Blaming city dwellers for buying things outside the city limits, because, climate

From the POTSDAM INSTITUTE FOR CLIMATE IMPACT RESEARCH (PIK) and the “buying from Amazon.com causes climate change” department comes this pointless paper that basically says people in cities should get their stuff at the corner store, and walk, [rather ] than relying on goods that require transport. Meanwhile the authors are oblivious to their own unnecessary carbon footprint created by COP23 to announce this paper, where they could have used teleconferencing instead.

Cities can cut greenhouse gas emissions far beyond their urban borders

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by urban households’ purchases of goods and services from beyond city limits are much bigger than previously thought. These upstream emissions may occur anywhere in the world and are roughly equal in size to the total emissions originating from a city’s own territory, a new study shows. This is not bad news but in fact offers local policy-makers more leverage to tackle climate change, the authors argue in view of the UN climate summit COP23 that just started. They calculated the first internationally comparable greenhouse gas footprints for four cities from developed and developing countries: Berlin, New York, Mexico City, and Delhi. Contrary to common beliefs, not consumer goods like computers or sneakers that people buy are most relevant, but housing and transport – sectors that cities can substantially govern.

“It turns out that the same activities that cause most local emissions of urban households – housing and transport – are also responsible for the majority of upstream emissions elsewhere along the supply chain,” says lead-author Peter-Paul Pichler from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). “People often think that mayors cannot do much about climate change since their power is restricted to city limits, but their actions can have far-reaching impacts. The planned emission reductions presented so far by national governments at the UN summit are clearly insufficient to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the target agreed by 190 countries, therefore additional efforts are needed.”

Housing and transport cause most city emissions, locally but also upstream

Cement and steel used for buildings take a huge amount of energy – typically from fossil fuels – to be produced, for instance. If a city instead chooses to foster low carbon construction materials this can drastically reduce its indirect CO2 emissions. Even things that cities are already doing can affect far-away emissions. Raising insulation standards for buildings for example certainly slashes local emissions by reducing heating fuel demand. Yet it can also turn down the need for electric cooling in summer which reduces power generation and hence greenhouse gas emissions in some power plant beyond city borders.

In transport, expanding public facilities can minimize local emissions from car traffic. This reduces the number of cars that need to be built somewhere else, using loads of energy. So this is a win-win. But, again, more can be done. Cities can decide from which sources they procure the power needed to run, for instance, their subway trains or electric buses. By choosing energy from solar or wind, city governments could in fact close down far-away coal-fired power plants.

Comparison of New York, Berlin, Mexico City, Delhi – applicable to cities across the world

Interestingly, while the greenhouse gas footprint in the four cities that the scientists scrutinized range from 1.9 (Delhi) to 10.6 tons (New York) of CO2 equivalent per person and year, the proportions of local to upstream household emissions as well as the relative climate relevance of housing and transport turn out to be roughly the same. The international reach of upstream emissions is vast but varies. In terms of emissions, Berlin’s global hinterland is largest, with more than half of its upstream emissions occurring outside of Germany, mostly in Russia, China and across the European Union. But also around 20% of Mexico City’s considerably smaller upstream emissions occur outside Mexico, mainly in the US and China.

“Measuring indirect emissions of urban populations so far has often been considered to be unfeasible, at least in a way that makes it possible to compare different cities,” says Helga Weisz, senior author of the study and a research domain co-chair at PIK. “We show that it is possible, but you have to invest the effort to actually do it.”

Her team analyzed huge amounts of existing data on economic input and output of different regions and successfully combined these with data on emission intensity of production in a lot of different sectors. The methodology that the scientists put together is in principle applicable in any place, enabling more effective collaboration between cities to reduce greenhouse gas emission footprints.

“The power of cities, open interconnected systems of great density, to tackle climate change even in times of uncertainty on the national and international level has been underestimated by both many local decision-makers and most of the international community,” says Weisz. “Cities must be encouraged and enabled to focus on their full emission spectrum – local and upstream – as they continue to develop their climate mitigation plans.”

###

Article: Peter-Paul Pichler, Timm Zwickel, Abel Chavez, Tino Kretschmer, Jessica Seddon, Helga Weisz (2017): Reducing Urban Greenhouse Gas Footprints. Scientific Reports [DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-15303-x]

Weblink to article: http://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-15303-x


I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this would be a perfect opportunity to buy something from Amazon right now, and have it delivered to your door, just for spite. This book in which I have a chapter would be a good start.

;-)

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111 thoughts on “Blaming city dwellers for buying things outside the city limits, because, climate

    • ka-tching

      That’s correct, the major reason for going further is high price, partly caused by taxation, partly caused by structural subsidy i.e. law that makes development of new areas, buildings, houses unlawful, expensive, or just difficult.

