23 April 2007

We're All Gonna Die

On the first summer-like weekend of the year here on the East Coast, the Guardian offers us this cheerful little piece about how we'll be lucky to survive the 21st century. About the only consolation I can find, apart from the fact that most of us will have pegged out from natural causes before the full gallery of horrors detailed here unfolds, is the Guardian's long and inglorious history of being wrong about nearly everything.

That being said, it's still probably a good idea to try and minimize the negative impact we humans have on the planet, and while it might seem (because it is) like a drop in the bucket, Mayor Bloomberg's plan for a greener New York City, announced today, is still an improvement over what most American cities are doing. As predicted, he's proposing congestion pricing in an effort to reduce auto traffic in Manhattan, and promising to put any money earned into much-needed mass transport initiatives. Based on London's experience, you wouldn't want to count on this amounting to much; the London program turned out to cost a lot more to administer than anyone expected. But that's typically the case with almost any government program in London or the UK; on average, New York City seems to be more efficiently run.

I don't want to sound like I'm becoming a Mayor Mike groupie, and I can certainly find things to disagree with him about, but I couldn't help noticing the difference between him and the succession of buffoons, clowns and ineffectual frat boys who've governed San Francisco for the past couple decades. Maybe San Francisco has just been unlucky, but you have to wonder why they've been unable to come up with a reasonably honest, more or less straight-talking adult to run that town; my suspicion is that the general sentiment of the citizenry is along the lines of, "What, elect a grown-up Mayor? Nah, man, that'd be a bummer."

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