Friday, July 6, 2012

City Council Climate Action Plan Study, Wednesday August 1, 1012

Draft Climate Action Plan (DCAP) 

Posted 7/5/12 on City Council Notices.

Subject: City Council Study Session August 1, 2012; 2212 Beach Boulevard, City Council Chambers, 6:00PM-8:00PM 

The tire comes in, the land goes out
"To review and discuss the Draft Climate Action Plan (DCAP) written by the City Council Appointed Climate Action Plan Task Force (CAPTF) and KEMA Inc.; with monetary support from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 - Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and the City and County Association of Governments (C/CAG). Additional support provided by San Mateo County Energy Watch.

Comments on the DCAP should be directed to Elizabeth Claycomb via email at; or by U.S. Mail, Attention: Elizabeth Claycomb, Management Analyst, Planning Department, City of Pacifica, 170 Santa Maria Avenue, Pacifica CA 94044. She may be reached via telephone at 650-738-7341. Comments will be accepted through August 1st."

For more information on the purpose of this Study Session click

Submitted by Jim Wagner 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Professor Steve Sinai said...

In section 2.6.2., the report got the math wrong when it came to air transport emissions.

They calculated Pacifica's percentage of US population at 0.013% instead of the actual 0.0013%.

They based other calculations off the wrong number, and thus overestimated the amount of global greenhouse gases attributed to air travel.

Professor Steve Sinai said...

Just to give a little perspective, according to the draft, Pacifica contributed 183,090 metric tons of CO2 emission in 2008. According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2008 the USA emitted (emote?) 5,022,300,000 tons of CO2. On a percentage basis, Pacifica is responsible for 0.000036% of US CO2 emissions.

So let's not pretend that anything Pacifica does is going to have any impact. If people are worried about climate change, they ought to focus on coal-fired power plants in China.

Professor Steve Sinai said...

Here's a link to the US Energy Information Administration report I referenced above.

Emission of Greenhouse Gases Report

Professor Steve Sinai said...

More info -

According to the following link, worldwide CO2 emissions in 2008 was 28,350,000,000 tons. (9.45 billion x 3.)

Pacifica's proportion of that was 0.0000064%

Hutch said...

I skimmed through the CAPS. I wonder how much this is costing us? Are these people getting paid? Because I did see where they want to set up a permanent committee.

Looks like a lot of the things they want to do will have zero impact. And why do we have a bunch of layman's interpreting science and what's the best direction to go? YES CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL. but the courts still out on exactly what the outcome could be.

One very important issue that I noticed was missing was any mention of subduction. subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate and sinks into the mantle. Pacifica is on a subduction plate. We are moving (sinking) under the San Andreas Fault. This could drastically affect sea level rise.

Can't we get the State or Federal scientists to draw up a plan? I don't know, it seems too important to be letting locals plan our strategy.

Anonymous said...

Can't we just call Bruce Willis?

Anonymous said...

This may be a last gasp of the eco-radicals to affect a complete no growth policy in this town. Not overtly, but covertly using the ruse of legislation to have a "plan" to address climate change (what used to be called global warming. Why the change?). Hutch is right, subduction zones create a tremendous amount of carbon when they spew out gases at vents and good ole volcanoes. Let's regulate that! Let's regulate farts! Full of methane.

Anonymous said...

You first.

Hutch said...

We have to be very careful not to make decisions based on emotion or false beliefs.

For example fluorescent bulbs are touted as better environmentally but they put huge amounts of mercury in our landfills and ground water. The Prius seems great but it creates more carbon to build one than a Hummer. Solar panels also create a huge amount of carbon in manufacturing. What seems the right choice is not always a better choice. And what seems bad is sometimes the better choice as in nuclear power which is cleaner and when done right is safe.

But it sounds better to some to hear about banning plastic bags, styrofoam and nuclear power even though these aren't the real problems.

We need to avoid decisions that sound great for political reasons but do little to help stop the problem.

Anonymous said...

The San Andreas fault is not a subduction plate but a slip-strike plate - the Cascadia Subduction Zone far north from here is indeed subducting under the North American Plate. Pacifica is not on that plate so subduction is not a huge issue for us. The slip-strike motion of the San Andreas is indeed an issue for us.This link provides some good information.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the facts!

ian butler said...

There are several statements I would like to respond to on this thread. One is the idea that Pacifica can't single-handedly impact Climate Change, therefore we shouldn't address it. To that I would counter that the only way to impact Climate Change is for every community to address it. If each community does it's part we can make a real difference, but if everyone waits for everyone else to do something nothing will get done.

Subduction Zones, volcanoes and farts have been around forever, and the earth can deal with them, it is the unprecedented addition of carbon from fossil fuels that is causing a worldwide emergency, and that is what we must address immediately.

Fluorsescent bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury, but it is less mercury than would be spewed into the atmosphere by coal fired power plants to power an incandescent bulb instead.

