Friday, December 02, 2005

Transportation and Emission Reductions

With the first major post-Kyoto global conference on climate change underway this week in Montreal, there are interesting proposals emerging from various NGOs concerned with the connections between urban form and energy use.

The Victoria Transportation Institute has issued a nice, concise paper (in .pdf format) laying out what it calls "win-win" strategies for utilizing transportation policy reform for reducing emissions. Among the proposals it advocates are charging adequate fees for roads and parking, making transportation funding mode-neutral, and employing land use strategies that allow for higher densities.

Given the fact that transportation is the single largest source of emissions in auto-dependent countries like Canada and the United States, these proposals are especially pressing. The federal level in the US offers little hope for substantive action, of course, due to the corrupt and incompetent nature of the Bush regime. Luckily, the mayors of over 190 US cities have recently signed on the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, which indicates their support for reducing emissions in accordance with Kyoto.

This is poor substitute for a binding federal policy, but in the absence of any federal leadership, it is the best that can be expected.