Showing posts from 2011

Oulu vs Vancouver

Oulu, Finland sounds like an interesting place.  A subarctic climate   but with more than 500 km of bike routes (mostly separated).  Vancouver is at about 400 km, most not separated.  And their modal share for cycling is between 20 and 37 %.  If Vancouver is going to be the world's greenest city we need to catch up with cities like Oulu.  Unfortunately some of those candidates running for mayor want us to fall further behind. [ photo courtesy   City of Oulu , Finland ]

Media Ignores Motor Vehicle Subsidies

One of the big news stories here in Vancouver this morning is the announcement of a funding proposal for the long delayed Evergreen line. Rather than focus on the benefits of expanding cleaner transportation options most of the media seems focused on the two cent gasoline tax increase that will be used to fund the project.  CBC radio is encouraging drivers to phone in and complain about the tax. But there is no mention of the fact that driving is highly subsidized here in the Lower Mainland.  Reports by Metro Vancouver and the provincial Ministry of Transport estimate the subsidy to be as much as 6 billion dollars per year.  It is unlikely that this small tax increase will come close to covering that subsidy. There is broad consensus that we need to make significant cuts to our greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions.  Both the provincial government and some municipalities have set targets of 80%.  With transportation being the largest source of ghg emissions in our region it is clear

More Evidence of BC Climate Leadership Failure

Canada's latest greenhouse gas emission inventory report was quietly released this week.  The numbers are from 2009 (it takes over a year to compile the numbers and for some reason Canada seems to be about a month behind most other nations). The release came only a few days after BC's new premier Christy Clark had announced her commitment to BC's "leadership" on climate change.  So, how do the numbers reflect this "leadership"? At first glance the 2009 emissions numbers for BC look hopeful.  They are down 3.3% compared to the previous year.  But is this decrease the result of macro economic factors in 2009 or good public policy?  It appears it would be the economics - emissions actually declined for every Canadian province during 2009.   In fact, BC was the third WORST province in annual percentage change between 2008 and 2009.  Only Saskatchewan and Quebec preformed worse (To be fair to Quebec their emissions are actually below 1990 levels - BC's

Getting Serious about Earth Day

Earth Day is usually about rallies in parks, maybe some tree planting and recently corporate sponsored events.  But residents in Metro Vancouver took things to another level this Earth Day when they took direct action against climate change. The largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the Metro Vancouver region is transportation.  Despite this fact the provincial government is in the middle of several large highway expansion projects.  On April 22nd a group of local residents began occupation of a highway construction site.  They have set up tents, barricades, an outdoor kitchen, toilet facilities, a solar power centre and appear to there for the long term. About 25 are currently camped out, vowing to stay and stop the freeway they call a ‘climate crime.’ "Gateway's goal with the South Fraser Perimeter Highway is to triple truck traffic. What they don't tell you is that means triple the pollution, too," says North Delta resident Richelle Giberson. "I

Trucking Myths

The StopThePave Earth Day Action has inspired a serious of tweets from Dan at Unfortunately these tweets promulgate myths about greenhosue gas (ghg) emissions and transportation.  I guess there is still a lot of work to be done to educate the public around these issues.  And in that spirit here are some of those myths: 1. Building more highways will reduce congestion, fuel consumption and ghg emissions.   There is no evidence to support this idea. In fact, the evidence all points to highway expansion increasing emissions.  The proponents of the SFPR and the other gateway program projects even admit this in their own documentation. The provincial government studies, conducted as part of the Environmental Assessment Process, project an increase of 176,000 tonnes per year in greenhouse gas emissions ( ). Gordon Price of UBC has issued a challenge for

CO2 emissions, cycling and the Hornby Bike Lane

In the ten years leading up to 2009 Copenhagen reduced CO2 emissions by 20% ( 40% since 1990 ).  During that time the cycling modal share increased by over 19% and the amount of "cycle tracks" (segregated bike lanes) increased by over 9%.  Copenhagen found that adding cycle tracks to a road section resulted in a 20% increase in cycling.