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Plan urges major shifts in Palo Alto's transportation, natural gas systems

Sustainability and Climate Action Plan makes case for new transit options, incentives

What would it take for Palo Alto to slash its carbon emissions by 80 percent?

According to the city's ambitious new Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, a host of new transit services; a shift from natural gas to electric heating; a potential carbon tax and the citywide replacement of traditional gas-powered automobiles with electric vehicles, with the goal of having 90 percent of Palo Alto vehicles be emission-free by 2030.

All these measures -- along with hundreds more -- are included in the new plan, which lays out a path for cutting local greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 percent from the 1990 baseline. Known as "80x30," the goal aims to build on the city's accomplishments to date, which have resulted in a 36 percent drop between 1990 and 2015. Among the city's most notable achievements: the recent adoption of a carbon-neutral electricity portfolio -- a commodity that the city hopes to leverage by converting existing gas-powered systems into electricity.

If the city continues all existing green initiatives -- which include new bike boulevards, its "zero waste" program, and the various efficiency-improving programs in the Utilities Department -- it would cut an additional 16 percent of emissions from the 1990 level, for a total of 52 percent. That far exceeds California's adopted goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

The new plan, which the council is set to discuss on Monday night, acknowledges that going from 36 percent to 80 percent isn't going to be easy. It will require the city to transform its transportation system and dramatically reduce the use of natural gas to heat buildings and water.

But the aim will be worth it, according to Chief Sustainability Officer Gil Friend, who is spearheading the plan. He said the goal isn't just to reduce carbon emission but to do it in a way that promotes a better quality of life, makes economic sense and improves Palo Alto's resiliency.

The plan includes about 350 actions, many of which are co-dependent and would need to go through thorough vetting by the council and the community. Some will undoubtedly prove controversial, including charging for downtown parking, encouraging denser development near transit lines and possibly exploring a carbon tax. Yet Friend noted in the draft plan that the city doesn't plan to ask people to do things that aren't cost effective and that don't have other benefits.

Not surprisingly, rethinking transportation is one of the major themes of the new plan. Currently, about two-thirds of Palo Alto's emissions come from road travel. Another 27 percent is from natural gas. The remainder comes largely from industrial emissions and "life-cycle emissions" from land-fill bound waste.

The plan recommends pursuing a model, called "Mobility as a Service," in which cars are replaced by a system of services that people can use seamlessly, including improved transit, shared bikes, on-demand shuttles, walking and biking amenities, and smart apps.

This means, among other things, creating new bike boulevards and offering transit passes to residents and employees to encourage Caltrain and VTA bus use. It also means rethinking the longstanding policy of providing free parking throughout downtown.

Friend told the Weekly that the city has had a policy of discouraging automobile use since 1998, but "We have a policy that says one thing and a practice that says another thing."

The plan is also bullish when it comes to electric vehicles, as its 90 percent target indicates. The plan also sets a goal of having 50 percent of inbound vehicles (those based outside of Palo Alto) to be zero-emission vehicles. To help facilitate the shift, the plan calls for expanding car-charging infrastructure; electrifying the city's own fleet; developing pricing policies to encourage electric-vehicle charging at local homes, businesses and public facilities; and exploring opportunities with companies like Tesla and Google "to identify policy roadblocks and collaboration opportunities."

Electric heaters for water and space offer another opportunity, according to the plan. With natural gas making up about a quarter of the city's carbon footprint, the plan calls on Palo Alto to "first seek to reduce natural gas usage through energy efficiency and conservation, followed by electrification of water heating, space hearing and cooking where cost effective."

This means exploring new building codes to encourage energy-efficient buildings and to encourage, or even require, existing buildings to switch from gas to electric hot-water systems. The sustainability plan also calls for hosting a pilot all-electric hot-water program at a major city building, such as City Hall.

The plan has a target of having 50 percent of all commercial water and space heating be electric by 2030. In the residential sector, the goal is to have 70 percent of the water heaters and 60 percent of space heaters be electric -- a target that the city would pursue through education, outreach and financial incentives.

In addition to these proposals, the sustainability plan includes strategies for protecting the city from sea-level rise, preserving the natural environment, and pursuing what the plan calls the "utility of the future" an agile system that includes energy generation, storage and services.

Once adopted, the sustainability plan would be updated every five years. In addition, staff plans to create more granular five-year work plans as the process rolls forward.

