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Author Topic: Town & country planning for climate mitigation  (Read 1588 times)

GeoffBeacon

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Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« on: January 29, 2016, 07:41:43 PM »
We need very different lifestyles to combat climate change. 

However, if some become low carbon and their neighbours do not, life is harder so I am interested in town and country planning which makes low carbon living easy and pleasant.

One example living in car free neighbourhoods. Some proposals to bring this about are in A market in prototype neighbourhoods

Any other ideas?
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Laurent

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 08:03:19 PM »
There won't be any stable situation as long as we do not set an ecological foot print per person and on a given perimeter (5km radius?). The ecological foot print of the people around should not exceed the available space of the town. (Wild parts untouched should be there also (20%?))
Organizing the competition between users of fossil fuels and others who try not to is very difficult or impossible (the politic should be either to ban direct fossil fuel and tax whose indirectly used (like china import) or fix a minimum limit per persons directly and indirectly (Solar and wind systems).

johnm33

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2016, 03:00:01 PM »
If the political situation would allow it we could establish a series of small cities on some of the more arid coastlines of the world. The atlantic coast of africa from southern Morroco to the senegal river would be an ideal candidate, as would large stretches of the southern Australian coast. The arid coast of Spain somewhere southwest of Murcia would be an ideal place to develop the concept.
 High density housing redolent of the architecture of old Spanish/Morrocan cities, but water cooled, with either evaporative cooling or having seawater pumped through some part of the fabric. Amenities such as theatres cinemas etc. concentrated in the centers around squares like many mediteranean cities. Nowhere too far to walk from home. Narrow roads glazed over, rooftops covered with solar pv panels/ community gardens. Connected to the outside world by bus or rail, no need for personal transport.
  Given purpose by producing food http://www.seawatergreenhouse.com/aboutus.html / https://gardenaquaponics.wordpress.com/2009/05/14/large-polytunnel-aquaponics-system/  providing holidays, education, or even taking care of the growing army of ancient europeans.
 

GeoffBeacon

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2016, 08:58:28 PM »
John33

WOULD PLANTING TREES ON THE EDGE ARID COASTS ENCOURAGE MOISTURE TO MOVE INLAND?

Unfortunately, I think your suggestions sound a bit odd to normal people (Do you know any?) but thank you because these are just the sort of ideas that should be tried.

But to risk destroying credibility on this thread I go one step further and report a presentation I attended at a UK Parliamentary group a few years ago. It was suggesting this:

The massive waste water problem that currently pollutes our bathing waters costing £billions to process throughout the world can be used to irrigate and reforest desert coastlines to induce rainfall. Our aim is to use the return ballast capacity of super crude carriers which currently transport sea water half way around the world at great financial and environmental cost. This ballast is discharged into the sea, often introducing invasive marine species which affects the stability of indigenous species of flora and fauna. The E.U. is legislating against this practice and tanker operators will be forced to seek an alternative. Operation OASIS offers an exciting opportunity for ballast water. Transporting treated waste water to irrigate and reforest arid coastlines to induce rainfall has to be the way forward. One tanker loaded with 300000 cubic meters of treated waste water would support 57 hectares of forest for a whole year. Reclaiming deserts to enable people to feed themselves...

Operation OASIS = Overseas Arid Soil Irrigation Solution

The one effect the presenters mentioned that really interested me was

Currently Thermal currents rise from dry sands along the coast of the Sahara and other arid deserts creating an effective thermal barrier that prevents the moisture that rises from the ocean during the day, from crossing onto the land to provide vegetation with sufficient water.

Operation OASIS Will prime the naturally occuring coastal atmospheric moisture with additional transpiration and evaporation from the coast, affording the cloud cover to cross onto the land more frequently by moving the thermal barrier inland.

Operation OASIS

Should they be contestants in a new TV show, "Just because I'm looney, it doesn't mean I'm wrong"?

Starting with the easy question, would planting trees on the edge arid coasts encourage  moisture to move inland?


