Monday, July 28, 2008

Cost of autosprawl

Who will pay for free public transit? That is a frequent question. The answer is simple. Stop the subsidies to the carbon-auto industry. The carbon-auto industry profits from a system that emits excessive cabon dioxide into the atmosphere. The result is climate disruption. The taxpayer pays the cost of the effects this disruption. These costs are not accounted-for in the balance sheets of the carbon and auto industries. That constitutes a subsidy. If someone burned a tree in your yard against your will and made a profit in the process, would you expect them to pay for it? Just a small reduction in this subsidy would easily pay for free public transit. Here is another of the many examples:

With active wildfires in 10 states this weekend burning a total of nearly 687,000 acres — an area larger than the state of Rhode Island — the escalating cost of fighting fires is a rising concern....
All told, 2008 has seen nearly 3.5 million acres burned, or an area the size of Connecticut....
The cost to federal taxpayers has gone up dramatically,...
.... scientists tell us that global warming is producing conditions that make the West more susceptible to fire: Less mountain snow produces less runoff; higher temperatures increase evaporation; and more frequent and intense storms produce more lightning that sparks new flames. - the daily green

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