SHADE FOR TUCSON

September Sustainable Tucson Monthly Meeting

Tuesday, September 11, 2018     

One of the simplest and most pleasing ways we can adapt to climate change, while mitigating its effects, is to reforest our world. Globally, trees are dying off. But cities across the country are working to reverse this trend. Tucson is one of those cities. The goal: a shade canopy of 20% (we’re currently at 8%) by 2030.

At this Sustainable Tucson meeting, you can learn about the Shade for Tucson campaign, led by a network of non-profits who are reaching out to businesses, government agencies, and community groups to join in this massive effort. After brief presentations, leaders in this campaign will engage in conversation with all present as we envision and plan for the planting and care of one million trees across the city. Panelists include Tom Ellis, Executive Director, Tucson Clean and Beautiful; Katie Gannon, Program Director, Trees for Tucson; Kendall Kroesen, Community Outreach Coordinator, Mission Garden; and Tanya Quist, Director, UA Campus Arboretum.

Doors open 5:30 pm   Program starts 6:00 pm   

Ward 6 City Council Office  3202 E 1st Street

 

 

“Chasing Ice” Outdoor Film Screening

James Balog’s “Chasing Ice” is the Emmy-winning story of one person’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. This documentary brings to light the global life force of glaciers and the alarming rate at which they’re disappearing.

Prepare for the People’s Climate March by joining the journey of a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

What: Chasing Ice Outdoor Film Screening (watch the trailer here)
When: Thursday, April 27, 2017, 6 p.m. (Film starts at Sunset)
Where: Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson, 4831 E. 22nd Street, Tucson, AZ 85711 (map)
RSVP

Food, Water, And Traditional Knowledge In Arid Lands

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Southwest Folklife Alliance are screening a 15-minute documentary — produced by the College of SBS and SFA — titled “Food, Water, and Traditional Knowledge in Arid Lands.” The film emerged from the Food and Water in Arid Lands conference held at the UA this spring.

Following the free film showing — which will be held at the Loft Cinema on April 23 at 2 p.m. — a panel of community experts, including people from the film, will dicuss “Tools for policy, organizing, and action.”

Description of the film
Human beings are putting more stress on our food and water delivery systems than ever before. While some may look to emerging technologies, there is a growing acknowledgement that Traditional Knowledge and Indigenous practices hold tremendous promise for food security in times of population growth, economic inequality, and changing climates.

In this film, practitioners and teachers of Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge from the Southwestern United States and around the globe share their insights on multigenerational, community-based, and culturally-embedded models of food and water sustainability in arid lands.

These models are important for food and water security, but even more, they can also help ensure social justice, economic justice, human rights, and political autonomy across the globe.

Loft Cinema, Sunday April 23, 2:00 pm
Free Admission. Post-film Q &A
https://sbs.arizona.edu/event/film-screening-panel-food-water-and-traditional-knowledge-arid-lands

Decision Support for Uncertain Climate Futures: The Confidence Trap

For more than 200 years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has had primary responsibility for water resource operations on most major U.S. river systems. Managing the impacts of climate variability and change is a significant challenge; projections of specific, possible threats and impacts to regional scale hydrology are still uncertain enough that explicit guidance is needed on their interpretation and use. This talk will describe new approaches to helping decision makers understand uncertainties in managing real river systems, aiming to avoid communication issues about confidence while respecting uncertainties.

Jeff Arnold is senior scientist and lead climate scientist at the USACE, where he integrates climate change considerations, including both adaptation and mitigation, into water resources applications. He co-directs the USACE National Climate Preparedness and Resilience programs and is coordinating lead author for adaptation in the Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment.

Where
University of Arizona ENR2 building
1064 E. Lowell Street
Agnese Nelms Haury Lecture Hall, Room S107

Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change

Join us for this powerful talk with environmental advocate, philosopher, and award-winning author Kathleen Dean Moore, Ph.D as we examine our motivations and obligations to extend engaged compassionate action toward the environment.

Climate change may be an economic and technological problem. But fundamentally, it is a moral problem, and it calls for a moral response. In this talk, Dr. Moore, author of Great Tide Rising: Toward Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change, and co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, takes on the essential questions:

Why is it wrong to wreck the world? What is our obligation to the future? What is the transformative power of moral resolve? How can clear thinking stand against the lies and illogic that batter the chances for positive change? And always this: What stories and ideas will lift people who deeply care, inspiring them to move forward with clarity and moral courage?

Where
UA Environment and Natural Resources 2 (ENR2)
1064 E. Lowell Street Tucson, AZ 85719
United States

Sign-making Workshops — People’s Climate March – Tucson 2017

Come one, come all. You don’t have to be artistic! We will have examples of slogans or bring your own! Bring art supplies or donate them. We will have some too.

Workshop 1
Friday, April 14, 3 pm – 7 pm
Raices Taller 222 Art Gallery and Workshop
218 E. 6th Street
Workshop 2
Thursday, April 20, 5 pm – 8 pm
Ward One Council Office (Regina Romero)
940 W. Alameda Street
Workshop 3
Monday, April 24, 5 pm – 8 pm
Brother John’s Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ
1801 N. Stone Avenue

Chasing Ice — Outdoor showing — film begins at dusk

Thursday, April 13, 6:00 pm — Unitarian Universalist Church, patio, 4831 E 22nd Street
Free and open to the public

Chasing Ice is the Emmy winning story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Patio: film begins at dusk.
www.tucsonsolidarity.org/calendar

For more information, email contact@tucsonsolidarity.org

Watch the trailer
The film will also be shown (same time & place) on April 27
RSVP

Building Resilience by Building Community

How can we build supportive relationships with our neighbors in a world that is fragmented by everything from automobiles to zoning to the internet to globalization? How do we remain secure in a world where we have almost no things stored here (like food) and nearly everything we have is made someplace else in the world and then shipped here, all using fossil fuels?

The March Sustainable Tucson General Meeting is Building Resilience by Building Community. It is the second of our The Opposite of Helpless series. At this Building Resilience program, we will explore many of the ways that Tucsonans are working together to build community and resilience in local food, care for the elderly, education, and climate readiness.

The meeting format is:
* Brief presentations by groups on their current activities and volunteer opportunities
* Panel discussion on how their work can help promote community connections and what Tucson can do to dramatically expand the sort of work they are doing.
* A “Volunteer Fair” so you can find out how to help these organizations, develop a future general meeting program, or develop a Sustainability Agenda for Tucson.

Currently scheduled groups are:
• Food Resilience Project
• Pima Council on Aging’s Neighbors Care Alliance
• Building Resilient Neighborhoods
• Community Food Bank’s Garden program
• Changemaker High School
• Watershed Management Group

Find out how you can get involved, and what we need to do to make Tucson a more Resilient and Sustainable community at the Sustainable Tucson March 14 General Meeting, 6:00 at Ward 6, 3202 E 1st St. (Doors open at 5:30).

Map and directions

Climate at the Core: Reconstructing Past Climate to Understand the Future Using Tree-Rings

Presenter: Jessie Pearl, PhD student, Department of Geosciences

In this talk, Jessie will describe the science of dendrochronology— tree-ring dating — that was created at the world-renowned Laboratory of Tree Ring Research here at the University of Arizona. She will discuss the interpretation of tree-rings and show how this technique can provide especially valuable information to her region of study: the northeastern United States. Jessie will show how coastal trees can provide a pre-historic temperature record and discuss climate influences that remain to be interpreted from the data. These records will help inform policy makers and ordinary citizens about rising temperatures and future storm scenarios for the New England region.

Borderlands Brewing Co. Science Café
119 E Toole Ave

“Transformational Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Water Sustainability in the Colorado River Basin”

Seminar by UA Center for Climate Adaptation Science & Solutions: “Transformational Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Water Sustainability in the Colorado River Basin”

February 8 at 4:30 p.m.

UA Campus, ENR2 Bldg. Room S0107, 1063 E. Ft. Lowell St.

Speaker: Dave White, Professor, School of Community Resources and Development, Arizona State University

Drawing from use-inspired sustainability science and decision making under uncertainty, this talk will address the overarching question: Given environmental and societal uncertainties, how can cities dependent on the Colorado River Basin develop transformational solutions to implement water sustainability transitions? Managing transitions toward urban water sustainability will require innovative approaches to water governance that are anticipatory, adaptable, just, and evidence-supported.

Tucson Citizens Climate Lobby

Saturday Jan. 14th 2017 at Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2331 E Adams St, Tucson, AZ 85719.

Please join our greater Tucson CCL group for our monthly meeting that starts with welcome and coffee at 9:30, our chapter meeting from 10:00 to 11:00am, followed by our international call. Meeting adjourns at 11:45.

This month’s guest is Yoram Bauman, founder of Washington’s carbon tax initiative – yeson732.0rg.

  • What are the lessons we can learn from the defeat of the Washington state carbon tax referendum, Initiative 732?
  • Bauman holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington and is known as the “Stand-up Economist.”
  • He is co-author of the 1998 book Tax Shift that helped inspire the revenue-neutral carbon tax in British Columbia.
  • In 2012, he co-authored with Shi-Ling Hsu an op-ed in the New York Times, The Most Sensible Tax of All.

Communicating Climate Change

Our January General Meeting focuses on issues of how we communicate on Climate Change. To stimulate our discussion, we will view selections from a lecture titled “Climate Change in the American Mind,” by Anthony Leiserowitz, the Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

The program includes a reading by Susan Feathers (one of the founders of Sustainable Tucson), from her newly released novel Threshold, which looks at Tucson and the Southwest in the not-so-distant future under the impacts of climate change.

Please join us to be part of the discussion and explore ways in which we can communicate more effectively on this vital issue.

Note new day of the week and new location for 2017 General Meetings.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Ward 6 Office, 3202 E 1st St. (one block south of Speedway, one block east of Country Club)
Doors open 5:30 for networking. Program starts 6 pm.

Further References:

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication:

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu

Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz – full March 2015 lecture:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpmcJDr3KX8

Key Climate Scientists

Dr. James Hansen, 2016 lecture

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42wtAennn8w

Dr. Kevin Anderson 2016 Interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck_Ev8oqBh0

COP22: A Multimedia Presentation and Discussion about the UN Climate Talks in Marrakech

Speaker(s):
Remy Franklin, Masters Candidate, School of Geography and Development
Location:
ENR2, Rm S230

School of Geography and Development MA Candidate Remy Franklin tells the story of COP22 from his perspective as an activist and observer with the youth advocacy organization, SustainUS.

Sponsored by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45pm.

Religious response to environmental issues

Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, 602 N. Wilmot Road, will discuss global climate change and the impact to the environment with five speakers, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. An optional Mass begins at 8:30 a.m.

According to press materials, speakers include:

Katie Hirschboeck, associate professor of climatology for the University of Arizona’s tree-ring lab and a Catholic Climate Ambassador.
Clark Hansen, a regional organizer for Bread for the World.
Marco Liu, director of advocacy and outreach for the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.
Angel Wang from the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona’s committee on creation care.
The Rev. John Leech, associate priest of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

To RSVP, email hsieh@dakotacom.net by Tuesday, Oct. 25.

For more information, visit smallangelstucson.org or call 886-7292.

UN Conference in Tucson on Food & Water in Arid Lands

A Food and Water Conference, and a Celebration of Place

WHAT: The 2016 ITKI ● UNESCO ● City of Gastronomy Conference in Tucson, Arizona, USA: Food and Water in Arid Lands: Dialogues across Contemporary and Traditional Knowledge

WHEN: Opens on Friday, November 4, 2016 and concludes on Saturday, November 5 at 5pm, followed by a closing celebration to which all are invited. Additional programming before and after the Conference also available for those interested.

WHERE: The Conference will be held on the University of Arizona Campus, largely in the Student Union Memorial Center.

COST: Absolutely free, but registration required. Space is limited. Please join us!

Please join us for this opportunity to learn about efforts across the globe to create sustainable and thoughtful futures informed by place, history, Traditional Knowledge, and other ways of knowing.

As the world undergoes climate change, urban and rural communities in arid lands need effective adaptive strategies for ensuring resilience in the face of increasing environmental variability, changing weather patterns, dwindling water resources, and intensifying strains on food systems and food security. Join us November 4 and 5, 2016 for discussions with expert panelists about their experiences with water management and water scarcity, their work toward just food systems and sovereignty, and their insights on the roles of local knowledge in adaptation and climate change.

In addition to the Conference, panelists, distinguished guests, and attendees are encouraged to join a number of excursions that highlight both the uniqueness of our region’s cultural and food heritage, as well as our unique scientific inquiries into Earth’s living systems. Click here for more on our Friday night dinner and reception with James Beard Award winning Chef Janos Wilder at the Carriage House, and our Sunday morning brunch and programming at the Desert Museum.
For more on Tucson as a ‘culinary capital’:

Tucson becomes an unlikely food star (New York Times, 23 August 2016)
Tucson, Arizona, cultivates its foodie reputation – with a nod from Unesco (The Guardian, 17 July 2016)

Institute of the Environment – Fall Fest 2016

The Institute of the Environment’s annual Fall Fest is back and better than ever, with a graduate student poster competition, amazing door prizes, good food and drink, and remarks from this year’s featured speaker, Rebecca Tsosie, on “Climate Justice, Indigenous Sustainability, and an Ethic of Place.” Come catch up with colleagues and enjoy the festivities in ENR2, the UA’s newest LEED platinum building!

Location: ENR2, Room S107, 1064 E. Lowell Street

“Catching the Sun” New Film Screening

You are invited to a screening of the new film “Catching the Sun” on Friday, April 22nd at 7pm at Casa Video Film Bar at 2905 E Speedway Blvd.

Catching The Sun is a feature length documentary that explores the global race to a clean energy future. The event will be done by donation, as Tucson Solar Punk is fronting the cost for distribution rights. Check out the Trailer at catchingthesun.tv.

The film follows the hope and heartbreak of unemployed American workers seeking jobs in the solar industry, and sheds light on the path to an economically just and environmentally sustainable future. Set against the struggle to build a ‘green economy’, Catching the Sun will engage new audiences in solutions to climate change and income inequality. Please spread the word to others among your networks.

I hope to see you at the theater!

We Need to Electrify As Much Transportation As We Can – Heinberg

We Need to Electrify As Much Transportation As We Can

by Richard Heinberg

Transcript:

JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

Folks are lining up to reserve electric car automaker Tesla’s Model 3. It’s considered to be one of the first electric cars for the mass market at an expected price tag of 35 thousand dollars. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, will be unveiling the vehicle on Thursday evening, so we can’t show you what it will actually look like. But in this segment we wanted to get beyond the consumerism and ask, will this be a game changer for the automobile industry in America and the environment?

