Comments on: Climate Action Plan Moves to City Council it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: David Cahill David Cahill Wed, 28 Nov 2012 02:29:01 +0000 Public Utility. Good to know. Thanks to the Chronicle for following this up!

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Tue, 27 Nov 2012 19:48:09 +0000 Timely support for a reality-based climate action plan: [link]

@5: I agree. However, traffic signal timing has been in the city’s energy plan for more than 20 years, and I’m not hopeful of it receiving the necessary prioritization. Similarly, recommendations to city council for an outdoor lighting ordinance and a vehicle idling ordinance went nowhere. (I’m sure that former environmental commissioner Ken Clark could add to that list.)

Speaking of prioritization, the new sustainability framework seems to have displaced the goals that I spent many years working with staff and other environmental commissioners to develop. The intention was for the goals to be used as a policy-making tool for prioritizing efforts like those put forward in the climate action plan. I don’t see a mechanism for prioritization anymore.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Tue, 27 Nov 2012 17:42:04 +0000 The climate action plan’s emissions reductions goals for 2015 and 2025 are likely to be met, however, I don’t believe that it will be through successful implementation of the plan.

Up to 2015 (3 years out) reductions will be primarily due to economic factors: business closures, unemployment and the subsequent reduction in travel and consumption. (As I’ve stated elsewhere, we are heading into a deepening deflationary depression.) Other reductions will occur as a result of business efforts to reduce costs.

From 2015 to 2025 (13 year out) reductions will be increasingly due to unavailability and unaffordability of fossil fuels. In the meantime, DTE will likely increase wind turbine installations and shut down coal plants, which will account for the remainder of reductions.

The city’s energy challenge goals for 2015 are twofold:

1. For municipal operations:
– Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 50% from 2000 levels;
– 30% renewable energy

The emissions reduction is unattainable. The city has no demonstrated record of reducing emissions over recent years and no plan to reach the goal. (Those are largely baseless assertions that I’m hoping Nate or someone else will challenge by providing updated data on the city’s “Ann Arbor’s Energy Challenge” and “Landfill Gas” pages.)

Achievement of the 2010 goal of 20% renewable energy for municipal operations was achieved by existing hydroelectric and landfill-gas electricity generation, combined with efficiency improvements that follow on 30 years of such efforts. No more low-hanging fruit are left to pick. Also, the output of the landfill-gas operation peaked a decade ago and is in decline. (Again, recent data isn’t available on the city’s web site.)

2. For the entire community:
– Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 8% from 2000 levels;
– 5% renewable energy

The reduction goal is attainable for reasons stated above.

The renewables goal is very unlikely to be reached. The economics of solar photovoltaic systems (the only realistic option for residents) are challenging and likely to get more so due to broader economic trends (again, see above).

This is all to say that the action plan doesn’t adequately take into consideration the state of the economy and its implications going forward. Nor does it fully and realistically consider the rapidly approaching end of abundant, affordable fossil fuels. But if the goals are met in other ways, what does it matter? Because the longer term goals won’t be attainable (short of systemic collapse) if we don’t face reality now.

Council would do well to send the plan back for revision. I have great appreciation for the efforts of everyone involved in its development, and it’s not ‘there’ yet.

By: fridgeman fridgeman Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:55:30 +0000 One opportunity that the commission missed is emissions reduction through improved traffic flow.

This is potentially large, since I frequently make cross-town driving trips in which I am in motion about 60% of the time, and stuck at traffic signals 40% of the time (often with little or no traffic in the opposing direction).

Multiply this by thousands of trips per year and you end up with a pretty large impact (more impact than the idling ordinance proposed earlier in the year).

This is also the type of action that would get broad public support.

By: Observatory Observatory Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:52:31 +0000 Thank you for your question, No. 1

God love you … Sniff sniff.

Even the bathroom humor is tasteful and adroit in Chronicleland. Hey, Nate … how about a courtesy flush?

By: Mary Morgan Mary Morgan Tue, 27 Nov 2012 15:27:52 +0000 Just heard from Nate Geisler of the city’s energy office: PU stands for “public utility.” It somehow got dropped out of the index – he said he’ll update the key and repost a new version of the plan with that change.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Tue, 27 Nov 2012 01:58:25 +0000 @1: Planning Unit? As in staff.

By: Dave Cahill Dave Cahill Mon, 26 Nov 2012 20:57:54 +0000 In the climate action plan there are a variety of groups and organizations listed, by abbreviations, as “implementation leads”. There is a key to these abbreviations at the top of each page.

One common abbreviation is “PU”. Unfortunately, there is no “PU” listed in the key.

Does anyone know what “PU” is supposed to stand for?