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Wingate: electric vehicles the way forward for Bermuda

David Wingate (File photograph)

Fossil fuel-powered vehicles should be replaced by electric ones as early as 2030 to protect the environment, a conservationist has said.

David Wingate also recommended new the establishment of clean public transport on the Railway Trail to help slow the rate of climate change.

He said: “How we get there is another matter, but what we’re going to have to do within the next 10 to 20 years is replace gasoline-driven cars with electric cars and then equip Bermuda with the ability to charge electric cars.”

Dr Wingate added: “I’m not an expert on this, but it’s obvious every time we drive on the roads that we have a hell of a traffic problem and it’s mostly cars that you see, which produce a lot of carbon dioxide.

“Almost everybody in Bermuda has either a car or a gas-guzzling bike, which is also a big carbon dioxide producer.”

Dr Wingate said that carbon dioxide emissions were the world’s biggest environmental problem.

He added that there was a consensus among climatologists that the effects of climate change could become permanent by 2050 if current carbon dioxide emissions continued unchecked.

Dr Wingate said that, although major world powers such as the United States and China had crucial roles to play, Bermuda still had a large carbon footprint relative to its population and size.

He said: “Even though we’re a tiny dot on the planet’s surface, we probably have the highest carbon dioxide production of almost anywhere because we have a very high standard of living and everything has to be imported.

“In other words, everything’s expensive and everything we do produces and incredibly large amount of carbon dioxide.”

Dr Wingate said that countries would have to reach milestones as early as 2030 and suggested that the government should mandate that every car on the island be electrically-powered by a specific date.

He said that enough time would have to be given to set up charging stations for electric cars and allow for the phasing out process to start.

Dr Wingate added that electric cars have “vastly less carbon dioxide-producing potential” than gasoline or diesel-powered cars.

He said: “It can be done by simply saying ’when your gasoline car needs replacing you’re going to have to buy an electric car’.

“This gives the people who sell cars in Bermuda the motivation to seek out the best electric cars and get them to Bermuda quickly.”

Dr Wingate also suggested an electric railway on the Railway Trail, which would be fast and clean.

He admitted that there would be a lot of pushback against change because the Railway Trail was a popular walking route.

But he said: “Imagine if we could restore the railway system, which runs the entire length of the island – we would hardly need cars.”

Dr Wingate added: “It’s still possible to repair this damage, if we act immediately and act with a serious determination to meet the goals of carbon dioxide reduction in the time that climatologists say that we have.

“It’s literally a matter of life and death for the planet – if we fail to win that battle it’s extinction for everybody and almost everything.”

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Published January 15, 2021 at 8:24 am (Updated January 15, 2021 at 8:24 am)

Wingate: electric vehicles the way forward for Bermuda

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