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By Sherry Listgarten

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About this blog: Climate change, despite its outsized impact on the planet, is still an abstract concept to many of us. That needs to change. My hope is that readers of this blog will develop a better understanding of how our climate is evolving a...  (More)

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The Gulf between Climate Plan and Climate Results

Uploaded: Apr 19, 2020
Earth Day is coming up this Wednesday, April 22. Rather than write about ambitious new goals, I want to write about the more humbling process of change. What does it take to go from an audacious climate goal to an inspired plan to meaningful climate achievements? And, more specifically, how do we do this in our cities? (1)

Setting a Goal
On Earth Day four years ago, Palo Alto set a 2030 goal to reduce emissions 80% below 1990 levels, an impressive reach from the state’s goal of 40%. At the time, city emissions were already 35% below the 1990 baseline (2), and Palo Alto enjoys many advantages over the state at large: a city-owned utility, a temperate climate and flat terrain, a large proportion of residents with discretionary income, big eco-focused companies, and a network of local experts. So an additional 45% was targeted, shown in dark grey, green, and shades of orange below.

Palo Alto’s 2016 emissions reduction outline. Source: S/CAP Framework, 2016

Palo Alto estimated it had an additional 17% of reductions baked in (BAU = Business As Usual). Beyond that, the plan advocated another 15% from mobility emissions, 12% from building emissions, and 1% from waste emissions. A strategic plan indicated where these emissions would come from. (See page 14 of this document.)

Taking Action
In the four years since, the city has done a number of things to reduce emissions, including promoting electric cars, heaters, and appliances; updating building codes; encouraging transit and biking; installing EV charging infrastructure; and eliminating municipal incineration of sewage. Some of these efforts have been pretty successful:

In downtown Palo Alto, many more people are taking transit and fewer are driving alone. Source: Palo Alto City Staff presentation to Council, 4/13/2020

A parking garage downtown was taken off the table, and the city passed an all-electric reach code for new buildings two years ahead of schedule, with something for large remodels in the works.

Yet some initiatives have not been so successful:

Adoption of heat pump water heaters has lagged. Source: Palo Alto City Staff presentation to Council, 4/13/2020

Efficiency savings have been meager. Source: Palo Alto City Staff presentation to Council, 4/13/2020

Seeing Results?
When you sum it all up, the changes have not added up to much for the City’s emissions.

Transportation emissions (red) and natural gas emissions (blue) were unchanged from 2013 to 2018. (3) This graph does not incorporate offsets that the city is purchasing for natural gas, which we have had for the last few years. Adapted from Palo Alto City Staff presentation to Council, 4/13/2020

As Councilman Eric Filseth put it in Monday’s discussion: “It seems like we’re doing all this good stuff, and yet we’re hearing that we’re short of our goal…. Is there a giant spreadsheet somewhere that shows the quantitative relationship between where we are today and where we want to be?” Indeed, Palo Alto did a lot of analysis in 2016 to determine what would be needed to reduce our emissions. One of my favorite parts is this chart that shows the estimated cost and impact of different ways we could reduce emissions. Analysis like this was used to formulate the overall plan.

In this chart, the estimated impact of a change is on the x-axis (in metric tons of CO2e), while the estimated cost to achieve that impact is on the y-axis (with expenses in black and savings in red). Source: S/CAP Framework, 2016.

The Disconnect
So what happened? I talked with Bret Andersen, David Coale, and Bruce Hodge (Founder) of Carbon Free Palo Alto, who have been following along with the process for years. In a sense, this outcome is no surprise because the city never had a detailed plan outlining a set of actions that added up to the goal. This was due to a lack of buy-in (“I think some staff and council members believed the goal was more aspirational than achievable,” said Andersen) and political will (“We never really got staff to put the more ambitious options on the table that are required to reach 80/30,” he added). The city’s broad take on “sustainability” then diluted focus on this goal, with several stakeholders involved on projects that would have minimal impact on emissions.

The disconnect persists. There is little alignment between the city’s “80% by 2030” goal and the actions the city is proposing for the coming years. For example, Carbon Free Palo Alto estimates that we need to convert 2300 gas water heaters per year, 1400 gas HVAC systems per year, and 8600 gas vehicles per year to hit the goal. But the proposals do not add up. No one is working backwards from what the goal requires to what the city needs to get done. Hodge says “Staff is not stepping up to make proposals to achieve official policy, and Council is not stepping up to provide oversight.”

