News

City crafts battle plan to fight climate change

Palo Alto urged to divest from banks that support fossil fuels; promote carbon-free commuting

Palo Alto made an emphatic statement last week when it joined dozens of other cities in repudiating the White House's decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and renewed its vow to fight climate change.

On Monday night, the City Council began the hard work of turning the rhetoric into action.

In a wide-ranging discussion that came four days after President Donald Trump announced his plan to pull the United States out of the landmark climate agreement, council members considered more than 40 new programs and policies that aim to bring Palo Alto closer to its goal of reducing emissions by 80 percent by 2030. The long list included everything from bike sharing, a local carbon tax and encouraging a "fuel switch" from natural gas to electric heaters.

These ideas, and many others, are included in the Sustainability Implementation Plan, a document that staff put together to guide the city's climate-change efforts over the next three years. The council generally agreed that many of these programs make sense and should be pursued. The big question that did not get answered on Monday night: Which ones?

Local residents and environmentalist activists brought their own ideas to the discussion. Dozens came to City Hall to wave "Dive$t Silicon Valley" signs and urge their elected leaders to stop doing business with banks that finance projects like the Dakota Access Pipeline. Melanie Liu, a Palo Alto resident who had traveled to Standing Rock to protest the pipeline, urged the council on Monday to pull its money from institutions that bankroll such projects.

"Unless we align our money with our values, it's equivalent to trying to swim with a ball-and-chain around your torso," Liu said.

Just before the meeting, Liu joined about a dozen other residents and activists for a rally in front of City Hall. Dr. Maria Michael, a Lakota/Navajo elder who had made four trips to Standing Rock, asked the council to follow the example of Davis, Seattle and Berkeley and pull its money from Wells Fargo and other banks that back the major pipeline projects.

"Set the stage so the children can follow your lead," Michael said. "Let them understand the seriousness. Please take this into your heart."

The divesting policy was not included in the new list, though Chief Sustainability Officer Gil Friend told the council Monday night that the idea is being considered. Friend told the council that Chief Financial Officer Lalo Perez has been consulting investment experts about such a policy.

Others urged the council to do more to promote a switch away from cars. Lisa Altieri said the city should do whatever it can to promote electric vehicles and other modes of carbon-free transportation. Marianna Grossman spoke in favor of biking, though she argued that improvements should be considered on a regional scale.

It should be easy for bikers to get from Mountain View to the Facebook campus in Menlo Park through Palo Alto, Grossman said. She pointed to Copenhagen, a leader in biking despite frigid weather.

"Silicon Valley should be a Mecca for biking and we're not," Grossman said.

For the council, the implementation plan is the first of several that will propel the city to its "80 by '30" goal (reducing emission levels by 80 percent by 2030, with 1990 levels as the baseline). Because the city already boasts a carbon-free electricity portfolio, reduction strategies will largely focus on transportation and natural gas.

On transportation, the list of ideas includes new shuttle programs, encouragement of electric vehicles through group-buys and an expanded bike share program. On natural gas, the city would reduce barriers for people looking to switch from natural gas to electric appliances.

On Monday, council members agreed that most of these ideas are reasonable, even as they acknowledged that the city doesn't have the resources to implement all 49 programs. By an 8-0 vote, with Vice Mayor Liz Kniss absent, the council directed staff to further refine the plan, consider the costs and benefits of each program and come up with a shorter list of programs that can be immediately pursued.

"This feels more like a 20-year plan that you have condensed to a three-year plan," Mayor Greg Scharff said.

Councilmen Eric Filseth and Adrian Fine agreed and directed staff to winnow down the broad document into something more practical and manageable -- something that can actually get done.

"We need to put some fire underneath this," Fine said.

Greg Tanaka asked staff to compute the estimated cost of reducing carbon through the various programs in the plan. Others also said they favored pursuing those programs that allow the city to get the biggest bang for its buck.

Councilwoman Karen Holman proposed a new list of items that should be considered in the plan -- things like calculating and offsetting the impacts of construction and demolition; promoting building designs that support multiple uses; considering ways to expand open space; passing an anti-idling ordinance and encouraging "meatless Mondays" (an idea proposed by one of the many speakers).

Holman's proposal to add these ideas faltered by a 3-6 vote, with Lydia Kou and Tom DuBois joining her. The majority favored giving City Manager James Keene and his staff the latitude to evaluate the different programs and come up with a concise priority list.

