Iowa Public Television


Urban Mayors Take the Lead on Fighting Global Warming

posted on June 1, 2007

President Bush this week proposed to set "a long-term global goal" for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and called on other nations to do the same by the end of next year.

The president made the announcement ahead of an upcoming summit of the "Group of Eight" leading industrialized countries, where global warming is expected to be a major topic.

If ratified, the agreement would be the first in which the United States, the world's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, commits itself to a specific target for cutting them.

President Bush still refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol -- a 1999 agreement which set reduction goals for industrialized nations -- primarily because developing nations were exempted from the mandatory cutbacks.

The White House said the president's proposal addresses "life after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012." Bush wants to bring China, India and other developing nations, to the negotiation table so they are part of the solution, not the problem.

While critics claim the president is dragging his feet on global warming, dozens of big-city mayors from six continents already are taking action.

Urban Mayors Take the Lead on Fighting Global Warming

Mayors of New York and Los Angeles for example, laid out commitments for their cities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 30 percent by the year 2030.

Such pollution-fighting plans are coming a bit slower from the nation's capitol. While legislation is inching through Congress, the White House is resisting target dates for greenhouse gas reduction.

Spurred by a recent Supreme Court ruling, the president did sign an executive order asking federal agencies to develop regulations to "cut gasoline consumption and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles" by the end of next year.

But this week, California's Attorney General asked the Environmental Protection Agency to grant a waiver that would allow his state and at least 11 others to act sooner. The states want to enact rules requiring automakers to cut emissions from cars and light trucks by 25 percent and from sports utility vehicles by 18 percent, starting with the 2009 model year.

In addition, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said he will sue the EPA if it fails to act by October 25.

There is pressure on the U.S. from the international front as well. However, the Bush Administration reportedly said it would refuse to discuss an agreement to the Kyoto Protocol – which sets carbon reduction goals for industrialized nations – when it meets with the treaty's signatories later this year. Bush has expressed concerns that U.S. compliance with the Kyoto Protocol would increase energy prices and cost millions of U.S. jobs.


Tags: climate change global warming mayors news urban