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After setting a lofty goal on climate change, Palo Alto struggles to make progress

City Council plans to focus on building electrification and electric vehicles in next two years

Palo Alto's evolving plan to curb carbon emissions faced a sharp rebuke Monday from numerous local environmentalists, who argued that the city is overstating its achievements while falling well short of its targets for combating climate change.

The criticism came as the City Council took a brief break from its immediate priority — responding to the coronavirus pandemic — to unanimously adopt a two-year plan aimed at getting the city closer to its goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, with 1990 as the baseline. The council had adopted the goal — known as 80/30 — in 2016 and has since taken some steps to advance it, including raising the energy efficiency standards in new buildings, retiring the sewage-burning incinerators near the Baylands and launching a carbon-offset program for natural gas.

That said, the city has failed to meet its energy efficiency goals for 2019 and is not on track to meet this year's goals either, said Christine Luong, the city's sustainability manager. It has achieved electric efficiency savings of 0.61% and gas efficiency savings of 0.44% in fiscal year 2019.

The city also did not meet its targets for building electrification, she said. Luong attributed this largely to higher expenses of retrofitting gas appliances in existing buildings and higher operational costs of heat pump equipment.

Many of the actions in the two-year plan build on efforts that the city had previously launched, including continued promotion of electric vehicles and enforcement of the new requirement for "all electric" buildings. While the requirement currently applies to low-rise residential buildings, next year it also will include commercial and high-rise residential buildings.

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But even with these steps, the city has curbed emissions by only about 36%, with the vast majority of the decrease attributed to the council's shift to "carbon neutral" electricity in 2013. If the carbon offsets are factored in, the city's reduction is about 56.5%, according to the Public Works Department.

Despite the progress, residents maintained that the proposed steps are insufficient to meet the goal, which requires the city to reduce its carbon emissions by 224,600 metric tons annually. The advocacy group Carbon Free Palo Alto criticized the city in a letter for what it called a "longstanding disconnect between our GHG reduction goal and Palo Alto's program results and plans."

The group argued that the city has not seen significant reductions in emissions since 2013 and does not have any programs that could feasibly scale to the 80/30 goal.

"From this perspective, City Staff and Council have collectively made no substantive progress on implementing our official City climate policy," the letter stated.

Resident David Page called the updated plan "an embarrassment."

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"There's so little that Palo Alto has done and so much that it has taken credit for, given the nature of the problem and the magnitude of the consequences that are headed in our direction," Page said.

David Coale, a longtime advocate for climate change initiatives, criticized the city for failing to report its progress on the 80% reduction goal or to lay out tangible actions that need to be taken to meet the goal. Coale estimated that getting to the desired reduction would require converting 2,300 water heating systems from natural gas to electricity, as well as 1,400 space heating systems. It also would entail converting about 8,600 vehicles every year from gas to electric.

"We really need to have that kind of reporting, based on the goal that we need to get to, not relative to our neighboring cities," Coale said. "Because this is an absolute goal. It was set by good science and great models. Just like the way we're battling the coronavirus, we need to pay attention to the science here and act accordingly."

Councilwoman Liz Kniss compared the process of cutting carbon to losing weight, where you "start with a big bang and lose all that weight and then forevermore, you're trying to lose that 5 or 10 pounds."

"I think maybe we need to look ahead and say, 'How do we get that final result that we'll be after?'" Kniss said.

Kniss acknowledged that reducing natural gas by half is going to be a "true challenge." Even though the city is now mandating all-electric homes, it will be a long time for that to make a difference, given the small number of homes that get constructed every year.

The council didn't propose any new initiatives on Monday, though members reiterated the desire to see more electric vehicles. The two-year Sustainability Implementation Plan, which the council unanimously adopted, calls for a greater focus on the installation of charging equipment for electric vehicles at low-income homes.

"I think we really need to focus on electric vehicles and keep driving that adoption rate up in the city," said Vice Mayor Tom DuBois. "We're going to add in the electrified heating and cooling for homes and businesses, but a really strong focus on electric vehicles I think is going to go a long way."

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After setting a lofty goal on climate change, Palo Alto struggles to make progress

City Council plans to focus on building electrification and electric vehicles in next two years

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Apr 14, 2020, 9:52 am

Palo Alto's evolving plan to curb carbon emissions faced a sharp rebuke Monday from numerous local environmentalists, who argued that the city is overstating its achievements while falling well short of its targets for combating climate change.

