Archive for Sunday, January 22, 2006

How cool can we get?

Despite Bush’s stance, mayor wants Lawrence to combat global warming

January 22, 2006


Call it Boog vs. Bush.

City commissioners soon will have a chance to do something the federal government won't do: agree to abide by the key provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty aimed at reducing the greenhouse gases considered a prime cause of global warming.

"The health and well-being of our children and grandchildren really depend on this," Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger said. "The U.S. government has failed to take the lead on the issue, and like so many issues the cities are going to have to."

Lawrence may get its chance through a program that members of the local Sierra Club are pitching to city leaders. The program, dubbed Cool Cities, aims to get cities to pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent compared with where they were in 1990. Cities are asked to reach the 7 percent reduction by 2012.

That essentially is the key - and controversial - provision in the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. Senate failed to support the agreement during the Clinton administration, and President Bush has opposed it, saying it does not treat all nations fairly and could hurt U.S. industry.

But that hasn't stopped U.S. cities from pressuring the federal government to act. Through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 179 cities have agreed to voluntarily reduce their own emissions.

Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger

Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger

Highberger wants Lawrence to be next on the list. He's asked the city's Recycling and Resource Conservation Advisory Board to review the program. It informally has agreed to recommend the project and is expected to give formal recommendation to city commissioners in the next month or so.

"It makes a lot of sense to me," said Highberger. "It is becoming pretty clear to me that we're experiencing global warming. I know weather changes from year to year and some people are skeptical, but the data is getting deeper every year."

Setting an example

The program Lawrence is considering has one major difference from the Kyoto Protocol: It doesn't put new mandates on local industries.

The pledge that Sierra Club members are asking the city to make would be for city government to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent, not reduce the overall community's emissions by that amount. There are also no fines or penalties to pay if the city doesn't reach the goal.

What the program likely would mean is that city government would need to become more conscious of the energy it uses in city buildings and utilities and the fuel it burns in city vehicles.

"If the city sets a good example, I think that will help convince citizens to change some of their practices," said Michael Campbell, chair of the Wakarusa Group of the Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club. "A lot of these changes are pretty simple. The more people are aware of the solutions, the more they'll start looking into them for themselves.

President George W. Bush

President George W. Bush

"Even if people just started seeing more city employees driving hybrid vehicles, that would do a lot to get people thinking."

The program also encourages cities to come up with incentives to convince citizens to change their behavior. For example, some cities are allowing drivers of hybrid vehicles to park for free.

Spend more?

But the proposal does have potential to touch off debate. Steps needed to reduce greenhouse emissions could require the city to spend more, especially in upfront costs, than if the status quo were continued.

Adding more hybrid vehicles to the city's fleet is an example. The city currently has three hybrid cars, all Toyota Priuses, which are used by the city's building inspectors and the parking department. But the city continues to buy conventional pickups and SUVs for departments such as Public Works and the Fire & Medical Department.

The city has operated under an informal policy that requires the additional purchase price for a hybrid be made up for in fuel savings during the 10-year life of a vehicle.

In the case of the Toyotas, the city has determined that is possible. But with the larger vehicles, their hybrid equivalents can cost $10,000 to $12,000 more. Even with gas at $2.25 a gallon, the fuel savings of a big hybrid won't cover the initial additional purchase price, said Chris Stewart, the city's central garage superintendent.

But that leaves city commissioners to ponder what price do you put on helping the environment?

"I think it would be reasonable to pay somewhat more for doing the right thing," Highberger said. "How much more, though, really is the big question."

City Commissioner David Schauner said he's not sure he's ready to start spending extra dollars, but he suspects the city could find ways to conserve energy if it looked harder.

He said even if hybrids weren't yet cost-effective, the city should look hard to ensure every city employee who had a pickup really needed a pickup instead of a compact car.

"We need to make sure that we're in the 21st centuryon this issue," Schauner said. "I'm not sure I understand all our rationale at times."