Is the city’s goal realistic? Probably not. While ambitious goals can sometimes be inspiring, unreasonable goals can also be demotivating. I don’t respond particularly well to them, and maybe that is what is happening at the city level. Certainly there is a fundamental lack of buy-in to this audacious reach, and it would behoove us to either show it can realistically be done or align everyone behind something that is more achievable. If our momentum carries us beyond any revised goal, then we can increase our ambition as California has done a few times.

Meet the New Plan
At this point, Palo Alto has hired AECOM to evaluate the city’s 2019 emissions and analyze paths forward. Some nice tools are available for modeling city emissions and generating options to reduce them. AECOM helped to develop one of the tools (CURB), and I expect their quantitative input will be useful. When

- Councilman Tom Dubois enthuses about EVs (“A big program, a media campaign, incentives, anything we can do, where we would say that nearly all replacement cars city-wide are electric…. I think that is a big goal, I think it would get attention, I think it’s something we should try.”)

- Councilman Greg Tanaka sees promise in working from home (“We are seeing across the board in companies and industry areas where it wasn’t so much the norm, but it’s being adopted successfully now.”)

- and Mayor Adrian Fine espouses infill development (“We are not going to reach our climate goals if we don't reach our housing goals. I’d encourage us all to keep that in mind.”)

we can use this kind of objective analysis to help us determine where we want to place our bets. (4)

For example, if you want to reduce annual emissions by 250 metric tons of CO2e, you might have three choices (5):

1. Replace 100 gas-powered cars with EVs.
2. Replace 300 gas-powered water heaters with electric heat pump water heaters.
3. Get 900 homes to reduce their gas use by 10%.

Which would you pick? What would it cost us to achieve these? How far can we scale these? And what side benefits, if any, accrue from doing these? EVs improve our local air quality, but they are expensive. New electric heaters also cost a significant amount up front (6), and you need to own one to change it out. Energy conservation is available to everyone (renters, low-income households, etc), but is lower impact. Which is the winning strategy, and how would you go about it?

Same as the Old Plan?
The numbers are pretty clear. Our biggest sources of emissions are transportation and heating, and we need to halve them (or more) in the next ten years. We know we need a massive switch to EVs and efficient electric heat pumps, and we would like to see a reduction in cars on the road.

So will the new plan be much different? If we are going to be successful, it better be. It should be detailed, it should be realistic, and it should add up to the goal, which may need to change. There may be some slight differences from incorporating our airport emissions and “fugitive emissions” from natural gas. There may also be some differences as we incorporate things we have learned recently, such as the value of clean air and our ability to work from home. But the overall bones of the plan will not change much. The big difference must be that everyone believes in the plan, commits to it, and evaluates progress regularly.

Several council members and community members have asked for easy-to-understand targets, like the percentage of vehicle miles that are electric, or the percentage of homes and businesses with heat pump water heaters. That makes a lot of sense. I would also like the city to focus only on those initiatives that will make a big impact on emissions. Staff has limited time and the city has limited funds, so we should use them wisely. What would I pick? For reducing transportation emissions, I would put my bets on increasing EV adoption, working from home, and co-locating jobs with housing. For reducing building emissions, I would set mandates starting in 2022 for all water heater replacements and for space heaters in large remodels. (7) I would also aggressively work with residents and local businesses to lower their gas heating bills (and gas use). And that’s it. (8) I expect we would need to be much more transparent about power reliability, and make improvements as needed. And we will need to raise money for programs if state and county funds are insufficient. Fees on actions we want to discourage would be a good start. (9) But I would limit our sights to a few things and then aim to knock them out of the park.

Palo Alto can easily over-achieve the state’s 2030 emissions goals, given where we are today (36%) and all of our advantages. AECOM’s modeling efforts will help to quantify our options. We will need to determine which approaches we can execute most cost-effectively, while also considering the value of co-benefits like cleaner air, calmer streets, increased wildlife habitat, and the improved mental and physical well-being that many of the options deliver. We have some really nice options in front of us. We just need to better connect the dots between our goal, our plan, and our execution, and make sure everyone is lined up behind them.

Earth Day (Week) Announcements
With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day coming up on April 22, you may be interested in some of these local but still virtual events. You can find an aggregation of many events around the country here.

