What Can a Mayor Do About Climate Change?

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What can cities and towns do about climate change? What action can a mayor and city council take? What difference can one town make? This is a presentation I gave to the Menlo Park Rotary about effective local action.

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  • What can cities and towns do about climate change? What action can a mayor and city council take? What difference can one town make? This is a presentation I gave to the Menlo Park Rotary about effective local action.
    “Addicted to Energy” enumerates the top ten things that cities and counties can do to stop climate change. I continue to look for a city, county, PUC, utility or property manager to partner with on these issues. Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Cotati, Redding,—call me!
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What Can a Mayor Do About Climate Change?

  1. 1. Local Leadership in an Age of Climate Change Tough Choices: What Can Menlo Park Do About Climate Change? Presentation to the Menlo Park Rotary Elton B. Sherwin July 21, 2010
  2. 2. Agenda  The problem  What cities can do
  3. 3. We Are Leaving Our Children a Different Planet Muir & Riggs Glaciers Alaska
  4. 4. The North Pole is Disappearing Missing Ice North Pole NASA
  5. 5. Greenland is Melting Image: Roger Braithwaite, University of Manchester (UK)
  6. 6. What is Going on?
  7. 7. We Are Burning Too Much Stuff
  8. 8. Why Does it Matter? Greenhouse Effect Graphic from www.solcomhouse.com
  9. 9. CO2 Tasteless Odorless Non toxic Invisible (lets visible light through) Traps Infrared Heat Lasts for Many Decades
  10. 10. CO2 is the Byproduct of the Combustion
  11. 11. Simple Greenhouse Effect CO2 Graphic modified from www.stopglobalwarming.com.au
  12. 12. Some CO2 is Good CO2 Graphic modified from www.stopglobalwarming.com.au
  13. 13. Double CO2 from 1800’s Will Not Be Good CO2 Ken Caldeira ºC Carnegie Institution -6 -4 -2 0 2 4 6 at Stanford Univ.
  14. 14. "For the first time in human history, science has shown that we are altering the destiny of our planet… It’s quite alarming.” Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate From his remarks to scientists and staff at the Stanford Linear Accelerator in Palo Alto. June 26, 2009
  15. 15. California
  16. 16. July Temperatures California’s agricultural regions will be hard hit 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy www.climatechange.ca.gov/adaptation
  17. 17. Midcentury Increase of 5 Degrees Fahrenheit 5+ 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy www.climatechange.ca.gov/adaptation
  18. 18. Could See Increases of 10 to 14 Degree Fahrenheit in Central Valley* 10+ 2009 California Climate Adaptation Strategy *“Emissions pathways, climate change, and impacts on California” Christopher B. Field and 17 coauthors, June 23, 2004, PNAS
  19. 19. Smaller snowpack More water shortages Less water for agriculture “Emissions pathways, climate change, and impacts on California” Christopher B. Field and 17 coauthors, June 23, 2004, PNAS
  20. 20. 16 Inches Vallejo of Sea Rise San Rafael Oakland San Francisco San Jose SOURCE: Inundation data from Knowles, 2008. Additional salt pond elevation data by Siegel and Bachand, 2002. Aerial imagery is NAIP 2005 data. http://www.bcdc.ca.gov/planning/climate_change/climate_change.shtml
  21. 21. 16 Inches of Sea Rise Foster City Menlo Park East Palo Alto SOURCE: Inundation data from Knowles, 2008. Additional salt pond elevation data by Siegel and Bachand, 2002. Aerial imagery is NAIP 2005 data. BCDC.gov
  22. 22. Sun, Google, and, Cisco all at risk Moffett Field 237 SOURCE: Inundation data from Knowles, 2008. Additional salt pond elevation data by Siegel and Bachand, 2002. Aerial imagery is NAIP 2005 data. BCDC.gov
  23. 23. North Bay 16 Inches of Sea Rise Vallejo SOURCE: Inundation data from Knowles, 2008. Additional salt pond elevation data by Siegel and Bachand, 2002. Aerial imagery is NAIP 2005 data. BCDC.gov
  24. 24. North Bay 16 Inches of Sea Rise San Rafael Richmond Larkspur Corte Madera SOURCE: Inundation data from Knowles, 2008. Additional salt pond elevation data by Siegel and Bachand, 2002. Aerial imagery is NAIP 2005 data. BCDC.gov
  25. 25. It Is Not Just the West Coast
  26. 26. Many cities at risk • Miami • Key West • Tampa • New York • Venice • Amsterdam
  27. 27. In 150 years, students may study New Orleans like Carthage: A city that no longer exists
  28. 28. 21st Century  More intense precipitation  Bigger storms  Longer droughts  Shorter snow season  More flooding  Rising ocean  Animals, plants and insects moving
  29. 29. World’s Poor Hard Hit Move 17 million people this century?
