Does New York City’s PlaNYC 2030 Adequately Address Climate Change Issues?

An Assessment Framework for Cities Coping with Climate Change: The Case of New York City and its PlaNYC 2030 (22 page pdf, Yosef Jabareen, Sustainability, Sep. 3, 2014)

Today we review a critique of New York’s much heralded action plan, published in 2005, to address the challenges facing that city from climate change. Using eight evaluating“concepts”, the author praises the city’s approach to physical aspects such as land, water and air and to a lesser extent, the proposed use of renewable energy, but criticizes the lack of public participation in the development and execution of the plan, especially at the local community level in an extremely multi-community and multi-ethnic urban area.

Official seal of New York City

Official seal of New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Was the Club of Rome Correct in Warning of a Global Collapse of Resources and Population?

Is Global Collapse Imminent? An Updated Comparison of The Limits to Growth with Historical Data (22 page pdf, Graham M. Turner, Melbourne Sustainable Society Insti¬tute, Aug. 2014)

Also discussed here: Limits to Growth was right. New research shows we’re nearing collapse (Graham Turner and Cathy Alexander , theguardian, Sep.2, 2014)
Today we review a study from Australia that compares the business as usual scenario to 2100 presented by the Club of Rome in its Limits to Growth book to the observed trends in population, resource depletion and pollution for the last 40 years. Results indicate a very close match and leads to a fear that the collapse that was indicated in the BAU scenario around 2030 may still take place, given the reluctance of many of the world’s largest resource consumers and polluters (China, USA, Russia, Brazil, Canada, etc) to replace carbon fuel with alternative fuels. Added to that is the very real concern that the transition to renewable energy, along with decreased population rates recommended by the Club of Rome may not be possible before the impending collapse.

club rome BAU scenarioclob of rome env BAU

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How Does Air Pollution Affect the Health of the Elderly?

Time after Time: Environmental Influences on the Aging Brain (Elizabeth Grossman, Environmental Health Perspectives, Sep. 2, 2014)
Today we review a paper that analyses the impacts of exposure to outdoor air pollution as it relates to the health of the elderly portion of the population – those over 80 are projected to quadruple since 2000. While exercise and intellectual stimuli can keep the brain healthy and may reduce the onset of Alzheimers, exposure to lead or organic pollutants may decrease the defensive mechanisms and increase vascular problems.

oldage pollution

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Are LRTs and Subways becoming Obsolete?

By 2040, We Won’t Need Subways (Candice Malcolm, Huffington Post Blog from Toronto Sun, Aug. 25, 2014)

Today we review a forward looking article which predicts that subways and Light Train Transit systems will be a fossil of the past when the technological revolution taking place in today and tomorrow’s cities replace them with driverless electric cars which are already a reality in some places. This outlook is not new to anyone who follows developments in urban mobility and makes one wonder about the wisdom of the Mayors in some cities, such as Toronto and Ottawa, where billions of dollars are projected and planned to buy obsolete forms of transportation that will not likely come close to meeting future demands.

English: A Tesla Roadster, Reva i and Ford Th!...

English: A Tesla Roadster, Reva i and Ford Th!nk electric cars parked at a free parking and charging station near Akershus fortress in Oslo, Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What are the Costs of Chauffering?

Evaluating Household Chauffeuring Burdens – Understanding Direct and Indirect Costs of Transporting Non-Drivers (11 page pdf, Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Aug. 24, 2014)

Today we review a research paper on the extent to which household chauffeuring of non-drivers, such as children or the elderly, is affected by the lack of public transit or the amount of urban sprawl. Analysis shows that up to 15% of total vehicle travel is spent chauffeuring and this sometimes contributes to traffic congestion because of return trips in an empty vehicle, as is the case when parents drive their children to school. This in turn has an economic cost (estimated at $332 M in the USA) which includes the operating costs, the driver’s time and the amount of congestion that slows other drivers commuting to work. As the number of elderly non-drivers doubles over the next decade, this aspect of vehicle travel will become even more important and calls for a higher priority for public transit as well as more attention to incentives for cycling and walking.


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How does Urbanization Affect Carbon Emissions and Climate Change Mitigation?

Urbanization and the carbon cycle: Contributions from social science (49 page pdf, Peter J. Marcotullio, Sara Hughes, Andrea Sarzynski3, Stephanie Pincetl, Landy Sanchez Peña5, Patricia Romero-Lankao, Daniel Runfola andKaren C. Seto, Earth’s Future, Aug. 20, 2014)


Today we review research into the links between various forms of urbanization and carbon emissions, a particularly important issue given the need to reduce these emissions in a world that is rapidly becoming more urban. The paper examines the social relationships and such questions as the size of cities, the impact of higher incomes, aging, household size and the potential impact of urban planning- the aging process alone may reduce emissions by up to 20% and the trend toward an older society will be an important factor to consider along with the future shape of cities.


Although an important factor, there is a compl...

Although an important factor, there is a complex relationship between urban densities and car use. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



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Why Does Canada’s Largest City Not Meet National Air Quality Standards?

The impacts of precursor reduction and meteorology on ground-level ozone in the Greater Toronto Area (11 page pdf, S. C. Pugliese, J. G. Murphy, J. A. Geddes, J. M. Wang, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Aug. 22, 2014)
Also discussed here: Despite significant reduction in smog-producing toxins, the Greater Toronto Area still violates Canada’s standards for ozone air pollution (Kim Luke, Science Daily, Aug. 22, 2014)
Today we review recent measurements of pollutants included in the Canada Wide Air Quality Standards as they apply to the City of Toronto which has the largest population (of people as well as pollution emitting vehicles) and urban area of all cities in Canada. Resultrs indicate that despite a reduction in emissions of NO2 and PM2.5 of 27 to 50% over the last 4 years, Ozone (O3) exceeded the standards in 2012 at all eight monitoring stations. The authors speculate that this was due to the meteorology of that year which showed a large number of sunny days and light winds which contributed to the production of O3 (from NO2 emissions 63% of which come from from vehicles and O2). They also recommend that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) be included in the standards.

ozone days-toronto

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