Comments

42 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 15, 2016 at 7:02 pm

"What would it take for Palo Alto to slash its carbon emissions by 80 percent?"

The diametrical opposite of this proposal. It would RAISE Palo Alto's carbon footprint substantially.

The bugaboo is electrification, the technically naive notion that buying our electricity from non-carbon sources equates to zero-carbon electric power delivered at the light switch. It emphatically does not.

Palo Alto receives its electric power from the same regional grid as our neighbors. Turning on a light switch in Palo Alto causes the same increase of carbon emissions as it does in San Jose, or Hayward, or Burlingame, or Berkeley, or ... .

Power fed to the grid from any generator diffuses throughout the grid, so a perfect mix of all the connected generators exists at any tapoff point. The laws of physics know nothing about who a particular town bought its power from; it is impossible to filter solar power out from nuclear or natural gas power and send the undesirables on their way.

Natural gas is the favored low carbon heating or cooking fuel. Burning gas at the point of use yields essentially 100% of its heat energy content. Burning it to generate the same amount of electrical energy for heating wastes 60-70% of its energy content, owing to the laws of thermodynamics. The carbon footprint of electrically-sourced heat is thus at least 250% of the corresponding natural gas footprint.

It is too bad we have no electrical engineers in our utilities department to vet and kill this kind of silliness. If implemented, this electrification proposal would make Palo Alto a joke in the technical community.


16 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 16, 2016 at 9:00 am

I agree with a lot of what "an engineer" said. Gas is a much more efficient way to produce heat for cooking and heating than electricity.

Further, wasn't it only a few months ago that the city council was considering essentially discouraging home solar panel installations. If the city wants to move in this direction of this plan, it should be encouraging residential and commercial solar installations. Increase the use of electricity for heat only when the amount of locally generated electricity increases.

It sounds like different parts of Palo City government aren't talking to each other.

Note: We installed solar panels on our house last year and just put down a deposit on a Tesla 3.



18 people like this
Posted by Hopenchange
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 16, 2016 at 11:46 am


Proposals like this "Climate Change in Action for Palo Alto" one remind me once again why the City of Palo Alto justifiably has the following as its motto:

"Palo Alto: We're arrogant, and we should be."


11 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 4:45 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Bob: "Further, wasn't it only a few months ago that the city council was considering essentially discouraging home solar panel installations."

Wrong. The City considered reducing/eliminating huge subsidies for solar installations. Recognize that where that money came from has a carbon footprint that should not be ignored in determining whether a particular solar installation is green or brown.

Too much of the funding for sustainability goes to subsidizing the vanity of the upper middle class and upper class. For example, why should taxpayers providing thousands of dollars of subsidies to someone who wants a new Tesla (I think the current stage+federal subsidy is roughly $15K). Plus they avoid taxes for the highway fund -- further subsidies from the bulk of the population.

But then, the role of government has always been to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted.


Like this comment
Posted by Kilovolt
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 16, 2016 at 5:51 pm

"I think the current stage+federal subsidy is roughly $15K"

$10k. $2.5k direct rebate from the state and $7.5k federal tax credit (reduced by the sum of all other credits). Only a fool would miss this train.


6 people like this
Posted by another engineer
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 17, 2016 at 8:28 am

The engineer is technically correct but his arguments are irrelevant. The laws that matter here are the laws of economics, not physics. It helps to give money to people who generate clean electricity even if you can't follow their electrons in the grid. As for the second part, he assumes that the electricity for heating was generated by burning gas. If you eliminate that assumption then his conclusion falls apart. Electric heating from solar or wind power is clean and sustainable, and that has become more important than the efficiency.


11 people like this
Posted by Guest
a resident of another community
on Apr 17, 2016 at 8:39 am

"the goal aims to build on the city's accomplishments to date, which have resulted in a 36 percent drop between 1990 and 2015."

What has happened to the average rent during this time period? Does your CO2 accounting system count the CO2 emissions from Palo Alto employees who've been priced out, who now have 2 hour commutes?


2 people like this
Posted by Another Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Palo Alto gets its electrons from the shared grid but it pays for carbon free generation from wind, solar and hydro. Because we pay for carbon free electricity, it helps to advance carbon free technology and reduce the cost of those technologies for everyone else. And turning on a light in PA reduces California's dependence on fossil fuels.

