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Archive for 'transportation'

Grounding the Toronto Island Airport’s $1.9-Billion Claim

As part of its push to expand to accommodate jet flights, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has been advertising that it contributes $1.9 billion to Toronto’s economy. This claim is based on a study that the airport commissioned from InterVISTAS, an airline industry consultancy. The study estimates the airport’s economic impact as of March […]

Economist <3 car-sharing

It started with a car accident in February, and the total loss of our 2004 Prius, which had only been ours for less than a year. We were quickly compensated for its market value and were in a position to buy another car, but we held off due to a looming sabbatical that would take […]

A Green Industrial Revolution

Today the CCPA released a new big picture report by myself and student researcher Amanda Card calling for a Green Industrial Revolution. The report builds on work done for the BC-focused Climate Justice Project, bringing to bear a national analysis of green and not-so-green jobs. We take a close look at GHG emissions and employment […]

The Parable of the Prius

I was at a talk on dematerialization a few weeks ago, and one of the speakers told “the parable of the Prius” to illustrate Jevon’s paradox that efficiency gains do not necessarily reduce energy consumption (and from a climate perspective, greenhouse gas emissions). In the case of buying a fuel-efficient Prius, one saves a lot […]

Air travel and carbon footprint

A bi-annual vehicle emissions test got me thinking about my personal carbon footprint. A lot broad-brush numbers and calculators exist out there to calculate one’s footprint, but I’ve never found them to be very reliable because they have to generalize across a very heterogeneous population in terms of location, type of dwelling and size, family […]

The Universal Student Transit Pass

I have an opinion piece out on the City of Ottawa’s universal, student transit pass–also known as “the U-Pass.” Points raised in the op-ed include the following: -U-Pass programs exist for roughly 30 universities and colleges across Canada. -For a U-Pass program to be introduced, students typically must vote in favour of the program in […]

Envisioning a Transportation Transformation

Just in time for Earth Day, CCPA has a new release from the Climate Justice Project, Transportation Transformation: Building Complete Communities and a Zero-Emission Transportation System in BC. The report is perhaps the most visionary of our CJP publications to date (and has lots of great graphics to illustrate that vision), a necessity given that […]

The trouble with flying

I just got back from a conference in Geneva where I was asked to speak to trade unionists from around the world about our BC climate justice project. In addition to this great opportunity to share information about green jobs and climate policy with a friendly audience, it was also an eye-opener to be in […]

Green Jobs in Transit and Passenger Rail

I’ve posted below an introduction and link to a short piece I wrote a while back for the Green Economy Network on possible job creation from the development of transit.  A student will be doing some work in this area at the CLC this Summer and we would welcome any input or leads on the […]

Thinking about zero

I’m still coming out of my malaise following the Copenhagen climate conference in December. It’s easy to think that the stupid political brinksmanship is never going to end, and the focus of attention will shift to adaptive measures. But what is more likely is a few more Katrina scale disasters that will serve to spur […]

Vancouver bids to be world’s greenest city

Last week, the City of Vancouver’s task force, the Greenest City Action Team, issued a plan for the city with short and longer-term goals and policy advice on achieving them. The report covers more than climate change, a good thing as it is important to identify win-wins that lead to improvement on other environmental, health […]

Timing is Everything

More than anything else, BC’s carbon tax is the victim of bad timing. Here’s the average gas price in Vancouver over the past year, according to the BC Gas Buddy: Note that the BC Budget, which announced the carbon tax, was tabled on February 19, and the tax was implemented on July 1. In that […]

The economy in cartoons

As a fan of satire, I love the medium of cartoons. Here are a few favourites who consistently produce good stuff, and a couple recent posts. Tom the Dancing Bug, explains the economics of gas prices and tells how America was destroyed. This Modern World says Farewell My Lovely Economy and soothes Republican angst. And […]

Road Trip Economics

I’m recently back from a family vacation, which consisted in driving down to Northern California and back, camping along the way. Our 1992 Corolla keeps on rolling, and in my mind it is better to keep it humming and wait it out for something electric in a few years time, than to buy a new […]

Responses to high gas prices

Gas prices are way up and look to continue that way looking forward. So what does this mean in terms of behavioural change? Todd Litman does a major review of all kinds of transportation elasticities. An excerpt: As it is usually measured, automobile travel is inelastic, meaning that a percentage price change causes a proportionally […]