  30. 30. Tipping Points Are Irreversible Thresholds Hour and Day Is Impossible to Predict
  31. 31. Greenland Contains Enough Ice to Raise the Ocean 22 feet If Ice Sheets Collapse the Consequences are Huge NSF Website and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Image: Roger Braithwaite, University of Manchester (UK)
  32. 32. Acidification and Warming of the Ocean Risk of some piece of the ecosystem collapsing NOAA
  33. 33. “The climate is nearing tipping points. Changes are beginning to appear and there is a potential for explosive changes, effects that would be irreversible” James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies The Observer, February 15, 2009,
  34. 34. “A common misperception is that this is a crisis that is down the road. “Climate change is real. It's happening now.” Senator John McCain August 24, 2009 LA Times Kristen Wyatt Associated Press http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-us-global- warming-national-parks,0,6162897.story
  35. 35. Time Out For Good News
  36. 36. Why is This Happening? Unprecedented levels of wealth  Capitalism won  Unparalleled economic growth Modern medicine and public health  Cured small pox (almost Polio)  Live longer  Population grow to 9+ billion
  37. 37. Everyone Wants to Live Like Us  Need nine planets
  38. 38. What Can Our Little Town Do? We can improve the efficiency of our buildings
  39. 39. Why Buildings? Buildings are a huge problem:  Largest source of CO2 in America  Largest users of coal world-wide
  40. 40. Sounds Simple: Make Buildings More Efficient
  41. 41. Must reduce Consumption Everywhere  Old  Retail  New  Residential  Commercial  Schools  Government
  42. 42. No City Has Ever Succeeded
  43. 43. How Do you Motivate Building Owners to Take Action?
  44. 44. Grade Our Buildings
  45. 45. We Grade Our Children
  46. 46. Do We Have the Courage to Grade Our Buildings?
  47. 47. Grades Motivate Change  Motivates owners  Motivates tenants
  48. 48. Recommended Format Local comparison National standard • Source energy (per sq ft.) – Scores above 80 are good, below 70 are poor Response to the National Energy Rating Program for Homes RFI 82 By Elton Sherwin
  49. 49. People Here Like Good Grades This will motivate a lot of change World-wide it might be more effective than cap and trade Response to the National Energy Rating Program for Homes RFI 84 By Elton Sherwin
  50. 50. 21st Century  More intense precipitation  Bigger storms  Longer droughts  Shorter snow season  More flooding  Rising ocean  Animals, plants and insects moving
  51. 51. What Can Our Town Do? Let’s start by grading our buildings based on how much energy they use
  52. 52. Now is the Time to Take Action “Temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped.” “There’s no going back.” The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) January 26, 2009
  53. 53. Appendix
  54. 54. Why Grades Based on Energy? Energy => CO2 => Environmental Damage Awards based on anything other than actual energy consumption are not helpful. Image: Roger Braithwaite, University of Manchester (UK)
  55. 55. For more information, see Response to the National Energy Rating Program for Homes Request for Information By Elton Sherwin Full response is available at www.EltonSherwin.com and at www.slideshare.net/EltonSherwin
  56. 56. Soot and Smoke Also Damage Our Environment (Soot) World- wide Next 20 Years
  57. 57. Garbage and Methane Also Matter Garbage generates a lot of methane
  58. 58. Top 10 Recommendations for Cities 1. Eliminate all methane (dumps and food scraps) 2. Eliminate all soot (diesel & fireplaces) 3. Publish & post energy grades of buildings www.Amazon.com www.EltonSherwin.com  This presentation  More on building grading  What are Your Home’s Top Energy Wasters?  What are Your Company’s Top Energy Wasters?
  59. 59. CO2 Emissions: Circled sources are mostly buildings US DOE. CO2 in America. Excludes other greenhouse pollutants: methane, Soot, CFCs, etc. Also excludes embedded energy in imports and most impacts from Agriculture.
  60. 60. Which Building Types Use the Most Energy Overall?
  61. 61. Which Building use the Most Energy per Square Foot?
  62. 62. Electricity Consumption in Healthcare Buildings
  63. 63. Excludes embedded energy in imports and most impacts from agriculture.
  64. 64. Checklists www.EltonSherwin.com  What Can Cities and Counties Do?  Simple Green Building Code  Homes  Commercial Property  What are Your Company’s Top www.Amazon.com Energy Wasters?  Schools and public buildings  What are Your Home’s Top Energy Wasters?  How Do I Find the Energy Hogs in My House?  Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

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