The Australian bushfires are displaying the effects of climate change. We found a few headlines that show signs of progress in curbing human carbon emissions, like a proposed natural gas ban in Bellingham. These particular stories show that climate action is incremental and requires a good deal of effort.
By Mike Baker, The New York Times, January 5, 2020.
- Bellingham, Wash. City Council is considering a natural gas ban on all residential heating to drastically reduce the city’s carbon footprint.
- Bellingham adopted its first climate plan in the 2000’s, putting the city on track to carbon neutrality by 2050. It’s looking accelerate that timeframe to 2035.
- The proposal is facing heavy opposition, including a $1 million campaign from a Northwest coalition to promote the use of natural gas. It also faces questions about the costs of heating alternatives, namely electric heat pump systems.
By Michelle Baruchman, Seattle Times, January 6, 2020.
- The Fremont Bridge and Second Avenue bike lanes saw record bike traffic in 2019, according to automate counters. Ridership increased 12% across Fremont Bridge and nearly 79% on Second Avenue, compared to 2018 counts.
- Analysts and cycling advocates identified three contributing factors: “Traffic congestion frustrating drivers and bus passengers last year from the three-week Highway 99 closure and eviction of buses from the downtown transit tunnel, expansion of the city’s protected bike-lane network, and the popularity of electric-assist bicycles.”
- Additional protected bike lane projects are schedule for this summer along “Ninth Avenue North between Denny Way and Harrison Street and a block of Bell Street just south of Denny.”
By Trevor Houser and Hanna Pitt, Rhodium Group, January 7, 2020.
- The Rhodium Group estimated that US greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2.1% in 2019. This is due largely to the decline of coal consumption.
- While coal dropped to its lowest level since 1975, a sharp increase in natural gas consumption and stagnancy in transportation, industry, building and other emissions handcuffed further GHG reduction.
- The US has reduced GHG emissions by 12.3% from 2005 levels, but are not on track to achieve goals set by the Copenhagen Accord (17% by 2020) or the Paris Agreement (26-28% reduction by 2025).
Feature photo by Wei Zeng on Unsplash.