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Detroit joins Michigan cities vowing aggressive cuts in global warming pollution

More than 900 cities nationwide commit to new energy future
Jan 29, 2009
Detroit today joined the growing ranks of cities embracing a green economy and taking the initiative against climate change, committing to cut its greenhouse gas emissions significantly during the next several years.

Mayor Ken Cockrel signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement during an event at Eastern Market this afternoon, vowing to cut greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2012. Detroit joins at least 23 other Michigan municipalities that have signed the mayors’ agreement.

Nationally, 910 mayors, representing more than 82 million Americans, have joined the fight.

“This is a timely announcement, with the biggest, most visible city in Michigan signaling that it is on board with the state’s efforts to curb global warming pollution and diversify our economy through energy efficiency and renewable energy ventures,” said Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council.

“We applaud Mayor Cockrel along with the mayors of the other responsible forward-looking cities who have adopted the agreement.”

The commitment helps position Detroit to transition into a greener, more prosperous city that is opening the door to green industry and jobs for its residents. Initiatives supporting that goal include: Replacing its expensive, polluting incinerator with trash disposal options led by aggressive curbside recycling; deploying a new generation of more effective public transportation systems; and attracting innovative sustainable businesses to the city’s available industrial lands.

Sandra Turner-Handy, community outreach director with the Michigan Environmental Council’s Detroit office, credited Detroit’s numerous grassroots citizens groups with helping convince Cockrel to commit to a cleaner, more vibrant city.

“Citizen activists across the city have helped show this administration that there is a better, brighter future than business-as-usual. Today’s announcement is an indication that their work toward revitalizing the city with a green economy is paying off,” she said. “Moves like this make Detroit relevant.”

Under the Agreement, participating cities commit to the following actions:
  • Strive to meet or beat the international Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;
  • Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol – 7 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to pass bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation.
For more information on the Climate Protection Agreement, visit: http://www.usmayors.org/climateprotection/agreement.htm
Rory Neuner, Michigan Environmental Council: 773-569-4440
Sandra Turner-Handy, Michigan Environmental Council: 313-926-9811
RELATED TOPICS: climate change, green economy
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