New St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman kept a campaign pledge by signing the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement committing the city to align itself with the Kyoto accords. According to an article in the Strib:
The agreement will require the city, by 2012, to reduce pollution from cars and power plants to 1990 levels. What the city must do to get there will be hammered out in the next six months.
“We no longer can pretend this is not a serious issue or one that we don’t need to address,” Coleman said.
Although his predecessor, Randy Kelly, criticized the agreement during the 2005 campaign as “useless symbolism,” Coleman defended it as a way to try to “force leadership on a national level.”
Coleman joined mayors in 200 cities around the country who have signed the agreement, including those in Minneapolis, Apple Valley, Eden Prairie and Duluth.
The agreement challenges cities to meet or beat the conditions of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement to address climate change that took effect in February 2005.
People say Coleman will be spectacularly ineffective but I think he can really pull this off. By the time he institutes smoking bans in private businesses and raises taxes to pay for the environmentally friendly initiatives he’ll have so gutted the city that hitting the emissions targets will be a snap. Think of it, no reason to go downtown, so fewer cars — and just think about how nice it will be without all those people exhaling carbon dioxide everywhere! Furthermore with less business and fewer people there’ll be less need for power and therefore fewer nasty power plant emissions!
Another one of the objectives from the agreement is to “reduce sprawl and increase open space.” Done! There will be lots of wide, open space in St. Paul.
Oh well, I suppose I need to be more realistic. Given the “success” that those progressive and green-thinking Europeans have had in meeting (not) their targets (see here) the objectives won’t be reached. Not that the city won’t die trying, though.
If Coleman is really serious about cutting emissions in our capitol city a good start would be cutting the amount of time the state legislature is in session by half. Signing a decree to that effect will have about as much impact as what he signed yesterday.