Now joining us to help us answer that question is Richard Heinberg. He’s a senior fellow at the Post Carbon Institute. Thanks so much for joining us, Richard.

RICHARD HEINBERG: It’s a pleasure, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: So, Richard, why has it taken so long for an affordable electric car to sort of come to the market? I’m reminded of the 2006 documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which really highlights how we essentially went from having electric cars on California roads in the ’90s to then, eventually, shredding and destroying those very same vehicles years later. So my question to you, Richard, is, who killed the electric car?

HEINBERG: Well, the bosses at the Detroit automakers decided back in the 1990s that there wouldn’t be a mass market for the electric car because of the short range of the vehicles. They thought consumers wouldn’t buy a car if it didn’t have a two to three hundred mile range, and the batteries at that time were not capable of delivering that kind of range. So even though they built some prototypes and sent them out to drivers, they never produced a mass market car.

Today, battery technology has improved enough so that it is possible to produce an electric car for the masses with at least a 200-mile range, and that’s what’s anticipated for the Tesla Model 3.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. there are some folks that are saying that this isn’t as big of a game changer as people are making it out to be, because essentially you’re getting power to charge your electric vehicle from fossil fuel sources like coal. Do you agree with that?

HEINBERG: Not entirely. First of all, the energy mix is different in different parts of the country. Some parts of the country, electricity is mostly coming from coal. In other parts of the country the mix is more oriented toward natural gas, hydro and renewables. So, first of all, it depends on where you’re getting your electricity from.

And second, you know, if you look out at the energy transition that we’re just beginning right now, away from fossil fuels toward renewables, it’s clear that one of the main strategies that we’ll have to pursue during this energy transition is electrification. Right now only about 20 percent of the final energy that we use in the United States is in the form of electricity. The rest is in the form of liquid fuels for transportation, energy for high heat industrial processes and so on.

We have to electrify as much of that energy usage as we can, because most of our renewable sources of energy produce electricity. That’s true of solar and wind, geothermal and hydro power. So we need to electrify as much transportation as we can.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. You have some automakers, you know, really touting this as a bright future, that we’re going to see more and more electric cars hit the market. I want to ask you about the role of cheap oil. Do you think that threatens he growth of the electric car industry?

HEINBERG: Well, probably not over the long run. We’re headed toward electric cars one way or the other, I think. However, over the short run it definitely takes some wind out of the sails, because from the consumer’s standpoint the biggest draw for an electric car is that over the lifetime of ownership the operating costs are much lower, so if you have cheap gas that changes that differential a bit, so that there’s not as much of an advantage.

DESVARIEUX: Okay, let’s talk about the future. What would a truly green transportation system look like, and are there some states or countries that are really laying out a road map to get us there?

HEINBERG: Well, a truly green transportation system probably wouldn’t rely on electric cars that much because it wouldn’t be relying on cars that much. Cars are an inherently inefficient mode of transportation. I mean, think about it. Most cars just have a driver and maybe one passenger, and meanwhile you’re dragging around two tons of metal, glass and plastic in order to get those one or two people where they want to go.

Much more efficient modes of transportation are light rail, any kind of public transportation, actually. So what we really need is to build up more rail transport and get people walking and bicycling as much as possible.

DESVARIEUX: Okay. Richard Heinberg, thank you so much for joining us.

HEINBERG: It’s been a pleasure. Thanks, Jessica.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Electric car teaser image via shutterstock. Reproduced at Resilience.org with permission.


Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice.

Resilience is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.


Source URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2016-04-04/we-need-to-electrify-as-much-transportation-as-we-can

Historic Broadway widening links and articles

“Intro to Broadway Widening Project – Who What, When, Why: Why Are We Spending $74 Million and Destroying 30 Buildings in a Central Historic Area while Producing No Traffic Improvement?”

Overview and background, an intro for people who are learning about the situation. By Dave Bilgray.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/intro-to-broadway-project-who-what-when-why-why-why/

 

An excellent OpEd by Tucson architect Bob Vint on how Historic Broadway should be designed:
http://tucson.com/news/opinion/column/guest/robert-vint-broadway-renovation-plan-needs-a-redo/article_7100d70a-8844-5150-873c-cb6d6d230f98.html

 

“Broadway widening WILL NOT speed cars…or buses…or pedestrians…or even bicycles!”

Details about minimal benefits, and RTA text showing that job doesn’t need to be done. By Les Pierce.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/data-crunched-broadway-widening-will-not-speed-cars-or-buses-or-pedestrians-or-even-bicycles/

 

“City’s April 2016 Plan differs from Previous Recommendations and Adoptions”

Differences between base alignment, as agreed to by Citizen Task Force and Mayor and Council, and specifications produced by City staff and consultants.

By Broadway Coalition

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/?p=8029

 

“Impacts of the Broadway Widening”

Various impacts on neighborhoods and Tucson overall. By Diana Lett.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/10-impacts-of-the-proposed-broadway-widening/

 

“Has HDR Engineers done what they were hired to do?”

Scope of work by consulting firm, as specified by Mayor and Council, and as actually done. By Margot Garcia.

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2016/03/has-hdr-engineers-done-what-they-were-hired-to-do/

 

“Broadway project draft Design Concept Report”

City document with basic project design

bar graph showing 6-second traffic improvement is on page 5.9, which is page 77 in the pdf.

http://broadwayboulevard.info/pdf/Broadway-DCR-Public-Review-FullDoc-120815.pdf

 

Parsons-Brinckerhoff 1987 “Broadway Corridor Transportation Study”

referenced in Les Pierce’s writeup.

see Table 3, page 10, which is page 16 of pdf, for compared expectations of various roadway configuration options

says that intersections should be 14-16 lanes wide, on page 10, which is page 16 in the pdf.

https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/broadwaycorridortransstudy.pdf

 

Link to the Broadway Coalition Petition drive to oppose the City’s unnecessary alignment plan:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/develop-historic-broadway-not-wastefully-widen-the

 

Copy of the Petition as a PDF to distribute:

Copy Broadway Petition

 

400 Comments regarding the Broadway widening from the community recorded during the current Petition Drive :

Broadway Petition Comments

Intro to Broadway Project – Who, What, When, Why?

Why Are We Spending $74 Million

and

Destroying 30 Buildings in a Central Historic Area

while

Producing No Traffic Improvement?

 

The Broadway Improvement Project is not needed, and will provide no benefit to the residents of Tucson.  The City’s own data shows that widening Broadway will provide only a 6-second improvement in travel time.

 

The City of Tucson wants to bulldoze dozens of buildings, many of them historically significant, to handle nonexistent traffic increases which were projected 30 years ago, but did not materialize.

 

The effort started in the 80s, when City analysts predicted a substantial increase in Broadway traffic by 2005. This began a decades-long push to widen Broadway, despite a consulting firm’s analysis that widening would not improve traffic flow.  The reason is the delays at intersections.  The City got funding for the project in 2006, as part of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) proposition.

 

But the traffic increase didn’t happen, for two reasons:

 

1. Population growth, which had been primarily to the East, went to the Northwest instead.

2. Aviation Parkway was completed in the 90s, providing an alternative for residents in Southeast Tucson.

 

In 2009, a consultant’s study showed that Broadway traffic was essentially unchanged since the 80s. That should have squelched the project. But the City said it was obligated to do the job, because voters approved it as part of the RTA. (Not true. The RTA proposition said a change in the plan was permitted if there was “no degradation in performance”. That 6-second difference is 1 percent, which would certainly be within the limit.)

 

So the City’s plans continued. The original design was for widening Broadway to 8 lanes, 150 feet wide. That’s half the length of a football field. More than 100 structures would be demolished, mostly locally-owned businesses, including nearly everything on the North side of Broadway, from Euclid to Country Club.

 

There was strong opposition by thousands of citizens and several neighborhood associations.  This resulted in creation of a citizen’s task force, with representatives from business, neighborhood, and disabled communities. Between June 2012 and May 2015, the task force held 37 design meetings, coordinated by City staff and consultants. There were 5 Open Houses, each attended by several hundred people, and five Business and Property Owner Meetings.

 

In late 2014, a compromise was reached between the City, RTA, and task force, calling for 6 lanes, with an estimated 10-12 buildings to be torn down. City agencies and consultants were to work out technical details.

 

We have now received the revised plan. It calls for at least 30 buildings to be demolished — triple the City’s compromise estimate — including 2 blocks of houses in Rincon Heights.  Many other buildings will become inaccessible, and will likely be destroyed, because their driveways and/or parking lots will be wiped out.  There also are changes at intersections which impact nearby neighborhoods, by diverting or blocking traffic flow.

 

Will the Broadway Corridor be a gateway to our revitalized downtown, with locally-owned businesses, and human scale?  Or will it be a wide swath of asphalt, straddled by empty lots and the dream of big box stores?

 

Tucson got a black eye with Rio Nuevo.  Let’s not do it again.  The money can be spent on sidewalks, landscaping, and ADA compliance, which would enhance the area. Please tell your City Council member to reject this wasteful and harmful idea, once and for all.

 

For more info:   www.sustainabletucson.org     www.facebook.com/broadwaycoalition

 

Thanks to Margot Garcia, for providing background and chronological information; Les Pierce, for identifying important items in City and RTA documents; and Bob Cook, for wording suggestions.

Has HDR Engineers done what they were hired to do?

Has HDR Engineers done what they were hired to do?

Here is the scope of work

The phrases below are excerpted from the 2011 Scope of Work issued by COT Dept. of Procurement for the Broadway Project used to issue the contract to HDR Engineering.

 

The consultant is to establish

  • “an innovative and context sensitive, solutions-oriented approach toward the redesign of this major roadway…
  • the selected team will redesign Broadway into a multi-modal boulevard using a variety of land use strategies to preserve historic structures…..
  • Project development should include utilization of innovative urban design, streetscape, xeriscape and environmental sustainability concepts to promote a vibrant, green, and liveable urban character….
  • consideration should be given to…long term transit development; the value of mid-century and other historic properties along the corridor; …and residential district location, form, and design.
  • Part of this project will consider how to enhance transit capability and how planning and design of facilities can increase ridership as well as foster future development of a streetcar, or light-rail system.”

 

They haven’t done any of this.

City Council, Send the design back and tell them to do what they were hired to do!!!

City’s April 2016 Plan differs from Previous Recommendations and Adoptions

There are large differences from the base alignment that the Citizen Task Force (CTF) recommended and the Mayor and Council adopted in May 2015. They are:

 

1.     Many more buildings, historic and businesses, will be acquired and demolished. It appears to be at a minimum around 30, not the 10 to 12 promised earlier.

2.     It takes out the front line of the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Historic District: two blocks of houses.

3.     Other businesses will be acquired: south side block from old Table Talk to end of that row because of no access; same for Solot Plaza.

4.     There are double left turn lanes both directions at Euclid – encouraging traffic past Tucson High School and along the periphery of the University.

5.     There are 11 bus pullouts – these slow down transit, therefore this design does not enhance transit, but makes it worse than now.

6.     There are double left turn lanes onto Campbell/Kino, making that intersection 9 lanes wide – a nightmare for pedestrians trying to get to Starbucks, Carls Junior, or the Safeway or to transfer bus lines.

7.     Extends medians past neighborhood streets, preventing left  turns. Examples: Mountain Ave, Fremont, Olson, Smith, Camino Espanol.

 

Therefore we find the 30% drawings are unacceptable because they:

 

••Do not adhere, even conceptually, to the alignment passed by Mayor & Council on June 9, 2015 and by Citizens Task Force on May 7, 2015.

••Destroy historic streetscape

••Destroy too many businesses, and thus, the essence of Broadway as a destination

••Are hostile to pedestrian and bicyclist road users

••Have too many bus pullouts, slowing down the busses

••Deny parking and access to existing businesses, thus threaten total acquisition of more properties than currently planned

••Do not support local existing businesses

••Impede access to neighborhoods

••Are automobile-centered, at the expense of a more livable Tucson

••Create remnant parcels that are too small to be used by themselves

••Do not contribute to a sense of place

••Do not adhere to current best practices in road design

••Removes right hand turn lanes from WB and EB Broadway at Country Club creating terrible opportunity for bicycle-car accidents. Using 10-foot lanes would allow a right-hand turn lane without changing overall roadway width.

 

Broadway Coalition – March 2016

Sustainability on the Chopping Block – Tucson City Council Decision April 19th

XXX

This is an urgent appeal to the Sustainability Community to show up and speak out for sustainability and reject an unnecessary road widening plan which will cost millions and do nothing for sustainable mobility and economic vitality.

XXXXX

We have limited opportunities to help shape decisions about urban form and public infrastructure which effect the way we live and generate climate-changing GHG emissions. This is one of them.

XXX

 

The Tucson Mayor and Council will decide at their April 19th Regular Meeting on how to proceed with the 30% design proposal on the table. We urge you to sign the popular “Vote No” petition below sponsored by the Broadway Coalition and ALSO submit your “negative” comments on the 30% Design here at the City’s website.

XXX

When: Tuesday, April 19th,  5:30 pm

Where:  Tucson City Hall Council Chambers

We Should Develop Historic Broadway NOT wastefully widen the roadway!

 

Say YES to smart development and NO to another bad alignment plan for Broadway. Why would we spend $75 million for no appreciable improvement in traffic?

 

On April 19th, the City of Tucson will vote whether to:

XXX

1) Widen Historic Broadway even though traffic hasn’t increased for 20 years,

2) Demolish 30+ buildings and businesses, and

3) Ignore the community’s overwhelming plea to design a vibrant, history and place-preserving, climate-friendly future where local businesses thrive and more people prefer to safely walk, bike, and use public transit.

XXX

The City’s alignment plan would set a horrible precedent for our economic future!

XXX

We need to stop wasteful public spending on unnecessary widening of roads when we need to:

XXX

1) Revitalize our historic places leading into Downtown Tucson.

2) Repave our unsafe, crumbling Tucson streets and roads.

3) Invest in alternatives to more cars – walking, biking, public transit.

4) Encourage and enable use of renewable energy – electric vehicles, Street Car extensions.

Our Petition Campaign has exceeded the first goal of 1,000 signatures with over 400 comments. Please add your name, comment if you like, and see what other Tucsonan’s are saying:

 

Time for Action is Now!

 

For background on Broadway Widening , references, articles, and research go here:

 

 

Why Are We Spending $74 Million

and

Destroying 30 Buildings in a Central Historic Area

while

Producing No Traffic Improvement?

By Dave Bilgray

 

 

The Broadway Improvement Project is not needed, and will provide no benefit to the residents of Tucson.  The City’s own data shows that widening Broadway will provide only a 6-second improvement in travel time.

