Posts

There is little evidence that mass transit poses a risk of coronavirus outbreaks

by Maxine Joselow, Scientific American


Highlights

  • Public transportation advocates say that transit can play a crucial role in the pandemic era by reducing air pollution that makes people more susceptible to COVID-19.
    • Subways account for 76% less carbon emissions than the average vehicle carrying a single person
    • More single-occupant vehicles on the road will have long term climate and health effects
  • A study of COVID-19 outbreaks in Paris showed that zero outbreak clusters originated on the city’s metro lines from May to June, but newer reports show that four outbreak clusters stemmed from public transportation
  • In Japan, public transportation did not account for any outbreaks, but clusters were traced back to bars and live music venues
  • There are no comparable studies on outbreaks on public transit within the United States 
  • The risk of using public transit is low if everyone is adhering to mask rules and physical distancing

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.


Read More: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/there-is-little-evidence-that-mass-transit-poses-a-risk-of-coronavirus-outbreaks/

Free photo - ST-Picturedesign from pixabay

London’s Covid-safe commute idea: Open-air buses

by Feargus O’Sullivan, Bloomberg


Highlights

  • With the pandemic still raging and people still fearing public transportation, London is considering using their open-air double-decker tour buses as a means of everyday transport
  • This comes as 70% of Londoners polled say that they no longer feel comfortable commuting by public transit
  • Few tourists are in the city and these tour buses are mostly unused and parked, waiting for the moment when tourism and travel resurges 
  • An on-demand bus company named Snap is heading this venture and has already deployed test runs of the service
  • Snap CEO Thomas Ableman doesn’t want to see more cars on the road as the city begins to reopen:

“The Tube in London is currently at 30% of its usage before the pandemic, while car use is at about 80% of where it was pre-pandemic…We really don’t want a car-based recovery to this crisis, so we need to find solutions that people are comfortable with — and you can’t get a more Covid-secure means of transport than an open-topped bus.”


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.


Read More: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-24/will-london-commuters-opt-for-open-air-bus-rides?sref=ABTRBDIh

Scientists unveil a plan to prevent the next pandemic (and save nature at the same time)

by Shannon Osaka, Grist


Highlights

  • Preventing forest destruction, ending wildlife trading, and surveillance measures on emerging diseases before they spread are the tactics scientists are hoping will prevent the next pandemic, as published in the nature journal Science
  • Forest destruction, particularly in tropical areas, causes animals to venture into human-populated areas in search of a new habitat to call home, increasing the risk of human to animal disease transfer
  • Wildlife is sometimes sold near livestock, creating an environment where species to species diseases can be spread
  • Many policies are being passed to keep high-risk animals that are likely to carry diseases out of food markets
  • Aaron Bernstein, a contributing author of the paper, recommends governments monitor disease “hot spots” and administer tests on people who regularly work with livestock
  • The total costs for these prevention efforts could be between $22 and $31 billion a year
    • Comparatively, government spending on the pandemic worldwide has cost over $9 trillion
  • These prevention efforts would also yield environmental benefits such as the preservation of tropical forests that help sequester carbon from the atmosphere

Preserving and managing wildlands for carbon sequestration and resilience is a key strategy in The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://grist.org/climate/scientists-unveil-a-plan-to-prevent-the-next-pandemic-covid-and-save-nature-at-the-same-time/

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

from Climate Home News


Highlights

  • 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.


Read More: https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/06/12/will-take-cycle-lanes-make-green-pandemic-proof-cities/

How wildfires make COVID more dangerous

by Julia Rosen, The New York Times


Highlights

  • With wildfire season fast approaching, concerns about fire smoke as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic are rising
  • Scientists worry that wildfire smoke will have effects for months as a recent study in Montana showed that smoky summers led to more severe flu seasons the following winter
  • People who contract COVID while also inhaling smoky air from fires could experience more severe effects of the coronavirus
  • Preparing for smoke beforehand will help prevent some respiratory effects:
    • Using new filters in your home or purchase a portable air filter
    • Using N95 respirator masks for smoke instead of cloth masks
    • Take advantage of windy days where the smoke temporarily clears to get some fresh air

Increased air pollution from fires and fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read More: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/climate/wildfires-smoke-covid-coronavirus.html

