Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession said he plans to sign a mini-version of the Kyoto Protocol in coming days.
By signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the city pledges to cut its global warming pollution over the next six years to 7 percent below 1990 levels. The pledge is largely symbolic – it is not enforceable and has no bearing on private businesses.
“What we can control is the city itself,” Hession said. Part of the agreement encourages city employees to use mass transit and hybrid vehicles. The energy efficiency of City Hall also will be analyzed.
“We’re trying to be creative in the way we approach this,” Hession said. “We wanted to go beyond just the simple reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.”
About 330 communities across the nation have signed the agreement, including 19 in Washington, according to information posted on the Sierra Club’s Cool Cities Web site. Spokane would be the first Washington city east of the Cascades to sign the agreement. Boise is the only city in Idaho to sign the pledge.
Hession said he was prompted to take action after visiting Alaska this summer and seeing the changes already taking place: melting glaciers, seaside villages being eroded, vast forest fires. “It was very dramatic and very compelling,” he said.
By signing the pledge, Hession said he is also sending a message from Spokane to policymakers in Washington, D.C., to take action on climate change. In Hession’s words, the message is: “‘If you’re not going to take the initiative to do something about this – something we believe is important – then we’re going to do it.’”