The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board adopted new CEQA guidelines for air toxics and greenhouse gases.
Posts Tagged ‘climate’
The panel recommended that the United States restrict its carbon emissions to a total of 170 to 200 billion tons of greenhouse gases during the period 2012 to 2050, which would represent as much as an 80% reduction of carbon compared to current projections.
“That’s a very challenging task,” Fri said. “At the current rate of 7 billion tons per year, we would use up the allotment well before 2050,” he said. Moreover, “even if all available and emerging technologies could be deployed to their fullest technical potential, it is clear we will still need new and additional emission reduction options.”
Mexico City is the latest City to roll out a bike-share program as a means to reduce congestion and air pollution. The 1,100 bike program is a pioneering effort for the giant, sprawling city, which also has a system of express buses that run on dedicated lanes. Small changes like these mark important first steps for transforming cities.
David Owen, author of Green Metropolis: Why Living Smaller, Living Closer, and Driving Less Are the Keys to Sustainability, discusses congestion pricing and sustainability in the Wall Street Journal.
There’s nothing green about fighting congestion if, by distributing traffic more efficiently, it results in an overall increase in traffic volume and extra miles driven by vehicles avoiding the fee areas.
From his perspective, programs like metering and congestion pricing do not work to promote energy or carbon emission reduction goals, since they make the car infrastructure more efficient and convenient, which works similarly to expanding highways to induce additional car travel.
He goes on to propose that:
A truly effective traffic program for any dense city would impose high fees for all automobile access and public parking while also gradually eliminating automobile lanes (thereby reducing total car traffic volume without eliminating the environmentally beneficial burden of driver frustration and inefficiency) and increasing the capacity and efficiency of public transit.
Building housing in areas that encourage walking, biking or taking transit could significantly reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled as well as provide more housing choices. The Transportation Research Board has released a study aimed at establishing the scientific basis for and making appropriate judgements about the relationships among development patterns, VMT, energy consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions. Some of the study’s finding include:
• More compact development would cut driving by 5% to 12%
• Denser development will cut fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions.
• Building more densely won’t stop driving if jobs and services are not nearby or if a community is built without sidewalks.
• Access to public transportation, such as light rail, subways, trolleys and buses, reduces driving more.
A number of competitions recently have been sponsored to encourage artist and designers to engage issues around climate change and the built environment. If you haven’t gotten to look at pictures in a while, check out some of the finalists.
Reburbia: Suburban Design Competition, sponsored by inhabitat.com and Dwell magazines.
Rising Tides: Sea Level Rise Ideas Competition, sponsored by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
San Jose Climate Clock Ideas Competition, sponsored by the Climate Clock Initiative.
Streetsblog SF discusses Senator Boxer’s position on climate (carbon emission cap and trade) money for transit.
New York Times discusses efforts by cities to shift the focus of the federal climate bill from states to cities, where population and emissions are concentrated.
This article from the Washington Post provides answers to some basic questions about the climate bill passed by the House last month.
Report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds desert dust stirred darkens the surface of winter snow, warming it by absorbing sunlight that the white surface would have reflected. That causes the snow to melt earlier than in the past, running off before the air has warmed enough to spur plant growth as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 30, 2009.