Now that we've settled the existential question, the debate over Global Warming turns on what if anything to do about the phenomenon. A common argument from the Political Right is that, when faced with the bill for cleaning up carbon emissions, the Canadian people will choose to party like its 1999 and let the ice-caps bloody well melt. And indeed (perhaps conveniently?) there have been a number of surveys cropping up recently that seem to show, when it comes to practicalities, that Canadians don't appear to be doing much to help save the planet (and therefore, it is implied, can't be expected to actually agree to do much in the future).
Unfortunately, there is more than an element of truth to some of these various studies. However one of them, a recent survey by Maritz Research and reported upon in the G&M, paints a far too gloomy picture of Canadians' car-buying habits:
Buying an environmentally friendly vehicle ranked just 23rd among 26 reasons for purchase, the Maritz New Vehicle Customer Study of 38,500 buyers showed.
Protecting the environment ranked well behind value for money, fuel economy and reliability -- the top three reasons for buying a certain vehicle -- and was also less important to those surveyed than towing capability and interior styling. Even buyers of subcompact cars were more interested in storage and cargo capacity than environmental friendliness.
Shocking, but terribly misleading, I think. After all, the single most important "green" property of any particular automobile type is its fuel efficiency. This is why the main selling point of, for example, the Prius is that it gets a combined city/highway mileage of 55 miles per gallon (according to the website). In fact, I personally find it difficult to put my finger on a vehicular property of "environmental friendliness" that is not intimately interconnected with the property of being fuel efficient.
And "fuel economy" is given as the main reason for purchase by 28.4% of survey participants. Add that to the rather amorphous "environmental friendliness", and almost 31% of Canadians choose their cars for reasons related to the environment.
Which makes it the second most popular reason driving Canadian car purchases. Which puts things in an entirely different perspective.