Tucson’s Complete Streets Policy

On February 5th, the Tucson City Council passed Ordinance 11621 – The City of Tucson Complete Streets Policy. What’s in the Complete Streets Policy? How was it created? What does it mean? How will it affect the future of Tucson? At our next meeting, we are going to answer these questions and more. We’ll look at the details of the new policy and how it was created. We’ll also have some expert opinion about how the policy will be implemented. Be sure to join us and get a glimpse of the future of Tucson!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 from 6-8 pm at the Ward 6 community room. Doors open at 5:30.

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

 

 

July Workshop
What are our best opportunities for action?
What’s next? How do we get governments, businesses, financial organizations, educational institutions, and just plan folk to work together to make Tucson more sustainable and resilient?

One answer is to know what we want … and then talk “amongst ourselves” – every chance we get.

Come to the next Sustainable Tucson meeting, July 11 at Ward 6 office from 6-9pm, and help create the next step in developing “Principles for Our Sustainable Future”. Please register now, so we know how many people to plan for and can provide additional materials for next Tuesday’s meeting.

At this workshop, we will build on the principles developed at the June Sustainable Tucson meeting. These principles were developed by over 40 people in a 3 hour workshop and cover five areas – water, transportation, local jobs and businesses, green redevelopment, and financing.

At the July workshop, you will help identify overlaps and connections between these principles and then craft community-wide opportunities that the City of Tucson could help promote. (Example connection)

The results of this meeting will guide our City Council Candidates forum on August 9. The goal will be to identify 4-6 such opportunities and ask the City Council Candidates to discuss the City’s role in making Tucson more resilient and sustainable, using these opportunities as examples. These principles and connections may also be used in candidate forums for the Board of Supervisors, next year.

This should be a fun evening. You will be working with other creative and caring Tucsonans who want to make Tucson a better place for all of us. So put on your creative cap, and join in the fun. Register now.

Initiatives for Climate-ready, Resilient Buildings – the Emerging Tucson 2030 District and More

2030 Districts are a national network of organizations in 15 cities in North America that are working to reduce building energy, water waste, and carbon transportation emissions by 50% by 2030.

At Sustainable Tucson’s April General Meeting, come hear the update of the Tucson Emerging 2030 District, Tucson’s new Community Partnership to transform our commercial and institutional buildings.

The Tucson Emerging 2030 District continues to evolve, and their executive committee will share their progress and expectations with Sustainable Tucson to describe how far the concept has proceeded since earlier presentations. Learn about the workshops, forums, PCC classes, and community events, which are attracting interest in this important new initiative in Tucson.

After Tres English presents a brief overview of the conditions of our quarter million aging tract homes, the second half of the April General Meeting will feature David Eisenberg, Director of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology.

David will present an overview of what people need to know to embark on the green building journey. This will include information on building codes, building science, green building materials, and reliable sources for further information. If you are interested in the subject of green retrofitting of existing residences or designing and building your own eco-house, this part will be of particular value. David will also describe the potential for green retrofitting Tucson’s vast housing stock built between 1950 and 1990.

• Ward 6, 3202 E 1st St
• Tuesday, April 11, 2017
• 6:00 pm (doors open 5:00)

Sustainability and Architecture: USGBC ADVANCE and Tucson’s Prospective 2030 District®

For our May General Meeting, Sustainable Tucson is very pleased to present “Sustainability and Architecture: USGBC ADVANCE and Tucson’s Prospective 2030 District®.” This program will present the innovative partnership between the 2030 Districts and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)-Arizona Sonoran Branch, with the goal of developing a 2030 District® here in Tucson.

First established in Seattle, 2030 Districts® are unique private/ public partnerships that bring property owners, managers, and developers together with local governments, businesses, and community stakeholders to provide a business model for urban sustainability through collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources. Now in 11 other cities across North America, 2030 Districts® are forming to meet the energy, water, and vehicle emissions reduction targets for existing buildings and new construction called for by Architecture 2030 in the 2030 Challenge for Planning.

Here in Tucson, since late January of this year, a growing group of representatives from community environmental organizations, City and County departments, and building professionals have been meeting regularly to explore the development of a 2030 District in Tucson. Initial focus has been on forming a District in the Bonita neighborhood in Menlo Park, but there is also interest in expanding to include downtown Tucson and the U of A. The 2030 Challenge for Planning goals, which need to be adopted to form a District, if successfully met, would result in reducing energy use, water use, and CO2 transportation emissions by 50% District-wide by 2030.

USGBC-Arizona Sonoran Branch members, working together with Architecture 2030 and 2030 Districts® representatives, have formed the Tucson ADVANCE/2030 District Partnership (TADP), in a joint effort to provide free resources and tools such as ENERGY STAR to benchmark, develop, and implement creative strategies, best practices, and verification methods for measuring progress towards the goals of the 2030 Challenge for Planning and the Tucson 2030 District. (See article below for related training event.)

Speakers include:
Peter Dobrovolny: Retired Architect/Planner and 2030 District Advocate. Peter was instrumental in forming the first 2030 District in Seattle and is currently facilitating the exploration of a 2030 District in Tucson
Michael Peel: Community and Government Relations Liaison, Pima Community College. Michael is facilitating the USGBC ADVANCE training that is focused on development of the Tucson ADVANCE Prospective 2030 District.
Ray Clamons: Owner of Xylon Designs Sustainable Architecture & Water Harvesting Landscapes. Ray has produced the concept of the Bonita District – Tucson 2030 District and is currently active in planning for that District.
Joel Loveland: Professor Emeritus University of Washington (UW) School of Architecture and Director, UW Center for Integrated Design; 2030 District Advocate. Joel is currently supporting Peter and Michael in the area of building performance analysis and benchmarking for the emerging 2030 District in Tucson.

Monday, May 9, 2016
Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower level Conference room
101 N Stone (lower level parking off Alameda St.)
Program begins at 6:00pm. Doors open at 5:30 for networking.

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.

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.

 

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.)

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.

Important movie – This Changes Everything

In place of the November Sustainable Tucson meeting, ST is co-sponsoring the movie This Changes Everything at the Loft.

Featuring 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. ST and other groups will be presenting information on various sustainability topics. SO GET THERE EARLY.

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 .

Want to support rooftop solar and fight climate change? You’re invited!

Join Sustainable Tucson, Sierra Club, and Tierra Y Libertad Organization to support solar and fight coal!

Help us plan a media event and rally in front of Tucson Electric Power (TEP) headquarters to tell TEP to stop attacking rooftop solar and to divest from the San Juan coal plant.

What: Planning meeting for future media event and rally in front of TEP’s downtown headquarters
When: Monday, July 13, 5:30-8 pm
Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.
Where: Joel D. Valdez Main Library, lower level meeting room
101 N. Stone
Parking: free — lower level off Alameda St.
Bike/Transit: Walk two blocks east from the Ronstadt Transit Center, just north of new protected bike path on Stone Ave.

Join us! Free and open to the public! For more information, contact:
dan.millis@sierraclub.org – (520) 620-6401
-or-
hello@sustainabletucson.org

Our goals are:

1) Force TEP to retract the June 1, 2015 ‘grandfathering’ date for new rooftop solar customers (net metering)

-and-

2) Force TEP to divest their stake in the polluting, out-of-state San Juan coal plant.

At this Planning Meeting, we will review the issues, create effective messaging for the rally and for a media campaign leading up to the event, and plan the logistics for the rally.

Background:

This spring, TEP submitted a plan to state regulators that would end net metering, the process that allows rooftop solar customers to receive fair credit for all of the energy their solar panels produce. New solar customers after June 1, 2015 would no longer be able to ‘bank’ the solar energy produced by their panels and use it later. This proposal was unfair and was opposed by many Tucsonans, and TEP withdrew most of their proposal. However, TEP told state regulators that they intend to submit the proposal again in 2016, keeping the June 1, 2015 ‘grandfathering’ date. The result is that between now and the end of 2016, when a decision is scheduled to be made, new solar customers won’t be able to make an informed decision about how much solar to install. Most potential customers will choose to defer on solar. As a result, local solar companies will lose business and Tucson will lose clean energy jobs.

TEP has been attacking rooftop solar while staying invested in a costly, polluting coal plant in New Mexico called the San Juan Generating Station. Operators of this greenhouse gas-producing plant have come up with a plan for partial closure, keeping part of it running. Many investors, utilities, and municipalities walked away from the deal when it was revealed that continued operations at San Juan would cost about $1 billion more than anticipated. TEP, on the other hand, plans to continue to generate about 15% of Tucson’s electricity from the San Juan plant’s dirty coal. Help us promote a better plan!

Join Sustainable Tucson and the US Green Building Council-Sonoran Branch

What does LEED Platinum housing look like? What’s being done to help the growing numbers of grandparents raising their grandkids? Join Sustainable Tucson and the US Green Building Council-Sonoran Branch for a tour of Primavera Foundation’s Las Abuelitas Family Housing. The tour will be led by Savannah McDonald, of Poster Frost Mirto, Inc., the architects of the project.

The event is free but space is limited so pre-registration is required – and spaces for the tour are going fast. Go to the event page to register.

-A mixer with summer heat-quenching Aguas Frescas served by Dish-for-Dosha will follow the tour. –

When: June 18, 2015
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Where: Las Abuelitas Family Housing
440 E. 26th St., Tucson, AZ

Tour is now full. Please join us for the mixer at Las Abuelitas Community Room.

Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment

Our built environment — housing, public facilities, commercial buildings — is vital to sustainability in our cities and towns. But what goes into making that built environment sustainable? What makes a building “green”? How does a building qualify for LEED certification? And what does LEED certification mean?

Beyond these technical questions, we want to examine broader social and environmental issues relating to our built environment. Can sustainable buildings, for example, affect our health? How can multi-family or low-income housing be made “green”? And even, can energy-efficient buildings impact climate change?

Join us at the next Sustainable Tucson meeting for an exploration of these and related issues, at the first event in a collaboration between the Sonoran Branch of US Green Building Council – Arizona and Sustainable Tucson on “Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment.”

At this first event, the Sonoran Branch of USGBC-Arizona will present a panel discussion addressing local, sustainable buildings and green certification systems. The panel will offer perspectives from professionals in several fields within the residential and commercial building industries.

Richard Franz-Under, Green Building Program Manager for Pima County Development Services and a USGBC LEED Accredited Professional, will moderate the panel. The panel will feature:
• Nicole Brule-Fisher: a Realtor with RE/MAX Trends and President of Tucson Association of Realtors; the first Tucson Realtor to become a certified Eco-Broker and the first to become a National Association of Realtors GREEN designee
• Andrew Hayes: working with Hayes Construction, a custom home building company that provides earth-friendly practices in its projects and incorporates no-cost solutions to make homes more energy efficient
• Thomas C. Mannschreck: president, CEO, and owner of Thomas Development Co., a Boise, Idaho-based real-estate development company, and of Thomas Investments Limited Partnership, a family-held, real-estate investment entity; through Thomas Development Co., developer of four LEED Platinum multi-family housing projects for low-income seniors and families
• Rob Paulus: an architect, developer, and musician; founded Rob Paulus Architects to create unique, award winning, and regionally-specific architecture; active in promoting high quality design with appropriate density for our community.

Check out a recent Arizona Daily Star article on Tucson Association of Realtor and Sustainability.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

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

……………………………………………………..
The second event in “Architecture and Sustainability in Tucson’s Built Environment” will be a free tour on June 18 of Primavera Foundation’s Las Abuelitas Family Housing, a LEED Platinum project by Poster Frost Mirto Architects that provides housing for low-income grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. A mixer will follow the tour.
For more information about the tour, please visit the event listing http://www.usgbcaz.org/event-1920945. Space will be limited for the tour, so registration (available at the event listing) is required.

The Economics of, and Threats to, Rooftop Solar

[You can see the presentations below. ]

• Are new proposals to state regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission by Tucson Electric Power and Trico making it more difficult and expensive for Tucsonans to “Go Solar”?
• Are local solar jobs at stake?
• What is the value of rooftop solar?
• Are you concerned?

Come to Sustainable Tucson’s May 11th meeting to become an informed citizen.

Speakers will include:

• Bruce Plenk: Local solar consultant (Solar Possibilities Consulting), current chair of the Southern Arizona Solar Partnership, and member of the Tucson Pima Metropolitan Energy Commission
• Russell Lowes: Sierra Club Rincon Group Energy Chair, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter Solar Task Force Chair, and Research Director at www.SafeEnergyAnalyst.org
• Ron Proctor: Core team member Sustainable Tucson, Co-chair City of Tucson Climate Change committee, homeowner with 1Kw PV grid-tied system since 2006.

The meeting will also outline opportunities for advocacy on these important issues, including suggestions for crafting your message to policy makers.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

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

Take Action Now. The Arizona Corporation Commission has to approve efforts to stifle distributed solar with new fees. They will be holding public hearings soon and your emails to the Commissioners will be counted and noted. Act Now

Russell Lowes –
Bruce Plenk –
Ron Proctor –

Lessons from Sustainable Urban Design: Films and Discussion

As activist citizens, we have been working towards sustainability in many ways, particularly looking at issues impacting life in our city, including the work of the Broadway Coalition featured at last month’s General Meeting.

This month, we’ll carry on the discussion started by that examination of the Broadway Corridor, by looking at some positive examples of steps that various cities have taken to create more sustainable and livable communities — plus one less-than-positive example. After viewing film segments showing what has been done around the world, we’ll open the discussion to consider whether any of those steps are happening also in Tucson, and whether they could — and should — happen here.

Linda Samuels from the UA’s Sustainable Cities project will join us for this community discussion.

The selection of film segments will feature:
• Bogota, Colombia
• Copenhagen, Denmark
• New York City’s High Line
• Jane Jacobs
• Phoenix, Arizona
• Singapore
• Curitiba, Brazil
• Portland, Oregon & City Repair

Join us for this look at some exciting urban alternatives and continue the conversation of what we can do to create changes that we want to see in our city.

Location: Downtown Main Library, lower level meeting room.
Doors open at 5:30. Program starts promptly at 6:00.

