When gas prices started climbing so swiftly several months ago, I somewhat self-righteously proclaimed, "Bring it on!" to high gas prices. It's going to hurt for awhile, but I think in the long run, high gas prices cn only really bring out positive changes. As it turns out, some website called "Foreign Policy" (linked by Andrew Sullivan) has compiled a list of 5 reasons to love $4 gas. Some of which seem a little dubious, but others (like the mass transit boom) are pretty certifiable.
Along those lines, the Economist this month has an interesting little article about the Brookings Institution declaring Los Angeles the greenest city in the country! Come again?
Los Angeles is, after all, a symbol of environmental degradation. It became car-oriented well before most other cities. “If I lose my car it's like having my legs cut off,” explains the doomed hero of the 1950 film “Sunset Boulevard”. These days the metropolis is renowned for jammed freeways. Talk to the mayor of almost any Western city and they will outline their plans for avoiding Los Angeles' fate.
Brookings's number-crunchers calculated carbon footprints mostly by studying highway traffic and household energy use. They excluded local traffic and industry because the statistics are bad. Top of their green list is Honolulu, in Hawaii, whose residents accounted for 1.36 tons of carbon each in 2005. Los Angeles, at 1.41 tons per person, narrowly beats Portland, Oregon, which is widely proclaimed as an über-green city. New York comes fourth. At the bottom of the table, spewing out more than twice as much carbon per person as Los Angeles, is Lexington, Kentucky.
It's a short article, and interesting, if you're as obssessed with this kind of shit as I am.