Monday, April 20, 1:30 pm – 3:00pm. The Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment is hosting a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Stanford faculty and staff will share their perspectives on progress made and what governments, companies, academics and private citizens can do to give the planet and people living on it the best hope for a bright and sustainable future. (You can find more Stanford Earth Day events here.)

Wednesday April 22, 11:45 am – 1:00 pm. Green Foothills is hosting a Virtual Earth Day. Former Congressman and Earth Day Co-Founder Pete McCloskey and his wife Helen Hooper McCloskey will be the keynote speakers.

Thursday, April 23, 9am – 10am. 350 Silicon Valley Climate Action Now is hosting a "crash course" on divesting from fossil fuels. "We kick off the class with a 6-minute video of personal stories, followed by suggestions about how you can work on divestment yourself."

Friday April 24, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm. The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center is planning a virtual Climate Rally on Friday, April 24th from 5:30-6:30pm. The Climate Rally will debut a special video presentation featuring climate experts and activists explaining what climate justice and political engagement means amidst a global pandemic and beyond.

Notes and References
1. This post is largely focused on Palo Alto, but Mountain View and Menlo Park have similar challenges. Also, this post is about reducing our carbon emissions. It is very important that we begin adapting to the changing climate as well. That includes planning for sea-level rise and reducing our reliance on fresh water. I am not covering those here, but they are both important parts of our climate planning.

2. Emissions reductions between 1990 and 2016 were largely the result of efficiency improvements and cleaner electricity.

3. For background, residential population has been flat in Palo Alto since 2005, at around 67,000, though it increased about 20% from 1990 to 2005 (it was around 56,000 in 1990). Source

4. These quotations are from the April 13 discussion on climate planning.

5. By my rudimentary calculations, an EV eliminates about 2.5 metric tons (MT) of CO2e in one year, a heat-pump water heater eliminates about 0.75 MT CO2e in one year, and a 10% reduction in a 500-therm home saves about 0.28 MT CO2e per year. The values for EVs and heat pump water heaters come from pages 35 and 37 of the city's presentation.

6. The advocacy group Carbon-Free Palo Alto, which has long been promoting initiatives to reduce our emissions, is very enthusiastic about “on-bill financing”, a method that allows the city to finance loans for electrification. Their proposed BE Smart Program outlines some ideas. The council is taking notice, with several members (e.g., Alison Cormack and Adrian Fine) urging city staff to look into on-bill financing.

7. Menlo Park produced an interesting pair of graphs that show the impact of a mandate over just relying on incentives. The first graph below shows heat pump water heater adoption when incentives are available, while the second shows adoption when a mandate is added.

With incentives, water heaters are 50% converted to electric by 2032 and 100% converted around 2040. Source: Menlo Park Climate Action Plan presentation, January 2020

With incentives and a mandate starting in 2021, water heaters are 50% converted to electric by 2026 and 100% converted by 2033. Source: Menlo Park Climate Action Plan presentation, January 2020

8. I think we will continue to grow our tree canopy, implement bike safety improvements, reduce waste, install induction cooktops, and run local buses. But I don’t think time and investment in those areas will lead to emissions reductions on the order of the items I chose to focus on. The point of planning, though, is to replace guesswork like this with evidence-based decision making.

9. Parking fees are one idea here. In the April 13 council meeting, mobility specialist Sylvia Star-Lack, who worked on Stanford’s driving reduction program, said “The reason that (Stanford) program worked so well is because the parking is price corrected.”

10. I was generally encouraged by the discussion in city council, but was very disappointed in one comment from a council member: “I am wondering if this plan isn’t a little like losing weight, where you start out with a big bang and you lose all that weight, and then forever more you are trying to lose that 5-10 pounds.” That analogy alarms me. This is not like losing the last 5-10 pounds. If we want to liken our predicament to a diet, the situation imo is more like a morbidly obese and ailing 400-pound person who has been told to lose half their body weight or they will become gravely ill. They have given up dessert and red meat and lost 60 pounds, but they have so much left to do (exercise, portion control, balanced meals, …). Our city has taken some essential steps, but we have a long way yet to go, while the Earth continues to heat up.

Current Climate Data (March 2020)
Global impacts, US impacts, CO2 metric, Climate dashboard (updated annually)

Last month was the globe’s second warmest March in the 141-year NOAA global temperature dataset record. Only 2016 was warmer. But we did not feel it where we live.

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Posted by David Page, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 19, 2020 at 11:36 am

Sherry, you know this topic inside and out. Thank you so much for helping spread education and understanding every single week.

