This past winter, the City of Golden Valley signed the US Climate Protection Agreement. Participants in the agreement are encouraged to work toward meeting the 2005 Kyoto Protocol initiatives as well as educate the public about green practices.
Golden Valley is one of about 40 Minnesota cities to sign the Climate Protection Agreement so far. Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to take the following three actions:
* strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns
* urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol--7 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2012
* urge the US Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system
Golden Valley has already started to make changes, says Al Lundstrom, environmental coordinator. As building improvements are made, the City has installed energy efficient lighting when possible, improved insulation during roof replacement projects, installed energy efficient air conditioning units when replacement is necessary, retrofitted energy efficient bulbs in traffic signals, and installed an energy efficient tankless hot water system in the utility maintenance shop. The City also implemented an idling policy (see sidebar on the Police Department's idling policy).
"As we have opportunities to make capital improvements, we're looking to see where we can go greener," Lundstrom says.
I don't have problem with the City taking steps to conserve energy. In fact, I commend them for it, especially since it saves money. What troubles me however is the idea that my taxes would be used for public information campaigns on climate change. Or in any way be used as part of this effort to "urge" state and local governments to "meet or beat" Kyoto targets or even worse to "urge" the Congress to pass "bipartisan" greenhouse gas legislation. It hardly seems like an appropriate role for local government to be playing.
You can see the complete list of participating