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A Climate Action Roadmap: California Steps Up in Uncertain Times


A Climate Action Roadmap: California Steps Up in Uncertain Times

Adrienne Alvord

The New Year ushers in a new U.S. presidential administration and a lot of uncertainty and angst for people who care about taking decisive action on climate change ( polls indicate that’s most of us.) It’s not clear whether the incoming administration is willing to fulfill U.S.


With China building the silk road cities and roads and putting a new billion peasants behind the wheel, I'm afraid this is too little, too late.



Not only are the West Coast states doing a lot to fight climate change but so are the states in the Northeast and in other states as well. And, whether or not they are fighting climate change there are some red states that have taken the lead on wind power particularly since wind power is so efficient on the plains. The transition to renewable energy cannot be stopped but the main problem is that it is going too slow to make much of difference. The must be a rapid reduction in emissions during the next two decades. But in the US there are political obstacles not only at the federal level but in many cases at the state level and in even for more cases at the local level. And simply the problem of making a massive shift form fossil fuels to other forms of energy is difficult not only for political reasons but also for technical and economic reasons. The bottom line is that we need to prepare for 4C and hope we don't go beyond that.


China: It is late, but better late than never maybe.

There are a huge number of electric vehicles on the roads. Trains have been electric for decades. Cars use natural gas quite a bit too. When I was in Lanzhou, all of the taxis and lots of cars would line up around the block to refuel on natural gas. It is cheaper. Old vehicles that used to belch smoke a decade ago are all gone.
Motorbikes and three-wheel carts here are more electric than not. Electric bikes and motor bikes have been around for a long time.

The biggest advantages to energy savings in my opinion in China are awesome public transport and well-planned cities with basic needs like food, medicine, and medical care nearly always nearby. Compare subway size of USand Chinese in cities.
Reforestation has also been huge, with many farms converted to tree farms all across China, and trees lining city streets.
The difficulties for the carbon footprint are dependence on coal and manufacturing, and simply dealing with a population four times that of the US in the same space. Add to that some individual freedoms in China that don't serve the environment--burning trash at home, ubiquitous unfiltered outdoor barbecue, and farmers burning crops to clear the land and to guard against
frost, and oh my gosh all those fireworks.

But back to those cars on the road. What is common in China is the need to show wealth when you eventually get some spare cash. A lot of Chinese buy a car just for show, and don't drive it very much. Additionally, those cars on the streets are all new, and burn clean.
Though I don't have numbers, I have lived in six different provinces, teaching oral discussion with students in universities coming from all over China. I have also watched the countryside by train cross country up, down and around.

Jin nian kuai le. Happy Chinese New Year.


Sorry Lrx, that reply was supposed to go to Thomas Jefferson.


Sorry , that reply was for Thomas Jefferson.