That, however, was the only disagreement. There was general consensus that the urgency of fighting climate has been heightened by last Thursday's news from Washington, D.C., and that the city needs to be very deliberate in how it uses its limited money and staff time to lead the way on climate change.

"If everything is an emergency, nothing is an emergency," Holman said. "If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority."

Related content:

Dozens rally against Trump's withdrawal from Paris climate agreement

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Comments

44 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2017 at 7:41 am

> Just before the meeting, Liu joined about a dozen other residents and activists
> for a rally in front of City Hall. Dr. Maria Michael, a Lakota elder who had made
> two trips to Standing Rock, asked the council to follow the example of Davis,
> Seattle and Berkeley and pull its money from Wells Fargo and other banks that
> back the major pipeline projects.

How many of the people pressing the Council were actually Palo Alto residents, and how many were people from outside the city trying to press their craziness on our town? Shouldn't the council not be listening to outsiders when making local city policy?

Crews haul off 48 million pounds of garbage, debris from Dakota Access protest camp:
Web Link

N.D. taxpayers foot bill for $1M restoration project after pipeline protesters leave behind mounds of trash
---

Rather than being awed by the "environmentalists" and "activists" that defied Federal authorities to clear off the land they were occupying, these people who obstructed progress were also some of the worst stewards of the earth that the nation has seen in a long time. Hard to believe the Council was fawning over the people standing in the way of progress. (BTW--oil is now flowing in that pipeline, providing power to the people.)

The purpose of the city government is to fix the potholes in the roads and provide resources for public safety--not prance around in the shadows of some international drama over "climate change"--that no one on the council can explain to themselves, much less the city's residents.

This nonsense should result in calls for a Recall. Perhaps no one is actually listening to the people on the dais because the residents know better than these individuals who see themselves as our "betters" who think they should be the rulers of our individual lives?


11 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2017 at 7:45 am

Correction:
Should the council be listening to outsiders when making local city policy?


11 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2017 at 7:48 am

Meatless Mondays?


15 people like this
Posted by Watching on TV
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2017 at 8:56 am

I watched from home last night and while I wish the city could have moved forward with specific actions, it didn't even seem that staff had it 100% together. Councilmember Holman just didn't seem to get it and tried to insert a dozen pet projects. Without even reading them, Lydia Kou supported that! No brains!


6 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 6, 2017 at 10:53 am

It's time we minimize pollution and get serious.

We need electricity through hydroelectric sources and solar.

We are Palo Alto, Stanford smart, Bay Area. We can lead on this. We don't need a Paris Climate Accord. We can put together one as Palo Alto/Stanford Climate Accord.

Thanks citizens of Palo Alto, city hall and stanford. You give us great hope.

Respectfully


30 people like this
Posted by Palantirville
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jun 6, 2017 at 10:58 am

Zero Population Growth


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 6, 2017 at 11:13 am

@ZPG, 7.5 billion people can't be wrong...


32 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 6, 2017 at 11:26 am

Vice Mayor Liz Kniss is often absent when she doesn't want to commit herself on some issues.


14 people like this
Posted by commonsense
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2017 at 11:27 am

Tuesday humor - check out the Daily Post today. The city's new plan to stop global warming?...stop people's car's from idling. That should do it!


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2017 at 12:10 pm

re: anti-idling rule/law proposal. Fuel savings, pollution reduction etc. can be achieved with modern / fuel-injected automobiles that are parked idling for more than 10-seconds. Note that it is illegal to turn off your engine while in the road (e.g., waiting at a stop light). Only vehicles that have computer-managed engine systems are allowed to do that.

The proposal should not apply to any vehicle that uses a carburetor however. In those cases, the trade-off is about 30-minutes idling time versus shutting down and re-starting.


5 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2017 at 12:18 pm

I like that we are deciding how we want to make a change as a community rather than big gov dictating how we should go about it. This is much better!!


17 people like this
Posted by More Preaching
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Whatever the city suggests, I hope they spend more effort on concrete implementation than on simply preaching at us to conserve so they can raise utility rates.

Did you ever try to apply for the rebate for energy-efficient hot water heaters? I did and it took me and my plumber HOURS to get the forms filed correctly. Does the city have a clue how much plumbers cost? WAY more than the stupid rebate we wasted our time over!