One other cost issue could be a stumbling block for the proposed program. In order to participate, the city needs to know what its emission levels were in 1990. That would mean hiring a consultant to examine past fuel bills, electrical usage and other factors that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.

Highberger said he didn't know how much that would cost for Lawrence, but he does know of cities spending more than $100,000 to get it done.

"The cost of the survey is a concern," Highberger said. "There's a part of me that would just rather spend the money on things that I know will reduce our emissions."

But Campbell, with the Sierra Club, said he hoped the city would find a way to participate in the program because he thought it would help draw attention to the issue.

"Unfortunately, when some people hear about conserving energy, people think we're going to have to revert to some kind of Third World lifestyle," Campbell said. "The city could do a lot to dispel that notion."


Kookamooka 12 years, 1 month ago

We are getting on the bandwagon a little late. There are many cities, Lawrence's size, already doing this. I'm glad we're going to be part of that group of citites concerned and making our "drop in the bucket".

SteelHorseRider 12 years, 1 month ago

Trade in the city Fire Chief's Subdivision (Ford Excursion) and buy another Prius. That should cut the first one percent right off the top. Only six more to go.

Mercat 12 years, 1 month ago

The U.S. has, without the treaty, reduced it's greenhouse gasses significantly more than most of the countries who signed off on it. This treaty is for the most part, a huge anti-capitalizm, pro-socializm political red herring. No wonder Lawence loves it.

Mercat 12 years, 1 month ago


Of course more greenhouse gasses are emitted by the U.S. We're the biggest country and the most industrialized but generally our emitions (sp? lol) have gone down and Canada's for example, have gone up. And be more specific with your cites. The link you used is huge.

Liberty 12 years, 1 month ago

If Boog really is serious about stopping global warming, he should look into why these jet planes are spraying the sky with chemicals. These white trails that create cloud cover lock in the heat from the sun and prevent rain, creating the global warming problem so the congress can enact the desertification treaty with the United Nations giving 70% of the land of the US over to the United Nations control. Congress did this with a voice vote. For pictures and information on the chemtrail problem:

ksmattfish 12 years, 1 month ago

Whatever you believe about global warming or the age of the Earth, it's hard to argue that trying to keep local pollution down, and increasing energy efficiency are bad things. Unless you're just a jackass who thinks that God put you here to wreck the place.

Heck, just by providing this readers' comments section the LJW has reduced the amount of hot, stinky gasses that would have been emitted from local loud mouths.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

I appreciate Boog's gesture, but the lack of leadership within BushCo to address this problem can't really be made up at the local level.

It's likely too late to do anything, anyway. Our city leaders may as well just make sure we have some of the best deck chairs around as Captain BushCo accelerates Titanic Earth into the icebergs.

DaREEKKU 12 years, 1 month ago

Why don't we use the University, specifically the students, to research and develop the most effiecient ways of utilizing renewable energy here in Lawrence? I always thought it would be kind of nice to have a completely self sustaining campus, but what if most of the buildings here could be self sustaining? And how about using the school of Architecture to team up and help design new environmentally friendly buildings? I'm already paying a a-ton for tuition, we might as well have even more to show for our work! Oh, we could start by not completely destroying those wetlands south of town ;-). Agreed that those Ford Excursions should be scrapped as well.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 1 month ago

The sooner the world's oil is depleted, the sooner it will no longer be an issue. This planet houses 5 billion people who are using energy at an increasing rate. Sooner or later we will be forced to deal with the issue. I suspect it will not be a kind solution for most of humanity. When this happens, we on this blog will all probably be dead long dead, so it will be a problem only for our grandchildren.

Just as competition and natural selection are universal laws, so is the law of limited resources.

Sandman 12 years, 1 month ago

This "Blame Bush for Kyoto" is another liberal myth.

In fact, the Senate voted 95-0 against ratification of the Kyoto Treaty. That includes a number of Senate Democrats, of course.

Also on that measure, whether it's enforced or not -- as you know, under the Kyoto agreement, 55 nations need to submit it, enforce it to their various governments. Only one nation in the world has done so. There are 54 more to go. So the treaty cannot even possibly even be in effect. So there's nothing to withdraw from because there is no treaty in effect.

