Stephen Rees's blog

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

Becoming a leader on global warming

with 4 comments

Matt Horne, Pembina Institute in the Sun

Not a bad opinion piece, which ties together support in public opinion polls for action on climate change and the new carbon tax with what the government of BC needs to do next. Unfortunately it falls short when it comes to transport – which is one of the largest contributors and one of the things that changing people’s behaviour could affect.

For the tax to be effective, the government also needs to make sufficient investments to ensure that there are solutions available to help all British Columbians decrease energy consumption and emissions. The government has already taken steps in this direction with announced increases in public transit investment and new funding for home energy retrofits.

But the “announced increases” are not in current spending, but far into the future and mostly comes from other levels of government which were not even consulted before the transit “plan” was announced. And the future spending the government committed to included sums already being spent on the Canada Line which arguably makes transit a less attractive option for commuters from South of the Fraser.

But by far the gravest ommission is the failure to even mention the Gateway to Global Warming. For, as far as we know, the Province is going to proceed with the construction of major highway expansions, at a time when car use is actually declinig in North America for the first time in many years. This is in order, they claim, to help port expansion which depended on a booming American economy and increasing transpacific trade (the reverse is true of both), which will in fact increase greenhouse gas emissions becuase the much vaunted transit expansion will not happen – if at all – until after the freeway widening. Just to make sure that the people South of the Fraser keep on doing what they always have done which has made so friends of the BC Liberals so wealthy.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 3, 2008 at 1:39 pm

4 Responses

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  1. The poll by pembina was bogus—-It was way to vague,people who think of a carbon tax think about big polluters,not heating oil,propane and gas for your smart car!

    When people were asked about raising gas taxes they shuttered and the majority want gas taxes lowered.
    I am getting sick and tired of vague polls! Tell people in northern manitoba or whitehorse to walk,get on a non-existence bus, tell people that big industry gets a free pass on carbon taxes but the little guy pays.

    Tell people about the carbon trading fraud,a polluting company pays money to a non polluting company,a clean company is given carbon credits which they can trade or sell,tell people a big polluter can get off the hook by planting a few seedlings.

    When technology gets here people will buy in,the only way to get industry to reduce is to mandate reductions but lets be perfectly clear if it cost money for X company to reduce that cost will be passed on to the consumer.

    Taxes without options is crap! Translink has no options for raising more revenue,if translink wants more money it can`t just raise fares or property taxes or gas taxes it has to do all three at once(read the legislation)

    This carbon tax will cause more social cutbacks in schools,hospitals,everything because that will have to come out of existing budgets that are already lacking!
    This tax is a money shift from the poor and middle class to the rich and big business,its not revenue nuetrol! MARK MY WORDS with olympic debt and an economic downturn these taxes will be temporaily used for olympic security bill(2 billion dollars)
    Just like EIC benefits (60 billion stolen from that fund and put into general revenue) by both goverments tories and federal liberals!

    If you want to make a diffrence put a tax on big oil (windfall tax) and return it to them if they put that money into green technology!
    put a big tax on imports from CHINA and other big polluters,that would give clean canadian manufactures a big edge.
    Name me one big corporation that has ever done anything willingly that cost them big money for the sake of people or planet!
    What a bunch of saps,I heard somewhere that tar sand oil could be retrieved cleanly for about 5 to 10 dollars a barrel–Oil was 25 dollars in 2003–60 dollars last year–130 dollars now—Oh but we wouldn`t be competitive if we added cost!


    I don`t know what angers me more –CAMPBELl`s fraud or peoples gullability!————————–signed…………………………I will trade you a Gordon Campbell rookie card for a George Bush texas ranger card

    grant g

    June 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm

  2. For a while Jeffrey Simpson in the Globe and Mail was writing lovingly about Gordon Campbell’s environmental initiatives. Of course Gateway was never mentioned. It drove me crazy.

    BC’s carbon tax sets a new standard, And it all started in British Columbia.


    June 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm

  3. Wait, here’s the one that really made me sick to my stomach:
    It’s time we all paid attention to Gordon Campbell.


    June 3, 2008 at 3:16 pm

  4. I read that column too and lost my respect for his now formerly higher quality of journalism. He also cowrote ‘Hot Air, Meeting Canada’s Climate Change Challenge’ with Marc Jaccard, who is also the lead consultant in Gordo’s carbon tax policy.

    I, too, am dismayed that this tax will not go directly toward funding transit and energy conservation measures. I’m hoping that the new Ontario-Quebec cap and trade deal will get it right and shame other governments — especially the feds — into taking appropriate measures. Gordo could direct the purchase carbon offsets into transit, celulosic ethanol and solar roofs through a stroke of the pen if he tried.

    Simpson and Jacacrd also conveniently ignored peak oil in their book, claiming that cars will always be with us. Maybe so, but in what numbers when the price of gasoline hits $7 / litre? My respect for Thomas Homer-Dixon went even higher.


    June 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm

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