Palo Alto's greenhouse gas emissions fall Around Town, posted by Editor, Palo Alto Online, on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:18 am
Greenhouse gas emissions from Palo Alto residents and city operations are estimated to have fallen 15 to 20 percent from 2005 levels, city staff members said in an update on Palo Alto's Climate Protection Plan.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:29 AM
Posted by scam, a resident of the Adobe-Meadows neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:18 am
"Estimated emissions from transportation in the city remained constant because there is insufficient data available to assess changes, she said."
Cars are the biggest cause of air pollution around town. The overall pollution data is meaningless if you don't count car pollution. I'm sure there are ways to estimate car pollution, such as asking the biggest employers about how many of their employees drive to work vs. carpooling or bicycling or telecommuting or using public transit. You won't get a 100% accurate number every year, but you can watch year-to-year trends this way.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:28 am
No mention of birds of prey slaughtered by the wind farms that we buy from? No mention that Palo Alto locks up a disproportionate share of hydro power, which stops salmon runs? No mention of large areas of desert lands industrialized for solar panels? How many more mountain ridges will be industrialized by wind turbines?
Posted by Tracey Chen, a resident of the Fairmeadow neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:37 am
I was going to say that same thing you did (poster 1 from adobemeadows). How can they say they've dropped at all if they can't measure them...and they can't measure it if they don't count the transportation impact.
And in response to Tom, concerned about the potential damage from cleaner energy....I agree that we can do BETTER. I think that the city can and should be a world leader in a lot of things (instead of what they've been doing in so many areas). I think they should start installing solar panels, and the safer and more efficient kind of wind turbines, and rain barrels to catch water, on EVERY HOME and other suitable building in the whole city. THAT would definitely help.
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2012 at 11:13 am
I wish I could be on the bandwagon of renewable energy schemes, but it just doesn't compute. Efficiency gains are a very good thing, a low-hanging fruit, however, there is only so much that can be gained, given our lifestyle choices.
Any quick review of the Internet will show that the main electricty-generation problem includes base load, not just peak load. Base load means 24/7. Solar and wind are not base load. Natural gas, coal, nuclear are base load. One can argue that hydro is base load, however it is limited by supply, and it derives from solar energy, as does wind. Gravity, as in tides, is also potentially base load, yet it is very hard to capture. Geothermal is very limited, but can be argued to be base load.
Of the various major base load schemes, only nuclear, hydro and gravity are carbon-free. Does Palo Alto go out of its way to buy from nuclear power plants?
BTW, the slaughter of birds of prey and the industrialization of our natural areas is not about "potential" damage, it is in full swing right now! How can we pretend that it is "potential"? Rain capture barrels...that only prevents the fresh water from reaching our streams and takes away from replensing our aquifers...what do you mean?
Once again, why are bragging about the Palo Alto approach? Why are we paying for an enviromental administrator to brag about it?
Posted by How-Much-CO2-Did-You-Save-Today?, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2012 at 11:16 am
Without a complete energy budget for all energy consumers in Palo Alto, this sort of exercise is meaningless—other than to suggest that we might be using “less” now than before. What a joke.
Moreover, it’s to see any evidence that the City is actually monitoring the “environment” in any meaningful way, such as posting the CO2 levels—so that we can see them decrease over time. (By the way, this is intended to be a joke—since any reduction in Palo Alto generated CO2 would not be noticeable.)
As noted above, vehicles are a large source of certain emissions—although vehicles are much, much, cleaner than they were just thirty years ago. Without knowing the number of miles that Palo Altans drive, and the average miles/gallon of their vehicles—nothing meaningful can be stated about their energy use.
This program should be shut down, and the employees released to do something more effective with their time—saving the taxpayers money that could be used on other obligations of the City that will benefit us all.
Reuters has recently released a report on the so-called "Wind Industry":
1) Since 2009, the wind industry has lost 10,000 jobs, even as the energy capacity of wind farms has almost doubled. By contrast, the oil and gas industry have created 75,000 jobs since Mr. Obama took office.
