Last week, it was announced that the atmosphere has reached a carbon dioxide concentration of 400 ppm. In the face of difficult realities like this, Anna Fahey recommends we tap into our “Dark Optimism” to confront with courage and resilience the difficult emotions that our climate crisis evokes. Guest author Kurt Hoelting wrote up her keynote speech from a recent climate conference at the Whidbey Institute. “Dark Optimism is our capacity to face dark truths, while believing unwaveringly in our human potential, and I think we can harness that.” Read more.
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In the stormwater world, if a rain garden is releasing more pollution into the environment than it’s capturing, word gets around.
So when the city of Redmond crunched its first flush of data from a new roadside rain garden and discovered the water coming out of it was tainted with alarming levels of phosphorus, nitrates, and copper, the stormwater community took notice. Washington State regulators went on the record to say that they would be studying the data and possibly … read more »
There’s been quite a bit in the news of late about the decline in driving and gasoline consumption: take, for example, last week’s report on what the long-term decline in driving means for the nation’s transportation finances, a report that generated some interesting press coverage.
And there’s also been quite a lot of attention to ethanol—particularly the fact that US ethanol consumption has grown so quickly that refiners are starting to bump against the so-called “blend wall,” the point at which no more ethanol can be added to highway fuel without running into legal troubles or mechanical difficulties.
But the two issues—declining gas consumption, increasing ethanol consumption—actually interact in interesting ways. read more »
Today Yale and George Mason are releasing the third report from their latest national survey, Public Support for Climate and Energy Policies in April 2013.
The takeaways? Well, for starters, big, fat majorities of voters want Congress and the President to get to work on American clean energy and climate solutions. Americans increasingly looking to corporations and industry to take responsibility and do something about global warming (to lesser degrees they look to Congress, themselves, and the president to get to work).
A robust majority—61 percent—supports a carbon tax that would help pay down the national debt. But, as is typical, opposition to a carbon tax gains a majority (58 percent) when the specific cost to households is presented (in this case $180). Still, a large majority of Americans say they support a US effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.
Happily, those who continue to favor doing nothing are seeing their numbers dwindle.
The numbers are strong. But recent fluctuations—or trends—aren’t necessarily continuing in the right direction. American priorities for clean energy and global warming action by the president and Congress have decreased slightly as has support for several climate and energy policies. read more »
We’ve written before about the “high occupancy/toll” lane experiment on Washington’s SR-167. But for those unfamiliar with the concept: HOT lanes are special highway lanes that transit and carpools can travel in for free, but are also available to solo drivers who are willing to pay a toll. When the regular lanes start to back up, the HOT lane tolls increase. That way, the HOT lanes never get clogged, even when the regular lanes are full.
Besides keeping carpools and transit moving, the SR-167 HOT lanes have an additional value: they give researchers more nuanced understanding of how much people are willing to pay for a quick trip. And when we took a look at the SR-167 HOT lane data last year, the numbers surprised us: apparently, drivers really aren’t willing to pay much for a faster commute. read more »