What climate activists should learn from the Monterey Shale downgrade

What climate activists should learn from the Monterey Shale downgrade

by Kurt Cobb

Published by Resource Insights on 2014-06-01

Original article: http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2014/06/what-climate-activists-should-learn.html

 

There is an important hidden lesson for climate activists in the vast downgrade of recoverable oil resources now thought to be available from California’s Monterey Shale. Almost all climate activists have rejected any talk that the world’s oil, natural gas and even coal supplies are nearing plateaus and possibly peaks in their production. That’s because they fear that such talk will make the public and policymakers believe that climate change will be less of a problem as a result or no problem at all.

 

Any yet, for obvious reasons climate activists rejoiced when the Monterey downgrade was announced. But this only served to highlight the fact that climate activists have lost control of the public narrative on energy and can only steal it back by including constraints on fossil fuel supply as part of their story.

 

In fact, climate activists have been content to accept fossil fuel industry claims–the two parties agree on little else–that we have vast resources of economically recoverable fossil fuels, the rate of production of which will continue to grow for decades–unless, of course, climate activists stop this trend. This stance makes for an heroic narrative, but misses what is actually happening in the minds of the public and policymakers, minds which must be won over in order to address climate change effectively.

 

Let me explain.

 

The hype surrounding the now vastly downgraded treasure trove of oil once thought to be recoverable from California’s Monterey Shale acted as a siren song on a state long devoted to energy innovation and a gradual transition away from fossil fuels. After all, California is the only state that has a climate change policy that will force businesses, localities and households to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions drastically and thus reduce their fossil fuel use drastically.

 

Sirens, mythological beings who are part woman and part bird, are said to send sailors to their demise through irresistible singing that lures them to crash on rocks they would normally attempt to avoid. It turns out that the thought of large amounts of readily available hydrocarbons under California has had a similar effect on the state’s sustainability-minded population.

 

Of course, large deposits of readily available oil would have spelled large amounts of money, both as income to individual Californians and as tax revenues to various California governments. And, such oil deposits would have also spelled large contributions to California politicians in whose hands the fate of drilling and production regulations lie.

 

But the siren song of oil in California ended abruptly when the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that, based on new information, the Monterey Shale actually contained 96 percent less recoverable oil than previously thought. Climate and anti-fracking activists were overjoyed. This vast resource in all likelihood will not be heavily exploited, and most of the oil in it left unburned. (Yes, the oil is still down there. The EIA just doesn’t think anyone will be able to recover it profitably using known technology.)

 

Since the 2008 spike in oil prices, the oil industry had been looking for a way to convince the public and policymakers not to abandon fossil fuels in favor of renewable, sustainable alternatives. When the so-called “revolution” in hydraulic fracking provided a temporary bump in U.S. oil and natural gas production, the industry found its message. With rising production America would now become a new oil and gas superpower, ending its fossil fuel imports and even exporting some of its largesse to the rest of the world. (This claim is proving to be a wild exaggeration, but that doesn’t keep it from being effective.)

 

The other purpose of this narrative–which has been heavily touted in the media–is to change the conversation from climate change to rising fossil fuel supplies and the benefits that such supplies will bestow on America and ultimately the world.

 

So far, the oil industry’s strategy has worked famously. The media and the public are abuzz with the message of renewed American strength and prosperity resulting from fracked oil and natural gas. Yes, there are stories about the environmental and health hazards of this process. But, the vast majority of Americans remain far away from and therefore unaffected by these hazards.

 

As long as the news is about the success of fracking and even about its hazards, the public will fixate on the question of how to obtain the country’s supposed newfound abundance safely rather than on the unfolding horror of climate change.

 

But, there are, in fact, two justifiable reasons for us to move away from burning fossil fuels: climate change and supply constraints. We need to transition to other energy sources because fossil fuels are accelerating climate change AND because we simply do not know when these fuels will decline in their production rates. Current evidence suggests that the risks of such a decline are mounting.

 

Unless climate activists embrace this dual message, they will be ceding the argument to the fossil fuel industry. With its huge financial resources the industry will continue largely unopposed to spout the abundance narrative which experience now tells us trumps discussion of climate change.

 

Read for yourself any glowing account of America’s new oil and gas abundance and you will ALMOST NEVER see any mention of climate change.

 

But, the Monterey Shale downgrade is not an isolated incident. It’s part of a pattern of downgrades that are making expectations about the trajectory of oil and natural gas production in the United States more realistic.

 

Moreover, world prices for oil when measured using the average daily price have hovered at or near record levels for the past three years despite the shale boom in America. Worldwide oil supplies have barely grown since 2005, even as China, India and the rest of Asia have increased their demand. (That demand has been in large part accommodated by declines in U.S. and European oil use resulting from sluggish economies and changes in driving habits due to declining incomes.)

 

U.S. natural gas production has been stagnant since the beginning of 2012 even as prices have more than doubled. The shale gas miracle is gradually unravelling and we may even be headed for a natural gas supply crisis in the United States.

 

The evidence is compelling that the risks to fossil fuel supplies are rising and that the world’s and the nation’s reliance on them is a dangerous dependency. That combined with the national security implications suggests that the United States (which remains a huge importer of oil) and all other energy importing nations are far better off moving toward energy supplies that are entirely homegrown and can be relied upon indefinitely.

 

This is a forceful argument when combined with concerns about climate change. And it is a necessary addition to the arsenal of climate change activists if they expect to refocus America and the world on the imperative of addressing climate change effectively.

The great imaginary California oil boom: Over before it started

The great imaginary California oil boom: Over before it started

by Kurt Cobb, originally published by Resource Insights  | May 25, 2014

 

It turns out that the oil industry has been pulling our collective leg.

 

The pending 96 percent reduction in estimated deep shale oil resources in California revealed last week in the Los Angeles Times calls into question the oil industry’s premise of a decades-long revival in U.S. oil production and the already implausible predictions of American energy independence. The reduction also appears to bolster the view of long-time skeptics that the U.S. shale oil boom–now centered in North Dakota and Texas–will likely be short-lived, petering out by the end of this decade. (I’ve been expressing my skepticism in writing about resource claims made for both shale gas and oil since 2008.)

 

California has been abuzz for the past couple of years about the prospect of vast new oil wealth supposedly ready for the taking in the Monterey Shale thousands of feet below the state. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) had previously estimated that 15.4 billion barrels were technically recoverable, basing the number on a report from a contractor who relied heavily on oil industry presentations rather than independent data.

 

The California economy was supposed to benefit from 2.8 million new jobs by 2020. The state was also supposed to gain $220 billion in additional income and $24 billion in additional tax revenues in that year alone, according to a study from the University of Southern California that relied heavily on industry funding.

 

But that was before the revelation by the Times that the EIA will reduce its estimate of technically recoverable oil in California’s Monterey Shale by 96 percent–almost a complete wipeout–after taking a close look at actual data for wells drilled there already. The agency now believes that only about 600 million barrels are recoverable using existing technology. The 600 million barrels still sound like a lot, but those barrels would last the United States all of 40 days at the current rate of consumption.

 

Americans had been counting on the seemingly oil-rich Monterey Shale for more than 60 percent of a supposed newfound bounty of domestic oil locked up in deep shale deposits. But it turns out that the Monterey is rich with oil in the same way that seawater is rich in dissolved gold. In both cases the resource is there, but no one can figure out how get it out at a profit. The EIA previously estimated that resources of so-called tight oil, the proper name for oil from deep shale deposits, could reach 23.9 billion barrels for the United States as a whole. Overnight that number shrank to 9.1 billion.

 

The firm hired to do the original estimates, INTEK Inc., was saying as recently as December that it planned to raise its estimate for the Monterey to 17 billion barrels, presumably based on representations made to it by the industry.

 

The firm assumed, apparently without any justification, that the Monterey Shale would be just as productive as other shale deposits such as the Bakken in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford in Texas.

 

But the geology of the Monterey is riddled with folds and far more complex than other U.S. shale deposits, something that wouldn’t have been too hard to find out from existing geological studies and well logs.

 

We cannot be sure whether those who wrote the wildly overoptimistic INTEK report were eager to encourage drilling and investment in the Monterey, something the oil industry certainly favored. But the colossal miss suggests the possibility that INTEK and its analysts have grown too close to the industry and are serving it rather than the EIA which commissioned the report.

 

It’s no surprise that those who work in the oil industry are perennially optimistic. This high-risk business isn’t for the timid. And that optimism is necessary if the industry is going to raise the capital it needs from investors. But it should be obvious that relying on the oil industry for objective information that will form the basis for public policy is a mistake. Independent sources and objective data are important cross-checks on the industry’s understandable but often misleading enthusiasm.

 

The other explanation for the Monterey miss is that the analysts at INTEK are simply colossally inept. Note that INTEK was also responsible for the overall U.S. assessment of 23.9 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil lodged in deep shale formations. The California miss alone reduced estimated U.S. resources to 9.1 billion barrels, a cut which by itself calls into question the entire premise of renewed American oil abundance. But, the gargantuan misreading of the Monterey Shale’s resources also suggests that the firm’s estimates for other areas of the country need review as well.

 

A February 2013 comprehensive report on U.S. tight oil and natural gas from deep shales released by the Post Carbon Institute presaged the Monterey disappointment by pointing out how little oil had been extracted per well using advanced techniques in the Monterey Shale. A follow-on report issued in December focused exclusively on the Monterey and concluded that the INTEK/EIA estimate was vastly overblown. Not surprisingly, neither of these independent reports received any oil industry funding.

 

It is well to remember that the above numbers are all just estimates, and that they are for so-called technically recoverable resources. The estimates tell us little about how much oil from the Monterey or elsewhere might actually be economically recoverable, that is, profitably extracted. For that reason, the oil that is ultimately extracted from the Monterey and other deep shale deposits will likely be less than any estimate of technically recoverable resources. That means that even the 600 million barrel estimate for the Monterey may turn out to be too optimistic.

 

The industry counters that improved technology could change what seems unobtainable now into accessible oil. But, it cites no specific developments that are not already in use and therefore reflected in current estimates of what we can hope to extract. And the idea that we should base our public policy on innovations that no one has thought of yet seems more than a little unwise.

 

Moreover, while technology can improve, the laws of physics don’t. The industry is already moving from the so-called “sweet spots” in shale deposits to those that are more difficult to exploit. That process will continue until the laws of physics and economics team up to make drilling unprofitable, and that will be the end of the shale boom in the rest of the country.

 

________________________________________________________

 

P.S. In a previous piece I asked, “Will anyone who is currently predicting U.S. energy independence be punished if the story turns out to be wrong?” My answer was probably not. Now, we will find out if that turns out to be the case. My guess is that the oil industry will redouble its efforts to convince the public and policymakers to continue to believe something which cannot be supported by the evidence.

 

P.P.S. Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, told the San Francisco Chronicle the following in response to the Monterey Shale revision: “People forget that the boom taking place in Texas and particularly North Dakota did not happen overnight. There were decades of operators trying to understand the technology and the geology.” He seems unable to recognize that in the decades that it may take to figure out how to unlock the Monterey Shale, California and the world will be working hard to create an advanced energy infrastructure that will make the Monterey irrelevant. Technology isn’t standing still in renewable energy either.

ST June Meeting – BUILDING RESILIENT NEIGHBORHOODS: Eco-villages and Social Cohesion

BUILDING RESILIENT NEIGHBORHOODS:

Eco-villages and Social Cohesion

Monday, June 9, 2014, 5:30 – 8:00 pm

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,

101 N. Stone, (free lower level parking off Alameda St.)

With climate change increasing the likelihood of heat waves, flooding and other emergencies that may overwhelm first responders, and when “sheltering in place” becomes the default response, will your neighborhood be a caring and sharing place? Do you have a neighborhood association or group projects?

What is the level of trust on your street? How meaningful are conversations with your neighbors? Do you recognize your neighbors? Are they trustworthy? Do they keep to themselves?

Whether at an Eco-village start-up in Avra Valley, or an Tucson urban neighborhood the challenges and opportunities are great.

Join Sustainable Tucson’s public meeting to explore the value of community cohesion. It may move you to organize where you live.

Speakers will include:

David Burley, organizer at Tortillita Eco-village, Avra Valley. This rural effort to create community can teach us much about starting from scratch including the fundamentals of sharing water and gardening.

Joanie Sawyer, teacher and community activist, past City of Tucson PRO neighborhoods facilitator, Sustainable Tucson core team founder.

Michael Ray, Limberlost Neighborhood Association, President; Inventor and owner of Nurse Tree Arch, LC3.

Both Joanie and Michael are members of the Vulnerable Communities and Neighborhoods Task Force, 2014 (an outcome of the 2013 Climate Smart Southwest national conference).

Come to Sustainable Tucson’s June 9th meeting to find out more.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Not Up the Creek…Yet/ ST in Tucson Weekly

http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/not-up-the-creekyet/Content?oid=4135802

 

Not Up the Creek…Yet

As Arizona faces potential water shortages, experts on divided on the solutions, though many remain optimistic.

by

Karl Flessa will tell you that it’s not that hard to collect seashells. All it takes is a bucket.

But the average beachcomber isn’t bringing the specimens back to a lab to study population densities, reconstruct the salinity levels of the ecosystem and figure out how long ago the creatures that inhabited the shells were alive.

Flessa, the founding director of the University of Arizona’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has focused on the Colorado River delta since 1992. During his first trip there two decades ago, he found beaches made up almost entirely of mollusk shells—a result of the dry delta, which hadn’t seen water from the river in years.

“The puzzle was that we couldn’t find very many live individuals of the species that made those shells, and it was at that point we realized the environment had changed,” he said. “What we were looking at … was the remains of the former living community. That was a record of what the delta used to look like before upstream dams and diversions used up most of the water before it got to the gulf.”

Though Tucson sits some 200 miles from the Colorado River delta, Southern Arizona’s use of the river’s water contributes to the drying of the region, and many question how long Arizona communities can rely on the state’s share of it.

Recent reports from the Arizona Department of Water Resources predict a supply gap of roughly 1 million acre-feet by 2060—enough water for a million five-person families—thanks to population growth and climate change. But as the discussions about the water supply in Arizona continue, opinions vary among lawmakers, scientists and environmentalists on the next logical step.

Assessing the situation

In early April, 400 water experts from around the country packed a ballroom at the UA’s Student Union. The conference, hosted by the university’s Water Resources Research Center, served as a daylong think tank to address the supply gap that the state first announced in 2011. The gathering included representatives from water users’ associations, the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Native American tribes and the Central Arizona Project.

