A new era of clean transportation requires new leadership

by Mary Creasman, CalMatters


  • Transportation is responsible for about 40% of California’s emissions
  • Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier has stalled various efforts for cleaner transportation in California
  • Frazier pushed back against the Clean Cars Bill that would have transitioned cars to zero-emission by 2040 and worked against former Governor Jerry Brown’s goal of putting 5 million electric cars on the road by 2030
  • Frazier also asked the California Air Resources Board to suspend all proposed air quality regulations until 2021
  • Frazier has received thousands of dollars in money from oil companies and has held more than $1 million in Chevron stock
  • Removing Frazier and replacing any members of the Transportation Committee who won’t work to secure a clean transportation future is vital for a safe and healthy California

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform includes solutions for clean mobility to cut greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order N-79-20 banning the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035 is a great first step, but more is needed to secure climate stability. The Climate Center released a requested Executive Order in alignment with our Climate-Safe California Platform shortly before the Governor’s announcement. 

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It will take more than a few cycle lanes to make green, pandemic-proof cities

from Climate Home News


  • Cities worldwide are looking at ways to reduce car transportation by increasing bike lanes and pedestrian-only areas
  • Carlos Moreno, planning advisor to Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, says that the transformation of cities needs to align with Paris Agreement targets within the next 10 years
  • Though the pandemic reintroduced many people to alternative transportation, the risk factor of contracting COVID from public transportation has heightened fears 
  • The use of car transport in response to pandemic concerns will lead to a rise in emissions globally as overall emissions have already bounced back to just 5% below pre-pandemic daily levels
  • Polling from China shows that more people purchased their own vehicles after the outbreak and fewer people rely on public transportation as coronavirus still looms globally
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control called for more people to use private cars to get to work, inciting a backlash
    • Urban planning professor Lawrence Frank called this contradictory:

“Promoting private vehicle use as public health strategy is like prescribing sugar to reduce tooth decay”  

  • As people nationwide call for defunding the police and applying that money to other sectors of their community, urban redevelopment and transportation could be a possible redirect of those funds 
  • Adoption of the 15-minute city model, where are essential services are within a 15-minute walk away from housing, may be the solution for a green city

Increased air pollution from fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. The Climate-Safe California Platform offers solutions for clean mobility to reduce fossil fuel emissions and improve public health.

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Getting lighter and faster, e-bikes reach cruising speed

by Dimitra Kessenides, Bloomberg Businessweek 


  • The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increased interest in electric bicycles, or e-bikes for short, as a sustainable mode of transportation and exercise
  • Specialized Bicycle Components Inc., based in Morgan Hill, California, built their first e-bike in 2013. They now have seven e-bike models and their sales have doubled over the past three years
  • Owner Mike Sinyard believes the electric vehicle of the future will be e-bikes:

“There are analysts saying that the most important EV isn’t cars but bicycles”

  • Though they are surging in popularity, e-bikes are still pricey for some consumers 
  • Anisha Sharma, the lead for Deloitte’s Tech, predicts the number of bikers is likely to decrease this year due to work from home and lockdown mandates 
  • However, increases in city and suburban density may help push e-bikes forward as an alternative over a second car

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign includes supporting clean mobility by working with partners to establish incentives that will help cities safely weave carbon-free technologies like electric bikes into their infrastructure.

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Proposed California law would fast-track environmentally sustainable transit

by Carolyn Said, The San Francisco Chronicle 


  • Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) will unveil SB288, the Sustainable Transportation COVID-19 Recovery Act, which would streamline alternative transportation infrastructure projects
  • The proposed bill would fast track sustainable transportation projects that would typically take months or years for approval due to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
  • This bill would not provide any incentives or benefits to cars but would update transit stations, bus rapid transit lines, safer streets for biking and walking, repairs for bridge and transit storage, and new electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • Labor and environmental groups are supportive of the bill, which as of now is receiving no opposition
  • Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, sees this bill as an opportunity to jump-start the economy post-pandemic and provide many other benefits to California:

“Fast-tracking some of California’s most sustainable transportation and complete streets projects would bring jobs, revive local economies, and result in improved safety, less pollution, reduced traffic and enhanced public health.” 

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign calls for clean mobility solutions, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles.

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America is entering its third great bicycle revival

By Michael J. Coren & Dan Kopf


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have been riding bicycles as their form of transportation and for recreation.

