A new report questions whether the 358 U.S. cities that pledged to meet Kyoto’s targets will be successful. That’s a fine question, but it’s perhaps easy to misconstrue as an implicit criticism that the promises were meaningless.

There is every reason to think that the cities can meet the targets. (And, heck, the pledge is only 18 months old!) Portland, in fact, is already well on its way.

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What the report should serve to highlight is this:

  1. Reducing emissions requires a real plan with real teeth. (Seattle — the pledge’s founding city — has a good start on this.)
  2. Cities are working against tough odds. Most cities have very little control over their major sources of emissions — they’re laced with state and federal roads, they don’t have (carbon) taxing authority, and they mostly don’t have control over utilities, just to name a very few obstacles. City climate pledges are great, but they really need to be supported at the state and federal level to work properly.

Story in the Seattle P-I.

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