Although speakers tossed in the occasional water joke, the attendees were serious about coming up with solutions. In an adjacent room, dozens of posters displayed various data that included crop patterns, water’s effect on forest restoration and the anticipated water needs of Arizona’s tribes.

Nathan Bracken, assistant director and general counsel for the Western States Water Council, sat on a panel that discussed the problems of water overuse and the benefits of reuse. Though the Southwest remains at the forefront of a possible water shortage, he said the region’s problem is not unique.

“The Midwestern states that we represent have water-supply issues, too, but they have relatively more water, so it’s not as acute there,” Bracken said. “But even states like Kansas are looking very intently at this, and Oklahoma, too. Oklahoma is a very water-rich state compared to other Western states, but they have a goal now to make sure to use no more water in 2060 than they are now.”

Kathleen Ferris, executive director of the nonprofit Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, attended the conference to advocate for Arizona towns such as the municipalities surrounding Phoenix. Municipal water use accounts for 50 percent of water use across the state, and Ferris said that providing clean and safe water requires years of preparation.

Conservation techniques have become more widely adopted over the past 30 years, she said, noting that the city of Phoenix’s per-capita-per-day water use declined 32 percent between 1980 and 2010.

“We have done a remarkable job at reducing water use,” Ferris said, speaking of residents in the 10 municipalities that her association serves. “We’re using far less water than we used to use for the kind of population that we’re serving. And the same is true in Tucson.”

Tom Davis, who was representing the state’s agricultural community at the conference, said farmers are among the most cognizant of the state’s water supplies. Keeping the Colorado River flowing through Yuma, he said, is important to the region’s agricultural stability.

“The thing about Yuma is that we have senior rights; we’re the first diverters of the Arizona Colorado River water,” he said. “In fact, our right is that we can divert whatever we need, consumptive use-wise, to produce our crop. So our farmers are able to farm year-round and they’re able to farm a variety of crops.”

Weighing the options

In an interview in the weeks after the conference, Sharon Megdal, director of the UA’s Water Resources Research Center, said population growth is at the heart of the supply-gap issue. While noting that population projections can fluctuate, she didn’t downplay the significance of projected gap.

“A million acre-feet is a lot of water,” she said. “But is that the right number, or is that symbolic of the fact that if communities in the state wish to grow and develop in the ways they’re anticipating now, there’s going to be a need to figure out how to meet the water needs?”

While many avenues are being explored—including conservation, reuse and augmenting the existing supply—Megdal said that efforts to conserve water have been on the state’s radar for years. She pointed to the Groundwater Management Act, signed in 1980, which outlines conservation goals for groundwater users throughout the state.

But conservation is not enough, she said.

“Conservation, demand management, using less, is certainly within the legal purview of the state of Arizona,” she said. “What got said at the conference … is that conservation alone will not close the gap. Fifty years from now, whether there will be something really, really different about the way people bathe themselves or wash their clothes, I can’t tell you, but I certainly believe there’s more room for conservation.”

Much of the current focus is on augmentation of water supplies, mostly through desalination, which comes in two forms: the separation of minerals from brackish groundwater already stored in Arizona aquifers and the removal of salt from ocean water, which would require a plant somewhere along Mexico’s Gulf of California.

A desalination plant in Mexico would require a trade agreement with that country, said Mitch Basefsky, the Central Arizona Project’s spokesman for Pima and Pinal counties. Theoretically, Basefsky said, CAP would pay for the operation of the plant, Mexico would use the water that it produces, and that same amount of Colorado River water that currently goes to Mexico would remain in Nevada’s Lake Mead to be used in Arizona.

But desalination also comes with its own problems. Because it is an energy-intensive method, the cost of water would grow exponentially. The cost of desalinating an acre-foot of water, Basefsky said, runs from $1,000 to $1,200. The CAP, he noted, currently sells the same amount of water to Tucson for around $160.

The technology is “getting better, but it’s still very expensive,” Basefsky said. “There are a lot of studies that have to be done in terms of environmental issues that come with desalination, the energy issues that come with desalination, how you dispose of the waste product.”

Still, desalination remains at the center of many water discussions, even at the state capital. Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin recently sponsored a bill, later vetoed, that would have allocated $30 million to augmentation efforts.

But desalination alone isn’t enough, Tobin acknowledged.

“The cost of desal is huge, but any money we can put towards giving Arizona more options when it comes to water management is a step in the right direction,” Tobin said in an email. “But desal is only one part of a long-range solution. The state has to look at all options to protect, increase and conserve our water supply.”

When discussing water supply augmentation in general, the focus usually returns to proper planning. Without asking the right questions first, Megdal said, moving forward will be difficult.

“Some of these solutions do require a significant amount of advanced planning; they’ll require significant investments of dollars,” she said. “Obviously these decision can’t be made without public input, and them being acceptable to a majority of the public. There’s a lot of work to be done and I think there’s going to be a spectrum of time frames over which these solutions will be developed.”

The road less traveled

The patio leading into Tres English’s office just south of East Broadway Boulevard is home to a 4-by-16-foot aquaponics bed. A homemade contraption of mostly wood, metal and PVC pipe, the bed is used for growing tomatoes with rainwater from last December that English has kept in two 450-gallon cisterns. The pipes carry the water through one filtration system and into a small pond underneath the bed, where the waste from 18 koi fish is then carried through another filter and onto the plants as a source of hydration and fertilizer.

One cistern is already empty. English won’t make it through the summer on the remaining rainwater, but he’s satisfied with coming this far without using a drop from the city.

A core member of Sustainable Tucson and director of the Tucson Feeding Program, English doesn’t mince his words when discussing Tucson’s water policy.

“All of our water is wasted,” English said. “One hundred percent of it.”

During his research to find ways of creating a renewable food supply in Tucson, English analyzed data on rainwater provided by the Pima Association of Governments and the Tucson Active Management Area. His findings include how much water goes into decorative landscaping efforts, how much is collected and used to recharge the area’s aquifers, and how much is lost to evaporation.

English concluded that of the roughly 235,000 acre-feet of water that Tucson receives in annual rainfall, 92,000 acre-feet are spent on landscaping, 4,000 acre-feet are collected and used to recharge area aquifers, and 139,000 acre-feet are left to evaporate.

The core of the issue, English said, is how policymakers determine how water is allocated.

“What we haven’t done, ever, is set priorities for water uses,” he said. “What we have is priorities for water users. So whatever agriculture uses water on, they’re allowed to do that; whatever the mines want to use it for, they’re allowed to do that. There’s some restrictions on water quality issues, the farms are required to be more efficient, but there are no priorities for water uses.”

English said that, in theory, Tucson gets enough harvestable rainfall to produce all of the area’s food. But choosing to prioritize water use for things such as food production, as opposed to landscaping, is the challenge, he said.

English said that determining water needs by estimating population growth is the wrong approach because lawmakers equate a growing population with a growing economy.

“Their perspective is that we will have an ever-growing population, an ever-growing water need and therefore we need an ever-growing water supply,” he said. “But what I say to everyone on the subject is that it’s not up to us to decide. We don’t control the factors that control how many people live here.”

English also denounced the idea of desalination as a viable method of augmentation, citing the lack of funding available and the international treaty issues that would come with a plant in Mexico. He said a move toward desalination would result in the state learning “the hard way” that pinning the economy’s success on population growth is a mistake.

English isn’t alone in his frustration at the lack of effort to expand rainwater harvesting. Sustainable Tucson Director Bob Cook said he is also displeased with the city’s approach, and that rainwater harvesting has been treated by the local media as a hobby for those interested in living sustainably.

A former chairman of the Tucson-Pima Metropolitan Energy Commission, Cook argues that lawmakers and researchers have fallen short in providing a serious comparison of rainwater harvesting with other water conservation measures.

Although the city of Tucson provides incentives of up to $2,000 for city-approved residential rainwater-harvesting systems, Cook said that adopting the method for the commercial and industrial sectors hasn’t been considered.

“We need an apples-to-apples comparison of all alternatives so we can make a rational choice,” he said.

Still, rainwater harvesting has caught the eye of some local water experts. Megdal points to her center’s Conserve to Enhance initiative, a program that partners with local businesses to encourage water conservation. The program currently includes local businesses such as the Epic Cafe and even national chains such as Panda Express.

Wider consideration of sustainable water practices, Cook said, likely won’t come until there are hard numbers available for the cost of desalination and other methods.

“I think, first, people are going to have to see what the price tag for these other things is going to be,” he said. “When the numbers come in, we really need to scrutinize those numbers. What are they including? What are they not including for both desalinization and the others?”

Moving forward

Though views on how Southern Arizona should approach a potential water shortage differ, most experts agree that something needs to be done. For some, that means more water sources; for others it means fewer swimming pools.

As far as English is concerned, conservation is only effective when combined with good policies.

With current conservation efforts, “You’re talking about shifting who uses water,” he said. “It’s not like if we conserve more, we’re going to use less. What’s going to happen at that point is the people who conserve more will give it up to other users, and we’ll end up using the same amount.”

For scientists such as Flessa of the UA’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, a multifaceted approach seems the most logical.

“When you really get down to it, I think everybody realizes that there’s not one single solution to this problem,” Flessa said. “It’s going to have to be a combination of solutions. No one thing is going to do the trick. There’s going to have to be some increase in water conservation; there’s going to have to be some increase of water recycling. Desalinization may be part of the picture, (along with) greater water efficiencies on farms as well as in homes.”

Megdal said that a proactive attitude toward eliminating the water-supply gap is popular among researchers. The struggle lately, she said, is that many everyday users aren’t making an effort to learn more about the problem.

What’s needed most at this point, Megdal said, is public involvement.

“I’d like people to get excited rather than alarmed, because I don’t think people should have a sense of impending doom,” she said. “What is really needed is for the general citizen, the public, to become engaged, to become interested in these water issues … because decisions will have to be made.”

April 20th: “Welcome the Third Economic Revolution”

Welcome the Third Economic Revolution

A talk on converting from a Consumer Killer Economy to a Sustainable Green Economy
by John ‘Skip’ Laitner, featured speaker at Sustainable Tucson’s December 2013 General Meeting.

Skip is a Resource and Energy Economist, International Economic Conversion Consultant, and Visiting Fellow to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

Hear how he is advising the Government of Normandy, France in their conversion to an Energy-Efficient Economy NOW. They are not waiting until all of Greenland’s ice is in the sea.

SUNDAY, APRIL 20 from 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Milagro Cohousing Common House at 3057 N. Gaia Place in the Tucson Mountains
Refreshments, Q A, Tours of this eco-designed neighborhood following the talk.

Bring a Friend and learn how we can achieve prosperity by reducing energy consumption through conservation, efficiency and renewables and  reduce our climate changing greenhouse gas output!

More information from Holly at 520-743-1948

ST March Meeting: Preparedness for a World of Change

 

Sustainable Tucson’s March Meeting:
Preparedness for a World of Change

Monday, March 10, 2014,    5:30 – 8:00 pm

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

Join the Sustainable Tucson community and extended network to hear Nicole Foss, world-renown lecturer and co-creator of TheAutomaticEarth.Com speak from their DVD on Preparedness. Time will be taken to discuss this important subject which all of us are interested in.

Topics include Navigating an Epic Predicament, Psychology of Contraction, De-Globalization, Community and Society, Energy and Resources, Goods and Services, Nutrition and Health, Entertainment and Education, Be Prepared with Hard Goods, To Rent or Own, Community Building, Depression-proof Employment, and Building Robust Systems.

This General Meeting should begin the conversation of what we actually should start doing and acting on.

We hope to see you all there.

Doors open at 5:30. Program begins at 6:00 until 8;00pm

In addition to the General Meeting on Monday, March 10th, there will be an online Whole Earth Summit March 11 -13th, featuring 42 global sustainability leaders including Tucson’s own Brad Lancaster. To see the schedule of speakers and get more info on how you can connect, go to:

    www.WholeEarthSummit.org

This should be an unforgettable convergence of like hearts and minds considering: What’s your vision for a resilient world? How are you creating it now? Food + water + community + regenerative design + social transformation!

February General Mtg: IS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?

Sustainable Tucson’s February Meeting:
IS YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?

Monday, February 10, 2014,    5:30 – 8:00 pm

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

Last November 14th, the State of Arizona ran a simulation of an emergency event that included a 72-hour power outage – the kind of event climate change may visit upon the Tucson region.

Within the first hour of this mock climate emergency county officials realized hospitals would be overwhelmed by those seeking shelter from the 110+ degree heat. With no power for air conditioners or water delivery, and with severely curtailed communications capacity, hospitals became the first option for the most vulnerable seeking safety and shelter.

In the meantime, local emergency response teams with generators powered limited operations but (as in most emergencies) the general public is left to their own resources to manage until outside help arrives. For most, the physical setting of home is where they will wait out the event.
This mock exercise was an eye-opening experience for those who participated – driving home the fact that healthy connections between neighbors will be essential to best outcomes during such an event.

But are Neighborhoods able to respond in such circumstances? Do residents feel part of a community and trust they can turn to their neighbors for assistance?  Who makes sure the most vulnerable are taken care of? Is there a method for neighborhood communication when commercial communications go down? What supplies should be stored and available?

Come to Sustainable Tucson’s February 10th meeting to find out.

Speakers will include:

Louis Valenzuela:  Pima County Health Department

Donna Branch-Gilby:  Climate Smart: Ready or Hot? Building Resilient Neighborhoods working group, and

Donald Ijams:  Neighborhood Support Network

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

ST Dec. Mtg: The Economic Imperative of Energy Efficiency: Leading Tucson to More Jobs and a Robust Economy While Mitigating Climate Change

XXXX

At Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,

101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

 

Sustainable Tucson December Meeting: The Economic Imperative of Energy Efficiency: Leading Tucson to More Jobs and a Robust Economy While Mitigating Climate Change

This month, Sustainable Tucson brings international expertise and vision to our community to understand how our region can move to a much more energy-efficient economy while enabling a 100% renewable-energy-powered, and a more vibrant economy.

A recently leaked portion of the upcoming (March 2014) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report endorses a CEILING ON GLOBAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. A September 28, 2013 New York Times article describes the Panel’s endorsement:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/science/global-climate-change-report.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Tucson’s regional power system and economy can be planned to produce a vibrant economy AND mitigate the worst effects of climate change. In fact the components that can make this happen work in concert.
Sustainable Tucson is proud to present two speakers with backgrounds and experience in transitioning from a carbon-intensive economy to one anchored by energy efficiency and powered by renewable energy.

