Too much going on to write a whole post about each one.


Post-Carbon Cities reminds us that it’s at the local level that we need to transform sustainability thinking into planning and action.

Our practice of sustainability, however, has lagged. In the 21 years since the Brundtland Report, cities in the US and Canada have made progress on things like recycling, green building and renewable energy. But we’re significantly behind the achievements of most Western European cities, and neither continent is nowhere near a quality of economic development that could truly be called “sustainable” from a global perspective.

Sustainability thinkers realized early on that, while international action was required on big issues like global warming and global inequity, many green goals were best addressed at the level of communities and local governments (hence initiatives like ICLEI). It’s at this local level that both governmental and academic attention now needs to focus: How do we translate the need to reduce oil consumption into urban development practices that encourage renewable energy? How do we apply the lessons of resource use, connectivity and collapse in complex adaptive ecosystems to those ecological-social-economic systems known as cities and suburbs?

Berkeley CA to finance rooftop solar on residential properties. It doesn’t seem to pay for itself. Do I have the math right? Or is the difference in reducing the local carbon footprint? As posted in the article:

City staff has estimated that the average photovoltaic system in Berkeley costs $28,077 with an average California Solar Initiative rebate of $6,108. A hypothetical financing structure for an average system is set forth below.

Hypothetical Financing for $28,077 Solar System (~3kW)
Project Financing Amount: $22,569
Estimated Financing Rate: 6.75% (to be determined)
Program Costs to be Amortized: $600 Bank and Administration Fees
Term of Repayment: 20 years Paid Through Annual Special Tax
Annual Special Tax Charges: 4.5% of Special Tax County and Program Administration

Projected Annual Special Tax: $2,089/Year – Equates to $182/month

The property tax increase will be offset by the value of the electricity produced by the system. At the outset and based on PG&E’s rates, one could expect the solar systems to result in at least $70/month in lower electric bills.

We bike commuters get a Bailout break!

Oh, darn. I work for myself. Can I give myself a reimbursement? Sure, I can. Here…thanks!

Starting in January, workers who use two-wheelers as their primary transportation mode to get to and from work will be eligible for a $20-a-month, tax-free reimbursement from their employers for bicycle-related expenses. In return, employers will be able to deduct the expense from their federal taxes.

“It significantly legitimizes bicycling and elevates it to a credible commute mode, like riding a bus or train,” said Andy Thornley, program director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

Land rush to the Northwest? Will there be a climate migration?

You must be kidding. Of course there’s gonna be climate migration. And of course a lot of people are going to move from the waterless oven of the Southwest to the lush green coastal Northwest. When? As soon as enough people see the writing on the wall and begin suffering under extreme conditions. But this article tends to downplay such a scenario.

Under the most aggressive growth model, the area could have more than 6 million people by 2060, according to the Metro forecast. The more likely model, however, indicates a population of 3.85 million, plus or minus 300,000.

From a water supply standpoint, at least, the region should be OK.

“We are blessed with water resources,” said Stickel, the Portland Water Bureau planner. “We don’t even tap, or barely tap, the two largest water resources in the region — the Columbia and the Willamette. Even with climate change, we’re blessed.”