The Green New Deal’s Biggest Problem

A Tesla in every driveway just won’t cut it.

By Alex Baca Feb 11, 2019 | Original Mother Jones article here.


There might be no better monument to the limits of American environmentalism in the climate change era than a parking garage in Berkeley, California.

It’s got “rooftop solar, electric-vehicle charging stations and dedicated spots for car-share vehicles, rainwater capture and water reatment features” — not to mention 720 parking spots. It cost nearly $40 million to build. At night, it positively glows. And it’s a block from the downtown Berkeley BART station.

That America’s most famous progressive city, one where nearly everything is within walking distance, spent $40 million to renovate a parking garage one block from a subway station suggests that progressive Democrats remain unwilling to seriously confront the crisis of climate change. America’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is transportation.

In California, the proportion of CO2 from transportation is even higher: above 40 percent. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín anticipates that the Center Street Parking Garage will out-green all others in the state with a LEED Silver rating, making it a perfect example of our approach to climate change: glibly “greening” the lives we live now rather than contemplating the future generations who will have to live here too.

On Thursday, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey unveiled just such a fix: the Green New Deal, a proposal that bills itself as a plan for the environment and the economy in equal measure. It is designed to

  1. steer America toward a low-carbon economy,
  2. fulfill the right to clean air and clean water,
  3. restore the American landscape,
  4. strengthen urban sustainability and resilience, and
  5. put a generation to work.

With prominent endorsements from leading Democratic presidential candidates, Ocasio-Cortez has brought more attention to climate change in two months than her Democratic peers did in the past two years.

But the Green New Deal has a big blind spot: It doesn’t address the places Americans live. And our physical geography — where we sleep, work, shop, worship, and send our kids to play, and how we move between those places — is more foundational to a green, fair future than just about anything else. The proposal encapsulates the liberal delusion on climate change: that technology and spending can spare us the hard work of reform.

The Environment

America is a nation of sprawl. More Americans live in suburbs than in cities, and the suburbs that we build are not the gridded, neighborly Mayberrys of our imagination. Rather, the places in which we live are generally dispersed, inefficient, and impossible to navigate without a car. Dead-ending cul-de-sacs and the divided highways that connect them are such deeply engrained parts of the American landscape that it’s easy to forget that they were themselves the fruits of a massive federal investment program.

Sprawl is made possible by highways. This is expensive — in 2015, the Victoria Transport Policy Institute estimated that sprawl costs America more than $1 trillion a year in reduced business activity, environmental damage, consumer expenses, and other costs. Leaving aside the emissions from the 1.1 billion trips Americans take per day (87 percent of which are taken in personal vehicles), spreading everything out has eaten up an enormous amount of natural land.

Environmentalists know transportation is the elephant in the room. At first blush, the easiest way to attack that problem is to electrify everything, and that’s largely what the Green New Deal calls for, with goals like

  • “100 % zero emission passenger vehicles by 2030” and
  • “100 % fossil-free transportation by 2050.”

The cars we drive feel more easily changeable than the places we live. But electric vehicles are nowhere near ready for widespread adoption — and even if they were, “half of the world’s consumption of oil would remain untouched,” Bloomberg reports. A Tesla in every driveway just won’t cut it.

The Economy

Even if there were an electric car in the garage of every net-zero McMansion, sprawl’s regressive legacy would persist in the economy. Sprawl requires us to spend more time and more money to reach the places we need to go.

The strongest demonstration of this is the fact that Americans’ jobs are far from where they live. This is particularly true for poor people and people of color, a phenomenon known as “spatial mismatch.” “Highways disproportionately benefit Americans who own or have access to automobiles,” political scientist Clayton Nall writes in The Road to Inequality. “Even when carless Americans do have access to a car, it is not always feasible — as a result of scarce time and financial resources — for poorer Americans to regularly drive the distances that must be covered by suburban expressway commuters.”

Tales of guys who have to walk an absurd number of miles to work — until they are gifted a car — hit local news affiliates every so often. As Angie Schmitt writes for Streetsblog, these are mistakenly cast as feel-good stories about workers overcoming adversity. In reality, they testify to the unjust correlation between job sprawl and racial segregation. Sprawl costs us all, but it disproportionately racks up costs for poor people, nonwhite people, and women.

All that is a result of a federal stimulus for a disconnected pattern of development that imposes an enormous burden on our finances, our environment, and our pursuit of equity.

The solution

In Alissa Walker’s exhaustive report in Curbed on why electric vehicles won’t save California, she argues that even with breakneck advances in renewable energy and electric cars, the country must still reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled. EVs won’t save the rest of America, either.