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GeoffBeacon

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2016, 05:36:59 PM »
A post on RealClimate pointed me to the video of Kevin Anderson at the LSE. I watched it last night - it took over an hour.

He points out that the rich are creating most of the carbon emissions and dumping the problems on the poor. He said we (the cognoscenti? Or was it academics?) know this but don’t care much.  We pretend there are easy technological fixes but these probably don't work (e.g. BECCS).

An Oxfam briefing, Extreme carbon inequality  put some numbers on this at COP21:  The richest 10% of the world create 50% of carbon emissions. The poorest 10%create 60 times less than the rich.

Kevin Anderson said that if we are to cut our emissions to address the climate issue, the rich should be cutting  them at 10% a year. For me, this means “green growth” is a fantasy – at least on world wide basis. We don't need electric cars: we need "no-cars" because we haven't got time to get the clean electricity to make and run them. But this will mean living life differently and making life more local and planning our neighbourhoods to suit.

But in the UK we have had the fantasy of eco-towns – aimed at sustainability but ending up with residents even more polluting than average and their carbon emissions many times their share of the carbon budget necessary to keep below 2°C. See “Three failed eco-towns”.

I know this topic has not caught the imagination here but I hope for some feedback (positive or otherwise) as to whether T&P planning can do much for this enormous issue.
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wili

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 06:57:59 PM »
Geoff, thanks for bringing up these important issues here and at RC. I think you are right, of course.

For now, I just want to point out that what Anderson emphasizes is using what we already have more efficiently, and spreading the tech we already have.

JimD has been hammering the futility of Green or Brown BAU around here for a while.

I certainly don't think we have time to build whole new eco-communities. We need to make the communities we have much more efficient, mostly be multiple use: More people per house, more people per car, and of course more people on mass transit or biking/walking.

And of course, a huge slash in flying--a major reason that people in places like Findhorn fail to have anything close to a sustainable footprint is because of their flying habits, iirc.
"A force de chercher de bonnes raisons, on en trouve; on les dit; et après on y tient, non pas tant parce qu'elles sont bonnes que pour ne pas se démentir." Choderlos de Laclos "You struggle to come up with some valid reasons, then cling to them, not because they're good, but just to not back down."

bosbas

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2016, 07:27:13 PM »
Wili, how bad is flying actually? Sometimes I get the impression that transport (air, boat) is only a small portion of the overall emissions, but I am not sure. I think that these 2 were excluded from the December Paris agreement IIRC.

GeoffBeacon

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2016, 07:29:58 PM »
Wili

I certainly don't think we have time to build whole new eco-communities. We need to make the communities we have much more efficient, mostly be multiple use: More people per house, more people per car, and of course more people on mass transit or biking/walking.


Yes. That's true.

However, I think new eco-communities could show the way and ease the way for existing settlements to change. I have been interested in local financial & legal mechanisms that would encourage the things you mention and also enriching local facilities like local shops (and even food production) to shorten distribution paths and reduce travelling.

Working examples are needed to change opinions. That's what I've tried to put forward in "A market in prototype neighbourhoods"
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GeoffBeacon

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2016, 07:34:03 PM »
Bobas

This is a bit off-the-cuff but the lifestyles of the wealthy entail lots of air travel. The poor of the world keep the average carbon emissions much smaller but aspire to wealthier life-styles.

That is one reason for showing a pleasant low crbon life-style.
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Laurent

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2016, 09:07:52 PM »
There was a movie last year about the problematic. They do not really take into account the situation we are in, as such they are a little be downward... but it is a step to move the society.
http://www.demain-lefilm.com/en

Personally, I think that the ecological foot print should serve to allocate the space for cities, it has to be defined and implemented as fast as possible.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2016, 07:31:07 PM »
Remember "McMansions"?  Here's a step in the other direction: smaller and cheaper.

