What Are They Thinking?

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car-emissionsby Alan Pryor

I found an admission last Tuesday night during the Nishi discussion to be very, very troubling. After a question to Mike Webb from Robb about how much Staff considered any GHG mitigation in their deliberations, Mike admitted that Staff really didn’t know much about it – notwithstanding the fact that the NRC and Cool Davis have been clamoring for mitigation since the earliest days of the Cannery deliberations.

Rather, Mike said, they looked at Nishi as a “learning tool” to be studied and “maybe” after they monitor it and study GHG emissions after a period of time could any lessons learned be applied to other projects in the future.

Well firstly, I don’t blame Staff for any of that. Mike was not making policy decisions. He was just doing his job as directed by you, our Council. And in fact, to his credit, he did that job with great demeanor and competency.

But, consider this, Nishi build-out will be completed by 2022 or 2023 at the earliest. According to the EIR, we then monitor it after 5 years to see how things went. So then only after 11 years, or by 2027 to 2028, will we be able to apply any lessons learned to any other projects.

But at this Council’s current rushed pace for economic development, within just two years you may have entitled the multi-billion dollar Mace Ranch project, two new 150 unit+ apartment developments, and a proposed 150 room+ Hyatt hotel, all of which will be presumably be approved with the same minimum bldg standards as allowed for Nishi and without any other GHG mitigation whatsoever.

My quick back-of-the envelope calculations indicate that these projects alone may end up generating in excess of an additional 60,000 – 75,000 tons of unmitigated GHG per year over and above the 12,000 tons per year you allowed for Nishi and the 15,000+ tons per year you allowed for Cannery.

Folks, by the time we learn our lessons from Nishi in 11 years, our Climate Action Plan will have been hopelessly decimated without any hope of ever reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 much less pulling back to 1990 levels by 2030 which, at the latest, is the consensus agreement from the Paris protocols that we have to turn this impending global warming disaster around.

The simple unavoidable fact is that we are on the verge of roasting our planet and destroying it not only for our children but for future generations for hundreds if not thousands of years.

So my question to all of you, our leaders, is this, “What part of that do you not understand?

On Mace Ranch

I truly believe that the most pressing crisis facing the entire human population over the next 25 years is not ISIS or Donald Trump. It is the impending worldwide global warming crisis we face due to unmitigated and uncontrolled GHG emissions.

So my views on development in Davis are not driven by whether we generate new jobs for UCD grads or build student housing or get enough money from development to build a news sports complex or replace playground equipment or even whether or not we can repave our roads.

My views on development are primarily driven by the main tenet of the Hippocratic Oath for Doctors – “First Do No Harm”. And by that I mean our primary responsibility in terms of ensuring sustainable growth in Davis that we firstly do not put our City’s Climate Action Plan into reverse gear by approving unsustainable development that spews out vast quantities of carbon pollution.

And that is exactly the direction we are heading after seeing the entitlements we have handed out first to the Cannery, then to the Conference Center, and last week at Nishi without even a fleeting thought to offsetting GHG mitigations.

Now I know (Mayor Pro Tem) Robb (Davis) has said that we will start getting a lot more of our energy from renewable sources if we form a CCE. And that certainly is a step in the right direction. But best guess estimates are that it will take us at least 10 years to get 80% of our electricity from renewable sources. But what about the greater than 55% of our City’s energy use that that comes from use of personal vehicles for transportation.

Mace will develop 230 acres of prime farm land and turn it into a parking lot for 8,000 cars coming and going each day. It will be the largest parking lot in the entire region. This project is the quintessential definition of sprawl and will generate from 35,000 to 46,000 metric tons of GHG per year (that’s 123 million pounds!).

If you believed anything about what Joe Minnicozzi said about Smart Growth when he was here in town, you would send this project back to the dust bin and instead start demanding truly sustainable in-fill projects.

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81 thoughts on “What Are They Thinking?”

    1. Tia Will

      Misanthrop

      You lay out an important problem but what is your solution?”

      I can’t speak for Alan, but I believe that the revision of an overall plan for the city rather than this piecemeal consideration of individual projects would be a step in the right direction. I doubt many of us would choose to build a house without first developing a floor plan…..and yet we are expected to believe that we will get the optimal outcome by deliberately developing the city through lack of design.

    2. Alan Pryor

      Many solutions were offered during the ER Review and Comment process including tighter and more enforceable building standards, less parking, enablement of fee-free transit passes for residents, rental electric rental car fleet provided by developer or a 3rd party (like Zip Cars) and the establishment of a GHG mitigation fund provided by the developer based on the success or lack thereof in reducing traffic impacts. None were even considered or were considered and summarily rejected by the developer and then given a pass by the City.

      1. Alan Pryor

        A point of clarification – the first of my comments in this article were delivered last Tuesday during general public comments immediately prior to the Council meeting. The 2nd set of comments was delivered during the public comment section of the discussion of the MRIC. These sets of public comments are limited to only 2 minutes each so there was no time available to insertand present any additional detail in the comments that were published as presented. There will be much more detail presented in future planned articles on these sustainability topics and many other points about this project as we move towards the Measure J/R vote.

      2. Sam

        “enablement of fee-free transit passes for residents, rental electric rental car fleet provided by developer or a 3rd party”

        Wouldn’t it be more practical to set something like this up on a city wide or regional scale instead of trying to do things by project? For example, if you provide fee-free transit passes but the regional transit system doesn’t take people where they work and shop the passes will not reduce emissions.

  1. Tia Will

    Alan

    Thank you so much for this article. You have neatly summarized the main reason that I am a completely unashamed slow growth advocate. I believe that the growth of our community is inevitable due to regional and university demands. However, I believe that we have an obligation to future generations to grow in a way which causes as little damage as is possible to our environment. This can only be done with a growth pattern that allows us to assess over time the changes that we choose to adopt. As you have so clearly stated, that is not the track that we are on with the “grow as fast as we can philosophy” that seems to have become the current modus operandi.