But the good news is that if we do account for land use, we will get much closer to a safe, sustainable, and resilient future. And even though widespread adoption of EVs is still decades away, reforms to our built environment can begin right now. In short, we can fix this. We build more than 1 million new homes a year—we just need to put them in the right places.*

Unsprawling America isn’t as hard as it sounds, because America is suffering from a critical, once-in-a-lifetime housing shortage. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reported last year that the United States has a national deficit of more than 7.2 million affordable and available rental homes for families most in need. Of course, if we build those homes in transit-accessible places, we can save their occupants time and money. But the scale of housing demand at this moment is such that we could build them in car-centric suburbs, too, and provide a human density that would not just support transit but also reduce the need to travel as shops, jobs, and schools crop up within walking distance. The Green New Deal is ostensibly a jobs program, an environmental program, and a redistributive program.

If it’s a jobs program, it must wrangle with spatial mismatch. If it’s an environmental program, it must tackle the fact that an all-electric fleet of cars is functionally, at this time, a pipe dream. And if it’s a redistributive program, it must grapple with how roads paved into suburban and exurban greenfield developments deepen, expand, and exacerbate segregation.

A Green New Deal must insist on a new and better land use regime, countering decades of federal sprawl subsidy. The plan already recognizes the need to retrofit and upgrade buildings. Why not address their locations while we’re at it?

Suggestions of specific policies that would enable a Green New Deal to address land use have already emerged: We could simply measure greenhouse gases from our transportation system or build more housing closer to jobs centers. Reallocating what we spend on building new roads to paying for public transit instead would go a long way toward limiting sprawl.

Where we live is no coincidence of preference. Federal policy has enforced inequities and disparities for both the environment and vulnerable people at a national scale. It’s never too late to address the most fundamental aspect of our carbon footprint: where we live. And building housing near jobs, transit, and other housing — rather than ultra-LEED-certified parking garages — is merely a political choice. No innovation required.

Promoting 5G is Reckless and Scientifically Indefensible

Comment: Promoting 5G is Reckless and Scientifically Indefensible

By Cindy Sage, Editor, BioInitiative Reports
In response to Kevin Werbach’s 3/6/19 opinion piece in the NY Times.

It’s not just about competition. This one-sided opinion by an economist does nothing to
lay out what else the public should know about big problems coming with 5G.

It is also about associated health impacts from 5G and installing the infrastructure via small cells that are, in fact, large emitters of far more radiofrequency radiation than we have now. Health hazards from chronic exposure to cell phone radiation are already scientifically established beyond a reasonable doubt.

Children born in the last 20 years with heavy exposures to wireless at home and at school now have cancer risks that are epidemiologically visible (testicular cancer in boys age 15-19, malignant brain tumors in adolescents at five times the rate of adults). The epidemic rate of profound mental and behavioral impairments in newborns who will not have normal cognitive function in their lifetimes is in part due to maternal use of cell phones during pregnancy, even as Telecom companies lobby to stop maintaining safe landlines and shift us all to unhealthy and addictive wireless phones.

Nationally, the 4G and 5G densification scheme requires the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of new mini-cell towers mounted on utility poles in front of homes down every block in America. Informed resistance over health harm should doom this scheme which is clearly a federal usurping of public rights-of-way.

5G institutionalizes profit for Telecom and Wireless industries at the expense of public health and safety. No amount of industry self-promotion and complicity of the FCC as a captured agency of that industry can cover up how dangerous and unnecessary this 5G rollout will be. Every movement of its citizens will be trackable, and thus made vulnerable to commercial manipulation, surveillance and disruption.

Continue reading “Promoting 5G is Reckless and Scientifically Indefensible”

24 GHz Auction Raises Nearly $300 Million in Round One

$284,144,450 in Round One Gross Bids of 24 GHz spectrum

Inside Towers, March 15, 2019 | Original article here.

The first round of the nation’s second-ever millimeter wave spectrum auction ended yesterday afternoon. The auction resumes today at 10 a.m. EDT.

The total amount of provisionally accepted bids on spectrum licenses at the end of round one was $284,144,450. That compares to $36,428,510 in provisional bids for round one in the previous auction of 28 GHz spectrum.

Licenses in New York City generated the highest bids at $5,047,000 each, followed Los Angeles, which generated bids at $3,882,000 each. Licenses in Chicago generated bids at $1,873,000 each.

Auction 102 offers 2,909 licenses in the 24 GHz band. The lower segment of the 24 GHz band (24.25–24.45 GHz) will be licensed as two, 100-megahertz blocks, and the upper segment (24.75–25.25 GHz) will be licensed as five, 100-megahertz blocks.

Thousand Oaks Prepares for Wave of Wireless

Thousand Oaks Maintains that FCC Rules Leave Little Room for Public Oversight

Adapted from an article by By Becca Whitnall, becca@theacorn.com, Mar 14, 2019 | Original article here.

THEY’RE COMING — The FCC is attempting to preempt local control over wireless equipment installations to support the rollout of new 5G technology, but these very regulations are being challenged by many Cities in the Ninth Circuit Federal Appeals Court because they are a massive Federal overreach into intrastate matters.

