Micronesian Center for Sustainable Transport Blog

Cane Trains Beyond Diesel – How a rediscovered technology can provide a resilient transport solution for the Pacific

October 12th, 2023 by admin

Diesel is impressive.

Impressive in its abundance, energy density and liquid transportability. These unique features have made it ubiquitous to heavy transport and traction in the 20th and 21st centuries.

This powerful substance now runs the agricultural machinery that feeds 7.5 billion people worldwide and overall it does the work equivalent to having an extra 50 billion manual labourers on the planet. Every product in existence now relies on diesel, at some stage of its journey, to reach the market. Diesel’s grip on our world is impressive indeed.

Pacific Island Nations entered the diesel powered global economy without much say in the matter and today they pay the highest price in the world for their participation. As the price of diesel reaches all-time highs and continues to rise steadily, so do global temperatures and sea levels. Diesel’s immense contribution to the climate crisis, which already disrupts life in Pacific Island Nations and will continue to do so for centuries to come, makes it completely unviable as a future fuel. This raises questions; when diesel duly departs, what will fill the void that it leaves behind? And is this “solution” practical, affordable and appropriate for the Pacific?

Posted in Climate