U.S. Mayors Told Cities' Future Has To Be Green

For the 100 or so mayors who attended the two-day bipartisan Climate Protection Summit last week, the message was clear: The cities of the future have to be walkable, workable, livable, and sustainable.

Convened by the United States Conference of Mayors, the meeting featured two main themes: One, the federal government must do more than the Bush administration has done to mitigate climate change; and two, cities must take up the slack in the meantime.But doubts about whether voters would buy into this brave, new, and green world abounded. "You just can't say we need to reduce global warming because there will be floods and polar bears will be gone," said Mayor Douglas H. Palmer of Trenton, president of the Conference of Mayors. "They'll run me out of town."

Instead, Palmer said he broached the issue in a way residents could relate to, such as the fact that pollution was bad for children's asthma, and that leaky buildings and dependency on foreign energy could drive up monthly heating bills. Young people could be trained in green-collar jobs, such as retrofitting older buildings to be more efficient and installing solar panels.

New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg also announced his support for placing a tax on pollution. "As long as greenhouse-gas pollution is free, it will be abundant," he said. "If we want to reduce it, there has to be a cost for producing it," he said. ::The New York Times

Tags: United States