      Around here there was a small scandal when 5 km or 3 miles from the centre of a town with >100,000 people was considered too rural for development. The local Highest Court denied the town from developing the area, based on there is no railway to the planned area. This is braindead but a very good thing for those who happen to own property at better locations. I own a small property, less than 1000m2. I pay 1,900€ taxes annually for the property. I find this really awesome. Socialism – towards a brighter future!

      Guilt goes to Greens, but not only to them.

    • We will wait in line for our allotment of household necessities every payday as the only truckload of the week comes to our Wal-mart. Everything beyond that is a local market (or black market) for those connected to supply sources of items desired.
      Think planned austerity for the average J.Q.Public.

    • This was my first response to the article as well. Its akin to when people say killing animals is murder, you should just buy your meat at the store like everyone else. I can only explain this with cognitive dissonance or willful ignorance. Either way it is astounding.

  1. Left-wingers call them what you want – Have a world view where the world’s economy runs on local cottage industries powered by solar panels and wind mills. They want you to live in a high rise and down the road you will have to apply to the local authority for permission to travel, have children, and live past age 65.

    Was that a straw man? Sue me.

    • No, Steve Case, it is not a straw man. Cloth for clothing has to come from somewhere. Food for the table has to come from somewhere. The infrastructure involved in supporting any large civilization is massive. They fail or refuse to recognize that.

      • But that is irrelevant. If given the opportunity they would knock off most of humanity. “For the good of the planet”

      • squiggy,
        Dear soul, you are right.
        The ‘Ideal’ World for hard-core Watermelons is a world population of no more than 750 million.
        Probably 500 million.
        And you can bet that 90% of those – hugely reduced from the
        http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/#top20
        figure – at about 0018Z, 8th November – of 7,579,000,000 plus a few – will be employed (euphemistically) as serfs or – if female – concubines to the ELITE [privileged, watermelon, favoured] minority.

        Not a nice place to go.
        I am too old to be a serf, so may need to look at shaving my legs (Eeeeek!!)!

        Auto

      • 500 millions? I bet they rather have in mind numbers you had in mongolia or the pre-colombian america. less than 100 million

  2. Vancouver politically announced that it is one of the greenest cities around. No data required. The reality of big cities is that they are a scourge on the much larger rural surroundings. The elephant in the room presents itself as a political divide that widens as the narcissistic nemos enforce their agenda in ways that make no common sense to the rural land stewards who are directed to keep the heartbeat metronome of the city alive. Not my Amazon is the least of COP23’s worries. I wrote such thoughts on that quite a while ago.

    https://notonmywatch.com/?p=1151

  3. “I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that this would be a perfect opportunity to buy something from Amazon right now, and have it delivered to your door, just for spite.”

    Ditto. I have a range of polar bear books available from Amazon. My popular “Polar Bear Facts & Myths” is now available in English, French, and German.

    Or if a piece of thriller fiction suits your fancy, try my novel, EATEN.

    Supports what I do…including the latest update to “Twenty Reasons Not To Worry About Polar Bears” at my blog, which you can read for free.

    Susan

    • Thanks for a good reminder to get my xmas gift list together. Will order Climate Change: The Facts 2017 and Polar Bears: Facts & Myths. Look forward to reading both.

      I think maybe your novel Eaten too, for Christmas as a gift and then I can read it too. Goes with all the xmas theme…ice and snow, food…cute polar bears. When trekking around HudBay, or the Arctic, hopefully everyone carries pepper spray so as those hungry bears can have a little seasoning with their meal.

  4. Typical environmentalist hogwash with no substance and little thought. The water and air will never be clean enough for these people until man disappears.

  5. If I could find what I’m looking for down the street, I wouldn’t have tobuy over the internet. I just spent an hour
    driving to several auto parts store to find a barbed fuel line hose connector. No luck. Back home and bought from EBAY.

    • “barbed fuel line hose connector” – I needed a spring clip for an ic engine vacuum line. None available in this city of 200,000. One was available for about $6 + postage from the other side of the country. I got 60, as 10 of 6 sizes on eBay for $8 total. That should cover my needs and those of my successors …

      • “spring clip” — This ol’ country, shade tree mechanic would have just wrapped a turn or two of baling (tie) wire around the hose end and twisted it tight, without firing up either my computer or my temper. Cost =$0, and I have a lifetime supply!

  6. Is there any way – ANY way at all – to move these people to another planet? Ceti Alpha V, perhaps?

    How do they expect to have food produced to feed a massive population like the one this planet supports, WITHOUT these emissions that seem to disturb them so much?

