Monday, July 1, 2013

A defense of the media coverage of citi-bike

I think this piece by Mike the Mad Biologist helps explain what is going on with the reaction to Mark's Citi-bike piece.  The issue is not that this program has a lot of potential to change the climate -- it is a small step in the right direction that can, at most, have marginal benefits.  What is remarkable is that such a small program can not only achieve such a strong reaction but that there is actually legal moves afoot to remove these stations from high end neighborhoods

It is this piece, the degree of reaction to a small change, that really is newsworthy (even if the lede often seems to be deeply buried).  In a real sense, this story is directly linked to President Obama's climate change speech.  Because if the law can be used as a weapon to remove bike stations then why would we not expect it to be used against the EPA? 

The law and the environment is a very unfortunate combination.  On one hand, environmental review seems to be linked to delays in critically needed infrastructure.  But it has a decidedly mixed record on tackling issues like coal use that have broad external costs that are not borne by the industry. 

So, in this sense, citi-bike is a canary in the coal mine for how the larger drama may well play out. 

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