Key Excerpts:Orinda Watch Note: Let's start with the conclusion first because it will give us a better picture of what the article attempts to prove:
"California’s GHG emission targets, in and of themselves, provide little justification for efforts dramatically to change land use patterns or expand transit service. California’s metropolitan planning organizations should take note. Continued improvement in energy efficiency and emission reduction is important, but future plans should be based on proper technical information and analysis, not someone’s normative ideas about the way Americans should live, work and travel."
Orinda Watch Note: Sounds good so far! Now back to the meat and potatoes of the arguments...let's keep reading
"Crucially, however, ARB [(California Air Resources Board)] has not revised the 1990 GHG emissions figure upwards to reflect the new [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)] methodology. The effect of this is to increase the amount of GHG emission reduction required to meet the statutory target. "
Orinda Watch Note: Wait, a sec. The state's agency responsible for coming up with the numbers to figure out what it will take to get to our targets won't adjust their numbers down even though the IPCC revised its benchmark model methodology? Ask yourself why...
"California might actually have met its target of achieving 1990 levels of GHG emissions in 2012—just six years into the fourteen-year period that was allocated to this objective." (emphasis added)
Orinda Watch Note: Ok. We're done folks; we've basically met our targets. So, why do we need to move people into high-density housing next to freeways? Aren't we just taking money that could be used to help people who most need it and giving it to developers?
"...expanding transit—at least in the way currently envisaged by U.S. policymakers—is unlikely to deliver lower GHG emissions."
Orinda Watch Note: so if that's true, why are we constantly told we need to expand mass transit?
"It is also important to note that expanding transit may prove a very expensive—and far from cost-effective—way to reduce GHG emissions. For example, Moving Cooler, a report by Cambridge Systematics that advocated a “smart growth” approach to emissions reduction, indicated that its transit strategies would require expenditures of nearly $600 per ton of GHG removed in 2050. This is well above the $50 per ton of CO2 equivalent removed that the IPCC regards as the upper limit on acceptable costs for GHG emissions reductions."
Orinda Watch Note: Proves using mass transit to reduce greenhouse gases is a terribly expensive way to reduce GHGs, when we have so many other alternatives. So who wins by falsely promoting transit? Big development, big labor, subsidized ridership. Who loses? The Taxpayer (that's you, me and everyone else.)
"According to the above schedule [Figure 1 of the article], the vast majority—almost 80%—of this [Greenhouse Gas Reduction between Plan Alternatives] is due to a reduction in GHG from transportation vehicles. Most of the rest [reduction in GHGs] is due to proposed changes to decrease LDV (light-duty vehicle) emissions that have nothing to do with land use."
Orinda Watch Note: So, again, GHG reduction has nothing to do with land-use changes. But we have all been told that allowing people to buy a plot of land where it's least expensive so that people can build a home and property and life of their own is harmful. This suggests (in all but the most hyper-dense cities) that increasing density on a marginal basis actually doesn't contribute to GHG reduction. Maybe we should rethink the world view of telling people where they have to live?
"Moreover, land use changes may be a very expensive way to reduce GHG emissions"..."expenditure per ton of GHG emissions reduction of $19,700—nearly 400 times the IPCC’s “upper limit” expenditure of $50."
Orinda Watch Note: 400 times the upper limit for spending money on ways to reduce GHGs! Can't we find a cheaper way to reduce GHGs? WE SURE CAN! Check out this Abatement Cost Curve done by global consulting powerhouse McKinsey from 2009 which shows all of the cost effective (Read: less than $50/ton) ways to reduce GHGs (click on the chart below).