Green Transportation in Maple Ridge
At the City of Maple Ridge, we are working to decarbonize our transportation operations primarily by replacing our older fleet vehicles with newer, low-carbon options. In recent years, we have successfully replaced 100% of our 40 passenger fleet vehicles with either hybrids or electric vehicles. Actions and decisions such as this can go a long way towards reducing the carbon footprint of the city, and help achieve its sustainability goals.
Another way we are trying to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from transportation is through consultation and education with the public. This is the purpose of the Active Transportation Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of various members of the community representing different stakeholder groups, as well as representatives from School District No. 42 and the Ridge Meadows RCMP. Their goal is to advise members of City Council about priorities, planning, policies, and mobility issues related to transportation in Maple Ridge. This allows council to gain a better understanding of the city’s transportation systems, as well as the actions needed to improve them.
Provincial Carbon Tax
British Columbia’s carbon tax was established in 2008, and is currently set at 30 dollars per ton of CO2e emissions. This means that actions that emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide or methane are subject to a tax due to their negative impacts on the environment. Much of this tax is reflected in the prices of carbon fuels like gasoline or natural gas, which helps to explain why prices in BC are higher than many other provinces.
The idea behind a carbon tax, or ‘carbon pricing’, is to increase the financial costs associated with polluting. Prior to the tax, environmental costs resulting from carbon emissions were borne by the community, rather than those responsible for the pollution. For example, if an industrial complex producing massive amounts of industrial emissions was located near a residential neighbourhood, then the costs of that pollution would fall to the residents. These costs come in the form of negative health impacts due to poor air quality and climate impacts resulting from climate change. With a carbon tax, the industrial complex is financially motivated to produce less pollution, and they are charged for the pollution they do produce.
This charge serves to generate revenue for the government of British Columbia, which in theory can be repurposed towards tax credits for homeowners, businesses, and low-income individuals. Taxes are offset in this way with the idea of making the carbon tax ‘revenue-neutral’, which means that gross taxes are not actually increasing for the province. This serves to aid individuals and businesses who might suffer from increased fuel prices.
The tax truly benefits individuals who take advantage of the credits associated with revenue from carbon pricing, but choose to avoid paying the carbon tax. This can be accomplished by simply choosing to avoid using gasoline. Utilizing any of the transportation methods mentioned above allows you to move from point A to point B without paying for greenhouse gas pollution, though you are still benefiting from the revenue of the carbon tax.