This House Costs Just $20,000—But It’s Nicer Than Yours
"Rural Studio's $20K House has such innovative design that it's changing the entire housing system—from mortgages to zoning laws."
http://www.fastcoexist.com/3056129/this-house-costs-just-20000-but-its-nicer-than-yours/1
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Archimid

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 09:13:00 PM »
Google Robot factory raises sterile mosquitos, automated device will release a million per week

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/07/google-robot-factory-raises-sterile-mosquitos-automated-device-will-release-a-million-per-week.html

Verily, the life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, will release about 20 million lab-made, bacteria-infected sterile mosquitoes upon Fresno, California.

Verily’s male mosquitoes were infected with the Wolbachia bacteria, which is harmless to humans, but when they mate with and infect their female counterparts, it makes their eggs unable to produce offspring.

Bonus, male mosquitoes don’t bite, so Fresno residents won’t have to worry about itching more than they usually would.

Note: I revived this thread to share this link. Couldn't find a better fit for it, but it certainly fits in this thread. I noticed most of the solutions  threads are energy related. That's understandable since energy is the main cause of the climate change problem and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regrettably  prevention is already too late for some.
I am an energy reservoir seemingly intent on lowering entropy for self preservation.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 10:53:23 PM »
We need very different lifestyles to combat climate change. 

However, if some become low carbon and their neighbours do not, life is harder so I am interested in town and country planning which makes low carbon living easy and pleasant.

We need a grid powered by renewable, low carbon sources (mainly wind, solar, and hydro).

We need electricity powered transportation - EVs, battery buses, electrified rail.  Charged from a clean grid.

We need better insulated houses/buildings heated and cooled by efficient heat pumps.  Powered by a clean grid.

None of this requires we change our lifestyles in any appreciable, certainly negative way.  In fact, our lives should greatly improve.  We'll have cleaner air and water.  Our roads will be quieter.  We'll spend less for electricity and on transportation.

oren

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2017, 01:14:00 AM »
For now, I just want to point out that what Anderson emphasizes is using what we already have more efficiently, and spreading the tech we already have.

JimD has been hammering the futility of Green or Brown BAU around here for a while.

We need a grid powered by renewable, low carbon sources (mainly wind, solar, and hydro).

We need electricity powered transportation - EVs, battery buses, electrified rail.  Charged from a clean grid.

We need better insulated houses/buildings heated and cooled by efficient heat pumps.  Powered by a clean grid.

None of this requires we change our lifestyles in any appreciable, certainly negative way.  In fact, our lives should greatly improve.  We'll have cleaner air and water.  Our roads will be quieter.  We'll spend less for electricity and on transportation.

JimD and Bob provide two very different viewpoints, and I happen to agree with both (schizophrenic I know). I believe Green BAU, Bob's way, comes too late to save the world. It will be implemented globally too slowly, especially considering that population growth occurs only in the undeveloped countries, and that all aspire to live like the rich/America. However, I still believe green BAU is the only practical way to go. No one is going to implement a WWII-style global effort of decarbonising everything while sharply cutting away at unsustainable practices that cannot be decarbonised (flying). Given that, some progress is better than no progress, and green BAU is better than black BAU, even though it might lead to a similar collapse down the line.
Veering slightly into the thread's topic, I believe local planning should assume that the long-term civilization, if there is one, will be less complex, with partial collapse. So, a town should hopefully strive towards being more self-sustainable, getting its electricity/energy (rooftop solar, wind etc.) and its food (greenhouses, vertical farming) locally. Try to avoid relying on long-range interconnections and supply lines for basic necessities. Avoid floodplains and low-lying coastal areas, assume that maintenance and weather protection currently done by the government might be lacking. Avoid nuclear plants, as under collapse scenarios they become more of a danger than a benefit. And avoid high population density.

Bob Wallace

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2017, 02:38:22 AM »
I believe Green BAU, Bob's way, comes too late to save the world.

It's not about "saving" the world.  It's about minimizing the hurt we're going to experience. 