  • According to market research firm NPD, sales of recreational bikes rose 121% to nearly 250,000 in March, while stationary exercise bikes and indoor stands nearly tripled to about 200,000 units.  Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reports that 57% more cyclists are hitting the bike trails across the United States
  • Affordable bikes are selling out and REI has reported they are selling four times as much cycling equipment compared to last year
  • Though bikes are increasing in popularity, most bikes are manufactured in Asia, and the coronavirus shutdown slowed production
  • This will be the third great bicycle boom in American history:
    • The craze lasted through an economic depression up until the wide availability of cars
    • Interest spiked again between 1965 and 1975 as faster, cheaper multi-speed bikes hit the market, causing more bikes to be sold than cars
  • Cities across Europe have encouraged more cycling and walking by banning cars on city streets, converting car lanes to bike lanes, and offering subsidized bike repairs. Similar efforts are being seen within the US
  • If the US wants to see more biking as a long term alternative to cars, there needs to be more dedicated infrastructure for cyclists in order to prevent accidents

The Climate Center supports the transition to clean mobility, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles and the adoption of alternative forms of transportation.

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Paris has a plan to keep cars out after lockdown

By Feargus O’Sullivan, City Lab


Anne Hildago, Mayor of Paris, France, wants to limit the use of cars once the city lifts its lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Mayor Hildago notes that poor air quality can lead to an increased risk for fatal effects of COVID-19:

“It will make the health crisis worse. Pollution is already in itself a health crisis and a danger — and pollution joined up with coronavirus is a particularly dangerous cocktail. So it’s out of the question to think that arriving in the heart of the city by car is any sort of solution, when it could actually aggravate the situation.”

  • Since public transportation use may encourage the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Hildago wants to use alternative modes of transportation like bicycles to curb emissions 
  • A “15-minute neighborhood” blueprint for creating a walkable city adopted by Paris earlier this year would see the city’s surface area taken away from car lanes and repurposed as community spaces
  • Once the lockdown is lifted, those planning to drive outside of a 100-kilometer zone around Paris will require official permission from national authorities
  • The city plans on creating new cycle paths that will be carved out from road space to shadow the route of three metro lines

The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign calls for investments and bold policies to support clean mobility, including a phase-out of all gas-powered vehicles.

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The results are In! Show us the numbers!

We live in the age of fit-bits and health apps that give us instant feedback on step-counts and calories. So why not carbon footprints? How about connecting the dots between self-care, the health of our planet and the power of collective, measurable climate actions? At ECO2school, we closely consider the impact of our transportation choices on climate change and enable students to notice it through a similar kind of feedback loop. Students like that walking and biking is directly under their control, can improve their health positively, and is an excellent carbon-free behavior choice.

A high school student can save about 100 pounds of CO2 on average by choosing to walk, bike, or skateboard to school once a week throughout the school year. This year student leaders at twelve Sonoma County high schools –  Analy, Casa Grande, Credo, El Molino, Healdsburg, Maria Carrillo, Montgomery, Petaluma, Piner, RUP, Santa Rosa, and Windsor – took action to encourage their peers to use active and other eco-friendly commute modes. By putting on events like the ECO2school Challenge, Walki for Guayaki, Cocoa 4 Carpools, and other walk and bike activities, they were able to prevent 25 tons of CO2 (50,000 pounds) from being emitted, reaching more than 10,000 students county wide!

At the end of the school year, we invited our student leaders, their families, and teacher champions to celebrate with us. There was camaraderie and celebration in a room full of 50 people. We recognize our youth leaders’ hard work and commitment to climate action throughout the school year. Three students were awarded The Climate Center’s World Changer’s Scholarship for $1000.

Many were hovering around the chocolate fountain, but students were eagerly gathered around data as well. Often during club meetings, students would express their frustration upon seeing their school parking lots full of cars despite efforts to encourage more walking and biking among their peers. “Are we really making any difference?” they would ask. However, looking at the data from their schools helped them quantify their success as a team and identify opportunities for greater impact.

Coming together gave students the opportunity to reflect on the improvements they could make as a team to boost the participation at their school. Students plan to take this back to their clubs next school year making climate action fun and impactful with tangible greenhouse gas reductions.

Walking and bicycling to and from school helps develop a lifelong habit and supports a community-wide norm of incorporating physical activity into daily routines. We hope our students will connect the dots as they choose to walk, bike, ride the bus, and board the SMART train and we hope you will too!