John A. “Skip” Laitner is a resource economist who leads a team of consultants with his own group, Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates based in Tucson, Arizona. He served nearly 10 years as a senior economist for technology policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He won EPA’s Gold Medal award for his contributions to economic impact assessments evaluating climate change policies. More recently, he led the Economic and Social Analysis Program for the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a well-known think tank based in Washington, D.C. He has just returned from France where he works as the senior economist for a regional initiative that proposes to reduce energy requirements by half with renewable energy technologies powering all remaining energy needs.
Matthew T. McDonnell, J.D. is a regulatory and policy analyst with Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates. He has previous experience in the renewable energy finance industry and the utility regulatory process. He has worked with former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Paul Newman, providing policy analysis; and he has given testimony before the ACC. As a consultant, Mr. McDonnell has advised clients on a variety of energy projects including independent review of generation options analysis, prospects for municipalization, as well as, regulatory issues involved with the transmission and sale of electricity–in both FERC and ACC jurisdictions. Mr. McDonnell’s clients have ranged from municipalities and energy firms, to public utilities and stakeholder groups.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

Will the real International Energy Agency please stand up?

Will the real International Energy Agency please stand up?

Published by Resource Insights on 2013-11-16
Original article: http://resourceinsights.blogspot.com/2013/11/will-real-international-energy-agency.html by Kurt Cobb

It was as if the International Energy Agency were appearing on the old American television game show To Tell the Truth last week as it offered a third contradictory forecast in the space of a year.

You may recall that on To Tell the Truth the host would begin by reading a statement from a person with an unusual story or profession. Then, a celebrity panel would question three contestants who claimed to be that person. Afterwards, the panelists would vote on whom they believed was the real person. Finally, the host would say, “Will the real [name of person] please stand up?” (Some episodes are still available here on YouTube.)

The difference is that the contestants on To Tell the Truth would try to tell similar, plausible stories so as to stump the panel. In the non-game-show world of energy forecasting, the IEA–a consortium of 28 countries, all net oil importers except for Canada and Norway–plays all three contestants and does not even attempt to be consistent. So, it’s possible that the agency is just a collective mental case with multiple personality disorder.

However, one has to allow for the fact that the IEA is not just one person or one voice. Still, if the agency were a single person, what it has released over the last year as official pronouncements would likely have a psychiatrist reaching for the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition).

Last November in its 2012 World Energy Outlook (WEO), the agency noted rising U.S. oil production and even predicted that the United States would become energy self-sufficient by 2035 (a doubtful call, in my view). It also noted that growing oil demand in the Asia has more than outweighed declines in European and U.S. consumption, keeping upward pressure on prices. It said that growth in Iraq’s oil exports was not a sure thing. While the 2012 WEO is really a rather optimistic document on supply, it did not paint an especially rosy picture, indicating that obtaining the supplies of oil necessary to meet projected demand was not a foregone conclusion.

Then, only six months later came the agency’s so-called Medium-Term Oil Market Report which read like an ad for the North American oil and gas industry. The agency touted a “supply shock” in oil from American tight oil fields unleashed by a new kind of hydraulic fracturing–a shock that would send “ripples throughout the world.” Unlike six months earlier, worldwide supply was supposed to take flight on the wings of fracking.

This enthusiasm didn’t last long. In its latest report, the just-issued 2013 World Energy Outlook, the agency sounded like a group of Gloomy Guses noting that “Brent crude oil has averaged $110 per barrel in real terms since 2011, a sustained period of high oil prices that is without parallel in oil market history.”

The report goes on to say, “The capacity of technologies to unlock new types of resources, such as light tight oil (LTO) and ultra-deepwater fields, and to improve recovery rates in existing fields is pushing up estimates of the amount of oil that remains to be produced. But this does not mean that the world is on the cusp of a new era of oil abundance.” The most recent forecast calls for rising oil prices in real terms through 2035. This is in part because the agency expects that “no country replicates the level of success with LTO” that we are seeing in the United States today.

What’s really happening here? Is the IEA getting better at seeing the future? Not really. What’s happening is that the IEA is being asked to do something which it cannot possibly do: accurately predict oil supplies 22 years into the future. So, given this impossible task, the agency responds by following current trends (and industry hype) and then extrapolating them.

Now that the IEA has had a chance to re-examine the industry’s claims in light of more experience with tight oil development, it is backing off its previous assessment in its Medium-Term Oil Market Report from May. Fatih Birol, chief economist for the IEA, told the Financial Times that he would now characterize rising oil production in the United States as “a surge, rather than a revolution.” He expects OPEC to become dominant once again in oil markets early in the next decade. The Financial Times characterized the report as predicting an oil supply crunch.

But, will the IEA have a change of heart once again? It might, depending on what it hears from industry sources and what it chooses to believe. But, the takeaway from the last year of IEA projections is not that the agency is suffering some sort of breakdown, but that it has been given an impossible task that in the volatile world of oil supplies has it casting about for a coherent story. In short, it is trying to tell the truth without knowing the truth for the simple reason that in this case the truth cannot known. That has made it a poor contestant in its own real-life episode of To Tell the Truth stretched out over the past year.

It is a fool’s errand to try to predict the future of world energy supplies. But, it is even more foolish to base our public policy, business and personal decisions on such predictions.

P. S. There is a minor acknowledgement that such forecasts are exercises in futility in a disclaimer at the end of the 2013 World Energy Outlook summary. The disclaimer reads: “The IEA makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, in respect of the publication’s contents (including its completeness or accuracy) and shall not be responsible for any use of, or reliance on, the publication.” This is standard boilerplate, I know. But, it is not the kind of language that inspires confidence.

 

Editor: the thumbnail image, of course, is the logo from The Oil Drum website, whose work lives on.


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/2013-11-16/will-the-real-international-energy-agency-please-stand-up

Green Redevelopment & the Rise of 2030 Districts

at Tucson Association of Realtors conference room,  2445 N. Tucson Blvd   (one block north of Grant Rd)

 

But, could something like a 2030 District in Tucson help align many efforts to support economic re-generation in our community?    Come join us on:

Monday. November 11, 5:30 – 8:30 pm 

PLEASE NOTE: SPECIAL MEETING LOCATION

Tucson Association of Realtors

2445 N. Tucson Blvd   (one block north of Grant Rd)

Come hear our speakers, and bring your questions and opinions for an active conversation – where we go from here.

Peter Dobrovolny, architect, planner and City of Seattle liaison to the Seattle 2030 District

Robert Bulechek, Tucson building science and energy-efficiency expert

Peter will show how across the United States, 2030 Districts are being formed to meet the energy, water and vehicle emissions targets called for by Architecture 2030 in the 2030 Challenge for Planning. In response to climate change, resource depletion, and financial challenges, communities everywhere are raising the bar on these criteria as well.

Through unique public/private partnerships, property owners and managers are coming together with local governments, businesses and community stakeholders to provide a model for urban sustainability through collaboration, leveraged financing, and shared resources.  Together they are developing and implementing creative strategies, best practices, and verification methods for measuring progress towards a common goal.

Green redevelopment is increasingly being viewed as a first tier strategy for community economic development, generating significant reductions in operating costs and climate-altering emissions and creating long-term sustainable jobs. Green redevelopment also benefits from new investment mechanisms that could provide the financial push toward developing a larger-scale redevelopment industry. With very few good alternatives facing us, green redevelopment could be the next big thing in Greater Tucson.

Robert will show how green redevelopment, at the scale of one building at a time, can practically reduce household resource consumption significantly. He will present how everyone can significantly reduce waste in electricity, natural gas, water, and gasoline consumption and do so by saving money every step of the way. His strategies are cash flow positive at every level of efficiency-mitigation down to zero consumption. At the same time, they also produce other positive benefits including improved comfort and significant reduction in climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions. Using the Minnesota Power Pyramid of Conservation and the HERS home energy modeling system, Robert will demonstrate that resource efficiency is the first step toward financial improvement which does not require government subsidies to advance the general welfare.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

ST Oct Mtg: Investing in Local Solar Energy Solutions

Sustainable Tucson October Meeting: Investing in Local Solar Energy Solutions

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, Lower Level Meeting Room,

101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Investing in Local Solar Energy Solutions

As Tucson begins planning to reduce its greenhouse gases 80% by 2050, the largest emissions sector (59%) arises from the generation and consumption of electricity, currently 84% coal-fired. What clean energy solutions are available to connect consumers to investments in clean solar energy, ready-made for Tucson Electric Power’s utility grid? Community-owned solar is a new, innovative, customer-focused renewable energy model that is being adopted by large and small utilities across the country.

Clean Energy Collective is a new idea in power generation that is building, operating and maintaining community-based clean energy facilities. Headquartered in Colorado, CEC is pioneering the model of delivering clean power-generation through locally centralized, medium-scale facilities that are collectively owned by participating utility customers. To date, CEC has partnered with 10 utilities across the US to deliver and manage 25 community-owned solar projects to respective utility customers. The company’s mission aims to: 1) Accelerate the adoption of long-term clean energy solutions; 2) provide utilities with lower risk, well located and more beneficial clean energy generation; and 3) create a manageable and mutually beneficial production partnership between utilities and consumers.

Come learn about how you can receive maximum benefits from collective investment in localized solar power for yourself and your community, how the CEC model can promote local jobs and the local economy. Join us for this very informative meeting and support renewable energy action in your community.

Meeting speakers will include:

Genevieve Liang, Clean Energy Collective’s VP of Business Development for the Western U.S.

Bruce Plenk, lately of the City of Tucson Energy Office, and Solar Coordinator for the City of Tucson

Kevin Koch, Technicians for Sustainability, local solar installer

Elizabeth Smith, StelcorEnergy, solar energy consultant

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

ST September Mtg: Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community Part IV – Sept 9th

Monday, September 9, 2013

5:30 pm to 8:00 pm

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

ST September Meeting
Working Together Toward a Sustainable Community
Part IV

Sustainable Tucson’s “Conversations with our Public Officials” series provides Tucson community members the opportunity to meet with local public officials to discuss a wide range of sustainability issues. The venue offers a unique opportunity to converse with our public officials in a supportive atmosphere designed to build understanding and establish relationships.

Join Sustainable Tucson for our fourth Conversation with our Public Officials.

Jessie Baxter, Outreach Coordinator for Congressman Raul Grijalva, Ray Carroll, Pima County District 4 Supervisor, and Claire Zucker, Director, Sustainable Environment Program, Pima Association of Governments, will share their vision of a more sustainable Tucson. A networking session will precede the meeting from 5:30 to 6:00.

We believe that building a sustainable future will take the cooperation and partnering of residents, government, institutions and organizations. It is in this spirit that we are reaching out to our public officials by bringing them together with Sustainable Tucson and the wider public in this discussion process. Our ultimate intent for these popular “fishbowl discussions” is to build partnerships and work together toward our common goals.

We invite you to join us on September 9 for this exciting conversation with our local public officials.

Doors open at 5:30 pm. The meeting will begin promptly at 6:00 pm.

 

Sustainable Tucson July Film Night!

Monday, July 8th, 5:30 – 8:00, Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Sustainable Tucson will show a variety of films at our July general meeting. Included among the short and medium length topics are greening the desert, climate change in the arctic, how the people of Cuba adapted to the loss of oil and fertilizer after the Soviet Union collapsed, a Tucson documentary of a community strawbale homebuilding project, and the multifold challenges of sustainability.

Doors will open at 5:30 and films will start showing immediately. Regular monthly announcements will take place at 6:00 during a brief intermission.

Come enjoy film viewing with us at the cool Downtown Main Library lower meeting room

Building Sustainable Cities – New York Times Conference April 25

See the online video archive of the entire conference at nytenergyfortomorrow.com

ENERGY FOR TOMORROW – BUILDING SUSTAINABLE CITIES

A NEW YORK TIMES CONFERENCE
IN COLLABORATION WITH RICHARD ATTIAS AND ASSOCIATES

APRIL 25, 2013
THE TIMESCENTER, NEW YORK CITY

 
THE CONCEPT

According to U.N. data, the worldwide urban population over the next 40 years will increase by 3.1 billion people. Where will the water come from for these people to drink and use? The fuel to heat and cool their homes? The fresh fruit and vegetables for them to eat? The modes of transportation to move them from home to workplace and back? And how can we build buildings, develop infrastructure and diversify transport in ways that limit the waste and pollutants that could make these urban areas unpleasant and unhealthy places to live? These are the issues The New York Times will tackle in its second annual Energy for Tomorrow Conference: Building Sustainable Cities.

In America and in other countries around the world, there is an enormous amount of innovation going on to make our cities more eco-friendly and sustainable. There are fleets of natural gas-fueled trucks and hybrid taxis. LEED-certified buildings are being constructed. Cutting-edge technology is helping cities cut down on energy and resource use. Summers bring urban and rooftop farming. And this innovation is occurring at both a micro and macro level.

THE FORMAT AND AUDIENCE

The New York Times will bring together some 400 thought leaders, public policy makers, government urbanists and C-suite level executives from energy, technology, automotive and construction industries among others, to debate and discuss the wide range of issues that must be addressed if we can create an urban environment that can meet the needs of its citizens and, thanks to innovation, run cleanly and efficiently. The conference will be invitation-only.

There will be a fee of $795 to attend the one-day conference, but The Times will make some grants available for N.G.O.s, entrepreneurs and start-ups to attend at a discount. The format will mix head-to-head debates, panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies and audience brainstorming sessions.

 
APRIL 24 EVENING
(THE EVE OF THE CONFERENCE)

7 – 9p.m.
SCREENING OF THE DOCUMENTARY “TRASHED”

The documentary feature film “Trashed” highlights solutions to the pressing environmental problems facing us all. Academy Award-winning actor Jeremy Irons has teamed up with British filmmaker Candida Brady to record the devastating effect that pollution has had on some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. The screening will be followed by a conversation with Irons.

Confirmed speakers:
Jeremy Irons, actor and executive producer, “Trashed”
in conversation with David Carr, media and culture columnist, The New York Times

 
APRIL 25 AGENDA

Throughout the day, we will be conducting networking and discussion sessions (via smartphones and BlackBerries) to gather, as well as to submit questions to the panel

7 a.m.
REGISTRATION AND BREAKFAST

7:45 – 8:45 a.m.
BREAKFAST DISCUSSION
SMART VEHICLES ARE HERE: CAN GOVERNMENT KEEP PACE?