Many of us started, back in the 1960s, trying to get people to change their lifestyles in order to live lighter on the planet.  Success was, at best, very limited.  I have little hope that the world's population will become extremely worried about climate change early enough to drastically change their lifestyles. 

I operate under the assumption that if we stop CO2 emission growth soon and bring CO2 emissions down to about zero by 2050 (and figure out how to re-sequester carbon) we will be able to deal with the pain.  We'll lose some coastal cities and islands.  We'll have to move food production closer to the poles (or indoors/underground).  We'll have to do a lot of adaption and millions of us will die along the way due to extreme heat and famine.

What I see is an increase in RE installation over the next several years.  I would not be at all surprised if the planet was converting 4% to 5% of FF use to renewables per year ten years from now (2027).  That should put us FF free for grids ten years later (2037).  I expect transportation to morph to mostly electric in the same period, or sooner.  I think that there is a very good chance that the planet will be close to zero carbon for electricity and transportation by 2040.  (I don't know about ag and cement.)

I'm not worried about developing countries.  Why (aside from crooked officials being bribed) would a country with limited capital and a big need for electricity pay far more for a coal plant and wait most of a decade to get it running when they can install wind and solar for far less money and start having more electricity on their grids "later today".

Collapse?  Don't see that outside of some countries which will probably fail.  North Africa and the Middle East may see some bad times. 

I expect the world will continue to be more connected, not start isolating parts.  The RE grid works best if the harvest area is larger.  Wide spread grids can share deep storage and backup.

Will we grow food closer to cities or where it grows best (cheapest)?  With low cost, zero carbon transportation we may access our food far from where we live.  Will it be cheaper to grow some of our produce indoors/vertically with robots?  That's an unanswerable at the moment.  Same with factory grown meat.  Cheaper to grow further away and ship?  Or ship the raw materials and grow locally?

Over the next 20-30 years we're likely to see lots of changes in the way we collect and use energy.  As climate change ramps up the hurt that has already started we should see lots more push to get carbon fuels out of our lives.  A WWII effort?  I wouldn't be surprised if ten, fifteen years from now we were cranking out a Liberty Ship equivalent of turbines and panels each day.  We've got climate change and air quality pushing.  Cheaper electricity pulling.  That's a bunch of drivers coming together.


johnm33

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2017, 11:12:34 AM »

Bob Wallace

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2017, 05:20:33 PM »
" (I don't know about ag and cement.)" cements possible
http://utah.academia.edu/MarieJackson
https://www.geopolymer.org/archaeology/roman-cement/high-performance-roman-cement-and-concrete-high-durable-buildings/
The geopolymer site is a little treasure trove.


What I meant (but didn't make clear) is what sort of progress may or may not be happening in those areas.  There are additional concrete solutions, including adding basalt or olivine to the mix which apparently causes the concrete to absorb CO2 as it cures.

What I don't know is whether the concrete industry is beginning to utilize any low CO2 or CO2 absorbing mixes.



 

Bob Wallace

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Re: Town & country planning for climate mitigation
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2017, 05:29:22 PM »
a team of MIT researchers, led by senior researcher Roland Pellenq, decided to take a closer look at the cement mix, going down to molecular level.  They questioned the standard calcium to silica ratio of 1.7, which is commonly accepted as the one resulting in the most stable and strong cement.

After conducting a series of experiments, however, the team established that the optimal calcium-to-silica clay ratio should in fact be 1.5. Not only that the final product has incredible mechanical resistance , which is double the one achieved with a ratio of 1,7, and it is much less prone to fracturing, but also the team estimated a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the manufacturing process of up to 60%.

https://www.greenoptimistic.com/mit-researchers-cook-eco-friendly-cement-20140929/#.WW4lyYjyvIV

Stuff is happening at the idea level.  I've seen nothing on the actual implementation.

I started a new topic on cement.  Perhaps we can gather potential solutions and maybe someone can discover if any are being implemented.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 05:55:12 PM by Bob Wallace »