I have one criticism, but the bigger issue with this column is that you, in news-media jargon, buried the lead. Your headline should be something like:

Has Palo Alto already achieved 80 by...2020!?!

First, however, is the matter of what constitutes GHG pollution. There is no “inspired plan to meaningful climate achievements" that leaves out the pollution from 2 gigantic sources, both based on our lifestyle: Diet & Aviation (dairy, palm oil, beef) and (flying around in jet planes). Sherry you, of all people, know this! There's no good reason to leave it out of your calculations. Let's keep it in mind as we deliberate possible solutions to this world-wide, invisible, slowly developing, catastrophe of Biblical proportions.

Your article continues:

“In downtown Palo Alto, many more people are taking transit and fewer are driving alone", and “A parking garage downtown was taken off the table" - Great news; how do we keep up this momentum?

“Certainly there is a fundamental lack of buy-in" by some city staff (and council?).
“either show it can realistically be done or...". Start with transparency. Tell the truth about the bad news and the good!

Councilman Dubois echoed the recommendation of the 2006 Green Ribbon Task Force, when he said, “A big program, a media campaign..." If done properly, this could inspire many residents to dramatically lower their carbon footprint/s, and might also impact the attitude of certain city staff.

“Mayor Adrian Fine espouses infill development, ‘We are not going to reach our climate goals if we don't reach our housing goals'." Quite right, as with beef cattle, dairy cows, and airplanes, lethal pollution has several big-time causal factors.

OK, on to the 80 X 20! Has this been accomplished in recent weeks? For example, how much of a reduction in toxic pollution have Palo Altans achieved by not flying on airplanes in March and April? I can speculate that it's a fantastic number, but how many residents realize how much damage to human health has been avoided because of this? A City media/educational campaign should have, and still can, work wonders in moving social norms away from (not harmless!) activities like flying.

How much less airborne-effluent has come out of our vehicle exhaust pipes in the past 2 months? Enough that Council-Member Kniss commented on the value of our (newly acquired) “clean air". Given those two changes, re dirty airplanes and poison-emitting cars, I suspect that Palo Alto may have achieved the 80% reduction in CO2e pollution!!!

Our current horrendous covid-19 crisis is a cruel killer. My heart goes out to the so many who have lost their health, or income, (like my siblings).

Nevertheless, we can't pretend we don't like clean air - despite the tortured manner by which it has arrived. Can we find a way to open up the economy without all the commuting by (not-electric) cars?

Sherry continues: “For reducing transportation emissions, I would put my bet on...working from home...etc."! Councilman Greg Tanaka said, “We are seeing across the board in companies and industry areas where it {remote work} wasn't so much the norm, but it's being adopted successfully now."

If we've achieved an 80% reduction in pollution, and if it's become “normal" to work from home, or to attend council meetings remotely, or get tutoring lessons via skype or zoom, DO WE REALLY WANT TO GO BACK?

Can we keep city employees working like they are right now (which costs the budget nothing)? Can the City, and/or eco-activists, influence companies to continue with these new work-from-home norms?

“Staff has limited time and the city has limited funds...Fees on actions we want to discourage would be a good start." I completely agree, and have submitted over 25 different ideas for how the City can save money, and cut pollution, both at the same time.

Council-Member Cormack successfully urged the Council to push up the date of the next formal S/CAP review. Before then, let's take advantage of what we have, and demand that the City help us keep this current atmospheric treasure instead of going backwards towards pollution, traffic, noise, etc.

David Page
Co-Chair of 350SV - Palo Alto team
(formerly) Co-Chair of the SEIU, Local 1021, Climate-Justice Workgroup

Posted by Tom, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Apr 19, 2020 at 11:43 am

Thanks for the great post on our struggles to make and implement the kind of Climate Action Plans (CAPs) that inspire not only our own cities to act, but that also provide experimental results and policy tools that enable cities around the world to build on our early progress in a way that helps us all.
We have so much at risk as can be seen in the local real estate at risk maps here: Web Link
The IPCC said we have to make changes in ways that are: Rapid, Far Reaching and Unprecedented.
The only hope we have is to be bold right now and invest a fraction of the billion dollar seawall costs now in leading adoptable plans and policies that electrify everything. We've tried laissez faire (letting the individuals decide) with incentives and information for more than a decade with too-slow results. (Winning slowly is losing in climate work.)
There are parallels to the Covid-19 policies and results. Bold early action with mandates sets examples and works. Laissez faire and waffling is a deathtrap. Let's build on the conversation of how might we make impactful policies for climate preservation so that seawalls have a chance to contain the flattened curve.

