Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Climate Committee sees new Emissions Inventory and 2023 Work Plan

I missed the first meeting of the Climate Action Plan Council subcommittee on Monday. Our chapter has already commented on the new inventory the committee saw for the first time.

The slide deck or any formal report has not been posted to the committee's website, and was not included in the agenda and meeting packet, so these are clips from the video.

A new firm was engaged, and they used updated methods. As 350 Salem pointed out, the proportion from transportation went from 53% to 42%, not because of any great change in transportation, but because of a different analytical method.

New pie chart

Method change on transportation

Detail on the analytical change and data source

It would be interesting to have a more direct apples-to-apples comparison between a value for the 2021 estimated travel demand model from SKATS and the value from the Google Environmental Insights data. Is this a source of empirical data we should be using instead of that travel demand model? Or is it data that needs to be incorporated into the travel demand model?

On modeling in the 2023-24 formal Work Plan

If it is such good source of data, the MPO's notes on "previous work in modeling and data" don't mention it. So this is an interesting potential gap in the MPO's modeling work.

Another change is an increase in emissions ascribed to fossil methane, aka "natural gas."

The City can't really take credit for improvement

So the conclusion shouldn't be that we are doing great, but is that we still aren't doing enough.

Councilor Gonzalez was uncomfortable with reporting on the total emissions and wanted more reporting by per capita. But of course even with slight improvements in per capita emissions the total aggregate emissions will likely still increase at a more rapid rate as population increases. So focusing on per capita emissions only is a kind of discourse of delay. He might be ok with this as he seems focused on the reductions goal as aspirational only, undermining the plan a little, or at least unwilling to commit to it. Even when per capita calculations seem useful, we need to keep our eye on the total aggregate emissions, which is the relevant thing for our planet and climate.

We aren't doing enough

We also just have to find a way to revalue non-auto travel. As long as we keep calling it "alternative modes," the modes so named will remain secondary. We need to make them primary. Even if today they are a smaller proportion of travel choice than we would like, in the future we need to create and to plan for, they will be primary, and car travel more "alternative," as the transportation choice of last resort rather than default and first resort.

The January meeting seemed like a second introduction, a table-setting, and there may not be more to say about it specifically. Perhaps because there is already proposal to remove all parking requirements on new development, the concept of right-priced downtown parking is still being punted. 

It will be interesting to see the February March agenda.

Trying to end the scourge of gas-powered leaf blowers!

Separately, and not at all on the committee agenda, but very relevant to the committee and our Climate Action Plan, Quiet Clean Salem just formed and they are working on phasing out dirty two-stroke and other small gas-powered engines, especially those in leaf blowers. They are advocating both at the State and City. (Previously, see "Battery Powered Leaf Blower and Chainsaw Ad Suggests Shifting Archetype.")

At the Library in 2010

It could also affect the lawn-mower type engines we sometimes see bolted on to bicycles. Which are annoying and loud. And maybe not legal anyway.


As Jim points out, the committee is scheduled to meet next in March, not February. The whole plan and process are getting buried a little.

A couple of related items.

The Downtown Advisory Board meets tomorrow the 26th, and they'll consider once again asking Council for right-priced parking downtown. Currently the Climate Committee and Staff are deferring that.

Trying to undercut the CFEC rules?

On the 27th, the Council Legislative Committee meets, and one item is discussion of  "Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities (CFEC) issues."

From the hotbed of NIMBY, the Eugene-Springfield area, Senator Prozanski, ordinarily a friend of better transportation, has sponsored SB 580, which calls for a reassessment of the CFEC rules and further "Prohibits enforcement of climate rules until updated." The bill is "at the request of Cities of Springfield, Medford, Hillsboro, Cornelius, Happy Valley, Troutdale, League of Oregon Cities."

Suit against the CFEC rule-making

And, son of a gun, these are the same cities that have filed suit against the rules.

They are pursuing road blocks by all means.

This interest at Salem's Legislative Committee in CFEC "issues" could be a reasonable desire for refinement, or it might be a crypto-accomodation to the NIMBY impulse. It bears watching, and it is disappointing there is no Staff Report or discussion with the agenda.

Note also the interest in HB 2781, Representative Evan's attempt at the Son of SRC.


Jim Scheppke said...

No February agenda! The CAP Committee plans to meet every other month and apparently for only one hour. 350 Salem OR Co-Coordinator Phil Carver complained about this at the City Council meeting on Monday night. It really shows a lack of seriousness that the Committee only plans to meet six times (six hours?) in all of 2023.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the correction. Also added a couple of additional notes.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

[Moderation note: Deleted Don's comment here and reposted it verbatim on the roundabout post.]