Why is no one voting for it? That would be a more productive debate than just using it to smear Bush. But that would require an honest debate, something liberals just can't seem to do any more.

Mercat 12 years, 1 month ago


I would love to continue this debate but I do have a life. Your ad hominum attacks are typical of the wacky left approach to public debate. You and I can throw websites and stats back and forth at each other all day long but fact is, this position by this totally embarrassing mayor is symbolic and won't make as much difference as one snail fart.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 1 month ago

Limited resources / 5 billion people = ?

Any answers out there?

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 1 month ago

"Geological processes: The only thing that is constant is change."

Agreed. As humans are part of the Earth, so they might be able to drive geologic change.

The challenge for humanity will be how to deal with geologic change (whether man-made or not).

Past episodes of dramatic geologic change have not been kind to the vast majority of species on the planet, especially large ones with backbones.

tolawdjk 12 years, 1 month ago

"Evolve or die will be the way to deal with it."

Except in Kansas. I thought we had this settled. Kansas's option is "die" as evolution holds no sway here.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 1 month ago


I agree with "evolve or die".

Those who do not adapt to the reality of a new environment will be culled.

One way to do this is by violence and isolation (e.g. Malthus).

Another way is to use our heads and try to make the best of the situation.

I will place my money on the former happening.

down_the_river 12 years, 1 month ago

Often dogma holds sway over facts, and as liberal who's still willing to learn, I've been wondering about the city bus system. Does anyone have the facts for the passenger miles per gallon for our bus system? We believe bus=good, car=bad, but I think we may have something to learn, given the differences between the geography and demographics of Lawrence versus metro Chicago. I can imagine that if you don't count the bus driver or supervisory employees of the system, the results may be environmentally poorer than personal vehicles (which may be perhaps 30 passenger miles per gallon?) Anyone know the details on these numbers? Should we abandon the big bus style for environmental reasons?

Liberty 12 years, 1 month ago


If you consider trimethyl aluminum and barium being released in the atmosphere funny then LOL. Remember to laugh when you see them leaving heavy chemical trails above Lawrence and the rest of the country. All you need do is look up in the sky from day to day and notice jet flights overhead. They tend to release the aerial sprays before a weather front moves in.

Jamesaust 12 years, 1 month ago

I've read the article twice trying to see who is the most confused here - the journalist or the City.

Okay, what is the goal here? It is to get the City "to reduce [its] greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent compared with where [it was] in 1990."

Why 1990? especially since the City doesn't know what emissions were in 1990 and it might cost a fortune to figure that out? "But Campbell, with the Sierra Club, said he hoped the city would find a way to participate in the program because he thought it would help DRAW ATTENTION to the issue." Uhhh....if the City wants to subsidize the Sierra Club, why don't we take the money we would spend and just write them a check? Seriously, if the City chooses to take these actions forget the 'Cool Cities' program and the 1990 bit and just do what's right for Lawrence.

And why do City people keep confusing reducing emissions with consuming less energy as a selling point? Yes, consuming less energy will result in less emissions but lowering emissions does not mean consuming less energy - the hybrid car a case in point: lower consumption by some purchasers (all other things equal) lowers the cost of energy and thereby spurs consumption by other users. Heck, if everyone else would just conserve enough petroleum to lower the price to $1 a gallon, I'd buy a Cadillac Escalade in a second.

