1. As far as I know, the charter of the GRTF was not limited in any way, but the GRTF chose to limit the scope in a disappointing manner.
2. The charter of cities in addressing climate change and in striving to be carbon neutral is not limited in any way, but Palo Alto Council has essentially chosen to limit their scope in a disappointing manner.
3. Macroeconomic energy supply issues are probably best battled at the major utility (PG&E & SoCal Edison) level, unless there is some way that small high-income suburbs can influence large utilities by setting a good example. Maybe if major US utilities could be acquired by entities from Northern Europe that are tracking ahead of Kyoto, that could make a difference.
As far as the 3 stages of sustainability, Palo Alto Council seems very comfortable with populist sustainability (photo ops for light bulbs and EVs).
Achieving "profound sustainability," such as reducing carbon dioxide production to 20% of current levels by 2050 requires a three-step process. You cannot just jump straight into extremely energy-efficient programs where human behavior changes. Humanity needs to travel through two preliminary stages first. Hence, we can categorize various sustainability suggestions by whether they fall into stage 1, 2, or 3. We have to do work on all 3 stages right now, and some of the main focus must be on Stage 1.
Here are the 3 sustainability stages: (we can't go straight to Stage 3)
1) POPULIST SUSTAINABILITY: This includes consciousness raising - we need to get a majority of humans enthusiastic about being green. Activities include: increased recycling, avoiding eating overfished fish, buying high mileage cars, and implementing current smart growth and green building best practices. This stage is non-threatening to government.
As far as consciousness raising, "green psychologists" understand that when humans make a written or oral commitment to being green, their self-perception changes to "I am a green person," and then these humans can be more easily coaxed into undertaking progressively greener behaviors. By moving humans to Stage 1 and changing their self perception, we can move humans to Stage 2. (For more on green psychology, see: http://www.cbsm.com/ and Doug McKenzie-Mohr's very accessible and short book: Fostering Sustainable Behavior.)
You'll note that Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth movie ends by suggesting a number of populist stage green actions and avoids actions that would require more significant behavior change. Al is attempting to change consciousness, in order to make carbon "cap and trade" legislation more politically viable in the U.S. Al does believe in Stage 2 and 3, but he strategically avoids these topics in Inconvenient Truth, because U.S. voters are not ready to move directly to Stage 2.
2) FUNDAMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY (Achieve Kyoto: 1990 CO2 production by 2020, etc): this requires more energy efficient "human settlement patterns" - IE a more efficient combination of transportation, housing, land use, and, for each human, reduced distance between home, work, and activities. For this to come about, voters have to become "land-use conversant." It can be argued that current green building best practices are already at the fundamental level, but, in the U.S., we really have to start shrinking homes. In the U.S., land use is controlled at the city level, creating a massive policy obstacle to bringing about efficient human settlement patterns. Hence, to achieve fundamental sustainability, U.S. cities will have to cede land use control to regional governments. Hence, fundamental sustainability represents a political threat to local government, so will be resisted.
This stage requires significant human behavior change. We'll have to harness "human goodness" to enable cooperative solutions. This will also serve to reduce selfish behavior.
3) PROFOUND SUSTAINABILITY (2050 goal: 80% energy, CO2, & resource reduction). Included in this stage is population reduction (Sierra Club's John Holtzclaw believes human population needs to shrink to 4 billion to be sustainable, James Howard Kuntsler pegs the number at two billion). We'll have accurate pricing where the negative lifecycle environmental economic externalities are reflected in the price we pay for goods. We'll have much more renewable energy. Our diets will be restructured to be "local vegetarian," hence we'll have reduced methane emanating from the rear ends of cows. We'll end materialistic culture and focus on deeper happiness - shopping malls will begin to disappear. The world of "Beyond Growth" means gross national product will shrink. (Beyond Growth references: http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/103/review.html . See also: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1070 and http://www.worldwatch.org/node/1043 )
Human behavior at this stage could be characterized as being much more highly evolved than current human behavior. This really represents a new human enlightenment. A 2007 human sent into the future will probably have a tough time interacting with these new and improved humans.
--- In ALPA_Forum@yahoogroups.com
, Irvin Dawid wrote:
> It was my impression that going 'carbon neutral' was only about efforts to
> green the electricity supply - or did I miss something? As a utility, it
> is relevant.
> Irvin Dawid
> 1207 Paloma Ave., #7, Burlingame, CA 94010
> 650-283-6534 (cell)
> On Sun, Jan 20, 2013 at 6:16 PM, steveraneyc21 wrote:
> > **
> > Here is the Weakly article:
> > http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=28278#add_comments
> > My comment:
> > Some reactions:
> > 1. Overall kudos to the spirited Green Ribbon Task Force (GRTF) effort.
> > 2. I was disappointed to read yet another PA Weakly article that failed to
> > set relevant PA/regional/state climate context. This continues to puzzle,
> > given that The Editor understands the context:
> > Weekly Editor Jay Thorwaldson started as a Palo Alto Times reporter in
> > 1966, has covered ABAG, and has encyclopedic knowledge of historical Palo
> > Alto land use decisions. Jay wrote a 1968 article on Palo Alto's
> > jobs/housing imbalance, with 2.4 jobs for every household in those days.
> > Jay's take on Palo Alto's current jobs/housing imbalance: "Well-intentioned
> > and environmentally conscious Palo Alto has restricted housing to create a
> > terrible environmental situation with long commutes wasting fuel. It's an
> > insoluble situation. Long commutes damage the social fabric and create
> > lower quality of life. Workers are forced to commute from Manteca, etc.
> > Palo Alto has a drawbridge mentality. Compounding the insolubility,
> > objections raised by neighborhood associations are legitimate."
> > The background that writer Gennady Sheyner should have provided: State
> > Senate Bill 375 (SB375) builds on AB32 by adding the nation's first law to
> > control greenhouse gas emissions by curbing sprawl and linking land use to
> > climate protection. The state's press release stated: "Californians need to
> > rethink how we design our communities. SB 375 does this by providing
> > emissions-reduction goals around which regions can plan - integrating
> > disjointed planning activities and providing incentives for local
> > governments and developers to follow new conscientiously-planned growth
> > patterns. ARB (California state Air Resources Board) will also work with
> > California's 18 metropolitan planning organizations to align their regional
> > transportation, housing and land-use plans and prepare a 'sustainable
> > communities strategy' to reduce the amount of vehicle miles traveled in
> > their respective regions and demonstrate the region's ability to attain its
> > greenhouse gas reduction targets. Spending less time on the road is the
> > single-most powerful way for California to reduce its carbon footprint."
> > Then, Sheyner could have pointed out Palo Alto's climate disconnect.
> > 3. In 2006, there was a missed opportunity when GRTF decided not to add
> > smart growth and land use to the effort. While it is obvious that Palo Alto
> > is a part of the Bay Area, rather than being an island, it is not standard
> > procedure for elite suburb volunteer-led climate efforts to think in this
> > manner.
> > 4. PA Council continues to make embarrassing statements (with "magical"
> > theories) about smart growth and climate.
> > There is a widespread allegation that a "climate hero" councilmember led
> > an effort to overturn the state's Regional Housing Needs Allocation process
> > (a cornerstone of climate protection). Luckily this effort failed, because
> > it would have dramatically increased CA GHG emissions. There is an
> > opportunity for the Weakly to expose our local Lance Armstrong of climate
> > heroism.
> > More on the Palo Alto Housing Element and SB375 can be found in a yahoo
> > groups post: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ALPA_Forum/message/657