Climate Resolve Tweets

MT @350: TransCanada said something really dumb on Twitter. Thankfully, the internet was there to make fun of them: bit.ly/1HGw1Fh

May 22, 2015

DECARBONIZING CALIFORNIA
Updates on climate news in Los Angeles and California

Image via Brian van der Brug/LA Times

A major oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara (LA Times) is another reminder that our fossil fuel dependency is dangerous. (Salon)

Governor Brown has formed a historic partnership with leaders from all over the world to fight climate change.

On 2015’s Energy Efficiency scorecard, LA was recognized as one the most improved cities. You can see our scorecard here. (ACEEE)

Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Earthjustice are taking legal action to make LA’s air more breathable for everyone.

(Angelenos: click here for our calendar of events and activities in Los Angeles.)

BEYOND THE GOLDEN STATE
National and international climate news

In a speech to Coast Guard Academy graduates, President Obama detailed why climate change is a national security threat. (Vox)

Environmental factors can have a huge impact on children’s health and development. (Huffington Post)

France has just voted to make it illegal for supermarkets to send unsold food to landfills. (Salon)

If you’re traveling this Memorial Day weekend, the Department of Energy has some tips on conserving fuel and saving money. (And if you’re staying in LA, the Times has tips on the best places to walk!)

HOORAH FOR SCIENCE
Breakthroughs and advances worth celebrating

An experiment in Vancouver asks: Can regenerative design be the answer to climate woes? (CityLab)

HEAR YE
Words Worth Repeating

“Unfortunately, this is just another example of the risks we take when we build an economy on dirty and volatile fossil fuels. Whether it is the latest refinery explosion, oil spill or supply disruption, we simply cannot continue on a path where all Californians are dependent on fossil fuels to power our daily lives.”—Senate Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, on the oil spill in Santa Barbara

TAKE ACTION
Do something

Public comments are currently open for two National Climate Assessment documents: public health vulnerability and improving the next National Climate Assessment. Make your voice heard!

Call your legislator and show your support for active transportation funding.

Gina McCarthy, the head of the EPA, shares her ideas on how to get people engaged with climate change. Central: make climate change personal to those most affected by it.

Get ready for next week’s CicLAvia in Pasadena!

WEEKEND READING
Online longreads and book suggestions

Summer is upon us, no matter what these clouds say. These summer reading suggestions from Yale’s Center for Environmental Law are a few years old, but worth revisiting.

LOOK HERE
Images, videos, and infographics that deserve a close look

The kids are alright: Zocalo Public Square’s drought prevention poster contest has produced some great results.

If this doesn’t inspire you to take the bus, what will?!

A photo posted by Metro Los Angeles (@metrolosangeles) on


May 21, 2015

It’s great to see that people are still applauding California Governor Jerry Brown’s bold executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. California has earned its reputation for action on climate, with greenhouse-reducing efforts that are working to prepare the Golden State for the effects of climate change—while growing our economy and improving the lives of Californians. But the call to action that hasn’t been given as much attention as it deserves is the investment in climate science to help inform the state’s future plans and decisions.

It’s why we are so excited to be participating in the California Climate Change Symposium 2015: Using Climate Science to Plan for a Resilient Future, presented by the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research this coming August. By convening policy makers, state and local research managers, climate scientists, and innovators, we hope to facilitate the production, adoption, and application of climate science that will protect Californians from the inevitable effects of climate change.

If we continue to translate cutting-edge climate science into practical actions, we can ensure a better future for the Golden State and inform climate policy.

We know because we have already seen how climate science can lead us. To help understand the impacts of climate change in Los Angeles, we teamed up with the City of Los Angeles and UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to publish a series of groundbreaking studies that reveal how climate change directly impacts Los Angeles. Using an innovative technique for applying global climate models to L.A. and the surrounding region to provide detailed projections of climate change, this research has brought climate projections down to the local level. Dr. Alex Hall and his team were able to identify local sources of greenhouse gas pollution and also predict how temperature, precipitation, and a diminishing snowcap will affect us in years to come.

One case in point: To predict future temperature for mid-century and end-of-century, Dr. Hall’s team created a dynamical downscaling on five GCMs and statistical downscaling on 25 GCMs based on the relationship established by the dynamical downscales. They produced both low-carbon and business-as-usual scenarios. The ensemble mean for mid-century showed, regardless of high or low emission scenarios, a 3.5 degree increase in areas near the ocean, and a 4-5 degree increase in areas further inland. The low-emission, end-of-century scenario shows a slight decrease in temperature; where business-as-usual end-of-century scenario predicts much higher temperatures. The downscales went from the 100-200 kilometer cells of the GCMs down to 2 kilometers, thereby demonstrated how temperatures varied from neighborhood to neighborhood.

temp_study_new_figureUnlike other parts of the nation, Southern California has many micro-climates—born of our hills and mountains and exposure to the ocean—so the 2-kilometer downscale proved very helpful for planners. Local data makes for smart local solutions. Using the temperature study organization, we worked in conjunction with the city and the LARC collaborative to determine how to best protect the people of Los Angeles from higher temperatures. First, we determined cost benefits of curbing urban heat island. We worked with then-Mayor Villaraigosa and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to expand the incentive for cool roofs. Next, at the Mayor’s directive, we worked with the Department of Building and Safety to expand the city building code to mandate the use of cool roofs in single-family homes.

