Researchers: Abandon Neighborhoods, Avoid Flood Zone to Limit Sea Level Rise

By Kevin Stark : sfpublicpress – excerpt

Understanding the sociology and politics around word ‘retreat’ 

San Francisco is partway through a years-long process of proposing elaborate — and incredibly expensive — engineering fixes to the looming prospect of sea level rise. But the current sketches of a future city buttressed by dikes, levees and seawalls, which could cost tens of billions of dollars over coming decades, overshadow an increasingly accepted alternative: moving away from the waterfront.

Some experts in climatology, urban planning and demographics argue that physical barriers offer only the illusion of protection and that cities should accept that some neighborhoods will need to be abandoned.

Karen O’Neill, a Rutgers University sociologist who studies “climate migration” worldwide, argued that city planners should entice people to move away from vulnerable areas where flooding could be exacerbated by climate change.

The “protect your way out of the whole thing” approach is folly, she recently told an energy reporter at Bloomberg View… (more)

 

California Eyes Climate Leadership Role, But Trump’s EPA Holds a Key on Cars

By Lauren Sommer : KQED

California Gov. Jerry Brown is vowing to lead the nation on climate change, as the Trump administration pulls back. But the Trump administration could get in California’s way.

In his annual State of the State speech, California Gov. Jerry Brown had one key message about climate change: perseverance.

California has rules limiting carbon pollution from cars, but it can’t have those rules without permission from the federal EPA.

“We cannot fall back and give in to the climate deniers,” Brown said. “The science is clear. The danger is real.”

And just as President Trump took the oath of office on Friday, California acted, releasing its latest plan for tackling climate change. This includes renewable energy and putting millions of electric cars on the road.

It’s a challenge Brown first made in December, when climate scientists from around the world met up in San Francisco.

The mood at the conference had been dismal. Scientists were worried about losing federal funding for research and even the NASA satellites that collect basic climate data… (more)

Audubon slams oyster project’s legality

by Paul Mann : MadRiverUnion – excerpt

EUREKA – Audubon California and EarthJustice, the San Francisco-based environmental law advocate, charge in a joint statement that the lawful certification of the Coast Seafoods Company’s expanded oyster farming project must be ruled out.

The reason: the Final Environmental Impact Report has not received “an adequate review” under the 1970 California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

In a nine-page letter submitted Jan. 18 to Jack Crider, executive director of the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the two organizations acknowledged the series of modifications made to the 471-page environmental impact report in response to voluminous public comment.

But the two groups argued that “both the project and its impacts remain enormous and have yet to be fully analyzed and disclosed as required by the CEQA.”… (more)

It is our policy to track the media on these subjects. Please post comments on the source. Not sure this is a positive way to approach food production when there is a need to feed human beings and the interior department closed down a farm recently in California. People do need to eat and oysters clean the water, so this argument does not win me over, especially when the administration is threatening to cut imports of other foods by increasing import tax. We should perhaps increase local food production.

California clears hurdle for cancer warning label on Roundup

By Sott Smith : yahoo – excerpt

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed-killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat despite an insistence from the chemical giant that it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday.
California would be the first state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal.

Monsanto had sued the nation’s leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on an international health organization based in France.

Monsanto attorney Trenton Norris argued in court Friday that the labels would have immediate financial consequences for the company. He said many consumers would see the labels and stop buying Roundup.

“It will absolutely be used in ways that will harm Monsanto,” he said.

After the hearing, the firm said in a statement that it will challenge the tentative ruling… (more)

High Speed Rail Won’t Impact Climate Change

by Marc Joffe, California Policy Center,  1/24/17

According to the high speed rail authority’s website, the bullet train is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by just over one million metric tons annually by 2040. This reduction is supposed to be achieved by replacing almost 10 million miles of motor vehicle travel each day, and eliminating between 93 and 171 daily flights. But these HSR projections have two fatal flaws: they are based on unrealistically high ridership estimates and they fail to take into account the transition to hybrid and plug-in electric cars. If HSR’s numbers are adjusted to take these factors into account, the project’s emission savings turn out to be much less. Further, they won’t have a meaningful impact on climate change.

