Davisville, March 6, 2023: Electrifying Davis as the city adapts to climate change

The city's plan to cut carbon pollution in Davis to net zero by 2040 relies on electrifying buildings and transportation, plus other visible changes. On today’s program Kerry Daane Loux, the city’s project manager for the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan, and City Council member Bapu Vaitla talk about why Davis must change, and what’s ahead.

The council will take up the plan again in April.

“The next steps are very important. We’ve arrived at a hundred actions, 28 priorities, but we know that we need to prioritize within the priorities and say this year, what are the three, four, maybe five actions that we want to become law,” Vaitla says on Davisville. “It doesn’t necessarily need to be mandates, but it does need to be policies that we would place at the top of the list in terms of the climate impact they’re going to have, in terms of the greenhouse-gas reduction impact.

“ … The idea stage is nearing the end of its first phase, but now it’s the implementation stage where all of us need to be involved and give, give of ourselves.”


Thanks to Bill, Kerry, and Bapu for the interesting discussion.

At time 8:00, Kerry says electricity "can" be created by solar and wind, but the whole discussion leaves out the fact that most of our electricity now comes from burning fossil fuels, especially at night when there is no solar.

If we switch to electric water heaters today, then more natural gas would be burned to make the electricity, compared to the amount of natural gas that is needed to directly heat the water in our gas-fired water heaters.  The CAAP needs a better grounding in physics, with basic energy calculations.  Regarding the reasoning for not requiring electrification sooner, the discussion needs to include more physical reality, and a little less talk about community opinions.

At 14:30 Bill says maybe we should aim at coal plants overseas, right on!

Agree with Bapu (time 19:40) that we need to reduce death caused by motor vehicles.  So where is the public discussion about people routinely violating speed limits?  One example of unsafe, energy-wasting driving habits is, "hurry up to the red light and jam on the brakes."  Why do news stories about crashes leave out details about what the driver(s) did incorrectly?

After 24:20, Kerry offers cautionary comments about "unintended consequences" and "rhetoric," but these same concerns apply to the rhetoric that all electricity is going to magically be green.  The example of electric water heaters above would be one unintended consequence of electrification in the near future.

At 27:15 Bapu says we need "lifestyle changes," so we need to discuss more details.  When are elected officials going to say "hoodies not heaters," and "stop driving cars for trips under 5 miles"?

Installing more solar panels is taking us in the right direction.  However, even if a homeowner can afford enough solar panels and enough batteries so that all their own electricity comes from their panels night and day, summer and winter, then are they really doing their part to fix climate change?  Most people cannot afford to do this.  Consider the analogy, if someone can afford their home, we would never say that they are therefore doing their part to fix homelessness.  No house is an island, and Davis is not an island.

A worthy podcast, good food for thought, but so many important things were left unsaid.

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