GreenTown Los Altos

Climate Reality Bites


Apr 2013


It’s April, Earth Day is April 22, so GreenTown asks, “What’s the latest on climate science?”
Vanessa Warheit from the Climate Reality Project answered, “Weird weather.”  Bigger storms and more of them.  Not just Super Storm Sandy, a storm that caused $72 billion in damages in just New York and New Jersey, but storms in all parts of the world.  Vanessa’s slide show brought that point home in vivid detail to the packed house at our April 3 monthly community meeting.
Packed GreenTown meeting, April 3rd

Packed GreenTown meeting, April 3rd

She also showed us trends in CO2 levels – stable and below 300 ppm since well before the dawn of human civilization and now spiking to well over 390.  She then showed us corresponding trends in global temperatures that are spiking as well.  There is a connection and every National Academy of Science around the world has reached that conclusion.  Not one disagrees.  Humans are causing the climate to change.

That means more weird weather.  Not just storms and rain, but at other times, heat, drought, dust storms and fires.  Last year featured crop failures and food price increases. 

So what can we do? A lot is happening already. Laws like AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, require reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Fuel standards are stricter, so cars are more efficient.  Energy standards are better so new homes are more efficient.  The renewable portfolio standard is moving our electricity to a greener mix.  Credits for solar and electric vehicles are helping.

What can you do? Practice the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle.  Bike more.  Eat less meat.  Plant drought tolerant plants.
In Los Altos, the City Council will consider a Climate Action Plan to further reduce our local GHG emissions.  A consultant and the Environmental Commission together have recommended a number of measures.  These measures all benefit the community in addition to reducing GHG emissions.  For example, improving the bicycle infrastructure around Blach and Egan will allow more students to safely walk and bike to school.  This promotes a healthy, fun exercise while at the same time reducing car traffic, congestion and GHGs.

Here is a link to the Climate Action Plan report (agenda item #2):  See for yourself, then come to the City Council meeting when the report is discussed.  This is expected to be April 23, but to stay informed, sign up for the GreenTown newsletter and facebook page.
This is important – there are things we can and should do.  Your children will thank you.

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