Climate Change Stumps California Planners

Although climate change is a predominant issue for California's land use planners, they concede they are just making up new practices and lack the tools they really need. Paul Shigley reports from the CAL APA Conference.

Some of the problems planners face stem from the California Environmental Quality Act, a four-decades-old law that may not be climate-friendly. Some of the problems stem from long-established local policies that demand more and wider roads above all else. But some of the problems also stem from a basic lack of knowledge, writes Shigley.

Full Story: Cal APA Conference Follow-Up: Climate Change Confusion

Comments

Comments

Lost

Squaw Valley, and then Carlsbad next year? Maybe they should plan the Cal APA Conference in a place that is accessible by trains, walkable, and bike-friendly. No wonder they're stuck in the past.

"Considering that people are always going to drive some, which trip should land use planners try to encourage?"

Wow, is anyone else infuriated with this biased sentence at the end of the article?

" Different kinds of VMT"

I believe that the claim that "A car with a cold engine making a low-speed, two-mile trip may generate as much carbon dioxide as a car with a warm engine traveling 10 miles at freeway speed" is incorrect. This may be an accurate claim when referring to carbon monoxide and hyrdocarbons, where a large portion of emissions are associated with cold starts. But it is highly implausible for carbon dioxide. The simple stoichiometry of combustion of gasoline controls the emissions - they are directly proportional to the amount of gasoline burned, with only very minor corrections. While there is some increase in fuel efficiency for warmer engines traveling at constant speeds, it is nowhere near a factor of 5. And, since air resistance is proportional to the cube of velocity, fuel efficiencies start dropping off at high speeds. There have been some careful studies of carbon dioxide emissions associated with cold starts in Northern Europe, which have concluded a total incremental use of gasoline of about 1/40 of a gallon, corresponding to about .23 kg of carbon dioxide - far less of an increment than this claim would require.

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