A greener hue of blue

There’s recently been a lot of discussion in Canadian conservative political circles about setting an environmental agenda. Most of it has centred on whether or not conservatives should embrace a carbon tax.

The case for a carbon tax is clear, as is conservative opposition to any new tax.


For the sake of furthering the discussion, I’d like to introduce two ideas or policy proposals.

  1. Let more people live closer to where they work. Shorter commutes mean less time in cars, and more time walking, scooting, cycling, and using public transit.
  2. Let cities scale. Per L.M.A. Bettencourt, et al., A city of 10-million people requires ~15% less infrastructure than two cities of 5-million people each. This represents significant savings in materials and energy use.

These ideas can both be summed up as land use liberalization, and importantly, would cost the government less than nothing to implement– indeed, they would save and generate a lot of money.

Requiring that municipalities upzone (as a condition of transit funding, say) is a cost-efficient way to make the country greener and richer. Conservatives should talk more about that.