Or so Will tells me. He just got back from a briefing in the mayor’s office, that concludes that Seattle his hit the 7-percent reduction in carbon emissions targeted under the Kyoto Protocol. But then, Mayor Nickels drives a car, so I guess that’s meaningless.
More from Will later.
I’m spending the afternoon and evening at the UW doing research, so I give my thoughts on what I saw when I get a chance, but not just yet. Here’s part of the press release:
The report shows that in 2005, the latest year studied, the city’s greenhouse gas emissions were about 8 percent below 1990 levels. And on a per capita level, the reduction was about 11 percent below 1990. The city has adopted the standards of the Kyoto Treaty, which call for reducing climate pollution to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.
“This is a remarkable milestone that shows how cities can lead the way in the fight against global warming,” Nickels said. “It is a success that we can all celebrate. But it is just the start of our work. To beat global warming, we must not only maintain this achievement but
go a magnitude beyond these numbers. That’s why we need everyone’s help in taking action.”
The Mayor explained his general policy positions, and then the staff people filled in the details.
[From Paul HOLD THE LAUDITS!]
This thing stinks of cheap political opportunism (see my comment below @4), but I’m willing to keep an open mind (obviously!) till I actually read the report itself. Still, let’s not get all in a lather over self-congratulation…
[Update: I'm so busy with hw right now, but I gotta add something -Will]
Kyoto is an extremely modest goal. The latest science says that we must reduce emissions worldwide by 80 percent—and in the US by more than 90 percent—to prevent catastrophic global warming.
Kyoto failed in the US Senate 95-0, with even Vice President Gore indicating he wanted to see developing nations take on more responsibility before the treaty would be brought to a deciding vote.
When I listened to the Mayor, he made it clear that two things must happen:
1) Cities can’t do it by themselves. We need a new POTUS before any significant federal legislation can become law.
2) For Seattle, some of the easier stuff has already been done. The next big thing to tackle is transportation.
The transportation waters are full of land mines. Seattle doesn’t have the tax base to build light rail all over the city by itself. Congestion pricing is another way to go. It’s likes saying to people, “See those roads right there, the ones you’ve been driving on, the ones you’ve already paid for? Guess what: they’re not free anymore. Oh, and also, we’re not building any light rail for you. Take the bus or more to Fremont.” Not even Ron Sims could sell that, and he can sell anything. (Example: Ron actually convinced Snohomish County to take loads and loads of King County’s shit for decades. Not proverbially. Literally.)
So, maybe we should put people into North Korea-style residential towers, feed them soylent green, and jail them for not recycling. If that’s what gets us from 7% reductions to 90% reductions, then bring it on.