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Archive for the ‘Global Warming’ Category

Water Weekly 3: Eco-hawks, Oldtimers and Stinkers

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here every week, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

“Virtual River” Runs Dry

The eco-hawks often talk of a “virtual river” that could supply Californians all the water they need, if only they’d conserve more.  It seems the virtual river flows through real farm land, given all the talk about how farmers waste water. Well, in San Diego County, the virtual river theory is getting pretty parched as farmers who are doing all the right things – installing drip irrigation, planting high-value crops – are facing economic ruin because even with the best practices, water’s still going up to $1,400 per acre foot next year.

Let the California Farm Bureau Federation tell you more.

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Water Weekly 3: So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

What were the three biggest California water stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here every Thursday, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here.  This week:

The Long Goodbye to the Drought

News that Gov. Brown was going to declare the drought over leaked like December’s deluges. We started hearing about it days before the formal announcement, and we figured he was waiting for the Wednesday Sierra snowpack reading.  We were right – the announcement came Wednesday night, shortly after DWR reported snow levels in the Sierras were to die for.  The Guv did the right thing by reminding us all to conserve, but disappointingly (not surprisingly!) said nothing about the need to fix the ongoing regulatory drought.

Read Brown’s drought-ending proclamation here

Read DWR’s report on Sierra snowpack here

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Happy New Year, You’re the Bane of the World’s Existence

The Center for Biological Depravity…er, Diversity, announced its top 11 priorities for bringing the U.S. economy to a halt in 2011.  It was going to go with 12, but making sure Jerry Brown appointed an ultra-enviro to head California’s Resources Agency has already been crossed off the list.

As you’d imagine, this year’s agenda is filled with plans to protect a whole slew of species from various man-made dangers.  If you’re a wolf or a bluefin tuna, this just might be your year.  Humans…not so much.  After taking baby steps last year, the Center hid in the middle of its list a rather Maoist priority to “Challenge the Overpopulation Paradigm.”  That’s right Joe Citizen, you and your 2.3 adorable kids (and their future kids) now have big fat target on your back.  As if an economic meltdown and global terrorism weren’t enough.

We’ll continue to encourage other groups to tackle overpopulation this year. We’ll distribute hundreds of thousands of condoms and ramp up the overpopulation dialogue through high-profile projects, including a study on the connection between overpopulation and diminishing water supplies in the Lower Colorado River Basin, the Center’s unique newsletter, Pop X, and targeted actions to Congress.

We’ll be interested to see their study on the Colorado River, which is facing challenges.  But that’s more so from several years of drought than too many newborns from too many “What Happens in Vegas…” nights.

Maybe the Center is grabbing for headlines to boost its coffers.  Maybe it’s tired of fighting on the environmental front lines and has chosen to try the back door.  Maybe it just doesn’t care for chubby babies with good short games.  Maybe all of the above.

Either way, it’s time to come to grips with the fact that you and your family are the bane of the world’s existence.  Happy New Year!

Read the rest of the Center’s 2011 priorities here.

Negative Messages Create Skeptics

Doom-and-gloom emotional messages that paint pictures of the sky falling or the earth burning don’t work well when you are trying to change public opinion.  That’s what a new study by two Berkeley professors found when they studied the impacts of fact-based vs. emotion-based global warming messages.

The professors had one group of subjects read stories that began with facts, but ended with apocalyptic warnings, while the other half read positive stories that focused on solving problems.  Those who read the positive stories were less skeptical than the group exposed to doom-and-gloom messaging.

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Weeky 3 Water: Hoover, Salton & Watson (not a law firm)

Hoooooooooooover! Hot Dam!

Seventy-five years ago today under a 102-degree sun, President Roosevelt dedicated Hoover Dam.  Former president Hoover was not invited to the ceremony.  Since then, the dam’s 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete have controlled flooding, generated untold megawatts of power, and helped manage water supply in the West.   The birthday did not go unnoticed by the media – first sensational stories about how the drought might end Hoover’s power production soon (later clarified when someone realized water could be released from upstream dams), and eventually articles giving a great dam its due.