The criticism came as the City Council took a brief break from its immediate priority — responding to the coronavirus pandemic — to unanimously adopt a two-year plan aimed at getting the city closer to its goal of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, with 1990 as the baseline. The council had adopted the goal — known as 80/30 — in 2016 and has since taken some steps to advance it, including raising the energy efficiency standards in new buildings, retiring the sewage-burning incinerators near the Baylands and launching a carbon-offset program for natural gas.

That said, the city has failed to meet its energy efficiency goals for 2019 and is not on track to meet this year's goals either, said Christine Luong, the city's sustainability manager. It has achieved electric efficiency savings of 0.61% and gas efficiency savings of 0.44% in fiscal year 2019.

The city also did not meet its targets for building electrification, she said. Luong attributed this largely to higher expenses of retrofitting gas appliances in existing buildings and higher operational costs of heat pump equipment.

Many of the actions in the two-year plan build on efforts that the city had previously launched, including continued promotion of electric vehicles and enforcement of the new requirement for "all electric" buildings. While the requirement currently applies to low-rise residential buildings, next year it also will include commercial and high-rise residential buildings.

But even with these steps, the city has curbed emissions by only about 36%, with the vast majority of the decrease attributed to the council's shift to "carbon neutral" electricity in 2013. If the carbon offsets are factored in, the city's reduction is about 56.5%, according to the Public Works Department.

Despite the progress, residents maintained that the proposed steps are insufficient to meet the goal, which requires the city to reduce its carbon emissions by 224,600 metric tons annually. The advocacy group Carbon Free Palo Alto criticized the city in a letter for what it called a "longstanding disconnect between our GHG reduction goal and Palo Alto's program results and plans."

The group argued that the city has not seen significant reductions in emissions since 2013 and does not have any programs that could feasibly scale to the 80/30 goal.

"From this perspective, City Staff and Council have collectively made no substantive progress on implementing our official City climate policy," the letter stated.

Resident David Page called the updated plan "an embarrassment."

"There's so little that Palo Alto has done and so much that it has taken credit for, given the nature of the problem and the magnitude of the consequences that are headed in our direction," Page said.

David Coale, a longtime advocate for climate change initiatives, criticized the city for failing to report its progress on the 80% reduction goal or to lay out tangible actions that need to be taken to meet the goal. Coale estimated that getting to the desired reduction would require converting 2,300 water heating systems from natural gas to electricity, as well as 1,400 space heating systems. It also would entail converting about 8,600 vehicles every year from gas to electric.

"We really need to have that kind of reporting, based on the goal that we need to get to, not relative to our neighboring cities," Coale said. "Because this is an absolute goal. It was set by good science and great models. Just like the way we're battling the coronavirus, we need to pay attention to the science here and act accordingly."

Councilwoman Liz Kniss compared the process of cutting carbon to losing weight, where you "start with a big bang and lose all that weight and then forevermore, you're trying to lose that 5 or 10 pounds."

"I think maybe we need to look ahead and say, 'How do we get that final result that we'll be after?'" Kniss said.

Kniss acknowledged that reducing natural gas by half is going to be a "true challenge." Even though the city is now mandating all-electric homes, it will be a long time for that to make a difference, given the small number of homes that get constructed every year.

The council didn't propose any new initiatives on Monday, though members reiterated the desire to see more electric vehicles. The two-year Sustainability Implementation Plan, which the council unanimously adopted, calls for a greater focus on the installation of charging equipment for electric vehicles at low-income homes.

"I think we really need to focus on electric vehicles and keep driving that adoption rate up in the city," said Vice Mayor Tom DuBois. "We're going to add in the electrified heating and cooling for homes and businesses, but a really strong focus on electric vehicles I think is going to go a long way."

Comments

BobH
Palo Verde
on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:26 am
BobH, Palo Verde
on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:26 am
1 person likes this

"The city also did not meet its targets for building electrification, she said. Luong attributed this largely to higher expenses of retrofitting gas appliances in existing buildings and higher operational costs of heat pump equipment."

This isn't very surprising. Electricity is an expensive fuel source for heating. This was bound to fail.