Likewise, a solar panel saves far more power than is used to make it, and the study that claimed that a Prius uses more resources than a Hummer was debunked years ago. Also, nuclear power creates hazardous waste that will be around for tens of thousands of years.

Lastly, plastic bags and styrofoam are filling our oceans at an alarming rate, and take hundreds of years to break down. It is impractical to try to remove all this pollution, the only thing we can do is stop making it worse.

I know it can be daunting to try and address all these environmental emergencies while trying to balance our city's budget, but there are ways to improve our bottom line without increasing our negative impact on the environment, and those are the kinds of solutions we need to try to look for.

Anonymous said...

Ian, we know you are an expert climatologist so I'm sure you know that along with volcanoes, subduction zones and yes farts, climate change has also been with us since the beginning of time. Just 150 years ago we were in a mini ice age, 5000 years ago sea levels were so high that the Bahama's were underwater. Sea level rise and fall are as natural as farts.

That's not to say we aren't making things much worse and we shouldn't clean up our act. But we need to understand that some of this may be natural and act accordingly.

Plastic bags and styrofoam have little impact on global carbon. And actually LED bulbs are far superior to CFL's. And at this point a a high MPG conventional vehicle is better in the long run than a Hybrid like a Prius.

I was amused at some concerned citizens opposing the Highway One widening which would cut down on cars idling in traffic and spewing much more poisons in the air.

Steve Sinai said...

Ian, as far as the impact Pacifica can have on global warming, you only have to look at the numbers. Given Pacifica's miniscule contribution to carbon emissions, anything we do will have no effect.

Catchy rhetoric along the lines of "global problem, local solutions" doesn't change reality. If anything, it takes the focus away from solutions that really matter.

Global warming needs to be dealt-with at the state, national or global-level. That's not shirking responsibility. We need to pinpoint the biggest contributors to global warming and address those.

For example, encouraging the replacement of coal-fired power plants with gas-powered ones, or improving the technology and affordability of electric cars.

Nobody looks to Pacifica for leadership on environmental issues, so just because we do something doesn't mean other communities will. Looking at the names on the local climate change committee, I have no doubt that their main goal is to use climate change as an excuse to stop development.

This is another example of a few people who willingly sacrifice Pacifica so that, in the false belief that they're saving the world, they can feel good about themselves.

Hutch said...

Our real problems going forward are China and India. The Chinese people are predicted to be buying 30 million new cars a YEAR by 2020. And their factories and coal plants spew unregulated toxins by the trillions of tons. They are outpacing every country as far as carbon emissions. Even if the US stopped all damaging activity tomorrow China will nullify any gains we make. And India is not far behind.

Our only hope is convincing these countries to stop or inventing a machine that will gobble up the excess carbon.

Superman save us.

Anonymous said...

"The San Andreas fault is not a subduction plate but a slip-strike plate - the Cascadia Subduction Zone far north from here is indeed subducting under the North American Plate. Pacifica is not on that plate so subduction is not a huge issue for us. The slip-strike motion of the San Andreas is indeed an issue for us.This link provides some good information."

Brilliant! What does the location of a subduction plate or tectonic shift have to do with earth-created carbon? Are there air barriers so Pacifica won't be affected by a spew of Mt St Helens?

Actually, farts may be the real culprit here. Or McDonalds for that matter. Massive feedlots with millions of cows farting in unison polluting the air. Then humans feed at McDonalds and in turn fart in mass. It's all Ronald's fault. Dum clown.

July 9, 2012 11:32 AM

Anonymous said...

Listen to anon@239..forget the amateur geology and stick to fart science. Big in Pacifica!

Anonymous said...

I just love you guys......
What is it with guys and farts?
You just can't help yourselves.

Professor Steve Sinai said...

I took Hutch's original mention of subduction as questioning whether Pacifica would rise or fall as one plate slid under another, and not about emissions from things like volcanoes.

Since the San Andreas fault isn't a subduction fault, it's not something we have to worry about. In fact, since it's a slip-strike fault, it reduces the chance that Pacifica will be hit by a tsunami. It's the subduction zones that cause big tsunamis, as the stress at the border of the plates causes them to bend. Eventually the stress becomes too much, and the platese shoot up like a flipper, creating a tidal wave.

Hutch said...

We are in fairly close proximity to a huge subduction fault that could cause a serious Tsunami threat. The Cascade Subduction Zone Runs from Northern Ca to the border with Canada

You are right that Pacifica is not on a subduction plate.

But here's another reason sea levels rise. El Nino warms water which expands and causes significant rise in local sea leval.

Geo George said...

Eventually we're all going to be in Alaska. We'll leave SF behind and be on our way. I'm in for the ride. Wonder if it will be cold or underwater. Maybe the climate task force for Alaska can let us know since we're headed their way. Maybe our own task force can plan for the move. Or maybe, just maybe, we'll be looking at the underside of Alaska, or whatever is left there.

ian butler said...