If the goal is to reduce emissions period (and not other irrelevant stuff like doing the Sierra Club's p/r work for them), the City can take steps like it hints at in the article -- does every employee with a truck need it instead of an economy car, can the City encourage/subsidize employees to ride the T, does the City insist wherever it subsidizes private development (a lot of places) that emissions reducing measures are taken? That probably won't make Lawrence a Cool Cities participant but might make Lawrence a cool city.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

Rudolph Diesel expected that his engine would be powered by vegetable oils (including hemp) and seed oils. At the 1900 World's Fair, Diesel ran his engines on peanut oil. Later, George Schlichten invented a hemp 'decorticating' machine that stood poised to revolutionize paper making. Henry Ford demonstrated that cars can be made of, and run on, hemp. Evidence suggests a special-interest group that included the DuPont petrochemical company, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon (Dupont's major financial backer), and the newspaper man William Randolph Hearst mounted a yellow journalism campaign against hemp. Hearst deliberately confused psychoactive marijuana with industrial hemp, one of humankind's oldest and most useful resources. DuPont and Hearst were heavily invested in timber and petroleum resources, and saw hemp as a threat to their empires. Petroleum companies also knew that petroleum emits noxious, toxic byproducts when incompletely burned, as in an auto engine. Pollution was important to Diesel and he saw his engine as a solution to the inefficient, highly polluting engines of his time. In 1937 DuPont, Mellen and Hearst were able to push a "marijuana" prohibition bill through Congress in less than three months, which destroyed the domestic hemp industry.

tolawdjk 12 years, 1 month ago


If you consider trimethyl aluminum and barium being released in the atmosphere funny then LOL. Remember to laugh when you see them leaving heavy chemical trails above Lawrence and the rest of the country. All you need do is look up in the sky from day to day and notice jet flights overhead. They tend to release the aerial sprays before a weather front moves in."

Kooky, Kooky, lend me your comb.

Yep, It's Southwest's fault. That's how they offer low cost flights, govt subsidies to spray the stuff. You know how all those planes have those restrooms in the front of the plane, but you aren't supposed to use them? Thats where they keep the juice.

A contrail is exactly that, a contrail.

If anything, the presence of trimethyl aluminum is more likely do to the continued useage of methyl bromide. Methyl bromide attacks aluminum...which yer insidious planes are made of...creating trimethyl aluminum.

What this also means is that you need to double up on the foil you use for your hat. If its too thin, it will develope holes.

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

someone told me that someone was proposing 'no driving days' in lawrence where NOBODY can drive a car on certain days of the week. freedom i says, freedom!

why don't the so-called 'progressives' just admit they are democrats in disguise? would it be illegal for them to be honest?

yes, that toyota prius cost $7,000 more than the typical prius and it gets far less miles per gallon than the E.P.A. claims so the City of Lawrence will see a cost benefit after the car is driven 250,000 miles to justify the gas savings and the cost of changing out its electric engine at 125,000 miles. where do they recycle spent electric engines, at the evil wal-mart?

is boog taking his cues from in trying to trump bush's speech at k-state?

frankly, i'd like to know if a political contributor gets to do this bogus $100,000 study.

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

"The health and well-being of our children and grandchildren really depend on this," Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger said.....last i checked, none of our progressive city commissioners have any children.

Jay_Z 12 years, 1 month ago

Liberty, my goodness, thanks for the laugh!

Jet planes are spraying our skies with chemicals to affect weather patterns?! Say it ain't so...that evil Bush guy must be up to his tricks again! HAHAHAHAHA--I don't know which is worse--making this crap up or actually believing it.

Wow, you liberals are something else.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 1 month ago

It's the Chamber of Commerce who has dropped the ball on procuring the high paying jobs that Lawrence is desperate for....however Mayor Highberger could make that an issue. It migh be a good idea to move that authority to a city department all it's own which would allow the public to monitor progress.

Anything Boog can do to cut pollution locally I say go for it.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 1 month ago

Someone earlier in the blog had tough words for hybrid vehicles. I agree. Hybrids are simply a marketing ploy. The technology exists to make cars run on all sorts of diesel, often from renewable sources, as well as from distillates from renewable sources like corn. Hybrids are designed by auto companies to appeal to consumers who want to think they are concerned and doing their part and yet still burn non-renewable fossil fuels.

If I am not mistaken, Formula 1 cars run on methanol because of its high octane and high compression capabilities.

