Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Transit uses most effective at reducing ghg emissions

with 2 comments

  • Home weatherizing and adjusting the thermostat for heating and cooling saves 2,847 pounds of carbon per year. Transit use saves almost twice the carbon.
  • Replacing five incandescent bulbs to lower wattage compact fluorescent lamps saves 445 pounds of CO2 per year. Transit use saves more than ten times the CO2.
  • Replacing an older refrigerator freezer with a high efficient one saves 335 pounds of CO2 per year. Taking public transportation saves more than fourteen times the carbon.

These figures come from an APTA Press Release today: APTA is pushing for transit to take centre stage in a (much needed) US climate strategy.

It is timely given what is happening here at present to have this kind of information. It is also instructive when advocates for other strategies – such as technological changes and alternative fuels – seem to have grabbed all the limelight up to now. For those of use who keep up with these things, none of this is news, but it is important to keep on banging away at it, otherwise the proponents of hydrogen cars and helium dirigibles and groundsource heat pumps driven by run of the river hydro are going to continue to hog the limelight.

Buses are not groundbreaking technology. Bus lanes are going to be controversial because people like Linda Meinhardt will always make a song and dance about delivery trucks. But in terms of the very pressing needs we currently face – and have been facing for most of my adult life in one form or another – buses are still one of the cheapest and most effective ways of proving better transit for more people. This will enable them to give up their second cars and save 30% of their household’s carbon emissions, as well as improve their own health, and that of their community and their own wallet. (How many wins is that?) And yes, electric trams and trains too, but that is going to take a bit longer and we could use the buses now!

And we cannot afford to wait much longer to get started on this strategy. The sea level will be rising faster as there is less polar ice and less glaciation. The process is already accelerating and the Chinese show no signs at all of wanting to cut the growth of their carbon footprint. Richmond, Delta and Pitt Meadows could be fond memories soon. I mean, I am sorry as hell about those low lying islands all around the globe that are going too – but, let’s face it, their fate has been clear for some time and that did not seem to move anyone in power here very much. Same as the penguins and polar bears. Good pictures, sure. But not much effect on SUV sales, on the whole.

And haven’t we all done those three things at the top of the page already, to try and stop our hydro bills from going up even faster than they are?

Written by Stephen Rees

September 27, 2007 at 3:43 pm

2 Responses

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  1. The main reservation I have about the compact fluourescent bulbs is whether they will be disposed of properly given the mercury in the bulbs.
    I also wonder about the energy consumption required to manufacture one of thoese bulbs versus an incandescent bulb – it always strikes me that not only is there a lot of glass in the compact fluourescents, but the manufacture of the microchip inside and the large plastic housing must also use up energy too.

    ron c.

    September 27, 2007 at 7:02 pm

  2. There are places that are banning incandescent bulbs - but this is all irrelevant. Firstly because BC Hydro gave away lots of CF bulbs already, and secondly because this blog is supposed to be about transit – and the argument is that transit would be saving us lots more ghgs if the stupid provincial and federal governments had put money into transit like they both said they would instead of mucking about with technological wheezes like CFs!

    Stephen Rees

    September 27, 2007 at 7:40 pm


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