My Green Element: North American Cities Lead Environmental Charge

Mayors climate protection center logo

Over the weekend, former President Bill Clinton addressed the U.S. Conference of Mayors, urging them to go green for the sake of the planet and their economies. Clinton boasted that his Clinton Climate Initiative will pump $5 billion into building retrofits in over 40 U.S. cities.

Large companies are also investing in green cities. CBS just announced a private-public partnership to bring green solutions to Miami, Chicago and San Francisco.

In many ways, cities have been ahead of State and Federal environmental efforts for the last few years. In July 2007, 600 U.S. Mayors signed a Climate Protection Agreement, pledging to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. There have been numerous notable investments across North America in public transportation and green roofs (Chicago comes to mind) and buildings. To learn more about one of the greenest cities in North America, I would check out Vancouver’s Sustainability website.

North American cities still need to do a better job of bolstering their green manufacturing base. New York City, for example, has woefully ignored its green-tech sector, despite Mayor Bloomberg’s relatively ambitious climate overtures. Integrating solar or wind installations into existing energy grids often meets resistance from utility companies. And brownfield schemes, which provide incentives for businesses to clean up and convert old industrial sites, are often inconsistent and bureaucratic.

Nonetheless, since U.S. Federal legislation seems to go nowhere due to the Jim Inhofes of the world, it is good to know cities are taking their role seriously.

Stefan Deeran edits the green business blog MyGreenElement.com.

One comment
  1. BeGreen

    Please read-Americans need to know!!!!!!!!

    NHTSA Hearings 8/4/08

    I just returned from the NHTSA hearings held on August 4, 2008 in Washington D.C., regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for NEW Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards (CAFÉ) for years 2011-2015.

    IMPORTANT FACTS: You will not believe what you are reading.

    1) The 414 pages DEIS analysis was based on an average gasoline price of USD $2.16/gallon for 2011-2020. A calculation approved by the NHTSA administrators/managers. Would you believe it???????????

    2) The new CAFÉ rules were also established, negotiated and pre-approved by the NHTSA’s management and clearly with the influence of domestic automotive companies and their lobbyists. We have now established fuel standards for 2011-2020 that are presently and already met throughout the rest of the Western world today (see below).

    As one guest speaker said today “are they on another planet?”

    NHTSA “NEW Fuel Standards” (2011-2015) decision:

    Automobiles are to achieve 31.2 mpg by 2011 and 35.7 mpg by 2015. Light trucks are to achieve 25 mpg by 2011, and 28.6 mpg by 2015.

    The NTHSA is also setting a goal of 35 mpg on average for 2020.

    America needs to know:

    The European Union is currently establishing standards, with a goal of reaching 48.9 miles per gallon for new passenger vehicles as early as 2012. The current EU standard already requires more than 40 miles per gallon about 15% higher than the U.S. goal set for 12 years from now.

    Japan currently has a standard of about 40 miles per gallon. Japan aims to further improve fuel efficiency by 17% by 2015, reaching 46.9 miles per gallon.

    China has a current average of slightly under 35 miles per gallon. Chinese fuel standards are on target to reach the government’s goal of 35.8 miles per gallon by 2009. China will not only meet, but exceed, the goal just established by the United States for 2020 — more than a full decade earlier.

    Australia is targeting 34.4 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Canada is targeting 34.1 miles per gallon by 2010.

    Under the current administration, purchasing an electric vehicle is becoming more of a necessity rather than an alternative.
    BG Automotive Group, Ltd.

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