    How do they expect clothing to appear?

    Is this all supposed to just suddenly appear out of thin air, perhaps by the Fairy Godmother winking one eye or the other?

    How are we supposed to heat our homes, cook and have light to read by without these things? Are we supposed to revert to tallow candles (stinky things!) and twig fires?

    We’re just supposed to shut down everything because they say so?

    Please, I beg who EVER funding this twaddle, I BEG you to ask these people to get some professional help with their problem. The disconnect from reality that is manifested in these reports becomes more and more disturbing every time I read one of them.

    • “Is there any way – ANY way at all – to move these people to another planet? Ceti Alpha V, perhaps?”

      Technically, you don’t have to move them to a defined location, just send them in a general direction.

    • Sara

      But it’s worse than that.

      I’ll use Greater London as an example, which is generally considered the area within the M25 motorway; a road encircling it about 18/20 miles outside the centre.

      Within this area, where air pollution is considered unacceptable there is not one single meaningful remaining power station. They are all located in the rural areas outwith the city that uses the damn electricity. There are no windfarms blighting the view of Big Ben and no solar farms sprawled out over acres of land which, of course, is far too expensive to waste on generating clean energy.

      Nor is there any meaningful agriculture within that area, everything is, of course, trucked in.

      Which is fine, I accept that as a fact of life. But when the coastal town of Liverpool, a fraction of the size of London exhibits higher levels of atmospheric pollution and no one hears about it. I get pissed off.

      To make matters worse, London raises more income, on top of the Congestion Charge (a £10 daily charge to drive a car in the area for which reduction in pollution was cited as a benefit when it was first proposed) with an additional Pollution Charge, now implemented over the last few weeks I believe, my levels of pissed offedness goes even higher.

      To elevate my levels of pissed offedness off the scale, we are then constantly subjected to the bleating’s of Londoners whining about their dirty air, that they contribute to, and could relieve themselves of by moving to the countryside.

      The wack jobs even wanted to blow tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers money building a ‘garden’ bridge over the Thames, pedestrian only of course, and covered in pretty trees and planters. More money than sense!

      Thankfully they were knocked back for most of the public money so went begging to the commercial sector and almost managed it, until they ran out of cash at the 11th hour.

      • Oh, I understand completely, Scot. I no longer live in Chicago because the Mayor Rahmbo has spent more money on bike paths and trails than he has on improving the streets and sanitation sections, which means that the rat population, under control by coyotes before Rahmbo was elected, are now out of control. And those bike paths and trails make users targets for violent criminals. In addition, because Rahmbo is afraid someone might try to shoot him (like anyone would waste an expensive bullet on him!), the rules about gun ownership in the city are so tight that carjackings have gone up 500% in the last year. In other words, fear now rules the city that I used to love.

        This part that you wrote: no one hears about it. – That should be rephrased as ‘no one CARES about it’. More accurate and more to the point.

        You have my sympathies. It’s about all I can give you.

    • Douglas Adams sent them all of in the second spaceship in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. No one followed! If only we could be so lucky. And I am looking forward to all the high rises made of timber and paper as less environmentally damaging than concrete. That will go down a treat in quake zones.

      Perhaps we could somehow get a law passed to require them to live as they preach. But that would surely take out all that lovely international travel paid for by someone else, probably me as a taxpayer. I somehow don’t they intend their preaching to apply to them. I had though until recently that 1984 was a novel. I now realise it was a documentary but he got the date wrong by a few years

      • Many things would change dramatically if the rule makers had to live with the consequences of their rules. Which is why, I suppose, historically large governments are the ruin of civilizations.

  7. Have they done the same calculation for the 170,000 souls in the city of Potsdam? Because, you know, physician heal yourself…and every molecule counts according to the meme.

  8. This illustrates one of the fundamental problems with the Left – they believe that all the good stuff they use and enjoy and which keeps them alive and healthy will still exists after they enact their fantasies.

    You would have thought that Venezuela would show them how false that it, but they just ignore that.And they ignore the real people, particularly women and children (infant and maternal mortality have all increased massively and needlessly in Venezuela) who are dying because of their delusions.

    Perhaps it is inevitable that we go through a similar collapse to teach people this stuff, perhaps this is why civilizations crumble, because people take for granted what keeps them civilized?

    Even in the 1980s, during the Cold War, I was not as pessimistic about the future as I am now.

    • Phoenix44

      “Even in the 1980s, during the Cold War, I was not as pessimistic about the future as I am now.”

      An astute observation. Although I think we all grow slightly more despairing at the idiocy we are surrounded by as we grow older and recognise how much of it there is.

