Gretchen Weber writing at KQED's Climate Watch brings us the news that Cities Fiddle While World Warms
Compared to most of the world, California would appear to have a head start in planning for a changing climate.
Cities across the world are not doing enough to protect citizens from the likely impacts. That's the finding of a new analysis from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO. The report says cities are unprepared for rising seas, intensified heat waves, while failing to curb their own greenhouse gas emissions.
The failure to act doesn't bode well for the billions of people who live in cities around the world, according to NCAR Scientist Patricia Romero Lankao, who came to her findings through an in-depth analysis of urban policies.
The NCAR study finds that, rather than imposing construction standards that could save energy or guiding policy to reduce automobile use, many local governments are taking a "hands-off" approach. “Cities can have an enormous influence on emissions by focusing on mass transit systems and energy-efficient structures, but local leaders face pressures to build more roads and relax regulations that could reduce energy use,” said Romero Lankao in a written release.
But, fear not in California as Gretchn points out we have Senate Bill 375 that requires regional and local governments to find ways to reduce vehicle miles traveled and thus greenhouse gas emissions. According to her report AB 32 and SB 375 laws have creating a framework for local governments, regional authorities, and the state to work together on climate change issues.
I guess that is one way to look at the issue. Another is that this frame work has set in motion a process for killing jobs all across the state as the cost of living soars, and cities cram their population into rabbit hutches surrounding transit stations.
"We see in California cities that the biggest adaptation issues are sea level rise, constraints on water supply, and public health concerns from increased heat days," said Schmitz. He cited San Mateo County, Chula Vista, Greater San Diego, and the Bay Area as among California's leaders because all have begun "vulnerability assessments," to gauge how climate change could affect local infrastructure, public health and safety.
Another example, is the city of Ventura, which has already begun to act, he said, by relocating oceanfront bike paths and parking lots in anticipation of sea level rise.
What we have here is clear case of misplace priorities. Ventura County has recently been losing jobs at a faster pace than California. When Ventura County’s economy was compared to the Los Angeles County economy. In 2008, Ventura County’s economy shrank at a rate about five times faster than did Los Angeles’s economy.
Ventura County’s population is aging more rapidly than it otherwise would. The net result of these demographic changes is that Ventura County’s median real per-capita income is declining, while the County’s median age is rising. Ventura County is losing its middle class and becoming bi-modal. The young families that provide a community’s vigor and future have been leaving.
And, what are the Ventural city father worried about, sea level rise. Why?