Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America

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A recent study from the Brookings Institute reiterates our point that cities have an important role to play: "Rising energy prices, growing dependence on imported fuels, and accelerating global climate change make the nation's growth patterns unsustainable."

However they note a few problems:

"Numerous market and policy distortions inhibit metropolitan actors from more aggressively addressing the nation's climate challenge. Economy-wide problems include underpriced energy, underfunded energy research, missing federal standards, distorted utility regulations, and inadequate information. Policy impediments include a bias against public transit, inadequate federal leadership on freight and land-use planning, failure to encourage energy- and location-efficient housing decisions, and the fragmentation of federal transportation, housing, energy, and environmental policies."Policies to Reduce Carbon Footprint of Cities

They make some interesting suggestions that might be picked up by politicians:

Federal policy could play a powerful role in helping metropolitan areas—and so the nation—shrink their carbon footprint further. In addition to economy-wide policies to motivate action, five targeted policies are particularly important within metro areas and for the nation as a whole:

* Promote more transportation choices to expand transit and compact development options
* Introduce more energy-efficient freight operations with regional freight planning
* Require home energy cost disclosure when selling and "on-bill" financing to stimulate and scale up energy-efficient retrofitting of residential housing
* Use federal housing policy to create incentives for energy- and location-efficient decisions
* Issue a metropolitan challenge to develop innovative solutions that integrate multiple policy areas ::Brookings Institute via Archnewsnow
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