  2. Topcat

    …our primary responsibility in terms of ensuring sustainable growth in Davis that we firstly do not put our City’s Climate Action Plan into reverse gear by approving unsustainable development that spews out vast quantities of carbon pollution.

    The City still has a “Climate Action Plan”?  We never hear anything about this, so I thought it was dead and gone.

  3. CalAg

    “And that is exactly the direction we are heading after seeing the entitlements we have handed out first to the Cannery, then to the Conference Center, and last week at Nishi without even a fleeting thought to offsetting GHG mitigations.” Alan Pryor

    The entitlements on Nishi are not “official” until the Measure J/R vote in June. You and your allies have plenty of time to take your GHG arguments to the public.

  4. Frankly

    The simple unavoidable fact is that we are on the verge of roasting our planet and destroying it not only for our children but for future generations for hundreds if not thousands of years.

    Sounds to me a bit like a Christian fundamentalist telling us we are all going to hell.

    So my question to all of you, our leaders, is this, “What part of that do you not understand?

    My question to you is why would we harm the community by constraining our much-needed economic development and rental housing supply development over a scientific theory based on complex models that are proven significantly inaccurate every year and just re-calibrated every year?  … especially when anything we do in Davis will have absolutely zero positive impact on reducing global warming per the theory/models and the admissions of the scientists that cling to them.

    My views on development are primarily driven by the main tenet of the Hippocratic Oath for Doctors – “First Do No Harm”.

    Anti-industrialism, anti-development, anti-growth… all in the name of the theories (religion?) of global warming do plenty of harm.  Just ask all those people without enough good paying-work, and all those people paying way more than they should have to for housing.  To what do you owe thanks for paying for the job you have that allow you time to pursue this cause?

    There is extremism and then there is rational and measured progress that balances the many needs to ensure we sustain the human condition.   Your interests on this topic appear to be on the extreme end.  The City and staff on the other hand, clearly have the more rational and balanced view.

    1. Alan Pryor

      Sounds to me a bit like a Christian fundamentalist telling us we are all going to hell.

      Actually we don’t have to die first – it will be quite like hell on earth for many (particularly low income) if global warming is not reversed. But I’m guessing you figure it will not be in your life time.

      My question to you is why would we harm the community …over a scientific theory based on complex models that are proven significantly inaccurate every year and just re-calibrated every year?  … especially when anything we do in Davis will have absolutely zero positive impact on reducing global warming per the theory/models and the admissions of the scientists that cling to them.

      OH WOW! I did not think there were actually any educated people left who really felt like that (unless they were shills for the fossil-fuel industry). Tell me Frankly, do you also believe the earth was created 6,000 years ago and that we never landed on the moon? That seems to be the Luddite-like crowd you want to run with here.

      Anti-industrialism, anti-development, anti-growth… all in the name of the theories (religion?) of global warming do plenty of harm.

      Never mind answering my question above. I think you just did.

        1. Barack Palin

          According to the man-made global-cooling theories of the time, billions of people should be dead by now owing to cooling-linked crop failures and starvation.

          The 2005 UNEP predictions claimed that, by 2010, some 50 million “climate refugees” would be frantically fleeing from those regions of the globe. However, not only did the areas in question fail to produce a single “climate refugee,” by 2010, population levels for those regions were actually still soaring. In many cases, the areas that were supposed to be producing waves of “climate refugees” and becoming uninhabitable turned out to be some of the fastest-growing places on Earth.
          The 2003 document, entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” was widely cited by global-warming theorists, bureaucrats, and the establishment press as evidence that humanity was facing certain doom. It also served as the foundation for the claim that alleged man-made “climate change” was actually a “national security concern.” However, fortunately for the taxpayers forced to pay for the study, the Pentagon report turned out to be just as ridiculous as the UN “climate refugees” forecasts.
          By now, according to the “not implausible” scaremongering outlined in the report for a 10-year time period, the world should be a post-apocalyptic disaster zone. Among other outlandish scenarios envisioned in the report over the preceding decade: California flooded with inland seas, parts of the Netherlands “unlivable,” polar ice all but gone in the summers, and surging temperatures. Mass increases in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters were supposed to be wreaking havoc across the globe, too. All of that would supposedly spark resource wars and all sorts of other horrors. But none of it actually happened.
          For well over a decade now, climate alarmists have been claiming that snow would soon become a thing of the past. In March 2000, for example, “senior research scientist” David Viner, working at the time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, told the U.K. Independentthat within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he was quoted as claiming in the article, headlined “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”
          The very next year, snowfall across the United Kingdom increased by more than 50 percent.
          Speaking to an audience in Germany five years ago, Gore — sometimes ridiculed as “The Goracle” — alleged that “the entire North Polarized [sic] cap will disappear in five years.” “Five years,” Gore said again, in case anybody missed it the first time, is “the period of time during which it is now expected to disappear.”
          n his second-term inaugural address, Obama also made some climate claims, saying: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” Ironically, all three of the examples he provided of what he called the “threat of climate change” actually discredit his argument.
          AsForbesmagazine pointed out last year, the number of wildfires has plummeted 15 percent since 1950, and according the National Academy of Sciences, that trend is likely to continue for decades. On “droughts,” a 2012 study published in the alarmist journalNature noted that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.” The UN’s own climate alarmists were even forced to conclude last year that in many regions of the world, “droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter.”
          The website Watts Up With That (WUWT), run by meteorologist and climate researcher Anthony Watts, highlighted the embarrassing record in late 2013 following a particularly devastating year for “climate” predictions. “It seems like every major CAGW [Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming] prediction has failed in 2013,”

          http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/18888-embarrassing-predictions-haunt-the-global-warming-industry

        2. The Pugilist

          “According to the man-made global-cooling theories of the time, billions of people should be dead by now owing to cooling-linked crop failures and starvation.”

