- Last week, Washington Post subscribers awoke to an Outlook section dominated by a disingenuous article by Bjorn Lomborg. This morning, the front-page of this influential opinion section is graced with a truthiness piece on urban heat islands: Hot World? Blame Cities.
The article, basically, asserts that suburbia is getting unfairly singled out re Global Warming as, due to the Urban Heat Island effect, one can open one’s windows in suburbia for cooling more easily than in a city. And, that our focus should be on making sprawl more environmentally friendly, not on reducing sprawl.
How many errors and omissions can we count in this article? The list is, well, perhaps endless.
Two basic misleading points due to omission:
- Urban dwellers have, writ large, much smaller CO2 footprints than people living in suburbs.
- There are ways to reduce the heat island effect, that would also contribute to reducing Global Warming.
Not discussed, in any serious way, is why suburbia is such a problem: the relative pollution / CO2 burden of suburban vs city dwellers? Want to seriously lower you carbon footprint as an American? Move to New York City, which has lower carbon footprints than any suburb that I know of.
And, what is a key gap in the discussion? Why not talk about how to reduce the urban heat island affect? For example:
* Green / Reflective Roofs
* Renewable power systems in the city
* Geothermal heating/cooling systems (reducing waste heat from air conditioning into the air)
* Pedestrian zones
* Electrified transport
Measures like these won’t eliminate the urban heat island effect, but they can have a real impact in reducing it.
This article is greatly frustrating. The truthiness of its misleading nature is angering, frustrating, exascerbating …
What is the Post up to?
Lomborg one week, this now. Is Inhofe going to have the front cover of Outlook next week?
Bracketing the Gore/IPCC Nobel Peace prize with two trash pieces in Outlook does the Post and its readership a real disservice.
For another perspective, see mem from somerville over at DailyKos.