We are in Autumn and as it happens every year the same problems occur: polluted cities, poor air quality, paper and web media arguing on whether traffic or heating are the main causes of pollution, municipalities forced to reduce private traffic, public transport not able to cope with unexpected peaks of demand...same old stories.
Before electricity was discovered traffic was made of horses and wagons driven by oxes/horses whilst heating was generated by burning wood and coal.
Then electricity was exploited and produced on large scale by burning wood, coal (thermo-power) and in some cases by using water (hydro-power). The former was pumping a lot of dirty smokes in the air, the latter needed huge reservoirs that often were made by building dams in valleys between mountains. Villages unluckily positioned in those areas were evacuated.
Traffic was made of vehicles burning oil derivatives emitting polluting particles in the air and heating was generated by burning wood, coal and also oil derivatives.
In the middle of 20th century a new solution appeared: generating electricity with nuclear power stations, but the tragic event occurred in Chernobyl in 1986 showed this could not be the best choice.
In the meantime traffic was made of vehicles equipped with similar engines as before whilst a new source of heating appeared: methane.
Towards the end of 20th century vehicles were equipped with a bit cleaner engines but heating was still produced more or less in the same way: coal was less used in the Western part of the world but very much used in Eastern/Far Eastern countries, therefore the overall balance of the planet could not improve much.
Finally, we celebrated the beginning of the 21st century where concepts of clean energy and Renewable Energy Sources (RES) started being discussed. Solar energy is great but then wide areas of flat lands and meadows were covered with solar/PV panels reducing the space for agriculture; wind energy is another kind of RES then windmills were installed in different areas of the globe spoiling landscapes, etc.
With regard to vehicles all are now excited about FEVs (Fully Electric Vehicles), but then new arguments come out such as where and how the electricity to charge vehicles is produced, how the material for batteries is found and - at the end of batteries life cycle - disposed, etc.
I could continue for pages describing that every time human beings believe to have found a good solutions (pros) for pollution reduction immediately consequent problems (cons) come out. It seems we are always running behind schedule and our planet cannot wait any longer.
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