U.S. cities take lead on environmental action
“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?