I already went on about the ham-fisted way our Provincial government has forced Cities to become “Carbon neutral”, mostly by using property taxes to purchase carbon offsets and line the pockets of profitable multi-nationals.
But it’s not just eco-terrorist left wing lunatics like me saying this system is messed up. Those socialists in the Vancouver Business Press are also asking questions. In the August 23-30 edition of Business in Vancouver (issue 1139), there is a great piece called “Smoke and Mirrors” about how this system is corrupt at its core. It is well worth the read, only to hear the Surrey School Board, Marc Jaccard (the SFU scientist who shared the IPCC’s Nobel Prize for characterizing Climate change risk), John Cummins, and the BC School Trustees all agreeing with left-wing eco-terrorists like me.
Alas, if that is the system we have, how can we make it work for us? Here is where Jane Sterk of the BC Green party hits the nail right on the head. She suggests TransLink can fill its ongoing “funding gap” by selling carbon credits to the Pacific Carbon Trust. This is brilliant.
As Sterk suggests in the press release, every one of the 210 Million + transit riders per year , every person riding a bus, riding a SkyTrain, riding the West Coast Express, or riding the Sea Bus is producing less CO2e per km than a person in a car. TransLink provides the service that allows that carbon reduction. TransLink already has stats around transit use, all they need to do is get an energy economist to provide the number of Tonnes of carbon reduction per annum, and TransLink can negotiate a fat check from the PCT. Instead of our municipal and school tax dollars going to Encana, or Lafarge, they go back to us in the form of improved transportation service.
But let’s not stop there What about AirCare? According to
a recent study, one of the side benefits of the AirCare inspection program is a reduction in GHG emissions, as much as 1.1% of the total emissions of the Lower Mainland. This works out to enough offsets to run the entire AirCare program, saving drivers money. Or the money can go right back into TransLink general revenue.
Of course, the better alternative would just be to fund transit appropriately, without having to resort to ridiculous paper-shuffling exercises like the Pacific Carbon Trust. If we took the Province’s carbon tax and specifically earmarked it for carbon-reduction initiatives (like the Evergreen Line), then we wouldn’t need to go the long way around.