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Local efforts - May 13

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Rotterdam wants to halve CO2-emissions

Rtl.nl via peakoil.com
In the next few years, Rotterdam wants to reduce CO2-emissions by 50% The city of Rotterdam is going to invest 50 million euro for this goal. In cooperation with several companies, a new project was launched: Rotterdam Climate Initiative.

The amount of emissions is not only big because Rotterdam is a big city. The harbor and industry contribute a lot. Due to this, almost a quarter of all Dutch CO2-emissions are produced in Rotterdam. The city wants to reduce the CO2-emissions by 50% before 2025. According to mayor Opstelten this is the right moment to begin, because there is a lot of willingness among local companies to join the project.

Challenging The city has a large array of plans to attack the emission of CO2. For streetlights the city wants to install energy saving LED-lights. The cars of the city will be driving on clean fuels.

The city also expects to heat houses with the excess heat that is generated by the industrial companies. The plan to halve CO2 is very challenging, because so far the emissions have only continued to grow.
(X May 2007)
Original article in Dutch: Rotterdam wil uitstoot broeikasgassen halveren.


Brisbane: Back to the drawing board

Jago Dodson, Courier-Mail (Australia)
THERE'S little doubt that global warming is a hot political issue with both sides of politics struggling to establish credibility in addressing climate change.
Almost everyone agrees Australia must reduce its greenhouse emissions.

How we should achieve these reductions is the main point of debate.

Preferred policies involve laundering carbon or uranium.

But inevitably, attention must turn to our energy consumption and its accepted role as a generator of greenhouse emissions.

Questions are being raised about the long-term security and sustainability of energy supplies. Many energy analysts, including a bipartisan Australian Senate inquiry and the US Auditor-General, warn of the probability of a "peak" in global petroleum production, followed by an inexorable decline in global supplies. Such insecurity of petroleum supply would bring enormous challenges for the transport systems of our oil-addled cities.

Encouragingly, the Brisbane City Council last year formed an independent taskforce of academic and private sector experts to examine the implications of climate change mitigation and peak oil for the city. The taskforce report was released in late March and sets out, in detail, the enormity of the task the city faces in responding to the climate change and energy challenge. The taskforce recommends a target of zero net household greenhouse emissions by 2020, including car use, as well as a reduction in the city's oil consumption of 50 per cent by 2026.

To achieve this goal the taskforce recommends that by 2020, 40 per cent of all travel in Brisbane should be by foot, bicycle or by public transport.

If the council is to make any headway in meeting these targets, then it faces the task of fundamentally rewriting almost all its current strategic planning and transport plans. Inevitably, this means also rewriting transport budgets to apportion more funds to more climate sustainable, less oil-dependent travel modes, and fewer funds to roads and car use.
(14 May 2007)


UK"s Brown to build five eco towns

David Cracknell , Sunday Times
GORDON BROWN will attempt to trump David Cameron on green issues by announcing that he will create five new environmentally friendly towns when he becomes prime minister.

The chancellor, now certain to succeed Tony Blair and enter No 10 on June 27, will tomorrow set out his plan to build 100,000 houses in the five eco-towns, likely to be dubbed “Brown towns”.

The idea, his first detailed policy announcement since declaring his candidacy for the Labour leadership on Friday, is crucial to putting increased home ownership at the heart of his premiership.

The new towns - with up to 20,000 homes in each - are modelled on the “green” developments pioneered by Prince Charles. They will be built on brownfield sites, the first of which will be at the abandoned Oakington Barracks in Cambridgeshire.
(13 May 2007)


Local experts discuss ways to stop climate change

John Darling, Mail Tribune (S. Oregon)
The fight against global warming begins at home, they say, and is easier than you think
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Climate change may be happening globally, but locally is where people can make a difference, a panel of Rogue Valley experts said Thursday night.

From shrinking our personal "carbon footprint" to helping local governments and businesses do the same, the battle against global warming can become personal, speakers said at the last of a series of "Conversations on Climate Change" at Ashland's ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum.

The city of Ashland is launching an $800,000 Community Solar Program this summer, but its electric director, Dick Wandersheid, still went back to the humble theme of "drive less, walk, bike, take the bus, weatherize your home better, get energy-efficient appliances and we'll even loan you the money to do it."

U.S. Forest Service ecologist Jim McGinnis of Ashland said a group of renewable-energy proponents is working up a plan to make Ashland entirely sustainable - that is, generating all of its own energy by a certain future date. For now, McGinnis said, "Turn down your thermostat and insulate better. If we all did, it would cut our demand 25 percent by tomorrow."

McGinnis is organizing his own neighborhood to do just that, modeling that while government programs help, climate change is going to be tamed by regular people, putting a series of sustainability strategies into action.

"If we're not in harmony with the environment when we peak at 9.2 billion people (the point at which population is expected to level out), we're going to be in a lot of trouble," McGinnis said.

...Paige Prewett of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation said ... "It's critical we take individual responsibility and not wait around for the big picture to emerge,"... She urged people to make the idea of one's individual "carbon footprint" real by going on www.greenashland.org, filling in the boxes about driving, home heating, even flying - and learn how to start trimming.
(11 May 2007)
Just one example of the sort of thinking that's occurring at the local level throughout the world, though not, unfortunately, in Pittsburgh. -BA

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