A couple of weeks ago the Environment Commissioner came out with his annual report on the province’s Action Plan to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions(www.eco.on.ca). It is clear from the analysis that the emission reduction targets that were set for 2014 and 2020 will not be met. Urban sprawl and private autos are the big culprits.
Thirty-one percent of all emissions are attributable to the transportation sector. Not only is that sector the biggest emitter but it is increasing the most relative to the other sectors identified (e.g. electricity/ heat generation and industry etc..)
The transportation sector has seen a huge increase in vehicle emissions from "light duty gasoline trucks" like SUV’s, vans and pickups – 123% since 1990.
The Commissioner thinks we have to seriously consider road pricing to address our frightful greenhouse gas problems. Road pricing would take into account the true cost of our transportation infrastructure and could reduce congestion and improve our environmental conditions. Properly implemented it would be an important reform towards a fairer tax system. But is road pricing on the political agenda today?
Take my town Burlington (Ontario). Their idea of pricing strategies runs about as deep as Sarah Palin’s grasp of foreign policy matters. It goes like this: If you don’t run buses then you save money. Using that logic today (Jan 1) Burlington is the only Lakeshore GTA community not running buses.
We are repeating ourselves in lamenting this lack of recognition of the damage that personal automobile use is doing to our environment. We won’t get into the equity issue as we’ve done that before (see archives 2/16/08.)