    • It seems to be more a case of “X failed because they didn’t do it right” mentality. Even if something failed 200 times, maybe on the 201st, all the parameters will be correct and success will by had. We used to call it “wishful thinking”.

      • A recent poll found that 50% of millenials would live in a socialist or communist country if they could.

        I have just one thing to add.

        Delta is ready when you are.

      • MarkW
        “A recent poll found that 50% of millennials would live in a socialist or communist country if they could.”

        I have no data to refute that – if any exists.

        But the poor snowflakes must be having melt-downs trying to book flights to Maduro’s Socialist paradise of Venezuela.
        Many airlines simply won’t fly to anywhere there.
        I guess a trek by land from Columbia might be easy – or a boat/ferry from Aruba, Bonaire or Curacao.
        Or Trinidad (and Tobago).
        Oh well.

        Auto

      • Auto, give them rafts and sticks to propel themselves down there.
        Statistics: 20 million++ Russians starved to death during Stalin’s tenure because of Troifin Lysenko’s destruction of agriculture. 32 million++ Chinese, same thing under Mao Tse-Tung.
        Unless I’m mistaken, agriculture in Venezuela is probably sliding down a hole and may not recover unless Maduro drops dead or is done away with. God help them all.

      • I think it was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting a different result.

  9. Cities themselves hardly “produce” anything anymore, except services. And many of those are designed to suck money out of peoples’ pockets, especially tourists/visitors.

    • And most of the other services are government employees sucking money out of taxpayers’ pockets.

      Cities are about to become obsolete, and they don’t even realize it yet.

  10. Suppose that the people all walk to the store.

    Suppose that the local store gets goods for a hundred customers in one truck delivery.

    Suppose that the Amazon deliveries require that the same size truck drives around to a hundred different locations.

    It sounds like it is at least possible that the local bricks and mortar store could be more energy efficient than Amazon. YMMV, etc., etc.

    There is some opinion that Amazon will make traffic much much worse.

    Notwithstanding the above, I do use Amazon if I absolutely can’t get something locally or if I can save 75% (which is the case with today’s delivery). Otherwise I prefer to get out of the house, hustle down the road and interact with some live humans.

    • commieBob

      Amazons centralised distribution and online sales philosophy must be more efficient than bricks and mortar stores or, by definition, they would be out of business.

      On occasions I can have a bizarre item I couldn’t get locally for a reasonable price, delivered to me on the same day I order it, In central London they have a ‘within the hour’ delivery service. Wait until they get permission for drones, the whole country will have an hourly delivery service.

  11. This article makes clear that we should abandon cars, trucks, and other mechanical modes of transportation (other than bicycles). That would certainly put a crimp in modern terrorism, I suppose.

    That said, are these people behind the apparent lack of preparation for the next Carrington Event? Starving 90% of the world’s human population to death would seem to be right up their alley- after all, Stalin did it (for the greater good, doncha know!) but was unable to do it worldwide, because of those pesky Americans and their ridiculous ideas about freedom and humanity…

  12. The hard-core environmentalist, human haters (like Ehrlich and Holdren) think the ideal human population is around 100 million spread across the globe. A 98% reduction in human population. In their view AI robots would be our servants, farm workers for the physical stuff. A garden of Eden for the lucky. The elites, of course.

    It would likely be the other way around. A terminator world of Skynet-controlled robots chasing around and trying to exterminate the last 2%.

    Actually, I like the ideas in Tom Cruise’s Oblivion. Except for the extraterrestrial intelligence, it was probably closer to possibility. Tom Cruise’s character would be the modern-day Environmental warrior working with a fleet of killer robots to hunt down the last remaining humans.

  13. Just where do these researchers think any of the raw natural resources come from for “urban households’ purchases of goods and services”? Under the pavement, floating through the sewers?

    • It’s the same crowd that ignores or doesn’t consider the deep fossil fuel footprint and mineral extractions required to build, transport, and erect many millions of wind turbines, solar PV cells, electric cars.

      • joelobryan

        But they don’t see it, they don’t have to get their hands dirty, or break a sweat, never mind their backs to get any goods, so inconvenient manual labour don’t exist. The magic green pixie simply waves her wand and goods appear on the shelves, their houses are heated and lights are magically electrified.

    • We’re in desperate need of a Dirty Jobs reboot. Mike Rowe’s original is pretty good, but being produced by Discovery Channel there’s copious Greenie nonsense to wade through.

  14. Appears to be more of the retarded “We Are Still Incompetent In” campaign. The amount of cheerleading and virtue signalling required now with Trump as president in order to keep cognitive dissonance from overwhelming them has reached epic levels. They can’t bear the thought that their cherished CAGW ideology is dead in the water.

