Biden, Emphasizing Job Creation, Signs Sweeping Climate Actions

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

By Mel Barnard

President Biden has kept true on his promise to change course on climate. A series of executive actions he released recently pauses new federal oil leases, moves to electrify government vehicles, centers climate in foreign policy, and more. Biden strongly emphasized the ways climate action can bring jobs to the economy through clean technologies like wind and solar. However, he also seems to be wary of workers’ experiences. The average coal worker in West Virginia might not be able to become a solar energy engineer in Wyoming. For landlocked, less-than-sunny states, Biden offers opportunities for workers to build energy-efficient homes, seal leaking oil and gas wells, and notably, transition the transportation sector from gas to electric.

Some economists caution the nation’s ability to transition quickly without harming the economy, but others point to evidence showing a net wash in jobs as the economy grows more green. While environmental groups like Oceana are pushing for more than a pause on federal oil and gas leasing, the executive action is a sign of changing climate policy.

Read the full article from the New York Times here

The ‘Climate Mayors’ Are Very Ready for a Biden Administration

Author Patrick Sisson

The climate crisis has come to St. Paul not as fire or flood but as a shiny green beetle: The emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that’s been eating its way northward in North America, is devouring a growing share of the Minnesota capital’s tree management budget. Removing dead trees could cost the city $22 million over the next few years, Mayor Melvin Carter says. The warming planet has also manifested in the siege of potholes that afflicts the city’s roadways, since the freeze-thaw cycle now happens more often, steadily increasing municipal maintenance costs.

To help the city meet its climate action goals and do its part to combat climate change, Carter wants to double-down on bike lanes, pedestrian-friendly street design and public transit. But keeping up with falling tree limbs and buckled streets is straining St. Paul’s ability to fund basic services, especially amid the economic downturn triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. And the federal government has not been very helpful lately.

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What We Know About Pete Buttigieg’s Transportation Record

Author Laura Bliss

With the pandemic’s financial fallout threatening the futures of local governments and transportation systems, the next U.S. Secretary of Transportation has a bigger-than-usual job to do. Yet city officials and transportation leaders are hopeful for meaningful reform after President-elect Joe Biden nominated Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend and Democratic primary candidate.

“So happy a fellow Mayor will be running @USDOT. Mayors understand where the rubber hits the road,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a congratulatory tweet to Buttigieg. “I know you will help us & cities across America as we overcome COVID & recover.” The U.S. Conference of Mayors expressed a similar sentiment in a statement, adding, “We are confident that his leadership at this moment will help bring the voices of local leaders to the table.”

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Some Simple Ideas For Improving Urban Transportation: These fixes won’t take years and millions of dollars to implement.

Author  Benno Martens

I could watch that video of Copenhagen on a loop for hours. It’s like witnessing an urban ballet. But there isn’t a city in the United States that is on a par with Copenhagen when it comes to transportation.

In researching this piece, it was infuriating how awful mass transit in the United States compared to the rest of the world. It’s embarrassing to try to put even our best transit cities in the same league as mediocre ones in Europe and Asia.

Before any American city becomes the next Copenhagen, there’s a ton of work to be done and a host of countervailing forces working against progress.

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Can the Bike Boom Keep Going?

In the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic has driven a surge in bicycle sales and use. A more supportive federal policy toward non-car mobility could help it roll on.

“Millions of Americans have been swept up in the adult cycling craze that has emptied bicycle dealers’ showrooms across the nation and swamped manufacturers with a backlog of orders,” a newspaper story reported. In it, one New York City bike dealer says, “Three years ago 80 percent of the bikes were for children. Now it’s just the opposite.

It sounds like one of the many recent descriptions of biking during the Covid pandemic, as thousands of lockdown-weary Americans have snapped up new two-wheelers. Bike sales in March were more than double a year earlier, and cycling shops report long waits and inventory shortages. But those lines come from a 1971 article in the Austin American-Statesman. At the time, the U.S. was in the midst of a massive cycling surge as young Baby Boomers embraced environmentalism. “Bicycles are back—and booming!” declared a 1972 feature story in National Geographic.

Within a few years, however, that boom had popped, relegating bicycles once again to a fringe mode of adult transportation. And that was just one of several boom-and-bust waves of cycling enthusiasm that have marked this mode’s American journey.