I don't pretend to be a climate expert, but rely on those who are experts:

While it is true that China and India are rapidly increasing their carbon emissions, their per-capita emissions still pale in comparison to ours. The US ranks 12th in per-capita emissions while China is 78th and India is 145th.

We can hardly demand those countries to curb their emissions while spewing far more than them per-person.

Although each of us individually contributes an even smaller percentage of greenhouse gasses than our city does collectively, that doesn't let us off the hook. It is each of our responsibility to make our carbon footprint as small as possible.

Every time we walk or ride our bike rather than driving our car, we are making a positive contribution to our planet. Likewise, each time we use a reusable bag, buy locally produced goods, plant a tree or clean a beach, we are making a real difference. All those little acts add up, and we can't let the sheer immensity of the problem cause us to give up.

We can quibble about the specifics of the climate committee's report, but it is an important first step, and I for one am grateful that our city has undertaken that step.

Steve Sinai said...

I should clarify that my main complaint with the Climate Committee report is the recommendation that home owners, home sellers and builders be required to spend thousands of dollars to meet goals that I find to be arbitrary, unrealistic, and primarily symbolic.

Home owners and home sellers are already on the hook for thousands of dollars to repair their sewer lines. If the city council approves this particular recommendation, the total charges for someone wanting to sell a home can can easily be over $10,000.

People in the developing world aren't going to care about what Pacifica does when it comes to global warming.

todd bray said...


reread the document.

your complaint is unfounded

Steve Sinai said...

I reread it. My complaint is not unfounded.

How about telling me what you found to be unfounded, rather than your typical lazy-ass response, Todd.

Steve Sinai said...

The following is on page 35 of the Climate Action Plan -

The city of Pacifica will develop an ordinance requiring all residential and commercial properties that are undergoing title transfers to meet minimum energy efficiency and water efficiency standards. The ordinance could be phased in after 12 to 18 months of voluntary education and promotion to local residents. The ordinance could be modeled after Berkeley’s RECO and CECO ordinances that require title-transfer properties to comply with energy and water efficiency measures, such as installing ceiling insulation, low-flow toilets and showerheads, and so forth. The city of Berkeley’s measure caps total costs for residential energy upgrades under the ordinance at three-fourths of 1 percent of the residence’s total sale price.

Hutch said...

That's a ridiculous argument Ian. How can you compare "per capita" emissions with 1 billion Chinese and 1 billion Indians verses 500 million Americans? Nice try professor.

In fact China is already the #1 industrial source of carbon dioxide, the most important global-warming pollutant. And they have been for years.

China is also the worlds larges energy consumer:’s-largest-energy-consumer-surpasses-the-u-s/

Hutch said...

Good catch Steve. That seems extremely burdensome on sellers/buyers/builders.

Steve Sinai said...

How about this one Hutch. Remind you of the last Quarry proposal? It's on page 40 of the Climate Action Plan -

Pacifica should incorporate smart growth principles into its General Plan update to promote both mixed-use and higher density residential development closer to existing transit routes, thereby encouraging transit-oriented development and meeting the goals of SB 375. Specifically, the city should map and identify the specific neighborhoods in Pacifica where there is either access to existing public transportation or a need for additional public transit options, such as a city shuttle service. A further step would include these existing and potential transit hubs in the planning process and identify where either mixed-use development and/or higher density residential development is appropriate, given walking or biking distance to the identified transit hubs. Locating higher density development within a half mile of existing shopping areas should also be encouraged. This planning strategy will promote the development of small grocery stores and dry goods retail stores in all neighborhoods as a way to reduce driving within Pacifica, thereby making our community more livable and sustainable.

Hutch said...

Yeah Steve, they could have had a little ecco community going in the quarry but they blew that one.

todd bray said...


It suggests creating an ordinance. It also suggests that any required improvements be capped at 3/4 of 1 % of a property's value. Capped.

By all means voice your concerns, but don't say xyz will happen when there is no xyz to happen... yet

Steve Sinai said...

You're playing rhetorical games, Todd. Are people only supposed to be against proposals after they actually pass?

If that's the case, you can't complain about proposal to widen Highway 1 until the money is allocated and it's approved.

Hutch said...

1% property sales is a pretty large amount. $7000 on average. Thats crazy.

todd bray said...

No Steve, I'm merely pointing out your complaint is unfounded because at issue, for you, is a suggestion in a draft document.

I think you have a concern, not a complaint.

Also, look up the meaning of rhetorical.

Hutch said...

I think rhetorical could work there. "You're playing rhetorical games" Games in which you expect no answer.

Good name for a band. Yeah.

Steve Sinai said...

So I take it you're not going to complain about the Highway 1 widening project, Todd?

Anonymous said...

Correction: Todd's quick to make negative comments about others, except when he's too busy whining about negative comments directed at him.