When I was growing up in London in the 1950’s the city was regularly enveloped in thick fog (smog) that lasted for days and even weeks. We didn’t know as much about it then as we do now, but this toxic mixture of exhaust, dust and pollutants was harming our lungs and health.

Things got better for awhile as transit use mushroomed and cars became smaller and more efficient. But I was surprised to read that the London smog is back with a vengeance. An article in the New Scientist environmental magazine warns people to choose carefully the London borough they decide to live in.

In almost half of London’s boroughs the proportion of deaths attributed to air pollution rose in 2010 and 2011 according to Public Health England. It appears the culprit is heavy vehicles and cars burning diesel instead of gasoline. In its zeal to address climate change, authorities authorized more diesel vehicles and now more than 360,000 of them are on London Streets.

But be careful what you wish for. While diesel vehicles emit fewer hydrocarbons than gas-powered vehicles they also emit particulates that aggravate lung and heart conditions. So what’s the solution? The Green Party is calling for more electric vehicles, but where does the additional energy come from?

Try and imagine a hundred key energy hubs throughout the City, where electricity is stored and is available for ‘fill-ups’ of electric vehicles, scooters and bicycles. And imagine that this is energy could be generated by sustainably, without resorting to more coal-fired power plants or dams?

The key in the future will be trapping heat and storing it for energy use. By dramatically reducing demand for electricity to provide heat, we could then divert it and store it in grids within the City. In the meantime if you want to read more, visit www.energyrealities.org or contact me, David Clark-Wilson 604-771-9051 or dcw@highnetenergy.com