    • Stop saying it’s dead as literally millions of educated Westerners believe in every word of the preaching main stream mafia filled with backers of DDR based religion of anticapitalism.

      • It’s a zombie that will keep shuffling around until its legs fall off. Then it will drag itself around until its hands fall off. Even then it will keep trying to bite at passing ankles.

  15. If one was feeling generous one would assume that the shopping experience in Germany, a very rich country, is different from that in less favoured nations such as the UK.
    Here our experience since moving to outer Manchester 30 years ago is an example . When we first arrived there were no supermarkets (and of course no Amazon) in Altrincham, but within a few minutes walk there were bakers, fishmongers ,butchers, small bookshops, greengrocers , specialist wineshops, , hardware stores , a cycle repair shop run by an aged ex-Tour de France rider , etc . Then Sainsburys arrived , and Tesco and Waterstones and all the little shops disappeared within about 2 years . Only around the corner in Hale where the rich people live do the baker , butcher and fishmonger hang on , due to the custom of people who can afford to pay 50% more . I try to buy in Hale to support the small businesses , but our big shop is at the supermarket or Amazon for special items .
    It is not that people are not willing to use the small shops , it is that , except in rich neighbourhoods , they no longer exist in the UK.
    I think that in Germany there are restrictions on the siting of supermarkets , but not here so the conclusions from Potsdam team are not universally applicable.

      • Hugs

        That’s not necessarily so. With a smaller choice on offer you tend to buy what you went in for with a smaller retail outlet. With a supermarket they have a large marketing dept and 50 Years of using physchology to extract more money from your wallet than intended.

        Factor in convenience, less hassle and that there may well bemore car related costs going to a larger outlet miles from anywhere and the cost differences often disappear.

        Tonyb

    • Mike

      We are very fortunate here in coastal Devon that although not a RIch place we still have an old fashioned town centre with butcher, baker, cake shops, Bookshop, cheese shop, green grocer supplying mostly local produce where practicable, shoe shops, Locksmith, cafes, hardware shop, three small supermarkets, dentist, doctor etc

      Prices tend to be cheaper than in town if you factor in time and car parking charges, wear and tear etc and it’s a far more pleasant shopping environment and enables you to interact with REAL people!

      One shoe shop just closed though as people would come in, waste the assistants time in trying on shoes then leave and buy them from the Internet. We are also plagued by delivery vans bringing internet bought stuff to people who aren’t in. When they do deliver I am told that up to three out of four items are returned, especially clothes and shoes, as size and fit and colour are not what was wanted. It’s a very wasteful system.

      Local shopkeepers also tend to pay their taxes, unlike many of the Internet giants.

      shop locally and in season if you can.

      My main gripe is the ridiculous fashion for constantly drinking bottled water. Putting water in a plastic bottle then trucking it hundreds of miles is beyond crazy.you can’t be a self respecting so called guardian of the earth if you habitually do this in a developed country wth good water.

      My second gripe is bringing in produce such as apples from thousands of miles away when much tastier apples are rotting on the trees here.

      There is a happy medium between globalisation and always buying locally.

      Tonyb

      • Maybe it’s different in my country (Finland) but I sometimes purchase my stuff from super markets and no one is forcing me to buy anything I don’t want. How do you know that the small local businesses aren’t trying to “extract more money from you than intended”? Whatever that means. (They are forcing you to buy their products at gunpoint or something?)

        And what do you mean by “allowing you to interact with real people”? I’m pretty sure that the people in super markets are real living human beings with real lifes. Or maybe they are just robots, who knows. Although I personally go to store to buy stuff I need, not to talk meaningless things with people I don’t even know.

        My personal gripe with “local” businesses is that they aren’t truly local. Are the ingredients local? Are the equipment local? Are the vehicles local? Are the workers local? Where goes to line? Who gets to decide what is local and what is not? Many places aren’t even the same size, especially countries. US is a lot larger than Finland. Washington state and Florida are thousands of kilometers away but you could still say that if Florida resident buys things made in Washington that it’s “true American stuff, not the filthy foreign crap, ughh”. In Finland that would be the equivalent of buying things from the other side of Europe. Seems a bit silly to me. Are stuff from 10km away local? 20km? 50? 100? It sounds so arbitrary to me. I would like to see a truly local business that doesn’t import anything from “outside”, and then see how would that work out.