Cooking with gas is not 100% efficient and I know because have a gas stove. I love how my gas stove heats up the kitchen with all that 100% energy efficiency while it also happens to heat up the water. Using gas is a matter of opinion and I have had perfectly acceptable results with both induction and electric coil stove cooking. An induction stove only heats the pot, not the whole kitchen. I don't believe gas is more efficient. And who cares if gas is preferred? Let's move in the direction of a more sustainable future.

Why not argue that electric cars are bad, too? Remember, we have the Tesla headquarters in Palo Alto, and Tesla is most certainly a joke. We Americans prefer to burn gas to drive cars, so why change?

Why don't we all begin burning little cancers sticks and sucking in the fumes, too, while we are at it. Smoking used to be recommended by doctors who smoked more Lucky's right?

Some people don't want to change and those people will get left behind. Peabody is but one of many coal company bankruptcies to come.


8 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2016 at 5:53 pm

"The laws that matter here are the laws of economics, not physics."

The climate change Palo Alto is trying to forestall is governed entirely by physics. More CO2 -> increased heat retention -> climate change. Only climate change deniers deny that.

"It helps to give money to people who generate clean electricity even if you can't follow their electrons in the grid."

Palo Alto is doing a very good thing in promoting solar, wind, etc. generation. Don't we wish everybody did. But our average renewables contribution is only about 0.3% of the grid content at a given time so, unless we install our own dedicated power transmission lines that connect our municipal distribution system only to the renewables we pay for (fat chance), any change in our demand (like turning on a light) is supplied only 0.3% by our renewables sources and 99.7% by the other stuff everybody else puts on the grid. Consider the implications of that.

You can find the relevant data here Web Link , here Web Link , and here Web Link . Some analysis required.

You're speaking colloquially when you refer to following electrons, right? Every EE knows that the electrons involved in AC transmission only oscillate back and forth in the wire with an amplitude much less than a millimeter. No point following something that goes nowhere. But one can do a differential load perturbation in a SPICE-based grid model to calculate the relative contributions to that load from the various sources feeding the network. Try it for yourself.

"As for the second part, he assumes that the electricity for heating was generated by burning gas. If you eliminate that assumption then his conclusion falls apart."

No, they're simply scaled. California generated 61.3% of its power from natural gas in 2014, the latest year with compiled data. You do the carbon math.

"Electric heating from solar or wind power is clean and sustainable, and that has become more important than the efficiency."

That's tough to do on a calm night.

Finally, just curious: Why do you think I'm a male?


8 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2016 at 6:07 pm

"Cooking with gas is not 100% efficient and I know because have a gas stove."

Go back and read what I wrote with some care. I said "Burning gas at the point of use yields essentially 100% of its heat energy content." I very deliberately said nothing about what is subsequently done with that energy. There is a negligible difference in heat loss between gas and electric stoves, so the utilization efficiency of that heat is not a tradeoff issue.

Induction heating seems great at first, but consider you are creating very high levels of EMF in a wide vicinity of the stove, including adjacent rooms. That concerns many people. Induction cooking will die as consumers become aware of that side effect.

"Palo Alto gets its electrons from the shared grid but it pays for carbon free generation from wind, solar and hydro."

That is the conundrum in a nutshell. We do not get the no-carbon electricity we think we pay for.


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 17, 2016 at 6:16 pm

This is a joke isn't it? How does Palo Alto get people who live outside and drive here to get electric cars? Do we give them away?


7 people like this
Posted by another engineer
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Apr 17, 2016 at 6:23 pm

The laws of politics and leadership are in play here, too. We can only affect what happens in Palo Alto, not the rest of the state or the world, but if we (and everyone else) believe that our actions are so insignificant that there is no point in doing anything, then nothing will ever get done. Somebody needs to be a leader and take action that sets an example for others. There are many examples of this. Plastic bag ordinances started as a hodgepodge of local laws and eventually went statewide.


6 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2016 at 6:41 pm

"if we (and everyone else) believe that our actions are so insignificant that there is no point in doing anything, then nothing will ever get done."

The climate change challenge we face cannot be solved by pat slogans and exhortations. We must deal realistically with a real threat. Paying to put more carbon-free juice on the grid is a definite positive step.

However, we have to understand the technology or we cancel that step. The gross technical misunderstanding I point out here is leading us at flank speed to a backward leap on the urgent necessity to minimize our actual carbon emissions. This is serious.