 

The City of Tucson wants to bulldoze dozens of buildings, many of them historically significant, to handle nonexistent traffic increases which were projected 30 years ago, but did not materialize.

 

The effort started in the 80s, when City analysts predicted a substantial increase in Broadway traffic by 2005. This began a decades-long push to widen Broadway, despite a consulting firm’s analysis that widening would not improve traffic flow.  The reason is the delays at intersections.  The City got funding for the project in 2006, as part of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) proposition.

 

But the traffic increase didn’t happen, for two reasons:

 

1. Population growth, which had been primarily to the East, went to the Northwest instead.

2. Aviation Parkway was completed in the 90s, providing an alternative for residents in Southeast Tucson.

 

In 2009, a consultant’s study showed that Broadway traffic was essentially unchanged since the 80s. That should have squelched the project. But the City said it was obligated to do the job, because voters approved it as part of the RTA. (Not true. The RTA proposition said a change in the plan was permitted if there was “no degradation in performance”. That 6-second difference is 1 percent, which would certainly be within the limit.)

 

So the City’s plans continued. The original design was for widening Broadway to 8 lanes, 150 feet wide. That’s half the length of a football field. More than 100 structures would be demolished, mostly locally-owned businesses, including nearly everything on the North side of Broadway, from Euclid to Country Club.

 

There was strong opposition by thousands of citizens and several neighborhood associations.  This resulted in creation of a citizen’s task force, with representatives from business, neighborhood, and disabled communities. Between June 2012 and May 2015, the task force held 37 design meetings, coordinated by City staff and consultants. There were 5 Open Houses, each attended by several hundred people, and five Business and Property Owner Meetings.

 

In late 2014, a compromise was reached between the City, RTA, and task force, calling for 6 lanes, with an estimated 10-12 buildings to be torn down. City agencies and consultants were to work out technical details.

 

We have now received the revised plan. It calls for at least 30 buildings to be demolished — triple the City’s compromise estimate — including 2 blocks of houses in Rincon Heights.  Many other buildings will become inaccessible, and will likely be destroyed, because their driveways and/or parking lots will be wiped out.  There also are changes at intersections which impact nearby neighborhoods, by diverting or blocking traffic flow.

 

Will the Broadway Corridor be a gateway to our revitalized downtown, with locally-owned businesses, and human scale?  Or will it be a wide swath of asphalt, straddled by empty lots and the dream of big box stores?

 

Tucson got a black eye with Rio Nuevo.  Let’s not do it again.  The money can be spent on sidewalks, landscaping, and ADA compliance, which would enhance the area. Please tell your City Council member to reject this wasteful and harmful idea, once and for all.

 

For more info:   www.facebook.com/broadwaycoalition

 

Thanks to Margot Garcia, for providing background and chronological information; Les Pierce, for identifying important items in City and RTA documents; and Bob Cook, for wording suggestions.

Sign online petition for a sustainable Broadway

Data crunched: Broadway widening WILL NOT speed cars…or buses…or pedestrians…or even bicycles!

Analysis of RTA and COT’s own numbers shows widening Broadway will not cut travel times for cars or anyone else.

So why are we spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars amidst a budget crisis?

(A)  The proposed work will have almost zero (~1.4%) benefit, as the Design Concept Report (DCR) data itself declares.

(B)  Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) requires that “Where a departure from the ballot description is being considered, a performance comparison between the proposed alternative and the original scope of work must show no degradation in performance”.

(C)  Therefore, since functionality for cars will not be improved under ANY widening scenario (4-lane, 6-lane, or 8-lane), less invasive options that improve road functionality for everyone else (pedestrians, bicyclists, transit) will still comport with RTA’s directive while saving scarce tax dollars and must be given urgent and careful consideration.

These points are explored in more depth below.

(1)  The proposed work will have almost zero (~1.1 – 1.4%) benefit.

Broadway draft DCR, page “5.9” (9th page of Chapter 5), figure 5.10 “Travel Time Euclid to Country Club” states that travel time by car* from Euclid to Country Club on the current 2+2+center-turning lane configuration is 7.1 minutes.  Of all the four (4) considered alternatives — 4-lane, 4+2T, 6-lane, and 8-lane — only ONE enables faster travel time over this distance, the 6-lane option.  How much faster?  Six seconds.  A 1.4% improvement, which could be margin of error and not even real.  It should be noted that the 8-lane “ballot language” option actually makes things WORSE, increasing travel time by a full minute.

(* These comments focus on car-centric performance because car/vehicle performance appears to be the only transportation metric being given more than token consideration.  We thus attempt to meet the world halfway.)

Figure 5.11 “Average Speed” on the same page shows the current average car travel speed over the two-mile segment of Broadway between Euclid and Country Club to be 17.4 MPH.  Again, of all the considered alternatives, only the 6-lane option shows any improvement AT ALL, and that is an extremely modest 1.1% increase to 17.6 MPH which, again, could simply be margin of error.  And again, the 8-lane “ballot language” option would have dropped average speed by over two minutes, to 15.2 MPH.

Also, the level-of-service (LOS) predicted from the four (4) presented options shows no real difference between them in terms of overall average performance.  When averaged (where 0 = ‘F’, 1 = ‘E’, 2 = ‘D’, 3 = ‘C’, 4 = ‘B’, and 5 = ‘A’), the LOS data presented on Broadway DCR page 4.18 (54th page of PDF document) yields:

 

(A)  Broadway LOS at PAG 2040 traffic projections, by intersection:

config:  Euclid – Highland – Campbell – Tucson – Country Club – overall

4-lane:  2.17 – 3.33 – 1.75 – 2.00 – 2.08 – 2.26

6-lane:  2.08 – 3.75 – 2.58 – 2.92 – 2.08 – 2.68

4+2T:  1.50 – 2.83 – 2.33 – 2.17 – 2.08 – 2.18

8-lane:  2.50 – 3.58 – 2.75 – 2.83 – 2.00 – 2.73

 

(B)  Broadway LOS at PAG “low growth” traffic projections, by intersection:

config:  Euclid – Highland – Campbell – Tucson – Country Club – overall

4-lane:  2.33 – 3.67 – 1.83 – 2.17 – 2.08 – 2.25

6-lane:  2.17 – 3.75 – 2.50 – 2.92 – 2.00 – 2.22

4T+2:  1.92 – 3.25 – 2.33 – 2.42 – 2.17 – 2.25

8-lane:  2.58 – 3.83 – 2.75 – 3.00 – 2.25 – 3.13

 

It would appear that there is no appreciable overall difference in LOS between the presented options, with all performances but one landing in ‘D’ territory (the 8-lane option under “low growth” projections rates a low ‘C’).  Without current LOS data in the DCR, it is not clear which, if any, of these options would actually improve conditions or by how much.

This should come as no surprise, since the 1987 Parsons-Brinckerhoff Broadway Corridor Study stated (table 3, page 10) that widening Broadway (either to six or to eight lanes) would not improve performance at the Euclid, Campbell, or Country Club intersections AT ALL, and that even the “nuclear option” of installing grade-separated interchanges (GSI’s) at these intersections would only raise performance at Euclid and Campbell from a then level-of-service (LOS) of ‘F’ to ‘D’ (Country Club would not improve, and would stay at the then-current ‘D’).  In the thirty years since, nothing has changed:  none of the nine (9) alternatives contemplated by Parsons in 1987 would effect any appreciable improvement then, and none of the four (4) alternatives presented to the Broadway CTF over the past (almost-) four years will effect any appreciable improvement now.

The 1987 study was purportedly commissioned to address what was projected to be the demands of traffic in 2005.  None of the suggestions made by Parsons has been enacted — aside from intersection changes at Kino Parkway in 1989 and as part of the more recent Park-Euclid realignment, but not on the scale recommended by Parsons — yet the proverbial sky has not fallen, and Broadway remains one of our more easily traversed roads.  The perceived “problem” does not exist to an extent that justifies spending $74 million on a notional “solution” that will make no noticeable difference in average travel time or speed, or to overall throughput.

It is also not clear how a 6-lane Broadway would solve the bottleneck at Fourth/ Congress/ Toole:  northbound Downtown Links, being a 30-MPH four-lane road, will siphon away only a small fraction of the traffic load.  Hurling cars westbound down Broadway will not improve overall road performance, as they will only accumulate and back up faster than Downtown Links and Fourth/ Congress/ Toole can disperse them.  This is likely a moot point given the modest performance gains the Broadway proposal would realize, but if these changes were to move more cars per lane per hour the 6-lane “solution” on Broadway will only create another problem downstream.

This makes all the more puzzling the assertion made in Pima County’s ordinance 2015-10 (which amended its ordinance 1997-80, the Transportation Bond Improvement Plan that includes project DOT-56, “Broadway Boulevard, Euclid Avenue to Campbell”) where the Broadway project benefits were described as:  “The estimated economic value of the improvements to traffic flow and reductions in accidents are $172.85 million.  The benefit/cost ratio is 4.9:1.”  It is not clear how a 1% performance increase (time saved, speed gained) creates $173 million in benefits; in fact, one would expect accidents to rise (in number and/or severity) as speed does.

One must also wonder about end-user sentiment:  for $74 million, drivers would not unreasonably expect to feel a difference in the Broadway commute experience proportionate to such an expenditure.  Six seconds, the best projected outcome possible from among the considered options, is a woefully inadequate consolation prize.

 

(2)  RTA requires that “Where a departure from the ballot description is being considered, a performance comparison between the proposed alternative and the original scope of work must show no degradation in performance”.

As discussed above, an 8-lane configuration of Broadway would either have no effect on traffic conditions (Parsons-Brinckerhoff, 1987) or would make them worse (time and speed comparison charts, DCR page 5.9).  Leaving things at status quo would yield better traffic performance results than inflicting the “ballot language” option.

 

(3)  Therefore, since functionality for cars will not be improved under ANY widenening scenario, less invasive options that improve road functionality for everyone else (pedestrians, bicyclists, transit) must be given urgent and careful consideration.

DCR states (page 5.18) that “It is not an option to leave the roadway as it is — the City will have to improve the roadway per Federal [Americans with Disabilities Act] requirements, and there is no money to do so”.  The inadequate pedestrian and bicyclist facilities on Broadway need to be improved in any event; the low incidence of bicycle traffic on Broadway is likely for the same reason there are few bicyclists on I-10, i.e., bicyclists were simply not considered when the road was last expanded.  As our mindsets evolve from “one mode” transportation to handling all modes, so too will our roads.

If getting an ADA-compliant street* is in fact the only reason this project is moving forward — and it is difficult to draw any other conclusion, given the negligible benefits on offer — there are, and have been suggested by the CTF and the public, other alignment options that will improve functionality for pedestrian and bicyclist road users, lay the foundation for future transit improvements, and also preserve much more of the surrounding built environment for historic, commercial, and/or residential purposes.

 

(* One wonders, though, how a medianized roadway that forces wheelchair users to go blocks out of their way to cross Broadway at one of a handful of wheel-able crossings comports with ADA’s goals of equality of access.  Pedestrian travel and community connections are not just along Broadway, but across it.)

Given the current budget constraints under which City, County, and RTA are operating, it is only prudent to review what a project area truly needs, what any proposed “solution” will actually effect, and reduce the project scope accordingly.  With $74 million earmarked for Broadway, negligible projected benefit from the proposed Broadway changes, and more pressing transportation needs elsewhere, we urge a rigorous and unflinching value analysis of the current proposal and implementation of less-invasive less costly measures to create a Broadway that works for midtown and all of Tucson.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

SOURCES AND DOCUMENTS:

Broadway project draft Design Concept Report — http://broadwayboulevard.info/pdf/Broadway-DCR-Public-Review-FullDoc-120815.pdf — (~48MB, 118 pages, PDF format)

Parsons-Brinckerhoff, 1987 Broadway Corridor Transportation Study —https://www.tucsonaz.gov/files/transportation/broadwaycorridortransstudy.pdf — (~1.67 MB, 39 pages, PDF format) — see specifically Table 3, page 10 (16th page of PDF document) for compared expectations of various roadway configuration options

1989 Kino/Broadway intersection widening — https://www.tucsonaz.gov/apps/maps-and-records/webroot/images/Plan_Lib/1988/I/I-88-035A/i-88-035a_013.tif — (~227KB, TIFF format)

County ordinance 1997-80, Transportation Bond Improvement Plan, plus subsequent amendments — http://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=7610

09-APR-2015 County ordinance 2015-10, amending the 1997 Transportation Bond Improvement Plan —http://webcms.pima.gov/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=194763 — (~529KB, 48 pages, PDF format) — and describing the possible benefits of widening Broadway (page “40”, 45th page of PDF document)

19-OCT-2010 County ordinance 2010-62, amending the 1997 Transportation Bond Improvement Plan —http://pima.ecustomdev.intrafinity.com/common/pages/UserFile.aspx?fileId=9400 — (~195KB, five pages, PDF format) — including redline of River Road Ventana Wash project wording

Past roadway projects that seemed like a good idea at the time and, as history has proven, were best left on the drawing board —https://www.arizonaroads.com/urban/index.html — (Tucson’s marvels are ~2/3ds from the top), since we would be so much poorer as a City without Armory Park or the Campbell Avenue mercantile district

 

Thanks to Les Pierce for diligently compiling the documentation and lucidly stating the case.

Attached please find additional files that may be helpful.  The first two are 1987 Parsons-Brinckerhoff documents (the Broadway study and the “concept plan”); the three one-pagers are summaries/ graphic illos of my previous warblings about how the performance data clearly states (and has stated) that this project ain’t gonna solve whatever “problems” Broadway is alleged to have.  Caveat that the LOS page is a bit cluttered, but it should still work.

Cheers,

Les.

bway_conceptplan_parsons_198702

bway_study_parsons_198702

bway_dcr_los_table_201512.eps

bway_dcr_perf_graphs_201512.eps

bway_study_parsons_198702_los_table3

 

CALL TO ACTION!

XXX

Why would we spend $75 million for no appreciable improvement in traffic?

XXX

The City of Tucson is proposing to:

XXX

1)   Widen Historic Broadway even though traffic hasn’t increased for 20 years,

2)  Demolish 30+ buildings and businesses, and

3)  Ignore the community’s plea to design for a vibrant, history and place-preserving, climate-friendly future where local businesses thrive and more people prefer to safely walk, bike, and use public transit.

XXX

This plan is a horrible precedent for our future!

We have to stop spending on what we don’t need so we can invest in what we do need!

XXX

Dear City of Tucson:

XXX

Don’t Waste Taxpayer Money We Don’t Have.

Do Broadway Right Or Not At All!