HSR’s Environmental Impact Report used EMFAC2007 to estimate emission savings. EMFAC2007 is an emission model published by the California Air Resources Board ten years ago.  It has since been superseded by new versions released in 2011 and 2014. The EMFAC web page specifically states: “Do not use EMFAC 2007 for new studies.”…

Even in the extremely unlike event that HSR’s one million metric ton annual emission savings estimate were to be realized, it wouldn’t have a significant impact on global warming. According to EPA figures, global CO2 emissions total 9449 metric tons in 2011. Assuming this level remains constant and that HSR’s estimates are correct, the project would only reduce global emissions by about 0.01%. And, based on the evidence provided above, it is safe to assume that the real savings will be a small fraction of this figure…

A fair rejoinder is that even though nothing California does by itself will significantly move the dial on global emissions, the example we set for the result of the world is more important. If an affluent economy like ours’ can’t get emissions under control, how can we expect others to do so. But if we want to set an example, shouldn’t we do so in a cost-effective manner? Spending $64 billion to achieve minimal emission savings does not set a good example. Undoubtedly, there are ways to make steeper reductions in emissions at lower cost… (more)

Marc Joffe is the director of policy research for the California Policy Center.

Always looking for scientific analysis and opinions on these matters.

Report: Solar Energy Employs More People Than All Fossil Fuel Industries Combined

JONATHAN TURLEY

fixed_tilt_solar_panel_at_canterbury_municipal_building_canterbury_new_hampshire398px-BarnettShaleDrilling-9323One of the greatest concerns with the Trump Administration remains the environment.  I share those concerns.  The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in advancing green industries and markets. A return to fossil energy could not only erase gains in the environment but push our workforce farther away from the most competitive economies.  A new report shows how important solar energy is to the workforce and the economy.  The latest report from the Department of Energy shows that solar energy in the United States employs more people than traditional coal, gas and oil combined.  At the same time, we have seen other countries slash the cost of renewable energy and radically expand the use of such energy as global leaders in the new industry.

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How SF arena opponents gave a boost to Warriors’ big day

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

News that the California Supreme Court had rejected a last-ditch effort to halt the Warriors’ Mission Bay arena got big cheers at the team’s groundbreaking the other day — and it turns out the opponents themselves may have been responsible for the timing…

Not only did the court deny the injunction just hours before the groundbreaking, it also declined to take up the entire case — putting a swift end to any more legal challenges that might have hung over the project…

Baer and the Giants, of course, made no secret of their unhappiness with the first spot the Warriors picked for their arena, right up the waterfront from AT&T Park. And courtside appearances aside, the Giants remain apprehensive about having to compete with the Warriors in Mission Bay for city resources and parking spaces… (more)

Supreme Court Grants Review in Medical Marijuana Case Presenting CEQA “Project” Definition Issues

by Arthur F. Coon : jdsupra – excerpt

On January 11, 2017, the California Supreme Court by unanimous order granted review in yet another CEQA case, Union of Medical Marijuana Patients, Inc. v. City of San Diego (2016) 4 Cal.App.4th 103, Supreme Court Case No. S238563.

The issues presented in plaintiff and appellant’s Petition for Review are:

  1. “Is amendment of a zoning ordinance an activity directly undertaken by a public agency that categorically constitutes a “project” under CEQA?
  2. Is a [sic] “the enactment of a law allowing the operation of medical marijuana cooperatives in certain areas of a municipality under certain conditions is [sic] the type of activity that may cause a reasonably foreseeable change to the environment,” categorically?”… (more)

This Golden State Podcast: Gavin Newsom Vows to Fight the Border Wall with Hellish Bureaucracy

By Lamar Anderson : modernluxury – excerpt – including This Golden State, a podcast from  Randy Shandobil

California will drown bigotry the best way it knows how: with endless CEQA appeals.

In these last days before the inauguration, legions of Democrats are trying to decide which Trump they must prepare to fight. Trump the demagogue, riding a wave of white supremacist backlash? Trump the dictator apologist? Trump the potential nuclear proliferator? “One thing that’s certain is the uncertainty of the moment,” lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom tells This Golden State’s Randy Shandobil.

But on at least one issue, Gavin sees Trump for what he is: a corner-cutting real estate developer with a probably illegal building project. When Shandobil asks how California can fight back against Trump’s “beautiful,” Mexico-funded border wall, Newsom gives perhaps the most California answer ever: CEQA, aka the California Environmental Quality Act, aka the litigation equivalent of death by a thousand cuts. “There’s something called CEQA in California—NEPA at the federal level,” says the former S.F. mayor. “There’s indigenous lands and autonomies relating to governance on those lands. There are all kinds of obstructions as it relates to just getting zoning approval and getting building permits. All those things could be made very, very challenging for the administration.” Spoken like a true San Franciscan!…(more)

 

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