Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement (MCPA)

We've met with all the council members about the mayor signing the MCPA.

The Mayor has asked for a followup meeting to discuss some more.

To summarize:
1- The MCPA is a request (we urge) from cities to Congress to address Climate Change.
2- The MCPA is an agreement between cities to reduce GHG toward Kyoto's targets.

For the US the Kyoto target is 7% below 1990 emissions.

There is nothing binding on cities on how to achieve Kyoto targets. No density limits or housing and transportation links or green building criteria or coal reductions. The third section of the MCPA provides 12 examples of what could be done (such as) one of which offers a density example.

Cities (which make up 70% of Green House Gas emission worldwide) need Congress to act
1- so that energy loads don't shift to polluting countries through imports.
2- incentives are developed for people to live an alternate energy or low energy lifestyle.

Past Mayor Coralin Fierebach said she would not sign this agreement objecting to the density example.

But as Chris Mohr of HLC points out there is a huge environmental impact to how policy is currently implemented primarily because a lack of transportation choices and a job housing imbalance result in super commuters who benefit no one. We need regional solutions to many of today's problems from air quality to water to a jobs housing balance.

By not requiring anything the MCPA takes into account that Belmont is a unique suburban city requiring its own unique solutions to climate change. 7% below 1990 levels can be achieved without density by addressing three of the five big emissions sources that Al Gore identified: coal, cars, and buildings.

At a recent Senate hearing of the Sustainable Transportation Committee in Redwood City before Senators Leland Yee and Tom Torlakson the major points of all the transportation chiefs in the Bay Area was
1- we need to plan better to get to a jobs housing balance by taking advantage of what we have
2- we already know how to build low emissions walkable cities. Now we need to incentivize people to live an alternate or low energy lifestyle.

Signing the MCPA is part of the Sierra Club's Cool Cities program

The Cool Cities web site for California shows 106 cities that have signed. 16 of these cites are from San Mateo which is over 50% of our cities.

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