SLO falls short on addressing climate change

July 31, 2018

David Brodie and Allan Cooper

OPINION by DAVID BRODIE and ALLAN COOPER

Since San Luis Obispo’s City Council hired a sustainability coordinator and formed a Green Team, we have not seen the city initiate one new prescriptive or incentivized mitigation affecting the built environment that would address climate change – the most urgent issue confronting us today.

Since all five council members have been elected (and two of them are now running for re-election with climate action as a campaign “promise”), the only change initiated by them is that customers must request single-use plastic straws for their drinks instead of receiving them automatically. And even this was considered government overreach by Council Member Pease while Council Member Rivoire bemoaned the restriction of plastic cups and bottles at city sponsored events!

Moreover, nearly all of the city’s current sustainability measures were put in place more than nine years ago. These include encouraging re-use of reclaimed material after demolition, a night-sky ordinance, greenbelt preservation, protecting solar exposure, public utility water reclamation/conservation and encouraging the use of bikes and public transit.

Yet over these same nine years many California cities, in terms of eco-consciousness, have resoundingly passed San Luis Obispo by. According to one 2017 survey (Viewfinder), San Luis Obispo didn’t even make it into the top 10 greenest small cities in the nation.

For example, with regards to a diminishing and unreliable water supply, the Cities of Davis, Monterey and Los Angeles have already adopted ordinances allowing the installation of residential grey water systems.

The City of Santa Barbara has offered a smart landscape rebate program, the City of Davis has offered permits for rainwater harvesting, the City of San Francisco is offering generous discounts on the purchase of rain barrels and larger capacity cisterns and the City of Monterey offers rebates for point-of-source water heaters and instant access hot water heaters.

And with regards to reducing our reliance on coal-sourced electricity and natural gas, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Culver City, Lancaster and Sebastopol have mandated, where appropriate, solar panel installations on all new development.

With over 287 days of sunshine a year and record breaking high temperatures, we San Luis Obispoans should be more concerned than ever about the urban heat island effect. More than half of our city surfaces are covered by dark, impervious pavements and dark roofs. Black asphalt absorbs up to 90 percent of the sun’s radiation. As the asphalt gets hotter, it warms the air around it, adding to the overall heat.

Moreover, the buildout of cities with tall structures creates street canyons that exacerbate the heat island effect. Prominent scientists associated with the Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and scientists associated with the Global Cool Cities Alliance have advocated turning enough of the world’s black urban landscape white as this would reflect enough sunlight to delay global warming and grant us some precious breathing space in the global struggle to control carbon emissions.

Yet we are seeing more tall buildings, too many near-black buildings and too many black asphalt parking lots being either constructed or retrofitted in San Luis Obispo. These include the tall buildings currently under construction at 995 Morro, 1125 Garden, 667 Monterey, 1845 Monterey and 560 Higuera and the tall buildings recently permitted at 581 Higuera, 22 Chorro and 790 Foothill.

These also include the near-black buildings at 1135 Santa Rosa (approved by the City Council), portions of 1800 Santa Barbara, 4476 Broad and 1865 Monterey. And the recently retrofitted or installed black asphalt parking lots located at 3550 Broad, 2276 Broad, 2160 Santa Barbara and 2034 Santa Barbara.

So what shall we do?

If you are as concerned about these issues as we are, we hope you will consider voting for Keith Gurnee and for one of the several qualified candidates running for council.

Why? Because we know, based on their knowledge and experience, they will do more than pay lip service to climate change.


