Hansen: even 2 degrees sinks coastal cities

statueoflibertyunderwater
Politicians in Paris will try, if that’s not too kind a word, to find an agreement that will hold down temperature increases to 2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels [+2C].

Still too much, says James Hansen, of NASA (retired) and Columbia University, who has been warning us about this since 1981 or so:

• The last time Earth was +2C, 120,000 years ago, sea levels were 6-8 meters higher than today. 2 degrees would lock that in, the only question being how fast we would get there.
Hansen88Temps Continue reading

Going Dutch: more about kids than commuters

Percentage of trips by cycling, UK (blue) vs. Netherlands (orange), by age group. From City Cycling, eds. Pucher & Buehler, 2012, via AsEasyAsRidingABike.

update: David Hembrow reminds me of an excellent resource on this – his A view from the cycle path blog, and the linked Campaign for Childhood Freedom.

Two densely populated countries in northwest Europe, with similar mild-if-dreary climates. The difference? Cycle infrastructure. It’s why “going Dutch” has become a motto for cycle advocates in Britain.

Who would benefit from going Dutch? From San Francisco to London (two cities I happen to pay attention to, for personal reasons), public concern about bicycle safety and infrastructure focuses on hardy adults, 18-60, at risk of being hit by motor vehicles – particularly trucks – when commuting. Sometimes we cycle commuters are not the most sympathetic lot, especially when pumped with adrenalin after a near-death experience on the road. For an excellent discussion of why quality cycle infrastructure is not about today’s cycle commuters but the much larger population of potential cyclists – disproportionately children and old people – see this post at AsEasyAsRidingABike. Continue reading

Such a linear, ordered, minimalist …. purposeful graffito

Book him, Danno.

Anthony Cardenas was arrested by Vallejo police for felony vandalism. … Cardenas is in [jail] for painting one crosswalk and adding cross-hatching to the three official ones…. [jail] time, …. $15,000 bail …

Read from the whole story from David Edmondson at Vibrant Bay Area.

CO2 and shopping: walking better than web, web better than driving

Home delivery of groceries produces far lower CO2 emissions than driving to the supermarket: Erica Wygonik and Anne Goodchild find this in a recent study of the Seattle area (thanks to Tanya Snyder at Streetsblog for the reference). Wygonik and Goodchild cite similar findings from Sally Cairns in the UK, Hanne Siikavirta and colleagues in Finland, and Tehrani and Karbassi in Iran.

These studies find that the CO2 savings can be as high as 80-90% Continue reading

Impervious surface cover and the virtures of federalism


While we’re on taxes: several counties in Maryland (if your knowledge of American geography is limited, that’s Baltimore and The Wire) will now tax impervious surface cover. That’s rooftops, driveways, decks, etc. The contributions impervious surfaces make to urban heat islands, groundwater depletion, building subsidence, flooding, and water pollution are well understood (the wonkish may want to see Arnold & Gibbons, “Impervious surface coverage: The emergence of a key environmental indicator”). Taxing impervious surfaces is a simple and elegant solution, because there are very often simple, cheap, low-tech fixes (like replacing impervious surfaces with …. pervious ones!, or getting your rooftop exempted from the tax by collecting rainwater in a cistern for garden use): the tax provides an incentive for property owners to go fix these problems themselves.

Now, in honor of UKIP and of the general Brussels phobia that is sweeping Britain and much of the rest of Europe, here’s the connection between this wonderful tax, and federalism: Continue reading