Skip to comments.Rebuffing Bush, 132 Mayors Embrace Kyoto Rules
Posted on 05/13/2005 10:06:06 PM PDT by FairOpinion
SEATTLE, May 13 - Unsettled by a series of dry winters in this normally wet city, Mayor Greg Nickels has begun a nationwide effort to do something the Bush administration will not: carry out the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.
Mr. Nickels, a Democrat, says 131 other likeminded mayors have joined a bipartisan coalition to fight global warming on the local level, in an implicit rejection of the administration's policy.
The mayors, from cities as liberal as Los Angeles and as conservative as Hurst, Tex., represent nearly 29 million citizens in 35 states, according to Mayor Nickels's office. They are pledging to have their cities meet what would have been a binding requirement for the nation had the Bush administration not rejected the Kyoto Protocol: a reduction in heat-trapping gas emissions to levels 7 percent below those of 1990, by 2012.
On Thursday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg brought New York City into the coalition, the latest Republican mayor to join.
Mr. Nickels said that to achieve the 7 percent reduction, Seattle was requiring cruise ships that dock in its bustling port to turn off their diesel engines while resupplying and to rely only on electric power provided by the city, a requirement that has forced some ships to retrofit. And by the end of this year the city's power utility, Seattle City Light, will be the only utility in the country with no net emissions of greenhouse gases, the mayor's office said.
Salt Lake City has become Utah's largest buyer of wind power in order to meet its reduction target. In New York, the Bloomberg administration is trying to reduce emissions from the municipal fleet by buying hybrid electric-gasoline-powered vehicles.
Nathan Mantua, assistant director of the Center for Science in the Earth System at the University of Washington, which estimates the impact of global warming on the Northwest, said the coalition's efforts were laudable, but probably of limited global impact.
"It is clearly a politically significant step in the right direction," Dr. Mantua said. "It may be an environmentally significant step for air quality in the cities that are going to do this, but for the global warming problem it is a baby step."
Mr. Nickels said he decided to act when the Kyoto Protocol took effect in February without the support of the United States, the world's largest producer of heat-trapping gases. On that day, he announced he would try to carry out the agreement himself, at least as far as Seattle was concerned, and called on other mayors to join him.
The coalition is not the first effort by local leaders to take up the initiative on climate change. California, under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, is moving to limit carbon dioxide emissions, and Gov. George A. Pataki of New York, also a Republican, has led efforts to reduce power plant emissions in the Northeast. But the coalition is unusual in its open embrace of an international agreement that the Bush administration has spurned, Mayor Nickels's office said, and is significant because cities are huge contributors to the nation's emission of heat-trapping gases.
Michele St. Martin, communications director for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said the Kyoto Protocol would have resulted in a loss of five million jobs in the United States and could raise energy prices.
Ms. St. Martin said President Bush "favors an aggressive approach" on climate change, "one that fosters economic growth that will lead to new technology and innovation."
But many of the mayors said they were acting precisely out of concern for the economic vitality of their cities. Mr. Nickels, for example, pointed out that the dry winters and the steep decline projected in the glaciers of the Cascade range could affect Seattle's supply of drinking water and hydroelectric power.
The mayor of low-lying New Orleans, C. Ray Nagin, a Democrat, said he joined the coalition because a projected rise in sea levels "threatens the very existence of New Orleans."
In Hawaii, the mayor of Maui County, Alan Arakawa, a Republican, said he joined because he was frustrated by the administration's slowness to recognize the scientific consensus that climate change was happening because of human interference.
"I'm hoping it sends a message they really need to start looking at what's really happening in the real world," Mayor Arakawa said.
Mayor Nickels said it was no accident that most cities that had joined were in coastal states. The mayor of Alexandria, Va., is worried about increased flooding; mayors in Florida are worried about hurricanes.
But Mr. Nickels has also found supporters in the country's interior. Jerry Ryan, the Republican mayor of Bellevue, Neb., said he had signed on because of concerns about the effects of droughts on his farming community. Mr. Ryan described himself as a strong Bush supporter, but said he felt that the president's approach to global warming should be more like his approach to terrorism.
"You've got to ask, 'Is it remotely possible that there is a threat?' " he said. "If the answer is yes, you've got to act now."
"Don't fall into the trap of accepting the terms of the debate as you go about fighting what they want to do."
Remember, ignoring problems makes them go away.
