U.S. cities take lead on environmental action

May 7, 2009

“Green Cities,” a new report by a thinktank called Living Cities, examines how American cities have taken the lead on environmental issues in the absence of strong federal action. 

Based on a survey of 40 of the largest U.S. cities, the report points to progress in mandating more efficient city buildings and promoting recycling but notes that talk of creating “green jobs” has been more talk than action.  

Among the main findings:

* Four in five big cities say sustainability is among their top five priorities. Only about one in six says it is not.

* More than three quarters of big cities have or will soon have detailed plans on how to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly all call for cuts of 10 to 20 percent in the next five to 10 years.

* The typical big city has between three and 10 staff members focused on climate change and sustainability. Several have only one staff member dedicated to these issues.

* Budgets vary widely, from $75,000 to $15 million. Most cities reported budgets of between $150,000 and $500,000. 

The report welcomes efforts to mandate green building standards but said mass retro-fitting of existing buildings would do far more to reduce emissions and create green jobs.

Tell us what you think. Is your city doing enough to help the environment? Should the Federal government be doing more?


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The federal government’s appropriations are token. All buildings public, business and private should be retrofitted on a scale of production approaching that of military equipment produced for the “Lend Lease Act” in 1939.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive

How is it two weeks later I am the only one again to post a comment. There seems to be lacking a tone of urgency in journalistic work today. Most articles published by news agencies focus on very specific areas of environmental impact. Greater emphasis should be given to the bigger picture. The issues of environment and economy are inseparable. A frank and honest discussion is missing from the media about the cost and sacrifice of change versus the benefits to humanity both economic and environmental in the future.

Posted by Anubis | Report as abusive