Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do Compact Cities Save Energy?

It has often been written that compact, very dense cities consume less energy and produce less pollution that the less dense suburbs and residential areas dominated by single family homes. However, new research shows that may not be true.

Researchers from the universities of Cambridge, Newcastle, and Leeds in the UK published a paper in the spring 2012 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association that showed that the urban form may have very little impact on energy use and sustainability. An article in Atlantic Cities on July 24, 2012 discussed the findings.

One of the authors, Cambridge Prof. Marcial Echenique, told Atlantic Cities: “To our surprise, if you compare the compact form versus the current trend, the difference in reduced transport by automobile is very minor. And if you allow the city to expand, the increase in the use of the car is only marginal.”

Echeniques continued: "If you make the city more compact, it doesn't mean that people will abandon their car. Only 5 percent of people abandon the use of the car. Ninety-five percent carries on using the car, which means there are more cars on the same streets, therefore there is much more congestion and therefore there is much more pollution and no great increase in the reduction of energy."

There are several limitations to the study. It was done in England, and may or may not apply to the United States. Only a limited number of areas were studied. However, this study does raise some important questions for those who want to reduce the use of energy and the production of pollution. Echenique argues, with support from his research, that making cars and buildings more energy efficient may accomplish more.  "Technology offers a much better future than trying to constrain behavior of the market."

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Some more bills to veto

Several important bills are still on Governor Perdue's desk awaiting her decision on whether or not to veto them.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fracking Veto Overridden – due to accident and turncoat

The fracking bill, SB 820, is now law. The bill was adopted by the legislature, then vetoed by the governor. As expected, the Senate overrode the veto; but the House was expected, by a very close vote, to uphold the veto. 72 votes were required to pass the bill “notwithstanding the Governor’s objections”. It was expected that there would only be, at the most, 70 votes to pass the bill.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gov. Perdue vetoes fracking bill

Just in: Governor Bev Perdue vetoes the fracking bill!

With only a few hours before the deadline, Gov. Bev Perdue vetoed the fracking bill SB 820. According to news reports, she had been trying to reach a compromise with the General Assembly leadership but was unable to reach any compromise. Gov. Perdue as said in the past that she thinks that fracking can be done safely, but the safeguards must be in place.

Following is her veto statement: