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Mayor Wheeler wants your feedback on his ‘Climate Emergency’ declaration

Posted by on February 13th, 2020 at 12:29 pm

Time to make some hard choices about “fossil fuel infrastructure.”
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released a draft version of his Climate Emergency Declaration (PDF) yesterday. The document sets new goals for carbon emission reduction and it issues a call-to-arms for actions to address climate change impacts with an emphasis on a just transition for “frontline communities” (which are defined as, “Black and Indigenous people, communities of color”.)

Wheeler’s cover letter to the official declaration takes on an urgent tone: “We must make the right decisions now to bend the curve to protect our communities and save our planet,” he writes. “2020 is our year for putting the policies, strategies and actions in place that will aggressively reduce our carbon emissions.”

The transportation sector is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in our region and Wheeler’s declaration mentions transportation-related policies several times. Later today, Wheeler and his council colleagues will consider the Rose Lane Project, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s plan to allocate more road space to transit vehicles which in many ways perfectly embodies the type of actions he calls for in the declaration.

Beyond the transportation elements (see below), the declaration is notable for a new carbon emissions reduction target. Instead of an 80% reduction below 1990 levels by 2050 with an interim goal of 40% reduction by 2030, Wheeler wants to update Portland’s Climate Action Plan with a target of at least 50% reduction and net-zero emissions before 2050.

Here are the transportation-related parts of the 5-page declaration:

Whereas (section that sets the table for the issue)…

strategies and programs that keep frontline communities – including businesses and cultural institutions – from displacement is a significant climate change mitigation strategy. As displacement of frontline communities occurs, vehicle miles traveled increase as members seek to maintain their community or are forced to lose it altogether.

transportation emissions are increasing – currently eight percent over 1990 levels, and 14% over their lowest levels in 2012 – and Portland has experienced year-over-year increases in transportation emissions for the past five years, with transportation emissions growing faster than population growth over the same period; and

Therefore, let it be resolved (the declaration section that says what we will do about it)…

Portland will involve youth in the development of a proposed climate test – such as a carbon fee or an internal price on carbon – to ensure City bureaus are making informed climate-friendly decisions, particularly for major capital investments and high-carbon-impact decisions, such as fuel and vehicle purchases; and…

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the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and the Portland Bureau of Transportation will identify where and how zoning changes and transportation investments to increase compact development can have the greatest impact on carbon reduction and equitable development outcomes overall…

Portland will adopt new policies and development standards to further prevent expansion of new fossil fuel infrastructure, reduce fossil fuel consumption and reduce risk to the community and environment…

Portland will prioritize and advance policies and investments to reduce carbon emissions from the building and transportation sectors – the two largest contributors to local carbon emissions – that put us on a path to reach net-zero carbon before 2050…

Portland will work with regional partners to develop and implement programs, projects and policies that reduce vehicle miles traveled, increase active transportation mode share, and accelerate the transition to clean, renewable transportation fuels, including electricity and the infrastructure to support electric vehicles, as well as work with TriMet to secure ongoing funding for a free youth transit pass…

Wheeler also said yesterday he’s directed all city bureaus to make climate change a key priority in their upcoming budget proposals.

He wants community feedback on the proposal no later than 5:00 pm on March 16th. You can submit your comments through the online comment form or call his office at 503-823-3579. The declaration will be available to read and staff will be on-hand to answer questions at the City’s Fix-It Fair event at Floyd Light Middle School on Saturday, February 29th from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Wheeler plans to have the final resolution up for adoption by City Council on April 22, 2020 (Earth Day).

— 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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The Last Voygeur
Guest
The Last Voygeur

The most prudent thing to do would be to start funding construction of infrastructure to hold back and mitigate impacts of the rising sea.

soren
Guest
soren

In Bangladesh:
https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/climate-change-threatens-lives-and-futures-over-19-million-children-bangladesh

And Southern Africa:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/mar/21/cyclone-idai-climate-change-africa-fossil-fuels

Capitalist Portland is not particularly threatened by the climate crisis so it will likely continue to issue “declarations” while doing little to decrease its emissions (emissions in cities like Portland are increasing the fastest due to *consumption*, not production).

david clark
Guest
david clark

What do More hurricanes, worse storms, rapidly rising seas, floods, and droughts all have in common?

The world authority on climate, the IPCC, says “confidence is low” that there is evidence to support each of those claims. See pages 178, 230, 306 in their WG1AR5_all_final.pdf. They also say ““The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.” on page 771 of TAR-14.pdf

The USA has the best climate monitoring network in the world and the best of that best, the Climate Reference Network (USCRN) shows no warming during its whole, albeit short, monitoring period. Our other top quality monitors, the satellites and radiosondes show only moderate warming.

The widely quoted data from NOAA has been corrected numerous times to the degree that their actual thermometer measurements have been turned from cooling to warming.

The question then becomes, what is the actual evidence that our climate is unusual compared to previous warm periods like Minoan, Roman and Medieval times (all of which occurred BEFORE man used fossil fuels)?

9watts
Subscriber

Right.

9watts
Subscriber
9watts
Subscriber

“Portland will work with regional partners to develop and implement programs, projects and policies that reduce vehicle miles traveled.”

Let’s do it.

But that means no Rose Quarter expansion, no CRC zombie, no billions for the ODOT we have. An end to autos only investment. If Wheeler is/we are serious we need to put out money where our mouths are.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Dear my Portland BikePortland readers…if you all push to effectively kill the CRC2…then please spend an equal (if not greater) effort to have the Portland region (or Oregon) fund the extension of the MAX LRT into downtown Vancouver (and Jantzen Beach Super Center).

Otherwise there will still be great or greater pressure to restart a CRC3…especially from the recent Portlanders who have moved to Clark County once been priced out of their Portland homes while keeping their Oregon jobs and Oregon taxes…we see a lot more Portlanders coming through our bar scoping out their next homeland often with cash deal in hand.

Matt D
Guest
Matt D

You seem to be preaching to the choir.

Skid
Guest
Skid

How about a HOUSING EMERGENCY declaration?

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Greenwashed racism.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Much of the “Climate Crisis” stuff comes across as wealthy white liberals telling the rest of the world what it needs to do so that wealthy white liberals can continue to live like they do.

I’m not saying it’s not an issue, but I’ve noticed that the majority of the proponents for the change have the most to lose.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Uhhh… do you think folks in Bangladesh would agree with that statement?

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

I’m more likely to believe it coming from them than coming from colonials.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Are you suggesting that scientists from any country that has done something bad in its past are not to be believed?

I never took you for one who would adopt a world-view that included collective, racial, inter-generational guilt.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

A lot of this sounds great, but it is all very future tense. What is the city doing *NOW* to change their practices and policies to reduce our contribution to climate change?

9watts
Subscriber

Agreed. And I might add – how is what we are doing now laying the foundations for what must come next? This is a long game.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Mother Nature will come up with a solution, regardless.

9watts
Subscriber

Not helpful.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Still entirely true.

9watts
Subscriber

Hey MotRG,

What is your MO? Why are you here? What are you adding to these conversations? I have for years tried to engage you, take your jeers seriously, figure out what it is—-underneath the sardonic jabs—-that you propose, believe. But you refuse, preferring instead to keep jeering, take swipes, lob Molotov cocktails into these discussions.

The notion that Mother Nature bats last is familiar, kind of funny, but ultimately hardly worth much. If you believe that, think it is more relevant than the substantive comments others here are making, then why are you still here? If what we do doesn’t matter anyway, why are you mixing it up with those of us who clearly hold out hope that we can rise to the occasion, rediscover our better selves, use our hearts and minds to develop, fight for, implement change.

At some point you have to commit to something, risk something, invest something of yourself into these conversations. Otherwise in my view you are just t.r.o.l.l.i.n.g.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

What are all us as individuals doing NOW to curb energy consumption and avoid those products which are the worst for their affect on climate change? Still pretending our individual actions are meaningless and that everything will be solved by some national and world leaders?

Doug Hecker
Guest
Doug Hecker

I’d like to see a tax on the 401k’s of the previous generation as a small thank you for passing the buck to our current emergency status in many aspects including but not limited to basic infrastructure upgrades, lack of housing, and the environment.

Mike R
Guest
Mike R

Why just 401(k)? Why not social security, medicare and pension payouts (public and private)

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Do you mean a refurbished estate tax? Taxing benefits makes no sense, but taxing inheritance seems obvious.

maxD
Guest
maxD

I have been feeling overwhelmed by the over-sized vehicles on our streets. I see this low-hanging fruit for the City to address Vision Zero, congestion, Climate goals, and maintenance goals: make people using larger vehicles pay more though 1) enforcing parking regulations about not parking large vehicles at intersections, 2) increase gas tax, 3)weight-based registration fees. I grant that it is small first step, but I think the results would be significant.

David Hampsten
Guest

2) Increase the city gas tax to $2/gallon and give a refund to very-low-income local drivers on a sliding scale. That should deal with the overpriced gas guzzlers out there.

9watts
Subscriber

“… the UNDERpriced gas guzzlers out there.”

FIFY

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

At some point the price differential will make it worthwhile for people to drive outside of Portland to buy gas, which would be counter-productive on a number of levels.

David Hampsten
Guest

Only if they drove to Washington state. If they drove to say Beaverton to buy gas, they would still pay as long as their car was registered to an address within the City of Portland. Similarly, Beaverton residents wouldn’t pay, even if they bought their car from a pump within the City of Portland. It’s how ODOT collects gas tax revenue and deals with the already various chaotic gas taxes each city has. Chances are, if Portland raised its taxes to a very high level, other Oregon cities would quickly adjust theirs too.

gilly
Guest
gilly

David Hampsten, I don’t understand your comment about gas taxes. Currently, they are charged at the pump regardless of where you live or where your car is registered.
Also, I think Portland is the only city in Oregon that charges it’s own gas tax and it needs to be reapproved by the voters every few years.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Exactly; it’s a Portland tax, so if we raised it by $2, gas might be $6 in Portland, but $4 in Gresham. Some people would make the trip for that much, especially if those with larger vehicles.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Why don’t we just take money from wealthy people and give it to less wealthy people, until everyone has the same wealth?

9watts
Subscriber

Because in comparison to David’s suggestion there is no (pigovian) signal built into your redistributive approach. Reducing inequality is a worthy political objective, but absent any incorporation of the logic that we tax that which we want less of (here: fossil fuel use) and subsidize what we want more of (here: human powered mobility) you won’t get the result we are here talking about.

B. Carfree
Subscriber
B. Carfree

Easier to simply ban vehicles over a certain weight/height/length/hood height from parking on city streets or city owned lots. That bypasses any need to involve the legislature and seriously dents the convenience of owning these deadly contraptions.

PS
Guest
PS

4) make studded snow tires come with a $400 tax per tire.

Hickeymad
Guest
Hickeymad

The inevitable inclusion of the social justice schtick reinforces the notion that democrats don’t believe their own rhetoric about climate.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Just like vampire movies, this is “crisis” is popular every 20 years.

gilly
Guest
gilly

Overpopulation crisis, y2k crisis, peak oil crisis.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Climate change is just like y2k?….. the comments section here is starting to resemble the Oregonian, except they stopped posting their crazy comments… Climate deniers on BP?
Thanks….

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Some of us just recognize patterns.

Back when I was in grad school (early 90’s) for environmental policy, the world was ending then too.

And vampire movies were popular.

9watts
Subscriber

“Back when I was in grad school (early 90’s) for environmental policy, the world was ending then too.”

This is tiresome.
Since you studied this subject you can surely appreciate efforts (then and now) to measure, quantify, assess the state of the world, the demands our cumulative consumption patterns make on the planet. And you presumably also know that all indicators are trending in the same direction: oil, water, agriculture, fisheries, clean air, population, toxics, climate, disease…. for many people the world is ending, has ended (20C in Antarctica was just measured for the first time this week). The fact that we (privileged, white folks in the North can engage in cognitive dissonance, can keep pretending that everything is still groovy says nothing about the underlying biophysical realities, which continue to deteriorate.

GNnorth
Guest
GNnorth

At least you hit one aspect clearly, about privileged whites we can be. So how can you take Wheeler seriously? Or any other politician, their words are status quo just to make a certain electorate base feel better about themselves. Same goes for right-wingers in some areas. Middle’s comments aren’t off-base, they hit hard because the very people we have elected only really represent our actual lifestyle choices and the impact it has. Do you really think that continued commenting and using the internet is good for the planet and that will “fix” things? So Wheeler jets off to some conference just like we go to somewhere for vacation, yet “we’ll show them” those non-believers, the right way. Right? Yeesh, this place becomes more like a ultra right church pulpit every day at times. Show me how adding more bike parts and using more electronics helps the environment, please.

9watts
Subscriber

“Middle’s comments aren’t off-base, they hit hard because the very people we have elected only really represent our actual lifestyle choices and the impact it has.”

His comments don’t hit hard, they seem like cheap shots. I understand being disillusioned, but in the meantime there is work to be done. If you, GNnorth, don’t think bikes or blogs will do it, what are you putting your energy towards?

GNnorth
Guest
GNnorth

9watts,

I’m putting my energy towards my personal health. Another 24.5 mile ride to work on one of my more modern bikes, a 2004 Surly Cross Check. In the first two miles I was almost taken out by a Nissan Pathfinder, three miles later a Mercedes then almost crashes into me and this intersection constantly has it share of ambulances. Both drivers couldn’t have cared less, the attitude here is car and more car. Doesn’t matter how many lights I have, doesn’t make a difference. This all in “liberal” British Columbia. The only difference I can make is to work on small incremental gains, trying to convince other groups by my own political views is a waste of time. Funny thing is that often in right wing areas like eastern Oregon it can be safer to ride but still crap happens everywhere regardless of politics.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

It is true that every generation has had its “end-of-the-world” crisis, and we’re still here. We didn’t have nuclear armageddon, AIDS didn’t wipe us out, and now we’ve got climate change.

But those threats were real; that we’ve dodged the bullet before doesn’t mean we’ll continue to be lucky. Climate change is real as well, and while it looks like we’re finally waking up to the threat, we’re still not responding quickly enough.

We spent a lot of effort to avoid nuclear war. We need that same level of urgency with global warming, or it will overwhelm us.

gilly
Guest
gilly

You’re making assumptions. Who’s the climate denier? In the year leading up to Y2K the worst-case news coverage made it sound like society may collapse.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

We don’t need the mayor to declare something that’s already happening. We need the mayor to do something about it.

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

Yep. Since Mayor Wheeler took office in 2017, how many protected bike lane miles has he installed? 1-2?

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

More money has likely been spent on marketing those achievements, than money spent on actual achievements.

Scott Kocher
Guest

I’d rather have no declaration at all than one that is symbolic and ineffectual. Instead of “involve youth,” “identify…changes” and “prioritize policies” we need to (1) stop all freeway expansions, (2) remove parked vehicles where they obstruct people from safely using the right-of-way for non-motorized travel, (3) remove or slow moving vehicles where their presence or speed endangers people using the right-of-way for non-motorized travel, and (4) implement video radar enforcement of speed and safety violations city-wide with fines proportional to income. Do these things and I’ll smile and nod with the other stuff that has no substance.

mh
Subscriber

My vote for “Comment of the week.”

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

Mine also.

joel
Guest
joel

im all for the climate- but i am not allowed to speak against any plan or go to city hall as a business owner for fear of retribution- which i have already had.

im the only coffee roaster in the city not using plastic packaging- delivering by bicycle, and adopting a local first plan, and also using paper products from the us and canada.

retribution is why im afraid of city council. i cant give feedback. but i wish i could.

joel courier coffee.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

Thank you. This is but one example why I compare climate activists to Evangelicals.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If Evangelicals had the power of physics behind them, I’d join them.

q
Guest
q

Today, if you ask the City to act on a small climate-related issue like, say, getting a crosswalk installed so people can safety get to a bus stop, you’ll be measuring the response time in years–if you’re lucky enough to get any action at all.

If this declaration gets adopted, does anyone really expect any substantial change after the round of self-congratulatory fanfare?

Tad Reeves
Guest

If there’s anything I’d want to add to this declaration, it’s that Portland has a sort of implicit place in the USA as an example-setter for sustainable transportation which has an impact far in excess of just our own carbon emissions. We’re the 25th-largest city in the USA, there are plenty of other cities massively larger than us with massively-larger urban and industrial footprints. However, other cities do look to us to see if “we can do it”.