XXX

People of Tucson:

 Show up at the Public Open House

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Time: 5:30-8:00

Sabbar Shrine Temple

450 S. Tucson Boulevard

This is the time and place to comment on the 30% alignment drawings. This plan sets in motion Real Estate beginning to buy properties. There may be small changes, but by in large this is it!

 

There are large differences from the base alignment that the Citizen Task Force (CTF recommended) and the Mayor and Council adopted in May 2015. They are:

1.     Many more buildings  – historic and businesses will be acquired and demolished. It appears to be at a minimum – 30, not the 10-12 promised earlier.

2.     It takes out the front line of the Rincon Heights Neighborhood Historic District – 2 blocks of houses.

3.     Other businesses will be acquired – south side block from old Table Talk to end of that row because of no access, same for Solot Plaza.

4.     There are double left turn lanes both directions at Euclid – encouraging traffic past Tucson High School and along the periphery of the University

5.     There are 11 bus pullouts – these slow down transit, therefore this design does not enhance transit, but makes it worse than now.

6.     There are double left turn lanes onto Campbell/Kino making that intersection 9 lanes wide – a nightmare for pedestrians trying to get to Starbucks, Carls Junior, or the Safeway or transfer buses.

7.     Extends medians past neighborhood streets preventing left hand turns – examples: Mountain Ave, Fremont, Olson, Smith, Camino Espanol

Therefore we find the 30% drawings are unacceptable because they:

 

  •     *do not adhere, even conceptually, to the alignment passed by Mayor & Council on June 9, 2015 and by Citizens Task Force May 7, 2015.
  •     *destroy historic streetscape
  •     *destroy too many businesses, and thus, the essence of Broadway as a destination
  •     *are pedestrian and bicyclist hostile
  •     *have too many bus pullouts, slowing down the busses
  •     *deny parking and access to existing businesses, thus threaten total acquisition
  •     *impede access to neighborhoods
  •     *are automobile-centered, at the expense of a more livable Tucson
  •     *do not adhere to current best practices in road design

Comments can be given at the Open House

Comments can be sent via email at www.broadwayboulevard.info/comments.php

Maps can be found at www.broadwayboulevard.info/planning

TAKE ACTION NOW!

Public Hearing at City Council Meeting on 30% alignment set for Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

 

For an excellent summary of studies which show that widening historic Broadway is unneessary, click here.

 

Climate Change and Pima County Operations

Climate Change and Pima County Operations:

Mitigation and Adaptation through Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, and Renewable Energy

The Sustainable Tucson general meeting for March continues this year’s focus on climate change and local impacts and actions.

In Pima County, residents, businesses, and public services primarily rely on energy generated by natural gas and coal-fired thermoelectric plants and on water supplied by the Colorado River and transported by the Central Arizona Project (CAP).

The production and transmission of energy and water supplies are linked, and the costs of these resources are rising as a result of scarcity issues, growing demands. and regulatory uncertainty around renewables. Furthermore, energy and water supplies are vulnerable to the effects of climate variability, such as prolonged drought, which further influence costs. Electricity and water costs for Pima County are projected to rise 10-30% in the coming years. While existing County policies and tools have thus far kept rising costs at bay, new strategies and infrastructure need to be considered in the context of these increasing and compounded risks.

Speakers will include:

Dr. Julie Robinson, Pima County Sustainability Program Manager

Others to be announced.

Presentations will be followed by audience Q&A.

The event will take place in the downstairs conference room of the Joel Valdez Main Library in downtown Tucson. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for meet & greet begins at 5:30; the program will begin at 6:00.
Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Lower Level Meeting Room
(Free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

Urban Farm Tour

Tucson currently grows millions of pounds of food right in the urban area, but we don’t see it because it comes from many, many places in small quantities.

Now you can join the Feeding Tucson Urban Farm Tour on March 5 to see examples of the future of Tucson’s secure food system.

During this 5-hour tour, participants will visit different sets of aquaponics and hydroponics systems, a long-time urban orchard, market gardens and community gardens. The tour will end at the Mission Garden for a locally-sourced lunch, catered by Caridad Community Kitchen, and a discussion of “What do we need to do to produce and eat lots more local food?”

The March 5 tour is organized by Feeding Tucson, a project of Sustainable Tucson. It is part of our ongoing efforts to create a more sustainable and resilient community.


Tickets are available at the Feeding Tucson website. The $25 charge covers the catered meal and a contribution to Mission Garden.

Local Climate Change Actions: Policy and Progress

Continuing Sustainable Tucson’s theme of “Climate Change and Actions for Our Sustainable Future”, please join us at the February General Meeting to hear about the progress being made locally on the policy and actions front.

Find out what is happening within Tucson City government, Tucson’s Climate Change committee’s upcoming recommendation to establish a new carbon emission goal of “Net-zero carbon emissions by 2040”, and how it can be reinforced by putting a price on carbon emissions through national legislation promoted by the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.

Speakers will include:

  • Ryan Anderson, Planning, Transportation, and Sustainability Policy Advisor, City of Tucson, Office of the Mayor
  • Ben Champion, D.Phil., Director, Office of Sustainability, University of Arizona, Co-chair City of Tucson Climate Change committee
  • Suzanne Tveit, Arizona coordinator, Citizen’s Climate Lobby

Presentations will be followed by audience Q&A.

The event will take place in the downstairs conference room of the Joel Valdez Main Library in downtown Tucson. Meet & greet begins at 5:30; the program will begin at 6:00. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Lower Level Meeting Room,
(Free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

UA Earth Transformed Lecture Series

UA Earth Transformed Lecture Series

A Series of Six Lectures
Exploring Our World and Ourselves

Mondays, January 25 – March 7
7:00-8:00 PM
UA Centennial Hall

Climate change and its impacts are no longer merely abstract projections for the future. Instead, they are on-going and growing challenges for both humans and many of the natural systems upon which we depend. Globally, changes in the oceans, ice sheets and atmosphere provide clear fingerprints of the human causes, but also important lessons for society to learn as we seek solutions. Even more than when the UA Science Lecture Series originally turned to climate change a decade ago, the Southwest is dealing with a looming water crisis, unprecedented severe wildfire risk, emerging human health concerns and much more. Scholars and the public alike need to brainstorm and work to ensure a resilient and vibrant future for the Southwest and the planet.

Lectures are held at Centennial Hall on the campus of the University of Arizona. Parking is available on a pay-per-use basis in the Tyndall Avenue Garage.
All lectures begin at 7:00 PM and are free to the public. Doors open at 6:00 PM. We encourage you to arrive at Centennial Hall before 6:30 PM as seating is limited.
For More Information
Visit the Earth Transformed website or call 520-621-4090.

Upcoming Lectures

Monday, January 25, 2016
The Ocean’s Role in Climate: Heat and Carbon Uptake in the Anthropocene
Joellen Russell, 1885 Society Distinguished Scholar and Associate Professor of Geosciences, College of Science, University of Arizona
The oceans play a key role in shaping the Earth’s climate and its variability on both short and long time scales. Central to this role is the ability of the ocean to store both carbon dioxide and heat, not only at the surface but also in its deepest layers. New technologies are revolutionizing how we study and predict changes in our dynamic oceans.
Monday, February 1, 2016
Climate Change and Global Food Security
David Battisti, Tamaki Endowed Chair and Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington
Increasing stresses on major crops due to climate change, coupled with the increasing demand for food due to increasing population and development, present significant challenges to achieving global food security. This lecture explores the likely impact of climate change and volatility on food production and availability in the foreseeable future.

Monday, February 8, 2016
Ecosystem Resilience: Navigating Our Tenuous Connection to Nature
Russell Monson, Louise Foucar Marshall Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, College of Science, University of Arizona
Sustainability of the services provided by Earth’s ecosystems is dependent on mechanisms of resilience that include maintenance of biotic diversity and avoidance of climatically-controlled ‘tipping points’. This lecture will explore how recent trends in land use and anthropogenic climate warming have exposed vulnerabilities in the mechanisms of ecosystem resilience, and revealed the potential for surprising shifts in the productivity and persistence of ecosystems.

Monday, February 15, 2016
No lecture this week.

Monday, February 22, 2016
Climate Change and Human Health: Impacts and Pathways to Resilience
Kacey Ernst, Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Arizona
Climate change will inevitably lead to negative impacts on human health. Certainty in predicting negative health outcomes is higher when changes are more directly related to the natural environment. Research is advancing our understanding of these complex systems and how they might be altered under different climatic conditions. Mitigation strategies can be applied now to improve both the current and future health of populations.

Monday, February 29, 2016
Carbon Sequestration: Can We Afford It?
Kimberly Ogden, Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Arizona
Carbon sequestration is defined as removing carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change. Although there are commercially available technologies, the main barrier to implementation is economic. This lecture will explore proposed methods for carbon capture from the simple to the complex. The potential of alternative energy to reduce emissions and sequestration using biological processes will be emphasized.

Monday, March 7, 2016
The Changing Earth: It’s Not Just a New Normal
Jonathan Overpeck, Co-Director, Institute of the Environment; Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor of Science and Regents’ Professor of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science, University of Arizona
Climate change is ever-intensifying at scale of the globe, and the Southwest is already dealing with climate change challenges in the form of unusually hot drought, looming water shortage, widespread death of trees, unprecedented severe fire risk, dust storms, hotter heat waves and more. With the economic vitality of the Southwest at stake, climate adaptation and mitigation are key.

Free screening – This Changes Everything

Join Rising Tide Tucson, the Bus Riders Union, and other local groups for a community conversation on climate justice globally and here in Southern AZ. We will be showing Naomi Klein’s new documentary about climate change and grassroots resistance, This Changes Everything.

The film presents seven powerful stores of communities fighting for justice on the front lines of climate change. The film will be followed by a panel discussion on local social and climate justice struggles and how we can get involved!

Join us at the Screening Room
127 E Congress St (right next to Ronstadt Bus Terminal)

Food! Childcare provided on request! Bilingual event.
Win a prize if you walk, bus, or bike to the event.
Contact us at risingtidetucson@gmail.com

What does the Paris Climate Agreement mean for solar in Arizona?

Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership Meeting: January 21

The public is invited to this important, free event.

Agenda:
Vince Pawlowski, a recent delegate to COP21, the United Nations Climate Conference in Paris in 2015, will be a guest speaker. Vince, a recent graduate in climate policy from the University of Arizona and part of the UA delegation to the conference, will present a summary of actions taken, the agreement and what it means for solar projects in Tucson and Arizona. The conference looked at setting a framework for action to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Solar is set to play an important role in the plan.
Mark Holohan, president of AriSEIA, Arizona’s Solar Energy Industry Association, will join the meeting by phone and provide an update on the 2016 Arizona Legislature’s activities on solar and discuss TEP’s rate case and other items pending before the Arizona Corporation Commission which will affect solar.
Parking:
Available on nearby streets and in several parking lots, or take the streetcar and get off at the Broadway stop near Stone.
*Construction Alert*
Please be advised that there might be traffic restrictions on Stone Ave. and Broadway Blvd. due to several building construction projects in the area.
Please plan your trip for any PAG meetings to allow for extra travel time.
At times delays can be more than 15 minutes depending on your route and potentially longer during morning and evening peak hours.

The Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership, a program managed by Pima Association of Governments, seeks to increase awareness of solar energy opportunities through education and outreach. A cooperative effort among government agencies, local businesses, local electric utilities, solar manufacturers, solar installers and individuals, the Solar Partnership encourages the use of solar energy by identifying the benefits of using solar and educates others about solar opportunities to support our solar economy.

2:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, 2016
Pima Association of Governments
Santa Rita Conference Room
1 E. Broadway Blvd., Ste. 401
Tucson, AZ 85701

Pima Association of Governments | info@pagregion.com
(520) 792-1093 | PAGregion.com

From the Pope to Paris: Climate Change Action Updates

Greetings and wishes to you all for a very Happy & Sustainable New Year!

2016 marks Sustainable Tucson’s 10th Anniversary. To mark that milestone, we will be planning this year’s meetings around the theme of “Climate Change and Actions for Our Sustainable Future.”

Join us at the next Sustainable Tucson General Meeting for a review of two major climate-change events from the past year: Pope Francis’s Encyclical and the COP21 meeting in Paris.

Hank Krzysik. local sustainable architect and policy advisor with Pima County Interfaith Council, will provide an analysis of the Pope’s Encyclical, focusing on its implications for action not just by world powers but also by each of us as individuals.

Vince Pawlowski, UA graduate student and board president of Association for the Tree of Life, recently returned from COP21, the UN Climate Conference in Paris. He will tell us what really happened behind the scenes in Paris — and particularly the US commitment will mean for Tucson (and for Arizona). “National promises will become the basis for city agendas. More than ever, cities will the first impacted, and in many cases the first actors.

Discussion following these presentations will focus on climate activism here in Tucson, in light of both the Pope’s Encyclical and the Paris agreement, and what we can (& must) do to reach our goals.

Climate change is a moral issue and a survival issue. The time for action is NOW.

The event will take place in the downstairs conference room of the Joel Valdez Main Library in downtown Tucson. Meet & greet begins at 5:30; the program will begin at 6:00. Doors open at 5:30 pm.

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Lower Level Meeting Room,
(Free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

Duality in Climate Science

Duality in Climate Science
Published by Kevin Anderson blog on 2015-10-15
Original article: http://kevinanderson.info/blog/duality-in-climate-science/ by Kevin Anderson

 

The value of science is undermined when we adopt questionable assumptions and fine-tune our analysis to conform to dominant political and economic sensibilities. The pervasive inclusion of speculative negative emission technologies to deliver politically palatable 2°C mitigation is but one such example. Society needs scientists to make transparent and reasoned assumptions, however uncomfortable the subsequent conclusions may be for the politics of the day.

June’s UNFCCC Bonn Conference reiterated the headline ‘conclusions’ of November’s IPCC Synthesis Report, which itself was heralded as delivering clear messages to policy makers. As the Financial Times1 noted, meeting the 2°C dangerous limitwould “only cause an annual 0.06 percentage point cut in … economic growth”, a small cost that would, according to the UK’s Guardian, rise by less than 50% even if emissions reductions were delayed to 20302. In similar optimistic vein, The US Associated Press3 and Hindustan Times4 reported that maintaining “the temperature rise below a level that many consider dangerous” may require emissions from fossil fuels “to drop to zero”, but not before “the end of this century”. The Sydney Morning Herald5 concluded that staying below 2°C would require “a fairly strong level of action on greenhouse gas emissionswith, ChinaDaily6 reporting that in delivering the requisite action the solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development.”

Based on such reports it is easy to be left with the impression that the shift away from fossil fuels needs to be much more an evolutionary transition than an immediate revolution in how we use and produce energy. Moreover, it could be suggested that delaying action until 2030 would give more time for considered reflection of the options, yet still only have a very marginal impact on economic growth (i.e. less than a 0.1 percentage point cut) – not a bad exchange perhaps?