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Water Weekly 3: Totally cool, totally hot and totally illogical

What were the three biggest California land development stories of the past seven days?  Well, the news-heads and policy wonks here at Laer Pearce & Associates have compiled them for you here.  You’ll find the Big Three here, or you can follow LPAWater on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and analysis. You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here. This week:

Totally Cool About Climate Change

UCLA economist Matthew Kahn thinks global warming is the real deal, and he’s really cool with it. “There is a lot of evidence that we can cope with change, that we are not mice, and we have big brains,” he told the LA Times, stating what we’ve always thought was obvious.  As for California’s water woes in a hotter world, he’s once again positive … in a way:  ”Climate change may force us to get rid of our crazy outdated [water] laws,” he said.  Looks like good times ahead for water lawyers!

Read the L.A. Times interview here

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Weekly 3 Land: Spited noses, golden gambles and more

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also sign up to receive the Weekly 3 via email here. This week:

1. What’s That About Noses and Faces and Spite?

There’s AB32, SB375 and a whole host of other regulations designed to coerce developers onto the green bandwagon. Some moves in that direction are wholly embraced by the building community, primarily because they’re market-driven solutions that provide tangible benefits.  Like smart energy and water meters that help homeowners better manage their consumption and reduce utility bills.  So why is the evergreen County of Santa Cruz moving to ban the technology? It’s afraid the wireless signal the boxes transmit – similar to cell phones – poses health risks.  Builders beware.

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The Weekly 3: Land Development

What are the three biggest stories each week in the world of California land development?  You’ll find them right here, or follow LP&A all week long on Twitter at @LPALand for up-to-the-minute news and analysis.  You can also subscribe to our e-blast to receive our Weekly Three directly. This week:

1. It depends what your definition of “is” is

Either a plant or animal species is threatened with extinction or it’s not.  Seems pretty black and white … or green.  So why is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service trying to list some populations of the Preble’s Meadow jumping mouse and other species as threatened, even though the species itself is abundant?  The Service’s motives are up for debate, but the consequences are as clear a new double-paned Energy Star window:  lots of land could soon fall unnecessarily under tough federal permitting requirements, and that’s no bueno for homebuilders and the successful habitat conservation planning efforts they’ve spearheaded.

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Man Bites Dog! Nope, Just April Fool’s Day

The story of “man biting dog” is always more interesting than the ever-pedestrian “dog bites man” headline – the intrigue is inescapable.

So when I saw that the headline from today’s Endangered Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity’s weekly docket newsletter, read “CBD Does Not File Law Suit,” I was genuinely intrigued.

But alas, my optimism was dashed quicker than a West Virginian flying squirrel in a forest fire.  From the CBD’s post…

“The Center for Biological Diversity did not file suit yesterday against any state or federal agency for harming endangered species. Exxon and Walmart also reported no new litigation by the activist group. Asked about the development by The New York Times, Center director Kierán Suckling replied, “Well, we just thought . . . you know . . . it’s spring, let’s chill for day, take the dog for walk.”

The event met with mixed reaction from critics and supporters. Center member John Spark of Albuquerque, New Mexico, requested a return of his membership dues, complaining, “Spring schmring, I don’t contribute money so these guys can sit around on their butts. The world is overpopulationed, overpolluted, and underprotected, and I expect these guys to fix it right now. What are they going to do next, sleep?”

Interior Department spokesperson Hugh Snickery commended the Center. “I wish the Center would more take days off. We’ve got offshore oil leases to get out, BLM lands to overgraze, and species to ignore.”

Suckling declined Snickery’s offer of a world holidays calendar

Somewhere between “…let’s chill for a day…” and “Hugh Snickery” I was reminded to look at the calendar. Yep, it’s April 1.

So the egregious lawsuits will continue, including those against some of the best land-use projects around. The stall tactics and shake-downs will live on, while jobs-producing projects are gummed up by the CBD.

But at least we’re all clear now: for the CBD, everyday is lawsuit day.

To “Save the Planet,” California must be America’s growth leader

If America’s greenest metro areas are in California, why do environmentalists make it so hard to build here?

The answer may benefit your project.

It may come as a surprise to you, but you’ve probably been indoctrinated by the environmental movement. Don’t think so? Well, just answer this question: Is LA – sprawling, smoggy, freeway crisscrossed LA – a “green” city or a “brown” city?

If you answered “brown,” you’re wrong. It turns out that Los Angeles is the fourth greenest metropolitan area in the country. Why’s that? Because the climate here is temperate, so LA’s carbon footprint for air conditioning is less than Atlanta’s or Houston’s, and its footprint for heating is smaller than that of Minneapolis or Chicago. So says a study by Edward Glaeser and Matthew Kahn, UCLA and Harvard profs respectively.

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