How About a Climate Plan That Reduces Car Dependence?

Last week PA Walks and Bikes alerted Pennsylvania residents to an opportunity to give input on the state’s new Climate Change Action Plan. The state has produced a report identifying specific actions that would reduce emissions by a target date of 2020.

PA_CO2.jpgRecent and projected GHG emissions from the Land Use and Transportation sector, as shown in Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Action Plan

In his critique, LSC member John Boyle points to some notable omissions in Chapter 6, which focuses on transportation and land use:

There is no mention of bicycling and walking in the plan. There is a
desire but no stated goal for reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled. The plan
focuses instead on keep-driving actions such as proper tire inflation
and "Eco Driving." Enhanced Support for Existing Land Use Policies
sounds like a really weak action. Why not strengthen and enforce better
Land Use Policies? Why not have a plan to make build more sidewalks
and bike lanes?

The plan is open to public comment through November 9. PA Walks and Bikes explains how Pennsylvanians can give input on the group’s blog.

Meanwhile in New York, residents will have a chance to make a difference in their neighborhoods at the second annual Community Board Join-Up Jammy Jam, hosted by Transportation Alternatives and the Livable Streets Initiative on November 23. As TA reminds us, community boards are "only as open-minded and effective as the people who sit on them." Join us to apply for your board and enjoy dinner, drinks, and conversation with current board members. Please RSVP by November 18.

In other news, the Livable Streets Community welcomes a new group working for more livable streets all the way over in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

  • Any climate plan that does not address automobiles as the prime example of excessive consumption of the rich to include a diversified transportation plan is probably not worth much.

  • Nick

    Hey gecko, so you think that only the “rich” buy automobiles? Think again, the vast majority of autos are purchased by the middle class. BTW, who dtermines what “excessive” consumption” is?

  • #2 Nick, Yes the rich:

    “The emerging competition between the owners of the world’s 910 million automobiles and the 2 billion poorest people is taking the world into uncharted territory. Suddenly the world is facing an epic moral and political issue: Should grain be used to fuel cars or feed people? The average income of the world’s automobile owners is roughly $30,000 a year; the 2 billion poorest people earn on average less than $3,000 a year. The market says, let’s fuel the cars.82”

    — “Cars and People Compete for Grain”, Plan B 4.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Lester R. Brown (page 50)

    Plan 4.0 can be downloaded free at:


    Also, let me know what you think about:

    “Is Current Consumption Excessive? A General Framework and Some Indications for the United States” by PAUL R. EHRLICH AND LAWRENCE H. GOULDER



    “A Real Auto Bailout: Escape Your Car”

    “Whether you drive a hybrid or an SUV, your car is a cash-guzzler. Families trying to save real money should consider going without.”

    — BRETT ARENDS, The Wall Street Journal, DECEMBER 22, 2008

    Excerpt: “. . . American Automobile Association figured its members paid about $7,800 a year on average to own and maintain their cars.”


  • #3 gecko, Yes the rich (continued):

    The unemployment rate in the United States just went up to over 10 percent where unemployment insurance tends to max out at $400 a week. How many of the unemployed do you think can afford cars?

  • Nick

    In the USA $30k a year is lower middle-class, not rich. Now in the 3rd world $30k might be considered rich. But even poor countries like China and India are seeing growth in auto sales as they become less poor.

    Plenty of unemployed people keep their cars, not easy but doable.

  • Now you can limit your sample to the Upper East Side Manhattan and $30k is and extremely modest income but, looking at the entire population of this planet to include those living at the subsistence level $30k is definitely rich especially, when that buys a car.

    The increasing use of cars along with other things is accelerating the climate change crisis and is definitely not sustainable and is excessive consumption.

    “The level is deemed excessive if it violates the sustainability requirement that is not consistent with maintaining well-being over generations.”

    Page 1153 of “Is Current Consumption Excessive?”

    Re: “Plenty of unemployed people keep their cars, not easy but doable.”

    Plenty of people diagnosed with lung cancer or other serious diseases resulting from smoking continue to smoke. The bad thing about the current transportation structure in this country is that in many if not most places it is extremely inconvenient not having access to a car further impoverishing people badly in need of economic relief.


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