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Monday, October 29, 2007

More Bad News from the City’s Climate Study

posted by on October 29 at 18:18 PM

As I wrote earlier today, Mayor Greg Nickels’s latest greenhouse-gas inventory contains some bad news about greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle: Most of the progress has been at City Light—where reducing emissions is relatively easy—instead of in the transportation sector, where emissions actually increased.

But the really bad news is this: According to the projections in the report, greenhouse-gas emissions from transportation sources are projected to spike between now and 2012, making it unlikely that—in the absence of real policy shifts to discourage driving and encourage alternatives—we’ll meet our (now-outdated and inadequate) Kyoto target of a seven percent reduction in the next five years. The report predicts that by 2012, we’ll be over our Kyoto goal by nearly 700,000 tons of carbon a year. Almost all of that increase will be caused by gasoline and diesel burned by cars and trucks; the increase is offset only slightly by reductions in the amount of oil burned for heat and further reductions at City Light.

Then again, Seattle residents shouldn’t be surprised by the bad climate news. Nickels’s own head of climate protection, Steve Nicklaus, told the council as much earlier this month, when he previewed the inventory before the budget committee. In response to questions from Richard Conlin, Nicklaus said:

[The inventory] will show that we have brought our community’s footprint to below 1990 levels by a decent percentage. But it will also show that when we project out to 2012, we will lose ground toward the target because of growth, particularly growth in motor vehicle emissions.

How that fits in with a press release titled “Study Shows Seattle on Target to Meet Climate Goals,” I have no idea.

RSS icon Comments


um what were you saying i got distracted by an lezbeing advertisement

Posted by cherry | October 29, 2007 6:19 PM

But lets vote no on 50 miles of light rail!

Posted by Giffy | October 29, 2007 6:42 PM

Newsflash: the increase in the increase in these sorts of things is just beginning, not ending. Rapid upward spikes are the order of the day. Mayoral press conferences have zip-all to do with it.

Posted by Fnarf | October 29, 2007 7:14 PM

So I'm going to hit the "Post" button on this comment at the same time as I fill in the "Yes" oval on RTID / Prop 1 in my election ballot. If you see this post, it means that I've already voted yes. Then, the only thing that can stop my vote from being counted is if ECB or Josh come to my house tonight and steal my ballot.

Bwah hah hah hah ha!!!

Here we go... nothing you guys can do about it...

Posted by Big Sven | October 29, 2007 7:35 PM

Oh my god. I think I just came.

Posted by Big Sven | October 29, 2007 7:35 PM

Who cares about 2012? His re-election is in 2009.

Posted by Trevor | October 29, 2007 8:18 PM

I wonder how much of that will be due to people idling in traffic instead of actually getting to their destinations? Better not build any roads though.

Posted by Brad | October 29, 2007 8:23 PM

Premature ejaculation

Posted by whatever | October 29, 2007 8:25 PM

You know what would help things? A giant parking garage at the zoo.

Posted by Ted | October 29, 2007 8:27 PM

The most absurd piece of environment screwing crap I saw today: a van belonging to a "Mobile Detailing" service parked in the parking lot accross from REI.

Apparently it's not enough to drive a big car everywhere, one also has to have a big van drive to where you big car is parked to buff it up so that it's all nice and pretty.

If the revolution were to start today I would follow that van to it's first client and they would be first against the wall.

Posted by kinaidos | October 29, 2007 8:28 PM

What #8 said. Only with suspense.

Posted by Mr. Poe | October 29, 2007 8:43 PM

So even though neither the light rail nor the roads portion of Prop 1 would be built and opened by this time, meaning those targets will be missed no matter what...we should still sink our only chance at light rail?

Anyhow. Before you comment on transportation issues again, you need to get thee to Spend a day, or a week, familiarizing yourself with Peak Oil, its reality, how it affects transportation, and the screaming need for transportation methods that are not dependent on fossil fuels.

