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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Terrestrial carbon management, not biofuels!

Science Daily reported today on a tremendously important opinion piece that demolishes the environmental credentials of biofuels as being carbon neutral. If applied by policymakers, it would result in transferring funding for the incentives for biofuel production over to the conservation and restoration of natural landscapes. U.S. national policy has strongly incentivized ethanol production, for example, due to the political power of the Corn Belt. Authors DeCicco and Schlesinger point out that biofuels create a “carbon debt” because burning them generates CO2 in the present, which isn’t sequestered by plants for decades. To reduce the concentration of carbon dioxide in the…

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We don’t have much time left to fix transportation

Environmentalist Ed Mainland of Novato, CA speaks out: Controversy has swirled around Marin’s Measure AA. Many proponents of Measure AA seem oblivious to TAM’s dismal track record and substantive arguments pro and con around TAM’s funding plan. Proponents point to the plan’s funding of transit, EVs, and Safe Routes to Schools. Others call the plan conventional, status quo, wedded to car culture, and lacking in real understanding of what is at stake. Several things Marinites may wish to keep in mind: 1. A local climate activist recently compared TAM’s plan to Los Angeles’ plan and found TAM’s, by comparison, to…

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Trump Administration acknowledges climate change

In a shocking new policy position, the Trump Administration claims there’s no point in higher efficiency standards for new cars and trucks for reducing GHGs. There’s nothing new in that. They offered a completely new reason, however: because the reductions won’t make a significant difference in a world that clings to fossil fuels. Of course, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. NHTSA has put out a draft Environmental Impact Statement for its proposed CAFE standard that projects that in 2100, there will be 708 ppm CO2, 3.8 meters of sea level rise and 4 degrees C global temperature rise. It is already…

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Disappointment in ARB Case

Disappointment in ARB Case 05/15/17 Filed in: High-Speed Rail | Climate Change After three years of hard work, TRANSDEF’s challenge to the California Air Resources Board’s adoption of its 2014 Scoping Plan was rejected today by the Court. Disappointingly, the decision was based purely on the technical, procedural objections brought by ARB. ARB never defended its decision to include a GHG-increasing measure in a plan intended to reduce GHGs. In oral argument, TRANSDEF’s attorney, Stuart Flashman, proposed a new way to look at CEQA GHG impacts–one that we have not heard being used before: Because of the global climate change…

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ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed

ARB Scoping Plan Comments Filed 04/10/17 Filed in: Climate Change | Transportation Planning | High-Speed Rail The Air Resources Board produces a Scoping Plan every 5 years. It is the guiding document for the GHG emissions reductions needed to implement  California’s climate policy. TRANSDEF submitted a massive comment set, made up of: 1). General Comments; 2). VMT Reduction Comments, Attachment: Comments on State-wide Strategies; 3). Environmental Assessment Comments, Attachment: Comments on CHSRA 2016 Business Plan; and 4). Comments on Regional Emissions Reduction Targets. For more climate change resources, see this page. Tags: Highway Widening, HOT, HOV, CEQA, Carbon Tax, Induced Demand

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