The pressures are building for safer and smarter vehicles on our roads, raising questions about the national, state and local policies that will emerge. Several states are already early adopters of legislation to enable the use of autonomous vehicles. But every law is different, no national policies exist and innovations are unfolding rapidly. With the evolution of connected vehicles, intelligent roadways, and cloud-based technologies (first maps, soon much more), there will be a host of choices for consumers and governments.

Moderated by Gordon Feller, director of urban innovations, Cisco Systems; founder, Meeting of the Minds

Confirmed Panelists:
Anthony Levandowski, manager, Google autonomous vehicle project
Alex Padilla, state senator, California
Jim Pisz, corporate manager, North American business strategy, Toyota Motor Sales Inc.
Dan Smith, senior associate administrator for vehicle safety, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Bryant Walker Smith, fellow, Center for Automotive Research, Stanford University

9 – 9:30 a.m.
OPENING ADDRESS

Michael Bloomberg, mayor of the City of New York and chair of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group

Introduced by Arthur Sulzberger Jr., publisher, The New York Times

9:30 – 10:15 a.m.
THE MAYORS’ PANEL
HOW DO WE REINVENT OUR CITIES FOR THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?

The city of 2025 could be crisis-ridden if the world doesn’t create more sustainable models of urban development. Research says that our cities will continue to expand and increase in population, while their populations will bring rising consumption and emissions. Alongside these huge challenges, there are also opportunities for businesses: electric vehicles, new low-carbon means of cooling, and energy efficient buildings. We ask a group of mayors to outline an urban planning strategy for 2025.

Moderated by Bill Keller, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Jaime Lerner, former mayor of Curitiba, Brazil
Stephanie Miner, mayor of Syracuse
Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia
Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix

10:15 – 10:40 a.m.
COFFEE BREAK

10:40 – 11 a.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Jeremy Irons, actor and executive producer, “Trashed”
in conversation with Andrew Revkin, Op-Ed columnist and author, Dot Earth blog, The New York Times

*Please note, there is a screening of “Trashed” on the eve of the conference. Seats are limited and the
screening will be open to the public. Confirmed conference participants will get priority.

11 – 11:30 a.m.
PLENARY: THINK NATIONAL, BUT POWER LOCAL

A sustainable city will use a high proportion of renewable energy, but there is a catch-22: sites that generate renewable electricity – wind farms, solar farms and tidal generators – tend to be far away from urban centers. How can we create grids that get renewable energy from the places it is made to the hundreds of millions who will use it? Meanwhile, how can we increase and incentivize localized power generation and supply? Options include district heating and cooling, and buildings producing their own power through solar powered roofs or single wind turbines, and then sharing that power through a smart grid.

Moderated by Thomas L. Friedman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Sabine Froning, C.E.O., Euroheat and Power
Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, U.S.
Kevin Burke, chairman, president and C.E.O., Consolidated Edison Inc.

11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Shaun Donovan, United States secretary of housing and urban development
in conversation with Thomas L. Friedman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

12 – 12:40 p.m.
GAMECHANGERS: THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION

Cutting-edge technology is helping cities cut down on energy and resource use and this innovation is occurring at both a micro and macro level. Can we innovate quickly enough?

Moderated by Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Stephen Kennedy Smith, president, Em-Link LLC
Judi Greenwald, vice president for technology and innovation, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Adam Grosser, group head and partner, Silver Lake Kraftwerk
Neil Suslak, founder and managing partner, Braemar Energy
Steven E. Koonin, director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress (CUSP)

12:40 – 2:05 p.m.
LUNCH AND BRAINSTORMING, URBAN FOOD SUPPLY

Lunch will take place in the Hall downstairs; during lunch we will host a brainstorming discussion featuring expert panelists on the Urban Food Supply.

Moderated by Mark Bittman, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Discussion leaders:
Will Allen, founder and C.E.O., Growing Power
Dave Wann, president, Sustainable Futures Society
Dan Barber, chef and co-owner, Blue Hill at Stone Barns and director of program, President’s Council on
Fitness, Sports and Nutrition

2:05 – 2:40 p.m.
DISCUSSION: GREEN BUILDINGS AND URBAN DESIGN

Sustainable cities need energy-efficient buildings and the current symbol of urban architecture – the glass and metal skyscraper – scores badly in this regard. What kinds of building should be the centerpieces of new sustainable cities? Are current green building codes leading us in the right direction? Nearly half of the world’s new megacities will be in China and India: how can their leaders ensure that the millions of new structures in these cities use energy sparingly and follow sustainable urban planning?

Moderated by Michael Kimmelman, architecture critic, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
David Fisk, co-director of the BP Urban Energy Systems Project and Laing O’Rourke Professor in Systems Engineering and Innovation, Imperial College London
Hal Harvey, C.E.O., Energy Innovation: Policy and Technology LLC
Katrin Klingenberg, Passivehouse Institute, USA
Jonathan Rose, founder and president, Jonathan Rose Companies
Martha Schwartz, professor in practice of landscape architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and co-founder, Working Group for Sustainable Cities, Harvard University

2:40 – 3:15 p.m.
DISCUSSION: TRANSPORT AND TRAFFIC

An effective and energy-efficient transport network is the skeleton of a sustainable city, allowing residents to move from home to work with a minimum of congestion, pollution or emissions. The solutions are different for old cities and new cities, and for rich cities and poor cities. But the traditional model of urban expansion followed by new roads has created a vicious spiral where new roads beget more cars, which beget the need for more roads. New, more sustainable ideas for city transportation not only reduce emissions, but also improve quality of life.

Moderated by Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Walter Hook, C.E.O., Institute for Transportation and Development Policy
Peder Jensen, head of programme, governance and networks, European Environment Agency
Anna Nagurney, director, Virtual Center for Supernetworks, Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts
Naveen Lamba, intelligent transportation lead, IBM
Janette Sadik-Khan, NYC transportation commissioner

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION
PLANET-WARMING EMISSIONS: IS DISASTER INEVITABLE?

Klaus Jacob, adjunct professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University
in conversation with Joe Nocera, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

3:30 – 4:15 p.m.
NETWORKING DISCUSSION:
Participants will be split into two concurrent sessions to brainstorm two issues on the sustainable agenda. Led by a member of The Times team, and with an expert panel to comment and shape the discussions, participants will brainstorm ideas together. The results of the brainstorming – including suggested actions – will be released after the event.

DISCUSSION 1: TRANSPORT

Ingvar Sejr Hansen, head of city planning, City of Copenhagen
Ari Kahn, policy adviser for electric vehicles, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Bruce Schaller, deputy commissioner for traffic and planning, New York City Department of Transportation
Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix

DISCUSSION 2: GREEN SPACES

Kai-Uwe Bergmann, partner, Bjarke Ingels Group
Steven Caputo Jr., deputy director, New York City Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability
Susan Donoghue, senior adviser and assistant commissioner for strategic initiatives, New York City Parks
Deborah Marton, senior vice president of programs, New York Restoration Project

4:15 – 4:35 p.m.
COFFEE BREAK

4:35 – 4:55 p.m.
COLUMNIST CONVERSATION

Carol Browner, senior counselor, Albright Stonebridge Group, and former energy czar
in conversation with Bill Keller, Op-Ed columnist, The New York Times

4:55 – 5:45 p.m.
CLOSING PLENARY
DEALBOOK: INVESTING IN THE CITY OF TOMORROW

The challenge is to reinvent and retool the cities and urban life in a guise that is more sustainable – and to do it fast. Some of the best minds in the developed and developing worlds are trying to address this global issue. Architects, urban planners and engineers are drawing up plans. Business consultants are looking for new business opportunities as these sustainable cities evolve. The World Bank is trying to figure out how to finance their growth. How can we finance the creation of the city of tomorrow?

Moderated by Andrew Ross Sorkin, columnist/editor, DealBook, The New York Times

Confirmed panelists:
Alicia Glen, managing director, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs
Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance, Office of the Governor, State of New York
William McDonough, chairman, McDonough Advisors

5:45 p.m. CLOSING AND RECEPTION

 
See the online video archive of the entire conference at nytenergyfortomorrow.com

A Fierce Green Fire – A Film and Panel on Green Activism – April 19

at The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway Blvd, Tucson AZ

Join us for a special post-film panel discussion on opening night, featuring local experts in the field of environmental studies!

Maria Baier – Executive Director of the Sonoran Institute

Roger Clark – Grand Canyon Program Director for The Grand Canyon Trust

Paul Green – Executive Director of the Tucson Audubon Society

Diana Liverman – IE coDirector and Regents Professor of Geography and Development

Kenny Walker – Rachel Carson Fellow and PhD candidate in the University of Arizona’s English Department’s Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English (RCTE) program, studying the rhetoric of science and technology.

Fierce Green Fire movie poster

 
Time: Friday, April 19th at 7:00pm
Location: The Loft Cinema, 3233 East Speedway Blvd. Tucson [MAP]

Spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism, A Fierce Green Fire, from Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Mark Kitchell (Berkeley in the Sixties), brings to light the vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought – and succeeded – against enormous odds. From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to fighting toxic waste at Love Canal; from Greenpeace to Chico Mendes; from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization, A Fierce Green Fire is “nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself.” (Los Angeles Times).

Inspired by the book of the same name by Philip Shabecoff and informed by advisors like Edward O. Wilson, this fascinating documentary chronicles the largest movement of the 20th century and one of the major keys to the 21st. Through awe-inspiring stories of triumph and struggle, the film focuses on real world activism, people fighting to save their homes, their lives, their futures – and succeeding against all odds.

Narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende. Directed by Mark Kitchell, 2012, 101 mins., Not Rated, First Run Features, Digital.  Watch the Trailer

“Winningly spans the broad scope of environmental history.” Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“Rousing … the most ambitious environmental documentary since An Inconvenient Truth tries to make the case that we just might win. Noggin-shaking historical truths … jabs you in the heart.” Michael Roberts, Outside Magazine

“Rarely do environmental-themed films come with the ambitious scope of A Fierce Green Fire… which aims at nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself.” Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

Sustainable Tucson Community Fundraising Appeal

Sustainable Tucson needs your support to continue to present timely, interesting and informative monthly programs. With minimal financial support from the larger community we have provided continuous monthly programs for nearly seven years, drawing particularly on local talent and sustainability leaders. As we increasingly bring in cutting-edge speakers from other cities and regions, Sustainable Tucson faces greater costs and increased organizational needs.

A brief review of previous programs archived on our website shows the breadth and depth of subject matter we have produced for the emerging sustainability community free of charge. More than 2,000 people have directly benefited from our educational, networking, and advocacy opportunities. Efforts to provide media coverage of our events will reach many thousands more.

There are two ways you can help us further our mission to foster greater understanding  and collaborative activities ensuring resilience and a sustainable future.  One way is to use your credit card and go to our online donation webpage: (http://www.sustainabletucson.org/contactcontribute/donate). The other is simply to write a check to “NEST Inc — Sustainable Tucson”  and mail it to P.O. Box 41144, Tucson, AZ 85717

Thank you for your support and remember that every dollar donated to Sustainable Tucson goes a long way to help all of us find our way to more sustainable lives and a more sustainable community.

The End of Growth: David Suzuki & Jeff Rubin

The End of Growth: Rubin & Suzuki

From Ideas with Paul Kennedy

Economist Jeff Rubin and biologist David Suzuki might seem an unlikely pairing. But they’ve been touring Canada together, talking about the natural limits to growth from their very different perspectives. We listen in as they try to convince a Calgary audience that we’ve already exceeded the capacity of the planet.

Click here to listen to Jeff Rubin and David Suzuki.

 

Originally published by CBC Radio on 2013-03-15; article: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2013/03/13/the-end-of-growth/ by Jeff Rubin , David Suzuki

Re-published on Resilience (http://www.resilience.org)

 

 

Watershed Management Group – Short Courses – Jan Feb March

Tucson AZ

 

Watershed Management Group’s Watershed Technical Trainings (WTT) are hands-on design and implementation trainings to build the knowledge and skills of property-owners and practitioners alike.

As a non-profit organization, WMG’s goal is to offer green job trainings based in collaboration not competition; build applied skills of professionals; and teach universal principles and systems instead of product promotion.  Our courses bring together a wide variety of people, such as architects, engineers, resource managers, consultants, educators, policy makers, community activists, and property owners.

Upcoming courses are:

Urban Stream Restoration, Next scheduled course: Friday, January 18, 2013.  Apply by December 10 to get the most affordable rate.

Ferrocement Cistern Construction, Next scheduled course: January 31 – February 2, 2013 (tentative dates)

Community-based Green Infrastructure & Parking Lot Retro-fits, Next scheduled course: March 15-16, 2013 (tentative dates)

For more information and registration visit watershedmg.org/tech-trainings

WMG Water Harvesting Certification Program – Feb & April

Feb 22 – March 2 in Phoenix, and April 5-13 in Tucson AZ

 

Water Harvesting Certification Program

The Watershed Management Group’s Water Harvesting Certification program is a hands-on training course that provides certification in water harvesting system design and implementation.

WMG’s goal is to transfer water harvesting knowledge to those who will utilize these practices in their professions and teach them to others. Our program provides the highest quality and greatest depth of training in integrative water harvesting offered in the nation.

The course teaches design, implementation, and installation of:

  • Greywater systems
  • Water harvesting earthworks
  • Plastic cisterns

February 22 – March 2, 2013: Phoenix, Arizona (register by January 21, 2013)

April 5-13, 2013: Tucson, Arizona (register by February 25, 2013)

For more information and registration visit watershedmg.org/tech-trainings

ST January 2013 Meeting – Jan 14

at Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone, Downtown (free lower level parking off Alameda St)

Sustainable Tucson 2013
How We Can Take Action in the New Year

Lots of powerful efforts are happening in Tucson and around the world to make a more sustainable and secure future. Join Sustainable Tucson on Monday, January 14 as we begin a new year and decide on the main focuses of Sustainable Tucson in 2013.

This year, Sustainable Tucson will continue our efforts to help you find ways you can take action to make your own life, Tucson, and the whole world more and more sustainable.

At the January meeting, we will join our passions and find the areas that we really want to act on. Our goal is to find those things that not only excite you, but excite a lot of people. That way, it isn’t each of us acting alone. It is many people acting together.

