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Thank you #ClimateStrike marchers!

Posted by on March 15th, 2019 at 12:35 pm

Students from schools throughout Portland have massed downtown today for the #ClimateStrike event. Reports are that it’s a big success with crowds much larger than folks anticipated.

We just want to say thank you for standing up and creating more awareness for the climate crisis! As one of the old people in the room, I’ll do what I can to create a different future.

Also want to remind you that the transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Oregon (39% of the total). We can reform transportation and significantly lower our GHG emissions (not to mention make our neighborhoods much nicer to live in), if we do everything we can to encourage the use of transit and bicycles, and discourage the use of cars and trucks.

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And in case you haven’t heard, the State of Oregon (with Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s blessing) wants to widen Interstate 5 through the Rose Quarter. This would encourage people to drive through Portland, spewing even more toxic emissions into our lungs and air. You can help stop this project by checking out No More Freeways PDX, an all-volunteer group of people who are just as concerned about climate change as you are.

Thanks again. See you on the streets!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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bikeninja
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bikeninja

As I was riding to work today I passed a group of kids with there teacher who had just gotten off a bus from Albany parked at the Rose Quarter on their way to the march. The teacher was using the spot for a teaching moment and said, ” Kids, look at all the transportation modes you can see from here. There are cars , streetcars, light rail, ships, buses and there is someone on a bike. As far as saving us from climate change the bikes are the best.” Put a smile on my face the rest of the morning.

Toby Keith
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Toby Keith

I wonder how many drove to this event?

joan
Subscriber

My 8th grader and his friends walked from Tubman. I suspect most student participants don’t have licenses anyway. There were way more kids than adults.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

One of the reasons I ride a bike is that when these kids grow up they will realize just how badly the generations ahead of them messed things up. When they start rounding up the old folks and putting them on trial I want to be one of the good guys they can point too and say “see they were not all bad.” I certainly wouldn’t want to have been a monster truck driver or an ODOT employee in my past life when the Climate Nuremberg Trials get started.

Ron Swaren
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Ron Swaren

How much more natural gas is being used in Portland—–with thousands of new residences—as opposed to thirty years ago? Natural gas puts out CO2, and it is essentially methane, another potent GHG.

Not only is there a YUUUGE number of new residences, consuming energy, there are lots and lots of new businesses situated in buildings—- where the heat is turned on 24/7 throughout the winter. Are these kids protesting all of the new construction which is causing the Portland-area carbon footprint to soar? And multifamily buildings not only take a lot of energy to heat, they would not have efficient, gas fired tankless water heaters, either, as these would require individual venting.

But go ahead—protest the vehicles trying to quickly get through Portland. Which twenty years hence may be mostly electric or hydrogen powered. Meanwhile we will have added more thousands of residences and commercial properties pumping out GHG 24/7.

Jim
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Jim

You make interesting points about buildings.

But how does this in any way make driving motor vehicles OK? Which might possibly in a couple of decades be emitting less when it’s already too late?

All these things are contributing to climate change, and are being protested against. Some people just seem desperate to feel OK about current levels of motor use.

9watts
Subscriber

“electric or hydrogen powered”

Neither of those are fuels.
They both represent a conversion of something else (fossil fuels, typically, though it is of course fun to imagine that something clean is fed in the front) into a word we like to throw around without necessarily understanding what makes that word good, bad, salutary, or misleading.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

Ron,

People are going to to live in buildings, and people are going to use some kind of heat in the winter. That’s the way it’s always been, and it’s going to stay that way. Housing is a constant. Now, some types of buildings are more efficient than others. Newer buildings have better energy ratings than older buildings. High density housing is more energy efficient than low density housing.

Transportation is not a constant. People can be encouraged to live close to where they work, and to use energy efficient transportation modes. Which also, incidentally, pairs well with high density.

Ron Swaren
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Ron Swaren

I think you missed the point. Emissions from vehicles are probably going to get cleaner and cleaner. At least that is the present trend; although nothing is certain. However, the more people who move here, which our city government seems to favor—-since they derive ever more tax revenue from densification—-the more CO2 and other GHG will be emitted to the atmosphere. And people do love their (energy consuming) luxury: long, hot showers, gourmet cooking, comfortable, heated living quarters and comfortable heated workplaces. It is not like the old days of Oregon—with loggers generating their own heat, maybe warming their hands around a fire in a barrel. Or many of the other outdoor professions where people simply generated their own body heat to stay warm during the day.

Nooooo. These are the days of the service economy. An entirely different animal. And a huge, seemingly endless source of CO2.

9watts
Subscriber

We need to leave the remaining fossil fuels in the ground.
Not burn them in our engines
Not burn them in our natural gas furnaces
Not burn them in our power plants to generate electricity.

If you are suggesting that we will have an easier time weaning ourselves from the internal combustion engine than from natural gas heating, you should just say that. We could then examine that claim, which I think is somewhat spurious. Where we stand today, in 2019, we can’t seem able to conceive of doing either, and all the happy talk of hydrogen and wind turbines doesn’t change the physics.

Jonathan
Guest
Jonathan

My point is simply that the environmental impact of housing stays roughly constant between Portland, Stayton, Bend, Kansas, Texas, California, etc. One could even argue that Portland, with its relatively mild winters and summers, is a good place for people to live. The broader point is that Portland is growing because other places are not. So the net effect on climate change is nil. Of course, there is global population growth, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms. But even that is stabilizing. To summarize, if Portland were to stop building right now, all those people would go live in Eugene or Seattle instead, and there would be no change in greenhouse emissions.

