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Palo Alto's greenhouse gas emissions fall

Original post made on Apr 17, 2012

Greenhouse gas emissions from Palo Alto residents and city operations are estimated to have fallen 15 to 20 percent from 2005 levels, city staff members said in an update on Palo Alto's Climate Protection Plan.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, April 17, 2012, 9:29 AM

Comments (40)

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Posted by scam
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:18 am

"Estimated emissions from transportation in the city remained constant because there is insufficient data available to assess changes, she said."

Cars are the biggest cause of air pollution around town. The overall pollution data is meaningless if you don't count car pollution. I'm sure there are ways to estimate car pollution, such as asking the biggest employers about how many of their employees drive to work vs. carpooling or bicycling or telecommuting or using public transit. You won't get a 100% accurate number every year, but you can watch year-to-year trends this way.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:28 am

No mention of birds of prey slaughtered by the wind farms that we buy from? No mention that Palo Alto locks up a disproportionate share of hydro power, which stops salmon runs? No mention of large areas of desert lands industrialized for solar panels? How many more mountain ridges will be industrialized by wind turbines?

Why should Palo Alto be bragging about this?


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Posted by Tracey Chen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:37 am

I was going to say that same thing you did (poster 1 from adobemeadows). How can they say they've dropped at all if they can't measure them...and they can't measure it if they don't count the transportation impact.

And in response to Tom, concerned about the potential damage from cleaner energy....I agree that we can do BETTER. I think that the city can and should be a world leader in a lot of things (instead of what they've been doing in so many areas). I think they should start installing solar panels, and the safer and more efficient kind of wind turbines, and rain barrels to catch water, on EVERY HOME and other suitable building in the whole city. THAT would definitely help.


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

I wish I could be on the bandwagon of renewable energy schemes, but it just doesn't compute. Efficiency gains are a very good thing, a low-hanging fruit, however, there is only so much that can be gained, given our lifestyle choices.

Any quick review of the Internet will show that the main electricty-generation problem includes base load, not just peak load. Base load means 24/7. Solar and wind are not base load. Natural gas, coal, nuclear are base load. One can argue that hydro is base load, however it is limited by supply, and it derives from solar energy, as does wind. Gravity, as in tides, is also potentially base load, yet it is very hard to capture. Geothermal is very limited, but can be argued to be base load.

Of the various major base load schemes, only nuclear, hydro and gravity are carbon-free. Does Palo Alto go out of its way to buy from nuclear power plants?

BTW, the slaughter of birds of prey and the industrialization of our natural areas is not about "potential" damage, it is in full swing right now! How can we pretend that it is "potential"? Rain capture barrels...that only prevents the fresh water from reaching our streams and takes away from replensing our aquifers...what do you mean?

Once again, why are bragging about the Palo Alto approach? Why are we paying for an enviromental administrator to brag about it?


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Posted by How-Much-CO2-Did-You-Save-Today?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

Without a complete energy budget for all energy consumers in Palo Alto, this sort of exercise is meaningless—other than to suggest that we might be using "less" now than before. What a joke.

Moreover, it's to see any evidence that the City is actually monitoring the "environment" in any meaningful way, such as posting the CO2 levels—so that we can see them decrease over time. (By the way, this is intended to be a joke—since any reduction in Palo Alto generated CO2 would not be noticeable.)

As noted above, vehicles are a large source of certain emissions—although vehicles are much, much, cleaner than they were just thirty years ago. Without knowing the number of miles that Palo Altans drive, and the average miles/gallon of their vehicles—nothing meaningful can be stated about their energy use.

This program should be shut down, and the employees released to do something more effective with their time—saving the taxpayers money that could be used on other obligations of the City that will benefit us all.


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Posted by Bo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Wind Industry Has Lost 10,000 Jobs Under Obama:
Web Link

Reuters has recently released a report on the so-called "Wind Industry":

1) Since 2009, the wind industry has lost 10,000 jobs, even as the energy capacity of wind farms has almost doubled. By contrast, the oil and gas industry have created 75,000 jobs since Mr. Obama took office.
---

The report is not very flattering of the Obama Administrations handling of the promised "Green Revolution". But this can hardly be a surprise to anyone remotely knowledgeable with the technical side of energy production/consumption.

