Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Shorter Work Hours Mean Less Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research finds that:
  • If Americans worked as few hours as western Europeans, it would lower our energy consumption by 20%. This alone would mean that the United States would have produced 3% less greenhouse gas emissions in 2002 than in 1990, almost bringing us to the Kyoto goal for cutting emissions.
  • If Europeans worked as many hours as Americans, it would raise their energy consumption by 25%, making it virtually impossible for them to reach their Kyoto goal.
  • If the developing nations imitate the American model (all else being equal), world emissions of CO2 in 2050 would be 14Gt, raising world temperatures by 4.5 degrees. But if the developing nations imitate the European model, world emissions of CO2 in 2050 would be 10Gt, raising world temperatures by 2.5 degrees - a very substantial difference.
It should always have been clear that we can reduce our environmental impact by shortening work hours - producing and consuming less. It is good to have a study that quantifies it.

This study is available at

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Save Classical St. Petersburg

I have written an article and helped put a petition on the web to save St. Petersburg, Russia, from Gazprom's plan to build a high-rise, avant-gardist headquarters building there. Here is the text of an email that I am sending to encourage people to sign the petition. You can copy this text and email it to anyone you think would be interested:

Please sign our petition to save classical St. Petersburg, at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petersburg/. Please forward this email as widely as possible.

St. Petersburg, Russia, has one of the world's greatest collections of neo-classical architecture and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Gazprom, Russia's largest energy company, is planning to build a modernist headquarters tower there that is taller than New York's Empire State building.

For the six entries that Gazprom considered, all in an avant-gardist style that is incompatible with the historical style of St. Petersburg, see http://www.gazprom-city.info/competition/projects

For more information, see http://www.intbau.org/news.htm#GAZPROM081206.

Sign our petition to save classical St. Petersburg, at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petersburg/ and forward this email as widely as possible.

The government of St. Petersburg has been shaken by the opposition to this project, and if there is a widespread international outcry, we can stop this project.

Charles Siegel

Thursday, December 14, 2006

City Of The Future - Or City Of The Trendy Present

The History Channel is sponsoring a competition among teams in three cities "to produce a vision of their city 100 years from now that, like the engineering and architectural marvels of past civilizations, has the staying power to endure for centuries to come."

But as judge of the competition, they choose Daniel Libeskind, the ultimate trendy architect, whose designs will look as outdated in fifty years as Le Corbusier's visions of the city of the future look today. In fact, they will look more outdated, since Libeskind is more mannered than Le Corbusier.

If you want a design that endures, then design a city that is a good place to live today. No one has ever created a livable city or an enduring design by trying to design a city of the future.