Stephen Rees's blog

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

Another reason I won’t be voting Liberal on Oct 14

with 2 comments

Stephane Dion launched his “Green Gateway” plan today. The previous link is to the pdf file, this one is to the press release.

Public Transit is an essential component of the Liberal 10-year $70 billion plan for infrastructure. An increase in the volume of cars and trucks on our roads is only sustainable if we encourage more people to use public transit.

The first bit is ok, but the second is just plain wrong. Because of the length of time it is taking to bring in alternative fuels that actually reduce ghg emissions (biodiesel from food crops and ethanol from grain don’t) we need to reduce vehicle kilometres travelled. We cannot afford an increase in traffic volume and should be working hard to cut it. So far, improved vehicle fuel efficiencies have not produced much less demand – although a spike is gas prices did, the current drop seems to be bringing back the false sense of security. Peak oil will ensure that some price effects will be seen – and I would expect that sooner not later. But that just gives the oil companies more profits and does not wean us off the addiction.

In urban areas we must stop new road construction and expansion, and steadily reduce the amount of space for both travel and parking. We must get a huge mode shift to more sustainable modes for both passengers and freight, and many other countries have showed the way to do that. Freeways are not green. Highways are not green. Car oriented new development is not green. Business as usual, with a carbon tax and higher transit spending bolted on is not a solution because we must reduce ghg emissions drastically – and soon. Not slow the rate of increase, not hold it steady, but reduce it.

Canada has a disproportionately high greenhouse gas footprint – and has not made any progress in recent years despite its claims to be “trying”. Stephen Harper simply ignores the issue and keeps on pumping billions of dollars in subsidies into the oil patch. Stephane Dion does not seem to understand what needs to be done – on the basis of these documents at least. He may have copied the Green’s play book – but he certainly doesn’t understand why transport is one of the biggest issues he has to tackle – right after the tar sands.

Written by Stephen Rees

September 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Sounds like it was written by someone in Ottawa, who hasn’t a clue about BC.

    Malcolm J.

    September 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm

  2. Another reason I’m not voting for Dion:

    Michael Byers said the tar sands are “becoming the largest CO2 source on the planet” and will eventually have to be shut down.

    “It is a goal that we seek to achieve gradually, reduce the negative impact on families and workers in the tar sands.”

    Dion called Byers’s recommendation “a foolish declaration.”


    September 26, 2008 at 2:24 pm

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