Climate Change

Mayors Pledge Kyoto Support

By Ryan McGreal
Published May 16, 2005

Many pundits have claimed - some hopefully - that the United States' refusal to ratify the Kyoto Treaty is its death knell. In response, 132 U.S. mayors from both political parties have decided to bypass federal politics altogether and sign a pledge to enforce the Kyoto regulations in their own cities.

From Seattle, whose power company is slated to become the only utility in the country with no net greenhouse gas emissions, to New Orleans, which could literally cease to exist if sea levels raise, cities representing nearly 29 million people are taking responsibility for the future into their own hands.

The obvious question for a country like Canada, which has signed onto Kyoto at the federal level, is: What are Canada's mayors going to do about it?

Federal politics is stymied right now, as the parties jockey furiously for advantage in the upcoming election, and waiting for guidance from the feds is tantamount to doing nothing. This is a prime opportunity for Canadian cities to take up the challenge themselves.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nichols, who helped spearhead the campaign, maintains a resource page on his website, including the pledge, the letter sent to 400 U.S. mayors, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors resolution endorsing the pledge.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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