Just think of the thought processes of other larger cities like San Antonio or Austin: if they look at us and with our rep as a “cycling city” and inertia that goes with that, and if we can’t even get together the political will to change, they might say they can’t either – even if they won’t admit that as a justification.

We do have a mandate to show the rest of the country that it’s not only places like Oslo and Copenhagen that can organize around active transportation and de-prioritization of the automobile, and I’d love to see that recognized by the city.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Ted Wheeler campaigned on a pledged to address the homelessness crisis. Since his election, multiuse paths have been gobbled up by shanties. This climate emergency declaration is just a stunt

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

He tried to address the homelessness crisis, but was stymied by an electorate who refused to spend any money on it.

dwk
Guest
dwk

This is not our at all…. We just signed a contract spending millions to clean up camps.
You can tell the Oregonian is no longer publishing readers comments, they all must be coming here….

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

“I’m scared of different opinions”.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Aww, different opinions, kind of like “alternate facts” huh?
This is your world that you and your dear leader has created. My comment was that the previous comment was FACTUALLY wrong and it was.
It is not a “difference” of opinion….

dwk
Guest
dwk

Just like Climate change is not a “difference” of opinion.
This is the real problem in this country right now.
Truth is losing.

9watts
Subscriber

Hell just froze over; dwk and 9watts agree on something. Thanks, dwk!

alankessler
Subscriber
alankessler

Typical! First hell was “hot,” now it’s “frozen over,” probably just solar cycles and demon-cow farts.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Excuses, everyone’s got em, no one wants to hear yours.

Adam
Guest
Adam

Reading Project Drawdown. Many of the solutions make sense even if we didn’t have a warming climate to contend with. https://www.drawdown.org/solutions

q
Guest
q

I was reading the comments here, and looked out my window to see two Park Rangers drive past in a huge new extended cab truck with a massive grill and high hood. Previously, they’ve been driving a compact car. It’s frustrating–as the mayor is sending out his draft declaration, the City has just bought one of the worst possible options for transportation for its employees. You’ll probably see them yourself soon parked in a bike lane near you, with the obligatory orange “Vision Zero” bumper sticker.

Ron Swaren
Guest
Ron Swaren

And I see a lot of people who would politically support this kind of thing getting around in their big, imported SUV’s. When I’m trying to get out on the street with my efficient Chevy Aveo—dang!–it’s hard to see past all of the big rigs! Why has Portland turned into a parking lot for big energy consuming family wagons? I know, the kids have only one decade ahead of them now, so why not live it up? Meanwhile PGE has been commissioning new fossil fuel plants to meet the population demand.

Chuck Wiese
Guest
Chuck Wiese

Quit lying about the climate, Ted. There is no climate emergence and all of the climate records in Oregon and elsewhere show us that the climate system remains well inside of established normals that go back over 100 years. The ice cores and geological records show the same thing.

It is scientifically impossible for any climate Bill in this city or state to have any effect on atmospheric CO2 concentration. Oregon’s entire yearly emissions are only .18% of global emissions.

Your bill and the states bill SB 1530 is a fraud being attempted on taxpayers which can accomplish NONE of the stated objectives.

Chuck Wiese
Meteorologist

q
Guest
q

Using that argument, 138 million people voted in the last presidential election, so your vote represented 1/138,000,000 of votes, meaning your vote was entirely meaningless. The same is true of every other voter in the country, meaning each of the 138,000,000 was meaningless because each had a nearly zero percent chance of influencing the election. Therefore voting is meaningless, so there’s no point bothering to vote.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I believe that for any particular individual, in national elections, you are correct.*

*Usually. If you were living in Florida in 2000, your chance of influencing things would have been significantly greater.

Chuck Wiese
Guest
Chuck Wiese

Flawed argument. Political elections are not the same as atmospheric CO2 and its effect on climate.

If you wiped ALL of Oregon’s CO2 emissions out, which are about 68 million metric tons of CO2 emitted per year and which is impossible to accomplish, that equals .008 ppmv of global atmospheric CO2, out of the present concentration of 416 ppmv.

This difference is imperceivable and difficult if not impossible to measure. Further, global human emissions of CO2 are two orders of magnitude (100 times) less than natures emissions, which are controlled by global temperatures and easily overpower the human component.

