Efforts to Address Climate Change Inch Forward

In Salem, we have a new Greenhouse Gas Emissions Task Force. Here’s a note from the Oregon Environmental Council on the bill:

House Bill 2186 passed the Senate Wednesday evening, the House concurred with Senate amendments Thursday, and the bill now goes to the Governor for his signature. Thanks for your help!

As mentioned in my earlier email, besides the centerpiece of the bill, a low-carbon fuel standard, HB 2186 sets up a Metropolitan Planning Organization Greenhouse Gas Emissions Task Force. This Task Force, co-chaired by House Speaker David Hunt and Senate President Peter Courtney, will evaluate how to move all MPOs forward on reducing greenhouse gases through better transportation and land use planning and will make recommendations for legislation to be considered during the 2010 special session. (As you remember under HB 2001, Metro is required to develop and adopt a land use and transportation scenario that reduces greenhouse gases and the Eugene/Springfield MPO is required to develop a nonbinding scenario.)

In D.C. the Waxman-Markey “Clean Energy and Security Act” has passed the House (a cap-and-trade approach), although Peter DeFazio voted NO in protest because he didn’t think it had enough teeth.

Let’s hope this is not all “too little too late.”

15 responses to “Efforts to Address Climate Change Inch Forward”

  1. I just read that 90 per cent of the world’s ice is in—–Antarctica! Some renowned scientists claim that the Antarctic ice cap has been getting thicker.

    “The doomsday portraits of Antarctica’s glaciers reacting to a global climate change should be blurry at best. Consensus on changes in ice sheet thickness and their causes is difficult, and therefore of limited use on either side of the global warming debate. As Monaghan et al. (2006) state, “Vigorous efforts are needed to better understand this remote but important part of the planet and its role in global climate and sea level rise.””

    Ahh….so now we know where it has been disappearing to. Those b—–d Antarcticans! stealing our ice!

    But any way, I think this country needs to go ahead with the all-electric bus, as developed by Oakridge Nat’l Laboratories, et al. And make ’em double decker’s too. Like the Midwest’s MEGABUS.

  2. Folks, a friendly reminder that this blog is not an existence-of-global-warming debate site. Try to keep the conversation about the specific local policy proposals. Thanks.

  3. I’m not going to try to argue one way or another the broader points of global climate change. Suffice it to say that what concerns me about pinning all of this momentum for more sustainable living, and especially for clean energy and a multi-modal transit system, is that when the excess and hype of global-warming fear mongers goes down in flames it will take the whole idea of sustainability with it. There are lots and lots of excellent, valid, demonstrable reasons to support reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, with all the R&D and remaking of our transportation network that entails, that have nothing to do with the supposed threat posed by global warming. You are hitching your wagon to the wrong horse.

  4. You’re right Bob. I see now it is about Metropolitan Planning Organizations and greenhouse gases. Thank you for the correction.

  5. DISCLAIMER: I am not offering forth an opinion on the existence of anthropogenic climate change in this post.

    That said:

    “Folks, a friendly reminder that this blog is not an existence-of-global-warming debate site. Try to keep the conversation about the specific local policy proposals. Thanks.”

    It seems disingenuous at best to have a posting on the blog regarding policy about a specific issue, without being able to debate the existence of the issue to begin with.

    For example, many people seem to think that a 12-lane wide CRC is necessary, and are postulating several policies towards that particular issue. However, that particular issue is never off the table for discussion of if it exists or not on this site.

    Sure, the whole climate change / global warming discussion has a particularly high flamebait coefficient because people seem to be very polarized on that issue; but this whole thread is about that, and discussion of it seems relevant.

    I might have gotten too much sun this last weekend though, so forgive if I intrude.

  6. I’m with DeFazio and others who believe the Waxman/Markey Cap-n-Trade Market Mechanism approach to reducing greenhouse gases is a loophole big enough to drive a truck through, pun intended, lots of trucks, including those the “20-lane” CRC is designed to accommodate for West Hayden Island industrial development and North Portland. More new cars made in China and Korea, most of them gas guzzlers, will enter the USA at Portland.

    The CRC will be “20 lanes” wide across Jantzen Beach!

    ” 20 L A N E S ”

    ” T W E N T Y L A N E S ”

  7. It seems disingenuous at best to have a posting on the blog regarding policy about a specific issue, without being able to debate the existence of the issue to begin with.

