The Supervisors Priority of Convenience: Climate Change

On December 31st 2014 the Marin IJ posted an article: Starting 2015: A Chance to Reboot Priorities that shared that the Marin County supervisors have decided “Topping their list are local priorities aimed at climate change”. My response – how very very convenient for a group of people with an agenda of rapid development and pet transit projects such as extending SMART.

I ask, why isn’t one of the following the #1 priority:

  • Dealing with the unfunded pension crisis
  • Dealing with increasing traffic & congestion (an issue affecting the most people, with SMART Sonoma County is planning 25,888 new housing units, placing even more burden on highway 101)
  • Drought (we may have rain now, but we are in a long term extreme drought)
  • Dealing with / helping the  homeless

If the #1 Priority is Climate Change Why Don’t Agendas Align With This?

If climate change is indeed the supervisors #1 priority then we should expect the Marin IJ article and the supervisor’s focus to be about the #1 method of abating greenhouse gases according to Marin County’s own Climate Action Plan Update: Promoting the use of solar panels.

Greenhouse Gas Reduction StrategiesHowever far better to tie the #1 priority to a “sounds right” we have to fight climate change to save the planet policy, and not mention solar panels. Why? Because then the supervisors can tie their favorite projects du jeur to priority #1 – climate change – and many uninformed sheeple will go along with it.

Just look at the county’s own draft climate action plan analysis of how we can make the biggest difference to climate change and assess if they are truly acting on this agenda.

 If they are being honest then the news and policy should be dominated by the top programs:
- encouraging and promoting rooftop solar (abates 7,036 tons of CO2)
- methane capture on farms (abates 5,601 tons CO2)However instead we are being beaten over the head that we must pursue:
- transit oriented development (abates just 44 tons CO2, just 0.1% of all the measures that might be pursued)

- make the SMART train a priority

Pushing SMART as a Solution to Climate Change

 Even if you believe the SMART Dowling ridership numbers (even SMART, TAM and MTC don’t so you’re a fool if you do) then SMART barely makes any difference.
Commissioner [and Marin Supervisor] Arnold noted that although the updated ridership projections don’t seem to match original projections, a joint review of the Dowling report between SMART, MTC and Dowling resulted in agreement that the numbers were incorrect. (Source: Transportation Authority of Marin meeting notes, June 2011 SMART board meeting)
If you believe  realistic ridership numbers, taking SMART’s 1.1mpg diesel multiple units emissions into account and realizing it won’t achieve 32.5 average riders (what’s being achieved on “hybrid rail” like SMART that actually goes to major central business districts), and you consider that 70% of riders are displaced bus riders, then you’ll know that SMART actually moves the needle the wrong way and makes emissions much worse.Don’t buy into the superficial resolutions being propagated here by the IJ and by the supervisors.

  • Question the numbers
  • Run the math
  • Ask the questions…
Recognize that climate change is being used as the excuse to justify development and transit projects that are completely unnecessary and that will become an increasingly large imposition on our everyday lives. Question – how much will high density and expensive transit projects be pushed on us in the name of fighting climate change before most people awaken and realize our quality of life has been needlessly diminished in the name of special interests: developers, Wall Street Banks funding development and the mortgages of the buyers, and lobbying companies disguised as law firms that hire former politicians to progress their agenda and make campaign donations.