Getting more electric cars in Palo Alto would help. The city needs to do more to promote them. This could include creating real incentives like more reserved (and free) parking downtown, a whole floor in each parking garage, real financial incentives for EV purchase, promote Telsa EVs (Tesla HQ is in Palo Alto), and lower electric rates for EV changing, and 50% subsidy for installing an EV charger in apartments.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:50 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:50 am
1 person likes this

I'm guessing that with significant subsidies, the city would see high conversion to all-electric. The problem is that if you have an existing mixed (gas+electric) configuration, you probably replace one appliance/heater/whatever every year or two, and if you don't have the all-electric setup, you probably can't afford to convert everything at once.

On a related note, I'm assuming that a lot of people would happily replace their Prius with a Tesla, but, without a subsidy, and, the electrical upgrade, they probably can't afford it. So, if the city wants to increase the uptake speed, more/higher subsidies are probably going to have to be part of it. Just a guess.


wmconlon
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2020 at 12:19 pm
wmconlon, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2020 at 12:19 pm
9 people like this

Even the city's "successful" decarbonization -- the electric power supply -- is a chimera. The power supply is only "carbon neutral" on paper -- not in practice.

Some points:
Although the city has hydro that could provide carbon-free power at night, it sells most of the hydro in the market in order to subsidize solar PV.

We bought more solar than we can consume, in order to have "carbon neutral" bragging rights.

Much of the Solar PV is also largely sold into the market, with the utility retaining Renewable Energy Certificates (the green paper).

Without the REC, the solar sold into the market is treated as any other non-renewable commodity and is typically sold at a loss.

Hence we sell the hydro to partially cover up this mess.

Anyone who thinks the City Council that gave us this Wonderland is going to fix it, can come see me. I have a bridge for sale.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 12:39 pm
3 people like this

Posted by wmconlon, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Even the city's "successful" decarbonization -- the electric power supply -- is a chimera. The power supply is only "carbon neutral" on paper -- not in practice.

As long as CPAU is connected to a "grid", and, and, elsewhere in the grid, some power is sourced from fossil fuel generators, then, you will always be able to claim that the power isn't "pure". We aren't looking for "purity" here. We are looking to reduce CO2 emissions, and, we've reduced CO2 emissions for power generation. Next step: reduce CO2 emissions due to natural gas consumption, and, vehicle fuel consumption. Goals that I absolutely support.


wmconlon
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2020 at 12:50 pm
wmconlon, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2020 at 12:50 pm
3 people like this

Let me elaborate for anon.

It's not that CPAU's power is contaminated by touching electricity from fossil sources -- it's that CPAU actively sources fossil power (via the market) to meet the actual demand.

Electricity is a just in time commodity -- supply and demand must be in balance at all times. So when renewables are not available the supply must be from dispatchable resources -- fossil generators.

Early on the argument was made that on the margin CPAU was displacing fossil power and therefore time coincidence of renewable source with the load didn't matter.

That argument was always dubious, but it is now a fact that it is renewable that gets displaced -- not fossil. Renewable curtailment is a commonplace now, so CPAU is only a green supplier on paper.

Any takers for my bridge?


All Talk & No Do...
another community
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:07 pm
All Talk & No Do..., another community
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:07 pm
2 people like this

Palo Altans (as well as many other affluent communities) will NEVER make a major dent in reducing climate change.

WHY? Because most of its inhabitants are too dependent on creature comforts that require massive amounts of energy resources.

Go live in a rural environment if you genuinely wish to make a contribution to alleviating this concern.

OR be a denier (as some red state mentalities concur).

BOTTOM LINE: Climate change is real due to overpopulation & density.

Reduce energy usage = less global warming.

DUH.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Like this comment

Posted by wmconlon, a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> Let me elaborate for anon.

>> It's not that CPAU's power is contaminated [...] Electricity is a just in time commodity

I am very aware of all that. So, let me cut to the chase and propose a solution: CPAU should -buy- a share in a -closed loop- pumped hydro facility somewhere in California. There are a couple being proposed/constructed in California now; there will be more in the future. -Like-, for example, Eagle Mountain: Web Link. The idea being that the city can supply power to the grid at the time of day that the city is consuming said power, so that the city can remain carbon-neutral at every time of the day. (And, not to mention that closed-loop pumped hydro will be needed increasingly.)

Now, why should the city -purchase- a share in a plant, rather than just contract with some entity for supply? Easy. Because of how administrative and court decisions involving contracts (WAPA, Enron) always seem to go against an entity named Palo Alto because "Palo Alto".


