Seattle commission unveils recommendations for meeting Kyoto goals

Ex-VP Al Gore and environmental journalist Elizabeth Kolbert were in Seattle last week (both gave PowerPoint presentations, the chic new environmental look for ’06) for a series of events Mayor Greg Nickels jokingly dubbed “climatepalooza.” Capping the ‘palooza was the unveiling of recommendations from the 18-member commission appointed by Nickels to figure out how Seattle can meet Kyoto goals for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. At a press conference attended by Nickels, Gore, commission co-chair Denis Hayes, Sierra Club honcho Carl Pope, and various other eco-hotshots, the commission presented a plan that prominently features — brace yourself — less driving. Suggestions include boosting public transit, changing zoning laws to encourage density, increasing use of biofuels, and imposing stiff parking-lot taxes, among other things. Nickels’ U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement now includes some 219 mayors, all of whom will be watching to see if Seattle can overcome entrenched political forces and make real change.