7 people like this
Posted by Art
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2016 at 9:59 pm

I'm all for green energy generation and usage, but this sounds like another ego stroking exercise by the city, and of course, to be paid for by residents. The reality of California's energy use, from 2014 data, Web Link is that natural gas is used to generate about 45% of CA's electricity, renewables accounts for 20%, 15% is 'unspecified', and hydro, nuclear and coal powered electricity accounts for the rest.

Renewables will increase their percentage of contributed power, not by electricity demand, but rather by the economics of alternative power generation. As technology and manufacturing of such systems improves, the economics of alternative energy escorts them into the electric grid. Until alternatives come on line, buying more electric power almost certainly causes more greenhouse gas to be generated due to the inefficiencies of generating electricity from natural gas, energy loss transmitting that electricity, and then converting the electricity back into work and/or heat at it’s point of use. The use of natural gas is only converted into work/heat once, at the point of use. Natural gas is in many ways, more efficient and cleaner than electricity, odd as it may seem.


8 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2016 at 10:46 pm

What would it take for Palo Alto to slash its costly grandiose plans and simply deliver cost-effective services to its taxpayers and not further degrade our quality of life?

On the one hand, the city is paying commuters to come INTO the city, causing congestion, gridlock, parking problems. On the other, the city is spending lots of money barraging residents -- aka taxpayers -- to get out of our cars.

What do all these programs cost? How much do they expect homeowners to pay to conform to all their new rules when we already have the highest cost per sq footage in the area?


I'm was just thrilled to learn that we the Palo Alto residents are subsidizing commuters COMING to Palo Alto, including city employers. I would love to know how much programs like this cost us.

Palo Alto Subsidizes Commute into the City
Web Link

Harikrishnan, the driver, gets paid four dollars each way. Normally, the rider pays about five to six dollars a trip but Gupta pays only a dollar. That’s because the city of Palo Alto, the nonprofit Traffic ManagementAssociation and Stanford Research Park are subsidizing the carpooling program.

Nine out of ten people who work in Palo Alto live outside the city and surveys show about half of Palo Alto’s downtown employees drive to work alone. The city wants to reduce that number by a third in the next three to five years.

Palo Alto’s assistant city manager Suzanne Mason says about a thousand people have registered with the carpooling program.
--------


6 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 17, 2016 at 11:12 pm

@Art

Right on!!!

Our percentages for natural gas-based generation differ because you are accounting for energy imported from out of state, while I am using the numbers for in-state generation only. Since Palo Alto's location on the grid is relatively far from the ports of imported energy entry, our local grid mix would seem to more closely reflect the in-state generation mix: nearby generators dominate more distant ones. Definitively esolving the difference would require detailed modeling based on grid parameters data that is very difficult to obtain, if it even exists, so let it ride.


7 people like this
Posted by Transit Costs
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2016 at 8:31 am

Car trips could be reduced immediately with access to Go Passes and transit safety improvements. We take about 70 car trips a week in and out of downtown Palo Alto. We drive out of Palo Alto to schools and hospitals in Santa Clara and San Mateo County. Driving into Palo Alto to provide in-home or in-community help are therapists, aides, home care workers, sometimes their supervisors, school district people. Most earn very little and work only a few hour shifts. They can't afford parking passes or the train, so move their car in the middle of their work shift to avoid a ticket, and have to leave the client. Or a family member has to drive home to stay with the client while the worker moves their car. This creates even more downtown traffic. None of these people have access to Go Passes for Caltrain so they drive.

Also, the train station is unsafe. It is hard to walk to the ucky, dirty bus depot, which is unpleasant. It is hard to walk through the tunnels and inclines pushing a stroller or wheelchair. Parts of the station are almost directly on Alma Street, the other side has zero space to walk near the Marguerite shuttle stop going toward the walking path.

Senior or disabled may have bus passes, but the family and care takers do not. They have to drive to the client alone. Paying bus and train through two counties is costly. It is cheaper and safer to drive. This creates 3 trips each time (drive alone to meet client, drive back with client, drive alone home.) And this happens every two hours. Families are told they save the taxpayers 83% by taking care of relatives at home, but it is very expensive and dangerous in terms of transportation costs.


