All posts tagged: new housing

Clean Energy Gets the San Francisco Treatment

Clean Energy Gets the San Francisco Treatment

One great paradox of our time is that to limit humanity’s harms to the planet, we must decarbonize the economy; but to decarbonize the economy, we must build tons of new stuff: wind farms, solar fields, geothermal wells, and above all electricity-transmission lines. Last month, a broad coalition of congressional Democrats released their vision for how to do this. Their bill, the Clean Electricity and Transmission Acceleration Act, includes many good ideas, such as clarifying the federal government’s authority to approve interstate transmission lines, requiring public utilities to account for the “social cost of carbon” in setting rates, and addressing a shortage of electrical transformers. But then the bill undermines itself by setting up a succession of legal obstacles. This will allow NIMBY neighbors, fossil-fuel front groups, and other opponents of vital infrastructure to drag out the permitting process for years by concocting one procedural objection after another. Annie Lowrey: NIMBYism reaches its apotheosis Many environmentalists, civic groups, and sympathetic lawmakers fail to recognize that demanding too much community input and legal review has a …

What the Housing Shortage Is Doing to American Environmentalism

What the Housing Shortage Is Doing to American Environmentalism

Environmentalism has never been a stable ideology, and its adherents have never been a monolithic group. But, in Minneapolis, the green community has fractured as a wide array of self-described environmentalists find that they don’t agree on very much anymore. Back in 2018, Minneapolis generated national headlines for being the first major American city to eliminate single-family zoning. Under a plan called Minneapolis 2040, the city legalized duplexes and triplexes in all residential neighborhoods. The plan led to a frenzy of ambitious regulatory changes meant to yield denser, transit-accessible, and more affordable homes across the city. The stated goals of Minneapolis 2040 included housing affordability and racial equity, but supporters also stressed the environmental benefits of funneling population growth toward the urban core instead of outlying counties. “All the evidence and data shows that when you reduce your carbon footprint by, for instance, not having a 45-minute commute in from the suburbs … it helps the environment,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey told me at a downtown ice-cream shop in September. “It’s really simple, right?” Maybe. …