BobH
Palo Verde
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:44 pm
BobH, Palo Verde
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:44 pm
1 person likes this

"Even the city's "successful" decarbonization -- the electric power supply -- is a chimera. The power supply is only "carbon neutral" on paper -- not in practice. "

I tend to agree. Instead of this "chimera", Palo Alto Utilities should invest in local storage (like is done at scale in Australia) and the City should create incentives to have Solar PV and local storage on all buildings in Palo Alto. The goal should be to not have to buy any power from outside of the City. Then we will have all green power.


Over population
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Over population, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 14, 2020 at 1:46 pm
2 people like this

We were warned about the dangers of over-population but the religious right scared us all into silence.

But it is so obvious now. It's a pleasure to drive or walk in the city with most of the population not visible. The air is cleaner, the auto-accidents are fewer, and more.


Duveneck
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2020 at 2:53 pm
Duveneck, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 14, 2020 at 2:53 pm
11 people like this

This is somewhat minor, but auto emissions are a neighborhood issue, especially when the 24/7 security guards in front of the Zuckerberg's homes always seem to have their cars running for LONG periods of time while on their phones, etc.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2020 at 3:29 pm
4 people like this

Posted by Duveneck, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

>> the 24/7 security guards in front of the Zuckerberg's homes always seem to have their cars running for LONG periods of time while on their phones, etc.

They don't drive Teslas?!?! Sheesh.


C
Palo Verde
on Apr 14, 2020 at 4:16 pm
C, Palo Verde
on Apr 14, 2020 at 4:16 pm
Like this comment

When we applied for various environmental rebates, they were more paperwork than they were worth, and our tenant who bought an EV didn't buy it in the right time window so wasn't eligible for a rebate (which ran out of funds, anyway). So I don't think much about rebates.

What I do like are the recycle bins and yard waste. I remember the days when we had to sort waste in those plastic boxes by metal, paper, glass, etc. That was just asking for a finger cut. The boxes ended up smelly and sticky, as well.


ASR
College Terrace
on Apr 14, 2020 at 4:28 pm
ASR, College Terrace
on Apr 14, 2020 at 4:28 pm
Like this comment

Great assessment


resi
Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2020 at 8:08 pm
resi, Crescent Park
on Apr 14, 2020 at 8:08 pm
10 people like this

Expert tip: Whatever Palo Alto accomplishes or doesn't accomplish on it's "climate change" goals, it doesn't make any difference to the climate.

Stop being narcissistic and start doing the work of small town government; for example, paving streets, mundane as it may seem.


Downfall
Fairmeadow
on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Downfall, Fairmeadow
on Apr 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm
9 people like this

No more subsidies for electric cars. It is time for this technology to either sink or swim on its own without government subsidies. The subsidies provided so far have mostly been a joke allowing well to do people to buy their teslas for a bit cheaper when they could have easily afforded the car without the subsidy.


Midtown
Midtown
on Apr 15, 2020 at 7:55 am
Midtown, Midtown
on Apr 15, 2020 at 7:55 am
3 people like this

What is the obsession with electric vehicles! What about the environmental catastrophe caused by lithium and cobalt mining? Is that ok with everybody? Why would we want to create an even bigger mess? And "carbon offsets" just change words, not reality. And to the above "over population" comment - you do realize that the population has not changed, right? I'm not sure what the religious right has to do with it - human beings generally appreciate and highly value reproduction whether religious or not. Perhaps I shouldn't, but I'm beginning to think that the people here who find pleasure in the total control of human behavior might be in the wrong country.


Jeff
Midtown
on Apr 15, 2020 at 9:59 am
Jeff, Midtown
on Apr 15, 2020 at 9:59 am
10 people like this

Climate warming alarmism is very costly to our citizens who actually pay the tab. For example, the high speed train was a disaster brought to us by climate warming alarmist warriors. Even leaving aside the alarmist stuff, the proposed 'solutions' being discussed here don't mention the most proven base load approach to 'all electric', namely nuclear power. [Portion removed.]

It's time to abandon this entire movement...for the financial and mental health of Palo Alto citizens!