        It’s like “organic food”. People buy it but don’t know how to explain it, or why it is good. It just “feels” good which always seems to be the most important thing. Isn’t the product most important thing, and not arbitrary things like “being local” or what shoesize the store owner has? I personally buy stuff that I like and don’t buy stuff that I don’t like. If I think that the super market has better goods than the small store, I buy from the super market and vice versa. If I don’t mind, I buy from store that is closest. Simple as that. It seems weird to assume that the robots in super markets are evil and the good, REAL people in small stores are saints. I guess people just love the old David vs Goliath story. But as a wise Jedi once said: “Judge me by my size, do you?”

      • fredar

        ‘And what do you mean by “allowing you to interact with real people”? I’m pretty sure that the people in super markets are real living human beings with real lifes. ‘

        By that I meant to compare the real world shopping experience with buying on line where you certainly don’t interact with ‘real people.’

        ‘Although I personally go to store to buy stuff I need, not to talk meaningless things with people I don’t even know.

        So you walk in, grab the stuff, pay then walk out again without exchanging a word? Sometimes that may be appropriate but its nice sometimes to interact, as that generally makes life more pleasant for everyone because as you say people aren’t robots.

        tonyb

  16. You may register your faux complaint against the driverless electric delivery van…..or move on to the next publication mill topic.

  17. This, I feel, is the outset of a growing number of crazy approaches sparked by the obsession to reduce carbon emmisions. Although from the warmist standpoint complete eradication appears to be the goal. So what next? human exhalation; flying: boating. I fearthe UN and governments (and branches of them) will be coming up with all sorts of ways (and without doubt taxes) to compel people to sing to the tune of climate change “control”. Can anyone stop them? Will open debate ever come about? It scares me to think not! – at least in the forseeable future.

  18. What they are saying is that the inner-city green totalitarian socialist leftists are all TOTALLY DEPENDENT on rural services and on rural production of energy from FOSSIL FUELS, as well as the transport of all goods, using FOSSIL FUELS.

  19. “Her team analyzed huge amounts of existing data on economic input and output of different regions and successfully combined these with data on emission intensity of production in a lot of different sectors. The methodology that the scientists put together is in principle applicable in any place,”

    One just loves those clear concise sciency words!
    e.g.: “huge”, “different”, “successfully”, “is in principle applicable in any place”.

    Summation?
    They tortured data until they got the results they wanted.

    “If a city instead chooses to foster low carbon construction materials this can drastically reduce its indirect CO2 emissions”

    Notice, the lack of examples?
    Presumably, they mean less steel, alloys, concrete, stone, mortar, fossil fuel derived materials, etc.

    Of course, those not fossil fuel dependent materials must be more efficient, too.

    “Raising insulation standards for buildings for example certainly slashes local emissions by reducing heating fuel demand. Yet it can also turn down the need for electric cooling in summer”

    Serious attempts at super insulating buildings have uncovered other problems; perhaps the least of which is the “sick building” syndrome.

    Super insulated structures require substantial powered ventilation to offset the sick building syndrome. Whether hyper-filtered air is recycled or external air is brought in, heating and cooling that air is required.

    Super insulated structures trap heat, all year. Office equipment, building equipment e.g. elevators and air handlers, and even people raise the buildings’ temperatures.
    Heavily insulated buildings are required to cool internal air over greater portions of the year.
    One side effect is that while heating costs may be reduced, overall air conditioning costs remain the same.

    Another excellent example of confirmation bias research. Their assumptions are proven by their data manipulation and tailored models.; where any correlation is automatically accepted at causation.

    • Well, I have one example – mud brick. Pretty good insulator, too.

      Not all that good for the urban lifestyle, though – the penthouses for the elite end up only about 10 meters above the peasantry. Not far enough, I’m sure.

    • “Writing Observer November 7, 2017 at 1:50 pm
      Well, I have one example – mud brick. Pretty good insulator, too.

      Not all that good for the urban lifestyle, though – the penthouses for the elite end up only about 10 meters above the peasantry. Not far enough, I’m sure.”

      ????

      Mud brick, as used in adobe housing are large thick bricks and for extra insulation they can be double stacked with some sort of insulation in between, typically straw.

      Mud brick is mud mixed with straw and often hair, then dried in the sun.
      Without the double stack and extra insulation, mud brick is heated all day long by the sun and radiates that heat for hours; much as fired brick buildings radiate heat after long sunny days.
      Mud brick houses have an adobe layer slathered on the outside. That adobe layer is mud mixed with straw.

      Mud bricks are not viable where rain is frequent. Unless you mean modern adobe mixtures which contain asphalt or cement for permanence.

      The modern adobe is definitively produced with CO2 intensive processes. The old adobe can be produced without substantive CO2 emissions. If that straw is from hand sown hand reaped wheat and the mud mix is mixed by people power, i.e. feet and hands.