          So here is an article from 1975: bit.ly/1oSfvIa

          Last I checked, that will be 41 years old come April.  Shall we spend time today walking through all the scientific advances since 1975?  Do you believe it has any bearing on whether or not the climate is heating up today?  Or do you not have a scientific background and simply like to be a contrarian?

    2. Odin

      Extreme end??  You must be very young because the observable effects alone should be enough to convince someone that something is amiss, not to mention yesterday’s SacBee that stated the temperature records for February we are making.

      1. The Pugilist

        You might find this amusing, I’m sure Frankly will: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-conservative-white-maes-are-more-likely-climate-skeptics/  – It’s kind of a Freakonomic-style statistical analysis.

        1. Biddlin

          “It has to do with their identity as an in-group,” he said. “Something that would challenge the status quo is something [conservative white males] want to shun.”

      2. hpierce

        Odin… your comment has merit, as to observations…  I study history… climate change is real, the questions relate to natural, cyclical, non-cyclical processes…  and, perhaps, ‘man-made’… always has been… causation and remedies (if any) are open to honest debate… ‘climate’ has seldom been “static”, but at times has appeared to be so… we are, as a species, inclined to want low risk/uncertainty…

        Bottom line… what Davis does is less than a ‘spit in the ocean’ compared to China, India, the rest of California or US, etc.  Unless one is content with ‘posturing’ as opposed to ‘effectiveness’…

        1. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > Bottom line… what Davis does is less than a ‘spit in the ocean’

          > compared to China, India, the rest of California or US, etc.

          > Unless one is content with ‘posturing’ as opposed to ‘effectiveness’…

          With the world population ~7 Billion the ~60 Thousand in Davis = .00086% of the world population.

          When talking about Davis development it is important to note that unless someone wants to kill the people who want to move to a new development in town the people will be living and working somewhere else on the “globe” (warming it)…

          Can anyone explain how making Bayer CropScience set up shop in West Sac vs. Davis will change the “Global” climate?

        2. Tia Will

          hpierce

          Bottom line… what Davis does is less than a ‘spit in the ocean’ compared to China, India, the rest of California or US, etc.”

          Your bottom line is not the same as mine. I never discount the ability of a minority of the population to have a profound impact on others by leading through example. Every change that has ever been made in human progress has started with individuals, then groups, then entire populations.

    3. Tia Will

      Frankly

      Smog is not theoretical. Asthma and COPD are not theoretical. The relationship between them is not theoretical and is a good enough reason to opt for less harmful technologies without once invoking global warming.

    4. Tia Will

      There is extremism and then there is rational and measured progress that balances the many needs to ensure we sustain the human condition.”

      I see nothing “rational and balanced” about our national and local love affair with the private gas burning automobile. I will give you that at the time of its development no one foresaw the dangers to our health and environment. However, now we have known for many, many years and yet our driving increases dramatically every time there is a dip in gasoline prices or an improvement in the economy, not because we are seeking “balance” and rational progress, but simply because we can, and seemingly do not give much of a damn about the environment or our health compared to our momentary pleasure and convenience.

      1. Frankly

        I see nothing “rational and balanced” about our national and local love affair with the private gas burning automobile.

        Tell that to the low income person that has to travel to where a job is or where their classes are.  It seems the “rational and balanced” question should be directed back at you.  No car-less utopia exists.  Do I need to prove it?

        seemingly do not give much of a damn about the environment or our health compared to our momentary pleasure and convenience.

        You want to redo that hyperbole or stick with it?

        I think what we have is a liberal mother perspective versus a conservative father perspective.

        You seem to see the world as needing constant care and feeding… that nobody is (or few are) really capable of taking care of themselves, and that modern human economic dynamism is destructive and in need of top-down control… more rules to live by… more faked and forced scarcity… to make everyone same, safe and secure.

        Here is what I know… up until the kids were about 10 or 11 years old, you were correct.

        For everyone else the proliferation of your liberal mother views are destructive to them.

        Young people and young adults need to work.  They need to advance to self actualization.  You are already self-actualize as am I, but you don’t seem to understand or remember what it takes to get there.  You seem to have a vision that someone held your hand all the way through it… and that maybe is still holding your hand.  Most people don’t get self-actualized that way.  They self-destruct that way.

        Your liberal mother world of collectivism and nannyism seems primarily to make YOU feel more comfortable… at the expense of the true well-being of the subject you are compelled to mother and nanny.  Because you make these arguments for your ideas while clearly ignoring the collateral damage they would cause if implemented.

        We are not hunter-gathers.  We are not even farmers really.  We live in an industrialized market-based society and system that is not perfect, but the best ever designed.  It has led to a much higher percentage of humans on this planet being self-actualized than ever… not even close… in history.

        Humans have to work.

        Unless you believe in creationism, or you know absolutely nothing about human history, you would see that it is only the last century really that humans have had much free time and not much struggle to survive.  And we owe that to the system that you, the liberal mother, want to dismantle and have already started to dismantle.

        And you can see the results in our college campuses.  Little wilting flowers that cannot handle conflict.  Cannot tolerate much human struggle.   Mommy dearest has it covered.  She will force the world to bow down to her little darling so that she does not stress.  How is that working out?

        What in the hell are people going to do for a living if you have your way?  They are already beyond struggling from all the crap you liberal mothers have already managed to get implemented in the name of social sjustice, global warming and environmental extremism.

        And all of your ideas appear to be aimed at taking that away the opportunities for economic freedom because someone might fail, might get hurt, might fall down, might feel bad, might not actually fit in.  And now because we are destroying the earth.

        Right.

        Everyone deserves a trophy!   Nobody should have to suffer?  The environment needs to be saved before it is too late.

        Right.

        This conservative father is not going to let you destroy what we have worked so damn hard to achieve over this largely made-up story of the impacts we would expect from this theory of global warming… without a big fight.

