Higher Density Living Emits More Greenhouse Gases

Climate Change Surprise Friday, July 13, 2007

*Wendell Cox has been surveying the latest information on Greenhouse Gas
Emissions and observes that the Australian Conservation Foundation’s
findings on the emissions from different areas provide some surprising
results. People living in the higher density Eastern and Inner Northern
Suburbs emit more greenhouse gases than do people living in the lower
density single-residential Western suburbs:*


For many years, the urban elites of Australia and Sydney particularly have
cast aspersions on western Sydney. Indeed, their distorted views about
western Sydney have been a principal foundation of the urban consolidation
policies that have destroyed home ownership in Sydney and around the nation.
They claim that western Sydney was unplanned, they have divined all manner
of phony society costs that were not paid by the residents. To hear the
elitist newspaper columnists and cabinet ministers talk, one would imagine
that pictures of shantytowns on the banks of a Jakarta river could be
substituted for western Sydney photographs without anyone noticing.

This kind of elitism has no place in any nation, and certainly not in a
nation with perhaps the world’s strongest egalitarian streak. Indeed, there
is much to be proud of in western Sydney. Western Sydney has provided
hundreds of thousands of people the opportunity to own their own homes and
climb on the ladder of opportunity. If the offense of urban consolidation
had been visited upon the city in the 1950s, there would have been no
western suburbs. Not only would urban consolidation have priced the next
generation out of the housing market, but the generation of their parents
and grand-parents.

The imperative now, of course, is to greenhouse gas emission reduction. The
crowd that sends off scientists to gather Greenland ice cores at the
slightest suggestion of anything that would make middle income lives better
is committed to using climate change as the mechanism to engineer people
into the life styles that planners prefer. Thus, we must all move out of our
detached houses to flats. We must give up our cars for public transport. And
on and on and on. And, western Sydney is exactly the kind of place that will
have to change, at least according to the creed of the elites.

It must thus have come as something as a surprise for all of this arrogance
to be interrupted by reality. The reality is to be found The Australian
Conservation Association’s Consumption Atlas, which allocates all of the
greenhouse gas emissions based upon their final point of consumption. In
fact, the western suburbs do very well indeed. In the western suburbs the
annual emission of greenhouses gases is approximately 18.1 tons per
capita. This is approximately 25 percent less than the favored eastern
suburbs at 25.8 tons. Among Sydney’s regions, only the southwest does
better, at 17.2 tons. The southwest includes Campbelltown and Camden,
which are not suburban but are rather exurban.

The admirable record of the western suburbs does not stop there. The
Consumption Atlas shows them to consume less water per capita and to have a
smaller ecological footprint. So much for the conventional wisdom.

The reality is that residents of the eastern and near northern suburbs
should be standing in line to buy carbon credits from the environmentally
more favorable western suburbs (or at least the urban elites should). Rather
than being a model to be avoided, as the planners have so wrongly concluded,
the western suburbs have proven themselves to be a model for the future.

Data at: http://www.demographia.com/db-sydareaGHG.pdf

Wendell Cox
Demographia | Wendell Cox Consultancy – St. Louis Missouri-Illinois
metropolitan region
Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris
USA..1.618 632 8507

www.demographia.com | www.publicpurpose.com | www.rentalcartours.net

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