      Where dry or out of the rain mud brick walls last for thousands of years.

      In Arizona visiting some cliff dwellings in a State Park, it was amazing to see hand prints and even fingerprint patterns of ancient peoples still in some of the mud mortar layers.

  20. purchases of goods and services from beyond city limits
    =====!!!!!.
    BS. where you purchase is irrelevant. what matters is where they are produced. globalization ensures that almost nothing will be produced locally.

  21. QUESTION: Anyone have any idea what this bit refers to:

    “Cement and steel used for buildings take a huge amount of energy – typically from fossil fuels – to be produced, for instance. If a city instead chooses to foster low carbon construction materials this can drastically reduce its indirect CO2 emissions.”

    Back to stick-built hotels? bamboo houses? loose-laid stone foundations?
    What “low carbon construction materials”?

  22. There is a certain bleak humor in proclaiming Delhi and Mexico City to be more environmentally sound than New York or Berlin. Go to all four places and tell me that is true. Delhi now has the least breathable air in the world.

  23. Where do these people think local city stores get their products? They come from outside the city and have to be ordered and shipped in. They don’t manufacture their merchandise or grow their groceries in back of their stores. If Amazon sends out a truck to deliver products to you and your neighbors, is that really much different than you and your neighbors all driving your cars to various stores around town to look for the products you need? When they don’t have what you want or are out of it, you waste time and fuel needlessly.

    It reminds me of Al Gore calling for the end of refrigeration and air conditioning to save the environment. How would inner city stores get or keep fresh milk, meat, and produce without refrigeration? Are there any people in these environmental think tanks who actually know how to think beyond their own short-term political goals?

    • I’m going to be virtue signalling for a couple of days next week. Riding my electric bike to the local store while my car is being fixed. (Jeep – Just Empty Every Pocket). There might be a problem if someone steps in front of me because I’m an old bloke and they think I’m going slow. (The brakes aren’t that good.) I enjoy the applause I get from the kids at the skateway.

  24. I keep wondering if there is a massive, hidden conspiracy by the teamsters. If no one creates anything for use where they live, then the shippers have HUGE job security!

  25. Here’s an idea: for these idealistic “deep thinkers”, take away ALL their stuff. I mean ALL of it: phones, computers, all electronics, clothing, shoes, coats, etc.. No fridges, no hot water heaters, no household heating, no modern medicine – NO NOTHING. Not even modern plumbing and running water. And no toilet paper, either. Nothing.

    Take bets on how long they last. I’d say maybe 5 days, tops. Winter’s on its way in the northern hemisphere. I can hear them pounding on my door : LET ME IN! LET ME IN!! i’LL BE GOOD1 i PROMISE! PLEEEEAAASE, PLEEEEAASE LET ME IN!

    5 days tops. Reality, the very harsh mistress, will wait for them.

    You all have a good week and do NOT give up.

    • Sara.

      Rather, I would just take away the food, clothing, and water that relies on fossil fuels.

      Let them live on only the energy from solar cells on their property, the food they grow without fossil fuels, and the clothing they hand weave. Let them eat the food they grow, the fuel they harvest, the clothes they weave. The goods they can carry.

      Forget work, they will be “living” 24 hours a day trying to feed themselves. Just like their ancestors did before 1800.

      • Yes, but all the things you mentioned (essentially the same as mine) depend on fossil fuel for production, and that includes the very solar cells you refer to.

        They’d have to grow cotton, which is a very pickety, pickety plant and herd sheep for fibers to make cloth for clothing, and cattle for leather for shoes. None of them know how to do anything that is termed ‘crafting’, which I believe includes gardening. I don’t think they’d find the bugs very pleasant since most of them have to be sprayed with pesticides if they invade the garden. And remember, gardens only grow in warm weather, which means that winter will be long, cold, and hungry. And most of them don’t eat meat.

        No TV, no internet, no telecomm of any kind at all. Yeah, they’d last about 3 days. I said 5. I was mistaken. That herd might thin out more quickly than I thought.

      • “Sara November 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm

        Yeah, they’d last about 3 days.”

        3 meals, via a mobile app, if that!

    • There was a TV programme a while ago where people had all their stuff taken away and put in a storage cabin, (yes everything except basic food and water) and were allowed to collect one item per day. It got them thinking about what was really necessary for modern life! It made interesting viewing especially on the first day where they had to brave the elements and get their first item of clothing. They mostly went for a duvet or thick coat.

    • I just took a trip back to my childhood, Neil. When we were kids, we lived about a mile from a rail crossing. We’d go down to the tracks and wave at the engineers when they went by. It was a long time ago, and things weren’t really any simpler. They just seem that way now.
      Thanks for the video.