        The regulations for energy efficiency are already through the roof.  Nishi is more than adequate in what green features are included.  The kids need a place to live.  They need jobs.  They don’t need you liberal mother environmental extremists making their lives so much more difficult.

  5. The Pugilist

    I’m all for green planning, but nothing the city does is going to prevent the global warming disaster that Alan Pryor correctly believes is a major problem.  Those issues have to be solved on a global and national level.  Here the question before is whether the community is better off with this imperfect project or without it.  The answer to that question for me is not based on anything in Alan’s thoughtful comments.

    1. Alan Pryor

      Those issues have to be solved on a global and national level.

      People often make the same claims about many other problems facing cities – raising educational standards, trying to eliminate homelessness and treating drug addictions, addressing hate crimes, etc….and yes, even banning plastic bag bans. But we do unquestionably have a better local community if we address these problems on a local level if they are not done so by our national or state leaders.

      So we DO have better schools in Davis because we invest in them. We DO have less homelessness and safer streets because we have local groups working very, very hard on those problems. And we DO have a cleaner town without plastic bags blowing in the wind.  Nor did we wait for there to be a national standard or mandate requiring everybody to put in bike lanes on streets or an extensive bike path system like we have in Davis. We do all of these things simply because it makes our community better, more desirable, more livable, and more resilient.

      It is a simple fact that places with these attributes attract more innovative thinkers and raises property values so it is really in our economic interests also if we raise the bar on our development standards and get more cars off the road.

      On the plus side, a lot of people regionally watch us and try to emulate our best practices in their own towns which causes things to get better for everyone. And what I am suggesting in terms of sustainable building practices and trying to drive down vehicular traffic are not just being proposed here. They are already actually being implemented in many other locales around the state, nation, and the world. Even though we are viewed as environmental and progressive leaders here in the Central Valley, we are comparatively backward and behind the times here in Davis compared to many other California coastal and international cities.

      1. South of Davis

        Alan wrote:

        > We do all of these things simply because it makes our community

        > better, more desirable, more livable, and more resilient.

        True, but how will making a developer build an office building in West Sac or Dixon and having the employees drive from Davis every day (vs. riding their bike to an office building on the Nishi site) improve the global climate?

        1. Alan Pryor

          True, but how will making a developer build an office building in West Sac or Dixon and having the employees drive from Davis every day (vs. riding their bike to an office building on the Nishi site) improve the global climate?

          Well, obviously it won’t. But I have always said I am not opposed to Nishi if done properly with the highest sustainability standards. But it is not being built that way. It is being given a pass just like Cannery and just like the Richards Blvd Conference Center. Our Council is caving repeatedly to developer demands that they just “can’t afford it”. But then we find in the Sac Bee that Cannery Homes are selling for record prices… $1M to $1.2M each!

          How does that go again? – “Fool me once,…”

        2. CalAg

          Nishi has not been given a pass – only the voters can do that.

          In June.

          In my opinion, the project might not have gotten past the council if it hadn’t been green-washed by the sustainability community. All the hype about how wonderful the Sustainability Plan was seems a little bit ironic now.

          So the real question is … what is the sustainability community going to do about the Nishi problem you helped to create?

  6. Odin

    Davis SHOULD serve as a model for growth, not to accept the status quo accepted by other California towns.  I mean aren’t we supposed to be the educated folks?  Shouldn’t we be taking the lead on climate change no matter what is occurring in China and India?  And anyway, why would we accept proposal based on economic growth when the model has proven to be non-sustainable (unless you don’t give a damn about sprawl and never ending new construction)?

  7. Frankly

    But even if we were to convince everyone to stop cutting down trees, start re-foresting the planet, switch to environmentally friendly fuels and energy production methods, and generally try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Earth’s temperature could continue to climb. It could take as long as 1,000 years after a complete halt of greenhouse gas emissions for environmental measures like sea level and ocean surface temperature to return to pre-industrial levels [source: NOAA]. In addition, other factors besides greenhouse gas emissions can contribute to global warming.

    And consider that world oil and natural gas supplies have already peaked and we will reach a point in the next half century where the price of fossil fuels is so high that alternative energy sources (which private industry would have advanced by then) will be the choice.

    And when we add the facts that climate models are severely flawed, and that nobody can predict the actual net cost of a warmer planet (they love it in Greenland… a place that was green 1000 years ago and might become green again)… only that they “think” when the average global temp rises about 2 degrees C we will hit that point where it will be problematic… and to reach this temp increase will take another several decades (at least 50 years… about the time we are practically out of fossil fuel) based on the models… which are not accurate anyway.

    The point here is that we can safely reject the anti-industrial, anti-business, anti-growth extremists like the author of this piece (someone I am guessing is employed by the government).  Because free enterprise will do what it always does if the government stops meddling in it… provide new alternatives that are faster, better and cheaper.

    1. Odin

      Wow, I sure wouldn’t want to live in a world that you propose where corporations and individuals can do whatever they want to do to the environment without regulation.  Faster, better, and cheaper, but at what cost?  We already have millions of people dying from pollution related illnesses around this country, and you want to add to it?  Where is the intelligence in that?

    2. Alan Pryor

      And consider that world oil and natural gas supplies have already peaked and we will reach a point in the next half century where the price of fossil fuels is so high that alternative energy sources (which private industry would have advanced by then) will be the choice.

      Uh,….what weird, parallel economic universe did you just arrive from? The US has almost doubled oil and gas output in the last eight years due to fracking. We are literally awash in oil with the highest volume stored above ground ever. Prices have plunged from over $100 per barrel to less than $30 at today’s spot prices.

      someone I am guessing is employed by the government

      Pretty snarky but very wrong. I am retired and living on my own savings (and rather meagerly at that). Never worked for the government except as a stock boy in the chem labs during college days. Worked in the ag fields and packing sheds in Merced Co until  college. After college I always worked for companies that I started myself that were involved in commercializing new environmentally benign technologies in alternative energy, water treatment, agricultural systems.

