Hansen: even 2 degrees sinks coastal cities

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

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

Carbon footprints smaller in city centers


Carbon footprints in metropolitan Philadelphia

The basis for comparison is not entirely clear from the picture: it says “population + employment”, so if we use less carbon on the job than at home, the city center gets a bonus. But something similar has been found in other cases: for central vs. suburban Toronto, see Norman, Jonathan, Heather L. MacLean, and Christopher A. Kennedy. 2006. Comparing High and Low Residential Density: Life-Cycle Analysis of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Journal of Urban Planning & Development 132 (1):10-21; for Dortmund, see Wegener, Michael. 1996. Reduction of CO2 emissions of transport by reorganization of urban activities. In Transport, Land-Use and the Environment, edited by Y. Hayashi and J. Roy. Dordrecht: Kluwer. There’s some discussion of this in my paper on road traffic externalities and the competitiveness of walkable retail.

For more discussion of the study behind the map, see Brendon Slotterback at streets MN.

Does Exxon hate your children?

Exxon Hates Your Children – what a name for a website, for a campaign. Nice because it is so obviously true while being literally wrong simply because the corporation has no emotions. If an individual were doing what Exxon does, we would see their actions as hateful and hold them up as objects of hate in return – as indeed we do with the Koch brothers or Gina Rinehart. With Exxon and its ilk you get just a bunch of corporate cogs, a machine of impersonal hatred, banal evil…

Monbiot: no peak oil, only warming

Anybody still entertaining the notion that peak oil would somehow help us kick the carbon habit should see this nice piece by George Monbiot in the Guardian.

At least since plublication of The Limits to Growth (LTG) in 1972, many have put natural resource limits and the damage caused by pollution in the same frame. Continue reading