12:02 AM October 19, 2015

AS WE write, there are approximately 700 million automobiles on the world’s roads. They produce about 2.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is close to 20 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions from fossil fuels use. To bring the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere to an acceptable level, we need more plant life—in Metro Manila, for instance, because of the worsening traffic, or when vehicles are stuck in traffic, which also results in enormous waste of fuel, more pollutants and CO2 gas are emitted.

Although CO2 is not a pollutant per se, it has been linked to a graver environmental concern, the so-called “greenhouse effect,” which has been attributed to be the major cause of global warming. In fact, the more CO2 molecules there are in the atmosphere, the warmer the earth gets.

Greenhouse gases allow light from the sun to freely enter the atmosphere. When sunlight reaches the earth’s surface, some of it is absorbed and warms the earth. The rest of the sunlight is reflected back to the atmosphere as heat. Greenhouse gases absorb and trap the heat. This process is considered to be the cause of global warming.


To mitigate the effect of global warming, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources should find ways to plant one million trees every year to absorb the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


If Janet Napoles did find innovative ideas to steal P10 billion from government, there’s no reason why the DENR can’t find innovative ideas to plant one million trees a year.

Another concern for government is the uncontrolled production of fossil fuel-fired vehicles. A shift should made, albeit slowly, to electric vehicles which are considered zero-emission. The technology for mass producing electric vehicles is already available. In fact, in 1897, New York City had a fleet of electric taxis, and in 1899 the world’s land speed record of 68 mph was set by an electric car. However, the technology for the electric car during that time didn’t advance far enough because it was killed by big oil companies.

Due to the declining amount of oil resources and the concern for the environment, plus the worsening traffic in Metro Manila with no solution in sight, I therefore suggest that the DENR and Congress work together to pass a law making mandatory for car manufacturers in the Philippines to slowly shift their production to electric vehicles that are ideally suited to the stop-and-go traffic in Metro Manila. For a start, at least 10 percent of their yearly production volume should be electric vehicles; this should be increased by 10 percent every year thereafter.

Scientists have also found that because of global warming, thick ice shields in the polar regions, Antarctic and Greenland, have started to melt, finding their way to rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans; causing the world’s sea level to rise. It was also predicted that low-lying areas of the earth would slowly disappear from the world’s map if the burning of fossil fuels is left unabated. We are now witnessing this phenomenon in Metro Manila and other adjacent provinces—from the constant flooding that hit these places.

The yearly dredging of esteros, canals, rivers and waterways, where billions of pesos is spent by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Metro Manila Development Authority, is no match against the devastating effect of global warming. This is just a stop-gap solution, not a long-term solution.

We should now swallow the bitter pill. Stop burning fossil fuels and shift to alternative energy sources. The government should have a specific program to plant a million trees every year to mitigate the effect of global warming.


—RODOLFO E. ROMERO, Pili, Camarines Sur

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TAGS: electric cars, Energy, fossil fuels, nation, news, pollution

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