The law on cool roofs and other heat-island measures was unanimously adopted by city council in December 2013, and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti in January 2014. Mayor Garcetti has also recently announced a sustainability plan for the city that expands this good work by setting a goal to install 10,000 cool roofs by 2017, as part of the plan to reduce the city’s temperature by 1.7 degrees by 2025. It’s not just cool roofs that can help us curb the heat island effect. Our organization is also developing a cool streets pilot with the LA Department of Street Services, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, and Western Emulsions. The Department of Water and Power is about to coat a service yard in the San Fernando Valley with high albedo slurry.

Back to the science. Dr. Hall’s downscaling study was an essential precursor to the cool roofs and heat island legislation and projects. The 2-kilometer downscales helped both the public and policymakers to understand the effects. Climate change was no longer a vague generalized idea—it was specific and it meant Angelenos would be affected. The downscale studies on future precipitation and snowfall were also helpful on the policy front, as they implicitly argue for enhanced local water supply. As noted earlier, Dr. Hall’s study, aligning with a great many other studies, predicts precipitation patterns to remain the same. Therefore, to be resilient in the face of climate change, the city needs to do a better job of conserving water, such as promoting the adoption of drought-tolerant plants outdoors, capturing more stormwater and recycling sewage water. Predictions of future precipitation gives confidence that these local measures are effective investments.

We believe that local action can—and will— have global impacts and we’re proud of the Golden State’s leadership on climate action. If we go where the science leads us, we will have a bright future. It’s exciting to know we will continue to make more strides to find climate solutions to reduce greenhouse gases, save money, and improve the quality of life for Californians. —Jonathan Parfrey


May 17, 2015

DECARBONIZING CALIFORNIA
Updates on climate news in Los Angeles and California

In Governor Jerry Brown’s update to the state budget, he’s committed $1.2 billion from cap-and-trade auction proceeds to reduce more GHG emissions.

A few years ago, we worked with UCLA to publish a study that detailed temperature changes across our region, predicting a rise in mid-century temperatures. The study, with additional predictions for end-of-century, was just released online by the Journal of Climate.

Move LA’s Gloria Ohland interviewed Metro’s new CEO Phil Washington. (Streetsblog)

California is ranked the 8th most bicycle-friendly statemetro_bike_week. (KCET) Trying to boost us in the ranks: all of the folks who celebrated Bike to Work Week this week!

Can blue whales, container ships, and air quality all live in harmony off the coast of Southern California? The answer is: yes, with some conditions. (PRI)

California’s drought is bringing climate science to the front of the news. KPCC has a helpful glossary to get you up to speed.

(Angelenos: click here for our calendar of events and activities in Los Angeles.)

BEYOND THE GOLDEN STATE
National and international climate news

Win-win situation: in the Netherlands, a bike path made of solar cells does double duty—and does it well. (Take Part)

Coal in America is dying—and it’s actually saving us money. (Daily Finance)

In the fight against climate change, it’s important to measure what works and what doesn’t, so that money and time are spent most effectively. But are our adaptation measures up to speed? (SciDev Net)

HOORAH FOR SCIENCE
Breakthroughs and advances worth celebrating

Attention, scientists: two funding opportunities from CEC—in energy research & development and the Electric Program Investment Charge—are currently available.

HEAR YE
Words Worth Repeating

TAKE ACTION
Do something

The DMV is now offering environmental license plates.

Did you miss the Navigating the Carbon World conference last month? You can review some speaker presentations and get educated about adaptation and resilience in California and across the world.

Make your voice heard: Submit public comments to the USGCRP Climate & Health Assessment and make a difference in our country’s understanding of the relationship between public health and climate change.

WEEKEND READING
Online longreads and book suggestions

Did you know that it is our right as Californians to have an accessible, continuous trail along the Pacific coast from Oregon to Mexico? KCET has the remarkable story on the history of the California Coastal trail.