"What does "net zero" mean ? "
Net zero means, that you can have emissions, as long as you also have sufficient greenery, which absorbs it, so they balance out.
If we shut down half of our industry and plant trees in their places, we will be doing just fine, according to Kyoto.
Of course Kyoto also says that countries like China and Russia do NOT have to control their emissions, because they are "developing nations", so we need to cut back more, to make up for their pollution.
""You've got to ask, 'Is it remotely possible that there is a threat?' " he said. "If the answer is yes, you've got to act now."
Is it remotely possible that you could die the next time you get on the road in a car? If the answer is yes, you've got to stop driving now."
What we need is a color coded alert system to let us know how environmetally bad our actions are. Like, driving the car would be a grey, clearcutting would be pink, pumping raw sewage into the river would be slime green...
"President's approach to global warming should be more like his approach to terrorism." So if he does this the Demorats will be fighting him at every turn. How is that going to help.
The problem is that power demand and solar/wind/hamsterwheel power production don't match, so Seattle uses regular "dirty" power to make up the difference, then dumps excess "clean" power into the system whenever possible.
This is, of course, nonsense. They're trying enjoy the benefit of dirty power plants (power whenever you need it) and also claim the moral high ground (we don't increase emissions).
I bet not a single one of them knows what's really in the Kyoto Treaty.
I would bet a pay check that you are correct. Also.. the United States is the #1 Polluter? Yeah, right. I am guessing all those third world nations and china, russia, etc are as clean as the wind driven snow, right? heh.
Businesses moved to those third world countrys for a very good reason besides hourly pay.. no OSHA to deal with and no environmental regulations.
I live in Washington State, not "Seattle." What this A-Hole proclaims doesn't mean $hit to the rest of the state, or the "other" cities involved.
I once worked on a classified high tech project that had production waste disposal as it's major expense. Once we got the product bug free and into an assembly line form, we shipped it to Mexico. It's still owned by a U.S. company and making the product for Zenith, but the environmental costs are gone. A lot of Americans lost good paying jobs because of that. The company had no choice. They'd have lost money running the manufacturing business here.
Kyoto is simply a redistribution of America's wealth to the rest of the world. If the rest of the world seeks America's wealth, then perhaps they should embrace capitalism.
Finally found it....
Seattle IS attempting to provide "green" energy, but for now, Seattle City Light's web site says they are buying offsets & importing wind generated electricity plyus maximizing hydro generated electric. (keeping the problem upstream or pushing it downstream)
A mini-version of Kyoto, where one can buy "credits" without actually having to do anything.
The Seattle guy is loopy, complaining about too LITTLE rain. And any claim that the citizens of the large cities can or should or have the moral right to dictate or decide US policy has been repudiated in the last few federal elections.
The "Seattle Guy" is MY FAT A-SED MAYOR, Greg Nickles.
Great. Let them shut down their own cities and show us how it's done.
I always remember hearing my grandfather (1899-1980) talk about air pollution in the 1970's and saying that this was "nothing" compared to how it was when they lived in Southern California several times in the 1920-1940 timeframe. Steam engine locomotives, nearly everyone burning coal for home heating, oil refineries openly burning off waste, dust from unpaved streets--he said that there were days, that he could remember, where the sky was black, even in mid-day.
I'm not for going back to the (not so) good ol' days but it needs to be viewed in a historical perspective and context.
Nah. They're like American Democrats. They're not looking for work. They just want the free handout.
I seem to remember hearing about some city "buying credits" from somewhere else.
I'm not sure about this, but perhaps someone else knows something else about it.
Let's see, yesteryear's NYC fad was stinky ethanol buses, today's fad is pricey hybrid vehicles, tomorrow's fad will be....
When those who are singled out by this onerous taxation justified by junk science, finally close up shop in those cities who are volunteered by duplicitous politicians in to Kyoto bondage, and move to locations were Kyoto is rightlt laughed at by the government, those SOB politicians who have destroyed their constituents' cities' economies are going to lobby the federal government to equally spread the misery and have the entire country adopt Kyoto. At which time, those who still believe in the roundly renounced concept of industrial productivity, and still have the energy to fight the demagogues, will move to China or India to set up their factories, where the demagogues there understood the junk science in Kyoto since the start, and so greatly demanded it's ratification knowing it would lead the great industries of the world to their shores.