What’s your passion – Having healthy, local food to eat? Tackling our share of global climate change? Developing a sustainable local economy that serves Tucson? – Come to this month’s Sustainable Tucson General Meeting and find others who share your passions. It is time to act… together.

Please join us Monday, January 14th, 2013 at the Joel Valdez Library, lower level meeting room.

Doors open at 5:30 pm
The meeting will begin at 6:00 pm
Free and open to the public

Also see Sustainability Actions Everyone Can Do and personally What You Can Do – Top 10, sketches for community-wide Sustainability Plans in the menu above, and articles & resources in the Topics in Focus menu and Archive Categories below.

Review: The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady State Economy

Review: The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative Transitions to a Steady State Economy

by Jon Walker

 

What I love most about this book is the feeling you get that there is hope: solutions to environmental, social and financial crises do exist, they have been tried and tested all over the planet and all we have to do is get on with it.

 

The book is remarkable from several points of view. The extent and the depth of knowledge on which the arguments are based is truly impressive: it provides a history of money and corporations and co-operatives and land trusts from all over planet – emphasising the initiatives which have worked and survived and those which have been crushed by authoritative regimes.

 

Much of this needs to be common knowledge, for example, many successful banks which charged low-cost fees rather than interest were simply rendered illegal by their governments; booming cooperative movements were destroyed in Italy in 1921 (8,000 coops), in Germany in 1933 (4.5 million members) and Russia in 1918 (26,000 coops).

 

As the history unfolds it becomes clear that many of the kinds of institutions I had assumed were just out-performed by the corporations and banks were never given a chance. In reality, those in power just got rid of them. But there are many survivors – like the JAK bank in Sweden (which doesn’t charge interest) and the Cooperative Group in the UK – both of which continue to flourish.

 

The conclusions derived from this and several other innovations in the book are unavoidable: interest free banking does work and slashes the costs of borrowing, community land trusts are growing and enable far cheaper housing than freehold land schemes, cooperatives continue to grow and employ more people than all the multi-nationals put together. There are better co-operative economy ways to do almost everything: we don’t have to destroy our eco-systems and economics can be re-designed to benefit everyone.

 

The book is packed with inspiration – on local food, energy, housing, farming and, weaving all of this together, a better way of dealing with money. Perhaps the most impressive achievement is the way that the authors manage to hold all these elements together and demonstrate that resilience requires changes in all aspects of our lives. They show we need to change basic attitudes to almost everything, and to create a new set of values where well-being and eco-system health are more important than a set of numbers in your digital bank account. And, as the title suggests, a policy change away from economic growth as the primary objective to a resilient, sustainable way of living is fundamental.

 

The answers are everywhere. We can build houses which require almost no heating, we can feed ourselves with predominantly local foods, we can use the sun and wind and tides to generate energy, we can create communities which live in balance with their environment. The big questions still remain unanswered, however. Can we turn away from the current paradigm and begin to put all these ideas into practice for everyone, rather than see them working just in isolated pockets of resilience?

 

The authors argue their case at several levels but, for me, a constant thread is the need to reform the money-system; this stands out as a pre-requisite for broad-based change. As long as the majority of humanity is trapped into massive debt repayment, the possibilities for change will remain muted.

 

The solutions emerge clearly. We need access to debt-free money, we need access to commonly-held land, we need cooperative businesses which are designed for the benefit of the people who work or use them, we need regional solutions. And we need everyone to play their part in the transformation: a resilient society will only emerge from the efforts of resilient individuals and families. Functioning participatory democracy is needed at all levels from the work-place to the community to local government right up to the global. The authors are clear that international organisations like the farmers federation, La Via Campesina, are of crucial importance in building global alternatives to the current economic systems controlled by corporations and unelected bodies like the WTO.

 

So what if we all decided to live like this? The authors lead us gently through the consequences for the (very average) Hartwick family. For several of the proven innovations they provide us detailed calculations that they bring down to the household level to show the achievable dollar and cent savings. For example, the combined savings for an average household like the Hartwick’s in Canada over 25 years would be $363,000 if fee based financing, community land trust and basic energy conservation measures were applied. For the Hartwicks, a middle class family on average income, this translates into 12,095 hours of work at their wage level; imagine, this saving of almost 500 working hours per year. If one then adds back in the increased cost of paying a fair price for organic food over that time period, one would be better off to the tune of $286,969 plus have time left over to raise some food. Less debt means less pressure to grow, thus one could help save the planet and also save significant cash.

 

In many ways the books feels like a (nonviolent) call-to-arms: everything is collapsing around us, solutions exist and have been shown to work, and as governments seem completely incapable of doing anything, it really is down to the rest of us to stand up and be counted. So get this book and read it slowly – there is a huge amount to inwardly digest – and then decide what you’re going to do.

 

To misquote a previous work proposing radical change: all we have to lose are our economic chains and the threat of catastrophic climate collapse.

 

Jon Walker has worked in the UK co-operative sector since the 1970s, setting up and co-managing shops, warehouses, small-scale manufacturing coops, and most recently a community owned green grocer. He is also a member of the local Transition Town which is working to establish a local food economy, and finding ways to make with the local housing stock more energy efficient. He also lectures and publishes on the application of systems theory to co-operative organisational issues: his current book written with Angela Espinosa “A complexity approach to sustainability” examines the application of the Viable Systems model to the creation of a sustainable world from the individual to the global.

 

Published by Resilience.org on November 26, 2012

Published on Energy Bulletin (http://www.energybulletin.net)

 

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

 

Energy Bulletin 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.energybulletin.net/stories/2012-11-26/review-the-resilience-imperative-cooperative-transitions-to-a-steady-state-economy

 

Links:

[1] http://www.resilience.org/stories/2012-11-26/review-the-resilience-imperative-cooperative-transitions-to-a-steady-state-economy

 

UK Tyndall Centre Interview: Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy, but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse

 by Rob Hopkins

Published by Transition Culture on Fri, 11/02/2012  and republished by EnergyBulletin.Net  on Sat, 11/3/2012

Kevin Anderson is the Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre and is an expert on greenhouse-gas emissions trajectories. He will be giving the annual Cabot Institute lecture, ‘Real Clothes for the Emperor’ on 6th November in Bristol, which has already sold out. I was hoping to be able to go and report on it for you here, but no longer can, so instead, I spoke to Kevin last week, by Skype. I am very grateful for his time, and for a powerful, honest and thought-provoking interview.

 

Could you share with us your analysis of where you think we find ourselves in terms of climate change and what’s our current trajectory if we carry on as we are?

 

In terms of the language around climate change, I get the impression that there’s still a widely held view that we can probably hold to avoiding dangerous climate change characterised by this almost magical 2°C rise in global mean surface temperature. This is the target that we have established in Copenhagen and then re-iterated in Cancun and to which most nations of the world have now signed up to; I think the rhetoric that we should not exceed this 2°C rise is still there.

 

It’s not just about our emissions now. If you look at the emissions we’ve already put out into the atmosphere since the start of this century, and you look at what’s likely to be emitted over the next few years, then I think it tells a very different story. It’s hard to imagine that, unless we have a radical sea-change in attitudes towards emissions, we will avoid heading towards a 6°C rise by the end of this century.

 

Can we for definite, in your opinion, say that this year’s extreme weather can be linked to climate change?

 

Certainly not. I think it’s fair to say that it’s unlikely we will ever be able to robustly link any particular single event to climate change. Now that’s not to say we can’t get a greater level of attribution, where we can start to say the things that we are seeing are what we would expect to see with a warming climate. We are struggling to find any other reasons for them and therefore it does seem a high probability that these events are caused, if not exacerbated by, the rise in CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases and hence the increase in temperature. But I think it’s unlikely that we’d ever be able to say that any single event is a ‘climate change event’.

 

But would you say that if we were still at 280 parts per million it would be much less likely that we would have had a summer like this?

 

Yes, I think that would be a fair comment. It would be much less likely. Before this summer, the probability of having this summer’s weather would have been less if we had not seen significant rises in greenhouse gases and their cumulative impact in the atmosphere. We are starting now to see events that it’s difficult to explain in terms of normal probabilities. We get extreme weather events, we always have had such events; extremes do occur. But if extremes start to occur regularly they’re no longer extremes, and what you’re then seeing is not a weather extreme, you’re seeing change in the climate. But it’s hard to say that any particular event in a range of events is a consequence of climate change, and not just an extreme weather event.

 

Sometimes people talk about this idea of ‘a new normal’, that the basic conditions around us have changed. In terms of what’s happening in terms of the climate, how would you characterise the ‘new normal’ that we’re in given the rise we’ve had in emissions so far?

 

I think it would probably be a very short normal, I don’t think this is the normal at all. It’s the normal for today, but I think the rate of increase of emissions, and there is no sign at all of that rate significantly coming down, would suggest that we’ll be reaching a new normal, and then another new normal, and then another new normal. I’m one of the people that concludes that we’re likely to experience significant climate change impacts over the next 1,2,3 decades and obviously beyond that point. At the moment, unless we change our emissions pathways and trajectory, the normal will be changing regularly.

 

You have already argued and you’ll be arguing in Bristol on November 6th that responding adequately to climate change and economic growth are no longer compatible. Could you flesh that case out a little bit for us?

 

Now I’m going to talk specifically about the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world, the OECD countries, broadly, the countries that are fairly well industrialised. In those parts of the world, the rate of reduction in emissions that would be necessary for us to even stay within an outside chance of avoiding dangerous climate change, characterised by the 2°C rise that we’re all internationally committed to, would be in the order of around 10% per annum.

 

Though a very approximate guide, it’s far removed from the 1, 2 or 3% that most energy scenarios or emissions scenarios consider. It is well beyond anything we’ve been able to countenance, well beyond virtually anything so far that we’ve analysed. What we know is that in the short term, because we need to start this now, we cannot deliver reduction by switching to a low carbon energy supply, we simply cannot get the supply in place quickly enough.

 

Therefore, in the short to medium term the only major change that we can make is in consuming less. Now that would be fine, we could become more efficient in what we consume by probably 2 – 3% per annum reduction. But bear in mind, if our economy was say growing at 2% per annum, and we were trying to get a 3% per annum reduction in our emissions, that’s a 5% improvement in the efficiency of what we’re doing each year, year on year.

 

Our analysis for 2°C suggests we need a 10% absolute reduction per annum, and there is no analysis out there that suggests that is in any way compatible with economic growth. If you consider the Stern Report, Stern was quite clear that there was no evidence that any more than a 1% per annum reduction in emissions had ever been associated with anything other than “economic recession or upheaval”, I think was the exact quote.

 

So we have no historical precedents for anything greater than 1% per annum reduction in emissions. We’re saying we need nearer 10% per annum, and this is something we need to be doing today. And therefore, we can draw a very clear conclusion from this, that in the short to medium term, the way for the Annex 1, the wealthy parts of the world to meet their obligations to 2°C, is to cut back very significantly on consumption. And that would therefore mean in the short to medium term a reduction in our economic activity i.e. we could not have economic growth.

 

Now we might have a steady-state economy, but my overall sense is that the maths probably point to us having to consume less each year for the next few years, maybe a decade or so.

 

Has that ever happened before? As I understand it, when the Soviet Union collapsed it was 9% cut and that was just for 1 year. What would 10% a year look like?

 

My understanding with the collapse of the Eastern Bloc countries was that the drop was about 5% per year for up to about 10 years. So what we saw there was a relatively prolonged, completely unplanned, and as it turned out very chaotic and uneven reduction in emissions, and even then only delivered about a half to a quarter of, the rate of reduction, what we would need for 2°C.

 

So as their economy collapsed, their emissions dropped by about 5% per annum for about 10 years. We would be needing at least 10% per annum if not considerably higher and for longer than a 10 year period. For the Soviet Union, the economic collapse, though a pretty terrible time for many people, still did not achieve the rate of reductions that we would need to be seeing here.

 

Of course our view is that to deliver on 2°C , we should plan the economic contraction. It need not necessarily have the devastating impact that it very clearly had, and very inequitable impact, in Russia in particular.

 

Given that the current administration or indeed any administration that would be elected in this country would never be able to run on a platform of shrinking the economy by 10% every year, what are the implications? How do the need to do that and democracy sit alongside each other?

 

Firstly I don’t say we have to reduce our level of consumption by 10% per annum in terms of material goods. I’m not saying our economy has to reduce by 10% per annum. The emissions have to come down at 10% per annum, but we should be able to get some efficiency improvements as well. So the economy would not have to come down as fast as the rate of emissions coming down. It’s very important to make that distinction, and of course the more low-hanging fruit that we can find, and I think there’s a lot more out there than we’ve discovered previously- the less the material contraction of the economy would need to be. From some of our provisional work we have identified some very significant improvements in the efficiency of how we do what we do; some technical, some behavioural.

 

I don’t think it’s necessarily as dire as you’re painting from an economic perspective. Nevertheless we are talking here at best a steady-state economy. The analysis that I and colleagues in the Tyndall Centre have undertaken would suggest there probably has to be a reduction in our consumption and an economic contraction.

 

How would we sell that? Well, we’ve sold it at the moment. It’s very clear in the UK and many parts of Europe that what we’re seeing is at best stagnation, if not an economic reduction in our level of consumption. So we have actually got that at the moment. We’re not all finding this utterly dire .. not that it’s been evenly spread, I think it’s been unfairly spread. I think equity should be one of our main considerations here. We have to bear in mind that even if we have an economic contraction that wouldn’t necessarily mean that for many people they would have to consume less.

 

I take the very clear view on this that the distributional effects would very likely mean that many people in the UK for instance would not see a reduction in their levels of consumption or their levels of wellbeing, but others of us in the UK, like myself, would certainly have to see reduction in levels of consumption. Probably not a reduction in levels of wellbeing but certainly in levels of consumption. So I think distributional impacts might mean that it could be much more attractive, or less unattractive, to policy makers than at first sight it would seem.

 

Particularly given that we face a lot of issues now with unemployment, welfare reductions etc., issues that disproportionately affect people in the middle-lower income band; it is these people that could actually benefit from a transition to a much more efficient and lower carbon economy.

 

The implications will obviously have to be thought through, but any government that embraced a more sophisticated analysis of climate change would likely recognise the economic situation that we have got ourselves into anyway with our current model. Put those two together and there are real opportunities now for a significant transition in how we do what we do; a transition away from the dogmatic economic growth model and towards a steady-state low carbon alternative.

