Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Carbon Tax Initiative

Good on Gordon Campbell and the BC Libs!

They've proposed the first-ever North American jurisdictional carbon tax on gas at the pumps, to be implemented this summer.

I immediately predicted most would be pissed, and that they wouldn't change their habits. I was wrong -- thankfully -- on the first count: public reaction was split on the decision 50/50; 1/3 hated it, 1/3 loved it, and 1/3 were on the fence. I was right on the second count: only 13% said they would change their driving habits. It'll take gas climbing to $6 plus a litre for most people to finally, begrudgingly, reduce use, move closer to work, walk, carpool, take transit, bike, get a car with better mileage, push for better transportation infrastructure, accept higher density living arrangements closer to the core community rather than sprawling suburban single-unit housing past (where next?) Hope.

NDP head Carole James was typically (unintentionally) funny in her response to the initiative, unconvincingly saying it "wasn't enough" and that they weren't sold on the idea. She's just pissed because Campbell's gov't are elbowing in on the NDP's putative platform, actually doing something about the encroaching synergistic tsunami, rather than just intoning punchless platitudes regarding their "compassion" for the "little person".

What's not funny, however, (and entirely predictable) is the media's framing of the issue as a reaction to world oil prices. This, of course, is only a symptom, a natural outcome (though there are other current reasons) of Peak Oil. It's dinner hour, and CTV (in this case) doesn't want viewers hitting the channel changer because of indigestion. But it would give credibilty to the prime time news if they could join other mainstream media outlets in finally blurting the "Peak Oil" theme, as has recently and refreshingly been the case with the Washington Post, New York Times, CBC Newsworld, Vancouver Sun, etc ....

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