This change if it was at all possible to bring about would also have an imperceivable change in the radiative forcing from CO2, which is also buried in the noise, and controlled by the earth’s hydrological cycle.

One vote can make a difference in politics, 8/1000ths of one part per million of atmospheric CO2 will make zero difference to the climate.

Chuck Wiese
Meteorologist

9watts
Subscriber

You may be a meteorologist, but you don’t give the impression that you understand how people make meaning, why they do or do not do certain things. What give them hope, how people’s actions aggregate into movements, into change, even, occasionally, into revolutions. None of those examples of scaling up reflect your mopey, dismal, we’re-doomed-because-we-are-so-numerically-insignificant outlook.
There are many reasons to kick the fossil fuel habit. Climate change is but one of the more recent ones.

q
Guest
q

The point is that few people are arguing that one city’s efforts are going to impact the world’s climate. The idea is that if many cities or areas do their part, then the cumulative results do make a difference. If you’re arguing that nothing that humans do will matter, that’s a position that many people would dispute.

9watts
Subscriber
dwk
Guest
dwk

Mr. Wiese is a well known climate activist denier… Appears on the Lars Larson show all the time to give his views.
BP’s transition to a right wing comment site, ala The Oregonian is complete.

Chuck Wiese
Guest
Chuck Wiese

dwk- Anyone who calls another a name like “climate denier” and hides their identity with a pseudonym name has little to offer. That is nothing more than a political slander that attempts to give the reader some sort of an appearance of a superior understanding of science by the person using it which simply doesn’t exist.

Everything I have written about climate is derived from peer reviewed and published literature taught at every major university that has an atmospheric science major until the 1980’s and all that has changed since is the advent of unphysical and failed climate models whose output contradicts founding principles concerning atmospheric CO2 and whose predictions about the climate have failed to materialize.

I’ll discus facts anytime, but not the sort of nonsense being fronted by Ted Wheeler. His climate action plan or the State of Oregon’s proposed carbon tax from SB 1530 will have absolutely no impact on the climate. This is an indisputable scientific fact.

Chuck Wiese
Meteorologist

9watts
Subscriber

“the sort of nonsense being fronted by Ted Wheeler. His climate action plan or the State of Oregon’s proposed carbon tax from SB 1530 will have absolutely no impact on the climate. This is an indisputable scientific fact.”

This is silly. Scientific facts are by definition disputable, if you can muster the necessary evidence, state your case persuasively. This is how science works, how new facts arise, displace old facts, etc.
Are you familiar with chaos theory, nonlinear effects? Everything has an effect on the climate. Just because the effect may be too small to measure doesn’t mean there is no effect. The point of course is to lead by example, aggregate the small effects into a larger effect that eventually both physically and politically tips the scales, shifts the balance. Tall order for sure, but what is the alternative? Fiddle while Rome burns? Rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic? Play ostrich?

Chuck Wiese
Guest
Chuck Wiese

9watts- Perhaps you could enlighten me on what effects we would have on the climate if Ted Wheeler’s ideas or SB 1530 is passed.

Like I said above, even if all of Oregon’s 68 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year were eliminated, that is .008 ppmv out of the 416 ppmv that currently compose the atmospheric concentration.

The change in the radiative forcing component that I computed for this using the University of Chicago’s MODTRAN radiation model is not measurable and it is the claimed change in the radiative forcing component from atmospheric CO2 that lies at the crux of whether the arguments that CO2 can change the climate are valid. Using the University of Chicago’s model gives the benefit of doubt to those who claim CO2 can change the climate because water vapor feedbacks are assumed positive in this model, but have not been proven. And using it gives no measurable change.

So for anyone to claim there would be favorable climatic effects from implementing a climate plans like Wheeler’s or others like SB 1530 has the burden of proof of demonstrating this is true.

Using the most complex computational codes available, such as those from MODTRAN demonstrates these plans will have no effect.

So this forces me to assume anyone who is claiming otherwise is likely chasing hobgoblins and acting with superstition rather than science. Can you offer any proof that there is an effect we could see other than pure speculation on your part and what do you base it upon that is truly scientific?