19 people like this
Posted by Anthony Sullivan
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 6, 2017 at 1:21 pm

No substance plan, all feel good stuff. Doug Moran is right Web Link


48 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2017 at 1:49 pm

"Dr. Maria Michael, a Lakota elder who had made two trips to Standing Rock."

How did Dr. Michael get to Standing Rock? On a bicycle? If any of the trip required a car, bus and/or plane, this person is a complete hypocrite. Just like Michael Moore and Leo DiCaprio jetting around in their private planes.

Have the slaves reduce their emissions while we can burn as much fossil fuel as we want.


23 people like this
Posted by I agree
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 6, 2017 at 3:42 pm

I agree, the last thing I'm interested in is being lectured by a silly Hollywood actor, to be precise, Leonardo DiCaprio. I will listen to professors and scientists. Too many in the breatless "media" promote the hypocritical pronouncements of "celebrities" such as DiCaprio.


22 people like this
Posted by An Engineer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2017 at 4:06 pm

"Only vehicles that have computer-managed engine systems are allowed to do that."

Not so. There are no laws forbidding shutting off the engines of stopped cars.

"The proposal should not apply to any vehicle that uses a carburetor however. In those cases, the trade-off is about 30-minutes idling time versus shutting down and re-starting."

This reminds me of the persistent myth that it takes an hour's worth of electricity to start a fluorescent bulb. Neither that nor the carburetor nugget is true.

Unless the car had been going only at walking speed, the energy consumed idling at a stoplight is a small fraction of the fuel energy lost in braking the car to a stop. Lesson: to minimize carbon emissions keep moving cars moving.


11 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Climate Change is big business - has been for many years since Al Gore started preaching. If you look on Google and put in Climate Conferences you will see a listing of many conferences. They are occurring all over all of the time. In addition is the Oceans conferences - I was at Oceans 13 (2013) in Kona Hawaii where countries show how they are converting wave action to energy. Lockheed Martin has a number of efforts in ocean energy. As to the current conference in China you can put that up in Google and review the agenda and speakers. Rick Perry is representing the United States and is a participant in some of the forums. Gov. Brown was not listed as a speaker.
Yes we are represented by Rick Perry.
The Paris Agreement is a poorly executed document. We can participate because we have technology to showcase. We are OKAY! Conferences have been going on for years and will continue to on for years regardless of the Paris Agreement.


23 people like this
Posted by what a waste
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:18 pm

no pun intended.

our city council spending time on the implications of Dakota pipelines. We elected you to deal with local issues., of which we have many. Get to work versus being politically correct.


9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:31 pm

Comment on Divestment - as you recall the Inter-Faith Council got the PACC to agree to divest fossil fuel stocks - which it did. Then later one of the churches at it's yearly top level meeting decided that was a bad idea as it was laying off people. Strange - fossil fuel stocks have skyrocketed and the CALPERS Fund is struggling.
Divestment as a tool for social engineering is a rotten idea. No One should be involved with the CALPERS Fund management except the "experts" who are hired to manage the fund. And the Lakota people have no right to be asking anyone to do that. I donate to one of their schools so I like them but stay out of city pocketbooks. I think we are very tired of being socially engineered and are not going to stand for it.


14 people like this
Posted by zero net energy for all new developments
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

The problem at Monday night's meeting is that Chief Sustainability Officer Gil Friend brought a laundry list of items before the council. There was no ranking of which were most achievable or which would save the most energy. Just a huge list.

We can't do everything on the list, so a few of the projects should be chosen and then they can be addressed and implemented if feasible.

The most feasible is no population growth which will stop adding to our carbon footprint.

The second most impactful would be an effort to make all local development not add to our energy use by enactment of a net zero energy policy.

New developments would have to supply all of the energy needed to run the building on site by the use of solar panels and other energy saving implementations. They would have to be all electric buildings. Plus they would need to buy carbon offsets for the cement and other materials that went into the construction of the buildings.

This would ensure that our City's energy footprint gets no larger from development while we are trying to make it smaller.

Let's make new policies meaningful not just silly.


17 people like this
Posted by what a waste
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2017 at 7:43 pm

previous post says we have a "chief sustainability officer" ? great to hear my tax payer dollars go for that position - how much do they make a year?