It’s OK to Blame the ChiComs
Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2020 at 1:56 pm
It’s OK to Blame the ChiComs, Barron Park
on Apr 15, 2020 at 1:56 pm
5 people like this

[Post removed.]


pestocat
University South
on Apr 15, 2020 at 4:05 pm
pestocat, University South
on Apr 15, 2020 at 4:05 pm
3 people like this

Part of the Palo Alto S/CAP Plan is to try to get people to replace their natural gas water heaters, clothes dryers, and space heating appliances with heat-pump water heaters, heat-pumps for space heating and all electric clothes dryers. For new homes this is a requirement, the all-electric-home. The problem in doing this will actually increase California’s carbon foot print. This is because in California, ½ of the electricity generated comes power plants fueled by natural gas. The efficiency of these natural gas fueled power plants is only about 40%. This means that when electricity is called for heating purposes, more natural gas will be required compared than if natural gas was used directly. Heat pump water heaters do save energy but the heat pump portion puts out only a small part of the total water heater input capacity in BTU/hour. The balance of the energy input comes from electric coils in the water heater tank, and remember electricity is about 5 to 6 times the cost of natural gas. At times of heavy hot water needs, e.g., washing clothes, washing dishes, showers, etc., these heating coils will be turned on in order to keep the water temperature at the set level. See Web Link for more information. Just because Palo Alto pays for solar power generated electricity and say’s it’s carbon free, that is not really true. When the sun goes down, its California’s natural gas fueled power stations that step-in and keep the grid going.

S/CAP is missing an important element in a carbon free environment goal. This is wood burning fireplaces that are still used. There is nothing better than a crackling fire going on a cold winter night. But these burning fires put out soot and smoke that smell up the neighborhoods. Wood burning fireplaces are already banned for new homes. How about an incentive program to convert these old fireplaces to burn clean natural gas? These converted fireplaces would also be more efficient in heating the home.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2020 at 2:46 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 16, 2020 at 2:46 pm
Like this comment

Posted by pestocat, a resident of University South

>> The problem in doing this will actually increase California’s carbon foot print. This is because in California, ½ of the electricity generated comes power plants fueled by natural gas. The efficiency of these natural gas fueled power plants is only about 40%. This means that when electricity is called for heating purposes, more natural gas will be required compared than if natural gas was used directly. Heat pump water heaters do save energy but the heat pump portion puts out only a small part of the total water heater input capacity in BTU/hour.

Can you provide some links to reports on actual measured use? Because, the rated UEF is supposed to include that. And, while you are looking for data, note that gas water heaters can be (surprisingly?) inefficient in use. For example, Rheem and Bradford White, two big water heater companies that sell gas, electric, and heat pump WH's, show gas water heaters in the .55-.70 UEF range for gas WH's. Specifically, one of Rheem's best gas WH, Model # XG50T12DM40U0, the UEF is .68. The comparable output heat-pump hybrid Rheem Model XE65T10HD50U1 has a UEF of 3.70. (Both units available from Home Depot in California. See Home Depot website). Now, "derating" that 3.70 by your 40% above, gives 2.22. So, back-of-the-envelope, the gas unit will generate more than 3 times as much CO2 to heat the same amount of water.

Bradford White has similar models, and a nice comparison section here which adds national costs for fuel/electricity and significant $$ savings for the electric heat pump models:

Web Link

Check it out.


pestocat
University South
on Apr 16, 2020 at 4:40 pm
pestocat, University South
on Apr 16, 2020 at 4:40 pm
Like this comment

Anon,
"Can you provide some links to reports on actual measured use? Because, the rated UEF is supposed to include that. And, while you are looking for data, note that gas water heaters can be (surprisingly?) inefficient in use. For example, Rheem and Bradford White, two big water heater companies that sell gas, electric, and heat pump WH's, show gas water heaters in the .55-.70 UEF range for gas WH's. Specifically, one of Rheem's best gas WH, Model # XG50T12DM40U0, the UEF is .68. The comparable output heat-pump hybrid Rheem Model XE65T10HD50U1 has a UEF of 3.70. (Both units available from Home Depot in California. See Home Depot website). Now, "derating" that 3.70 by your 40% above, gives 2.22. So, back-of-the-envelope, the gas unit will generate more than 3 times as much CO2 to heat the same amount of water.