      1. Frankly

        Ok… thanks for the correction on your employment.  You have to admit that MOST of the people that are activists with your views live off the public trough.  And it makes sense that these people would not have the developed brain cells to connect energy production and use to economic well-being… since they get their pay from the money that grows on trees.

        Since you are retired, do you have kids or grandkids?   If so, don’t you worry about them actually having employment opportunities?

        On your first point I have some clarifying questions:

        1. When do scientists estimate that the globe will hit peak of fossil fuel production, and how long to they expect the global supply to last?

        What I read is that in about 40-50 years we will have such low supplies and such difficult extraction that this combined with ongoing advances in alternative energy, including nuclear power, that we will naturally convert to the alternatives.

        2. When do scientists estimate that the average global temperature will hit a point where we have material negative consequences?

        What I read is 50-100 years when the average temp has increased by 2 degrees C.

        3. Do you disagree with the point I posted above (with the NOAA cite) that even if we planted millions of acres of new trees and stopped burning fossil fuels today it would take another 1000 years to return to pre-industrial levels of C02 in the atmosphere?  If so, do you have cites to back up your difference of opinion.

        I just walk the facts…

        We will deplete our fossil fuel supply and replace it with other energy sources decades before global temp increases are truly materially problematic, and even if we ignored this fact and allowed extremists to make our energy policy, we would not make a dent in stopping and reversing the march of global warming.

        One final question.

        Why don’t you put your energy into advocating reforestation?  At least then we would create some more jobs.

        1. Don Shor

          What I read is that in about 40-50 years we will have such low supplies…
          What I read is 50-100 years when the average temp has increased by 2 degrees C…
          We will deplete our fossil fuel supply and replace it with other energy sources decades before global temp increases are truly materially problematic…

          I think your statements show the issue, which is that there would likely be overlap between continued use of fossil fuels and the impacts of climate change. Peak oil has been regularly postponed since 1970.
          Here’s a graphic illustration of how impacts would be distributed:
          http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/media/pdf/s/e/2degrees-map.pdf
          So we should be planning for those changes. Less-industrialized areas will be less able to cope, and there would likely be conflicts and some significant migrations of populations. Scarcity of water, for example, is already a factor in the dissolution of Syria’s society. It is likely that international agencies will need more resources for helping to deal with local impacts.

        2. Frankly

          I think we are more likely to have massive and catastrophic human misery and suffering from unchecked Islamic fanaticism and terrorism, unchecked global malice from the likes of Russian, China, Iran and North Korea, and the march of anti-industrialism from leftists and environmental extremists.

          I completely disagree with your point that less industrialized areas will be less able to cope from the impacts of global warming.  Syria isn’t a mess because of global warming.  Most of Africa isn’t a mess because of global warming.   Industrialized nations will be the most impacted if environmental extremists get their way.  And without those industrialized nations, there will be no help for the rest.

          Humans are part of the environment.  Fossil fuels are natural.  It is entirely possible that environmental extremists are attempting to play God screwing with the natural world that they have little understanding of.

          1. Don Shor

            I completely disagree with your point that less industrialized areas will be less able to cope from the impacts of global warming.

            Really? Interesting. Increased drought will likely cause mass migration of people. You may notice that hasn’t been real easy to cope with. It’s a humanitarian disaster. And it is likely to increase.

            Syria isn’t a mess because of global warming. Most of Africa isn’t a mess because of global warming.

            Drought has exacerbated the original conditions in Syria that led to unrest. Syria was not entirely a crisis of governance, and terrorism came later to the whole thing. Drought is, of course, an ongoing factor in unrest and instability along many parts of Africa. It is expected that desertification will increase in many of those regions. It is expected that drought will increase, and that instability will increase. It is very simplistic to attribute all of the problems in that region to “unchecked Islamic fanaticism and terrorism.” You might wish to consider that there are environmental and economic conditions that lead to the spread of fanatical apocalyptic ideologies.

            Fossil fuels are natural.

            As usual, I wonder what you actually believe about climate change and what you’re just saying to be provocative.

        3. Tia Will

          Frankly

          You have to admit that MOST of the people that are activists with your views live off the public trough”

          I certainly do not have to admit that. In my experience, it is not true. Except for my one summer working at the Naval Shipyard and two years in the military, I have never worked for the government, and yet my views are much closer to Alan Pryor’s than to yours.

          If you are going to claim “most”, I would like to see your data.

        4. Frankly

          You might wish to consider that there are environmental and economic conditions that lead to the spread of fanatical apocalyptic ideologies.

          Oh Jesus.  I had no idea the extent of this blaming industrialized man thing had gone so far off the rails.

          So now industrialized man is responsible for global Jihad.

          You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

          Please seek a therapist.

          1. Don Shor

            You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

            Please seek a therapist.

            Stop being insulting.
            I’m asserting that drought and famine can lead to civil unrest, and that civil unrest can lead to apocalyptic ideologies. Do you think fanatical ideologies just spring up randomly?
            It is expected that drought will increase due to climate change. The Defense Department:

            A changing climate increases the risk of instability and conflict overseas, and has implications for DoD on operations, personnel, installations, and the stability, development, and human security of other nations.

            The military assesses and plans for security risks resulting from instability due to climate change.
            I don’t “blame industrialized man.” Why do you say things like this? “Industrialized man” is just as likely to fix the problem as to have created it.

        5. Frankly

          We usually don’t know what causes a drought.  Droughts have existed since humans have been around to record them, and since before that as scientists find from geological evidence.

          When it rains a lot and there are floods, you people say it is global warming.

          When it does not rain enough, you people say it is global warming.

          When there is a hurricane, typhoon or tornado, you people say it is global warming.

          I’m sure you people are looking for an angle to blame earthquakes on global warming.

          And now you attempt to make the point that global Jihad is caused by global warming.

          This is all more than irritating, it is aggravating.