16 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 6, 2017 at 9:23 pm

When he was hired about 4 years ago, Gil Friend's straight salary was $153,000 so with 4 years of maximum raises, benefits, retirement, etc. etc., figure more than $225KL


Web Link

Palo Alto's sustainability goals are reportedly way more stringent than in other California municipalities.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2017 at 6:26 am

Another comment on CALPERS - I have been following this shortfall problem and the effects when the State of California cannot meet it's pension goals and current payouts - the individual cities and agencies then raise their taxes. That is not a VALUE - that is a scam. Each church is welcome to divest their own pension funds - most have large properties, hospitals, living quarters. And each individual can divest their own retirement funds and on-going funds to establish their personal VALUES. But no one has a right to implode those VALUES on the state of California who is already in a vast amount of trouble despite what ever Sacramento is telling you. Obviously someone on the PACC or City has allowed this to reach this point - we have been here before and we are not going there again. City employees are hired to do a specific job and the PACC members were voted on to do a specific job. f a city employees is unable to do the job hired for then they can be replace. If a PACC member is subverting it's role as defined then they can be replaced.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 7, 2017 at 7:27 am

@Resident, re "fossil fuel stocks have skyrocketed ..."

My Chevron and Exxon haven't appreciated a nickel in four years. At least they're paying around a 4% dividend. The S&P is up 25% in that period, the Dow up 30%. And shares in drilling companies have suffered greatly over most of the past decade. Looks like a buying opportunity to me, but I'm accumulating cash in anticipation of the aging bull running its course. The inevitable next recession (say it ain't so) will send Calpers over the edge, and take many municipalities with it. Unknown to me whether the climate change community sees disasters as a plus or a minus.


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

Chevron in March 2010 was $71.43 per share - closed last month at $106.70. Chevron is one of the most widely held stocks and has a great dividend payment. And if you reinvest the dividends back into the purchase of more shares that is a pretty good ROI.

But on to a bigger picture Hartford Connecticut is filing for bankruptcy. Approximately half of the properties are excluded from property taxes. That puts the burden on the individual property owner to carry the city services. In Baltimore 32% of the properties are exempt from property taxes. I care about that one as I have relatives in Baltimore - a very troubled city. This dynamic produces great problems for the school system and police services. Those problems are well discussed in the press. This is a city that used to be the second largest port on the east coast - home to large manufacturing companies that are no longer there.

The question of who can rent our city parks has come up on another stream which is currently under review for use of the properties - rental of space. Some proponent wants only non-profits to be able to rent time on the properties so you can see where this is going. It would be interesting to get some facts on the City of Palo Alto as to what percentage of properties are tax-exempt. Start with that percentage to determine how we move forward with programs and who is paying for it. I think the city gets maneuvered into a number of transactions which are not clearly defined and provide no value to the individual property owner who is footing the bill.


2 people like this
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 7, 2017 at 10:19 am

Re changing from gas to electric heaters, I have a more reasonable idea. We should mandate that all those with A/C must turn their units on full and open the doors and windows for maximum cooling of Palo Alto.


4 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2017 at 11:44 am

Probably the most effective thing for Palo Alto to do, if it is serious about reducing CO2 emissions, would be to encourage nuclear energy as a source of base load electricity generation. Until then, this is not a serious discussion by our city council. Just more political special interest causes and grandstanding.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 7, 2017 at 11:53 am

@beth, yeah but in somebody else's backyard.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Beth - suggest you get on Google and Research Nuclear energy and local agencies. We have a nuclear generator down in mid -coast but it turns out it is on an earthquake fault and they are afraid that we could get into the same problems as Japan. They put them on the coast to get water cooling. Do your research of what exists in California because anything that happens will be subject to California rules.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Okay - we have a California Energy Commission. The nuclear power plants that are all closed tree up into this agency. The decision was made to replace with greenhouse gas-free renewable energy. So that brings Palo Alto up to the requirement that anything they do must be compliant with and agreed to with the California Energy Commission. We are not going rogue and doing whatever we want.
Of course Jerry is busy selling coal to China right now - can't figure out how to ship it there because all ports in Washington, Oregon and California/Oakland have said no way coal is going to arrive by train from Utah/Wyoming. Note that the Indians are complaining about the oil pipes but the coal is coming from in part Indian reservation land. Now Vietnam wants to start up coal burning power. Another market for China?


2 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Just wanted to mention that Hawaii made a big show of signing the Paris Agreement. This is a location with an active volcano that creates VOG - high Sulphur content that ruins crops and people's health. And they have a big homeless problem - that qualifies as a climate problem as to clean-up and damage to the ocean due to paper waste and garbage.
So are all of the Libyan people streaming in - that is a training ground for ISIS. Please give them the ALOHA welcome - maybe then they won't bomb you.


