Showing posts from 2012

Translink Fare Increase Talking Points

- Transportation is one of the highest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our regions so it is important to shift to less polluting modes.
- Metro Vancouver with a transit modal share of only 13% lags behind many world class cities that have modal shares of 40-60%.
- Zurich has achieved a transit modal share of 63% by keeping fares relatively low (a one zone monthly fare card is about 40% less than one in Vancouver).
- Private automobiles are subsidized by about 6 billion dollars per year in our region.
- The subsidies that to go automobiles should be shifted to transit. This would provide long term stable funding for the service and reduce the need for fare increases.

My Carbon Tax Submission

A carbon tax can offers a significant opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate innovative economic activity.  However, evidence would suggest that the carbon tax must be priced appropriately.

I believe that the carbon tax in BC is currently priced too low and needs to be raised significantly.  The net price of natural gas including the carbon tax is now less than it was before the carbon tax was introduced in 2008.   This means that it has not created any significant economic incentive for users to reduce consumption and switch to other energy sources.  And it has made it difficult for businesses to create innovative alternatives to fossil fuels.

Sweden  has a carbon tax of over $100 per ton and has demonstrated success in reducing its emissions.

We should be raising our carbon tax to at least that level to make BC a leader in innovative sustainability solutions.

Coal Train Stopped

IMGP7458, a photo by Rob__ on Flickr.
On May 5, 2012 citizens blocked a BNSF rail line in White Rock, BC. As a result 6 trains carrying coal to a west coast shipping port were delayed or cancelled. Over a dozen people were arrested including two SFU professors (one a Noble Prize winner) and one former Vancouver City Councillor (also a medical doctor). Via Flickr:

Alternatives to Enbridge

The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline has been a hot topic here in BC. And one question that often arises is "What are the realistic alternatives?"

The science is clear that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-90% (these calculations are detailed in the first two chapters of George Monbiot's book Heat). Which means we need to reduce fossil fuel use dramatically. And that means that simply refining the crude oil in Alberta or using trucks to ship it instead of a pipeline are NOT viable alternatives.

So, I have attempted to produce a quick summary of realistic alternatives. This is just a quick summary - an entire book could easily be written on this subject.

Please note that all these alternatives are realistic and proven.  They are already being used by communities, individuals and businesses around the world.  They do not rely on some new technology that has not been invented yet.

• Redesign urban areas with dense mixed use communities whe…