Wonder if anyone on the City Council could provide any understanding of the use of energy in Palo Alto, California, the US or the world?




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Derek
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

"even as the energy capacity of wind farms has almost doubled"

Umm - that's progress. What's the issue?


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Derek:
"Umm - that's progress. What's the issue?"

You need to check out the actual link Bo provides - it's Fox News. They don't like progress.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of University South
on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Anybody know how much the Bay has risen in the past few years? I can't find out. Nobody I know of has actually measured it. There ought to be a pillar or post in the Bay where somebody notched it a few years ago.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Canute
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2012 at 10:44 pm

@anon (U South)
Web Link


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 18, 2012 at 9:49 am

Thanks for the link—

Web Link

This data is being collected by NOAA (National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration), so there is no reason to quibble about its origin. We do need to keep in mind that this area is sitting very close to the Pacific and North American Tectonic Plates, so there is on-going subduction of the ocean bottom, which will have some effect on sea levels:

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Apr 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

Redwood City is closer but there is less data available: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by MadamPresident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm

need to prohibit Old Palo Alto residents drive to WF


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No More NIMBYs
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm

"No mention of birds of prey slaughtered by the wind farms that we buy from? No mention that Palo Alto locks up a disproportionate share of hydro power, which stops salmon runs? No mention of large areas of desert lands industrialized for solar panels? How many more mountain ridges will be industrialized by wind turbines?"

First, this is classic mis-informed, small-picture, short sighted NIMBYism, or at best a simple, incorrect argument for the continued dependence on fossil fuels and non-domestic energy sources (to say nothing of the continued flow of body bags from the middle east). Modern utility scale wind turbines kill fewer birds per Megawatt Hour generated than fossil fuel generation by a factor of almost 20X, when upstream mining of fossil fuel, acid rain and other atmospheric effects associated with upstream mining of fossil fuels, global warming induced displacement of habitat, etc. are accounted for. See the apples-to-apples third party research:

Web Link


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Posted by Tom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:32 pm


"First, this is classic mis-informed, small-picture, short sighted NIMBYism"

Meta studies, cherry-picked and confused, do not support the notion that birds of prey are at high risk from wind power farms. How many Golden Eagles have been destroyed by nuclear power plants? Wind farms destroy hundreds of them in our own hills. When these birds are reduced in number, because they are killed by the wind turbine structures, the eagle per unit of ennergy goes down; when all the eagles are gone, there is zero deaths per unit of power. It is the fallacy of ratios, a well-known statistical trick. Completely crazy logic!

Upstream effects of wind turbines were ignored in this so-called study...where were the turbines manufactured, by what power source and how were they transported to the site?

Notice that this "study" is by an outfit called "Nukefree"

Junk science, at its worse. Is this what our Palo Alto environmental analysis is based on? I hope not.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Yeah, I've been looking at the bay for half a century and haven't noticed any rise. No wonder -- the change would be two inches, given the < 1 mm/yr data on Bill's NOAA link above. For a contrary assessment, check out the same data at Alaska locations, e.g. Sitka.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Sorry, Canute's NOAA link, reiterated by Bill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by No More NIMBYs
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

NIMBY Tom,

I referred to data showing avian mortality of wind vs. fossil fuels. You then ranted about how many birds nuclear power does not kill. You are again misinformed. For your information nuclear power is not a fossil fuel. I support domestically sourced nuclear power (which is all of ours). The study was posted by an organization opposed to nuclear power which is a stand I happen to disagree with, but the comparison is vs. FOSSIL fuel generation.

When domestic wind production is brought online, the variable capacity in our fuel system is offset. This capacity is mostly natural gas peaker plants, with some coal. You don't turn off nuclear, hydro, or other zero emission power when wind or solar comes on line.

Wind is free, and free of upstream mining effects. Natural gas (or coal) is not. Do you prefer hydraulic fracking? Do you also support the huge military expenditure, in dollars, lives, and carnage, required to secure our supply of foreign fossil fuels?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jeff
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Sovacol is a reputable researcher. I'm from Singapore btw, and am familiar with his research.

