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John Mott-Smith

Per Capita Davis: Climate change news in 2012? Mostly bad

Where to start? It’s the end of the year, time to look back and see what happened both good and bad with climate change in 2012. The easiest starting point is with basic data. The Scripps Institute, keeper of records back to 1958 (see www.co2now.org), reports average annual levels of CO2 in the atmosphere as […]

December 20, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: UC Davis is putting us on the map

For years, whenever I traveled outside of the Sacramento region, whether to Europe, Asia, New York or Los Angeles, when the question was asked “Where are you from?” my answer was always either “Sacramento” or “near San Francisco” or “a small town between SF and Sacramento.” If ever I said “Davis,” the follow-up question was, […]

December 06, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Do we need all these electricity-gobbling gadgets?

Everything, it seems, is getting more energy-efficient. Compact fluorescent light bulbs use a fraction of the energy of the old incandescent bulbs. Cars are getting many more miles per gallon than just a few years ago. Utilities, including PG&E, are rewarded for programs and technologies that reduce the amount of energy consumed. It’s all good, […]

November 15, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Cows, wind and airplanes

WEIRD SCIENCE: My last article featured a “Bluff the Reader” challenge to find which of three seemingly ridiculous scientific efforts was, in fact, under way in response to climate change. One of these was to genetically engineer the human body to make it smaller (less resource consumption) and another approach was to create drugs that […]

November 01, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Bluffing the reader

I guess I’m somewhere in between in terms of where I go for news and events. On the one hand, I still read the newspaper instead of getting news online. On the other hand, and I don’t know exactly where it falls on the spectrum between old and new news sources, but I listen to […]

October 18, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Cool Davis gets festive

It’s that time of year again, when the folks at Cool Davis put on the annual funfest to make real their organization’s promise to “promote sustainability and have fun doing it.” The issue of climate change and its potential adverse effects can be deadly dull and somewhat depressing. The Cool Davis Festival celebrates the positive […]

October 04, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Wind energy potential explored

When we think of renewable energy in Davis or Yolo County, we (or at least I) think almost exclusively of solar, with a bit of biofuels thrown in. But the county is currently assessing the potential for wind energy in the Dunnigan Hills and recently organized a combination symposium and field trip to explore the […]

September 20, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Short stuff on weeds, fish and meat

A benefit of writing this column is that lots of little things come my way; some from readers, some from my own reading, others from people I meet around town. These items don’t need a full column but I find them interesting and worth passing on. So here’s a collection of “short stuff” from the […]

September 06, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Things are heating up

Things are heating up, and not just in the presidential election. James Hansen, one of the first to sound the alarm about climate change, recently published the results of a study examining the percentage of the Earth’s surface (not counting the oceans) that experiences “extreme heat” in the summer. According to the study, this percentage […]

August 17, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: The reliability of our power supply

Back in February, I wrote a column about nuclear power and the trouble I was having balancing the risks against the benefits. Basically, is the benefit of energy generated without producing any greenhouse gas emissions worth the potential downsides of catastrophic meltdown and nuclear proliferation? I’m still gathering information (thanks to all who sent in […]

August 02, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: An energy survey of Manhattan

I recently traveled to New York, home of the United Nations, ostensibly for the purpose of observing an example of dense development and the ensuing consequences for greenhouse gas emissions. That was my cover story. The real (secret) purpose of my journey was to report in to my United Nations comrade, Agent 2100, about my […]

July 19, 2012 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Yocha Dehe tribe has a commitment to stewardship

I recently had the opportunity (two, in fact) to learn what the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has done on its Cache Creek lands to increase energy efficiency, develop renewable energy and generally promote sustainability. Representatives from the tribe made a presentation to the Climate Change Compact of Yolo County on April 13. The compact is […]

July 05, 2012 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Lots of little things add up

Today’s column is filled with lots of little things culled from the news and various other sources. GUESS WHO SAID THAT: See if you can identify the author of the following quote (answer at bottom). “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have […]

June 21, 2012 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Is this a great town, or what?

Is this a great town, or what? Even after living here for 30-plus years I keep finding new reasons to be impressed. We may not live near the ocean, or enjoy the clear mountain air, but this is a special place. A NON-TAXABLE BIKE RIDE: On May 5, Davis Waste Removal held a free shredding […]

June 07, 2012 | Posted in Agriculture + Environment | Tagged ,
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