I know using words like "renewable" will get me labeled as a leftist commie liberal. For these people, please read my previous posts about limited resources and 5 billion plus people.

tolawdjk 12 years, 1 month ago

"Jet planes are spraying our skies with chemicals to affect weather patterns?! Say it ain't so...that evil Bush guy must be up to his tricks again! HAHAHAHAHA--I don't know which is worse--making this crap up or actually believing it.

Wow, you liberals are something else."

Oh, I don't think its "liberals" that believe this. Iread a few of thier documents. There are letters from the EPA in there from Browner. She was a Clinton appointee if I remember. I think kooky transcends politics.

compmd 12 years, 1 month ago

once again, i will remind you all that i pursue rudolf diesel's dream: a car that runs on all kinds of oils, including from renewable sources. a well tuned diesel engine is cleaner than a gasser due to the more perfect combustion of the compression ignition. my 5000 pound sedan can get comparable mileage to the prius on a good day. also the engine is also easier to diagnose and repair than a gasser.

you contrail conspiracy theorists crack me up by the way. i would suggest learning about airplanes, aerodynamics, and atmospheric science, but that could take years.

i am going to go drive my mercedes and enjoy the french fry exhaust and then go out to the airport and see where the university puts the nefarious chemical tanks on its cessna citation bravo jet.

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 1 month ago

porky said "There is NO evidence that humans have contributed to ANY climate changes."

This is patently false. There is much evidence that indicates that human activity has contributed to climate change. Scientists agree on this point. The remaining debate is how much of the change can be attributed to human activity as opposed to the "natural" processes that have happened for 4.5 billion years.

There is no debate that atmospheric CO2 levels have increased due to human activity, and there is no debate that the greenhouse effect is real.

In any event, the current changes, whether human-caused or not, are likely to have major effects on the ability of humans to populate this planet at the current pace.

lunacydetector 12 years, 1 month ago

isn't this so-called man made 'global warming' just a THEORY? i know the mathematical formula that scientists have been using for years was recently debunked.

in the 1970's all the newspapers wrote about was the oncoming 10,000 year ice age. now it is global warming. anything for a government grant to guarantee employment and prestige.

TruthSeeker 12 years, 1 month ago

By the way, humans and other living organic specimens emit greenhouse gases (Carbon dioxide, methane, my dog sometimes emits a nasty sulferous odor driving everyone from the room...could be a greenhouse gas). Just a bit more to add to the confusion.



You rightwing rightious rightist who is ....... on the right.

moron 12 years, 1 month ago

I am very impresssed with myself for knowing so much about everything. I am an expert in global warming, too.



Godot 12 years, 1 month ago

""The health and well-being of our children and grandchildren really depend on this," Lawrence Mayor Boog Highberger said.....last i checked, none of our progressive city commissioners have any children.'

Maybe their "house-partners" have offspring that survived conception and achieved birth. '

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 1 month ago

"Maybe their "house-partners" have offspring that survived conception and achieved birth."

Come on, Godot, go ahead and say it-- you think they are just pod people, and none of their friends or family could possilby have children that these sub-humans could possibly care about.

tolawdjk 12 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

redneck 12 years, 1 month ago

Some people are so full crap in this town! Lawrence, Kansas is going to show the rest of the country how to do things. Yea right! Lawrence's emissions have probably ALREADY been reduced 7% since 1990 because the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT has been passing emissions laws since then. It will have NOTHING to do with what Lawrence's officials do 15 years later. Yea, this will really make us look good and we didn't have to even lift a finger. This makes me ashamed to tell people that I live in Lawrence.

redneck 12 years, 1 month ago

I agree with whoever before me stated that our Mayer is trying to compete with Bush's speech in Manhattan tomorrow. Why did he wait until the eve of Bush's speech to come out with this load of BS? Maybe our mayor is upset that Bush is going to visit Manhattan for the second time while in office and has not come to Lawrence even once. Maybe Bush is smarter than what a lot of people think he is. LOL

Liberty 12 years, 1 month ago


"A contrail is exactly that, a contrail."

This statement I would agree with. But also: A chemtrail is exactly that, a chemtrail.

