New articles on Seattle

Politico has published a great account Has Seattle Found the Solution to Driving Alone to Work? Seattle voters made the decision to put their money into transit, on a big scale. It has paid off handsomely. Bay Area voters were cajoled instead to throw more money at highways. That will not turn out well. Streetsblog digs into solutions to the housing crisis with Seattle and Minneapolis: A Tale of Two Upzones.  As these articles make clear, Northern California is not a center for innovation in the fields of transportation and housing.

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Amazing changes in San Diego

San Diego used to be the most reactionary of the State’s large transportation agencies. No longer! It’s amazing what losing a few environmental lawsuits can do. Now, the San Diego Association of Governments, SANDAG, is leading the State in responding to the climate change crisis. SANDAG’s new Executive Director, Hasan Ikhrata, made headlines when he announced that San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes. While TRANSDEF has been saying that for decades, it’s different when it comes from an agency head. State reports indicate that greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles are increasing, despite efforts to reduce them. This…

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The personal dimension of climate change activism

Over the years, I’ve often compared the emotional difficulties of being a climate activist with the challenges faced by hospice workers: we are surrounded by death. Huge numbers of species are dying in the present, and far more will go extinct as temperatures continue to rise. It’s truly crazy-making to advocate for a strong governmental response to the seemingly obvious threat of climate change, yet receive only blank stares from the elected and appointed officials who have the authority to initiate action. It seems that most people just can’t imagine a world different from their current pleasant existence. Unfortunately for…

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San Diego Can’t Hit State Climate Goals Without Major Transportation Changes

The Voice of San Diego reported on a refreshing statement of the obvious as to the level of changes needed in the county’s transportation planning to meet State climate goals: The region simply can’t meet state requirements for thwarting climate change the way things are and the way they’re headed, Hasan Ikrhata, director of the San Diego Association of Governments, said at a Friday board meeting. Even if the region built the trolley lines and bus services leaders have been discussing, it would not change enough. Either state law would have to change, or regional leaders need to reimagine plans…

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Unprecedented candor on climate change

In an uncharacteristic move, the California Air Resources Board’s 2018 Progress Report California’s Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act admits the state is going backwards in greenhouse gas emissions from cars and trucks. Some key excerpts: With emissions from the transportation sector continuing to rise despite increases in fuel efficiency and decreases in the carbon content of fuel, California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded, and built.   The overall ratio of dollars planned to be spent on roads versus on…

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San Mateo Measure W going down to the wire

See updates, below. San Mateo County’s additional transportation sales tax, Measure W, failed to get a 2/3 majority vote on election night. As the mail-in ballots are slowly tallied, the percentage is creeping slowly towards 66.67%. As of November 25, the count was at 66.55% yes, with approximately 13,000 ballots left to count. TRANSDEF has taken an Oppose position, and has been helping its allies in San Mateo County. Excellent coverage in the local press: Daily Post Measure W Editorial Daily Journal Article As of Tuesday, November 27, the margin had shifted significantly to 66.87% Yes votes. Concerns have been…

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IPCC delivers blockbuster report–No one important acted

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, published its latest scientific consensus of projections of where climate change will take the planet. The short version: Unless we act quickly and decisively, the results will be even more catastrophic than we predicted earlier. In fact, the impacts of a 2° C increase in average temperatures, the former globally agreed-on target, are now recognized as being so concerning that the IPCC recommends restricting warming to 1.5° C. Here are selected responses to the report: ‘Incredibly grim’ prognosis on global warming also carries clarion call for global action–Los Angeles Times Opinion Piece by…

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Measure AA: TAM could care less about climate change

Climate change is sending increasingly strong messages–through catastrophic floods, droughts, and wildfires–that human societies must shift their priorities if they are to survive beyond the next few generations. Unfortunately, transportation professionals–including the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM)–still haven’t accepted the responsibility of reducing the impact of transportation on climate change. Climate change is caused primarily by the greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted from the burning of fossil fuels. Motor vehicles are the biggest source of GHGs in California, in the Bay Area, and in Marin. Because driving keeps increasing, GHG emissions keep increasing, even while the State is working hard to…

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TAM can’t be trusted with a 30-year sales tax

Today’s Marin IJ carried TRANSDEF’s Marin Voice, entitled “TAM can’t be trusted with a 30-year sales tax.” Although the IJ endorsed the measure, it gave opponents the much-sought-after Sunday placement. The piece is a hard-hitting takedown of a status quo agency that is uninterested in its impacts on climate. As environmentalists, we find that stance completely unacceptable. See associated post.

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Climate change is here!

The most direct and tangible expression of global warming has been the intensification of hurricanes and typhoons. A very striking article explains why it has been so hard for forecasters to predict the big storms: warmer ocean surface temperatures and more importantly, warmer deep ocean temperatures, have changed the energetics of storms, so they don’t follow past patterns. As climatologist and hurricane expert Greg Holland explained last year, “globally, the proportion of Cat 4 and 5 hurricanes has increased from ~20 percent of all hurricanes to around 40 percent due to climate change over the past 60 years.”   Bottom…

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