The Climate Action of the US at the Bonn Conference

The Climate Action of the US at the Bonn COP23 Conference

Michael Bloomberg, former Mayor of New York City, noted that the US Climate Action effort called America’s Pledge involved 20 states, 110 cities, universities, and 1,400 businesses.   The businesses have over $25 trillion in market capitalization.

As of June 1, 2017, 383 US Climate Mayors were committed to adopt, honor, and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The Mayors represent 68 million Americans. Bloomberg said that the involved group would be the world’s third largest economy, and about half of the US economy and population. Even though Trump plans to withdraw from the Paris agreement or renegotiate it, he is destroying the Clean Power Plan, and being challenged in court. The US cannot officially withdraw until the end of his term, anyway.

As of June 20, 2017, 7,400 International mayors, including the US mayors, had signed on to Obama’s goals for the Paris Climate Agreement.  This is quite an honor shown to President Obama’s leadership in solving the climate problem.

The association of states is called the US Climate Alliance.  It’s website is http://usclimatealliance.org      The state’s that list their best practices are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.  The Alliance has more than 36% of the US population.  They have a GDP over $7 trillion, and 1.3 million clean energy jobs.

Note: In quoting data, I have copied from the LA Times, the NY Times, USA Today, Climate Websites, and several Wikipedia articles.  I have added a conglomerated view and some ideas of my own.

The Obama administration goal was to cut emissions at least 26% below 2005 levels by 2025. Due to the low price of natural gas, we have already reduced emissions by 11.5% between 2005 and 2015. Gov. Brown of California and Bloomberg claimed that the coalition can achieve this plan. (Others dispute that. We should note that there are still 5 years between the next President in 2020 and the end of 2025.)

While the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement is to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, it is already about 1 degree Celsius. But we are still aimed toward 3 degrees Celsius total rise. Drastic cuts will be needed, and soon.

This showed the importance of Laguna Beach’s participation in the older Mayor’s Climate Action Plan. By 2009, over 1,000 mayors representing 86 million people had joined. The goal in 2005 was to reduce emissions by 5.2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012. This is already past, and a lesser goal than the Paris plan. Laguna Beach voted in August 2017 to join the new US Mayors Climate plan, and to match the US Paris Agreement goals.  The danger is that 67% of Southern California beaches could be lost to sea level rise by 2100.

The cities in the US Climate Mayors include Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Detroit, Memphis, Miami, Miami Beach, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Oakland, Orlando, Portland, Raleigh, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Fernando, San Francisco, San Jose, South Miami, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Tucson, Vancouver, Urbana, Ventura, Washington D.C., etc. We see there are a large number from the South, and from Republican states.

Locally, there are Laguna Woods, Long Beach, San Diego, Santa Ana, Santa Monica, etc. The Climate Mayor’s website and list is at http://www.climatemayors.org/

Governor Brown spoke, and cited that California had 32 million cars driving 335 billion miles a year, for an average of about 10,500 miles per car. He pointed out that we are a leader in fighting pollution. He might have said more except for extra-liberal protestors.

Estimates are that we would need about 40% more energy generation to replace our cars with all-electric cars.

There are many strategies to lessen transport. Probably some of them will be adopted as more efficient use of worker’s and shopper’s time, without even being considered as carbon pollution savings. First there are transport savings by web shopping, saving comparative shopping and pricing at many separated outlets, and the time involved. Then there is the efficiency of a mail delivery system that covers many residences or businesses in a linearized distribution system. Then there are setting up local offices in the suburbs where many workers live. There is building new housing projects about mass transport systems.

Then there is computerized carpooling using algorithms similar to Uber. As people get more used to being driven by average people, that breaks down barriers to carpooling. As more cars become automatically driven, there is less need to buy a show-off muscle car, and more incentive to buy a fuel saving car. As traffic accidents almost disappear with intelligent cars, people will not have to buy massive cars for safety protection.

Airplane travel is one of the forms that may remain as fossil fueled.  Hopefully, the increase in web communications will less the need for business travel.  Wit new forms of virtual reality, maybe cultural travel can also be decreased.  With increasing wealth, many cultural sites are very crowded, and developing waiting lines.

While the Trump Administration’s offer to Bonn was fossil fuel promoters, nobody is looking to increase coal usage, especially with fracked natural gas being cheaper. Fast reacting natural gas plants will be even more necessary to even out power as more renewable solar and wind energy is being established. The Trump Administration is also pushing nuclear power. This would be useful for the 40% of new power needed to charge electric cars, especially at night. Yet, only a few new generation reactors are being built in the US, and many old ones will be retired.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in Al Gore, Autos, Bonn Climate Conference, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Climate Science, Donald Trump, Electric Power, Fossil Fuel Energy, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Laguna Beach Energy Savings, Mayor's Climate Action Plan, Paris Climate Accord, Paris Climate Agreement, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Trump Administration, Trump on Climate Change, US Climate Mayors, Wind Energy. Bookmark the permalink.

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