Saturday, September 08, 2007

Belgium Building Emission-Free Station in Antarctic

Reuters reported Wednesday on Belgium's new station in the Antarctic.

Belgium is building the first ever zero-emission polar station in the Antarctic, powered by solar panels and wind turbines and designed to have minimal impact on the climate change its scientists are studying.

All waste from the Princess Elisabeth station, housing up to 20 researchers, will be recycled. Fossil fuel will only be used for back-up systems.

"Polar stations really have an impact on the environment because most of them run on fossil fuels. There is a huge cost to buy the fuel, a huge cost to transport the fuel and a huge impact on the environment," said Maaike Vancauwenberghe, head of the research program.

It's really good to see Belgium using solar and wind to power their new station. As Vancauwenberghe pointed out, the cost savings over fossil fuels should be phenomenal if the station is used for a long time. Not to mention that burning oil or coal smells and looks bad.

But do they have to do the zero-emissions spin to the story? It's the latest bandwagon, and bandwagons get tiring after a while. Like when oats were the latest key to good health, and Cheerios had to tell us they're "Made With Oats!" I bet they're "Now With Lycopene!" And the Belgian Antarctic station probably has lycopene too.

Come on. Solar power and wind power in a pristine wilderness setting are good ideas. Period. There's no need to bring up the greenhouse gas idea, because that just ignores the fact that greenhouse gases are emitted during the manufacturing process. So, really, they're not zero-impact solutions at all. Nothing is.

So, Belgium, just send down the solar panels, and send down the wind turbines, and fire up the new station. And keep the greenhouse gas hype to yourselves.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

I know what you mean. I hate how everything these days is "green".