Monday, October 5, 2009

1,000 mayors agree to reduce greenhouse emissions

Posted By on Mon, Oct 5, 2009 at 2:34 PM

More than 40 North Carolina Mayors signed the agreement. Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, leader of the largest city in the state, was not one of them.

When Greg Nickels became Seattle's mayor in 2002, global warming was hardly at the top of the municipal agenda.

On Friday, as outgoing president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, he announced that 1,000 mayors across the country had signed on to a pact to meet the Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They also will urge the federal government and the states to cut emissions by 7% from 1990 levels by 2012.

"I [had] assumed that our federal government was working hard to make sure we were protecting our future. I was wrong," Nickels said in overseeing the signature of Republican Scott Smith, mayor of Mesa, Ariz. The pair were joined by more than a dozen other U.S. mayors.

Thanks to lobbying by the mayors conference, the federal government this year authorized $2.7 billion in block grants to states, municipalities and native tribes for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The group also successfully lobbied to get those types of grants placed in the federal climate change legislation recently introduced by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.)

"The 100 top metropolitan areas represent 75% of the [gross domestic product] of this country. This is where the economy is. This is where the energy is. And this is where the solutions need to come," Nickels said.

Seattle was able to reduce its 1990 carbon footprint by 8% in 2005, largely through voluntary emissions reductions by households and businesses. Many of those switched from fuel oil to natural gas.

Read the entire L.A. Times article here.

Why didn't McCrory sign? Good question. Here's one clue:

By far the single biggest beneficiary of Duke Energy political largesse during the four years studied was Charlotte mayor and 2008 GOP gubernatorial nominee, Pat McCrory, who took in $96,900. McCrory might be called Duke’s man in the race, literally, having worked in Duke Energy management for 29 years before quitting to run for governor.

Read more about the connection between Duke Energy and North Carolina politics here.

Though, given the recent press that Duke Energy is looking for green alternatives in China and predictions that Charlotte will be a hub of green energy genius, this news is a little confusing.

But, maybe this will help you understand why, while Duke's efforts in China are laudable, the company's CEO is still considered to be a major greenwasher by environmentalists.

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