Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Climate Change Lip Service

Actress Emma Thompson says this:
"I don't understand how any government remotely serious about committing to reversing climate change can even consider these ridiculous plans,"
What was she talking about? Well Greenpeace bought a small parcel of land that would have been a part of a new runway scheme at Heathrow Airport. They expect to subdivide it into a lot of parcels and sell them to environmentalists so that the government has to deal with hundreds of people instead of just the initial land owner. Do they not have eminent domain? This could push the issue on HSR as well which has been floated as an alternative to the next runway.

But her quote strikes a chord. It seems to me that all these people are talking big on climate change (ahem Arnold) but when it comes down to it, they won't make the tough decisions or do the right thing. Heck, California legislative leaders should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
When democratic lawmakers presented their proposal for balancing the state budget, there was one little thing they didn't mention: It would have all but eliminated funding for public transportation -- not just next year but in perpetuity.


Unknown said...

Sorry to sound negative, but I'm really beginning to think that we're doomed. All the advocacy has taught me that you can have all the public support you want but all it takes is one NIMBY or one elected official who is not directly working on a transit project to delay it for decades. Yet, you can still build a highway in a two years, regardless of how much the public is against it. All it takes is one elected official who's not directly connected to the process to insert an earmark. It takes 20 "no's" and one "yes" to make a highway. It takes 5,000 "yes's" and one "no" to kill a train. Just a joke. My work in the Purple Line in Washington, DC region has taught me to never underestimate the power of the Convetional Wisdom about cars, traffic, community, local economics, and crime to beat the facts every time.

Nevertheless, I will keep working. We will change the policy one good project at a time. Maybe in another six decades, the Conventional Wisdom might even catch up with the facts. I'm not holding my breath. By that time, our coastal cities will be underwater, anyway. sigh.

Two things that have to go: 1) Thoreau-based "romantic" enviromentalism that sees environmentalis as "getting back to nature" rather than upgrading our systems so we can leave it alone and 2) The FTA's current funding metrics for trains.

josh said...

Actually, that Wired report is wrong. Greenpeace, along with a number of people like Emma Thompson, own the land (they're on the deed as co-owners) and everyone who signs up is listed as a 'beneficial owner'.

I've no idea what that means, besides the fact that according to Greenpeaces lawyers, each beneficial owner has to be contacted if the property is resold or taken over. I think.

They're not actually subdividing the land, though.

I see this Heathrow issue as a watershed moment-- it's when Labour shows that they either care about climate change or don't; whether they're willing to do more than just put out reports; and whether the oppositions parties are able to scoop up disaffected Labour voters who care about the environment (imho, they will be able to).

My current MP is Labour, but she opposes the runway. If that opposition doesn't have any real effect (ie, if they announce the government supports the runway) there's absolutely no reason for me to vote for her over the Lib Dem candidate next time around.