          Much of the Mid East has always been a dry hell hole.

          Climates have shifted.  Areas that were once wet are now arid and visa versa.

          There are changes in the earth’s gravitational field that are not understood and their impact to the climate is not understood.

          There are changes in the sun seasons and other planets in the solar system and their impact on earth climate is not understood.

          There are current changes in the ocean that are not understood… and their impact on climate is also not well understood.

          Want to cause global unrest?  Cripple the US economy so that it can no longer afford to defend the free world.

          Ban frack drilling which produces natural gas that is used to create fertilizer that feeds the world.  Watch global food commodities shrink and their unit cost skyrocket, and then I will show you global unrest.

          Have a poor economy where copious young men have nothing to do and I will show you unrest.  Oh wait, we already have it.

          Maybe Donald Trump’s run for President is caused by global warming.

          Maybe global warming causes Hillary Clinton to be a chronic liar.

          I have not won the lottery… certainly that bad luck must be caused by global warming.

          1. Don Shor

            Too many fallacies to refute them all here. Just focusing on the security situation in Syria, for a moment:

            Between 2006 and 2009, around 1.3 million inhabitants of eastern Syria were affected by agricultural failures. An estimated 800 000 people lost their livelihoods and basic food supports (Solh 2010). During this period, yields of wheat and barley dropped 47% and 67%, respectively, and livestock populations plummeted (ACSAD 2011). A return of drought in 2011 worsened the situation. By late 2011, the UN estimated that between two million and three million people were affected, with a million driven into food insecurity. More than 1.5 million people—mostly agricultural workers and family farmers—moved from rural land to cities and camps on the outskirts of Syria’s major cities of Aleppo, Damascus, Dara’a, Deir ez-Zour, Hama, and Homs.

            But no, drought is not related to the hydrological cycle, and the hydrologic cycle isn’t affected by increasing temperatures. No, of course not. Because that would upset the narrative that you’ve carefully constructed for yourself on this topic.
            You might find this interesting. Or not. http://religioner.no/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/religioner.no_wcas-d-13-00059.pdf

      2. Frankly

        This is stupid.  The drought in Syrian ended in 2010.  The problem is that they have Medieval farming methods.  The could use help from the West and their ag tech.  Oh wait, they are full of Muslim fundamentalist that see Americans as infidels and would kill them.  So we are not welcome to help.

        So their problem is rooted Islamic extremism not global warming.

        1. Don Shor

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Syria
          Syria is not and never has been predominantly “Muslim fundamentalist.” Drought conditions continued in 2013 – 14, and the earlier drought certainly contributed to the unrest that was developing before the Arab Spring. Their agriculture is not Medieval, any more than other countries in the region, but corruption has been a huge obstacle and now the country is in total chaos.
          You are obsessed with Islamic extremism. Drought, chaos, and poverty lead to crisis, and make fertile ground for terrorism of any kind. Syria is going to need a huge amount of foreign aid and agricultural assistance if and when the civil war ends. And it is a microcosm of what is going to happen all over that region as aridity and desertification increase.
          Islamic extremism is rooted in civil disorder and climate change is a factor in that disorder. Syria’s crisis predates the terrorist activities that have expanded in that region.

        2. Frankly

          Islamic extremism is rooted in civil disorder and climate change is a factor in that disorder. Syria’s crisis predates the terrorist activities that have expanded in that region.

          It is in Egypt.  It is in Turkey.  It is everywhere there are Muslims.  It does not matter that there are droughts.  It does not matter the economic situation for the country.  This is a silly attempt to mold the the  environmental narrative toward a left political advantage.

          1. Don Shor

            Good to know. Thanks for educating me. Must be so simple to go through life seeing everything through this lens.
            The roots of terrorism are not just in any particular religion. They arise in conditions of civil disorder and environmental catastrophes are a factor in civil disorder. It amazes me that you are so blinded by ideology that you can’t muster the notion of multiple causes and put things into a broader context.
            Climate change is likely to increase desertification. Perhaps you can think how that might lead to poverty and chaos.

          2. Don Shor

            Accepting and planning for the impact of climate change is a matter of national security. If we don’t acknowledge it and work with our allies and NGO’s to ameliorate the impacts, we will find ourselves, once again, in resource-related military conflicts. Denialism is dangerous to America. It’s time for conservatives to recognize the geopolitical implications of a changing climate. We have time to deal with this; the change is happening gradually. But it’s real. And the place in the world where the impact is likely to be most dangerous is the place where water is already a limiting resource. As it happens, that’s also where a lot of the world’s oil reserves are.

            I don’t want to send young men and women into war in that region again. And as poverty and chaos increase, and agriculture struggles, the likelihood of those wars increases. I will do my best to oppose candidates who want to take us to war. And I will oppose candidates who deny science. It’s all interconnected.

            I don’t see the need for strict controls on local development projects. I would say that the Davis Climate Action Plan is basically dead; it was killed by the 2020 Initiative. But that doesn’t mean that the overall goal of reducing use of fossil fuels is undesirable, or that we should pretend that our use of petroleum resources is somehow without adverse consequences to the current environment or the climate.

    3. Tia Will

      Because free enterprise will do what it always does if the government stops meddling in it… provide new alternatives that are faster, better and cheaper.”

      Like the gas burning private automobile the downsides of which we have been aware of for decades and yet cleaner fuels and technologies have been fought against consistently in order to maintain profits of the older, dirtier industries ?

      1. Frankly

        No, it is because up until recently battery-powered cars sucked, and because batteries are an environmental hazard and they need electricity to charge them that cannot yet be produced in enough quantity by wind and solar panels and fairy dust and unicorns.

        But here comes the market to the rescue again.   And as long as the government does not screw it up again and again and again, the market will respond on price and deliver value in quality alternatives.

        How are all those communist and socialist countries doing creating good battery-powered cars?  I hear that the Venezuela eYugo is a hit!