The contrail will not last and disappears a short time after the jet goes by. (This is normal plane activity). It is also altitude dependent. But if you are afraid, just believe it is a contrail. But if you have courage, read on.

A chemtrail will stay much longer in the sky and is dispersed and creates a thin cloud cover. It is very different from a contrail. It mixes with other chemtrails to eventually completely coat the sky at times when it would have been a nice clear day. This locks in heat causing the global warming, in order to pass legislation to bring more control to the globalist/United Nations. The aerial spraying started in about 1997-1999 and continues to this day. The jets are usually black, but now they are using mostly white jets. Pictures of the megasprayers are on the web site It has caused this weather shift and causes the wind to pick up as the spray diverts the jet stream to alter the weather pattern. The aerial spraying is usually right before a weather front moves in and also during the day over the path that the sun takes in the sky.

It makes sense that these recent changes in our weather patterns are due to a recent change in aerial spraying activity. There is a very strong correlation between the global warming crisis and aerial spraying. The timeframes match, as do the symtoms in the sky.

I suggest that you look up in the sky and be more aware of what is going on around you. Weather control is documented in the United States code of law. The governor of Kansas signed off on this legislation. It is legal, but it is not right.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

several points... 1. the article implies that our enlightened city poobahs are going to spend more money in some areas to achieve this dubious which otherwise could be used concretely to improve our city's infrastructure (puns intended), by fixing bad streets and fixing the horrible sidewalks!
money which could make a real difference would instead be spent on frivvel and frippery! * the local Sierra Club is pushing for this; this is the same group a few years ago which opposed building and completing the SLT because it would just "encourage people to drive more!" whahaha...they're happy to have all 'dem cars just sittin' on idle spewing exhaust on clogged 23rd!!!!!

global warming is a myth. mr. Porkribbs might happen to be an "idiot" I do not know, but his posts are right so he is at least a correct idiot!
here's some more info: if you go to the us government's solar observatory webiste and check out records, you will see that:

a. solar radiation is up in the "magnetic wind/solar wind; and b. solar radiation of heat is up. c. mankind's activities have absolutely no possible impact on increased solar radiation. d. what happens when solar radiation trends upward over several decades...hmmmm...put on your thinking caps (no, not those foil ones!)...
... you suppose we might just get a tweakin' warmer??? hmmm...never talked about that in Sierra Club meetings? Or, in your hate-bush websites? Ok.

once again our city commish is outdoing previous commish's in lunacy!

LD, keep it up btw.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 1 month ago

"pod people"
for once, Bonzo, you really are an idiot, but you might have something here!

LOOKOUT: "INVASION OF THE BODYSNATCHERS", they're pods come out from under the roundabouts@!@@@@!!!!@ arghghg!

hurlehey 12 years, 1 month ago

we should find a way to convert "real" dollars into fuel for our cars.

Ember 12 years, 1 month ago

Hmmm, I always thought that the contrail created in the wake of a passing airplane was the reformation of ice crystals in the atmosphere when the superheated 'feathers' of the exhaust cone on the engines was beyond the range of the heat expansion theory inside of thermal dynamics.The higher the angels of the airplane, the more rarefied and colder the air, so the ice crystals would form much more radily than they would at half the altitude.

It's odd, the things you pick up living on an A.F. base and talking with the pilots and other members of flight crews. Hmm, will have to ask them if they, too, are pumping out chemtrails at all, or if it is just a giant covernment conspiracy of immense proportions, with effects that are still not completely known and with objectives that at best conjecture and supposition within the confines of dark basements during breaks in the Dungeons and Dragons adventure currently being run by the Dungeon Master.

For every nutjob conspiracy theory out there, there are nuts doing their job and promoting it.

Richard Boyd 12 years, 1 month ago

Damn... HOW funny... There are "chem trail" NUTS in Lawrence...

NOT illogical... after all if you wanted to spray for all the fluffy, nutty, pinky KOOKS in Kansas... Lawrence certainly would be right up there in the target profile to get a good dusting...

BUT you know that makes the whole idea problematic, would the government have the clever insight to think of it for themselves?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.