Tower adopts climate agreement

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Tower adopts climate agreement

Postby PaddlerJimmy » Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:10 pm

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 Volume 18, Issue 15

Tower adopts climate agreement
By Marshall Helmberger

Tower’s city council joined several other Iron Range cities on Monday by unanimously endorsing the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, committing the city to reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases. The council was responding to the request of the Blue-Green Coalition, a partnership between the United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club, that is working together on issues of mutual concern.
The council adopted the climate protection measure with little discussion, and the approval came despite some mixed feelings on the council about the threats posed by climate change. But Councilor Richard Hanson summed up the view of most on the council. “It’s not going to do any harm to do these things,” he said.

The agreement, which was first adopted in Seattle in 2005, has now been joined by more than 440 cities across the country. It calls for cities to reduce their carbon emissions by seven percent from 1990 levels, essentially matching the commitments approved by more than 140 countries under the Kyoto Protocol. It also calls on cities to lobby for similar efforts at the state and national levels.

The agreement has no enforcement mechanism and there are no penalties for failure to achieve the established goals, but most cities have used the agreement as the framework for progress on the issue. Signatory cities commit to reducing energy use in city buildings and in other city activities, as well as working to educate residents about ways they can save energy.

“It’s a win-win situation,” said Jerry Fallos with the Blue-Green Coalition. “Even for skeptics who don’t believe in global warming, you’re still saving energy and reducing your costs.”

But city officials in Tower aren’t just thinking about dollars and cents. With the city set to begin this year on a major riverfront renovation project, city officials are hoping to use a variety of green technologies, such as solar power and innovative roofing systems, to reduce the environmental impact of the project. The city is also contemplating the use of electric vehicles to move people from the new harbor to other parts of town.

The climate change agreement is just one more way, said Hanson, that Tower can begin to build its reputation as a green city. “I encourage you to sign it,” he said, referring to Mayor Steve Abrahamson.

Tower now joins Virginia, Hibbing, Chisholm, Aurora, and Buhl among Iron Range cities that have adopted the climate agreement.
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