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Monday, October 29, 2007

Things the Mayor Doesn’t Mention

posted by on October 29 at 16:41 PM

Mayor Greg Nickels sent out a press release this afternoon announcing that Seattle is now surpassing its goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and is on track to meet the mayor’s ultimate goal of cutting emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 (in line with the Kyoto Protocol.) The announcement was timed to coincide with the US Mayors Climate Protection Summit later this week.

Here’s what went unmentioned in Nickels’s press announcement and the subsequent fawning coverage:

Kyoto is an extremely modest goal. The latest science says that we must reduce emissions worldwide by 80 percent—and in the US by more than 90 percent—to prevent catastrophic global warming. The seven percent reduction mandated by Kyoto has long been out of date.

Most of the reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions came from City Light’s conservation policies and purchase of carbon offsets. City Light is the low-hanging fruit for Seattle, because it relies heavily on non-carbon-producing hydropower. As long as most of our emissions are produced by driving, the only thing that will really make an impact is driving cleaner and driving less.

On that front, we’re actually moving backward. According to the report, emissions from transportation actually grew during the study period, rising by three percent between 1990 and 2005. That’s bad news. We won’t get to the Kyoto target, much less an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, if we don’t get started on the hard stuff.

Tomorrow night from 5:30 to 7 at the downtown library (1000 4th Avenue), the Seattle Greater City Initiative will hold a forum titled “Global Warming and Seattle—Can We Walk the Talk” to discuss how we can achieve and surpass the goals in the mayor’s Climate Action Plan. More info available here.

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are you trying to say we have more congested traffic because of more density and no transit options?!!?!

omg vote prop 1!!!

Posted by Cale | October 29, 2007 4:45 PM


When was the last time you were happy?

-A concerned friend

Posted by Cook | October 29, 2007 5:08 PM

Most come from transportation - do you have a link to that info? This includes air, sea and land, right?

Yes Cale vote for a proposal that adds to GHG for at least 50 years to reduce GHG before 2050.

Posted by whatever | October 29, 2007 5:11 PM

Of course, if we just vote NO on RTID/ST2, then we'll move forward, providing the city council and mayor get their act in gear and start building low-cost inexpensive residential rental apartment buildings.

Have to be at least 40 stories, prefer 100, and near transit hubs, with parkland around them.

Even the WSJ says the amount of GHG will increase under Kyoto. But otherwise it accelerates massively.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 29, 2007 5:15 PM

Will continues to promote his idiotic Corbusier-on-bad-dope urban nonsense that would be a terrible idea even if it was possible, which it's not. Maybe he thinks Brasilia Everywhere would reduce greenhouse gases, but no one else does. 100 stories, yeah right.

Catastrophic global warming is absolutely inevitable. All of the things that hippies think need to be moved in one direction are in actuality moving at the speed of light in the opposite direction. The number of coal plants and automobiles worldwide is going to DOUBLE in the next decade even if the USA disappears off the face of the earth.

Posted by Fnarf | October 29, 2007 5:50 PM

90% just ain't going to happen anytime soon. Even if we invited a completely clean form of transportation and power generation tomorrow it would still take years to be fully phased in.

Personally I think the only real option is too begin looking at ways to take carbon out of the atmosphere and or reduce the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth.

Either that or figure out how to live with a warmer planet...

Posted by Giffy | October 29, 2007 6:02 PM

Erica if you had bothered to read any of the materials then you would know that all three of the issues you brought up were identified by the Mayor and were actually reported by the members of the press. In his qoute he said "We must go a magnitued beyond these numbers" I will send you a dictionary if you need help with the definition of magnitude beyond.

Posted by Tim Ceis | October 29, 2007 6:04 PM

I just voted for RTID!

Posted by Big Sven | October 29, 2007 7:37 PM

How many airplane trips have you taken this year Erica? Don't you know that's as bad for greenhouse gases per mile traveled as driving an SUV?

Get off your high horse.

Posted by Andrew | October 30, 2007 12:43 AM

@ Andrew, I would look at Dan Savage for airplane trips before Erica. (The man is on an airplane constantly it seems)

But frankly, I stopped caring about the environment since the American people will only do minimal token activities to change our habits. That is until thousands of white rich people start to die; not just loose their homes but actually are dead due to cliamate change. Then, and then it is doubtful we may start to take the drastic measures needed to change policy.

Posted by Just Me | October 30, 2007 7:35 AM

The whole stranger crew is a bunch of jet-set hypocrites who complain about global warming but fly all around the country at whim.

Posted by Andrew | October 30, 2007 10:08 AM

The whole "air travel" thing points out an interesting side effect of not having a national, portable health care option.

My mother lives in MN and has advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer. She's doing surprisingly well (t=9 mo since diagnosis, tumors stable as a result of chemo) but can't move because she's currently being covered by a catastrophic health care program run by MN. I have a job for a company that there's only two of nationally (other one in S. CA) so I can't move. So this year I've been flying back and forth every month from SEA to MSP.

If we had a portable, national health care option my mom could come live in WA and we wouldn't have to burn so much fuel & ozone and leave all those heat absorbing contrails.

Just an example of how so many of these policy issues are interconnected. I wonder how much other travel is health care related, and would be better with a more rational health care system?

Posted by Big Sven | October 30, 2007 10:18 AM

Fnarf, it is a truism that people in NYC use less energy and emit less GHG than even we in Seattle do.

Wake up and smell the future.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 30, 2007 10:54 AM

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