LA’s Parallel Universes are on a Collision Course

By Dick Platkin : citywatch – excerpt

PLATKIN ON PLANNING – The universe that Angelinos live in. If you live, work, or visit Los Angeles, you have undoubtedly witnessed the following, and can add other categories of your own: 

  • The rents are too damn high.
  • Climate change has arrived.
  • Infrastructure is failing.
  • Traffic congestion is getting worse.

The universe that the Density Hawks – and their progeny — have in mind for you.

If you’re are active in local neighborhood groups, such as Neighborhood Councils, Homeowner Associations, of block clubs, then you know that Los Angeles is the midst of a City Hall-supported real estate bubble, also spun as a boom…

(Dick Platkin is a former Los Angeles city planner who reports on local planning controversies for City Watch. Please send any questions or corrections to rhplatkin@gmail.com.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams… (more)

Heavy hitters on climate change will converge on San Francisco next week, with Gov. Jerry Brown as host

By Julie Cart : calmatters – excerpt

If Jerry Brown could write the script in which he exits the political stage while still in the spotlight, he could do no better than what’s teed-up for him next week: presiding over the Global Climate Action Summit with a few hundred of his closest fellow leaders in the fight against global warming… (more)

 

Study: Pollution Kills More People Than War, Smoking, Hunger, and Other Causes of Death

jonathanturle – excerpt

We have previously discussed how environmental dangers remain something of an abstraction for most people who fail to recognize that changes in air or water pollution standards results in high and quantifiable rises in death rates.  Even changes in areas like shipping fuels can translate to thousands of deaths.

However, since these deaths are not immediate and borne privately, the true costs of pollution are often dismissed.  I have been highly critical of the environmental record of the Trump Administration for this reason in rolling back on protections in a variety of areas as well as appointing regulators with anti-environmental records.

Now a new major study has found that environmental pollution kills more people every year that all of the wars.  It exceeds the death tolls for smoking, hunger or natural disasters combined. It kills more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Yet, unlike these causes of death, pollution remains a policy concern that is often pushed to the side for more immediate goals like job creation.

This is not to say that environmental protection would trump all other concerns but rather the real costs of such pollution are rarely discussed in real terms of premature deaths by politicians.

The study in the respected Lancet medical journal found that one out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 was caused by toxic exposure.  That amounts to 9 million people who died prematurely due to pollution.  The study also found that the cost of the resulting illnesses and deaths amounted to some $4.6 trillion in annual losses.

Worse yet, the 9 million deaths from pollution appears a highly conservative estimate since it relied on only limited data on specific measurable cases of deaths and illnesses. The actual number is likely much higher. Moreover, only half of the 5000 news chemicals introduced since 1950 have actually been fully tested for their toxicity.

Obviously, the rate of death is higher in developing countries, though we are now experiencing heavy pollution migration from Asia.  In India, an astonishing one out of every four deaths are attributed to pollution. In China, there is a term for “cancer villages” in which a huge percentage of the citizens are developing cancers due to horrific environmental conditions. In China, one out of every five deaths are attributed to pollution with 1.8 million premature deaths a year…(more)

‘Shell knew’: oil giant’s 1991 film warned of climate change danger

by Damian Carrington and Jelmer Mommers : theguardian – excerpt (includes video)

Public information film unseen for years shows Shell had clear grasp of global warming 26 years ago but has not acted accordingly since, say critics

Film warned of climate change ‘at rate faster than at any time since end of the ice age’   What Shell knew about climate change in 1991(more)

The oil giant Shell issued a stark warning of the catastrophic risks of climate change more than a quarter of century ago in a prescient 1991 film that has been rediscovered.

However, since then the company has invested heavily in highly polluting oil reserves and helped lobby against climate action, leading to accusations that Shell knew the grave risks of global warming but did not act accordingly.

Shell’s 28-minute film, called Climate of Concern, was made for public viewing, particularly in schools and universities. It warned of extreme weather, floods, famines and climate refugees as fossil fuel burning warmed the world. The serious warning was “endorsed by a uniquely broad consensus of scientists in their report to the United Nations at the end of 1990”, the film noted.

“If the weather machine were to be wound up to such new levels of energy, no country would remain unaffected,” it says. “Global warming is not yet certain, but many think that to wait for final proof would be irresponsible. Action now is seen as the only safe insurance.”

A separate 1986 report, marked “confidential” and also seen by the Guardian, notes the large uncertainties in climate science at the time but nonetheless states: “The changes may be the greatest in recorded history.”… (more)

Scientific Reports Confirm Catastrophic Climate Change

By Jonathan Turley : Jonathanturley – excerpt

There are new reports confirming not only climate change but escalating losses of arctic ice. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s annual Arctic report card has found that this is the hottest year on record in the Arctic and it is now twice as fast as any other place on Earth. Another international study found that the rapid loss of glaciers is caused by climate change to a certainty of 99 percent

The impact could well be catastrophic for the planet. The permafrost holds a huge amount of carbon which is released with the melting — releasing more CO2 and methane into atmosphere. That will further speed up climate change . . . which will result in more ice melting in an accelerating downward spiral. .. (more)

One wonders why any trees are being cut to release more carbon into the air if scientists are concerned by carbon release.

Republicans to break rank with party leaders in call for climate change action

theguardian – excerpt

At least 10 House Republicans sign on to resolution in mini-rebellion seemingly designed to put pressure on presidential candidates and party leaders.

Nearly a dozen Republican members of Congress will break ranks with leaders of their party on Thursday, and call for action against climate change.

The mini-rebellion a week before the pope visits Congress appears timed to ratchet up the pressure on Republican presidential candidates and congressional leaders to soften a party line of casting doubt – or simply denying – the existence of climate change.

So far, at least 10 House Republicans have signed on to the resolution acknowledging that human activity contributes to climate change, and calling for actions to respond to the threat of climate change.

The res­ol­u­tion was drafted by Chris Gibson, a former US army colonel and congressman from New York who is not seeking re-election.

The resolution, calling for “conservative environment stewardship” was endorsed by representatives Ileana Ros-Le­htin­en and Car­los Cur­belo of Flor­ida, Robert Dold of Illinois, Dave Reich­ert of Wash­ing­ton, Pat Mee­han, Ry­an Cos­tello, and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Richard Hanna and Elise Stefanik of New York, according to the National Journal.

A number of those representatives are also not seeking re-election or are from moderate districts.

OP-ED: Is it time to revisit CEQA?

OP-ED: Is it time to revisit CEQA?

By Sue Lempert : smdailyjournal.com – excerpt

State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has a major challenge. He’s the new chair of the important Environmental Quality committee, which among other things, will be considering possible changes to the California Environmental Quality Act, also known as CEQA. Gov. Jerry Brown called for reform of CEQA in his State of the State address. Now, state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is introducing Senate Bill 731 to do just that. Both the governor and Steinberg feel the act has been used or misused for corporate competition (one corner gas station trying to stop a competitor from adding more pumps), by unions to force project labor agreements, and by opponents of infill development and transportation projects to delay or stop work.
CEQA was signed into law in 1970 by then governor Ronald Reagan to provide a statewide policy of environmental protections. CEQA requires analysis and public disclosure of possible environmental impacts and necessary mitigation. It has been a mandatory part of California state and local government land use decision making. It has also been the basis of numerous lawsuits. According to the governor and senators Steinberg and Hill, it has been used to stop development often for reasons that have nothing to do with environmental protection. It also has not been updated to reflect new environmental challenges including climate change and sea level rise.

Continue reading “OP-ED: Is it time to revisit CEQA?”

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