A will but no way

Today’s Shape New Zealand poll asked respondents a series of questions about what actions they have taken personally in the past year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help manage climate change.  Some of the transport answers are:

  • Used alternative everyday travel options rather than use a vehicle – 25%
  • Walked (rather than using the car) – 49%
  • Cycled (rather than using the car) – 16%
  • Used public transport – 31%

And then the survey asks respondents of their intentions for the next year

  • Choose alternative everyday travel options rather than use a vehicle – 25%
  • Walk (rather than drive) – 48%
  • Cycle (rather than drive) – 22%
  • Use public transport – 32%

Normally you would think that intentions would be significantly higher than previous commitments.  But not here.  In some cases they are lower. (Although possibly people may have read the question as what new are you going to do next year?)

The Herald quotes University of Auckland senior marketing lecturer Rick Starr:

“New Year resolutions are a good example. You need complete and total conviction to change behaviour. Green intentions are up, which is good. We need to then make realistic options available to people.”

The problem is that the alternatives transport options are not currently there for people to shift towards.  Many of our roads and towns are not designed with cyclists and pedestrians in mind.  Public transport is not always available, efficient or affordable. People who want to make changes are looking around, struggling to see what the obvious change is to make, realising there is no obvious solution and giving up.

Interestingly the survey notes the people who are most likely to consider changing their transport for environmental reasons are in households earning less than $20,000 a year, one parent families with one or two children, flatting or boarding – or living in an extended family. These are some of the people that can benefit most from the universal policy of improved accessible efficient and affordable public transport.

5 thoughts on “A will but no way

  1. DID:
    121%

    INTEND:
    127%

    I’m a greens supporter, I’ll vote for you in November, but did you not notice that this totals to over 100%? and that the intentions ARE in your favour?

    Sure, they’re not wildly out of whack, but instead of accepting that this may show the level of support for initiative (and a need to work upon them) you think this is something to lament. You’re WINNING, if albeit, slowly.

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  2. In the COMMENTARY AND RESULTS ANALYSIS they note that “A younger more efficient vehicle is obviously being seen as more of a priority in helping balance household budgets.”

    Only the three really economicly efficient methods of reducing GHG emissions were implemented the same or greater percent that said they intended to do so in last year’s survey. Namely walking, recycling, energy efficient lights. For every other category only a fraction of those who said they would do so in 2008 actually did.

    That’s not really surprising. People said they would when petrol prices were increasing and the economic outlook still looked rosey. Now that petrol prices are falling from historic highs and the economic outlook is gloomy people have backed off from spending to save the planet.

    I think the reason that this year’s survey found intentions for next year matching actions taken this year is that the commtted (large) minority are going to continue their commitment but the majority are still thinking only about short term costs and not considering longer term savings.

    That’s why the election is all about tax cuts and infrastructure borrowing.

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  3. Kevyn said:
    In the COMMENTARY AND RESULTS ANALYSIS they note that “A younger more efficient vehicle is obviously being seen as more of a priority in helping balance household budgets.”

    Yes, our love of newer cars will help the trend to newer, more efficient cars. Unfortunately the government sat on its hands and failed to implement its own strategy to put some fuel efficiency standards in place for new cars coming over the border. As long as Holden and Ford control the new car market, which is primarily corporate, we will continue bringing in new cars that are far less efficient than the clapped out old used Japanes cars.

    I love the irony that the the reason our overall fleet efficiency is falling is because of new cars, not used!

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  4. I’m genuinely surprised by that last paragraph. I got the impression the new car market had shifted to favour smaller and/or diesel cars. Maybe not in big enough numbers?

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  5. Frog said: As long as Holden and Ford control the new car market,

    Actually, Fords are well above average in fuel efficiency (Mondeo and Focus in particular). And Ford and Holden don’t dominate the new car market – Ford and Toyota do.

    It is possible that we’re getting an inefficient car fleet because new cars are bought by richer people, who have less reason to want to save money on fuel than poorer people who end up with those cars later. But the role of corporate buyers in the new car market should cancel that out, because they should automatically choose cars that are cheap to run.

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