We Need a Complete Solution to Climate Change
This morning, Jeff Wood at The Overhead Wire points us to a newly released measure of CO2 emissions from the Center for Neighborhood Technology (which just won a 2009 MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, BTW). He says maps like these help to show why the need to change land-use patterns is vital for reducing greenhouse gases:
CNT has released another Affordability Index update that shows transportation emissions is 70% less in cities than in the suburbs. Why is this? Because people don't have to drive as much. You can see already the benefits, and it isn't all about electric cars. Yet some in Southern California think that SB375, the landmark climate change bill, can be addressed with electric cars alone. Sorry guys. It doesn't work like that.…
But it's not just transportation, it's building as well. We need to look at this as a complete system. This singular focus on one method is somewhat maddening. I know there are a lot of people who are hoping for a magic green car or a magic green building but we're also forgetting our water usage and population growth among other things.
The CNT site has some very cool maps that compare not only CO2 emissions from household auto use per acre and per household, but also the cost of housing and transportation as a percentage of average household income in many regions across the country.
As The Overhead Wire points out, maps like these point out the importance of development patterns in limiting emissions, and the reality that only a holistic solution will make a dent. Zero-emissions vehicles aren't going to solve the nation's carbon bloat any more than a diet pill can provide a long-term solution for an obese individual.
Other fun stuff from around the network: Brooklyn by Bike protests the girlification of women's bikes (stop the flowers!); Cyclelicious has the news that French prisoners get to participate in their own Tour de France; and World Streets has data that suggests that swine flu killed more people with traffic fatalities in Mexico City than with germs.