For everyone’s information, even Dr. Phillip Mote, who was the former head of the Oregon Climate Change Research institute at Oregon State University has acknowledged that these local climate policies and taxes will have no effect on the climate.

Chuck Wiese
Meteorologist

9watts
Subscriber

“what do you base it upon that is truly scientific?”

You don’t talk much like the scientists I know.

You are hung up on the fact that the number you calculate for Oregon is small compared to the number for the planet. Greta Thunberg is one girl, and yet she motivated millions of people around the world to adopt a different attitude about power and politics and climate. Who knows what will make the difference, maybe her example will, maybe the policies we enact here in Portland, maybe it will be something else, or maybe none of it will be enough. But some of us still believe that you have to do your best, fight the odds, rise to the occasion, challenge ourselves and each other.. Your inclination to rain on the party, pop all our balloons, doesn’t inspire, and these days we could use a little inspiration.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Taking steps ourselves can help us more effectively advocate for others to do the same. In that way, our efforts can have an impact disproportionate to our own emissions.

Some people harbor the delusion that humans actions are not driving climate change. As an educated man, I know you are not one of them.

q
Guest
q

9watts–you wrote, “You (Wiese) are hung up on the fact that the number you calculate for Oregon is small compared to the number for the planet.”

That’s exactly the point I was making and getting no response from Wiese. Of course the impacts on the entire world of anything a small area or population (Portland) does will be almost immeasurably small. As you say, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be done.

You could say the same thing about all kinds of individual actions. It will make virtually no difference to even my own neighborhood–let alone anything larger–if tomorrow I drive or not, litter or not, pay taxes or not, etc. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care how I act, or that there won’t be a significant measurable impact when the actions of others are also accounted for.

With the attitude that one small action isn’t worth doing because its impact to the bigger picture isn’t measurable, it’d be almost impossible to make progress in anything at all complex.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If your actions make an infinitesimal difference, and it’s only when the actions of others are also accounted for that you see an impact, you can “cheat” and not make your infinitesimal contribution, and still enjoy the aggregate benefit of others.

And if everyone thinks that way (and also cheats), we’re back to you being unable to make much difference on your own.

Which leads me to the conclusion that the only way to make a difference is to politically engage your community, much like Greta Thunberg is doing.

9watts
Subscriber

The potential for cheating can be looked at in many ways. One that strikes me as prudent is to consider that first movers gain experience, skill, practice with solutions that we know we are going to need. When others (people, countries) come around to it, concede defeat on the Idea of Progress, they will rely on us, have to buy our solar panels, our rain barrels, our bicycles, rely on our experience to teach them how to catch up. The usual folks have delighted in disagreeing with me here about where this is all headed, but if you are honest is think you will agree that it is not headed toward wider highways, larger SUVs, more creature comforts, automation, baubles, and toward simpler, human powered solutions. We will need practice with those before we can vanquish these foes.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I honestly don’t know where we’re headed, but I am pretty confident if the only answer is human powered solutions, it’s not going to happen.

9watts
Subscriber

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics is not on your side.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you’re predicting: do you believe that people will give up mechanized labor over the next decade in order to prevent the worst ravages of climate change, or are you suggesting that when the earth has become a burned out husk and there’s no fossil fuel infrastructure left people will finally stop using their infernal machines?

I know you don’t think that technology can address climate change, but being clearer on the time frame of your prediction makes all the difference.

In the meantime I’m trying to figure out why bicycling mode share keeps dropping.

9watts
Subscriber

“do you believe that people will give up mechanized labor over the next decade in order to prevent the worst ravages of climate change, or are you suggesting that when the earth has become a burned out husk and there’s no fossil fuel infrastructure left people will finally stop using their infernal machines?”

Some of both. You hold a very dim view of people recognizing the harm their actions are causing and taking corrective action, but I think most people want to do the right thing, know we’re heading for a cliff, but need help, nudges, their peers to be seen changing their behaviors. If the signals they get suggest that minor tweaks (CFLs, hybrid cars, recycling) are sufficient many/most will go with that. But at some point the signals will change to what Amanda Fritz volunteered last week: our planet is on fire! The Chiat, the rethinking, the correction will at times be incremental and at other times nonlinear.

