Copenhagen blog: Are cigarettes carbon neutral?
- December 8, 2009 12:59 PM |
- By Your Voice
Submitted by Daniel T'Seleie
What's the carbon footprint of a cigarette? Yes, I smoke. I know I shouldn't because my mother routinely tells me so. But I like to think smoking is carbon neutral, so I'm only hurting myself (and my poor mother).
One thing I like about Copenhagen is that, unlike Yellowknife, I can buy unfiltered cigarettes and all the public garbage cans are outfitted with ashtrays. The only Canadian city I've recently visited with both these fine qualities is Calgary, which seems strange to me considering it's the stronghold of the tar sands beast that is preventing Canada from meeting our Kyoto commitments.
I like to think our dependence on fossil fuels is similar to a chemical dependency like smoking or drinking. Canadians want to help the environment, we want to stop climate change, but we need encouragement and support. We're like an alcoholic who wants to dry out but can't put down the bottle. We need a friend to pour the last drops in the sink and bring us to treatment. That friend should be the government.
The Danish government has embraced this philosophy. They actively encourage citizens to lower their emissions through investments in renewable energy, clever urban planning and carbon pricing. Gas here costs around two dollars a litre, but the tax revenues are reinvested into social programs and that raise the quality of life and lower costs in other areas. Copenhagen has an excellent public transit system, and is so bike friendly the cyclists almost outnumber the motorists. (I haven't seen one obese Dane yet).
Instead of investing public money into the tar sands, Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to make investments that will help Canadians lower their greenhouse gas emissions. So come on, Stephen, I'm ready to quit, take my bottle and bring on the tough love.
Oh, and if anyone finds out what the carbon footprint of a cigarette is please let me know. Maybe I can quit that too.
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