The mayor of Mesa, Arizona was the 1,000 mayor to commit his city to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by seven percent from 1990 levels by 2012. This level of reductions was the level called for by the Kyoto Protocol, which as you know the United States has not signed.
Seattle's mayor, Greg Nickels, announced that Scott Smith joined 999 other mayors in committing his city to meet Kyoto Protocol level reductions. Nickels, who is the outgoing president of the organization, has been pushing his fellow mayors to commit to addressing environmental concerns. He's convened summits of mayors on alternative vehicles, green buildings, and climate protection.
Nickels said that his commitment to pushing for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions came as a result of what happened to the Seattle area in 2004. That winter, snowfall in the Cascade Mountains was so low that ski resorts were forced to lay off workers. The snowpack, after it melts, is what generates most of the electricity for Seattle and the rest of the northwestern United States.
That revelation led Nickels to push for his fellow mayors to work to meet the greenhouse gas emission reductions called for in the Kyoto Protocol.
And for all of the talk you hear of how reducing greenhouse gases would be very expensive and an economic disaster, the mayors have shown that's simply not true. Seattle, which Nickels leads, was able to cut its emissions by eight percent by 2005, and much of the reductions came by voluntary reductions by households and businesses, which switched from oil to natural gas.
Los Angeles, well known for its smoggy days, was able to cut emissions by seven percent by 2008, four years ahead of schedule. It made its goal by aggressively pursuing energy efficiency, green buildings, and alternative fuels on trash trucks, buses, and other city vehicles. A clean truck program at the port of Los Angeles was able to cut emissions by 70 percent.
Other cities have done things like increasing their solar capacity, retrofitting homes, and purchasing electricity from renewable sources in order to reduce their carbon footprint.
Those who claim that climate change cannot be addressed and that any legislation to address is doomed to failure have a serious problem.
Thousands of cities are doing it right now.