2 people like this
Posted by Kevin F
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Don't forget Solar Thermal. My solar thermal system has been working great for 6 years. I spend close to $0 heating water at my house. If you have an Eichler like me, you can tie this into your radiant heating system as well. Natural gas backup is only for rainy/cloudy days with literally no sun.


8 people like this
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Apr 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm

This plan is pure folly.
And it will be expensive.


4 people like this
Posted by Share the Wealth
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I'd like to propose that Palo Alto business' also help our Blue Planet by offering their low-wage employee's purchase discounts. So many workers travel in from MV, SV, SC, San Jose . Many local workers commute as far away as Morgan Hill, Stockton, Tracey, Los Banos and Merced.

Having a Palo Alto job for some could be a second or third job they currently they have. Many unnecessary automobile trips will be halved by giving employees options to buy their household goods and food at the place they work at. I am thinking of food stores like Grocery Outlet, Safeway, Molly Stones, Piazza's, CVS pharmacy and Walgreens. Restaurants too could help by providing their food servers and staff meals at a discount. Meaning, if you work a minimum wage job in Palo Alto, perhaps Palo Altans could help compensate for their commute. This is not just an act of kindness and sharing the wealth but would cut automobile trips thus emissions down for sure.

In conclusion: why is there only one thrift store in Palo Alto and not one in East Palo Alto?? Where is the St. Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army or The Cancer Society shop? There should be a healthy number of places in our own city to donate unwanted household items. Inviting more thrift stores to open up would benefit Palo Alto greatly by reuse, upcycle and shopping thrift goods and furniture!!! Santa Clara County low-wage workers can't shop in the store they work at, discount or no discount. This means that the very poor who have the opportunity to work is an overbearing and extremely affluent city who BTW endure multiple jobs to support themselves, their families, are not allowed to help support Palo Alto's zero waste goals. How sustainable is that?! Portland, Oregon citizens actual frown on those who don't shop thrift! Let's give the low-wage earner a place to support local climate initiatives and contribute our market economy too.


3 people like this
Posted by STW With Corrections
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Apr 18, 2016 at 2:53 pm

I'd like to propose that Palo Alto business' also help our Blue Planet by offering their low-wage employee's purchase discounts. So many workers travel in from MV, SV, SC, San Jose . Many local workers commute as far away as Morgan Hill, Stockton, Tracey, Los Banos and Merced.

Having a Palo Alto job for some could be a second or third job they currently they have. Many unnecessary automobile trips will be halved by giving employees options to buy their household goods and food at the place they work at. I am thinking of food stores like Grocery Outlet, Safeway, Molly Stones, Piazza's, CVS pharmacy and Walgreens. Restaurants too could help by providing their food servers and staff meals at a discount. Meaning, if you work a minimum wage job in Palo Alto, perhaps Palo Altans could help compensate for their commute. This is not just an act of kindness and sharing the wealth but would cut automobile trips thus emissions down for sure.

In conclusion: why is there only one thrift store in Palo Alto and not one in East Palo Alto?? Where is the St. Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army or The Cancer Society shop? There should be a healthy number of places in our own city to donate unwanted household items. Inviting more thrift stores to open up would benefit Palo Alto greatly by reuse, upcycle and shopping thrift goods and furniture too!!! Santa Clara County Goodwill low-wage workers can't shop in the store they work at, discount or no discount. This means that the very poor who have the opportunity to work is an overbearing and extremely affluent city who BTW endure multiple jobs to support themselves, their families, are not allowed to help support Palo Alto's zero waste goals. How sustainable is that?! Portland, Oregon citizens actual frown on those who don't shop thrift! Let's give the low-wage earner a place to support local climate initiatives and contribute our market economy too.


5 people like this
Posted by Jeff
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 18, 2016 at 5:24 pm

Making it cheaper to commute means there will be more commuting. Tax businesses which hire employees who don't live in the city.

Electric power versus burning gas locally... there needs to be some profit/incentive to develop the technology but forcing its use before its ready is counter productive. Our city can't even successfully build a library but our leaders want to lead the nation?


5 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 18, 2016 at 5:26 pm

The Palo Alto Sustainability program is smoke and mirrors. Leaving aside the issue of commuters and their GHG emissions, take the assertion that Palo Alto's electricity is generated entirely by hydropower. How can that be? The electricity from the hydroelectric turbines goes into the grid. It isn't colored blue or red. Someone may have done some slight of hand with the payment for our electricity to imply that it just comes from hydro, but Palo Alto's electricity is indistinguishable from all other electricity and flows through the same wires. And electricity from wind, gas, coal, nuclear all looks just the same.