 

What do you see as the role, certainly in terms of the Transition approach, as very much about what a bottom-up, community-led response to that looks like, what’s your sense of the role that communities can play in making that happen?

 

I take the view that the community approach, the bottom-up approach, is absolutely pivotal to resolving some of the challenges and issues that we find ourselves facing now. So I think communities are really important here. They’re important in a number of ways.

 

You might make an argument that the actions of any individual, of any household, of any local community, in and of themselves are relatively insignificant, I all too often hear this. The point is less about the emissions of an individual, though still important, but more about the example it sets. It gives other people the opportunity to see that you can do something differently.

 

If communities, and even if it’s only one or two communities are starting to do things significantly differently, that means we have an example of what we can do. If those examples are successful they can spread. Once they spread, policy makers can start to see those examples at work and can start to set a top-down agenda that can coincide with the bottom-up agenda. We can actually point policy makers to where it’s working and make arguments for implementing policies that would facilitate those sorts of changes.

 

If we are going to get out of the hole we’ve got ourselves into there’s real scope for some partnership between bottom-up-individuals, through to communities etc. – and top-down, trying to facilitate initiatives as they emerge. It’s the kind of partnership we need if we are going to see real substantive change. And if we see that in the UK, that helps within the EU and can signal a wider, global transition. I think we all have a responsibility to try and bring these changes about in our own lives and our immediate environments, and actually this could be significant. What we do ourselves is absolutely central to bringing about substantive change.

 

What do you see as being the role of scientists in all this? Should they only focus on definitely proven science or move more towards how James Hansen is taking more of an activist stance. How do you see that balance between science and activism?

 

This is quite a difficult question. My view here is that as scientists we have to behave as scientists. Now we are human beings, and so science will never be the perfect, objective, neutral profession that the textbooks might try to describe it as. Nevertheless I think it is really important in our science to remain neutral and objective, as much as we ever can. Science is not about black and white, there is a huge amount of uncertainty in a lot of science, there’s a huge amount of probabilities and clearly climate change has a lot of this wrapped up in it. But I think it is absolutely pivotal that as scientists we behave as scientists.

 

Now as individuals, as citizens – we may be scientists but we are also citizens – I see nothing wrong with standing up and saying I think my and other people’s science raises concerns for society and so I have to chosen to act on that analysis. There is a duality here. An individual can, as a scientist, produce their work neutrally, and then they can use that work to inform how they act as a citizen.

 

If Hansen and others want to chain themselves to bulldozers building new runways, that is their choice as a citizen, I don’t disagree with that. What I would disagree with is that if anyone starts to misuse science to support other sets of views. Because people like Hansen’s analysis looks to be more extreme, people then assume that he is pushing the boundaries of the science. I think the scientists that are pushing the boundaries are those that are deliberately, and I know many of these people, holding to a line that is politically palatable, because that is what politicians, what their pay masters, what society wants to hear.

 

Actually I think Hansen and some of those scientists who are prepared to stand up and make quite strong statements from their science are the ones that are being more neutral and objective; far too many of the scientists who are working on climate change, are towing, in my view, a political line. It looks like it’s neutral because it doesn’t sound extreme, it fits within the orthodoxy. But that is not the way we should be doing science. Whether it fits within the orthodoxy or not we should be objective, robust, direct and honest about science.

 

You spend a lot of your time surrounded by all the papers and research and stuff that’s coming out, all the models that get worse and worse. How do you personally cope with that, and what do you do in your own life that’s motivated by what you encounter in your professional life?

 

I have to say it gets increasingly difficult, it has affected my personal life quite considerably over the last few years and is getting worse. I find it very hard to engage with the science and then not link that to what we as individuals, what society, what policy makers are doing, or evidently not doing. It has been really challenging for me with some work colleagues, less so in the immediate group that I’m involved with here in Manchester, but certainly wider colleagues who I work with on climate change who, it seems to me, have no regard for what their research tells them.

 

For many, but with significant exceptions, their work seems to be little more than something that pays the mortgage. I find that quite difficult. I take the view that it is incumbent on us as scientists and citizens that we should be changing what we’re doing in our own lives, and I think that people would take much more note of the analysis that we do if we decided to live broadly in accordance with our science. In my view, far too few scientists who work on climate change actually do that.

 

But also I find it increasingly difficult not to challenge friends and family, who often appear to have complete disregard for the impacts of their action. I’ve got to the point now where I think that when we’re profligately emitting, we’re knowingly damaging the lives and the prospects of some of the poorest people in our communities, both in the UK, but more significantly globally. Yet we obscenely carry on doing this. We’re happy to put a few pence into a collection pot in the middle of town to help people living in poorer parts of the world but we don’t seem to be prepared to make substantive changes to how we’re living our lives- even when we recognise the impact our emissions are having.

 

And yet science is pretty clear on this, that vulnerable people in the poorer parts of the world will suffer dire repercussions of what we are doing now and what we’ve already done. I find that almost reprehensible that scientists are able to completely ignore such a very clear message; we know that the people on the coastal strips of Bangladesh will suffer very significantly from our behaviour as will many other people, poor people around the world. And we really do not collectively as a society and even often as individuals demonstrate any meaningful care or compassion.

 

I’ve cut back on many of the activities I previously pursued. Many of my friendships linked to activities; as a keen rock climber, I used to travel away for breaks by plane. This has all had to change quite considerably. I have close friends from when I used to work in the oil industry, friends who think climate change is a serious issue but are not prepared to make any changes to their lifestyles. It has raised some serious challenges for me in maintaining personal relationships.

 

I don’t want to pretend that it’s easy. I do not think that the future, for those of us that are in the very fortunate position of living in the West, is full of win-win opportunities. People who have done well, very well out of our western system, and live very carbon profligate lifestyles are going to face difficult challenges, and we should not pretend otherwise.

 

Until we actually embrace alternative means of finding value in our lives, I think that transition from where we are today, high-carbon, high-energy lifestyles, to ultimately lower-carbon lifestyles is going to be both difficult and unpopular. But ultimately, I do not see an alternative. Rapid and deep emissions reductions may not be easy- but 4°C to 6°C will be much worse.

 

Do you see any possibility that that might come from and be led by government?

 

No, I don’t think it will be led by government. I don’t think it will be led by anyone. I think it will be an emergent outcome of a society that cares, of which government is part and citizens and individuals are part as well. I have never particularly liked the idea of great people, of wonderful leadership, I much more believe in an emergent system, the properties and values that are embedded within a system.

 

Now we might see that, manifested sometimes in a leader, but it actually is an outcome of that society moving in a particular direction. So that’s why, to me, I’m not looking for some great person to come on their white charger and take this forward. I’m looking for all of us to engage, and out of that will emerge a new way of thinking of the world.

 

Given the economic challenges, crisis, whatever we want to call it, that we are seeing at the moment, this is a real opportunity for change. An opportunity we need to grasp. We need to think differently, think positively, but recognise in my view that it will not be easy. We can institute these changes ourselves both bottom-up and top-down. It is this kind of leadership we need, leadership from all of us.

 

Do you think from a climate change perspective actually a deepening and a worsening recession is the best thing that could happen to us?

 

At the moment I just see it as blaming everyone else. Inequity is going up, not down. Recessions are not good times– we clearly are not all in it together. Many of us have not made any changes to the restaurants that we go to, the hotels that we go to, the holidays that we take, and yet the other side is we are completely stripping back welfare, and we’re not investing in green infrastructure. We’re constantly putting money, a third of a trillion into the banks, not into a new grid network or a new set of renewable technologies or retro-fitting houses. So we have the prospect of doing things differently, offered us by the recession but we’re letting those opportunities go, on a day to day basis we’re throwing these opportunities away. It could be a much more positive drive toward a low carbon and resilient society than it’s turning out to be.

 

Bill McKibben argues that we need to get back to 350 parts per million. Is that possible?

 

Well it is in the very long term. But within the sort of time frame that we’re talking about at the moment, unless the geo-engineering routes work and I think we have to be very cautious about sucking the CO2 out of the air when we can’t even turn the lights off when we leave a room at the moment! I find this quite bizarre, but it is not to say we shouldn’t spend some money now on research into negative emission technologies.

 

I think it highly unlikely that we’ll get back to 350 within quite a lot of generations. That’s not to say we shouldn’t have it as a goal, but what I think we should be looking to do is to stabilise the concentration as quickly as possible at the levels they are today. They’ll be higher tomorrow and higher the day after that. What we need to do immediately is to stop that rate of growth and then get the CO2 out of the atmosphere as quickly as we can.

 

I don’t know whether we’ll be able to suck the stuff out. At the moment it’s a long way away. It’s a Dr Strangelove future. That’s not to say it may not have some purchase in the long-term but at the moment we’re digging out shale gas and tar sands and lots of coal. We’re going to be digging under the Arctic. We don’t need to concern ourselves too much with geo-engineering for the future, we just need to stop getting fossil fuels out of the ground today.

 

You talked about the need to cut emissions by 10% a year and how difficult that’s going to be and how it’s not going to be an easy thing and it’ll affect every aspect of what people do, particularly the people who are used to having it better. Can you describe a bit what you think it’ll look like when we get there? What’s your vision of what things would be like if we actually do this successfully, if we’re able to muster the will and the collective spirit and we actually manage to pull it off? Can you describe what it might be like when we get there?

 

This is quite hard… what will the future look like? It’s difficult for us as scientists and engineers not to impose our other personal ways of seeing the world. There are particular changes that I would like to see the world achieve that are not related to carbon or climate change, not to embody those in my view of the future is not easy.

 

I’m 50 years old now. I had a very good life in the 1970s and a pretty good life in the 1980s. I don’t think my quality of life has significantly improved since the 1970s and 80s, and yet my emissions and the emissions per capita have really gone up very significantly.

 

So we have lived good quality, relatively lower-carbon lives than we are today, not very long ago. Now a lot of that was because we consumed less. We still lived fairly high-consumption lifestyles, and I think if we allied the technical expertise that we have now that could really improve the technologies that we actually use to deliver lifestyles that are very good – we’re not talking about going a long way back to times when people were very impoverished.

 

We had good medical treatment, we had good schools, good transport networks. So I think we can ally both our current technical skills and abilities, with a recognition that we consumed considerably less than we consume today but had a not noticeably different lifestyles – going back to the 50s, 40s or the 30s would be very different, but I don’t think that’s true for the 70s and 80s.

 

Such a transition would certainly be challenging, with some significant equity and distributional impacts, and with a shift in emphasis from a strongly individual and consumption based society to one that embraces more collaboration. I acknowledge this would be more attractive to me, but I recognise that some people would not see such change in a positive light. Nevertheless, I think it’s hard to imagine ourselves getting out of the hole we’re in without a greater degree of collective effort.

 

I don’t think we should be looking to go back to the point where we can’t travel, and where we’re living austere lives. With a greater degree of equity, scarce energy resources can be balanced with high-welfare lives.

 

It’s a future about sufficiency more than it is about greed and wants, whether it’ll be radically different from where we are today will depend on how fast we respond now, but I don’t think it necessarily has to be. We will have lots of opportunities to behave differently, adopt lower consumption habits, and ally that with significant changes in the types and the efficiency of the technologies that are already available. All this could steer us in a resilient low-carbon direction.

 

Do you think the tradeable energy quotas that David Fleming came up with would be a useful tool for that?

 

Myself and my colleague Richard Starkey at the time did quite a lot of work on that, in fact we knew David quite well. Yes, I think it’s certainly one very serious route to consider and indeed David Miliband was quite keen on it at the time, DEFRA eventually dismissed it as “an economic instrument beyond its time”, so it was for the future. Well maybe the future’s here now and we should re-consider using it. It adds a very good equity dimension that demands greater changes from those of us that emit more than others. Coincidently, it is this fairness aspect that could drive innovation and the early adopters more than taxes and other economic instruments whereby high-emitters may be able to buy themselves out of change.

 

I think there’s some significant merit in it as an approach. Setting it up will not be easy. But we have to remember – people say it’s like rationing, well we’re all rationed by what’s called our salary, our income. So we’re all familiar with rations. We are all the time juggling our rations of resources because of what we can and cannot afford. This is just one more of them.

 

I’m not sure it’s quite as difficult as some people suggest to imagine to have to ration, particularly if it only relates to our household energy consumption, electricity, gas and so forth and our vehicle consumption. I think as you start to extend it beyond that it becomes more problematic but I think applied to households and transport it could be a useful tool in catalysing widespread and more equitable engagement and more effectively driving innovation and deployment than would standard economic instruments.

 

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Original article: http://transitionculture.org/2012/11/02/an-interview-with-kevin-anderson-rapid-and-deep-emissions-reductions-may-not-be-easy-but-4c-to-6c-will-be-much-worse/

EnergyBulletin.Net  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.

Climate Change and Energy Decline: Building resilient communities in the SW United States – Guy McPherson – November 5

at Pima Community College downtown, Amethyst Room, 1255 N Stone Ave

 

Climate Change and Energy Decline:
Building resilient communities
in the southwestern United States

with Guy McPherson

Co-sponsored by Tucson Audubon Society
and Sustainable Tucson

Please note special time and location for this month’s Sustainable Tucson meeting,

When:  Monday, November 5, 2012, 7:00 pm
Where:  Pima Community College’s downtown campus, Amethyst Room on 1255 N. Stone Ave. Easy parking! Central location! See map

Consider how many of the things that you do in your life have been made simpler by the use of cheap fossil fuels and how our planet has changed as a result. How will increasingly scarce and expensive fossil fuels affect how you live your life? Guy McPherson changed his life completely when he considered this question, reducing his use of non-renewable resources and living a more sustainable existence. He has now moved on to considering the social and economic effects of our changing climate. Guy will sign copies of his memoir, Walking Away from Empire, after his talk.

Guy was one of the “local voices” in 2006 and 2007 during the time when  a diverse group of community activists formed Sustainable Tucson. His 2006 article, “Rising gas prices, sporadic shortages are signs of the impending Tucson apocalypse” in the Tucson Weekly and his 2007 article, “Peak oil scenario paints frightening future for all”  published by the Arizona Daily Star helped educate Tucsonans to begin to respond to the emerging sustainability crisis.

To understand the latest climate change scenarios, read this recent interview with Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the UK Tyndall Centre, a major global climate science research center, click here.

