Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Brrr! Winter Is Here, But It's Not Keeping Us Warm That Is Increasing Green House Gas Emissions

It’s not because Canada is such a cold place that our production of greenhouse gases has increased, according to a new study released Monday by Statistics Canada. Between 1990 and 2004 consumption of fuel to heat our homes rose by about 10 per cent, but green house gas emissions generating as we attempt to keep us warm actually decreased by 1 per cent due to more efficient heating systems and increasing use of cleaner natural gas.

Our reliance on automobiles and trucks, though, resulted in an increase of 29 per cent of the green house gas emissions coming from transport of people and goods. This far outstrips population growth, which rose by 16 per cent, Stats Can notes, attributing the increase in GES production to “the increased popularity of larger motor vehicles that require more fuel per kilometre driven.”

The moral on this wintry day (20 cm of snow when only 5 had been forecast) is that in order to solve our energy and green house gas problems we must act on two fronts. More efficient equipment is necessary, but we also must think seriously about how we organize our lives. Sales of new trucks rose 79 per cent in the study period, and without a doubt some of them were necessary for moving goods and people. But how many were used simply by individuals in non-work situations? And what about improving public transportation so we don't need to use cars as much too?


lagatta à montréal said...

Indeed, better public transport and also, as you write, more walkable cities.

A snow like this is a jail sentence for me as it means I can't ride my bicycle. Suddenly the world becomes small, confining and hostile.

Mary Soderstrom said...

Oh, but walking can be a pleasure.

And what an amazing story about your cat: more than a month lost! Thank goodness it came back before winter really settled in.