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John Mott-Smith

Per Capita Davis: The power of leadership in moving us forward

A conversation I often have with myself is whether it’s more effective for someone concerned about climate change to focus on “upstream” policies and actions or to instead encourage and incite individual actions. By “upstream,” I mean policies such as increasing mpg standards for vehicles. This is basically a top-down approach and doesn’t require any […]

July 18, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Obama takes the lead on climate challenge

It was back in 1990 when Bruce Springsteen first sang the song “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).” I remember when it came out. I thought it was both hilarious and true. So much garbage on TV. I feel much the same way today, except that now, if one is willing to pay for them, there […]

July 05, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Let’s keep carbon offsets in Davis

There is a problem with writing a 900-word column: it’s not possible to say everything on a given topic, especially if one is wordy like I tend to be, in a single column. Still, my last column on the carbon costs of air travel did sort of “land” (so to speak) with an abrupt thud. […]

June 20, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Airline travel poses a dilemma

A couple of decades ago, OK, four, back in 1972 when I was an English major in college, having decided on that course of study mainly because classes didn’t usually start before noon, which was really about the time I was eating breakfast, a friend of mine had declared his major in biology. When I […]

June 06, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Breaking the record

We humans love data. We keep track of all kinds of stuff. How much rain did we get, is it more or less than “normal?” When was the last time a left-handed batter hit three home runs in a single game? And we like to know the most of everything, what is the “record” for […]

May 16, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Portland proclaims its superiority

I’m on vacation, and when I travel I try to disconnect from the connections of my regular life in Davis. Someday I should write a column about what that daily life is like. Many friends know I retired from working for the state back in 2007, but I’m not the most chatty person in the […]

May 02, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Impractical and uneconomical?

Driving down Interstate 5,  motorists are accompanied by a view of the California Aqueduct, part of the several hundred-mile network of canals that make up the Central Valley Project that plumbs the state of California. I’ve always wondered if these canals would be a potential location for solar panels — modules that span the canal, […]

April 18, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: The road not traveled

The last column was (in part) about how important it is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles if we are to reach our emission reduction target of 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. On average, cars put about a pound of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every mile driven, and all of […]

April 04, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: The toughest nut to crack

The toughest nut to crack: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is, in some ways, painless and invisible to most of us. Others are doing it for us. If Congress raises miles-per-gallon standards for vehicles, we may or may not pay more for a car (we will pay less for gas), but in terms of our day-to-day […]

March 21, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Pieces of the puzzle

Sometimes random news items share a thread that, when linked together, become a theme for a column. Other times, like now, the thread and theme are not obvious, but the individual items are still of interest (at least to me) because they’re a part of the overall discussion about climate change. “More cars across the […]

March 07, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Living small

For your reading pleasure (I hope), a bunch of small items sent in by readers or culled from various news sources over the last little while. Small is beautiful (in the eye of the beholder): What do you do if you live in a city that’s surrounded on all sides either by other cities or […]

February 21, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: More than one new year’s resolution

It’s that time of year when couch potatoes put on their running shoes and the local gyms get crowded with good intentions and resolutions to, this year for sure, shed a few pounds and get back in shape. It was encouraging to hear one of President Obama’s new year’s resolutions. In his inauguration speech, he […]

February 07, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita: Feeling the heat

I find it difficult at times to get my mind around the scope or scale of global warming. We speak about this issue as affecting the “planet” or the “atmosphere” or the “weather” or the “oceans” (plural) or the “permafrost” or the ice in the Arctic and Antarctic but, really, how massive does a phenomenon […]

January 17, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Seattle, Portland are sustainability models

Davis is proud of its record on energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability, and justifiably so, but there are other communities that think they are the leader in pioneering efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. I visited two of these recently — Seattle and Portland — to take their measure and compare our city to […]

January 03, 2013 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,
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