In stark contrast, this commentary concludes that the carbon budgets needed for a reasonable probability of avoiding the 2°C characterisation of dangerous climate change demand profound and immediate changes to the consumption and production of energy. The IPCC’s own 1,000 GtCO2 carbon budget for a “likely” chance of 2°C, requires global reductions in emissions from energy of at least 10% p.a. by 2025, with complete cessation of all carbon dioxide emissions from the energy system by 2050.

Diluting the message
Whilst the endeavours of the IPCC, since its inception in 1988, are to be welcomed, I have grave reservations as to how the implications of their analysis are being reported. This is not solely the failure of incisive journalism, but is also the outcome of repeated and questionable commentary from some experts engaged in the IPCC process. Even the press release7 for the IPCC’s Synthesis report provided an optimistic spin, with the then IPCC chair stating thatTo keep a good chance of staying below 2ºC, and at manageable costs, our emissions should drop by 40 to 70 percent globally between 2010 and 2050, falling to zero or below by 2100[emphasis added]. Moreover, the Co-Chair of the IPCC’s section on reducing emissions made the all-important comment that mitigation costs would be so low that global economic growth would not be strongly affected– echoing the conclusion of the recent and influential report from The New Climate Economy8.

But does the IPCC’s own analysis support the upbeat rhetoric of evolution as opposed to the more challenging and fundamental language of revolution?

Certainly such evolutionary conclusions are forthcoming from many highly complex integrated assessment models (IAMs) – whereby an understanding of prices, markets and human behaviour is brought together with the physics of climate change to generate ‘policy-relevant’ and cost-optimised emission scenarios. These typically offer highly optimistic futures through a combination of very early peaks in global emissions and a belief that negative emission technologies will prove practically and economically viable in removing CO2 from the atmosphere (hence the reference to or belowzero emissions in Pachauri’s earlier statement).

‘Geo-engineering’ as systemic bias
The analysis within this Commentary makes no allowance for carbon budgets being increased through the adoption of ‘geo-engineering’ technologies, specifically those delivering so-called negative emissions. Such technologies are ubiquitous in 2°C scenarios9,10, despite their remaining at little more than the conceptual stage of development. However, whilst speculative negative emissions are de rigueur, similarly imprecise Earth system processes (but with the potential to reduce the available budgets) are seldom included in quantitative scenarios. The relative importance of negative emissions and Earth-system processes for the size of the available carbon budget varies across the spectrum of temperatures being considered. Yet until both can be adequately and robustly quantified their widespread inclusion within quantitative emissions pathways should be avoided. A small suite of 2°C scenarios may, of course, assume the successful uptake of negative emissions (or further positive feedbacks), but such scenarios should be in the minority and not dominate the outputs from across the IAM community.

As it stands, the expedient and ubiquitous use of speculative negative emissions to expand the available 2°C carbon budgets, implies a deeply entrenched and systemic bias in favour of delivering politically palatable rather than scientifically balanced emission scenarios. Nowhere is this more evident than in the IPCC’s scenario database11. Of the 113 scenarios with a “likely” chance (66% or better) of 2°C (with 3 removed due to incomplete data), 107 (95%) assume the successful and large-scale uptake of negative emission technologies. The remaining 6 scenarios all adopt a global emissions peak of around 2010. Extending the probability to a 50% chance of 2°C paints a similar picture. Of the additional 287 scenarios, 237 (83%) include negative emissions, with all the remaining scenarios assuming the successful implementation of a stringent and global mitigation regime in 2010.

In plain language, the complete set of 400 IPCC scenarios for a 50% or better chance of 2°C assume either an ability to travel back in time or the successful and large-scale uptake of speculative negative emission technologies. A significant proportion of the scenarios are dependent on both ‘time travel and geo-engineering’.

An arithmetic sense check
With IAM outputs typically clustering around evolutionary rather than revolutionary rates of change, there is clearly merit in undertaking some basic arithmetic to sense-check the model outputs, the consequent framing of policies, and the timeframes for delivering deep cuts in emissions. Building on the concept of carbon budgets12-14 the following steps summarise a sequence of reasoning and transparent assumptions that suggest a profoundly different challenge to that dominating the current discourse on climate change.

1) From the Copenhagen Accord12 in 2009 to the New York Climate Summit in 2014 political leaders have repeatedly reaffirmed their commitment to take the necessary action, informed by science15,16to “hold the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius”15.

2) The IPCC’s Synthesis Report reiterates their previous conclusion that Cumulative emissions of CO2 largely determine global mean surface warming by the late 21st century and beyond17.

3) The Report proposes a headline carbon budget of 1,000 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (1000 GtCO2) for the period 2011 to 2100 and for a 66% chance, or better, of remaining below a 2°C rise18.

4) Energy-only CO2 between 2011and 2014 inclusive has totalled around 140GtCO2.

5) To apportion the remaining 860 billion tonnes between the principal sources of CO2 emissions, i.e. energy, deforestation, and cement (process only), it is necessary to understand their relevant contexts. In a world genuinely committed to not exceeding the 2°C budget, it is reasonable to assume there exists a concerted effort to reduce emissions across all three emission sources.

6) Against this backdrop, deforestation and land use change emissions for 2011-2100 are based on RCP4.519, the IPCC’s most ambitious deforestation pathway to exclude net-negative land use emissions. The total deforestation budget is therefore taken as ~60GtCO2.

7) Turning to cement, whilst energy-related emissions are included here in total energy CO2, the substantial process emissions are not and so need to be considered separately. Industrialisation throughout poorer nations and the construction of low-carbon infrastructures within industrialised nations will continue to drive rapid growth in the process emissions from cement production (current ~7% p.a.20). An aggressive uptake of lower-carbon alternatives (including CCS) and more prudent use of cement could reduce some of this early growth,21,22 but in the longer term, such emissions will need to be eliminated. Provisional and highly optimistic analysis building on recent process emission trends,20,23 suggests such emissions could be constrained to around 150 GtCO2 from 2011 to their eradication later in the century.

8) Consequently, the remaining budget for energy-only emissions, for the period 2015 to 2100 and for a “likely” chance of staying below 2°C, is ~650 GtCO2.

9) The political and physical inertia of the existing system will likely see emissions continue to rise until ~2020. Assuming there is an unparalleled agreement at Paris and energy-only emissions of CO2 reach a 2020 peak of ~37 GtCO2, a little under 180 GtCO2 will have been emitted between the start of 2015 and 2020, leaving a post 2020 budget of ~470 GtCO2.

10) This would demand a dramatic reversal of current trends in energy consumption and emissions growth. Global mitigation rates would need to rapidly ratchet up to around 10% p.a. by 2025 and continue at such a rate to the virtual elimination of CO2 from the energy system by 2050.

Unpalatable repercussions
Applying simple arithmetic to the headline data within the IPCC’s Synthesis Report raises fundamental questions as to the realism of both the content and the tone of much of the reporting that followed its publication. Moreover, the failure of the scientific community to vociferously counter the portrayal of the findings as challenging but incremental suggests vested interests and the economic hegemony may be preventing scientific openness and freedom of expression.

The carbon budgets aligned with international commitments to stay below the 2°C characterization of dangerous climate change demand profound and immediate changes to how energy is both used and produced. The IPCC’s headline budget of 1,000 GtCO2, even with highly optimistic assumptions on curtailing deforestation and cement emissions, requires global reductions in energy-CO2 of at least 10% p.a. from 2025, transitioning rapidly to zero emissions by 2050. The severity of such cuts would likely exclude carbon capture and storage (CCS) as a dominant post-2050 technology. Only if the life cycle carbon emissions of CCS could be reduced by an order of magnitude from those postulated for an efficiently operating gas-CCS plant (typically around 80g CO2 per kWh24), could fossil fuels play any significant role post-2050.

Delivering on such a 2°C emission pathway cannot be reconciled with the repeated and high-level claims that in transitioning to a low-carbon energy

system “global economic growth would not be strongly affected7. Certainly it would be inappropriate to sacrifice improvements in the welfare of the global poor, including those within wealthier nations, for the sake of reducing carbon emissions. But this only puts greater pressure still on the relatively small proportion of the globe’s population with higher emissions. The strains that such 2°C mitigation puts on the framing of our lifestyles cannot be massaged away through incremental escapism. With a growing economy of 3% p.a. the reduction in carbon intensity of global GDP would need to be nearer 13% p.a.; higher still for wealthier industrialised nations, and higher yet again for those individuals with well above average carbon footprints (whether in industrial or industrialising nations).

Conclusions
The IPCC’s synthesis report and the scientific framing of the mitigation challenge in terms of carbon budgets was an important step forward. Despite this, there remains an almost global-scale cognitive dissonance with regards to acknowledging the quantitative implications of the analysis, including by many of those contributing to its development. We simply are not prepared to accept the revolutionary implications of our own findings, and even when we do we are reluctant to voice such thoughts openly. Instead, my long-standing engagement with many scientific colleagues, leaves me in no doubt that whilst they work diligently, often against a backdrop of organised scepticism, many are ultimately choosing to censor their own research.

Explicit and quantitative carbon budgets provide a firm foundation on which policy makers and civil society can build a genuinely low-carbon society. But the job of scientists remains pivotal. It is incumbent on our community to be vigilant in guiding the policy process within the climate goals established by civil society; to draw attention to inconsistencies, misunderstandings and deliberate abuse of the scientific research. It is not our job to be politically expedient with our analysis or to curry favour with our funders. Whether our conclusions are liked or not is irrelevant. As we massage the assumptions of our analysis to fit within today’s political and economic hegemony, so we do society a grave disservice – one for which the repercussions will be irreversible.

References

1. Clark, P. Financial Times (2 November 2014). http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/26d0edc6-628e-11e4-9838-00144feabdc0.html – axzz3KxE5mP6Q

2. Carrington, D. The Guardian (2 November 2014). http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/02/rapid-carbon-emission-cuts-severe-impactclimate-change-ipcc-report

3. UN climate panel says emissions need to drop to zero this century to keep warming in check (Associated Press, 2 November 2014). http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/11/02/un-climate-panel-says-emissions-need-to-drop-to-zero-thiscentury-to-keep/

4. Hindustan Times. UN climate report offers stark warnings. Copenhagen. (Taken from Associated Press, 3 November 2014). http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/un-climate-report-offers-stark-warnings-hope/article1-1281867.aspx

5. Miller, N. The Sydney Morning Herald (4 November 2014). http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/ipcc-report-little-time-left-to-act-on-climate-change-20141103-11g2er.html.

6. Jing, F. ChinaDaily: Europe (3 November 2014). http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/2014-11/03/content_18854403.htm

7. Concluding instalment of the Fifth Assessment Report. (IPCC Press Release) (2 November 2014).

8. Better Growth Better Climate synthesis report. (The New Climate Economy2014). http://newclimateeconomy.report.

9. Fuss, S. et al. Betting on negative emissions. Nature. 4. 850-853 (2014)

10. UNEP 2014. The Emissions Gap Report 2014. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi

11. IPCC AR5 Working Group III. (2014) Mitigation of Climate Change (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014).

12. Anderson, K. et al. From long-term targets to cumulative emission pathways; reframing the climate policy debate. Energy Policy 36. 3714–3722. (2008)

13. Anderson, K. & Bows, A. Beyond dangerous climate change. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. A 369, 20–44 (2011). doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0290

14. Frame, D. et al. Cumulative emissions and climate policy. Nature Geosci. 7, 692–693 (2014).

15. Report of the Conference of the Parties; fifteenth session; Copenhagen, 7 to 19 December 2009.

16. President Barroso. The L’Aquila summit; European Commission, MEMO/09/332; 10/07/2009 http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-332_en.htm

17. IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report (2014); Topic 2.1. p56 and SPM 2.1. p.8.

18. IPCC AR5 Synthesis Report (2014); Table 2.2. p.64

19. RCP online database. IIASA, (2015). http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/research/researchPrograms/TransitionstoNewTechnologies/RCP.en.html

20. Andrew. R. Global Carbon Project (http://www.globalcarbonproject.org) Private communication (Nov. 2014)

21. International Energy Agency (IEA). Cement Technology Road Map. (2009). https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/Cement.pdf

22. International Energy Agency (IEA). Energy Technology Perspectives. (2014)

23. West. K. International Energy Agency. Cement Road Map (2009) and Energy Technology Perspective (2014). Private communication (Feb.2015)

24. Hammond, G. et al. The energy and environmental implications of UK more electric transition pathways. Energy Policy 52 ,103–116 (2013).dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2012.08.071

Acknowledgements:

  • Cicero (Oslo): Glen Peters and Robbie Andrew for guidance, respectively, with the IPCC scenario database and global cement emissions
  • IEA (Paris): Kira West information related to IEA cement scenarios
  • Tyndall Centre (University of Manchester): Maria Sharmina and Jaise Kuriakose on deforestation emissions; Alice Bows-Larkin and John Broderick on carbon budgets.

Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice.

Resilience is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities.


Source URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2015-10-15/duality-in-climate-science

 

 

 

 

Special event for November

Sustainable Tucson is co-sponsoring a special movie at the Loft Theater – “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein.

The presentation also features a post-film panel discussion with Luis Alberto Perales of Tierra y Libertad, Bob Cook of Sustainable Tucson, and Diana Liverman of UA Institute of the Environment.

This presentation is part of Science on Screen at The Loft, an initiative of the Coolidge Corner Theatre Foundation, with major support from the Alfred P. Sloane Foundation. Movie starts at 7:00pm. Loft Theater, 3233 E. Speedway.

ENVISION TUCSON SUSTAINABLE FESTIVAL


Join us at this year’s 5th annual Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival, October 18, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the YWCA, 525 Bonita Avenue. The Festival will showcase the many features of sustainable living in Tucson and our desert Southwest.

We’re very excited about the great variety of activities and exhibits at this year’s event. Over 40 exhibitors, demonstrators, and vendors will be sure to provide something for everyone.

A few of the highlights of this event:
** The Festival is the starting point for PAG Solar Partnership’s neighborhood Solar Tour.
**The Tucson Electric Vehicle Association will display a wide variety of electric vehicles
** The Southern Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce will present this year’s Climate Leadership Challenge recognition awards.
** In recognition of National Co-op Month, the ‘Co-op Cluster’ will showcase local co-ops that use this sustainable business model.
** The Festival is the kick-off event for 10West, a weeklong celebration of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.

Throughout the day, local and native foods will be featured in food preparation demonstrations. Examples of solar cooking will demonstrate an exciting way to be sustainable. Visionary speakers will be looking at how we can attain the sustainable future we need and want. The Annual Green School Recognition will again honor a local school that promotes ecological education, school gardening, and related activities. This year, that award goes to Davis Bilingual Magnet School. And we’ll dedicate Phase 2 of the Festival-installed vegetable garden at the YWCA.

