Making Climate Change Part of the Local Transpo Debate

As the leaders of the G-8 meet in L’Aquila, Italy, to discuss how to tackle climate change on the global level, we bring you a report from Streetsblog Network member GreenCityBlueLake about a victory on the local level in Ohio.

It shows how advocacy organizations can reframe the debate over transportation spending so that addressing climate change is an explicit goal for regional authorities:

1630675139_63906f82f1_m.jpgPlanning for fewer of these in Northeast Ohio. Photo by undergroundbastard via Flickr.

Thanks to the advocacy of the GreenCityBlueLake Institute in recent months, regional plans in Northeast Ohio will be changed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.…

When two of the region’s transportation agencies—the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) — released drafts of their long-range transportation plans in early 2009, they glossed over the impact of climate change.… [N]either mentioned climate change as a serious challenge to the region. Nor did they include reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as a criteria for setting goals.

In response, GCBL staff met with agency staff and board members and explained what other regional planning agencies (such as the one for the Columbus region) and federal agencies are doing to address climate change. We outlined how they could add climate change language to their plans. We shared our climate change transition plans
and explained how they could be consistent with the goals and vision of long-range transportation plans. And communicated these outreach efforts here.

As a result of our work and public comments, NOACA recently amended goal Number Two of its 2030 long-range plan
to specifically identify climate change. Just as important, NOACA promised to initiate an effort to develop a more detailed climate change policy for the region.…

With AMATS, GCBL engaged in the public debate by posting about the need for climate change as part of the Summit County area’s long-range plan. And our staff met with AMATS board members individually. As a result of the increased awareness, AMATS recognized the region faces a significant challenge, and, thus, adopted climate change language in their 2030 Regional Transportation Plan. Now the agency is beginning to prioritize its projects and review their performance through the lens of carbon reduction.

In other network news: Yesterday, we brought you New Geography‘s take on telecommuting; today, World Streets has a post by Jack Nilles on the same topic. The MinusCar Project in Sioux Falls, SD, updates us on a citizen-driven initiative to mark streets in that city so that light-change sensors detect cyclists as well as cars. And Bike Portland reports on a second credit union that wants to lend you money to purchase a vehicle. A two-wheeled vehicle.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Why Federal Efforts to Link Transportation to Climate Change Matter

|
Cross posted from the Frontier Group.  Twenty-five years ago this spring, I was a fresh-faced undergrad at Penn State enrolled in a course on existential threats to civilization, including climate change. We knew then (and yes, with a reasonable degree of certainty we did know) that emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases were […]
Nobody wants this.

Mayors Seek Transit Funds To Fight Climate Change

|
A coalition of mayors wants Congress to declare a "Marshall Plan" against climate change by spending on mass transit to curb air pollution in their cities. The mayors of Atlanta, Honolulu, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, and Portland, Ore., implored senators at a climate hearing on Capitol Hill last week to invest in renewable-energy programs in order to create jobs and fund bus and rail systems, with the goal of weening people off gas-polluting vehicles.

Battle of the Weatherpeople

|
It’s not just the weather that’s in an uproar these days, it’s the weatherpeople, too. After Heidi Cullen, host of the Weather Channel program "The Climate Code," wrote on her blog that she thought forecasters who deny manmade climate change were uneducated on the issue and should perhaps have their American Meteorological Society credentials revoked, […]

Boxer Delays Senate Climate Bill Until September

|
This was supposed to be a big week for action on climate change in the Senate — but it’s ending with Republicans rubbing their hands in glee as the Environment and Public Works Committee delays its unveiling of legislation on carbon emissions. Senate environment committee chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) (Photo: AP) As Reuters reports this […]

Adding More Transportation to the Climate Change Mix

|
…How about this one? (Photo: Wellsy’s World) Is this senator gettable for the climate bill? (Photo: Washington Post) Nate Silver’s new analysis of the state of play on climate change in the Senate makes a convincing argument that a carbon cap-and-trade system can become law this year. In fact, it raises the question of whether […]