        1. Tia Will

          Frankly

          How are all those communist and socialist countries doing creating good battery-powered cars?”

          You ask this question as though it were the only concern. Now it is true that I can only speak for France since that is the only European country that I have visited within the past 8 years. I have no idea how they are doing with battery powered cars. What I can tell you is that the vast majority of their cars are very small and use much less gas than the cars you see here. They use efficient public transportation to a much greater degree than we do.  So it seems to me that they are doing something better than we are, although I am sure that you will find that hard to believe.

  8. Misanthrop

    My problem is that under your view we should be placing the responsibility for dealing with global warming on new development, development that is already far superior to the current housing stock that already exists. This burden drives the cost of construction up at a time when the costs of getting an education have skyrocketed and these additional costs will make housing even less affordable.  I don’t know how you get there but cap and trade or carbon taxes might save more GHG by spreading the burden out across the entire community instead and seems a fairer way forward than placing it disproportionately on newcomers.

  9. Napoleon Pig IV

    At least three beliefs are faith-based and unsupportable via empirical testing:  1. The existence of God, 2. The origin of the universe via a “big bang,” and 3. The extent and specific consequences of anthropogenic global warming. I’m sure there are others.

    Some things can and should be dealt with one person at a time or one community at a time: 1. Adequate support services for drug addicts, 2. Adequate support services for those who are hurting, hungry, or poorly educated, and 3. Safe neighborhoods. I suspect other things can also be addressed locally – reduced air pollution and reduced contamination of ground water come to mind.

    Burdening local business, local investment, and local economic growth with religious precepts or other faith-based proscriptions seems to me to be a bad idea and a likely way to reduce local quality of life while making no difference at all in the fundamental nature of the universe.

    1. Don Shor

      3. The extent and specific consequences of anthropogenic global warming.

      They’re usually expressed in probabilities. And the empirical testing you would be looking for would be from measured data and proxies. There’s loads of resources you can access online if you’re interested. But I assume you know that. There is a common effort to equate scientific principles with religious dogma, but they’re two entirely different ways of assessing things.

      I happen to believe that implementing reasonable energy-conservation standards into new developments is beneficial, even if it has some costs. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels has a lot of benefits other than just those related to climate change; the fact that we are now nearly self-sufficient in energy has important national security impacts, for example (makes us less likely to go to war again).

      So even if, for some odd reason, you don’t believe anthropogenic climate change is occurring or would be harmful, there are good reasons to wean us away from fossil fuels. If there is a case that the regulations imposed on Nishi are onerous or irrational, perhaps you can make that case. Trying to get there by climate denialism, of which the science-as-religion theme is just one version, doesn’t advance your argument.

      If the city’s climate plan goals can’t be met, perhaps it’s time to revisit them. They may have been unrealistic in the first place.

      1. Napoleon Pig IV

        “There is a common effort to equate scientific principles with religious dogma, but they’re two entirely different ways of assessing things.”

        To be clear, I am not equating scientific principles with religious dogma. I am criticizing and rejecting religious dogma that some seek to justify through the misuse or over-extrapolation from the results of applying scientific principles. There is a big difference.

        Perhaps the debate over global warming and local regulation is too fraught with political correctness for objective debate, so let’s briefly consider my other example of religious belief derived from scientific inquiry – the theory of the origin of the universe as a big bang. Do you not consider much of what Stephen Hawking has recently proposed to be more religion than science? Hawking’s theories and global warming as neatly packaged for local political consumption would not be the only cases I’ve seen of fitting data to support a theory rather than modifying (or creating) an hypothesis to fit the data.

        1. Don Shor

          At least three beliefs are faith-based and unsupportable via empirical testing: 1. The existence of God, 2. The origin of the universe via a “big bang,” and 3. The extent and specific consequences of anthropogenic global warming. I’m sure there are others.

          To be clear, I am not equating scientific principles with religious dogma.

          I can’t imagine what gave me the impression that you were.

          I haven’t any interest in Hawking or the Big Bang as having any relevance to this discussion. These days I also tune out when I hear “political correctness.”

          Maybe you can just say what you think should happen locally with respect to meeting the city’s climate action goals, enforcing standards on local projects, and things like that. I support Nishi as proposed, so obviously I’m not in agreement with Alan’s major objections here.

        2. Napoleon Pig IV

          “I can’t imagine what gave me the impression that you were”

          Don, I guess I should have been more explicit. Of course, all three are matters of religious belief whether couched in the terminology of science or of the shaman. Using technical terms does not alone make a statement scientific.

          I maintain my position that I do not equate scientific principles with religious dogma – in fact, I try quite hard to at least pretend to respect the latter, or at least the people burdened by belief.

           

          1. Don Shor

            While there are certainly some people, mostly environmental activists, who speak in apocalyptic terms about climate change, it is not the case that there is equivalence between religious beliefs and the observations of anthropogenic climate change theory. The principle of ‘provable or falsifiable’ distinguishes scientific subjects from religion. Researchers in geophysics and climate science don’t believe something without evidence, whereas your first example (“1. The existence of God”) can neither be proven nor falsified. “The extent and specific consequences of anthropogenic global warming” are not determined by faith.

  10. Tia Will

    BP

    Where have I heard that before? “

    Well, if you do not believe in the truth of the statement, please name one advance that did not begin with an individual or small group. I will happily stand corrected if you can name one.

  11. Tia Will

    Napoleon

    At least three beliefs are faith-based and unsupportable via empirical testing”

    Another came immediately to mind for me. The exact timing of conception and the concept of conception as the beginning of personhood. I added this one for a very specific reason. It is always on the individual level that this concept is considered, and world population is ultimately determined one pregnancy at a time.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Tia

      Excellent point. I agree with you, and although I favor helping individuals I can help even if I never meet them in person, I also understand that one or two billion fewer people on the planet might not be a bad thing. Just to be clear, I’m not advocating eliminating people who already exist, but I strongly favor the right of women to obtain abortions if they so choose and certainly to practice birth control. I also consider the coercive approach of the Chinese government to population control to be stupid. Others may legitimately disagree. These things are complicated, but debate is worthless only when religion is brought into the argument.