Admission and parking are free, or come by bike and Living Streets Alliance will provide a Bike Valet service for those who come by bike.

Come to the Festival! Explore what’s going on now in our community, get more involved, learn new skills, and share your own vision of a sustainable community.

For more information: www.envisiontucsonsustainable.org and like us on Facebook at Envision Tucson Sustainable, or contact Paula Schlusberg .

Broadway Coalition Vision: Let’s Make the Broadway Project Sustainable Now!

Please ACT NOW: Email your objections to the City’s Broadway Plan. Here is a model letter with email addresses by Broadway Coalition member Laura Tabili to help list the community’s concerns.

“Broadway Corridor Plan Aims to Demolish 37 Tucson Buildings” reads the Arizona Daily Star lead headline from Feb.24th. City of Tucson staff and consultants are proposing an alignment of the 2-mile project that contains unjustified widths and unnecessarily destroys historic buildings and businesses. Also troubling, this staff plan varies from what elected city leaders have voiced is their preference — the most narrow solution for six lanes which meets the safety concerns for all modes of mobility.

Many people in Greater Tucson are asking, “Why are we widening roads that don’t need it, especially when our existing roads are in such a state of disrepair? ” “Why not eliminate potholes, rather than small businesses!”

The sustainability community is asking, “Why is the City promoting a wide, car-oriented design when future trends indicate accommodation to more “people and place”centered mobility and low carbon living?” If Tucson is going to actually respond to the challenges of global warming and climate change, don’t we also have to build a “climate-friendly” transportation system?

Clearly, an irreversible Tucson Tragedy is in the making if we don’t act soon.

Come hear members of the Broadway Coalition describe their vision for the Historic Broadway Redesign Project including improvements for bicyclists, pedestrians, autos, and transit riders and creating vibrant places where people want to go to meet, shop, and enjoy life. Hear the Coalition rally the community to communicate to the City of Tucson that very little widening if any is necessary to make Historic Broadway the next great destination of historic significance and thriving small businesses.

The Coalition has already convinced the City, County, and RTA that 8 lanes is excessive. Now we just need to show that the narrowest width alignment is best for all.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6 pm.

We hope to see you all there.

To read the City Staff report and alignment maps, go to: http://www.tucsonaz.gov/broadway

The deadline for public comment on this alignment is midnight, March 11, 2015. Send comments to:

Email to broadway@tucsonaz.gov by midnight, March 11,

Hand-delivered hard-copy to the address below by 5pm on March 11, 2015

By postal mail to the address below – must be postmarked by March 9, 2015. Address to use:  Tucson Department of Transportation, 201 N. Stone Ave, 6th Floor, Tucson, AZ  85701

Monday, March 9th, 5:30 – 8:00
Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room
101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

Response to assertions made about energy’s costs, systems

Response to assertions made about energy’s costs, systems

By Carmine Tilghman

Special to the Arizona Daily Star, January 29, 2015

 

Evidence of Tucson Electric Power’s commitment to renewable energy isn’t hard to find.

Visit the Solar Zone at the University of Arizona Tech Park, where solar projects built from competing technologies cover 165 acres and produce a combined 23 megawatts of energy for TEP. Drive northwest to Avra Valley, where two giant solar arrays produce a combined 60 MW for TEP. Or head south to Green Valley, where a new 35-MW solar array serving TEP customers came online in December.

 

You could also simply visit your local government office, since TEP provides both the city of Tucson and Pima County with energy from local solar arrays through our Bright Tucson Community Solar Program.

 

These and other resources provide TEP with nearly 330 MW of total renewable generating capacity, enough to meet the annual electric needs of more than 71,000 homes. We’re also unveiling a pair of innovative projects this year that represent new ways to partner with our customers to achieve our community’s renewable energy objectives.

 

Next month, we’ll unveil the largest solar power system based on a U.S. military installation, a nearly 18-MW array at Fort Huachuca. Later this year, we’ll install solar arrays on up to 600 local homes through the new TEP residential solar program.

 

Like all of our solar power projects, these two new efforts are designed to expand our resources without imposing undue costs on our customers.

 

While we all look forward to the day when all of our power can come from the sun, TEP must ensure that electric service remains affordable, reliable and safe as we transition to newer, more sustainable resources.

 

We must also abide by economic realities and proven facts, including the higher cost and lower reliability of solar power.

 

Such concerns do not burden everyone who takes an interest in energy issues. Last week, a Terry Finefrock (“Economic development: Start with a Tucson microgrid,” Jan. 23) offered a series of misleading assertions about energy costs and issues.

 

I’d like to provide some clarity on a few key points.

 

* The energy costs and related assertions were inaccurate, in part because the author cited the projected cost of new facilities rather than actual costs. TEP’s existing coal resources produced power at about 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour in 2014 — not 12.5 cents, as the author claimed.

* Cost comparisons of renewable and conventional resources must account for the fact that renewables operate intermittently, requiring the ongoing support of other utility resources. When those additional costs are considered — as they must be — renewable power is shown to be far more expensive than other resources.

* Energy-storage systems are not yet capable or cost-effective enough to provide an alternative to the constant support and backup capabilities of a utility’s local electric grid.

 

In urging local governments to develop their own solar power and energy storage resources, the author seeks to subject taxpayers to steep capital expenses as well as significantly higher energy costs.

 

Because private solar power systems often reduce customers’ bills below the cost TEP incurs to serve them, these unpaid costs must be recovered through higher rates borne largely by customers without solar power systems.

 

If local governments sought to secure all of their power through third-party renewable resources, as Finefrock suggests, they would remain dependent on TEP’s local grid while shifting the cost of paying for it to other local residents — the very people whose interests they seek to serve.

 

No responsible public servant would advocate such a position, and neither would we.

 

I’m proud of TEP’s efforts to provide affordable solar energy solutions for our community.

 

We will continue to work with local leaders under the oversight of the Arizona Corporation Commission to provide innovative, cost-effective programs that serve our customers’ evolving energy needs.

 

Carmine Tilghman is senior director of wholesale, fuels and renewable energy for Tucson Electric Power. Contact him at ctilghman@tep.com

 

 

 

An Energy Partnership / Climate Solution for Tucson?

 


OOOOOOOOOO

(Note Special LOCATION, DATE, & TIME)
February 18th     
6:30pm to 8:30pm
University of Arizona, Center for English as a Second Language (CESL), Room 103

OOOOOOOOOO

OOOOOOOOO

Do you know that the production of electricity in Tucson accounts for over 60% of Tucson’s climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions?

Imagine the City of Tucson joined in a “clean energy partnership” with Tucson Electric Power and Southwest Gas, sharing a goal to reduce greenhouse gases in our region 80% by 2050 and “do our part” to stem the worst effects of global warming. Imagine the local jobs created in the solar industry, energy storage and clean mobility, energy efficiency, building retrofits and appro-priate design.

Imagine the partnership is made up of high-level representatives of TEP and SWG as well as from the Mayor’s office and City Council – with the Board be made up of decision-makers from their respective organizations.

Just such a partnership has already begun in Minnesota between the City of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy (their electricity provider) and CenterPoint Energy (their natural gas supplier).

Sustainable Tucson and other Co-sponsors are bringing John Farrell, policy director at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and one of the participants in this first-in-the-nation partnership, to tell the story about how this came to be and what the future holds for Minneapolis.

Join us the evening of Feb.18th to learn about this important turn in City/Utility relationships and to show support for climate solutions here in Tucson.  In preparation, watch John make the economic case for solar energy in Tucson:

http://ilsr.org/utilities-solar-expensive/

Help bring John to Tucson.

Contributions to Sustainable Tucson are tax deductible and can be made through our fiscal sponsor, NEST Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit, and by using the Donate Now button on the left of this page.

If you are more of a time volunteer, we are looking for partners to table at outreach events like the Peace Fair, and participate in our annual Envision Tucson Sustainable festival. For helpful opportunities to create a more Sustainable Tucson contact: Paula Schlusberg at paulasch@mindspring.com

Doors open at 6:30. Program starts at 7:00.

Co-sponsors to date:

Local First Arizona

Tucson Pima Metropolitan Energy Commission

City of Tucson Ward 3 Councilmember Karin Uhlich

Southern Arizona Green Chamber of Commerce

University of Arizona Office of Sustainability

University of Arizona Students for Sustainability

Sierra Club

Mrs. Green’s World

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Progressive Democrats of America

Center for Biological Diversity

Southern Arizona Green for All

Citizens Climate Lobby – Tucson Chapter

 

Click on the link below and print the following image as a flyer. PLEASE distribute this link and flyer widely:

http://www.sustainabletucson.org/2015/02/february-18th-st-meeting-flyer/

OOOOOO

For parking, see the  UA parking map at this link: https://parking.arizona.edu/pdf/maps/campus.pdf


 

Economic development: Start with a Tucson metropolitan microgrid

Economic development: Start with a Tucson metropolitan microgrid

By Terry Finefrock Special to the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

January 23, 2015

There is great potential that electricity costs could be reduced, increases avoided, system reliability improved and recurring economic benefits provided by establishing utility-scale photovoltaic solar electric facilities within and adjacent to the Tucson distribution grid.

By using rapidly developing energy storage equipment on feeder circuits we can manage fluctuations in demand or supply, essentially creating a metropolitan microgrid.

Why is this move to multiple solar facilities dispersed around the area so important?

The cost of electricity has a great impact on our economy and all residents, businesses, ratepayers and taxpayers, especially those with little or no discretionary income. Energy, like water, is not a discretionary expenditure.

Conventional fossil-fueled generation of electricity via coal or natural gas simply costs more than solar electric generation technology. Here are just two examples why: “Freight” costs for transmission infrastructure account for about 10 percent of an electric bill; another 3 percent pays for the energy lost during transmission requiring incremental generation costs and surcharges.

Additionally, there are environmental costs. Coal combustion emits carbon and natural gas mining emits methane. Both emissions trap heat in the atmosphere, result in higher average temperatures, greater energy consumption and costs, and less local precipitation.

Methane is cleaner than coal but traps 26 times more heat than coal/carbon.

Generation of electricity via steam and turbines loses to evaporation billions of gallons of potable water each year.

That water, so precious now, will be even more so in the future. As David Modeer, general manager of the Central Arizona Project, has stated, the cost to develop alternative water sources is 10 to 50 times more than the cost of current sources. Not only will future water bills rise, but so will the cost of food crops.

I believe we should not continue to incur the operational expenses of obsolete technology such as coal-fired plants or attempt to upgrade and prolong their life for a short period of time.

Instead, I’m advocating that ratepayer revenues should be invested in new technology that avoids these expenses.

By accelerating the reduction and displacement of conventional generation with solar and energy storage, we minimize those costs and allow continued harvesting of prior investments until those assets are fully depreciated.

According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Tucson Electric Power’s 2014 cost to generate electricity via pulverized coal is 12.5 cents/kWh; the least costly generation technology is 8.8 cent/kwh; rapid-response generation, used to balance supply and demand, ranges from 26 to 29 cents/kWh.

Local utility-scale solar photovoltaic facilities can be established at less than 5 cents/kWh, and incur no fuel, emissions, water or transmission-related costs. Pima County recently contracted solar facilities at a much smaller scale for 5.7 cents/kWh.

Considering conservatively projected annual increases in utility costs, satisfying their electricity requirements via self-generation could reduce the county’s operational costs by $663 million over 30 years. Since the city of Tucson uses about twice as much energy as the county, the combined savings would total about $2 billion over that time period. (That would fill a lot of potholes or pension funds).

Federal energy-program funding for a metro microgrid could be acquired; local governments could provide zero-cost leases of public land in exchange for fixed energy prices.

In addition to electricity cost reductions, the demand for the equipment would help our economic development organizations to entice higher-wage manufacturers and solar-system providers to locate here and supply the Western U.S. and Mexico who are implementing a renewable energy mandate. The resulting population growth would increase property values, local and export trade and the various tax revenues required for community improvements.

If you believe a private-public partnership to implement some form of these concepts has merit, contact your Tucson City Council (government.tucsonaz.gov/city-government) and Pima County Board of Supervisors (webcms.pima.gov/government/board_of_supervisors), and ask that they establish a project team to work with TEP, the Arizona Corporation Commission, Residential Utility Consumer Office, and our Arizona congresspersons to make this happen.

Terry Finefrock, a Tucson resident since 1956 and a graduate of the University of Arizona and the Eller Graduate School of Management, is a former high-technology manufacturing operations and supply chain director. He has provided testimony and comment to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Contact him at tlfinefrock@comcast.net

 

The Yes Men Are Revolting – Sunday Jan 4 at the Loft

at The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway Boulevard, Tucson AZ 85716

Start the New Year Right: Gear Up to Fight Climate Change!

The Yes Men Are Revolting

On Sunday, January 4 at 1:00 p.m., Sustainable Tucson will partner with the Loft for a special preview screening of The Yes Men Are Revolting, with the duo of pranksters tackling the urgent issue of climate change. Join us for a comic and thought-provoking film, followed by Q&A with Yes Man and co-director Andy Bichlbaum. Stop by the Sustainable Tucson table before the film and learn more about what’s happening in Tucson to fight climate change and promote a sustainable future, including details about our next General Meeting. Physicians for Social Responsibility will also partner for this event.

Click here for information about the film: http://loftcinema.com/film/the-yes-men-are-revolting/

Continue reading below for more perspectives on climate change and climate action.

Climate: The Crisis and the Movement

Climate: The Crisis and the Movement

by Naomi Klein & Allen White

Wherein lie the roots of the climate crisis? Allen White, Senior Fellow at the Tellus Institute, talks with writer and activist Naomi Klein, author of the new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, about how our economic system has driven us to the point of crisis and how we can build a movement to confront the root causes of contemporary planetary perils.

A major theme of your new book is that resistance to the economic transformation required to confront climate change is the paramount challenge facing both the planet and the activist community. Why is that?

According to the analysis of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, between now and 2050, we need to leave at least two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves in the ground in order to keep global warming below the widely accepted threshold of two degrees Celsius. If this occurs, owners of these reserves will have to sacrifice trillions of dollars in profits. The fossil fuel companies and their investors, who are counting on these profits, have a huge vested interest in blocking meaningful climate action and, as we have seen so far, the power to do so.

