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Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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Cities in the age of climate consequences: ‘Carbon Zero,’ chapter 2

from Grist:

Cities in the age of climate consequences: ‘Carbon Zero,’ chapter 2
By Alex Steffen

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Grist’s presentation of Alex Steffen’s new book Carbon Zero. We’ll be posting a new chapter every day for a week — here’s the full table of contents. And this post will tell you a little more about the project.

Before we get on with the business of reimagination, though, we have to pause for some clarification on the matter of energy.

The first response many of us have to the climate crisis is simple: We need cleaner energy. This is not illogical. Most of the emissions warming the Earth come from burning dirty fossil fuels. So, we think, replacing those dirty power sources with clean energy sources should solve the problem. When we first ponder the challenge of making carbon zero cities, most of us fly immediately to the idea of cities covered in solar panels and powered by fields of wind turbines.

But seeing climate change mainly as an energy-generation problem — rather than an energy-use problem — will mean failure. To meet the climate crisis and win, we need to not only change the kind of energy we use, but also (and even more importantly, to my mind) completely rethink our relationship with energy.

The clean energy supply challenge

My support for clean energy is unequivocal. Obviously, we need to be moving quickly towards a world where all the energy we use comes from clean sources. Wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro all have very, very low emissions. (Nuclear is less climate-friendly, once the costs of mining uranium and storing the waste for the necessary 25-100,000 years are factored in, but some smart people like to include nuclear in the clean energy mix.) A world that ran only on these energy sources would be profoundly more sustainable. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/cities/why-clean-energy-isnt-enough-carbon-zero-chapter-2/

CA Boosts Funding Opportunities for a New Generation of Sustainable Farmers and Local, Healthy Food

from Civil Eats:

CA Boosts Funding Opportunities for a New Generation of Sustainable Farmers and Local, Healthy Food

November 29th, 2012
By Kari Hamerschlag

It’s a new day for those who have felt poorly served by California’s chief food and agriculture agency.

In a significant shift, an $18 million state-managed program that supports growers of vegetables, fruit and nuts is strengthening its focus on ecologically minded farmers and local, urban and healthy food programs.

New funding guidelines announced by the California Department of Food and Agriculture mark an important break from decades of mostly serving the interests of larger, conventional growers.

While the last few years have seen increased support for local food and direct marketing projects, the state’s new guidelines for the federally-funded program reflect a much more inclusive vision that values small, mid-scale and large farms; emphasizes healthy food access and urban food production; supports local, regional and climate-friendly agriculture; and invests in organics and a new generation of more environmentally sustainable growers. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://civileats.com/2012/11/29/ca-boosts-funding-opportunities-for-a-new-generation-of-sustainable-farmers-and-local-healthy-food/

Totaling Sandy Losses: How New York’s MTA Got to $5 Billion


Totaling Sandy Losses: How New York’s MTA Got to $5 Billion
By Kate Hinds | 11/27/2012 – 3:10 pm

It will take $600 million to restore the South Ferry/Whitehall subway stations in lower Manhattan. Returning A train service to the Rockaways will take $650 million. And it will cost $770 million to repair flood-damaged signals in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan.

Those are the three big-ticket items on the New York MTA’s $5 billion list of damages the agency sustained during the storm surge brought on by Sandy.

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo — who is seeking $42 billion in federal disaster aid for the state — said it would take $4.8 billion just to return the MTA to the condition it was in prior to the hurricane. The discrepancy between the two totals: the MTA’s list includes $124 million in lost revenue, as well as $144 million in additional operating expenses.

Some items on the list have already been completed; others will take more time. At Monday’s MTA committee meetings, New York City Transit president Tom Prendergast said the South Ferry subway station is months away from re-opening.

[font size="1"]An example of the damage sustained at the South Ferry station, which was flooded during Hurricane Sandy.(Photo: MTA New York City Transit / David Henly)[/font]

Payday loans (cartoon)

NOW Toronto: Don’t feel sorry for Rob Ford

Don’t feel sorry for Rob Ford
The mayor’s symps want to spin this week’s conflict of interest bombshell as a sympathy-vote-getter, but it’s only one of a long list of matters in which his integrity has come into question

By Enzo Di Matteo

That’s it, then. Rob Ford is done. Fini. Kaput. Guilty of conflict of interest and ordered to vacate his seat within 14 days on Monday, November 26. An ignominious end brought down like a sledgehammer by Justice Charles Hackland on a mayoralty both out of touch and out of control.

There are still enough legal permutations left for Ford to hang onto his seat briefly. But it’s unlikely an appeal court will overturn Hackland’s decision.

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. The conflict case against Ford – for soliciting $3,150 in donations from lobbyists for his football foundation and then voting in council on a motion to overturn the order by the integrity commissioner to pay it back – was but one legal offensive of a number set in motion to rein in abuses of power by a seemingly untouchable mayor.

Not even Ford’s worst foes imagined this result. “Holy shit” were the first words from Councillor Joe Mihevc’s mouth. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=190084

PATH Officials: Several More Weeks Before Hoboken Service Is Back

PATH train service in and out of Hoboken, New Jersey, remains suspended leaving commuters with options like pricier ferry trips or longer bus rides to get into Manhattan. Nearly a month after Sandy, Port Authority officials who operate the PATH Train system brought reporters down into a tunnel below Hoboken on Tuesday to see just why the repairs are taking so long.

Officials said the whole PATH train system suffered $300 million dollars worth of damage. They predicted it will be several more weeks before the Hoboken station reopens.

