Thursday, May 29, 2008

"Political Science"

After reading an article today titled "Political Science" from the online magazine Science News, I stopped and thought about San Francisco. Usually when talks about the developments of a green city come up, especially New York, it's hard not to stop for a second and compare things with San Francisco. 

The article talks about recent statements made by NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg made this morning at the first World Science Summit(watch the Cobert video).  Bloomberg was speaking in front of over 100 leading Scientists about the complicated relationship that science has with politics.
"He pointed, for instance, to the fact that fully a half-century ago, scientists were already linking smoking with cancer. By the 1970s, science had also begun predicting that increased carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel burning would warm the climate “with the potentially catastrophic consequences that are playing out now, all over the world.” Yet society fought anti-smoking campaigns as vehemently as the Bush administration has fought regulations to slow climate change.

And the reason? “Far too often,” the mayor contends, “it's because of what I call ‘political science’ - the willingness [of governments] to disregard or suppress scientific findings when they don't conform to a pre-determined political agenda.”

This isn't news, but I'm extremely happy to hear that it's being talked about in NY as I write this, by people who might actually be able to do something about it. In much the same way Bloomberg made great changes in public smoking laws in New York (acc. to the article, smoking is down 20% from 2002), he also took it into his own hands to create change with NY's carbon emissions. 

"Bloomberg had city agencies measure New York’s carbon footprint. And it was huge: some 58 million metric tons of CO2 per year – and growing. Last October, in response to the findings, he signed an executive order forcing city agencies to cut their CO2 emissions 30 percent by 2017. To make the necessary changes, he said, “we've committed 10 percent of our annual energy costs – equal to roughly $80 million a year.”...He's also instructed city cabbies to convert to hybrid vehicles or similarly high-fuel-economy cars within four years. That’s a big change considering New York’s is the biggest taxi fleet in the world."

That's pretty awesome progress. Imagine what a statement it would be to have a NY with all hybrid cabs?
Come on Gavin Newsom! We gotta catch up! So far, our only outlet (as far as I know) is the new SF company Green Cab that, so far, has only like, 5 cabs! Knowing this city, we don't NEED our mayor to make these changes. Green Cab will catch on pretty quick.

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