    • UP 3985 came through Denver back a decade or two ago, on its way to to Cheyenne Frontier Days. I took my nephew down to an industrial area to put pennies on the track. We did, but when 3985 got within a block or two of us we hid behind a building about twenty feet away. To this day it reminded me of how Oppenheimer quoted the Bhagavad-Gita after witnessing the first atomic bomb test:

      “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

      Massive, frightening piece of 20th Century technology. It was glorious.

      We never did find those pennies.

  26. If someone has the time, energy, and data, it would be fascinating to know how much CO2 is produced to produce, deliver, and brew the amount of Starbucks coffee consumed in the US each day. I suspect percentage-wise it contributes very little, but the actual amount would sound very large (in the tons).

    It would be fun to see the meme, “Help save the planet; boycott Starbucks,” and see the reactions of both the company and SJWs.

    • “Help save the planet; boycott Starbucks,”

      I had a cup of Starbuck’s coffee once.

      YUCK !!

      No need to ask me to boycott !

      And I do my bit to produce as much CO2 as I can reasonably be expected to.

      … so yes, I am helping to save the planet.

  27. Amazon has and will continue to revolutionize electronic commerce. The entire gist of this piece assumes people buy local. That is the only way it makes sense.
    Amazon fulfillment is done by full truckloads. Both inbound and outbound. The use of sort centers in major metro areas coordinates with USPS for the final mile delivery with supplemental contract delivery for oversize packages.
    Amazon grows by efficiency. Volume demands it, force majure has no bearing. This is why Amazon is spending large amounts for robotic delivery with autonomous aircraft.
    There is also considerable investment in facility product selection to achieve greater complete order fulfillment by a single fulfillment center.

  28. If you believe that the burning of fossil fuels is bad then you should stop making use of all goods and services that make use of fossil fuels because it is your money that keeps the fossil fuel companies in business. Your clothes were transported by the use of fossil fuels so take them off and discard them. Do not enter any buildings that involve materials such as lumber, concrete, metal, brick, or anything transported via the use of fossil fuels. To not touch roadways made of concrete, asphalt, brick, or any form of stone that was not transported mannually. Do not eat any food that was transported by the use of fossil fuels or that was in any way produced by the use of fossil fuels. If the electrical grid that your home is attached to has any power generation facilities on it that involve the use of fossil fuels then go out and turn off the main breaker and leave it off.

  29. Surely based on this we should give all the corner shop owners a big fat carbon tax rebate for saving the planet… Go Sikhs!! Of course only if their goods are delivered by mules/horses/camels and we ignore the methane contributions….

    When I reincarnate i want to come back as a Climate Change Correspondant… you get free trips to all kinds of cool places and play tourist…. and if you work for the BBC you get the public to pay for it… so egalitarian…

    Never mind the environmental impact of my swanning around interviewing non-sientists with a film crew and other hangers on… you get to interefere with wildlife for those cool shots of whales and polar bears… you can dive on restricted zone reefs… you dont have to verify any of the “facts” that you present… why let the truth get in the way of a good doom and gloom story….

    Well I am off down to the corner shop to get some of those carbon free cigarettes (the kids love the obscene pictures on the packs) and a can of carbon free coke… zero of course

  30. I really think every blue feeling person needs a sustainable pool to cheer them up-
    https://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/modpools-unveils-sustainable-pool-of-the-future/

    “The shipping container trend is a great one as it helps cut down on the carbon footprint and turns trash into something useful.”….

    “The company ships the pools ready to use and all the equipment is built-in. If you have gas access and power, you’re good to go with a little prep work.”

    Just don’t let it go too Green

  31. There are people who want a simpler life and who know that they don’t need all the junk that the Warmians and Greenbeans are so enthralled with. They don’t necessarily move off the grid, but they try to keep things as simple as possible for themselves and their families. They also try to be as self-sufficient as possible, because it does make a financial difference, too.
    There may come a day when cities are so crowded and unendurable that you have to get a travel permit from the counties outside them in order to commute, or a permit to move away permanently. I think that was the point of the movie ‘Soylent Green’.

  32. It’s about time that the demonization of carbon be taken to the next level, by demanding politicians enact legislation to label the carbon content of all foodstuffs and drinks, so that informed citizens can modulate their intake and thereby help ‘save the planet’.

  33. I live in a small northern city. I need two small oscillating fans, they just had a 2800 km UPS ride, not available locally. Even if available locally, they would have had the same 2800 km ride to the store, not to mention their first ride from somewhere in China to the distribution centre. Go green, buy local.

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