Why politicians must explain there are costs and sacrifices needed to combat climate change

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jjuares

It is interesting how people speak up for LRT and bike paths. Yet, suburban sprawl make both of those far less efficent. For many people suburbia is either their lifestyle or the goal they wish to achieve. There was a recent article saying housing is more important to the BC economy than all resource extraction industries put together, including lumber. Houses are getting bigger while families have decreased in size. We need more compact cities.

Sean in Ottawa

jjuares wrote:
It is interesting how people speak up for LRT and bike paths. Yet, suburban sprawl make both of those far less efficent. For many people suburbia is either their lifestyle or the goal they wish to achieve. There was a recent article saying housing is more important to the BC economy than all resource extraction industries put together, including lumber. Houses are getting bigger while families have decreased in size. We need more compact cities.

Many people live in suberbia becuase they can't afford to live downtown. Particularly true of families that won't fit in a 1-bedroom condo.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Many people live in suberbia becuase they can't afford to live downtown. Particularly true of families that won't fit in a 1-bedroom condo.

Or whose two SUVs won't fit in a one-car garage.

I take your point, yet somehow suburbia isn't exactly filled with 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom condos.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Many people live in suberbia becuase they can't afford to live downtown. Particularly true of families that won't fit in a 1-bedroom condo.

Or whose two SUVs won't fit in a one-car garage.

I take your point, yet somehow suburbia isn't exactly filled with 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom condos.

I live in suberbia. I needed to accomodate 5 people in my home and could not afford to do it downtown. There are many people who live nearby renting rooms only becuase it is cheaper. My car is a 2007 Ford Focus. I have to pass some large SUVs as I drive throught the glebe on the way to downtown -- that's a really correct place to live. I don't park in a garage.

The cheapest parts of the city to live in many cases is suberbia.

FWIW: I am fortunate enough to work from home and drive very little.

Please check your prejudices. Thanks.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Anywhere that's out of the city core is going to be a cheaper place to live than in it.

But I think that for many, it's also a cheaper place to own a large, fully-detached home with a huge lawn.  Now I'm sure you own no such thing, and I'm sure you know people who rent in suburbia, but unless we're going to redefine suburbia as just "the cheaper option", I don't really feel like it's out of line to point out what a lot of suburbanites are in it for.  And it's not that I even resent them for wanting it.

But aren't you, in another thread, pretty much suggesting that maybe we can't all have 90 feet of frontage and ensuite bathrooms while saving the planet?

lagatta

I don't think the point is blaming suburbanites, but blaming the criminally poor planning that created car-dependent suburbs and tore up tramlines in Ottawa, Montréal and many other cities. And Ottawa is at least as large as Toronto was when the subway was built there - really you need at least a couple of lines of very high-capacity, very rapid transit. During the Great Ice Storm, our métro system functioned all the time and was a lifesaver as many key workers such as healthcare workers could get to their workplaces.

Many inner suburbs are densifying. There are certainly many new high-rise apartment units (condos and rental) in the former suburbs due east of where I live; St-Léonard and Anjou. And those towns have always had a high proportion of duplex townhouses. This will explode if the long-promised extension of the Blue Line ever materialises.

Sean in Ottawa

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Anywhere that's out of the city core is going to be a cheaper place to live than in it.

But I think that for many, it's also a cheaper place to own a large, fully-detached home with a huge lawn.  Now I'm sure you own no such thing, and I'm sure you know people who rent in suburbia, but unless we're going to redefine suburbia as just "the cheaper option", I don't really feel like it's out of line to point out what a lot of suburbanites are in it for.  And it's not that I even resent them for wanting it.

But aren't you, in another thread, pretty much suggesting that maybe we can't all have 90 feet of frontage and ensuite bathrooms while saving the planet?

Indeed I did. And I objected to your suggestion that this is all that exists in suberbia or that everyone who lives there does so for that reason.

FWIW - my house is small, the yard is a postage stamp but it is fully detached. It was also the cheapest home within the Greenbelt that had 4 bedrooms when I was looking.

Sean in Ottawa

lagatta wrote:

I don't think the point is blaming suburbanites, but blaming the criminally poor planning that created car-dependent suburbs and tore up tramlines in Ottawa, Montréal and many other cities. And Ottawa is at least as large as Toronto was when the subway was built there - really you need at least a couple of lines of very high-capacity, very rapid transit. During the Great Ice Storm, our métro system functioned all the time and was a lifesaver as many key workers such as healthcare workers could get to their workplaces.

Many inner suburbs are densifying. There are certainly many new high-rise apartment units (condos and rental) in the former suburbs due east of where I live; St-Léonard and Anjou. And those towns have always had a high proportion of duplex townhouses. This will explode if the long-promised extension of the Blue Line ever materialises.

All absolutely true.

And there are condos going up right beside us. They are much less expensive than downtown.

The transit is a problem. I hope it improves.

Rev Pesky

Doug Woodard wrote:
...Sweden has used a carbon tax since 1991, and it works:

Actually, looking at your graph, it looks as though no carbon tax works just as well. The drop in emissions per GDP was at least as much in Canada as it was in Sweden, from 1991 on.

Sean in Ottawa

To those who freaked when I said politicians need to be honest and tell the people that sacrifices will be necessary to avoid environmental catastrophe -- read this:

"Global carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have surpassed 400 parts per million, and will almost certainly remain there indefinitely, according to new numbers from the Scripps carbon dioxide monitoring program at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii.

"The 400-level has long been considered a benchmark of irreversible damage to the environment.

...

"The number is also unlikely to decrease. Keeling said that even if we implement the best environmental policies tomorrow, it would take hundreds of years to stabilize and then lower the levels.

...

On Thursday, the Pembina Institute released a report saying that Canada is not on track to meet its 2020 or 2030 climate goals.

...

Harrison said that's where governments come in — she said leaders will have to be courageous in their plans.

"Because the option of staying the way things are now — it isn't available to us," she said. "The status quo isn't on the table, and I think that's a message that hasn't come through loud and clear."

"Harrison and Harvey both said that the costs of implementing policies that would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions would be about one or two per cent of the country's gross domestic product."

...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/global-carbon-levels-highest-ever-poin...

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The point here is that the issue is bigger than some are willing to admit and life as we know it will have to change in ways that are significant. We have to reduce or give up things we are used to having in order to do this. This I call sacrifice -- you give up one thing for another (in this case survival).

Apart from practices we cannot continue,  the cost of environmental efforts at 1-2% of GDP would represent a significant investment when you consider that all taxes represent just 32% of GDP. Federal income tax is likely only about 10% so we are talking about an equivalent to a 10% federal tax increase across the board. Still with me on the sacrifice component?

This is in addition to the obstacle I raised: inequality. Global and regional inequality are directly in the way of action on the environment. Policies designed to direct spending to be more environmental friendly must be remediated when it comes to people with lower means becuase they simply cannot bear the costs. Put bluntly: poverty is bad for the environment when you consider the impact it has on people's decisions and priorities and the latitude that government has to use economic means to create a greener behaviour.

The article above just spells out the scale of the problem.

When it comes to left parties, like the NDP which is in search of a leader, it is essential that whomever becomes leader understand the scale of the environmental emergency facing the world and the relationship that inequality has to the problem. All politicians  must start speaking truth about this. I disagree with the notion that the population is not ready to hear this. I actually think they want to hear somebody who wants to make a difference on this. The problem is no longer one about what we leave to future generations. This is a problem generations who are adults today will face.

By the end of the next decade we will be speaking of environmental refugees.

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