Saturday August 17th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉
Imagining The Transformtion Of A Post Green New Deal City
To relax before sleeping I’m currently seeing Carl Sagan Cosmos videos that I haven’t viewed since I was a teenager in 1980. The late great Carl Sagan was constantly referring to the “spaceship of our imagination” within most of the Cosmos episodes. Instead of imagining what it would be like to travel to the stars in maybe a thousand years, for this post let’s use our imagination to think about how life should be organized in the next ten, which will be crucial for the eventual goal of humanity dreamed of by Dr. Sagan.
What if we imagine that we can go into the near future, say to the year 2021 or 2022, and the election of 2020 has gone to the Democrats with enough of a landslide to begin implementing the Green New Deal nationwide? How would large cities begin to transform into zero carbon emitting entities? What would be the fastest and cheapest ways to achieve zero carbon emissions without causing much if any suffering among populaces counted in the millions? Could goals be achieved to greatly improve quality of life for most while implementing the Green New Deal?
We don’t have to imagine much looking at one major city, Seattle, which according to Inside Climate News is seriously already on its own with a little help from Washington State transforming. Governor Jay Inslee, who is running for President, is proud of Seattle’s effort. Please read this entire article for details, which I will encapsulate in the next few paragraphs:
What Would a City-Level Green New Deal Look Like? Seattle’s About to Find Out
The next step is turning the City Council’s resolution into pro-climate policies and finding ways to pay for them. Seattle has a few big ideas.
Aug 15, 2019
Seattle has a history of environmental efforts and a population that stands up for the climate. The People’s Climate March drew crowds into Seattle’s streets in 2017. Credit: Karen Ducey/Getty Images
Quoting the first few paragraphs:
“City leaders launched Seattle on the path to a Green New Deal this week, passing a resolution that starts laying out an ambitious plan for how the city can cut its greenhouse gas emissions in ways that protect the climate and improve the lives of its residents.”
“It’s a nonbinding resolution, and like the national Green New Deal manifesto that’s being promoted by Democrats in Congress, presidential hopefuls and the young activists in the Sunrise Movement, it’s still mostly aspirational.
“But it begins to sketch out a roadmap for Seattle’s future as the city tries to both adapt to climate change and cut emissions in line with what the world’s scientists say is needed.”
“The resolution envisions free public transit, a limit on new fossil fuel construction, 100 percent electric vehicles for ride sharing, and an infrastructure plan that takes sea level rise into account, among other ideas.”
Using the spaceship of our imagination what else might Seattle do in a world that has a bright, green future during the 2020s? The city could through some taxes and other measures provide green spaces for growing food. Obviously, trees need to be planted on roofs that won’t need to be utilized for solar panels. As the article later says, subsidies need to be given in order to convert older housing from using home heating oil to electric energy. Also, there would be a great need to improve building energy efficiency. The electric grid itself around Seattle needs to be modernized. We might even have the city buy back internal combustion engine cars, handing out vouchers for individuals to buy all electrics. Better yet, giving tax credits and cold hard cash for to citizens who vokunteer to hand over cars to become reliant on public transportation. Some penalties would need to occur for residents within Seattle’s city limits who don’t want to cooperate and be part of necessary change.
Let us imagine what life could be like in Seattle, which would become more “utopian.” No longer would residents need to pay expensive electric and gas bills as solar panels and windmills sprout up in buildings connected by an improved grid. Better subsidized insolation would keep people more comfy during winter and cool during increasingly hotter summers. Homelessness would improve as excess tax funds could be used to house impoverished residents of the city. These funds could be used to double check a system that could become corrupt. People would no longer be paying expensive transportation bills since public transportation, including more electric trolleys, would be free. Electric vehicles would be subsidized, as well as their maintenance.
More people would be allowed to work from home using better communication and computer devices of the 2020s. Businesses may profit from getting bonuses if they sell “green goods” not involving plastics. Yes that means you too Amazon and some others that currently wrap and distribute packages with a heavy, carbon polluting footprint. More people who were just garbage collectors in the 2010s could be employed in a modernized recycling center for the city.
All of this in our capitalistic system will cost money. Also, any changes would need to be agreed to by voters in order to keep our fragile democratic system.
It will be interesting to see how well, Seattle transforms as well as that of many other American large cities during the next decade.
I’m keeping an eye out on that “minor” southern U.S. heatwave. This afternoon there are widespread heat advisories out for Texas, Oklahoma and the Desert Southwest:
These mid afternoon readings are well above average across the South:
Sunday won’t be much different:
Here is more climate and weather news from Saturday:
(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)
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Guy Walton- “The Climate Guy”