You really should have done this before you made up your mind on Prop 1. Too late for that. But if you want to be taken seriously as a voice on our transportation future, you MUST wrap your mind around this subject. Otherwise you're going to keep getting it wrong.

Posted by unbelievable | October 29, 2007 9:04 PM

@12, The predictions of a plateauing seem to have the most veracity. The notion of a sharp drop-off just doesn't match other commodities. maybe in localized markets, but globally there is plenty of oil to extract, its just more costly then the stuff were getting now.

We need to start investing in alternatives now and hope we can get them up and running in time. The idea of losing all that energy has brought us is not acceptable. unless of course one actually buys the nonsense that primitive hunter and gather societies are actually pleasant.

Posted by Giffy | October 29, 2007 9:19 PM

Big Sven:

I voted "no", so my vote has already canceled out yours.

Posted by COMTE | October 29, 2007 9:32 PM

Everybody should shut up and ride bicycles.

Posted by Raindog | October 29, 2007 9:36 PM

@ 15, wouldn't it be great if everyone on the east side who works downtown could ride bikes too?

Oh, never mind, cuz if The Stranger gets its way the new grade-seperated bikeway across the lake on the new 520 bridge in Prop 1 would be killed, along with the 70-mile rail system that would make biking to work a viable option for hundreds of thousands of people. How insane.

Take the bird in the hand. Vote YES on Prop 1.

Posted by clarity | October 29, 2007 10:00 PM

And I still don't know which way I'll vote. I'm pissed at all the new roads. I'm equally pissed about the lack of any real transport west of Hwy 99. And more buses stuck in the same traffic as cars ADDS to the carbon problem.

And Fnarf @3: I disagree. A press conference by Nickels adds to the carbon problem. I promise.

Posted by Dave Coffman | October 29, 2007 11:44 PM

Erica, you seem to not know what this whole "global warming" issue is about. The point isn't to stop or reduce global warming, which will have a miniscule impact on rich Americans. The point is for politicians to green-wash themselves by talking about it, and for upper-middle-class voters to feel better about themselves by voting for those politicians while "offsetting" the heating of the 4000 sqft homes and flying half-way around the world on "eco-vacations". Get with the picture, Erica, and start congratulating Al Gore, Greg Nichols, and yourself on how enlightened you all are!

Posted by David Wright | October 29, 2007 11:56 PM

Seriously, how many airplane trips have you taken this year?

Any of you?

Don't you know that's as bad for greenhouse gases per mile traveled as driving an SUV?

Oh but the Sierra Club's Mike O'Brien drives an SUV anyway so we should listen to those guys.

Posted by Andrew | October 30, 2007 12:37 AM

COMTE- awesome!

Posted by Big Sven | October 30, 2007 1:23 AM

@19, listening to the Stranger staff and their amount of air travel, well let's just say I do not hold some of them up as an example of environmental stewardship.

Posted by Just Saying | October 30, 2007 6:36 AM

Building $7B/156 miles more of roads will:

encourage driving and congestion everywhere
subsidizeand cause more CO2 emissions
make our ice shelf melt faster &
help kill us sooner.

Seattle, how could you?

Posted by Polar Bears Against Prop.1 | October 30, 2007 7:25 AM

@22: We Seattleites fucking hate the cunting polar bears and all their constant whining. Every time we hear them try to meddle with our regional transportation policy, we want to get in our gun rack-sporting SUVs, drive up to the arctic, and shoot all of them.

Fucking polar bears.

Posted by Greg | October 30, 2007 8:07 AM

How dare you,23. My great grandmother was a polar bear!

Posted by Nanook | October 30, 2007 8:56 AM

Nanook, I'm sorry about your grandfather's bizarre death, but I think you can agree with me that sometimes the polar bears need to shut the fuck up.

Posted by Greg | October 30, 2007 9:03 AM

Fnarf is correct that GHG will only grow and GW will increase.

We are voting on a $600,000,000 per year in 2009 tax revenue that will increase at the rate of inflation and population growth for at least 20 years and some extending until 2057 yet there has been no calculation by the RTID/ST2 combine as to the effects on GHG or GW.