5th Annual Free Green Living Fair – Nov 3

at the HabiStore, 935 W. Grant

 
Experts on “green” building, alternative modes of transportation, rainwater-harvesting, gardening, air quality, water and energy conservation, solar power and more will be available to discuss ways to save money with a more “green” home and lifestyle.

The Green Living Fair will be at the HabiStore, 935 W. Grant, 1/4 mile east of I-10.
Call 889-7200 for information or visit HabitatTucson.org

Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Class – WMG – Oct 11

Rainwater Harvesting Rebate Class

Spaces are still available in Watershed Management Group’s upcoming session to fulfill the educational requirement for Tucson Water’s rainwater-harvesting rebate. The next class is scheduled for Thursday, October 11, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tucson Water is offering rebates on qualifying rainwater harvesting projects, including tanks and earthworks. Two tiers of rebates cover full-system expenses up to $300 or 50 percent of expenses up to $2,000. A requirement to receive the rebate program is attendance at a three-hour educational session such as this one. We expect to offer approximately one session per month, depending on demand.

Complete information and online registration can be found here or by calling 520-396-3266.

Earth Harmony Festival – Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage – Oct 6-7

at Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage, Tumacácori, AZ (South of Tucson)
Free admission, donations appreciated

Earth Harmony Festival

A weekend celebration devoted to creating a sustainable future now. EcoVillage tours on water harvesting, green building, organic gardening, solar energy, composting, and more. Live music, food, arts, children’s village, hay rides, pony rides, and other activities including special eco-presentations featuring Gary Nabhan.

For info & directions – http://earthharmonyfestival.org/ or call (520) 398-2542

 

Earth Harmony Festival Promotes Global Cooperation to Achieve Sustainability

Tumacácori, Arizona – Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage presents the Earth Harmony Festival, a weekend celebration devoted to creating a sustainable future now. The festival will be held Saturday & Sunday, October 6-7th in Tumacácori, Arizona, South of Tucson.

The vision of the Earth Harmony Festival is to encourage a restoration of balance to the world’s people and ecosystems through environmental awareness, education, and a commitment to peace and unity without uniformity. Festival coordinator TiyiEndea DellErba says, “This year’s Earth Harmony Festival shares some practical solutions to the social, spiritual and environmental issues we face in our world today.”

The Earth Harmony Festival is held at Avalon Organic Gardens & EcoVillage, one of the largest member EcoVillages in the world, nestled on 165-acres in the beautiful Santa Cruz Valley. Their sustainable practices include organic farming, education and the preservation of food diversity, permaculture principles, green building techniques, water harvesting, composting, alternative clean energy, and more. Avalon Gardens’ Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was the first established in Arizona, feeding more than 100 people since 1995.

Internationally-celebrated author Gary Paul Nabhan will be the keynote speaker on Saturday, October 6th. Nabhan is a conservation biologist, a seed saver, and sustainable agriculture activist and has been called “the father of the local food movement”.

The core of the festival will be the ongoing tours of their working EcoVillage. From Solar Panels, to Rain Water Harvesting, to Organic Gardening, to Green Buildings, to Home-Made Goat Cheese, these EcoVillage tours will have something for every interest. Participants are encouraged to donate for the tours to help foster the EcoVillage’s many projects which are prototypes for creating a more sustainable, environmentally-conscious world.

In addition, live music, fine local art, locally made breads, food, and other natural products’ booths, a children’s village, hay rides, and special presentations by Master Gardeners, Kamon Lilly and Tarenta Baldeschi, will round out the weekend festivities.

Live music for the festival is provided by Global Change Music Nonprofit Record Label, featuring TaliasVan & The 11-piece Bright & Morning Star Band performing CosmoPop, music of the future for minds of the future. Additional artists performing are Van’sGuard, Starseed Acoustic Ensemble, and The Change Agents Band. Global Change Music lyrics speak of taking action against any form of injustice. Global Change Music promotes sustainable living, which includes growing organic food, building green, permaculture, sharing services and goods (trade and barter), and having a protective environmental consciousness.

Admission to the festival is free. Donations are appreciated to help support Avalon Gardens Internships and the Personality Integration Rehabilitation Program — nonprofit programs that assist individuals from diverse backgrounds in various levels of healing, training, and education in order to actualize their dreams and talents.

Amadon DellErba, an activist and festival promoter, encourages people to Occupy Avalon Gardens for a few days at the Earth Harmony Festival. “I hope this festival can teach and inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle, to come out of the age of competition, and into the age of cooperation.”

The Earth Harmony Festivals were started in the late 1990s by Gabriel of Urantia and Niánn Emerson Chase in Sedona, Arizona.

Camping is available by donation. For more information and camping reservations visit http://earthharmonyfestival.org/ or call 520-398-2542.

Envision Tucson Sustainable Festival – Oct 21

at Reid Park in Tucson AZ, free and open to the public

 

ENVISION TUCSON SUSTAINABLE FESTIVAL
A Community Event for a Bright Future

By Clinton MacKillop
September 26, 2012

Tucson, AZEnvision Tucson Sustainable and Sustainable Tucson announce the 2nd annual “Envision Tucson Sustainable” festival. The festival will take place at Reid Park on Sunday, October 21st, 2012, from 9am – 5pm. All ages are welcome.

Festival planners invite individuals and families to participate in a day of fun while exploring Tucson’s sustainable culture. The festival will promote the people, organizations, and companies in Tucson who provide services, education, and resources to help us achieve a sustainable future for our community.

The main focus of the festival this year is sustainable, secure food and agriculture for Tucson and Southern Arizona. This event will kick off a week of events in Tucson celebrating Food Day, a nationwide event promoting healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. Food vendors will feature locally sourced, organic refreshments. This year the Festival will also include a special feature: a “Non-GMO Food Zone.” In addition, in keeping with the theme, the festival will include practical information on aquaponics, an innovative, energy- and water-saving system of food production that fully integrates raising fish and growing vegetables, herbs, or other plants.

Throughout the festival, exhibits, demonstrations, and speakers will address many facets of a sustainable life, from energy and green business to health, from organic gardening to the homes we live in. The festival will be solar powered, thanks to the Solar Store, and there will be opportunities to learn about solar power for home or business.

A large family activity area will feature “Rexie,” the T-Rex Museum’s sustainability spokes-kid. Children will be able to hunt for and keep fossils from hundreds of millions of years ago.

The Festival is free and open to the public.

For more information, please visit www.facebook.com/EnvisionTucsonSustainable and click on events, or visit the festival website www.tucsonsustainable.org

For more information on Food Day events October 20-28, please visit www.tucsonfoodday.com

Second Annual Home-scape Tour – Watershed Management Group – Oct 20

Tucson, AZ

 

Second Annual Watershed Management Group Home-scape Tour
Saturday, October 20

Did the new City of Tucson rainwater-harvesting rebate rouse your interest in capturing the rain that falls on your own property?

Curious about implementing other backyard sustainability practices such as chicken coops, food production, greywater, composting systems, and even solar-heated outside showers?

Not really sure where to start and what practices are best suited to you and your site?

Watershed Management Group’s second annual Home Tour will demonstrate best water saving practices and more. Come and find out how landscape water savings do not equal zero scape or even necessarily Xeriscape, how soil building can have multiple benefits.

The self-guided tour will be on Saturday October 20 between 10 am to 4 pm. Residents will be on hand to guide tourists through the green-living features at their homes, as well as give tips and answer questions about their site and installations.

Cost is $5 to those on a bike or using public transportation and $10 to those in a car. Discounts are available for those who rideshare. Children under 14 participate free!

Local bike Co-op BICAS will be leading a leisurely ride taking in many of the sites. Leave from BICAS at 10 a.m. Cost of $10 with half the proceeds going to WMG and half to BICAS.

For more information visit our home tour website or contact Rhiwena Slack at co-op(at)watershedmg.org or 520-396-3266. To sign up click here.

www.watershedmg.org

Fall 2012 One Day Workshops – Sonoran Permaculture Guild

Fall 2012 One Day Workshops – Sonoran Permaculture Guild

For full class descriptions, registration information, and FAQs for these workshops, please go to http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

 

Designing a Home Greywater System – September 22nd, 2012

This one-day class provides a basic understanding of residential greywater system design, function, application, and applicable building codes. Participants will work with an aerial photo of their own residence (provided by the instructor) to identify and evaluate the potential of their own greywater sources and design a workable plan for a greywater system for their own home. Class will end with a short walking tour (less than 1 mile) of greywater systems at several permculture sites in the neighborhood.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Wild Foods of the Sonoran Desert – September 29th, 2012

Learn to eat from what you find in the forest! Join local herbalist, John Slattery, on a wild foraging journey in our local Santa Rita Mountains. We will be exploring the great diversity of native wild foods which exist in our local habitat. Numerous wild foods will be identified, and we will gather and prepare some select edibles. Basic topics covered will include: Proper Identification of Edible Species, Time of Year for Proper Harvest, Methods of Preparation, Location, Environment, and Habitat for each Plant. We will carpool to the Santa Rita Mountains.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Introduction to Growing Food at Home – October 6, 2012

The future of sustainable agriculture will be in small to medium scale organic food gardens grown right in and around our cities. In this workshop that includes hands-on work, you will learn how to set up a complete desert vegetable garden. We will show you how to increase your garden’s health, production, and nutrient value, using an integrated system of compost, mulch, companion plant selection, and irrigation to improve fertility, structure, and life in your soil, and produce food with minimum water use. We will conclude the class with an exploration of “food forests”- a diverse layering of annual and perennial food plants that can help increase garden health through permaculture strategies.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Introduction to Permaculture Design – October 13th, 2012

In this design workshop, you will learn how to map out the natural story of the place where you live. Then you will put together an exciting, long term plan for your sustainable home and landscape – one that takes care of people and takes care of the environment at the same time. We will practice the skills and strategies needed to do Permaculture design, like mapping out the natural and person-made forces that effect our site and using simple elevation finding tools. Bring a sketch of your site or yard that you want to design. This class is held at the Sonoran Permaculture Guild’s Ramada classroom site one and a half miles north of downtown Tucson, where you will see Permaculture design and implementation demonstrated on site.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Build A Straw Bale House or Wall, Tuesday evening – October 16th, 2012

In this non-hands on seminar you will learn about straw bale construction and the advantages of super insulation, thick walls, and ease of construction. Handouts and a complete discussion of the current straw bale code, detail drawings of windows and doors, and additional tips to make your building experience easier are included. This class also includes a complete slide show from start to finish on how to build a straw bale house or wall, as well as a demonstration of special tools and props that work well with straw bale construction. Co-Sponsored by Pima Community College.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Natural Building and Passive Solar Design – October 20th, 2012

This workshop includes hands on work with straw bales, adobe blocks,cob, and plasters. We’ll do hands on building of small structures like benches and walls – projects that you can easily do at your own place to create beautiful outdoor spaces. After this hands on work in the morning we’ll cover the building codes related to these materials used in larger projects. We will talk about and demonstrate the main principles of good passive solar design. This class emphasizes integrated design and getting back in touch with the patterns of nature, so we can make design decisions that are in tune with the environment. Using these natural building materials can help make our living environments more healthy and comfortable, and save us money on utility bills.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Introduction to Natural Beekeeping – October 20th and 21st, 2012

Want to be a bee keeper but don’t know where to start? How about a full weekend of hands on instruction with one of the Southwest’s most experienced bee keepers? This two day introductory beekeeping workshop in Avra Valley just west of Tucson, Arizona will get you started. Each day may be taken separately as a one day introduction also. The role of bees in a regenerative permaculture design will be discussed and compared to conventional “industrial” methods of hive maintenance and honey production. We will look at the reproduction patterns of the honey bee, the expansion and contraction patterns of the hive throughout the seasons, the roles of queen, worker and drone, and the honey bee’s complex set of duties such as pollination, storing nectar and pollen, and making wax. Suggested reading: The Buzz about Bees, Biology of a Superorganism, by Jurgen Tautz, The Biology of the Honeybee, by Mark L. Winston, and Introduction to Permaculture, by Bill Mollison.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Hands On Water Harvesting for your Landscape – November 3rd, 2012

Learning how to use rainfall and storm water run-off is one of the keys to developing a sustainable and lush landscape. Rainwater harvesting helps us to reduce erosion and have a lush multi use landscape without having to import water from outside our bioregion or overpump the groundwater table. In this hands on workshop we will install a metal culvert water cistern, learn how to read the water situation on a site, and do basic calculations on the water flow available. We will install basic earthworks to hold water on site, and talk about contours, plant selection, and mulching. This workshop is more than learning about techniques for harvesting rainwater; it will show you how water harvesting can be integrated into your own lifestyle and into a simple landscape design for your home.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Herbal Winter Apothecary: Create Your Own Medicines – November 10th, 2012

Be prepared to ward off illness and promote your vitality! Join local herbalist, John Slattery, for a day of medicine making in preparation for the winter cold and flu season. You will learn to make a variety of preparations (syrups, teas, oxymels, etc.) ideally suited for common viral infections. In our discussions we will explore the nature of host resistance and how to enhance it, and take a closer look at our local herbal pharmacopeia. Each participant will take home some herbal preparations we create in class and the knowledge to make it for themselves. All materials are included in the class fee.

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

Raising Chickens for Eggs and/or Meat – November 18th, 2012

This is a one-day introductory class is for anyone interested in raising chickens for the production of eggs and/or meat. Participants will gain a basic understanding of chicken coop design and construction. This will include a material cost-breakdown for a very basic coop with an easy to follow building plan. Strategies for incorporating a backyard flock into an overall Permaculture based system will be demonstrated and discussed. We will cover how to “tame” your birds and how to teach children to be around them. This class will cover heat tolerant breeds, raising day old chicks, feed requirements, composting, free ranging, predator protection, the pecking order, & culling. A special emphasis on homemade chicken accessories such as feeders, nesting boxes, watering facilities, and kill cones will be included. For participants interested in staying we will demonstrate how to cull a chicken at the end of the class. Recommended Reading Materials: CITY CHICKS: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers by Patricia Foreman; Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow; Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2 by Brad Lancaster; and Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison

For class details and registration info, please see http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/

 

Fall 2012 One Day Workshops – Sonoran Permaculture Guild

For full class descriptions, registration information, and FAQs for these workshops, please go to http://www.sonoranpermaculture.org/courses-and-workshops/ or contact Dan at dorsey(at)dakotacom.net or 520-624-8030

www.sonoranpermaculture.org