    2. Misanthrop

      When does life begin? Life doesn’t begin, life began and is passed from one generation to the next. One of the great mysteries is how life began but now that it is here it is a continuum. Each one of us is the product of billions of years of evolution. Each one of us continues the great chain of life that has existed from time immemorial and pass it on to those who we produce. What is conception if not the beginning of life. It is the beginning of a new generation of life when the haploid fruit of one generation is combined into the diploid offspring of the next. Both the sperm and egg are alive already at conception when they combine to create the first diploid cell of a new organism, the zygote. The zygote with the combined DNA of the parents contains the blueprint for a new human being and given the right environment and a healthy DNA sequence that cell will grow into a new human being. That is the miracle of life.

      1. Tia Will

        Misanthrop

        When does life begin? Life doesn’t begin, life began and is passed from one generation to the next.”

        This is an interesting comment. However, it is not relevant to either the topic of the article or to my post. I was implying nothing at all about the beginning of life. I was making a point regarding the impact of individual and small group decision making and actions. I used the example of the indefinable beginning of personhood, not the beginning of life. You have eloquently stated your definition with which I do not agree since I do not accept that a zygote is equal to a human being.

  12. Green Davis

    The best way to limit GHG emissions is to provide residents with conveniently located housing that encourages car-free living. We cannot simply examine total GHG emissions for Davis, as many students will be commuting from Sacramento and Woodland in lieu of local housing. We must look holistically at the issue. Nishi will provide high-density housing in an excellent location allowing 80% of residents to bike and walk to campus and downtown. By denying projects like Nishi, Davis would be neglecting its role in Yolo County as a leader in sustainability and progress. Even more importantly, forcing Davis students and employees to commute from other cities would only add to GHG emissions. Projects like Nishi should be encouraged and provided carrots not sticks in order to succeed and reduce GHG in the region.  

    1. CalAg

      Actually, the best way to limit GHG emissions is to increase our jobs base so that the huge fraction of Davis residents that get up every morning to drive to jobs in other cities have more local employment options.

        1. CalAg

          GD: The revenue generated by the commercial will be offset by the housing. Likewie, the improvement in the jobs/housing balance generated by the commercial will be offset by the housing. In the end – fiscal and jobs are basically a wash.

  13. Tia Will

    Tia – I’m sorry to tell you this, but working for Kaiser, you work off the pubic trough.  “

    Well by that extremely loose thinking, virtually everyone is working off the public trough. You do realize that the Permanente Medical Group is a private medical group separate from Kaiser Health Plan and separate from KPFH ? We contract to provide medical services for Kaiser Health Plan and  have hospital privileges as needed.

    If anyone has ever contracted with the government, or has ever worked for or with a company that has contracts with the government, or receives any kind of reimbursement or subsidy or stipend or grant from the government then according to your post they are “working off the public trough”. By that standard I think that it would be apparent that the government, which you claim repeatedly does not create jobs, is by far the largest generator of jobs.

  14. Misanthrop

    Tia,

    I have no doubt that you are a dedicated professional and have spent your entire medical career in the pursuit of helping people with their most valuable possession, their health. I have seen several posts on here, they pop up periodically, impugning your professional character and I find it reprehensible for Frankly to use the word “Trough” when describing the insurance pools that have become the financing mechanism under Obamacare in a ridiculously off topic post that probably represents Frankly’s 500th anti-Obamacare rant. Its amazing that a guy who I think has plenty of public money involved in his own business, a guy who would be rightly outraged  if anyone attacked him for how he makes his living, taking such a gratuitous shot at you like this.

    About almost everything else however, I think you are wrong, including the importance of zygotes. Zygotes and fully developed people should not be considered equal but you can’t have a fully developed person without first having a zygote. You can’t have a zygote without a sperm and an egg and, you can’t have a sperm and an egg without having a fully developed person. Every stage is important.

    Having said all this I think people should have the decision to plan their own families and the state and medical industry should support them being able to make those decisions. I think the question of when life begins is a faulty question from an agenda that tries to impose a biological answer to an ethical question and then gets their own answer wrong.

  15. Tia Will

    How much of your patient billing is medicare or supplemented through Obamacare?”

    I have no idea since this is handled through Health Plan, which as I just told you is a separate entity. I also noticed that you did not address my point that you did not specify just what constitutes “the public trough”.

    So maybe it would help if I were to give some examples of what I consider the “public trough”.

    The pollice. The military. The prisons both public and private. Wall Street ( as in bail out). Automobile manufacturers ( the same). Any company or endeavor that receives subsidies, grants, government loans. You are not the only one that can paint with a very broad brush. But the question is, is any of this meaningful and does any of it predict the attitudes of the employees of these groups ? My answer would be “no”.

     

  16. ucdavisstudent

    Totally agree with Misanthrop. Davis isn’t going to make even a tiny blip in GHG emissions by stopping development or by making all development net-zero carbon (which is itself only an accounting gimmick-why not take it further and require it to be carbon negative?). But Davis is part of a multitude of “green cities” pushing population growth to other states that are happy to continue burning coal and building new sprawled housing. There is a fundamental mismatch of supply and demand throughout nearly the whole state of California:  http://www.lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3345 .

    Fact of the matter is, if you want Davis to make a difference in climate change, the best thing to do is to support the university and its research on energy, water, agriculture, and more. Maybe the “innovation” parks will lead to some breakthrough development (and there are real benefits of agglomeration in keeping them close to the university). Either way, you’re not going to stop demand for housing by keeping people out and you’re only going to increase GHG emissions when they move farther away to a bigger house that uses more energy in a place where bicycling or taking transit is hardly a realistic option.

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