Bradford White has similar models, and a nice comparison section here which adds national costs for fuel/electricity and significant $$ savings for the electric heat pump models:"

Check out the water heater on the right side of the page Web Link This high efficiency unit has an EF of 0.80 to 0.82.
Heat pump water heaters work very well and save money as long the water use is not too high. The thing I worry about is when everyone in the house turns on the hot water faucet at the same time and those heating coils turn on in the water heater.
Heat pump water heaters were never meant to be used where natural gas was available. They were meant for areas with no natural gas, like your cabin in the woods.
Also take a look at the California ISO web page Web Link It is so interesting on how the daily demand chart has changed if the past few years. You can now see how demand for natural gas power generation really goes down during the sun shine hours and then increase when it gets dark.


Tom
Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2020 at 9:37 am
Tom, Menlo Park
on Apr 17, 2020 at 9:37 am
6 people like this

Our local cities have huge costly exposure to climate change and we have much to gain by demonstrating effective ways to reduce methane usage and petrol usage. I don't see how other cities around the world will save our bacon unless we try new things, lead and share results they can build on. I think the best approach for cities in our positions is to be bold and implement policies that are ahead of the curve. For example implement a replace on burnout ordinance for air conditioner burnouts that requires commercial buildings to upgrade to the two way air conditioner (aka heat pump) and let them abandon their gas furnaces. Heat pumps do the heating and cooling at a cost less than furnace plus AC. For time synching the electric use with the solar production, perhaps the best strategy is to promote much more daytime charging of EVs and daytime preconditioning of buildings. We've got a lot of real estate at risk if we don't resume strong leadership.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm
Like this comment

Posted by Tom, a resident of Menlo Park

>> Our local cities have huge costly exposure to climate change and we have much to gain by demonstrating effective ways to reduce methane usage and petrol usage.

Agreed. Time to start thinking about the likelihood of a megadrought: Web Link


Over population
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Over population, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Like this comment

Midtown writes
>the population has not changed, right?
No, Wrong.
About 50 years ago the world population was 2 Billion.
Now it is 7.6 Billion.

>I'm not sure what the religious right has to do with it - human beings generally appreciate and highly value reproduction whether religious or not.

Wrong again. The religious right forbids the use of contraceptives. And values large families.

>Perhaps I shouldn't, but I'm beginning to think that the people here who find pleasure in the total control of human behavior might be in the wrong country.

Wrong again. No one advocates forcing anything. Educating people to use contraception and extolling small rather than big families would help.


Bill
Mountain View
on Apr 18, 2020 at 10:02 am
Bill , Mountain View
on Apr 18, 2020 at 10:02 am
Like this comment

Palo Alto's problem is not buildings and natural gas... rather, two thirds of Palo Alto's carbon footprint is from transportation. I realize a lot of people put a lot of thought into reach codes, but avoiding the biggest number on the page is a recipe for failing to solve climate change.

That in turn leads to four big knobs that will solve not only transportation greenhouse gas pollution in Palo Alto, but also the traffic and housing crisis (item 2)

1) Go all in on electric car chargers, in particular for apartments and duplexes which will be the toughest to make happen. Reward owners of high-fuel-economy gasoline cars, while penalizing vehicles getting anything under 30MPG. Why shouldn't an SUV or pickup with only one passenger have to pay for the privilege of harming our kids and grandkids? Go electric, but also heavily incentivize the cleanest possible remaining gasoline cars.

2) SB50 was right and solves not only GHGs but also traffic and the housing crisis.
But its revised version needs to take into account building a thousand or more housing units OUTSIDE THE NIMBY NEIGHBORHOODS. So, completely redevelop Palo Alto Square (walking distance from jobs in the PA Industrial Park) plus completely redevelop East Embarcadero's light industrial. When a commercial property becomes available in the PA Industrial Park because of the Trump Slump, buy and redevelop it as high density housing.

3) Mountain View requires the technology majors to offer a high percentage of telecommuting... follow their lead. Make the current crisis-driven use of Zoom and other technologies into a permanant societal habit... Steve Jobs, one of the folks PA was proudest of, saw how to do this with handheld devices. Some bright Palo Alto person can figure out how to intensely habituate the population to use remote work and remote socializing, right?

4) Massively exploit the current e-bikes fad... you will reduce PA traffic and GHGs by another 5% during good weather, with subsidies and other efforts... make e-bikes the prize for City bright-idea contests, or for being the person on your block with the smallest carbon footprint!

5) All City vehicles should be electric: Garbage trucks, and so on...


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