4 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm

@ resident: I suggest you do some research on self-contained, decentralized nuclear power, sometimes referred to as nuclear batteries. We could power our city, entirely, on a small footprint (and buried in the ground, no active water cooling and safe from earthquakes). You can get the research free of charge on Google.

Palo Alto just has political handcuffs on, because of ideological blinders forced by various 'green' political groups with agendas. Our city council is not really serious about serious solutions.


32 people like this
Posted by Annoyed!
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 7, 2017 at 1:35 pm

The easiest, quickest and most efficient thing the City Council can do to lower carbon emissions locally is to FORBID large employers such as A9, Palantir and Tesla to move into Palo Alto.

That would prevent more cars from commuting long distances, fewer diesel "company buses" (such as those
used by Google, Tesla, etc), maybe fewer diesel trains chugging through town.

Palo Alto is a small suburban city, where people LIVE, not a major urban metropolis!


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2017 at 3:23 pm

It is not my job to direct the use of nuclear power - just trying to be helpful here as you did not offer up any insight as to where you were taking this. I am sure that the County of Santa Clara has something to say about this as we share resources with other cities. All of the upgrades we are doing also include the other surrounding cities.
Note in the WSJ today is that the new power of choice is natural gas with a lengthy article showing the growth in use from 2000 to 2016 throughout the world. This would include off-shore LNG terminals. I know that there was an attempt to put a LNG terminal off shore from the city of Ventura but rejected as the pipe would be going through what is considered the Gold Coast - expensive property. But that was a number of years ago. Any big time considerations will have to be county and state approved and funded.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2017 at 5:17 pm

"...ideological blinders forced by various 'green' political groups with agendas."

That's the smallest part of it. Any serious nuke power proposal faces a tsunami from frightened citizens of all political persuasions. It is very easy to exploit fright (e.g., Trump & Co.), but it is extremely difficult to overcome fright with reason.


5 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2017 at 5:53 pm

> It is very easy to exploit fright (e.g., Trump & Co.)

You mean like the 1979 movie “The China Syndrome”--
Web Link

where the well-known nuclear expert Jane Fonda spread fear and angst from the silver screen about nuclear power?


22 people like this
Posted by Annoyed!
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 7, 2017 at 6:22 pm

musical, the population and climate scientists told us ten years or so ago that the maximum population the earth could hold was 4.5 billion.

We surpassed that long ago and are hurtling toward the dangerous number of 8 billion.

There is widespread drought in many places, because the rain is falling on the ocean rather than on the land where it is much needed. This is causing widespread famines.

In other places, sea level is rising so fast that whole islands must be evacuated ( Maldives, Southern Louisiana, Eastern Maryland/Virginia/ North Carolina)
Coastal lands are being ruined by the encroachment of salt water, making them unfit for life.

Some places are trying to deal with flooding from excessive rainfall so bad that crops and houses are ruined, livestock drowns. This causes food prices to rise excessively just as much as drought does.

As Angela Merkel said last week, "There is no Plan B for the earth."

Even if the earth's population stopped growing now, if all sources of pollution stopped now, it would take 100 years at least for the earth to recover!


11 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 7, 2017 at 8:18 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

@Annoyed! - Would you be less annoyed if you found out most of what you believe isn't true, or would you be more annoyed that you had been lied to? Just so ya know, the Maldives is still above sea level, Maryland/Virginia are suffering from subsidence, not sea level rise, there is less famine, and no more drought now than in the past, and rain still falls over land.

As you note yourself, population and climate scientists have been crying wolf for decades. 4.5 billion is the maximum? Well, we are at 7.3 and there is less poverty and less famine. So maybe add some skepticism and you'll be less annoyed.


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 7, 2017 at 10:18 pm

Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

We should adorn some of our street signs with fitting passages from the namesakes.
Something about an albatross?


5 people like this
Posted by OPar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

I get really irritated when nuclear proponents just wave their hands at people's fears about nuclear energy as if it were irrational.

Here's the thing--the Chernobyl exclusion zone is 1,000 square miles that won't be fit for human habitation for 20,000 years--you know, twice as long as human civilization's been around.

And that's just from one accident. One.