The report is not very flattering of the Obama Administrations handling of the promised "Green Revolution". But this can hardly be a surprise to anyone remotely knowledgeable with the technical side of energy production/consumption.
Wonder if anyone on the City Council could provide any understanding of the use of energy in Palo Alto, California, the US or the world?
Posted by anon, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm
Anybody know how much the Bay has risen in the past few years? I can't find out. Nobody I know of has actually measured it. There ought to be a pillar or post in the Bay where somebody notched it a few years ago.
This data is being collected by NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration), so there is no reason to quibble about its origin. We do need to keep in mind that this area is sitting very close to the Pacific and North American Tectonic Plates, so there is on-going subduction of the ocean bottom, which will have some effect on sea levels:
Posted by No More NIMBYs, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm
"No mention of birds of prey slaughtered by the wind farms that we buy from? No mention that Palo Alto locks up a disproportionate share of hydro power, which stops salmon runs? No mention of large areas of desert lands industrialized for solar panels? How many more mountain ridges will be industrialized by wind turbines?"
First, this is classic mis-informed, small-picture, short sighted NIMBYism, or at best a simple, incorrect argument for the continued dependence on fossil fuels and non-domestic energy sources (to say nothing of the continued flow of body bags from the middle east). Modern utility scale wind turbines kill fewer birds per Megawatt Hour generated than fossil fuel generation by a factor of almost 20X, when upstream mining of fossil fuel, acid rain and other atmospheric effects associated with upstream mining of fossil fuels, global warming induced displacement of habitat, etc. are accounted for. See the apples-to-apples third party research:
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm
"First, this is classic mis-informed, small-picture, short sighted NIMBYism"
Meta studies, cherry-picked and confused, do not support the notion that birds of prey are at high risk from wind power farms. How many Golden Eagles have been destroyed by nuclear power plants? Wind farms destroy hundreds of them in our own hills. When these birds are reduced in number, because they are killed by the wind turbine structures, the eagle per unit of ennergy goes down; when all the eagles are gone, there is zero deaths per unit of power. It is the fallacy of ratios, a well-known statistical trick. Completely crazy logic!
Upstream effects of wind turbines were ignored in this so-called study...where were the turbines manufactured, by what power source and how were they transported to the site?
Notice that this "study" is by an outfit called "Nukefree"
Junk science, at its worse. Is this what our Palo Alto environmental analysis is based on? I hope not.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm
Yeah, I've been looking at the bay for half a century and haven't noticed any rise. No wonder -- the change would be two inches, given the < 1 mm/yr data on Bill's NOAA link above. For a contrary assessment, check out the same data at Alaska locations, e.g. Sitka.
Posted by No More NIMBYs, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm
I referred to data showing avian mortality of wind vs. fossil fuels. You then ranted about how many birds nuclear power does not kill. You are again misinformed. For your information nuclear power is not a fossil fuel. I support domestically sourced nuclear power (which is all of ours). The study was posted by an organization opposed to nuclear power which is a stand I happen to disagree with, but the comparison is vs. FOSSIL fuel generation.
When domestic wind production is brought online, the variable capacity in our fuel system is offset. This capacity is mostly natural gas peaker plants, with some coal. You don't turn off nuclear, hydro, or other zero emission power when wind or solar comes on line.
Wind is free, and free of upstream mining effects. Natural gas (or coal) is not. Do you prefer hydraulic fracking? Do you also support the huge military expenditure, in dollars, lives, and carnage, required to secure our supply of foreign fossil fuels?
Posted by Jeff, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm
Sovacol is a reputable researcher. I'm from Singapore btw, and am familiar with his research.
To Tom the NIMBY, I would suggest that you can do a much greater service to the avian community by rounding up stray cats, which account for far greater harm than the global warming reducing, fossil fuel offsetting renewable projects you're so upset about.
Posted by Michael, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm
Wind turbines do kill birds, as does any object that they can fly into, especially buildings and vehicles (birds do not see glass well at all). Modern turbines, though, with low RPM blades and monopole towers (nowhere to perch), kill very few, though. The numbers are so small in fact, that even the Audubon Society, of which I am a member, readily agrees that the anti-climate-change benefit of wind energy far outweighs the sporadic fatality, and the Audubon Society is an active supporter of wind energy in Congress.
