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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for November 17th, 2007

Global effort needed to avoid environmental disaster: UN

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has turned its attention to what can be done to avert disaster. And in this morning’s Vancouver Sun our Premier is quoted extensively. I have cut and pasted the relevant section.

In B.C., Premier Gordon Campbell noted in an interview on Friday that the debate is resolved in favour of action.

“The one thing that British Columbians understand is that the pine beetle has cost us hundreds of millions of dollars and that’s actually a result of climate change,” Campbell said. “The flooding preparations and the adaptation strategies we’ve had have cost us tens of millions of dollars and those are a result of climate change.

“I think people know now that climate change is something we must deal with and the status quo will cost us more than actually acting prudently — and I think not just prudently but directly and explicitly to change behaviours and to change the way we interact with the world.”

Most of B.C.’s efforts at present are focused on greenhouse gas reductions. Campbell announced in February a plan to cut emissions 33 per cent by 2020 — even before it was clear how the province would proceed.

Since then, B.C. has developed a strategy calling for vehicle emission cuts, carbon-trading schemes and emission caps, green technology incentives, and energy-efficiency standards for new construction.

Campbell has persuaded other Canadian premiers to join North American and international projects to cut emissions.

B.C.’s 33-per-cent reduction target for 2020 will be enshrined in law by late 2008.

“I think we will exceed this goal because I think we will surprise ourselves with how much can be done,” Campbell said.

“Right now in Canada, we’re energy gluttons. We put more greenhouse gas per capita into the environment than California does in spite of all their automobiles and all of those sorts of things. There is lots of stuff we can do that just requires us to think differently.”

I am going to ask residents of British Columbia to please send an email premier@gov.bc.ca . I think he needs to be congratulated for taking this position – especially the requirement to “think differently”. This is very encouraging since it is his government’s inability to think differently that is currently causing me – and many others – so much concern. The proposal to widen the freeway (Highway #1 and the Port Mann Bridge) will increase road traffic and hence greenhouse gas emissions. I know this to be true, because I have read the submission to the Environmental Assement Office and I know dissembling when I see it. The material presented is not credible, because it ignores induced traffic and land use effects. Widening the freeway will lock the area South of the Fraser into automobile dependence permanently. And we also know that there are better aletrnatives, mostly involving increased investment in transit, which will not only reduce current congestion but also will allow for much greater transportation choice into the future.

We also know that the Gateway program, of which this highway expansion is part, is fundamentally wrong headed. The people of British Columbia do not need expanded port facilities in Vancouver. Nor does Canada. The economic benefits to this region are grossly overstated and the environmental impacts willfully ignored.

I think he needs to come into the office on Monday morning to a pile of emails that encourage him to do the right thing – think differently

Written by Stephen Rees

November 17, 2007 at 11:28 am

Posted in Gateway

Pardonable theft

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Taken from the excellent movie of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which, if you haven’t seen, you should – or read the book or download the radio programmes)

Written by Stephen Rees

November 17, 2007 at 10:05 am

Posted in Gateway