Nuclear waste can and has leaked underground. Burying it is not a guarantee of long-term safety. The Hanford site is dealing with the failure of radiation tanks after a few decades of use, but we have to store nuclear waste for tens of thousands of years. That's a lot of tanks AND the huge presumption that we'll keep our societies advanced and coherent enough to attend these matters on a regular basis.

There may be situations (long-term space travel, for instance) that require nuclear power, but it's not a cure-all for our energy issues. There are other methods that involve less long-term risk.


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 12, 2017 at 9:38 pm

" I get really irritated when nuclear proponents just wave their hands at people's fears about nuclear energy as if it were irrational."

Not irrational, but unreasoned.

I used to oppose nuclear power because I believed it was supremely immoral to leave our n-waste for future generations. Then I realized that a GHG legacy was far more toxic, and much less manageable, and on a global scale (think global Chernobyl), while n-waste containment is amenable to local solutions. Those solutions exist, but none have been implemented due to politics and unreasoning fear.

Meantime, n-wastes exist. Lots of them. Tons and tons. They are "temporarily" stored precariously at the n-power plants which generated them, near cities, etc., because the permanent solutions have been held up by politics and fear That situation cannot continue much longer. N-waste is neither a hypothetical nor an avoidable nor a future problem. It is real and it is now and it must be faced and solved.

Solar and wind energy have their place, but neither can fill the base load. Demand for power is much steadier than the renewables supply, which fluctuates markedly. Supply must equal demand at all times on the grid, or things get unstable. That's bad.

Storage-based "solutions" mean storing energy amounts measured in kilotons, as in nuclear bombs. A mishap at a kiloton-scale battery storage facility would be an extreme event.

You cannot wave your hands and say "renewables" and assume the energy issue is solved. All of us who care about this gotta get ourselves educated and find real sustainable solutions.


2 people like this
Posted by Beth
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm

I support nuclear power, because I think it makes logical sense. I have nothing to do with the nuclear power industry. I spent my career as an engineer and a mother. As a woman and a mother, I think I have something more to offer to the discussion, because so many women are very reluctant to even consider nuclear energy as beneficial to their and their children's future.

There are several new approaches to nuclear power to generate electricity. All of them involve base load production. Some of them actually use previously produced 'waste' products. Others involve the thorium cycle, which probably should have been used from the beginning, following WWII, but they did not efficiently produce atomic bomb material, and were dropped, due to the cold war concerns. This thorium cycle is still viable, and is getting new interest. There are also passive-safe designs that can avoid run-away nuclear melt down.

I think Palo Alto should get behind and promote such nuclear efforts, going forward. This would be a serious approach to limiting CO2 emissions. Instead, PA is caught up in greenie hysteria with minimal benefit and huge costs to our citizens.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2017 at 12:55 pm

Good that Palo Alto signed the pledge but it's only another strictly symbolic act while they work so hard to increase our density, our traffic and parking problems and our utility rates.

Let them stop all the nonsense like painting the roads green and adding more giant Botts Dots and try to provide effective local governance. I'm tired of them telling us to spend lots of money switching out our appliances to natural gas one year and then electric and then back to natural gas. Let them stop worrying about what cars we buy and putting us on traffic diets where we waste more energy and time sitting in gridlock.


1 person likes this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Nuclear Energy - simply getting behind a concept does not work for me. Any serious discussion needs to provide a concise plan as to how and where it is located and what resources are needed to keep it going - and what will it produce.
Actual example of a solution - Rancho San Antonio (RAS) - go up and check out the large project that creates a holding pool for an existing stream. It is funded by the County of Santa Clara. Very Impressive - not only a holding pool for a system by which the aquifers are replenished but a huge protection for the downward city of Cupertino. Foothill Expressway to Cristo del Rey - up the hill to RAS. Stanford needs to check this out for their Searsville Lake and 100 year old dam. The downward creek is San Francisquito
which is the border between Santa Clara and San Mateo County.


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What Would it Take to Get Tech Companies to Move Jobs Out of the Region and Is This a Good Idea?
By Steve Levy | 28 comments | 1,750 views

A Power Play
By Sherry Listgarten | 12 comments | 1,616 views

Premarital and Couples: Valentine's Day: Annually or Daily?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 985 views

Piles of artwork
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 619 views

 

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It's time once again to cast your vote for the best places to eat, drink, shop and spend time in Palo Alto. Voting is open now through May 27. Watch for the results of our 2019 Best Of contest on Friday, July 19.

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