However, it is possible to asses and measure how much electricity each of the above power sources generates, to evaluate the efficiency of each source, and to calculate the cost of power generation by each source, as well as the amount of GHG each source emits in the generation process.

Let's take wind which appears to be the source which Palo Alto refers to most often. A dirty little secret in the industry is that wind power is anything but green, and it is the second most inefficient means of generating power with solar leading the way. And it gets the most governmental subsidies, without which there would be no wind power industry. Tax payers are paying for this - yes you! Because wind and solar are so inefficient, in part because of the technology and in part because they generate power intermittently, they need coal and gas plants to back them up. A world based solely on wind and solar power would go dark when the wind died and the sun went down. And no - there is no battery or power storage technology that can provide backup. Below are some links to get you started on understanding the realities of power generation.

Newsweek: The true cost of wind power
Web Link

The true cost of wind - Heartland Institute:
Web Link

An analysis of the actual costs of wind and solar:
Web Link

The bottom line is that each wind turbine or solar panel or coal plant or gas plant or nuclear plant takes lots of raw materials to build. Once you get one of each of them built, you discover that they vary greatly in the efficiency of generating power, and in the amount of GHG they emit. The absolute most efficient and cleanest is nuclear. It is also the safest. Except for Chernobyl, an "illegal" Russian facility, NO ONE has died from radiation from commercial nuclear power production, but millions die every year from burning coal, oil and natural gas. Windmills kill millions of birds and bats every year, EVEN AS INSECT-BORNE DISEASES ARE EXPANDING, and because they are only 30% efficient, they need carbon-burning power plants to back them up. Which gets us back to the fallacy that wind power generation is green.

So what Palo Alto should be doing is educating everyone about the realities and materials science of power generation, and getting behind an effort to expand our Nuclear-based power generation. A corollary to this is that we are running out of water. We will need to build desalination plants to generate the water our growing state population demands now and will demand in the future, not to mention the water agriculture needs. I'm sure someone can calculate the amount of GHG coal-fired or natural gas plants will emit when we start using them to provide us with water. And we'll have no hydro power when the reservoirs drop.


5 people like this
Posted by Who?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 18, 2016 at 5:36 pm

At Jeff: What residents of Palo Alto are going to work the many low-wage jobs available here - sadly "Help Wanted" signs are are permanently posted in store windows . The pay for these jobs cannot support the cost of housing here, "Tax business' for hiring those living outside the city." Come again?


6 people like this
Posted by cm
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 18, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Not one word in the climate plan about total population density. People do not exist in a Palo Alto energy vacuum. Even if the people here use only solar sourced electricity for heating, cooking and driving they still generate a huge carbon footprint in their daily lives. They eat food produced in energy intensive industries, especially if they eat meat. They use paper products that use resources and energy to be produced. They buy clothes, bedding, furniture, rugs and kitchen supplies all of which are manufactured products that require large amounts of energy. They take trips via planes, trains or boats that aren't electric. And the list goes on. Most of the "stuff" we touch is not made here and is not green. The reality is that people's environmental footprint is larger than where they live. There is evidence that people who live in cities actually have a larger environmental footprint than rural people due to the fact that they are huge consumers. Adding more people will always be bad for the environment. Palo Alto could do the local community, state and nation a favor just by declaring that we will limit population and business growth and remain a low density environment. We could even openly discuss birth control (shocking subject these days) and what constitutes a sustainable population size for a given area, taking into account the entire ecosystem needed to support our population. Limiting population will have more long term impact than any of the proposed changes when you add up the totality of each persons usage.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 19, 2016 at 1:05 am

Cm nails it: Not one word in the climate plan about total population density

Perhaps instead of shoving more residents and workers and "multi-modal transit" into one already dense area and then creating a myriad of expensive programs to deal the congestion and utility issues, how about CUTTING the density that's draining our resources and ruining our quality of life?

Why should our tax dollars PAY commuters to DRIVE INTO Palo Alto while we're lectured to get out of our cars? Will the Car Pooling Program be considered successful if they can grow it from its 1,000 car trips to 30,000? 60,00O?

Sounds Kafkaesque.

How much will I be paying for that extra gridlock in taxes, gridlock, parking, etc??


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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