(6th in a series about Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan)
Kathy Fox is a member of the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council, a co-chair of the Northampton County Council of Democratic Women’s Environmental Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bethlehem Food Co-op. Kathy involves herself in positive organizations and activities that foster community, environmental awareness, education, and good health.
Thank you, Gadfly, for posting parts of the audio for the CAP update. I was unable to attend and appreciate your efforts in educating myself and others on the happenings in Bethlehem. Councilwoman Van Wirt bought an excellent point on the subject of electric city vehicles. I’ve been to a couple of presentations where it was explained that a city could pay for an expert to analyze their fleets and make recommendations to reduce the costs by switching to electric vehicles, and the changes would pay for themselves in a timely manner and then save money for the city — less maintenance, less fossil fuels, etc. An RFP for an energy consultant with specific expertise this year and implementation of a plan to transition next year sounds good to me. I’ve written to PPL to ask when are they going to start building infrastructure for electric vehicles. Citywide electric vehicle charging stations are necessary as many residents are like me and live on a small property with no garage. I keep hearing the old adage, it is like the chicken or the egg, which comes first – people buying electric vehicles or building the infrastructure. Some money the state has received from the Volkswagen settlement should be spent on modernizing our infrastructure to include EV charging stations. As for pervious surfaces – could the city recommend this alternative to the public when they are applying for permits to resurface driveways, replace sidewalks, patios, and seek to get contractors onboard? I think much more education of the public needs to be done.
One thought on “much more education of the public needs to be done (6)”
Thanks, Kathy. An analysis of the costs of higher vehicle prices and fuel use should help the city understand the importance of this, especially the impacts on emissions. (Right now, the energy mix in the grid has so much coal power that the actual total GHG emissions should also be analyzed; fortunately, the coal percentage is slowly declining.
I think infrastructure is something where government has a primary responsibility. Where PPL is going to make money by selling more electricity, smart management would be pushing for this now as a way to encourage that new market. If they’re smart, many of the charging stations could include solar collectors to generate at least some of the energy at the point of sale.
As we have pointed out for years, one step the city could take immediately to show it is serious about reducing emissions is to educate all employees how wasteful it is to have vehicles idling. All too often, workers, including police, leave their vehicles idling while working or while sitting in their vehicles. Idling for more than 60 seconds wastes fuel and boosts GHG emissions; in cars, the breakeven is about 10 seconds. The city’s failure to take action on this suggests that they don’t really consider climate action all that important.