The attraction of profit in the short-term overwhelms longer-term considerations, even for the most “enlightened” of businesspeople. Look at Michael Bloomberg for example. He is often seen as among the most enlightened billionaires on climate change. He introduced climate policies when he was mayor of New York City, he has talked openly about the risks to business associated with climate change, and he backed the Risky Business report that outlined the huge economic impacts of inaction on climate change. But then, as an individual investor, Bloomberg invests substantial money in fossil fuels. Indeed, the investment firm created to manage his wealth specializes in oil and gas.

Is this dynamic unique to the issue of climate change?

We can see this economic roadblock in past social movements as well. In the struggles for women’s liberation, for lesbian and gay liberation, and for racial equality, the biggest wins were on the legal, electoral, and cultural fronts: improved representation in culture and the media, equal rights to vote, and equality under the law. Each of these movements also had a dimension focused on economic transformation, but what you see is a pattern of winning on the legal side, on the electoral side, and on the cultural side, but losing on the economic side because it presents the biggest threat to the status quo.

This pattern goes back to reparations for slavery—the great broken promise of abolition. As Martin Luther King, Jr., said many years later, the civil rights won so far were the rights that came cheaply. It is cheaper to desegregate a lunch counter than it is to bring good schools and good jobs to impoverished neighborhoods. We can see this dynamic in the women’s movement as well. The battles for wages for housework and for counting domestic work as part of the economy are the ones we tend to lose. In the United States, even maternity leave is a struggle. What these all have in common is a diminished bottom line for the economically powerful.

This pattern became clear to me when I traveled to South Africa while writing The Shock Doctrine. One chapter in the book explores the economic losses in the aftermath of the end of apartheid. I saw this as an example of the shock doctrine—the shock of liberation—because it created a major disruption for people’s lives and marked a moment for a small group of South Africans to consolidate wealth. The economic side of the liberation project, which was to nationalize the mines and banks in order to have the resources to invest massively in improving conditions in the townships, was essentially abandoned by the African National Congress once it took power. It is a tragic story because economic inequality is deeper in the post-apartheid era than it was before, despite the enormous gains in democracy and equality under the law.

In discussing these economic roadblocks in your book, you identify neoliberal economics and an extractivist mindset as the root causes of the crisis. How do you define these?

If we are talking about root causes, I would certainly point to extractivism, a violent relationship to the planet based on dominance. It is a mentality that says we can take and keep taking without limit and never give back, one that inevitably obstructs natural cycles of renewal.

The spread of this mindset goes back to the era of European imperialism, with its sacrifice zones of resource extraction that fed the powerful centers of commerce. And it was taken to a completely new, hegemonic level with the rise of coal and the Industrial Revolution. Our drive to mine and drill and now to frack, creating ever more sacrifice zones and disposable communities along the way, certainly goes much deeper and farther back than the neoliberal form of capitalism we have now.

I wouldn’t say that free-market ideology is a root cause of the crisis, but it has played an absolutely crucial role in bringing us to the edge of the climate cliff. With global warming, we have seen an epic and tragic case of bad timing: the moment when the crisis was dropped in our laps was precisely the moment when the neoliberal project had declared victory, that there was no alternative to its program of deregulation, privatization, and slashing the public sector. Politics was now exclusively about unleashing the power of unfettered markets and unrestricted private wealth, and the very notion of collective action to further the public good had fallen completely out of favor. It is the single biggest reason we have seen such little progress on climate, because the obvious solutions—cracking down on corporations, planning our economies—are seen as impossible by the political class.

We frequently hear terms like “sustainable capitalism, “green capitalism,” “breakthrough capitalism,” and “Gaia capitalism.” Are these worthy alternatives to capitalism as we know it or decorations on a fundamentally flawed system?

People put forward these dreams periodically, and some can make sense on paper. But, once again, the entrenched interests and hyper-profitability of the current system block any possibility of the necessary economic transformation. Whenever I encounter these concepts, I always wonder how their proponents plan to get from our current system to these supposedly enlightened systems with their “triple bottom line,” their correct price signals, and their valuing of nature. What is the theory of change? We have been hearing about ways to transform capitalism from the inside for a long time, yet the ecological degradation and economic inequality produced by capitalism have only gotten more brutal.

I can certainly imagine an economic system in which markets are not at war with life on Earth. But whether that should rightly be called capitalism is another question entirely. Many people seem to be deeply invested in preserving the capitalism brand. We are stuck in this dichotomy that if it’s not capitalism, then it must be state socialism. But it could be something else entirely: a system that starts with the fundamental imperative to protect and renew life on earth, whether that is the right of all people to have enough for a good life or the right of natural systems to regenerate and not be depleted out of existence.

At the UN Climate Summit in September, I spent a day in the Private Sector Forum. The UN was very proud of the record number of CEOs present at the meeting. These business leaders waxed on and on about how they were going to be the ones to solve the climate crisis. They blamed governments for not doing anything, fully impervious to the fact that have been part of a successful counter-revolution—some of them spearheading it—to render our governments as weak as they are. The dissonance was astounding.

In my breakout session, our question was “What is the one thing governments can do to fight climate change, and what is the one thing that corporations can do?” I raised the question of whether or not governments could regulate corporations to require environmentally sustainable behavior. And the response was “Well, that’s not possible anymore. We’ve tried regulation, and it doesn’t work.” I also suggested that it was important to reduce the power of corporate money in politics. If the problem is that governments are weak, here is a way to help them get stronger. That, too, was dismissed as entirely out of hand.

You argue that we need bottom-up change. What would such a dispersed, distributed movement look like, and how likely is it to emerge?

The challenge we face is how to organize out of the rubble of neoliberalism. How do we organize without the institutional supports that our predecessors had? Many of us don’t have jobs to unionize. We have contracts, we are hyper mobile, and we are very hard to organize. The paradox of new technology is that we are easier to find than ever before but much harder to organize in a sustained way.

We see flash movements again and again, ones that burn brightly and quickly burn out. I have been a part of some of these, including the so-called anti-globalization movement and, in a more peripheral way, the Occupy movement. And I think we all understand now that sustaining a movement without a fixed address is a big challenge.

The NGO model—hopping from campaign to campaign and focusing on providing “deliverables” for funders—has also been a corrosive factor to building sustained movements. In the United States, on the right, you have funders who take ideas seriously and very consciously funded an ideological counter-revolution. Liberal donors like George Soros and the Rockefellers are often treated as the antithesis of right-wing donors like the Koch brothers. However, these donors and their foundations tend to be allergic to funding big ideas and structural change, let alone anything that consciously identifies as the left, in favor of time-limited, issue-specific campaigns. There are exceptions, but few and far between. So we have campaigns and issue-based groups, punctuated by brief periods of inter-movement convergence.

If the current model of movement-building is broken, what is needed to replace it?

Coalitions needed to build a broad-based social movement are not going to be funded in the way that the left in the United States is currently funded. Historically, there have been important relationships between trade unions and social movements, a relationship we need to revive. That means overcoming the tired dichotomy that pits jobs against the environment and, instead, bringing whole communities together to map what a real justice-based climate transition would look like—and then fighting for it. Such efforts need to go beyond mere lip service for green jobs and really hash out a vision and program for the next economy. Will public transit be free? How many jobs will it create? Where will the money come from?

We also need to revitalize membership-based organizations and create new ones, and we need to democratize our movements so that there is a system of accountability in place. Right now, after the People’s Climate March in New York, there is nothing to prevent a slick green NGO from attempting to harness all that power in the streets, meeting behind closed doors with politicians, and saying, “Well, what this movement wants is fee and dividend.” Is it? Did anyone ask? The march was about more than just climate action—it was about climate justice. One of the most noteworthy aspects of the march was its racial and economic diversity. And a lot of what was driving that was the hope of climate action representing a real investment in some deeply neglected communities and the possibility of jobs and infrastructure. If you give all the money back from a carbon tax, you no longer have any left to invest in these neglected frontline communities.

You are particularly critical of the large environmental organizations. Why?

Not all of them, and I also work with many of them. I am on the board of 350.org. I have addressed the staff of Greenpeace International. Amazing Sierra Club staff members are featured in our upcoming documentary film. I have huge respect for Friends of the Earth and Food and Water Watch. But I do point out that the environmental movement is not a social movement like the civil rights movement and the labor movement, which relied on large numbers to offset their shortcomings in political and economic power. The roots of conservationism in the US are very elite; one of the primary catalysts was the desire among the affluent to protect wilderness spaces for recreational purposes. This is still reflected in the approach some of the richest green groups take to coalition-building: their first coalition targets are usually big business—so-called “partners”—and even the military.

It is important to understand that these elite coalitions can and do come at the expense of other coalitions, ones that are not sought. The climate movement’s most natural allies—the people who have the most to lose from inaction because they are on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction and combustion—are too often never invited, or invited in ways that are perfunctory or seem disingenuous. There is a long and bitter history between the environmental justice movement and some of these big green groups, and these battles are being fought again and again. Real progress is being made in parts of the movement, which we saw during September’s People’s Climate March. But we also have to recognize that parts of the environmental movement do not stand in opposition to the status quo; on the contrary they are deeply invested within it. That means there are real limits to the scale of change they will support, even when science demands it.

What is needed to shift advocacy from specific issues and mainstream strategies to acting and thinking more systemically and structurally?

We will not win any of this unless we engage in a deep battle of worldviews. Progressives have lost so much ground over the past forty years. Particularly within the climate movement, so much effort has gone into positioning climate action as unthreatening and compatible with the free market worldview.

That is why I think it cannot be just a call for climate action—it has to be a call for climate justice. We need to be clear about the values and principles that underpin our demands. We need a polluter-pays framework so that those most responsible bear the cost. At the same time, those who have been most victimized by our current toxic economy have to be first in line to benefit from the next economy. That is not only just, but also strategic—since the people with the most to gain will fight hardest.

We need to work on elevating those parts of ourselves that value quality-of-life rather than economic enrichment. Green groups, unfortunately and perhaps unknowingly, reinforce the neoliberal view that we are first and foremost consumers by focusing their efforts on telling people what to buy and where to shop. We need to emphasize the parts of ourselves that love nature, our families, and our communities, and we need to rediscover our identities as active community members and engaged workers, not just consumers.

Are your critiques and solutions equally applicable to the Global North and Global South?

We have a collective global climate crisis and will need a collective global response. What brought me to this issue was having the concept of climate debt explained to me by Bolivia’s trade negotiator. If we are to take climate change seriously, we would have to tackle North-South inequality, including transfers of technology and wealth to heal the festering wounds of political and economic colonialism.

Anybody who has been to a UN climate conference knows that this is the issue over which the talks repeatedly break down. The Global North has been emitting carbon for over two hundred years more, and the impacts are being felt overwhelmingly in the Global South. Absent acceptance of this reality, stalemate will continue.

Latin America offers a glimpse of a path forward. The discourse around anti-extractivism and the rights of nature emerged from indigenous-inspired movements in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Brazil. Pitched battles are ongoing between traditional development-oriented leftist governments and massive social movements disillusioned with decades of neoliberal policies.

On the other side of the Pacific, China’s relentless drive for economic growth, spurred by trade globalization and low-cost labor, has taken a devastating environmental toll on both cities and the countryside. Here, we are afraid to talk about growth because it is seen as untouchable. Everybody is pro-growth. But in Beijing, people are choking on growth. The government is now reducing growth projections and committing to cap its coal use as the environmental costs of unbridled economic expansion become increasingly evident and severe.

We have to build stronger alliances globally so that we can strengthen those forces that have another vision, a non-extractivist vision, of the good society. We need to see the response to climate change as not just an issue, but as a frame that permeates the struggle for all forms of social justice.

Your new book cites the “Great Transition” scenario as a plausible and desirable alternative future that would address the ills of free market capitalism. What is the role of such a vision in mobilizing change?

I cite the Great Transition research in the context of a discussion of capitalism’s growth imperative and the fact that the only breaks from the mindless growth juggernaut have been economic crises. Avoiding those extremes requires that we very carefully plan the economy, something I have started calling a “deliberate economy.” People need to know that moving away from our obsession with GDP growth does not have to mean deprivation and suffering; on the contrary, the “managed degrowth” model means putting our well-being, health, and leisure time back at the center of our economic lives and aspirations. The idea of a Great Transition, along with much other inspiring work coming out of the New Economy movement, expresses that optimism beautifully.

More broadly, there is a desperate need for the different coalitions of the left to get far more engaged with climate change, because this crisis really forces us to decide what kind of societies we want and puts us on a firm, science-based deadline. And that makes it a unique and powerful opportunity.

The world’s social movements need to work together under a common banner to fight climate change. And we certainly need smart frameworks for thinking and talking about the diverse set of solutions that we know can tackle the crisis—from invoking the polluter-pays principle to divert fossil fuel profits into the green transition, to building decentralized, community-owned solar and wind systems, to reining in financial speculation—and making sense of the world that they are already helping us build. Again, I don’t think it is going to be capitalism. But this also isn’t about devising and imposing some kind of one-size-fits-all economic system on the globe, so the emphasis on the creative power of the “transition” itself is especially important.

 

Source URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-12-19/climate-the-crisis-and-the-movement

 

Resilience is a program of Post Carbon Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the world transition away from fossil fuels and build sustainable, resilient communities. Content on this site is subject to our fair use notice. Original article: http://greattransition.org/publication/climate-the-crisis-and-the-movement . Published by The Great Transition on 12-19-14.


What climate change asks of us

 

What climate change asks of us: moral obligation, mobilization and crisis communication

by Margaret Klein

“Humans contain a great capacity to help each other, to dutifully respond to the needs of others, and to improve the world around us… When it is clear there is an emergency, and we have a vital role in responding to it, we respond vigorously. The time for all of us to act, together, is now”  theclimatepsychologist.com

Climate change is a crisis, and crises alter morality. Climate change is on track to cause the extinction of half the species on earth and, through a combination of droughts, famines, displaced people, and failed states and pandemics, the collapse of civilization within this century. If this horrific destructive force is to be abated, it will be due to the efforts of people who are currently alive. The future of humanity falls to us. This is an unprecedented moral responsibility, and we are by and large failing to meet it.

Indeed, most of us act as though we are not morally obligated to fight climate change, and those who do recognize their obligation are largely confused about how to meet it.

Crises alter morality; they alter what is demanded of us if we want to be considered good, honorable people. For example—having a picnic in the park is morally neutral. But if, during your picnic, you witness a group of children drowning and you continue eating and chatting, passively ignoring the crisis, you have become monstrous. A stark, historical example of crisis morality is the Holocaust—history judges those who remained passive during that fateful time. Simply being a private citizen (a “Good German”) is not considered honorable or morally acceptable in retrospect. Passivity, in a time of crisis, is complicity. It is a moral failure. Crises demand that we actively engage; that we rise to the challenge; that we do our best.

What is the nature of our moral obligation to fight climate change?