“I know you don’t think that technology can address climate change, but being clearer on the time frame of your prediction makes all the difference.”

My contention has been that your discounting of humans and sole reliance on technology is foolish. I never said that technology, so understood, won’t/can’t play a complementary, helpful role. As for time frame, some changes are already underfoot. Stand by for more, soon.

“In the meantime I’m trying to figure out why bicycling mode share keeps dropping.”

Because we have a leadership vacuum, gas is cheap, many people can and perhaps are pretending this all doesn’t concern us. At some point this will change, and the longer we diddle, the more abrupt and painful the change is likely to be. You can’t negotiate with Physics, or Thermodynamics, or extreme weather for that matter.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Every time you say “you can’t negotiate with physics” in a thread like this, it makes me think we’re not talking about the same thing. We need to wrestle with human nature long before we need to negotiate with physics.

I’ll leave this conversation here. Let’s come back in a decade and see if bicycling share has recovered, and if people are giving up their mechanized labor for human labor in other ways. My prediction is that, in this regard, things will be much the same as they are today — people will still see driving as a primary mode of transport, they’ll still be running their ACs in the Portland summer (!), they’ll still use the dryer to dry their clothes, and biking will be, at the highest, no more than 8-10% of mode share. If I’m wrong, you can tell me you told me so.

Ciao.

9watts
Subscriber

“Every time you say “you can’t negotiate with physics” in a thread like this, it makes me think we’re not talking about the same thing. We need to wrestle with human nature long before we need to negotiate with physics.”

Not exactly. Physics, meteorology, thermodynamics set the boundary conditions, constraints if you will. No negotiating, now or in the future.
The negotiating is going to be on our side of the equation: politics, behavior, priority, convenience.

The reason I quote Bill McKibben on ‘not negotiating with Physics’ is because much of this discussion and discussions like it in other places revolves around special pleading, arguing that we are exempt, will find a solution that doesn’t inconvenience us, etc. as MotRG reminds us, Nature Bats Last; it is up to us to accommodate ourselves to those rapidly changing biophysical realities, and sooner would be better.

dwk
Guest
dwk

You realize you are arguing with a person who does not believe global warming is happening, does not believe in manmade climate change at all. Has been promoting his anti climate change views for years… How he found this forum is the mystery.

9watts
Subscriber

The fun thing about climate change is that belief isn’t required.
Let’s say I don’t believe in evolution, or gravity or geometry, or thermodynamics. What effect does my (dis)belief have on those phenomena? Do they care whether I believe in them? Of course not. As Bill McKiibben famously put it: you don’t negotiate with Physics.

q
Guest
q

You wrote, “One vote can make a difference in politics, 8/1000ths of one part per million of atmospheric CO2 will make zero difference to the climate.”

You’re not being consistent. My example was a vote in a presidential election. Yes, one vote can make a difference IF tens of millions of people also vote for the same candidate that that one vote went to. On its own, the one vote doesn’t matter.

You’re looking at the vote in the context of all the other votes also happening, so you can say it matters. But then when you look at the climate action (Portland’s) you take it out of the context of thousands of other cities or areas also taking similar actions, and portraying it as an isolated action.

That’s intellectually dishonest, which makes me wonder what else you may be twisting around to make your points.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Chuck: Thank you for pointing out that emissions cuts in Oregon alone are not going to halt climate change. You are, of course correct, and I totally agree with your implication that in order to meaningfully address the problem, we must help lead a much larger regional, national, and even international effort to make the sorts of large, collective reductions in CO2 emissions that will be needed. Of course, as part of this, we must get our own house in order.

I, for one, appreciate your reminder that we need to be thinking and acting on a much larger scale, and that without national political change and radical action at all levels to dramatically reduce emissions globally, we’re doomed.

I hope you will continue to remind us of our need to act boldly.

Hello, Kitty
Tricyclist Extraoridnaire

9watts
Subscriber

Chuck Wiese wrote: “ There is no climate emergence and all of the climate records in Oregon and elsewhere show us that the climate system remains well inside of established normals that go back over 100 years. The ice cores and geological records show the same thing…”

And yet: https://www.euractiv.com/section/climate-environment/news/last-month-was-hottest-january-on-record-globally-us-climate-service/