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Mike Morgan

Corrupt government is using climate change as a hidden tax. We have always had climate change. It’s gonna’ rain, it’s gonna’ snow, the wind will blow, etc. Notice how the greens have dropped the term “global warming”. They have done so because global warming has been debunked by scientists. Global warming was a fraud and the greens know it. They no longer have the stomach to continue arguing against the facts presented by experts. Climate change? You bet I agree with that. It’s been with us since the beginning. If you need to be concerned about the climate, fear this…ice age.


aaron g

I am going to have to politely disagree with the authors on their assertion that nothing has been done. I do find it interesting that both of the authors talk about climate action yet also continue to speak out against bike infrastructure. That appears counterproductive considering the leading cause of GHG emissions in most cities is transportation. Another huge accomplishment will be the formation of Community Choice Energy. Something the community, City Council and City Staff have worked diligently to accomplish SloCity.org/CCE


aye-caramba

Aaron , you’re a nice enough person , but really are doing what we feared the wacko pave-the-City over developers couldn’t accomplish . Using the guise of “environmental “ righteousness, you are allowing over-development, loss of view space , destroying neighborhood personalities and just NOT listening to the people … you guys just listen to YOUR people .


sweethome

What ever happened to “global warming”? I’m still waiting for the “Y2K” disaster.


CCWine

I’m sick of the climate change talk too. I’m not saying its not important however. What I’m tired of is all the talk we do and little changes we make to our lifestyles, only to be find out are STILL “falling short”. Or we’re ****ed anyway and can’t stop it. So why bother? Are we all making sacrifices or just the environmentalists? Are we all contributing to the problem equally or is it the people with private jets, huge houses, too many children, or too poor/lazy/stupid to do green option? This could start WW3


Myself

I’m really tired of people talking climate change, the only thing that climate change has done is line the pockets of the clowns behind the movement, the rest of the sheep eat it up with a spoon not knowing the damage that has been done by this boondoggle. Read todays bird cage liner,the tribune, there is an article in it explaining what to put in the blue bins, all they want is the good stuff, the alum cans, nothing else,it sounded to me that the rest of the stuff is trash and goes to the dump, recycling is being done under the guise of climate change, so why does the garbage company send 3 trucks to city streets to pick up 3 different cans of trash, this doesn’t sound good for the climate but boy the lefties eat it up with a stick and spoon.


MrYan

Funny I don’t remember reading articles from Keith extolling the virtues of bike lanes and open space.   He has expressed a lot of opinions, often hyperbolic, concerning growth, regulations, as well as other politically loaded subjects.


But I can’t recall him being a champion of the SLO green movement in any opinion piece ever written.  


And I will be the first to say that I may be wrong.  I just can’t recall a single article from him on this.  Certainly not recently. I have more experience with him expressing his joy over “goring liberals” (His words not mine) when he graces these fine web pages, so I have my doubts as to his level of concern over any of these “green”issues you have raised.  Nor do I see this cultural warrior seeking common ground.  


Again I could be mistaken.  But the taste of gored liberal is hard to walk away from ( the fat marbling from lazy progressives is hard to deny), for sure. 


But since the purpose of this piece was promote Keith’s candidacy it would be nice to hear from TKG on each and every point the authors made about mitigating climate change in SLO.  Otherwise we have to have to take the authors word on this.  I want some lip service please.


So from his lips to our ears; does Keith believe in climate change (whatever the cause) and does he have any plans on how we should address these issues going forward?  


aye-caramba

Gurnee scares you guys because while many of us questioned his viability as a candidate , Comrade Harmon and her minions have made him SO viable with their absolute non-politic behavior. She is SO vulnerable and blind to her seventh grade antics . She has a lot in common with Trump . If Gurnee is the only alternative to our volatile , brittle narcissistic faux-teen Mayor , so be it .


Mike Morgan

Nothing in common with Trump. As a matter of fact, Trump eats folks like Hedi for lunch. That’s why he won. Folks are tired of liers.


AmericaTheFree

He didn’t win! Not the popular vote anyway, just backdoored his way in (with a little help from his buddies in Russia and 100’s of thousands of dollars of hush money).

Some folks are tired of liars, some not so much, as you so clearly show with your continued support of a man that lies on average of almost 10 times a day (over 4,000 proven lies since he “stole” the office). But when people like you still eat up his lies and buy into the “truth isn’t truth”? Well, it’s you that got eaten up. Also, if you ever pulled your support you’d get the other half of your eaten up bullchit, you’d get “spit out”, just like all those who have stepped up and spoken out about this “unnamed and unindicted co-conspirator”…