To Tom the NIMBY, I would suggest that you can do a much greater service to the avian community by rounding up stray cats, which account for far greater harm than the global warming reducing, fossil fuel offsetting renewable projects you're so upset about.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

Wind turbines do kill birds, as does any object that they can fly into, especially buildings and vehicles (birds do not see glass well at all). Modern turbines, though, with low RPM blades and monopole towers (nowhere to perch), kill very few, though. The numbers are so small in fact, that even the Audubon Society, of which I am a member, readily agrees that the anti-climate-change benefit of wind energy far outweighs the sporadic fatality, and the Audubon Society is an active supporter of wind energy in Congress.

Web Link

The one sentence summary from the national Audubon site:

"On balance, Audubon strongly supports wind power as a clean alternative energy source that reduces the threat of global warming... Most of today's rapidly growing demand for energy is now being met by natural gas and expanded coal-burning power plants, which are this country's single greatest source of the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause global warming. If we don't find ways to reduce these emissions, far more birds—and people—will be threatened by global warming than by wind turbines."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:13 pm

"I referred to data showing avian mortality of wind vs. fossil fuels"

You might want to read your own study...it referred to wind, nuclear and fossil fuels. It deliberately slid around the issue of major birds of prey, like the Golden Eagles. When there are no more Golden Eagles, how many Golden Eagles deaths does it take to produce a GW/hr of power?

Junk science should be ignored. How many eagles are killed by stray cats? Complete nonsense. Absurd.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:49 pm

In fact

Peter H. Gleick is now under investigation by the FBI for interstate theft and fraud.

-he is an activists not a scientist-

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gertrude Smtein
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Sharon - he exposed Heartland with those documents - what do you think of the ACTUAL CONTENT of those documents?

Would you like a quote from Heartland, the supposed 'victim' in your fantasy, about how they see leaked documents as 'good transparency'?

Or does the hypocrisy sting too much?

Sharon, give it up.

There is no there, there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of University South
on Apr 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I'd like to thank the three people who responded to my question -- does anybody know how much the Bay has risen in the past few years?

"Canute" provided this link Web Link which seemed to support the argument that the sea level is rising.

Then "Deep Throat" found Web Link for Redwood City which seems to show an increase that isn't supported by any data.

"Musical" located a third graph on the NOAA site that Web Link shows the sea level is dropping in Alaska, which contradicts the theory of sea level rise.

All of these charts are from the same NOAA site, which Bill "of another community" said is so good that we shouldn't quibble with it.

He's right. We shouldn't quibble with it. It's inconsistent, and we should see the data for what it is -- no prediction of anything.

I thought there was a consensus on global warming and sea level rise? What are we doing by spending all these billions on reducing our carbon footprint when the data is inconsistent? Maybe it's time that we step back and study this situation more carefully before committing ourselves to a program that will cost millions of jobs and result in astronomical energy prices.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm



The global warming scam has failed-good

-the UN now admits that the glacial report was wrong

The "scientists" who aided this fraud must be held to account.

A lot of decent people were fooled-

-what was their motivation? $$$

Federal grants-

-which the FBI is now investigating.

A friend of ours @ Stanford told us the way they got funded was to say in the application

"Honey bees behavior--global warming and the war on terror"

Etc


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Posted by protected assets
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 19, 2012 at 5:59 am

"A friend of ours @ Stanford told us the way they got funded was to say in the application

"Honey bees behavior--global warming and the war on terror"

Sharon (and her make believe friend at Stanford) have no clue how federal funding of research is carried out.


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Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 19, 2012 at 6:20 am

I can't help imagining the arguments 2000 years ago about whether the Sun orbited the Earth or vice versa. People have preconceived notions; and perfectly good data sets can be contradictory. How can definitive NOAA data show sea level rising in some places and falling in others? Think outside the box and ask whether maybe it's the LAND rising or sinking. That question is much more expensive to answer than simply notching a pillar in the bay every few years. Turns out that melting glaciers in Alaska have relieved a lot of weight on the ground, and sure enough the land is rising, not the sea dropping.

Web Link

The relative sea level rise around New Orleans is ten times what we have around here, because that city is sinking.

Web Link

It's a good idea to understand causes before spending money on solutions.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2012 at 10:08 am

> which contradicts the theory of sea level rise.

