Everyone in Seattle loves to complain about traffic congestion. It’s what we do. We drink lattes, read books, and bitch about our terrible commute.
But here is the thing, it’s not the traffic that is slowly killing us, it’s the pollution. In fact, transportation pollution is the Evergreen State’s dirty little secret.
How bad is it?
Well, this month traffic smog became so intense, thanks to hot weather and stagnant air, it caused Southeast King County to exceed the safe level of ozone in the air.
This is the first time in ten years the Seattle Metropolitan Region violated the Clean Air Act.
Sure, I know what you are thinking: everyone knows Seattle is a toilet, but the rest of the state is brimming with unspoiled beauty. How could Washington State have an air quality problem?
Here’s how. Transportation is Washington State’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. To make matters wost, as a source of energy consumption, it is the fastest growing sector as well.
What to do?
That’s easy. The Western Climate Initiative should include transportation pollution in the initial carbon cap and trade program. Along with the state’s clean car initiative, this should provide a powerful incentive for car manufactures and consumers to get the most fuel efficient vehicles on Washington’s roads, sooner rather than later.
See, that wasn’t so bad.
Now, click here to tell Governor Gregoire to include transportation pollution in the Western Climate Initiative.
First, not only does Naomi Klein agree to do an interview in hostile territory, but she still manages to hand both Fox "news anchors" their assess.
Second, Bush created this energy disaster. He has no one to blame but himself. The corporate press should quit pretending otherwise.
President Bush tried to claim his innocence in the devastating energy crisis.
“Again, I don’t want to be a ‘I told you so,’ but if you go back and look at the strategy we put out early on in this administration, we understood what was coming.”
It’s hard to see what he is complaining about. Over the course of 2001-2006, Congress for the most part did implement the Bush-Cheney energy plan. According to Administration officials, 60% was in effect by March 2002, 75% by December 2004, and 95% by March 2005. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said, as part of an online interactive forum on March 9, 2005, “During his second week in office, the President put together a task force to address America’s energy challenges… And over the past four years, we have implemented 95 percent of those recommendations.” In fact, today’s energy policies are primarily a creation of his administration.
What better piece to follow Gore’s national challenge to generate electricity carbon-free by 2018?
People all across America are tired of politicians caving in to special interests and settling on dangerous, out-dated, and ineffective solutions to the nation’s energy woes.
No one better embodies this national sentiment than the heroic coal mining families in West Virginia, who are fighting a strip mine proposal which would effect over 10 square miles in the Coal River Valley.
Instead of accepting the inevitability of coal, the local community has boldly embraced the future and offered a counter proposal: The Coal River Mountain Wind Project.
Alternet has a list of the positives:
Consider this: The Coal River Mountain Wind Project would:
- Create 200 local employment opportunities during construction, and 50 permanent jobs during the life of the wind farm. It takes only 35 years for a wind farm to provide a greater number of one-year jobs than the proposed four surface mines combined.
- Provide 440MW or enough energy for 150,000 homes — indefinitely, as well as a sustained tax income that could be used for the construction of new schools for the county.
- Allow for concurrent uses of the mountain, including harvesting of wild ginseng and valuable forest plants, sustainable forestry, and mountain tourism, as Coal River Mountain is one of West Virginia’s finest mountains.
- Preserve the historic Coal River Mountain heritage, and protect the land and communities from blasting, dusting, poisonous drinking water, increased flooding, damaged homes and personal property, and devastated wildlife habitat.
Stabilize emissions by investing in energy efficiency. Replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources for electricity and heat production. Restructure transportation. Reduce coal and oil use. End net deforestation worldwide. Plant Trees and manage soils to sequester carbon.
I hope this news pushes up the release date for the Think OX.
I am so ready to switch to an all electric car, and re-invest my gas savings into supporting carbon free vehicles and green power.
What’s more, the iMiev sounds very promising. A top speed of 80 MPG and a 100 mile range, what’s not to like?
Once again, ideas which were considered on the environmental fringe, a year or two ago, are now getting serious attention in the mainstream press.
But we’re living in a world in which oil prices keep setting records, in which the idea that global oil production will soon peak is rapidly moving from fringe belief to mainstream assumption. And Europeans who have achieved a high standard of living in spite of very high energy prices — gas in Germany costs more than $8 a gallon — have a lot to teach us about how to deal with that world.
If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much.