Thursday, July 28, 2022

Climate Action Plan Committee: Cherriots and the Long Range Plan

The Climate Action Plan Committee meets on Monday the 1st, and with some apposite timing they will be talking with Cherriots about transit and the project underway to write the new Long Range Transit Plan.

Interestingly, the City strategies, TL08 and TL09, correspond pretty closely to frequency and coverage. Frequency, it should be noted, has a higher emissions reduction potential than coverage.

On frequency

On coverage

But again, the lead on five of the seven strategies on the agenda is not the City.

The subset of 55 should have "high" potential (May)

The Committee was going to be structured around a review and decisions on of this subset of "early implementation strategies," and instead the meetings are a series of updates on what other agencies are doing. The meetings are passive, about watching what others are doing rather than initiating urgent action under the City's control. The City was supposed to be the lead agency on the early action.

The updates are not necessarily wrong, of course. It is important for the City and Cherriots to coordinate more closely on making sure transit serves new greenfield development and infill redevelopment, but also making sure the City is assigning areas for new development and redevelopment where it is easy for Cherriots to serve. The development on former State lands out towards Turner is not obviously easy for transit, and the City should face more squarely how it is inducing car travel by promoting development there.

But at the moment, the balance in these meetings is likely wrong, and the City is not considering enough about what to do right now.

Oregonian (l) and Statesman (r) on heat wave today

It's a little like the prevalence of the "water play" visual trope for extreme heat. Today the Oregonian focused on harms from the heat wave, but the Statesman treated it as opportunity for fun - fun in an outlying area that requires car travel, it should be noted.

Last year's heat wave in the NY Times

While the temperatures of this heat wave are within the range of "ordinary" extreme heat, and not the rupture of last year's Death Valley level heat, which was literally off-the-chart and created a new chart edge, the consecutive number of days of 100 or near 100 degree heat is remarkable. 117 degrees will remain unlikely, at least for a while, but more days of 100 degrees is a certainty. Our count of days with "normal" 100 degree heat is increasing, and that is a climate story.

Underestimating 100 degree days

In fact, our "accepted" final Climate Action Plan from November last year suggests we'll have an "average" of two days with 100+ degree heat each summer through 2039, and six of them between 2040 and 2069. This is nearly certain to be a real underestimate!

A couple of days ago the Nieman Lab published a piece, "Maybe don’t illustrate your stories about lethally hot weather with fun beach pics." They said, "New research finds the visuals of heat-wave news coverage are more likely to put a positive spin on extreme heat than the articles themselves."

The agendas for the Climate Action Plan Committee don't seem to be structured around really grappling with the urgency of our problem. A little like the water play trope, they avoid the heart of the matter.

1 comment:

mark said...

When will the City present you with the volunteer of the year or first citizen award? Your analysis on city issues and articles on history make your blog the best place to get informed. Thank you.