The one sentence summary from the national Audubon site:
"On balance, Audubon strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduces the threat of global warming... Most of today's rapidly growing demand for energy is now being met by natural gas and expanded coal-burning power plants, which are this country's single greatest source of the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming. If we don't find ways to reduce these emissions, far more birds—and people—will be threatened by global warming than by wind turbines."
Posted by Tom, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm
"I referred to data showing avian mortality of wind vs. fossil fuels"
You might want to read your own study...it referred to wind, nuclear and fossil fuels. It deliberately slid around the issue of major birds of prey, like the Golden Eagles. When there are no more Golden Eagles, how many Golden Eagles deaths does it take to produce a GW/hr of power?
Junk science should be ignored. How many eagles are killed by stray cats? Complete nonsense. Absurd.
Posted by anon, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Apr 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm
I'd like to thank the three people who responded to my question -- does anybody know how much the Bay has risen in the past few years?
"Canute" provided this link Web Link which seemed to support the argument that the sea level is rising.
Then "Deep Throat" found Web Link for Redwood City which seems to show an increase that isn't supported by any data.
"Musical" located a third graph on the NOAA site that Web Link shows the sea level is dropping in Alaska, which contradicts the theory of sea level rise.
All of these charts are from the same NOAA site, which Bill "of another community" said is so good that we shouldn't quibble with it.
He's right. We shouldn't quibble with it. It's inconsistent, and we should see the data for what it is -- no prediction of anything.
I thought there was a consensus on global warming and sea level rise? What are we doing by spending all these billions on reducing our carbon footprint when the data is inconsistent? Maybe it's time that we step back and study this situation more carefully before committing ourselves to a program that will cost millions of jobs and result in astronomical energy prices.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2012 at 6:20 am
I can't help imagining the arguments 2000 years ago about whether the Sun orbited the Earth or vice versa. People have preconceived notions; and perfectly good data sets can be contradictory. How can definitive NOAA data show sea level rising in some places and falling in others? Think outside the box and ask whether maybe it's the LAND rising or sinking. That question is much more expensive to answer than simply notching a pillar in the bay every few years. Turns out that melting glaciers in Alaska have relieved a lot of weight on the ground, and sure enough the land is rising, not the sea dropping.
Posted by Bill, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2012 at 10:08 am
> which contradicts the theory of sea level rise.
Sea level rise is not a theory, it’s well established fact—demonstrated by geologists for a long time now. The reasons for sea level change are numerous. For instance, during the long periods of glaciations, sea level have been shown to fall. When the earth warmed, then the sea level rose. Sometimes sea bottoms themselves rise and fall, which would possibly provide evidence of water level rises and falls that are different than those on a global level. In fact, the world is so large, geologically, that there are multiple systems operating simultaneously—that often operate in such a fashion as to offset each other. For instance, while there might be glacial melting adding water to the oceans, there is always sea floor spreading, which increases the surface of the earth, which would tend to lower sea levels.
Taking one data point, and trying to generalize anything from it is never a good idea, when earth sciences are concerned, and such practices are certainly not “scientific”, by any means.
Posted by Sharon, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm
There are two issues
1/ stolen documents
2/ faked document
1/From the stolen documents you see confidential HR matters, home addresses of staff and contributors and that the organization is a small broad based libertarian think tank that got $20,000 from Kock brothers which was earmarked for health care.
nothing news worthy nor a scandal
2/ from the faked documents you see evidence of felony interstate wire fraud by Peter H. Gleick --that is why the FBI is on the case
Posted by K Street, a resident of Menlo Park, on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm
"1/From the stolen documents you see confidential HR matters, home addresses of staff and contributors and that the organization is a small broad based libertarian think tank that got $20,000 from Kock brothers which was earmarked for health care."
yo Sharon, you really believe that's all that was in those?!?!?!?!?!?!?!