Sea level rise is not a theory, it's well established fact—demonstrated by geologists for a long time now. The reasons for sea level change are numerous. For instance, during the long periods of glaciations, sea level have been shown to fall. When the earth warmed, then the sea level rose. Sometimes sea bottoms themselves rise and fall, which would possibly provide evidence of water level rises and falls that are different than those on a global level. In fact, the world is so large, geologically, that there are multiple systems operating simultaneously—that often operate in such a fashion as to offset each other. For instance, while there might be glacial melting adding water to the oceans, there is always sea floor spreading, which increases the surface of the earth, which would tend to lower sea levels.

Taking one data point, and trying to generalize anything from it is never a good idea, when earth sciences are concerned, and such practices are certainly not "scientific", by any means.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2012 at 10:10 am

> wind turbines kill birds ..

So what? Bird kill birds, other animals kill birds, and harsh weather kills birds.

Birds die in great numbers every year--and life goes on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gertrude Smtein
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 19, 2012 at 10:16 am

Sharon - what did you day that got censored? Most curious if it was about dear old Gertrude!

Also - according to you, isn't it easier to just list the things the FBI ISN'T investigating? According to you, it seems like they're investigating everything!!

How about that Heartland content? Exxon and Koch funding all the skeptics... hope you're getting your stipend for all the nonsense you post for them!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 19, 2012 at 10:20 am

> Exxon and Koch funding all the skeptics

And just who is funding Green Peace, "Occupy" and all of the left-wing, whacko organizations that want to dismantle Western civilization that has created the highest standard of living to date?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm


With the facts of the Climate-Gate, Fake-Gate and many other such frauds we need better monitoring of the taxpayers money going to environmental activists.

In the case of Peter H. Gleick he is facing Federal charges of interstate wire fraud-

-which is a very serious charge with a very long prison term upon conviction.

We need to set standards that fraud in science will not be tolerated

Peter H. Gleick is the test case and he has he has already admitted guilt to the charge of theft -

- forensic document experts claim he is also guilty of interstate wire fraud and the FBI is on that matter


 +   Like this comment
Posted by K Street
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2012 at 7:58 pm

yo Sharon.... Gertrude asked you about the content of the so called stolen memos....

Answer poor old Gerty.... quit babbling about investigations that may or not lead to something, that may or may not be going on, talk about what you learned from the release of data.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:09 pm



There are two issues

1/ stolen documents

2/ faked document

1/From the stolen documents you see confidential HR matters, home addresses of staff and contributors and that the organization is a small broad based libertarian think tank that got $20,000 from Kock brothers which was earmarked for health care.
nothing news worthy nor a scandal

2/ from the faked documents you see evidence of felony interstate wire fraud by Peter H. Gleick --that is why the FBI is on the case


 +   Like this comment
Posted by K Street
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2012 at 9:16 pm

"1/From the stolen documents you see confidential HR matters, home addresses of staff and contributors and that the organization is a small broad based libertarian think tank that got $20,000 from Kock brothers which was earmarked for health care."

yo Sharon, you really believe that's all that was in those?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

wow.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by protected assets
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 20, 2012 at 8:16 am

"In the case of Peter H. Gleick he is facing Federal charges of interstate wire fraud-"
No he is not. This is another example of Sharon's factoids. Note how no link is provided to prove the statement

'Peter H. Gleick is the test case and he has he has already admitted guilt to the charge of theft -"
He may have admitted the "theft", but he has not been charged yet, so there is no admission of guilt.

"- forensic document experts claim he is also guilty of interstate wire fraud and the FBI is on that matter"
Proof, please???/ Oh ,wait. It is a "Sharon" claim.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm



Any MD or JD who committed the crimes that Peter H. Gleick has already confessed to would lose their medical or legal license.

Peter H. Gleick also faces indictment for interstate wire fraud -- a very serious matter-the FBI is now investigating this matter including his friends and supporters.

Science depends upon honesty and trust-

-Peter H. Gleick violated both those fundamental rules


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pants on fire
a resident of Meadow Park
on Apr 21, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Sharon knows that there is no FBI investigation of Gleick. Yet she continues to repeats this lie over and over again. Lets see the proof Sharon.


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