Applications from companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile to install so-called fifth generation, or 5G, wireless communication equipment in Thousand Oaks are expected, if this consolidated law suit from many US Cities is not granted its Motion for Stay of FCC Order 18-133.

Mar 5, 2019: Thousand Oaks Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Urgency Ordinance

Also, if any of these applications for these Close Proximity Microwave Radiation Antennas (CPMRAs) are to be handled without public notice, hearings or appeals, then the City of Thousand Oaks is opening itself up to huge liabilities.

A misguided Urgency Ordinance, approved by the City Council at its March 5 meeting, is “not the only way” to meet new FCC rules — rules that are still being challenged in court and which may be dismissed in the future.

The 60-day or 90-day shotclocks are just one of several big changes, voted through by the FCC Republican majority last year, intended to speed the rollout of densified 4G and 5G infrastructure.

Continue reading “Thousand Oaks Prepares for Wave of Wireless”

FirstNet is AT&T’s Springboard to 5G

By Kelly Hill on March 13, 2019 | Original article here.

The FirstNet network build-out is helping AT&T to increase its network capacity by about 50% as it adds additional band support while turning up FirstNet’s Band 14 spectrum, according to John Stephens, AT&T’s CFO. Stephens spoke at the the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference yesterday.

As AT&T builds out the FirstNet network, he said, it is also adding support for its AWS and Wireless Communications Spectrum holdings, as well as enabling LTE features such as:

  • 4×4 multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO);
  • Four component-carrier aggregation; and
  • 256 QAM modulation

With those spectrum aggregation capabilities, Stephens said that the difference is akin to having four single-lane highways compared to one four-lane highway:

Continue reading “FirstNet is AT&T’s Springboard to 5G”

Fourth Child Diagnosed With Cancer While Attending California School With Cell Phone Tower On Campus

By Anna Gibbs March 13, 2019 | Original Newsweel article here.

First, please view this Newsweek video: What Is A Tumor?

Parents in Ripon, California say a cell phone tower in a local schoolyard is to blame for the cancer diagnoses of four students in the last three years. The tower, which is located at Weston Elementary, is the same as others scattered throughout the town. However, one parent told CBS Sacramento that its proximity to her son led to his 2017 brain cancer diagnosis.

“We had a doctor tell us that it’s 100 percent environmental, the kind of tumor that he has,” Monica Ferrulli said in an interview. “It’s indescribable, it’s really tough.”

Ferrulli’s son Mason was the second child to be diagnosed with cancer in just three years at the school. Mason walked by the cell phone tower daily.

She also told the Modesto Bee that when questioned, the school district cited an "obsolete American Cancer Society study" in keeping the tower in place since the controversy erupted two years ago. Ferrulli told the newspaper that parents will continue to fight and keep their children out of the school.

On Tuesday, more than 200 children were absent from Weston Elementary as a form of protest. Tuesday night, the children’s parents attended a meeting of the Ripon Unified School District.

Continue reading “Fourth Child Diagnosed With Cancer While Attending California School With Cell Phone Tower On Campus”

House Hearing On Save the Internet Act

Legislating to Safeguard the Free and Open Internet

The Communications and Technology Subcommittee will hold a legislative hearing on restoring net neutrality protections on Tuesday, March 12, at 10:00 am in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Good Call, Nancy

House Speaker: ‘I’m not for impeachment’ – Washington Post

by David Alexander, Mar 11, 2019 | Original Reuters article here.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – No effort should be made to impeach President Donald Trump unless the reasons are overwhelming and bipartisan, given how divisive it would be for the country, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a Washington Post interview published on Monday.

“I’m not for impeachment,” Pelosi said in the interview, which was conducted last week.

“Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country,” she said. “He’s just not worth it.”

Ajit Pai and Telecom Lobbyists Are Coordinating Their Lies In Perfect Symmetry

By Karl Bode, Oct 23 2018 | Original Tech Dirt article here.

We’ve made it pretty clear by now that the FCC’s entire justification for repealing net neutrality was based entirely on fluff and lobbyist nonsense. But because the Administrative Procedure Act requires that regulators actually provide hard data to justify massive reversals in policy, both the Ajit Pai FCC and his BFFs at Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T have clung tightly to one completely false claim: that net neutrality harmed network investment.

But as we’ve stated countless times, that’s simply not true. This is not an opinion, it’s based on SEC filings, earnings reports, and the on-the-record statements of nearly a dozen telecom industry CEOs.

That undeniable fact hasn’t really bothered the folks at US Telecom, the telecom industry’s biggest lobbying and policy organization. The group last week penned a blog post with an accompanying graph proudly proclaiming that telecom network investment was on a sharp upward trajectory after the repeal of net neutrality. From the missive:

"Broadband investment rebounded in 2017, as a series of positive consumer and innovation policies and a pro-growth regulatory approach helped reverse the industry’s previous spending pullback, according to new research released today by USTelecom."

Continue reading “Ajit Pai and Telecom Lobbyists Are Coordinating Their Lies In Perfect Symmetry”