Our first moral obligation is to assess how we can most effectively help. While climate change is more frequently being recognized as a moral issue—the question, “How can a person most effectively engage in fighting climate change?” is rarely seriously considered or discussed.  In times of crises, we can easily become overwhelmed with fear and act impetuously to discharge those feelings to “do something.” We may default to popular or well-known activism tactics, such as writing letters to our congress people or protesting fossil-fuel infrastructure projects without rigorously assessing if this is the best use of our time and talents.

“Our civilization, planet, and each of us individually are in an acute crisis, but we are so mired in individual and collective denial and distortion that we fail to see it clearly.”

The question of “how can I best help” is particularly difficult for people to contemplate because climate change requires collective emergency action, and we live in a very individualistic culture.  It can be difficult for an individual to imagine themselves as helping to create a social and political movement; helping the group make a shift in perspective and action. Instead of viewing themselves as possibly influencing the group, many people focus entirely on themselves, attempting to reduce their personal carbon footprint. This offers a sense of control and moral achievement, but it is illusory; it does not contribute (at least not with maximal efficacy) to creating the collective response necessary.

We need to mobilize, together.  Climate change is a crisis, and it requires a crisis response. A wide variety of scientists, scholars, and activists agree: the only response that can save civilization is an all-out, whole-society mobilization.[i] World War II provides an example of how the United States accomplished this in the past. We converted our industry from consumer-based to mission-based in a matter of months; oriented national and university research toward the mission, and mobilized the American citizenry toward the war effort in a wide variety of ways. Major demographic shifts were made to facilitate the mission, which was regarded as America’s sine qua non; for example, 10% of Americans moved to work in a “war job,” women worked in factories for the first time, and racial integration took steps forward. Likewise, we must give the climate effort everything we have, for if we lose, we may lose everything.

Where we are.  While the need for a whole society and economy mobilization to fight climate change is broadly understood by experts, we are not close to achieving it as a society. Climate change ranks at the bottom of issues that citizens are concerned about.[ii]  The climate crisis is rarely discussed in social or professional situations. This climate silence is mirrored in the media and political realm: for example, climate change wasn’t even mentioned in the 2012 presidential debates. When climate change is discussed, it is either discussed as a “controversy” or a “problem” rather than the existential emergency that it actually is. Our civilization, planet, and each of us individually are in an acute crisis, but we are so mired in individual and collective denial and distortion that we fail to see it clearly. The house is on fire, but we are still asleep, and our opportunity for being able to save ourselves is quickly going up in smoke.

Understanding the gap: The role of pluralistic ignorance. How can this be? How are we missing the crisis that will determine the future of our civilization and species? Dr. Robert Calidini, social psychologist and author of Influence, describes the phenomena of “pluralistic ignorance,” which offers tremendous insight into this question—and into how we can beat the trance of denial and passivity.

In the following passage, Dr. Calidini is not discussing climate change, but rather, the phenomena of emergencies (heart attacks, physical assaults, etc.) that are sometimes witnessed—and ignored— by dozens of people, especially in urban settings. These tragic instances are often ascribed to “apathy”—the hardening of city dwellers’ hearts toward each other. But scientific research shows something very different. Research shows that if one person witnesses an emergency, they will help in nearly 100% of instances. It is only in crowds—and in situations of uncertainty—that we have the capacity, even the tendency, to ignore an emergency.

Very often an emergency is not obviously an emergency.  Is the man lying in the alley a heart-attack victim or a drunk sleeping one off? Are the sharp sounds from the street gunshots or truck backfires? Is the commotion next door an assault requiring the police or an especially loud marital spat where intervention would be inappropriate and unwelcome? What is going on?

In times of such uncertainty, the natural tendency is to look around at the actions of others for clues. We can learn, from the way the other witnesses are reacting, whether the event is or is not an emergency. What is easy to forget, though, is that everybody else observing the event is likely to be looking for social evidence, too.

And because we all prefer to appear poised and unflustered among others, we are likely to search for that evidence placidly, with brief, camouflaged glances at those around us. Therefore everyone is likely to see everyone else looking unruffled and failing to act. As a result, and by the principle of social proof, the event will be roundly interpreted as a nonemergency.

This, according to [social psychology researchers] Latané and Darley, is the state of pluralistic ignorance “in which each person decides that since nobody is concerned, nothing is wrong. Meanwhile, the danger may be mounting to the point where a single individual, uninfluenced by the seeming calm of others, would react.”

These paragraphs vividly illustrate how denial of the climate crisis is cocreated through the effect of pluralistic ignorance. We look around us and see people living their lives as normal. Our friends, coworkers, and family members are all going about their days as they always have. They are planning for the future. They are calm. They are not discussing climate change. So surely there is no emergency. Surely civilization is not in danger. Calm down, we tell ourselves, I must be the only one who is afraid.

This situation creates an intense amount of social pressure to act calm and not appear hysterical or “crazy.” We all want to fit in, to be well liked and to be considered “normal.” As of today, that means remaining silent on the effects of climate change, or responding with minimization, cynicism, or humor. It is taboo to discuss it as the crisis it is, a crisis that threatens all of us, and that we each have a moral obligation to respond to.

Of course, this pluralistic ignorance of the climate emergency is reinforced and bolstered through misinformation campaigns funded by fossil-fuel companies and the hostility of the few. “Better not bring up the climate crisis,” we tell ourselves, “It’s a controversial topic. Someone might really lose their temper.” However, the responsibility for pluralistic ignorance is widely shared. The vast majority of us—including those of us who believe in climate science and are terrified by climate change—are still, unwittingly, contributing to pluralistic ignorance.

How can we meet our moral obligation, and effectively fight climate change?

Certainty dispels pluralistic ignorance.  Fortunately, the research on pluralistic ignorance and crisis response provides excellent guidance for how to overcome this trance of collective denial. The research shows that humans are actually strongly motivated to act in a crisis—as long as they are sure that there is a crisis and that they have a role in solving it. As Dr. Calidini describes,

Groups of bystanders fail to help because the bystanders are unsure rather thanunkind. They don’t help because they are unsure of whether an emergency actually exists and whether they are responsible for taking action. When they are sure of their responsibilities for intervening in a clear emergency, people are exceedingly responsive!

Dr. Calidini provides a vivid example of how to apply this knowledge to a personal emergency—if you begin experiencing the symptoms of a stroke in a public place. As you start to feel ill, you slump against a tree, but no one approaches you to help. If people are worried about you, they look around, see everyone else acting calm, and decide that there is no emergency and no need to intervene. People are taking cues from each other to deny and ignore your crisis. How can you call forth the emergency intervention you need?

Stare, speak, and point directly at one person and no one else: “You, sir, in the blue jacket, I need help. Call an ambulance.” With that one utterance you should dispel all the uncertainties that might prevent or delay help. With that one statement you will have put the man in the blue jacket in the role of “rescuer.” He should now understand that emergency aid is needed; he should understand that he, not someone else, is responsible for providing the aid; and, finally, he should understand exactly how to provide it. All the scientific evidence indicates that the result should be quick, effective assistance.

Humans contain a great capacity to help each other, to dutifully respond to the needs of others, and to improve the world around us. We also have a need to feel good about ourselves, and that includes fulfilling our moral obligations. When it is clear there is an emergency, and we have a vital role in responding to it, we respond vigorously.

Climate change is a crisis, and it is your responsibility. Effectively intervening in pluralistic ignorance should be considered the primary goal of the climate movement. Climate change is a crisis that demands a massive collective response. This truth will become crystal clear if we overcome the forces of denial and pluralistic ignorance.

To call forth an emergency response from people, we have to put them in the role of rescuer.  We must make clear that (1) an emergency is unfolding and (2) YOU have a critical role in responding to it.

Breaking from standard climate communications.

The environmental movement has not yet made either of these points clear. Indeed, the dominant school of thought in climate communications that says we must underplay the severity of the climate crisis to avoid “turning people off,” and we must emphasize individual reduction of emissions in order to provide people a sense of efficacy.[iii]

“Our moral obligation to fight climate change is tobuild a collective solution, notto purify ourselves as individual consumers.”

Avoiding or finessing the frightening truths of climate change is not only ethically dubious, it is also bound for failure. If we want people to respond appropriately to the climate crisis, we have to level with them, and if we want to claim the moral high ground, we cannot distort the truth just because it’s easier.

A major reason that climate communications have been so milquetoast is that they have lacked a large-scale social movement and political strategy that individuals can be a meaningful part of. Instead, individuals have been addressed as “consumers” who should strive to minimize their individual carbon footprint or environmental impact. This approach is nonsocial and nonpolitical and casts individuals as perpetrators who should attempt to reduce the amount of harm they are causing, rather than rescuers who can make a meaningful contribution to a collective solution.

This point deserves emphasis, as it is so often misunderstood in our intensely individualistic culture. Our moral obligation to fight climate change is to build a collective solutionnot to purify ourselves as individual consumers. This common response to the climate crisis can even be counterproductive in several ways: (1) it keeps the burden of responding to climate change on the individual, implicitly rejecting the idea of a collective response; (2) it perpetuates the message that there is no crisis by demanding only slight modifications to “business as usual”; and  (3) it is often perceived as “holier than thou,” which can create the perception of barriers to entry to the movement. For example, a person might be deeply concerned about the climate crisis but feel they lack “standing” to voice their feelings because they eat meat or fly to Europe.

We must create an atmosphere in which active engagement in the climate crisis is considered a fundamental part of living a moral life. To accomplish this, we have to give people opportunities to be a meaningful part of the solution; we have to give them the opportunity to be rescuers.

The Pledge to Mobilize: A tool that creates rescuers.

I have worked for the past 18 months with The Climate Mobilizationa growing network of teammates, allies, and consultants to develop a tool intended to help individuals intervene in collective denial and pluralistic ignorance and call forth the all-out emergency response needed to protect civilization and the natural world.

The Pledge to Mobilize is a one-page document that any person can sign. The Pledge is several things at once— it is a public acknowledgment that the climate crisis threatens civilization, an endorsement of a World War II–scale mobilization that brings the United States to carbon neutrality by 2025 (by far the most ambitious emissions reduction goal proposed), and a set of personal commitments to help enact this mobilization. When someone signs, they pledge to (1) vote for candidates who have publicly endorsed the Climate Mobilization platform over those who have not; (2) only donate time and money to candidates who have endorsed the mobilization platform, and (3) mobilize their “skills, resources, and networks to spread the truth of climate change, and the hope of this movement, to others.”

The Pledge provides a bridge between individual and collective action—the actions that Pledgers agree to are all social and political in nature: things that one person can do to influence the group. Most important is personal commitment: #3— to spread the truth of climate change, and the Pledge itself. This is a strategy to reverse pluralistic ignorance and social pressure, which is supported by psychological research.[iv]  People who take the Pledge start conversations with their friends and family about the climate crisis that include realistic solutions. This means that talking about climate change doesn’t mean just bearing bad news—but also showing the way forward—helping to channel the panic and despair that climate truth can evoke.

Since we started spreading the Pledge to Mobilize two-and-a-half months ago, we have seen many positive indicators of the Pledge’s ability to fight pluralistic ignorance and put individuals in the role of rescuers. Many (though not all) people who take the Pledge to Mobilize have continued to deepen their involvement from there, speaking more about climate change, reaching out to friends, family, and even strangers to discuss the topic. Mobilizers have educated themselves more deeply about climate change, fundraised for The Climate Mobilization, and taken on a variety of organizing and administrative tasks. Some have even gone as far as to rearrange or reduce their work schedules to have more time available to contribute. These are individuals who have left the fog of pluralistic ignorance, accepted the certainty that there is a crisis and that they have a moral obligation to act as a rescuer. Now they are attempting to spread that certainty to others. [v]

Conclusion: Don’t wait for Pearl Harbor

On December 7, 1941, the United States experienced a sudden, collective exit from pluralistic ignorance. Before Pearl Harbor, the country was mired in the denial of isolationism. “The war doesn’t concern us,” we told ourselves. “Lets stay out of it.” With one devastating surprise attack, that pluralistic ignorance transformed into a culture of mobilization, in which every citizen had a role to play in supporting the war effort—every American became a rescuer—a critical part of a shared mission.

Many scientists and scholars who recognize the need for a World War II–scale climate mobilization believe that some catastrophic event—a super-storm, a drought, or an economic collapse, will similarly jolt us out of our collective climate denial.  There is reason to doubt this, however, given how much more complicated climate change is than a surprise attack. Further, we have a moral obligation to achieve this collective awakening as soon as possible.

Talking about the climate crisis candidly and our moral obligation to stand against it— whether using the Pledge to Mobilize, or not—helps prepare people to see the crisis. Conversations that seem unsuccessful may alter how the person processes climate-related disasters in the future, or make them more likely to seek out or absorb information about the crisis.

Give it a try. Talk with five people about the climate crisis this week. Talk about how afraid you are, and how you feel it is a moral obligation to spread the fact that we are in a crisis. Consider taking the Pledge to Mobilize—it will provide you with a tool to help you intervene in pluralistic ignorance, as well as a community of individuals who are committed to this approach.  It takes courage to face climate change honestly, and discussing it with other people puts you at risk of rejection and hostility. But morality demands we do what is right, not what is easy. We must rise to the challenge of our time, together.

 

[i] Selected advocates of a WWII scale climate mobilization: Lester Brown, 2004David Spratt and Phillip Sutton, 2008; James Hansen, 2008Mark Deluchi and Mark Jacobsen, 2008Paul Gilding, 2011Joeseph Romm, 2012Michael Hoexter, 2013; Mark Bittman, 2014.

[ii] Rifkin, 2014. “Climate Change Not a Top Worry in US.” Gallup Politics.

[iii] For example, “Connecting on Climate” created by Columbia University and EcoAmerica which is widely considered an authoritative applied synthesis of the psychological work on climate. This 30-page document does not contain the words “crisis,” “emergency” or “collapse.” It encourages communicators to emphasize the benefits of solutions, rather than the severity of the problem. It also emphasizes behavior changes that individuals can make in their own homes and lives, rather than explicitly political solutions.

[iv] As psychologists Roser-Renouf, Maibach, Leiserowitz & Zhao (2014) put it “Building opinion leadership on the issue – e.g., by encouraging those who are concerned about the issue to discuss it with their friends and family, and eventually with other more socially distal people – may be one of the most effective methods of building public engagement and political activism.”

[v] For a fuller description of The Climate Mobilization’s strategy, read our strategy document,Rising to the Challenge of Our Time, Together.

Source URL: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-12-21/what-climate-change-asks-of-us-moral-obligation-mobilization-and-crisis-communication

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Original article: http://theclimatepsychologist.com/?p=784  Published by The Climate Psychologist 12-21-14.