Here are your WEEkly Updates:
- U.S. Leadership and the Historic Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change
The Paris Agreement commits the international community to capping global warming to "well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C." To achieve that, the agreement requires the world to "reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible" and "to undertake rapid reductions thereafter, in accordance with best available science."
- How California Stepped Up its Energy Efficiency Efforts in 2015 and What's Ahead
As 2015 draws to a close, it's a good time to take a look at the incredible progress California has made toward scaling up energy efficiency and what we should do in 2016 to build upon our momentum.
- Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool
This new updated version of the Local Energy Efficiency Self-Scoring Tool lets you score any community's energy efficiency efforts using the metrics from ACEEE's 2015 City Scorecard. You can use this tool to evaluate community-wide initiatives, government operations, and buildings, utility, and transportation policies, as well as to compare your community's efforts against those of similarly-sized localities and learn about innovative energy practices successful in other places.
- NYC Energy and Water Benchmarking Performance Map
In New York City, of the nearly 3,000 public buildings with any significant energy use, almost one-third already have retrofits in place or underway. Those buildings represent 50% of GHG from City buildings. The City continues to make it easier for private building owners to do the same, launching a new tool to track energy and water usage at large buildings.
- Energy Calendar
If you have any events you would like to see added to this calendar, please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that is all for this week - and for the year! The Weekly Updates will resume on January 8, 2016.
Last October, photos and reports from Beijing surfaced, showing dense smog covering much of the City. People couldn't see across the street, let alone down a city block. While the photos and reports were disturbing, they were not shocking to many of us. Maybe if the reports came from a city like Paris, we would be more appalled, right? Well, raise your eyebrows and say “Whaaat??” because, that’s right, Paris had a spike in Air Quality Index (AQI) levels and, in late March, was 20 points higher than Beijing’s! To give you an idea about what this means: a good AQI is under 50 and Paris’s AQI reached 185. Yeah. 185.
|Yikes! Paris isn't so pretty this way.|
Photo Source: The New York Times
In an attempt to mitigate this, a partial driving ban was imposed for the first time in two decades. What is a partial driving ban, you ask? Well some vehicles, like those carrying three or more people and electric and hybrid cars were not fined or stopped. Hundreds of police officers were authorized to stop and fine vehicles that did not fit those criteria.
The day this article was published, the police were only fining those with even-numbered license plates, but this must have changed day-to-day to persuade people to not drive. Other incentives to not drive around Paris were the reduction of the speed limit to only 20kph (or 12mph) and free public transportation. The city lost over $5.5 Million in transportation revenue each day there is no fee for public transit, but there would have been far bigger costs down the line if the City did not take this action.
|Photo Source: The New York Times|
The ban ended at midnight Monday, March 17, 2014, as did the free public transportation. It is important to note, however, that the free public transportation probably saved those who need to commute farther than one can walk or bike in a decent amount of time. A partial driving ban in Paris was possible because the public transportation system could handle that – financially, not for an extended time period, but in capacity and density of stations around the City, yes. Free public transportation is an extra incentive, but access to public transportation is always available in this City.
So think about the San Joaquin Valley for a moment. We generally don’t have AQI levels above 100, but they can get close. What if we had a spike like Paris, or we constantly had AQIs above 150 like Beijing? How would we handle a (partial) driving ban??
The good news is that the SJVCEO and other community partners are developing and expanding the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle (ARFV) Technology industry here in the Valley with the Workforce Investment Board Regional Industry Clusters of Opportunity (WIB RICO II) grant from the Energy Commission. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District also has some funding for carpooling services, but how many people will actually take advantage? I hope the answer is all that are eligible. We have such great opportunity here in the Valley. Why not take advantage of it?