Freeway construction decimated city centers—so why did cities help build them? (Vox)

LOOK HERE
Images, videos, and infographics that deserve a close look

A drought-tolerant plant is good—but a drought-tolerant native plant is great. California plants help support local ecosystems while they keep your yard beautiful. (KCET)

Palmer’s Indian Mallow, just one of 13 native California plants that could be in your yard RIGHT NOW

 


May 8, 2015

DECARBONIZING CALIFORNIA
Updates on climate news in Los Angeles and California

Things are looking good for another transportation measure to help us all get around this city with ease—and help California meet its climate goals. A poll conducted by Metro indicates strong support for a transit sales tax on the 2016 ballot. (LA Times). Earlier in the week, we joined other environmental organizations and Metro in discussing what that measure should include. Here’s our Storify summary and Move LA’s wrap-up of the event.

This delta plan may not be perfect—but is it better than doing nothing? (LA Times)

(Angelenos: click here for our calendar of events and activities in Los Angeles.)

BEYOND THE GOLDEN STATE
National and international climate news

news_nooa_400

Image: NOAA

Not a great record to break: for the first time, the monthly average global carbon dioxide level surpassed 400 parts per million. (NOAA)

In the Netherlands, a group is suing the government for its part in climate change—and demanding action. (NPR)

We know that transit is good for the environment, but it’s also good for social mobility. (NY Times) Related: A new study makes the case that good transit is good for local business. (City Lab)

Hospitals tend to discourage sustainable transit options, but Seattle Children’s is working to reduce solo car commuting. (Streetsblog)

The Koch brothers, America’s least favorite shadowy billionaires, might be pouring a lot of money into dirty energy, but they’re failing to win the hearts & minds of the American public. (Grist)

The MIT Energy Initiative released a study on the future of solar power, with recommendations for how to best expand solar’s reach and potential.

President Barack Obama’s proposed carbon limits for power plants will have a huge positive public health impact. (The Hill)

HOORAH FOR SCIENCE
Breakthroughs and advances worth celebrating

This blade-less windmill efficiently generates energy, takes up less space, and kills almost no birds. (Forbes)

Surfing for climate science? Meet you in the lineup! Yale Climate Connections reports on a sensor placed in a surfboard fin that can measure near-shore temperature, acidity, salinity.

HEAR YE
Words Worth Repeating

“It isn’t my legacy—it’s California’s legacy. California has led the nation in environmental protection for decades.”—Arnold Schwarzenegger in Time

WEEKEND READING
Online longreads and book suggestions

Chris Mooney on why Tesla’s battery news is such a big deal. (The Washington Post)

LOOK HERE
Images, videos, and infographics that deserve a close look

Great TEDx talk with climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe.

From the Department of the Interior: the moon rising over Joshua Tree National Park.


May 7, 2015

Post by Denny Zane of Move LA Transit; cross-posted from Move LA

Move LA’s conference at Union Station last week has confirmed what we always believed—that the stars are aligning for “Measure R2,” a half-cent sales tax to support transit, on the ballot in November 2016. As the conference made clear, this measure is supported by a coalition of very diverse interests—everyone from business leaders to the environmental community, faith leaders to student groups, social equity and public health advocates to arts organizations.

Denny Zane at Move LA’s conference. Photo: Roger Rudick

It is clear that this coalition has many compatible priorities. This cultural and political maturity has given its leaders the confidence to be flexible, which is very important when winning requires a 2/3 supermajority vote.

November 2016 ballot or not?

Our conference also made it clear that there’s a lot of aspirational thinking going on about our transportation future.

Yes, the demographics of the 2016 electorate will be crucial to our chances of winning, and a high-turnout presidential election should give us a favorable electorate. The improved state of the economy will be important—though voters passed Measure R by a 2/3 majority in 2008, even after the Great Recession had already begun.

Public confidence in LA Metro will be important, too. By 2016 the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth will have been open four years, Metro will have opened both the Expo Line to Santa Monica and the Foothill Extension of the Gold Line to Azusa, and three more lines will be under construction—a compelling scenario for promoting that public confidence.

The need, the opportunity and the risk

Dr. Manuel Pastor of USC’s Program for Regional and Environmental Equity used to talk about the public perception that you couldn’t have a prosperous economy without degrading the environment—that the health of the economy and the health of the environment were in conflict. They were “colliding inevitabilities.”

But we have proven that they can be complementary—that there is a program of investments in transit and active transportation and community building that improve the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gases, and that improve the economy by creating jobs, reducing traffic, and literally keeping the economy moving.

Manuel calls this the “sweet spot,” and our coalition strongly supports it and voters have twice demonstrated their support: in 2008 by voting for Measure R by a 2/3 majority, and in 2012 by nearly winning Measure J, which would have extended the Measure R sales tax, with 66.1%.

Great things can happen because leaders are willing to take risks. We believe that our biggest risk is that we might fail to seize this special moment of opportunity.


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