Some perspective on carbon taxes

At a meeting I was at the morning, Green Party deputy leader Adrienne Carr made a familiar refrain that a carbon tax is needed to help solve our transportation woes by making driving more expensive. I generally support a carbon tax, as long as the revenues are recycled in a manner that ensures that overall […]

Behavioral responses to higher gas prices

In policy terms I have been concerned about regressive impacts of a carbon tax, and was pleased to see that BC’s carbon tax is being partly recycled into refundable tax credits for low-income families. But the $10 per tonne carbon tax starting in July is rather small (2.4 cents per litre), and in spite of […]

Evolution of a Pundit (Margaret Wente edition)

Margaret Wente, circa August 2005: The other day I stuck the nozzle in the tank of my dainty little SUV and paid for my first $50 fill. It was a shock, but I knew it was coming, and I know it’s going to get worse. … Theoretically, I know my car dependency is bad (and […]

Fuel economy and BC’s carbon tax

I’m deep into figuring out what the new BC carbon tax means for different income groups. But stumped by some anomalous results from the modeling, I took a detour and ended looking at my own output of GHGs. Living in hydro-power-rich BC, our electricity is almost entirely GHG-free, and in the rest of the home […]

Toronto Airport Inefficiency

In my experience, flights are often delayed in Pearson airport. I always wonder whether there is some particular problem with the management of Pearson or whether delays just tend to happen there because air travel is somehow prone to delay and so many flights go through Pearson. A recent Canadian Press story seems to support the […]

Transportation and climate change

One of the big challenges in reducing greenhouse gas emissions comes from transportation. Here in BC, for example, transportation accounts for 40% of our annual emissions. Of that more than a third (14% of the total) is from personal transportation. So any serious emissions reduction plan has to eventually come to grips with cars. To […]

Comparative Advantage Meets Capital Mobility

Thomas Palley, formerly of the AFL-CIO, just posted a very good piece on “The New Economics of Trade” that clearly connects the dots between several themes frequently discussed on this blog.

The National Post on TILMA

On Friday, the National Post’s lead editorial suggested that inter-provincial trade barriers are significant enough to validate the Quebec-separatist view that “Canada is not a real country.” The following edited response from yours truly is printed as a “Counterpoint” in today’s edition. UPDATE (August 16): BC’s Minister of Economic Development has responded to my op-ed. […]

Air travel and forest offsets

Moonlighting from his CCPA gig, Ben Parfitt has this to say about airlines, climate change, forests and offsets in a feature article for the Georgia Straight: The airline industry, among others, is banking heavily on offsets taking flight. So, too, it appears, is the British Columbia government. No fewer than three people currently report directly […]

Livingstone on congestion charges

Writing an intervention in the NY Times, as NYC contemplates a congestion charge of its own, London Mayor Ken Livingstone makes the case based on London’s experience. A key success factor is the channeling of revenues from the tax into enhancing public transit, another example of offsetting regressive tax impacts on the spending side: … […]

TILMA: A Report from the Front Line

On Tuesday, I testified before the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on the Economy, which is holding public hearings on joining TILMA. The Legislative Assembly is broadcasting the hearings and promptly posting the recordings. To see my presentation, click “Video 1″ for June 5 and use the bar immediately below the screen to advance the […]

Electric cars: why aren’t we talking about them?

The Economist (Charging around the city: How green and safe are they?) asks about the safety of electric cars on the streets of London. But to me, the big news is that there are electric cars on the streets of London! I mean, how cool is that? I saw a documentary last year called, Who […]

Paradoxes of efficient transportation

Some fascinating and counter-intuitive insights about traffic management from an article in Vancouver magazine. I have tried to de-Vancouverize it somewhat to distill the key insights that are more broadly applicable, but it is ultimately an article about Vancouver, with its somewhat contrary starting point of not having freeways going into the heart of the […]

The Green’s carbon tax plan: another gimmick

Chalk up another gimmick for Elizabeth May, with the Green’s carbon tax plan that promises, literally, the world, but falls apart upon examination. Don’t get me wrong: carbon tax may well be the way to go, because of its ease of administration compared to other schemes. But a major issue is that we have little […]

Saving the environment through gas price gouging

Hugh Mackenzie’s piece on gas price gouging set off a chain reaction in the mass media. The oil execs were scrambling to come up with any and all excuses to justify their outrageous abuse of market power, and their even more outrageous profits. The lame response essentially boils down to this: it’s just market forces. […]