Climate Crisis

The rise of eco-YIMBYism - Yes In My Back Yard

East Bay Express unloads on the anti-condo crowd:

If you live in an urban area, you can't call yourself an "environmentalist" and continue to act like a NIMBY by blocking new housing.

I can feel the finger-wagging from here. Consider this an ad-hoc 4th installment in the SFBay Lessons series - this one talking about land use. Though the article is preachy, that fits right in with the series so far.

Tell your Representative to support a national vision for transportation

[Ed's Note: Copied & pasted from Steve Davis's article at Transportation for America.]

“… It’s important to develop a long-term transportation strategy when it comes to our economy and environment. We must rebuild our aging infrastructure in a smart way that addresses our economic and energy challenges.” — Rep. Carnahan

In the revolutionary transportation bill of 1991, Congress officially declared that Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System had been completed, signaling an end to one of the greatest national investments in history. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a new national vision to take it’s place, and our transportation system has been operating as a ship without a rudder since.

We’re in desperate need of an overarching strategy that determines when, how, and where transportation dollars are spent. As of now, we have no firm plan. No vision. No goal for what the billions in taxpayer dollars should accomplish. That can all change with the National Transportation Objectives Act of 2009 introduced last week by three members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Russ Carnahan (D-MO), Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Jay Inslee (D-WA).

These three Representatives made a great step towards a 21st Century transportation system by introducing this bill, but this legislation needs us to stand behind it to have a real impact. Let’s send a message to Congress loud and clear that this is the kind of vision the American people support.

HR 2724 Sets Sights High

HR 2724 sets 20-year goals for the federal transportation bill. They are goals we can really get behind:

  1. Reduce per capita vehicle miles traveled by 16 percent.
  2. Triple walking, biking, and public transportation usage.
  3. Reduce transportation-generated carbon dioxide level by 40 percent.
  4. Reduce delay per capita by 10 percent.
  5. Increase proportion of freight transportation provided by railroad and intermodal services by 20 percent.
  6. Achieve 0 percent population exposure to at-risk levels of air pollution.
  7. Improve public safety and lower congestion costs by reducing traffic crashes by 50 percent.
  8. Increase share of major highways, regional transit fleets and facilities, and bicycling/pedestrian infrastructure in good state of repair condition by 20 percent.
  9. Reduce average household combined housing plus transportation costs by 25 percent, using 2000 as a base year.
  10. Increase by 50 percent the number of essential destinations (work and non-work) accessible within 30 minutes by public transportation or 15 minutes by walking, for low-income, senior, and disabled populations.

UPDATE: CART and Bicycling for Louisville have both endorsed this bill, and are calling on Representive Yarmuth to endorse it.

UPDATE #2: T4America finally got off their duffs and posted on their website about this. They do a better job of explaining this than we do.

Louisville Climate Action Report

The Partnership for a Green City has released their Climate Action Report (pdf), with over 150 recommendations on how Louisville can reduce its contribution to climate change. C-J has the Mayor's reaction.

Utility Bikes Take the Nation By Storm!

Okay, so the headline was a little overdone. But I needed to get your attention somehow. And with Obama doing all sorts of fancy rail stuff, no one is paying attention to all the cool stuff happening on the utility bike scene. 

Joe Bike in Portland Oregon recently released their utility bike.  At $2699, it's a bit pricey, but is still a lot less than a car, and you can carry people and/or lots of stuff on it.  There is also a lot of buzz these days about Madsen's utility bike, which debuted at Interbike last year. Modeled after the Dutch bakfiets, but having a basket in the back, it is a bit cheaper at $1299.  The company, based in Salt Lake City, popped on the scene quite recently. Don't know what they were doing before, but I like what they're doing now.

Nice to see some U.S.-based companies getting people interested in showing people just what bikes can do!

Green Convene

The Green Convene will be this Friday and Saturday in Louisville. The mission of The Green Convene is to build an influential non-partisan coalition of local organizations, united in supporting current sustainable policies and promoting stronger sustainable policies in local government.

Lunsford's Disappointing Energy Plan

Do More, Talk Less: Bruce Lunsford’s 8 Point Plan For Energy Independence

Text of the proposal is in black, my comments are in green. - Dave

As Kentuckians feel the pain at the pump from Carter County to Calloway County, Bruce Lunsford is committed to lowering gas prices, reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil, strengthening our national security, and boosting Kentucky’s economy. Instead of arguing over divisive proposals that get nothing done, Bruce Lunsford’s 8 Point Plan offers real leadership to help solve Kentucky’s energy needs. The 8 Point Plan is comprehensive, providing both short-term relief, and long-term solutions to ease the burden that high energy prices are putting on working Kentucky families.

NYTimes Op-Ed: Hooray for High Gas Prices

This article is from a year ago in the New York Times, but it is still a good overview on why low gasoline prices are bad for America and the world.

For a long time I have felt the price of gasoline in the United States was way too low. Pretty much all economists believe this. Greg Mankiw blogged back in October about the many reasons why we should raise gas taxes.

The reason we need high gas taxes is that there are all sorts of costs associated with my driving that I don’t pay — someone else pays them. This is what economists call a “negative externality.” Because I don’t pay the full costs of my driving, I drive too much. Ideally, the government could correct this problem through a gas tax that aligns my own private incentive to drive with the social costs of driving.

Read the whole article....

Brookings Inst: Louisville, Lexington are Global Warming Villains

The Brookings Institute unloads on Louisville, and the C-J is tabulating the fallout:

Residents of Louisville and Lexington are among the worst contributors to climate change, according to a study of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas.

Researchers with Washington's Brookings Institution blame factors such as sprawling development that encourages driving rather than walking, biking or mass transit, and the cities' reliance on cheap, coal-fueled electricity.

Its list — which measured carbon emissions per resident based on per capita emissions from residential and highway energy use in 2005 — puts Lexington at the top of a list of offenders, and Louisville fifth.

While the ranking could be a public relations issue for leaders trying to attract industry and new residents, Louisville has made strides in recent years to improve air quality, add cycling lanes and begin a detailed study of the city's carbon output, said Bruce Traughber, the city's economic development director.

Sustainable City Series: "Climate Change: From Bali to Louisville"

Patrick P. writes:

The fourth forum of the Sustainable City Series, Climate Change: from Bali to Louisville, will be held on Tuesday, May 13th beginning at 6:00 pm at Glassworks; 815 W Market Street. Climate change effects everyone, so if you are living on Earth this topic should be of interest to you. The effects of global warming, such as changes in wind patterns, ocean currents and rainfall are only beginning to be realized. This forum will examine the framework for addressing climate change from the level of the United Nations down to what Louisville is doing as a community to address the issue. Please join us on May 13th for an enlightening and entertaining discussion on an extremely important topic.

Our guest speakers will be Art Williams, Director of the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District and Keith Mountain, Associate Professor of Geography and Geosciences at the University of Louisville.

This event is free to the public, however space is limited, so if you are interested you must register for the May 13th event.

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