Posted by Steve Raney, a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 19, 2020 at 3:20 pm

Sherry, Kudos on such a well-researched, thorough article!

My own S/CAP comments focused on the big picture:
1. With 2030 coming fast, should Palo Alto subject the S/CAP plan to scrutiny by skeptical experts to validate the credibility/achievability of the 80/30 deliverable?
2. 80/30 big picture: We need multiple "non-incremental" policies that reduce 10% or more. These often require difficult-to-enact legal mandates. Will Palo Alto pursue such mandates? (this is congruent with your post)
3. EV: Ensuring that 50% of residents' cars are EVs may require a difficult-to-enact legislative mandate. Will Palo Alto pursue such a mandate? (congruent with your sentiment and I've provided state and international legislative details)
4. Climate Adaptation: Rather than exposing residents to a vague, unspecified future climate risk, should Palo Alto better quantify and then manage that risk? Does Palo Alto's fiduciary responsibility include expertly forecasting the likelihood of 1.5?, 2?, 3?, and 4? climate change occurring in the year 2100?

(detailed comments in a google doc:
Web Link

@David Page. Brainstorming feebate policies (government-mandated fee on the bad thing, spend the revenue on the good thing) to diet and aviation would lead to "beef to bean" and "plane to train" feebates. The former could be enacted at city, county, or regional levels. The latter at the state level.

Posted by David Page, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 19, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Thanks Steve,

I like the idea of fee-bates re planes & trains. Even better, I believe, would be work-from-home for as many as possible, as well as having remote non-work meetings. Surprisingly, we have this RIGHT NOW, which I think fits into your idea of not incremental progress.

Therefore, all we have to do is get employers, et al., to keep doing what they're already doing - no change needed, no new costs! Stick with the new normal. This would not include workplaces, or meetings, where in-person participation is required, but it's still a hell of a public health benefit - as we can tell from the clean air.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 20, 2020 at 3:46 pm

As someone who has benefitted from a CPAU program in the past, allow me to state why I haven't done my next part, for the 2030 goals: I don't have the money. Contractor work costs so much more now than it did back in the day. Buying a new all-electric super-efficient device is affordable; the contractor work required to upgrade stuff to install and use the device is something else.

Anyone who attended the energy symposium and studied the info could see the attraction of building super-efficient all-electric new construction. But, the contractor work for retrofitting an existing mixed gas/electric home is not nearly as easy as new construction.

IMHO, an actual "plan" -- that is a plan to actually achieve the 2030 goals, will have to find a way to make retrofits more affordable.

Posted by FreeRetrofit, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 7:08 am

Why doesn't the city surplus hire residential contractors to come to our existing residences and do the retrofitting and installation for FREE. Seems like a good use of our tax dollars.

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 21, 2020 at 4:30 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

Wow, great comments, and I appreciate your taking the time with so much else going on to think about this.

@Anon, yes, the biggest issue with setting a mandate for heat pump water heaters is making sure the cost is similar to that of a gas-powered water heater. Creating a big market helps. (So @Steve suggests the mandates be issued across multiple cities or even counties at once, which is a great idea.) The Carbon Free Palo Alto folks have given the economics a lot of thought. How do we get reasonable installation prices for these replacements, and make it easy for homeowners? They recommend that the utility qualify and manage third-party installers, and take care of permitting, selection, installation, inspections and ongoing service. It sounds like something that could work, but it also sounds like a very tall order for the utility. I am sure we can figure something out here, but it won’t be easy to pull this off, which is why I think it should be just one of a few things we focus on.

@Tom: Yes. I particularly like your comment that “Winning slowly is losing in climate work.”. Both you and @Steve also make the good point that an economic argument about the cost of inaction can work well.

@Steve: Thanks for giving this so much thought, and for sharing your writeup. I particularly appreciate your writeup/analysis of EV incentives, which I will read through more carefully.