If we are to have an effect on GHG, shouldn't we at least try to estimate what the impact of such a large scale project is? Shouldn't we review the impact of projects already funded such as the tunnel to the UW?

When so-called environmentalists don't question such things as the waterfront tunnel and the effects of big projects where is the possibility? They point out the energy costs to make cars but not the projects they like for other reasons.

Fnarf your right.

Posted by whatever | October 30, 2007 9:25 AM

And what is the GHG cost of the do-nothing option? No added transit capacity and no added highway capacity (including HOV and BRT add-ons) means EVEN WORSE pollution due to traffic. It's better to have the alternative transportation throughput AND mitigate the environmental impact of migration than to pretend that our problems will go away if we do nothing.

Posted by Greg | October 30, 2007 9:58 AM

The whole GHG argument of Prop.1 is ridiculous. At most, it's a .4% regional increase in GHG according to sightline, while the third runway at sea-tac is a full 4% increase. The Sierra club never tried to stop that.

But the bourgie sierra club folks don't care about ghg anymore than they care about proles and their cars.

Posted by Andrew | October 30, 2007 10:12 AM

OK Greg but no one said do nothing.

Let's say the analysis had been done RTID/ST2 and turned out that it was worse than do nothing for 40 years. Would that be a winner for you? Just asking not advocating.

Let's say that investing 1/4 of the money in alternative energy production (windpower, tidal, solar, wave, geothermal and hot rock, 1/4 in incentives to drive extremely low impact cars, 1/4 for added eletric/hybrid transit (buses streetcars) and 1/4 to build out HOV lanes would reduce GHG within 10 years would that be a better choice?

Using the lowest number $11 billion for ST2 we could buy 366,666 plug in hybrids at $30,000 or pay a third the cost for over 1 million

No this doesn't solve congestion or "create" dense walkable neighborhoods. Density would/could be helped by actually zoning for it. If congestion is the issue then some form of tolling is the only way to achieve it.

All the major transit cities still have congestion and sprawl.

Faith based projects need to be replaced by one that show us the numbers.

Andrew - the airport is significant and if the Sierra Club missed that one then they missed it. If the RTID/ST2 adds only .4%, that's still not how we should be spending $17 billion. BTW how do you know that its .4%?

Posted by whatever | October 30, 2007 10:35 AM

Sightline said that RTID could add as much as 300,000 tons of ghg emissions per year. Currently we in the region create about 72 million tons per year. 300,000/72,000,000 = 0.004167 = .4167% of our region's ghg emissions. And that's just the tri-county region covered by RTID.

It's a pitance compared to all the other roads that the state is building (509, highway 2, 518, etc.) and the third runway.

Anyway who flies more than once a year can't complain about greenhouse gases without being a huge hypocrite.

Posted by Andrew | October 30, 2007 10:47 AM

Thanks Andrew.

Still if SL is correct and the building energy costs of ST2 are neutral by 2050 that still is an addition to GHG between now and then.

I'm good to go with Fnarf and just give up on GW and do whatever we/I want but if GHG is important then we need to spend our capital wisely.

Posted by whatever | October 30, 2007 10:57 AM

@16: That's hilarious. "We'll ride our bikes but only if you build us a 4 billion dollar highway". Yep, that'll fix everything.

Posted by Raindog | October 30, 2007 11:41 AM

@29: Eco-friendly cars still gotta have roads. But you could drive a plug-in hybrid on the new lanes just as easily as a diesel SUV could. There's nothing in Prop. 1 that excludes us from using more efficient cars. Plus, more HOV/HOT capacity is just a re-stripe away.

Posted by Greg | October 30, 2007 1:04 PM

Yes Greg but we are doing little in Prop 1 to help while spending billions.

Just say GW, GHG and pollution isn't as important as making Seattle a bigger metropolitan area which is the result of P1. If we pass it, it is true that in 10 to 30 years it will be easier to live far from work.

Posted by whatever | October 30, 2007 2:31 PM

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