City Launches Aggressive Policies to Combat Global Warming

The city of Seattle has called on other local governments in the United States to adopt policies to combat global warming.

SEATTLE, Washington, US, 2001-08-30 [] The city of Seattle has called on other local governments in the United States to adopt policies to combat global warming. The Mayor and members of Council in Seattle recently announced support for the Kyoto Protocol and called on other local governments to adopt policies to combat global warming. Council also voted on resolutions to commit the municipal utility, Seattle City Light, to a policy of zero net greenhouse gas emissions. “Every city and every individual can take steps to reduce global warming,” says mayor Paul Schell. “Cities are where most emissions occur and where the solutions must begin. We can’t afford to wait for the federal government to do this.” One Council resolution adopts the Kyoto goal of a 7 percent reduction in GHG emissions, but Seattle thinks it can triple that level by 2010. The city will calculate the total emissions produced by city operations before determining a more specific reduction goal. The other resolution formalizes SCL’s commitment to become the first major utility in the U.S. to achieve zero net emissions. The utility has already sold its share of a coal-fired generating facility and will fully mitigate emissions from its remaining fossil-fuel plants, which emit 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. In addition, over the next decade, the utility will produce 100 average megawatts of power through energy efficiency and conservation and acquire another 100 average megawatts of non-hydro renewable energy. “Our actions are ambitious but realistic,” adds councillor Heidi Wills, chair of the Energy & Environmental Policy Committee. “We believe we can triple the reductions called for in the Kyoto Protocol and demonstrate to other cities what the possibilities are.” Schell and his councillors dispute the claim that reducing GHG emissions is too costly, stressing instead the economic benefits of such actions. In the Pacific Northwest, climate change threatens the cycle of coastal rain and mountain snowpack as the foundation of the region’s hydroelectric system and forestry, fish and recreation-based economy. SCL’s commitment to renewable resources and energy efficiency is a good business decision, providing enough power to meet the utility’s total projected load growth over the next ten years, they explain. Conservation is among the least expensive sources of power, and renewable resources expand the utility’s energy portfolio and reduce the need for wholesale market power.
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