How NOT to be an environmentalist

eric denhoffI read about a hydrogen bus program in Whistler being scrapped by the city there. I personally think this is one of those technologies where the hype has sometimes outpaced the reality. I’m not close enough to the technology to say whether development has been too slow, but it seems like many years of waiting for the breakthrough, despite loads of money. In this case they studied the buses for several years, didn’t get the hydrogen network promised and had to ship it in, creating a 300% cost compared to diesel. They also had plenty of breakdowns. Pretty bad execution for a new tech demo; but the worst, by far, is the comment reportedly made by Eric Denhoff, president of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association to the Globe and Mail.

Instead of quietly accepting that they were given a decent chance to show off their advances, instead of acknowledging they screwed up, instead of quietly valuing the the lessons they learned; he lashed out against his partners with rhetoric. This is not the way to advance change and it gives environmentalists a bad name. The city is struggling and they simply can’t continue to spend triple the budget. Lots of environmental initiatives are highly cost effective. We should expect a preference for these and just a dabbling in the more risky ones. Denhoff should expect the same, be thankful for what he got and be quiet.

You can read what he should NOT have said here:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/whistlers-hydrogen-buses-to-be-scrapped-replaced-by-diesel/article15900241/#dashboard/follows/

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