John Mott-Smith

Per Capita Davis: Hummingbirds and elephants

“Per Capita Davis” has been the title of this column for nearly six years. It was born out of my perception that individuals acting together would be the main motor for achieving greenhouse gas reductions. Sometimes I have my doubts. Sometimes it seems the problem is too huge, that no matter what we do as […]

July 03, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: It’s hard to believe unbelievable news

BELIEVE IT OR NOT: The news is full of stories about our energy future; some grim, others hopeful. Most include numbers to back up the point being made. It can sometimes be hard to sort out truth from fiction given the seemingly universal nodding of humanity’s collective heads in agreement with Mark Twain’s caustic phrase: […]

June 19, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Optimistic beyond the tipping point?

SOME ALARMING NEWS: Two apparently unrelated news articles caught my attention recently. In one, a South Korean ferry sinks with hundreds losing their lives in part because the captain and many of the crew allegedly told passengers to stay put, don’t worry, while the ship sank and they abandoned ship. The other article was about […]

June 05, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: More good news on climate change work

It was so much fun writing the last column about good news on the climate change front that I thought I’d try it again. The good news starts on the national level. Some members of Congress, led by California’s Sen. Barbara Boxer, have formed the Climate Change Caucus. Members say they don’t expect passage of […]

May 15, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Help Harper with its big idea

I’ll get right to the point. PG&E solicited applications for a $15,000 grant to schools for “Big Ideas” through its partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. The good news is that Davis’ own Harper Junior High School is one of three finalists to receive this grant. But — and this is where […]

May 01, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Now, for some good news

The last column was about bad news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They issued three reports recently. Last September, the first report made the point that scientists are 95 percent or greater certain that global warming is being driven by human actions. In the scientific community, 95 percent is essentially 100 but leaving […]

April 17, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: More bad news on climate change

I had several ideas that I wanted to write about for this column, and I just got back from a really relaxing vacation. I didn’t think about climate change for a whole week. I was looking forward to writing a positive, hopeful article. But everything went kablooie when I read an article in Monday’s New […]

April 03, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Put it on the table and put a price on it

A headline in the news recently read: “Lack of water will raise Roseville rates.” The headline says Roseville, but it could be Anytown, USA. The point is that people are going to have to pay more for water and, as a result, will use less of it. This type of rate hike is commonplace in […]

March 20, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Now’s the time for energy upgrades

Financing solar or energy efficiency: There’s a new program available to Yolo County residents who would like to install energy-efficiency measures or put solar on the roof but hesitate to lay out the cash to do so. The program is called Clean Energy Yolo and was adopted by the Board of Supervisors and all four of […]

March 06, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita: Silent cars pose risks to bicyclists, pedestrians

Here are a few “short stories” about aspects of climate change, greenhouse gases, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. THE SOUND OF SILENCE: For several years, I commuted to my job in Sacramento on a bike. It was a great way to wake up in the morning (not so great in the darkness of winter) and […]

February 20, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: The pace of change

The term “early adopter” doesn’t apply to me, not by a long shot. I am slow to pick up on new technology, and more than a little choosy when I do adopt a change, gadget or gizmo. My organizing principle has been that I don’t want to be a grandpa who can’t understand or help with […]

February 06, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: We’re suffering a brain freeze

The headlines were bracing: “Extreme cold grips snowy Northeast” and “Mercury in single digits from Atlanta to Boston,” to name just a couple. The recent freeze that gripped a good portion of the county propelled another new term into our cultural vocabulary — the polar vortex — and had the chattering class’ teeth chattering from […]

January 16, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Mother Nature and the Red Queen

I’m offering a couple of thoughts for the new year. One involves Mother Nature, and the other Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen. First, Mother Nature. The world’s policymakers sat down in Warsaw in 2013 to talk about climate change. Actually, the intention was not to just talk about it, but to do something. This has been […]

January 02, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: The end of the year as we know it

Paraphrasing R.E.M.’s 1987 song, and poking a bit of fun at my own proclivity toward doomsday scenarios, “it’s the end of the year as we know it (and I feel fine).” Each year, dating back to 2007, my last column of the calendar year has been an opportunity to reflect back and to peer forward, […]

December 19, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

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