9watts
Subscriber

“The broader point is that Portland is growing because other places are not.”

That is not true as you acknowledge below.

“Of course, there is global population growth, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms. But even that is stabilizing”

Yikes. Those may be reassuring words to speak or write but they hardly capture what is going on. We are currently at 7.7bn; the UN estimates median population rising to 9.8bn by 2050*, a mere 31 years from now. Adding 2.2bn people, which is more than the total number of people alive in 1949, is hardly reason to feel reassured, especially since we have been in overshoot for several decades.

The climate and our planet’s ability to put up with our demands at this point has nothing to do with rates of growth and everything to do with totals. We have long since passed crucial thresholds, so growing more slowly is no better, no more reason to breathe easier, than growing more quickly. Neither leads to anything salutary.

* and 11.2bn people by 2100.

soren
Guest
soren

Your assumption that global population growth will continue to grow is ridiculously optimistic.

Why is it that even those who supposedly acknowledge the validity of climate change science are so unwilling to acknowledge the expected outcomes of our complete failure to address climate change?

This is a rhetorical question.

9watts
Subscriber

I do not believe that global population will grow in line with the UN’s blithe extrapolations I quoted above. The correction is coming decades before those round numbers come ’round. My reason for quoting those numbers was to cast doubt on the pleasant and familiar notion that global population was already ‘stabilizing.’

Ron Swaren
Guest
Ron Swaren

Actually what I am doing is making an argument against the service economy. At least as the foundational economic principle. And what is happening nationwide is that we are attracting people from low energy use areas (most of the world) to a high energy use area (United States). This is due to the quest for higher earning vocations—-but which is dependent upon filling the manual labor roles with newcomers. In other words, a juggernaut of upward mobility.

So on this 39 percent figure—that is for the whole state. I’m sure that truckers hauling goods on I-5 from California and Washington are burning a lot of diesel fuel. And local deliveries account for a lot of it. But what is the figure in the Portland area? Even if vehicles do not get cleaner, I do know that big buildings, residential and commercial, take a lot of energy. In fact in areas that use natural gas for electrical generation there is always a surge during heat waves, too. Portland also has a lot of big drafty houses, because they were wood construction with very little insulation; and also lose heat through the windows. And from what I have read the new towers with glass exteriors are big energy users, too.

Motor vehicles to me are not the biggest problem, if indeed there is a problem in the first place.

meh
Guest
meh

Would you prefer they use coal or oil? The fact is that this is going to have to be an evolution. Change is happening. Cleaner fuels are being used. Natural gas is better than wood, oil or coal and is a step in the right direction.
Consider the number of fleets around the country that have converted from diesel to natural gas or other alternatives. A step in the right direction until battery and recharging capabilities get to a point where they can power a garbage truck for the whole days work. Something we aren’t seeing in Portland but is very prevelent (watch Motorweek on OPB and see the weekly clean energy segment).
The US as a whole has a shrinking population, except for immigration. That increase in population requires housing so we’re not going to have less of it. Now consider how many of those folks are coming from areas where pollution is rampant, China, India come to mind. Are the doing better by living here with cleaner energry and options?

9watts
Subscriber

“Change is happening. Cleaner fuels are being used.”

Please explain.

“Natural gas is better than wood, oil or coal and is a step in the right direction.”

No it is not. Please do not spread misinformation. Natural gas has been branded to soothe our fears, but it is not one whit better, and depending on how you make your calculations,, which time horizon you choose, it could be worse. And the idea that wood, whose carbon cycle is on the time scale of decades rather than millions for fossil fuels, is worse than natural gas, well, you’re going to have to explain that as well.

“Consider the number of fleets around the country that have converted from diesel to natural gas or other alternatives.”

You (and many others) are confusing local air pollution (1970s/SOx, NOx, CO, HC, PM) with global climate change (CO2, CH4/what we are more focused on now). Switching from diesel to natural gas as a transportation fuel does help the local air quality, and that is all to the good, but at this stage we are or should be frying bigger fish.

“A step in the right direction until battery and recharging capabilities get to a point where they can power a garbage truck for the whole days work. Something we aren’t seeing in Portland but is very prevelent (watch Motorweek on OPB and see the weekly clean energy segment).”

Until we have complete fuel cycle where that electricity you are celebrating is generated by something other than fossil fuels, this is a lot of whistling in the wind.

“The US as a whole has a shrinking population, except for immigration.”

Please support that statement. You are confusing a drop in the positive growth rate with an actual decline in that rate.
“In the early 2000s, immigration accounted for roughly 40 percent of U.S. population growth, leaving 60 percent from natural increase.”
https://www.prb.org/us-population-growth-decline/

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Seems to me that past generations don’t really care what happens to future generations as long as they can continue to make obscene amounts of money. There was an interesting article in The Atlantic about this. To sum up: Dad and grampa are mostly obsessed with maintaining a booming stock market and forever rising home prices. Their kids are on their own.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I was really hoping we could all take a holiday and celebrate the wonderful young people amongst us. Their passion and determination should inspire us all to help them build the future they deserve, not the one we appear content to leave them.

Look them in the eyes and there’s no way you can admit to loving our current high-emissions lifestyle more than you love them.