Toronto – An expert and former oil worker from the U.S. Gulf is visiting Toronto today with a message for the Ontario Government: use the occasion of the tragic BP oil spill to chart a pathway off oil. Jerome Ringo will be speaking this evening at an event hosted by Environmental Defence called Bridging the Gulf: From Oil Spills to Clean Energy .
“If Ontario wants to help us down in Louisiana, it can do so by helping itself at the same time,” said Mr. Ringo. “We must all stop sending our money to oil companies to take ever bigger risks like offshore drilling and mining tar sands, and instead create jobs at home by powering our vehicles with clean energy.”
Mr. Ringo is a longtime U.S. Gulf advocate, a former Board member of the National Wildlife Federation, and past President of the Apollo Alliance, a group dedicated to the next ‘moon shot’ – the transition to clean energy.
“I know from first-hand experience that what is happening in the U.S. Gulf is a heartbreaking tragedy, but an even bigger tragedy will be if we fail to learn from this and don’t chart a pathway off oil,” said Ringo.
“With wind power potential in Ontario about 10 times the current grid capacity, we can both phase out coal and shift our vehicles to electricity,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director with Environmental Defence. “But, to make it happen, we need to invest aggressively in the infrastructure that is needed by electric vehicles.”
Environmental Defence released new numbers today showing that shifting the Ontario passenger vehicle fleet from oil to electricity is within reach. To power Ontario’s passenger cars and trucks with electricity instead of oil would require 22.6 million megawatt hours of electricity, roughly 16% of today’s power generation. Given the ability to charge electric vehicles at off-peak hours when electricity demand drops, much of the existing vehicles could go electric without new generation capacity. For example, it has been estimated that 65% of passenger vehicles in the U.S. could be converted to electric without additional generation because they would charge at night.
Denmark and Israel are already moving to get off oil entirely, and other jurisdictions, such as Germany and China, are investing heavily in the infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles.
Bridging the Gulf: From Oil Spills to Clean Energy  takes place tonight in Toronto at the Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen Street West (at Dufferin), starting at 7pm, and will also feature Louisiana-style band Loco Zydeco. The event is free.
About Environmental Defence ( ): Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research solutions. We educate. We go to court when we have to.   All in order to ensure clean air, clean water and thriving ecosystems nationwide, and to bring a halt to Canada’s contribution to climate change.
For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence, (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)