That’s the Gordon Campbell I know.
Over 30 initiatives were announced in yesterday’s Throne Speech to respond to global warming “aimed at reducing B.C.’s greenhouse gases by at least 33 per cent below current levels by 2020. ” Some of the initiatives, if delivered, are extraordinary:
Effective immediately, B.C. will become the first jurisdiction in North America, if not the world, to require 100 per cent carbon sequestration for any coal-fired electricity project.
All electricity produced in B.C. will be required to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2016.
As Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer observed: “When (the Premier) gets religion, he GETS religion.”
I remember him typing away on his personal Mac in the Mayor’s Office late at night, crafting policy that would, by morning, lead the city in new directions. I confess: I wondered what happened to that Gordon Campbell.
One thing, apparently: he saw China on a recent trip, and was appalled at the sprawling industrial complexes that have ravaged the environment and to which we are directly connected through our port.
Which leads us to the Gateway Project. This, too, was announced in the days before climate change was taken seriously. (Apparently after the Minister of Transportation was inspired by the road infrastructure he saw, ironically, in China.)
While electrifying port operations to reduce container-ship emissions and the creation of electrified truck stops to reduce idling are very welcome initiatives, the consequences of road expansion on land-use patterns – and that’s what’s this issue is about – could discount much of what will be achieved elsewhere.
There is some hope in one of the initiatives directed towards housing and urban sprawl:
Changes to existing funding and transfer payments to ensure integrated regional transportation and housing planning.
It’s possible for Gateway to address both the need for a sustainable region and the need for an efficient transportation system South of the Fraser. The Throne Speech offers some hope that Gateway might be reconsidered in this new context.
That’s what politics is about: hope. And Gordon Campbell delivered.