In advance of Wednesday's Climate Task Force meeting, the City's published the results of the March survey on potential climate actions.
In rough terms, it shows the risks of the popularity contest: Many of the most effective concepts at reducing emissions are also the least popular. On the broader objectives there is sometimes also a disconnect between the Task Force votes and the survey response. Our mania for free parking, and for driving generally, is an excellent example.
|Salemites love driving and the free parking|
Sidewalk repair and more open/green space were the most popular in the survey.
Broadly speaking the survey suggests that if we tailor a plan to what is popular, it will be ineffective and mainly symbolic. If we tailor a plan that actually accomplishes reductions in emissions, what we want it to accomplish, there will be opposition from some quarters.
It just seems like a good Plan has to be more top-down, data-driven, even a little technocratic. A bottom-up popularity contest won't be nearly effective.
On some planning horizons, it would be ok to have a middling plan and say we will revisit it in five or 10 years. But the planning horizon on this particular project is far more urgent, if we take seriously the goal of a 50% reduction by 2035 and much more by 2050.
For an Elected that might look like a bad dilemma, but of course it's also opportunity for outstanding leadership.
It will be interesting to see how the Task Force assesses and filters all this, and there will be more to say when the project team and City publish a more focused set of recommendations for further refinement.
- On risks of the popularity contest, "New City Survey on Climate Action Plan may Vitiate rather than Boost"
- and all notes about the Climate Action Plan.
Here's a clip and comment via FB from Wedenesday's meeting.
|Trees and gardens rather than fossil fuel|
The popular ideas aren't enough about reducing fossil fuels and carbon pollution. Especially on the "community" side, they are more about aesthetics than function.
Addendum 2, Saturday
Now the City and project team have published some of the meeting materials. Here is the slide deck on the survey (note that it is not hosted on the city's website, and you should download it if you want to see it after the project ends; the url may be dynamically generated, also, and it is possible it will not be persistent).
|Effectiveness needs more attention!|
Some of these others are just concern trolling
|Is this "diversity" or "disagreement"?|
|A lot of the least popular are also the most effective|