Sunday, July 17, 2005

One city at a time: economic growth=combatting greenhouse gas emissions

Conservatives often assail our side for resorting to the courts to enforce our will rather than taking it to our state legislatures. While I have problems with this contention for several reasons, I do think it is worth working on local legislative channels, since the federal government isn't doing anything for us right now.

The good news is, that's what's happening as many localities are working with full force when it comes to the environment. According to Salon

This year, at the urging of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, more than 170 mayors nationwide have pledged to adopt Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. The New Cities project, launched by Madison, Wis., Mayor Dave Cieslewicz (D), has a network of mayors working to implement on the local level the energy-independence proposals of the Apollo Alliance, a coalition of labor, environmental, and other groups that aims to spur eco-friendly economic growth.
Despite our federal government's unwillingness to move towards conservationist measures on greenhouse gas and other emissions, localities are proving that economic growth is possible and in fact often fostered by controls on emissions.

Here's more:

The Nation recently chronicled these and other progressive city-level campaigns in its cover story "Urban Archipelago," arguing that cities are the spots to watch for innovative, positive change. And last week, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof praised Portland, Ore., for having slashed its greenhouse-gas emissions below 1990 levels, even as it's been booming economically, proving wrong President Bush's recent claim that "Kyoto would have wrecked our economy."

This kind of economic optimism was a recurring theme during the Sundance Summit. Executives from the British-based consultancy The Climate Group impressed many in the audience when describing how 17 major U.S. cities had already reduced their emissions below 1990 levels and saved a total of $600 million through efficiency measures.
Finally, three cheers to Robert Redford for spear-heading the Sundance Summitt, a meeting for the country's mayors about this issue. As many of you know, I am a huge Redford fan (and have been since before I knew of his politics!).

Robert Redford, who makes me wish I was born 40 years earlier


Da Man said...

What are you doing, personally, to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions? Driving less? Car pooling? Installing more insulation around the house? Jusr curious.

Da Man said...

oops. I see you are a commuter (train, I think). That is good.

Elaine said...

Yeah, I don't even own a car. I drive my parents' car sometimes, but we've always been pretty big about walking and biking places. We have a lot of insulation, but sadly environment-friendly homes are a relatively new thing and they cost a fortune. I can't blame most people for not wanting to do that. I take the train to work to save money and to be environmentally friendly.

Let's not forget that greenhouse gas-emissions aren't just caused by automobiles though.

Chris said...

It'll be interesting to see if local communities can pull this off. It might resurrect the whole notion of more local control and less national government. Who knows...

Nevertheless, New Zealand failed to meet the standards Kyoto set and the attempts to follow the standards have cost $1 billion (