Over 5,600 fossil fuel companies have taken at least $3bn in US Covid-19 aid

by Emily Holden, The Guardian


Highlights

  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) released data showing that oil and gas drillers, coal mine operators, refiners, and pipeline companies have taken advantage of federal coronavirus aid
  • Companies include: Navajo Transitional Energy Company, CCU Coal and Construction, Sunflower Electric Power Corporation, and thousands more
  • Four companies that received aid were recently listed in the top 10 drilling rig operators in Texas 
  • The estimated $3 billion in aid taken by these companies is thought to be a lower estimation than what was actually given. It is expected that the actual dollar amount is closer to $7 billion
  • Though these businesses were not exempt from receiving aid funds, all of the aid should’ve gone to smaller business, not giant polluting corporations
  • Jesse Coleman, a researcher for Documented, believes that giving aid to the oil industry is a waste of taxpayer money:

“We should not be wasting taxpayer dollars on an industry that’s in a tailspin of its own making, especially when it seems intent on bringing the whole planet down with it.”

  • California biofuel company Pacific Ethanol also received aid funds even though they have a long history of environmental violations

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/07/fossil-fuel-industry-coronavirus-aid-us-analysis

Image by pxfuel.

What greater good? COVID is unmasking America’s collective action problem

by Shannon Osaka, Grist


Highlights

  • The failure of Americans to wear protective masks in order to keep themselves and those around them safe highlights a collective action issue the country faces
  • The climate crisis is the world’s most notorious collective action problem because all countries would need to participate and lower emissions all together
  • Political party preference illustrates that democrats are likely to support actions that benefit communities as a whole, while conservatives are more individualistic 
  • A poll by Morning Consult discovered that those who worry about climate change are more likely to wear masks to protect themselves and others from coronavirus than those who choose not to wear masks

The Climate Center’s Theory of Change asserts that by engaging and mobilizing just 3.5 percent of the population, we can succeed in creating effective change for our climate. This means that we can address this crisis without support from climate deniers. The Climate Center’s Climate-Safe California campaign is a powerful solution to the climate crisis and is built on our Theory of Change.


Read More: https://grist.org/politics/covid-masks-reveal-americas-collective-action-problem/

In pandemic recovery efforts, polluting industries are winning big

by Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment 360


Highlights

Polluting industries such as airlines and fossil fuel companies have been lobbying for bailout funds and loosening of environmental regulations during the COVID-19 crisis

  • Bailouts and lack of environmental regulations will create a  high-carbon legacy that will last much longer than the current pandemic
  • Since the pandemic, U.S. officials have finalized or advanced proposals to ease restrictions on logging, grazing, pipeline safety, and the disposal of radioactive waste
  • Changes to the Clean Water Act, Endangered species Act, and other environmental review processes have allowed the Trump administration to advance its anti-regulatory agenda
  • Chinese and South Korean Governments are also giving their coal industries a boost during this time
  • In Brazil, illegal loggers, miners, and ranchers continue their exploitation of the Amazon rainforest as the government does nothing to prevent these crimes
  • The CARES Act pandemic relief package allowed big polluters to obtain more deductions and bailout money

Fossil fuel divestment and the transition to 100% clean energy is critical to achieving The Climate Center’s goals under the Climate-Safe California Platform.


Read More: https://e360.yale.edu/features/in-pandemic-recovery-efforts-polluting-industries-are-winning-big

COVID-19

Fact check: The coronavirus pandemic isn’t slowing climate change

by Matthew Brown, USA Today


Highlights

  • The shelter in place measures spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a drop of emissions, but this drop was not significant enough to significantly slow climate change
  • Although The International Energy Agency projects global carbon emissions will fall by 8%, this year is set to be the hottest year ever on record
  • Alex Hall, a professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at UCLA, explains that the environmental effects of the pandemic will not have lasting effects:

“Because changes in the climate are the result of decades of accumulating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, one year of slightly falling emissions will not counter long-term effects.”

  • Carbon sequestration is important because the atmospheric concentration of CO2 has been building up for years and will take longer to return to normal levels
  • Emissions reductions due to the pandemic are not sustainable because they are the result of an economic disaster and will ultimately rise again once the economy stabilizes

Increased air pollution from fires and fossil fuel emissions makes all of us more vulnerable to the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a safe and healthy future for all, endorse the Climate-Safe California Platform to implement scalable solutions that can reverse the climate crisis.


Read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/05/11/fact-check-coronavirus-pandemic-isnt-slowing-climate-change/3090790001/

Proposed California law would fast-track environmentally sustainable transit

by Carolyn Said, The San Francisco Chronicle 


Highlights

  • 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.


Read More: https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Proposed-California-law-would-fast-track-15339569.php