    Fair enough, but what has historically been the case is that any discussion of local climate-change policy is immediately hijacked with those challenging the very science of climate change, often declaring the whole idea to be a big hoax or conspiracy.

    That’s fine… there’s plenty of outlets ranging from serious challenges the science, to cooking up conspiracy-theories du jour.

    A blog which focuses on policy discussions about biology shouldn’t have to defend the concept of evolution in every thread. A blog which focuses on gay rights policy shouldn’t have to defend the idea of sexual orientation as a mostly-immutable trait in every thread. A blog which focuses in space exploration policy shouldn’t have to prove we actually went to the moon in every thread.

    This is the last word on topic applicability in this thread.

  8. C R C — thru Jantzen Beach:

    “T W E N T Y – L A N E S”

    “20 – L A N E S”

    “T W E N T Y !!”

    “T U H – W A N T Y”

    “T W E N T Y !” — “L A N E S !”

  9. Well, Bob, since you didn’t provide a link to any details about this legislation I am going to have to piece it together–from the Portland experience and what I know about efforts to promote mass transit around the Portland area.

    I doubt if any commuter rail transit (including streetcar, LRT) would help very much in the smaller communities of Oregon. The efficiency (population per square mile and probable length of each trip) are still probably way out of kilter to make it anywhere hear cost effective. Efforts to replicate Portland’s solutions would probably enslave Oregon tax payers to more ill founded subsidization.

    However, I would like to see some small scale efforts to capture windpower on the Oregon Coast. When the wind isn’t blowing from the south (wintertime) it starts blowing from the north (summertime). I could see how relatively cheap, small wind turbines (cheaper yet if they are mass produced) on top of utility poles could recharge electric vehicles, thus making these practical in that area. They would probably pay for themselves after a while–with a change or card-accepting meter. This is a hard one to call –if you believe in free markets. Without the government using money to kick off a trend it might never start–The goal, however, should be to make it a self supporting activity.

    Another transportation option that I think should be explored is an inter city bus system in Oregon. Not only could small towns be linked—these smaller communities could be linked to recreational areas that are along the major highways. This could get a lot of people heading out of town for outdoors recreation to use a mass transit system. However, they would have to be able to take their gear (bicycles, tents, backpacks, etc) on the bus. For example a Portland to Burns bus, beside linking several smaller-sized towns, could also drop people off near mountain lakes, desert reservoirs, high desert geologic sites, eastern oregon resevoirs, wilderness areas, etc.

    A little creativity could also make this a paying endeavor. In NE USA and Chicago area the MegaBus Company is trying to make a go of it with its double decker buses. How about a double decker bus with sleeping compartments–so people could take a night bus and arrive well rested? Pairs of seats facing each other with tables would encourage small groups to take it.

    As far as land use planning I am going to make an assumption that you are talking about zoning that promotes high density housing. Portland’s experience has been that increasing density results in either crappy, townhome style buildings or uber-expensive high rise condos. This is ridiculous–and I am speaking from the standpoint of having worked in the industry most of my life. There is little in modern, high rise condo construction that is inherently more expensive than single family tract housing and homeowners who don’t like to do yard and building maintenance would benefit from moving to a modern condo—if they could only afford it. These condos must be making uber profits for the developers since I have never seen anything unusually expensive in them and the square footage is also quite a lot lower. One extra cost in Portland has been the unionized labor as opposed to typical, under the table bidding in a lot of home construction.

  10. Terry,

    The first amendment only restricts Congressional restriction of free speech, not private enterprise.

    As this blog is not operated under Congressional mandate or decree, I’m pretty sure they can censor who they wish. You don’t have to like it, but “free speech” arguments don’t really stand up outside of ideology.

  11. At the risk of venturing off-topic, a suggestion for Chris and/or Bob… perhaps there ought to be a standing thread, similar to the “open thread for topic suggestions”, for discussing such meta-subjects as site policy, what is (and isn’t) on topic here, etc. It seems a frequent occurrence that such questions crop up in regular discussion (where they are noise), and rather than quashing them outright, if there were a place such discussions could go–it would keep them out of the rest of the site.

    Discussion of the site rules, while irrelevant to the subject “Efforts to Address Climate Change Inch Forward”, is relevant to portlandtransport.org in some fashion.

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