SLO falls short on addressing climate change

July 31, 2018

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.


I never thought that anyone or anything could make Jan Marx’s look good. But Heidi Harmon has done an exceptional job of doing that. Go Keith go.


Something tells me “kettle” is a card carrying member of the SLO regressives. He’s always 180 degrees wrong. Go away. Begone. Basta.


” is a card carrying member ” No, not even close to the truth.

So the best you can do is dismissive insults? Very mature acting like the slo progressives, changing names to make them insulting and attempting to chase out those who do not agree with you.

mary margaret

Thank you Mr. Brodie and Mr. Cooper for your excellent article. Our household will be voting for Keith Gurnee for Mayor and hope to dump Heidi and Carlyn this November. They have not fulfilled their campaign promises and continue to take on national issues rather than act locally.

We voted for them last time and won’t be fooled again!


rferris – It’s even sadder to read how some will ignore the vast majority of science, and scientists, that state unequivocally that global warming has indeed accelerated since the mid-20th century due to the activities of man. It’s even sadder yet that in a time of higher enlightenment and learning those such as you still seem to want to bury your head in the sand while the world gets worse.

The National Climate Assessment, an assessment mandated by law and completed by the current administration in November 2017, disagrees with your type of thinking as well; in direct conflict with the current administration, and folks like you, the conclusion was this is a…

“…dire scientific report, calling human activity the dominant driver of global warming. The report affirms that climate change is driven almost entirely by human action, warns of a worst-case scenario where seas could rise as high as eight feet by the year 2100, and details climate-related damage across the United States that is already unfolding as a result of an average global temperature increase of 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900.”

The reported concluded that… “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century, and for the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.”

The other thing folks like you should consider is just what type of scientists disagree with the consensus of the vast majority, also who they work for and what exactly is their scientific discipline. You’d probably wouldn’t find it upsetting at all to find out those scientists are more likely having their “theories” influenced by either money or ignorance and not science.

Jorge Estrada

if I were a climate change consultant, the climate would certainly change within my household once I get employed. As for everyone else’s climate, the discussion will continue. Thankfully we have science to mitigate our impacts and economics to precipitate efficiency.

Jorge Estrada

Additionally, PG&E offers time of use options to make benefit of lower rates. On the flip side they now have peak period rates which seem to track when you want your air conditioning on. Recently PG&E has implemented their “Community Wildfire Safety Program” , a process which affords PG&E to temporarily turn off your electric service during “extreme fire danger conditions”, basically on hot, dry days. This is definitely a climate change for the rate payers. If you dial 411 to get the number for the CUPC in San Francisco, you’ll get a disconnected number, you’ll need to dial 415-555-1212 to get a working number, navigate the options and then just dial 0 for a person. When you ask the person for a contact number to levy a complaint against the CPUC, they will direct you to the Governor’s office. If you wonder what our Governor is up to on Climate Change, notice the climate within your home, change on your electric bill and for a lower level of service as allow by his CPUC.


KETTLE: It is sad to hear someone claim that there is proof of a human influence on climate when there is none. The great bastardization of science has yielded a crop of folks who do not know that the scientific method deals in disproving theories not proving them. The propaganda method involves “the science is settled” and denigrating opponents.

Your faith in government and environmentalist paid for computer models and theories that run against reality require as much or more faith than required of a religious fanatic. You believe there is proof when there is clearly not.any proof.

Belief that that climate is changing naturally, as it has the preceding 10,000 years since the last ice age, is the logical and scientific position and it has not been scientifically refuted to this day.

“God” in this context can be thought as nature or a different force that is beyond our influence…………not necessarily a white dude, or any dudes in long white beards.

P.S. You also can not prove god does or does not exist using science, so I think you are again mistaken.


Just because there was a ice age, does not make other climate change “natural”.

““God” in this context can be thought as nature or a different……. ”

No, let me be clear, there is no/any god effecting change to the climate.

I don’t need to prove anything, I am not holding a empty bucket pretending it’s full of something, pointing at it telling people something is in there.


Way in the future I can see the headlines, We only have days to live, and it’s all San Luis Obispo’s fault! If back in 2018, they had only seen the light and all moved into the giant space cubes we wanted to build for them, if they had only junked their cars, and only rode bikes, we wouldn’t all be dying! So sad…


It’s “God made” climate change and you can’t do a thing about it. As far as water is concerned, we CAN do something about it… but California is a desert climate and must MANAGE its water…. not send it into the ocean to save some friggin tadpoles. It’s nuts. And do you want to spread development out…. or up? You can’t stop growth, only manage it.


That is a giant cop out, gods will lol. We can prove climate change is real and man made, that god with a bushy beard is a made up tale that has no basis in reality, but feel free to prove me wrong.

“As far as water is concerned, we CAN do something about it” Only if approved by your god who controls the rain, Lol.

Also if as you claim “It’s “God made” climate change” then the white male, bearded guy is also responsible for everything bad on the planet, war, rape, guns, murder and on and on. Sounds like the Greek pantheon, not the white male, bearded fable of days of old.

In for a penny, in for a pound.


Please explain to me who caused the ice age to melt? It’s mother nature and you will never beat her at her game. We may be speeding it up a bit but we will never change it. This is mostly a money maker for criminals like Al Gore. Remember him? He is the one who also invented the internet.


“false cause

You presumed that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

Many people confuse correlation (things happening together or in sequence) for causation (that one thing actually causes the other to happen). Sometimes correlation is coincidental, or it may be attributable to a common cause.”

“We may be speeding it up a bit but we will never change it.”

Speeding it up is literally changing it.

Rich in MB

Gentlemen….You have just discovered the trick of the MMGW (Man Made Global Warming) Scam.

Spend money and hire “experts and consultants” but no material changes are made. Leftists and hired with fanfare and everyone feels good, but at the end of the day Nada…nothing…

SLO might as well have donated the expense of the new staff (and their pensions) to Al Gore’s Carbon Credit Fund.


Your rehashing of old tired slogans is cute, but only the koolaid drinkers will give you any cred. Please go try that in a room of actual people, not behind screen / fake name.

Go do it in person, own it. The chem trails guy might be into it….