City Things the Mayor Doesn’t Mention
posted by October 29 at 16:41 PMon
Mayor Greg Nickels sent out a press release this afternoon announcing that Seattle is now surpassing its goals for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and is on track to meet the mayor’s ultimate goal of cutting emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012 (in line with the Kyoto Protocol.) The announcement was timed to coincide with the US Mayors Climate Protection Summit later this week.
Here’s what went unmentioned in Nickels’s press announcement and the subsequent fawning coverage:
• 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. The seven percent reduction mandated by Kyoto has long been out of date.
• Most of the reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions came from City Light’s conservation policies and purchase of carbon offsets. City Light is the low-hanging fruit for Seattle, because it relies heavily on non-carbon-producing hydropower. As long as most of our emissions are produced by driving, the only thing that will really make an impact is driving cleaner and driving less.
• On that front, we’re actually moving backward. According to the report, emissions from transportation actually grew during the study period, rising by three percent between 1990 and 2005. That’s bad news. We won’t get to the Kyoto target, much less an 80 percent reduction in emissions by 2050, if we don’t get started on the hard stuff.
Tomorrow night from 5:30 to 7 at the downtown library (1000 4th Avenue), the Seattle Greater City Initiative will hold a forum titled “Global Warming and Seattle—Can We Walk the Talk” to discuss how we can achieve and surpass the goals in the mayor’s Climate Action Plan. More info available here.