@David: I appreciate your enthusiasm :) Mine is a little more tempered, and I’ll try to share why. For one thing, I am doubtful that campaigns to eat less beef (aka diet shaming) or to fly less or to simply buy less stuff will be effective. I can see them being the opposite. Maybe they would work in a time of war, but the horizons for climate change are not invoking that sense of urgency. I put my money on pricing policies, preferably at the state or national level. I’m also more skeptical about working from home on the scale you suggest. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think it’s working “so well” only because it’s short-term. People already know each other, teams were formed, trust built. It’s hard to build and evolve a company over video. But 1-2 days a week? I think that is doable. More generally, I think it’s problematic to look at what we’ve done — radically and abruptly shut down our economy — and suggest that we continue. We can do much better by designing policies and processes that work. I think you would probably agree with that! As you say, what we are having to go through can help people understand some of the benefits, and open up new possibilities. As Mayor Fine asked in the city council discussion, is there a way to use this very unfortunate downturn to make the subsequent upturn much cleaner? It’s a great question.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 12:54 am

Hope this is not off-topic, but I wonder if you have heard of or know about
this documentary: Web Link The Planet of the Humans.

It is about energy, global warming and all the unscientific hype we are fed.
It is executive produced by Michael Moore and done by Jeff Gibbs who worked
on a lot of Michael's movies. It is completely different in style, tone and message
from any of Michael Moore's movies, but I thought there was a lot of eye-opening
information in it.

Posted by Palo Alto Grandmother, a resident of College Terrace,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 1:07 pm

The biggest accomplishment that we as a community can make is to convince our state government to Keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Operating!!! And to start figuring out how to get more Nuclear Plants online in California and across the US. Nuclear plant are the #1 source of carbon-free energy, period! And if there was a mention of Nuclear power in this article, it was buried so far it was invisible.

If Palo Alto is serious about converting to totally electric power, then it should be demanding that Diablo Canyon stays open.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Apr 22, 2020 at 2:36 pm

(apologies for the link formatting -- for some reason the post fails with these links embedded normally -- a bug somewhere ...)

Posted by Palo Alto Grandmother, a resident of College Terrace,

>> The biggest accomplishment that we as a community can make is to convince our state government to Keep the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Operating!!!

Well, since it is already operating, I prefer it to natural-gas generation. But, I'm not convinced of its safety wrt tsunami threats. I would like to see it phased out.

>> And to start figuring out how to get more Nuclear Plants online in California and across the US. Nuclear plant are the #1 source of carbon-free energy, period!

As I read these cost comparisons, utility-scale solar-PV arrays are cheaper than new nuclear by a factor of three, and, are actually fairly close to the marginal cost of nuclear generation with existing (e.g. Diablo Canyon) facilities: /perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-and-levelized-cost-of-storage-2018

Of course, that brings up the cost of storage. Closed-Loop pumped hydro (not built on your favorite rafting river) to provide the required storage. This study claims to identified 530,000 closed-loop pumped hydro sites worldwide: /2019/04/01/more-than-a-half-million-pumped-hydro-sites-for-a-world-of-100-renewables/

Posted by neighbor, a resident of Midtown,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 9:46 am

If Milano can try this, why not Palo Alto? [Milan-seeks-to-prevent-post-crisis-return-of-traffic-pollution]

Web Link

Web Link

Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

Ha, lots of great topics for future posts!

@CPA: Thanks for the pointer, I'll have to watch it! I do think there's a big difference of opinion among environmentalists about whether we should keep doing things that we're doing and just make them greener, or live differently. I think many people start in the latter camp then switch to the former because getting people to change behavior proves really difficult, even though it's a faster change in many cases (as we've seen with flying and driving lately). I also get the sense there is more money in a greener status-quo than in a "new normal" of behavior and culture. But that makes the "green growth" approach more susceptible to lobbying, misleading claims, etc, which I think is what the movie is about. Anyway, great topic, will try to watch the video soon...

@PAG/Anon: Not exactly on-topic, but I appreciate the desire to continue the conversation about nuclear, and in particular about cost. A few minor comments: nuclear is #1 in the US, but not globally (it's hydropower); the quality of the power matters (not just the cost); and transmission matters (renewables are not always where you want them to be, and transmission is hard to build, I think legally harder for renewables than for fossil fuels...)

@Neighbor: I love love love that Milan is trying to use this crisis for some good. Can/should we do that here is a great question.

Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Apr 24, 2020 at 5:53 pm

> @CPA: Thanks for the pointer, I'll have to watch it!

Definitely looking forward to your reaction to this documentary. A lot of it, to me, just feels right in the gut. The feeling we are being jerked around by those who have money schemes is impossible to dismiss.

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