Huge spools of cable were sitting on flatbed cars where the PATH train would normally be. The turnstiles and vending machines were covered in clear, plastic tarps. The Hoboken station is currently an active construction site. So PATH officials began with a safety briefing and distributed hard hats and neon vests.

Before leading reporters nearly a quarter mile into one of the damaged tunnels, Stephen Kingsberry, acting PATH Train System director, pointed to a display of photographs from the storm. One showed water rushing down a set of steps even though a pressurized flood gate appeared to be in place. ........................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://transportationnation.org/2012/11/28/path-officials-several-more-weeks-before-hoboken-service-is-back/

The opportunities and dangers of incomplete bus rapid transit

from the Human Transit blog:

the opportunities and dangers of incomplete bus rapid transit

One of Bus Rapid Transit's great virtues is that unlike rail, you don't have to build a complete, continuous piece of infrastructure if you really only need segments of one.

Here in Portland, for example, the Barbur corridor -- now being studied for BRT or rail -- features a series of congested chokepoints with generally free-running traffic in between them. Here, a BRT facility that got transit through the chokepoints reliably probably wouldn't need an exclusive lane in the free-flowing segments, because traffic in those segments would continue to be metered by the chokepoints and thus remain uncongested. (Congested chokepoints meter traffic just as ramp meters do: they limit the rate at which cars can enter a road segment and thus reduce its chance of becoming congested.)

Unfortunately, Bus Rapid Transit can also be implemented in exactly the opposite way. Severely congested chokepoints are generally expensive places to design transit priority for, especially if you're unwilling to simply take a lane for transit. So we often see BRT projects that are missing where they are most needed. The Boston Silver Line 4-5, like the Los Angeles Silver Line, can get stuck in traffic downtown. New York's supposed BRT is so compromised that many refused to call it BRT anymore. Even the world-class Auckland North Shore Busway disappears as it approaches the Harbour Bridge. ................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.humantransit.org/2012/11/the-opportunities-and-dangers-of-incomplete-bus-rapid-transit.html

Lloyd Blankfein goes off the deep end

CEOs are springing into action to save the country, just as they did during World War II, according to the CEO of Goldman Sachs.

Lloyd Blankfein, the head of Goldman Sachs, compared CEOs' fight on Capitol Hill to avert the fiscal cliff to CEOs' contributions to World War II, in an interview with CNBC reporter Eamon Javers.

"There have been times in our history when I know the business community was very, very engaged in the affairs of our country and added a particular area of expertise that was valued at that time," Blankfein told Javers on Wednesday. "For example in the war, when it came time to increase production, of course the CEOs came down." ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/lloyd-blankfein-fiscal-cliff-wwii-world-war-ii_n_2204984.html

Cities in the age of climate consequences: ‘Carbon Zero,’ chapter 1

from Grist:

Cities in the age of climate consequences: ‘Carbon Zero,’ chapter 1
By Alex Steffen

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Grist’s presentation of Alex Steffen’s new book Carbon Zero. We’ll be posting a new chapter every day for a week — here’s the full table of contents. And this post will tell you a little more about the project.


On Monday the 29th of October, 2012, a tidal surge 13.9 feet high (the highest ever recorded) washed up and over the waterfront in Lower Manhattan, pushed forward by the superstorm Sandy. That same week, the storm destroyed large swathes of coastline from the New Jersey shore to Fire Island, while driving torrential rains, heavy snows, and powerful winds inland across the eastern U.S. and Canada. By the time the storm blew out, it had killed more than 100 Americans, made thousands homeless, left millions without power, and caused at least $50 billion in damage. Sandy was, by any reckoning, one of the worst natural disasters in American history.

Maybe, though, the word “natural” belongs in quotes. Because what was surprising about Sandy wasn’t that it happened (indeed, many had predicted that rising sea levels and storms intensified by warmer oceans would make something like Sandy inevitable), but that it was seen so clearly, and so immediately, for what it was: a forewarning of what a planet in climate chaos has in store for us.

Sandy was far from the first sign that climate change is here — scientists have been warning for decades of the dangers of a heating planet, and in the last 10 years we’ve seen a flurry of unprecedented storms, droughts, floods, melting glaciers, and wildfires, as well as record-breaking heat waves following one after another. Sandy, though, knocked down walls of denial and inattention that have kept us from admitting what’s happening to our world.

What’s happening is that we’re losing the climate fight. Climate change is here, it’s worsening quickly, its effects are more dire than many thought they would be, and — if we continue with business as usual — we’re on a track to unleash an almost unimaginable catastrophe on ourselves, our children, and our descendants. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://grist.org/cities/carbon-zero-chapter-1-cities-in-the-age-of-climate-consequences/

Central Park 5: New Film On How Police Abuse, Media Frenzy Led to Jailing Innocent Teens, pts 1 & II

(Democracy Now!) An explosive new documentary looks at a case once referred to as "the crime of the century”: the Central Park Five. Many people have heard about the case — but far too few know that innocent men were imprisoned as a result. The film tells the story of how five black and Latino teenagers were arrested in 1989 for beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. Media coverage at the time portrayed the teens as guilty, and used racially coded terms like "wolf pack" to refer to the group of boys accused in the attack. Donald Trump took out full-page ads in four city newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty so they could be executed. However, the convictions of the five were vacated in 2002 when the real rapist came forward and confessed to the crime, after the five defendants had already served sentences of almost seven to 13 years. New York City is refusing to settle a decade-long civil lawsuit brought by the men. And now, lawyers for the city are seeking access to footage gathered for the new film. We speak to one of the Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, filmmaker Sarah Burns, and journalist Natalie Byfield.


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