U.S. mayors form coalition to fight climate change, one city at a time

A bipartisan coalition of 132 U.S. mayors — led by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels (D), and recently joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) — has issued a high-profile rebuke of Bush administration inaction on climate change. The leaders have committed to reducing their municipalities’ greenhouse-gas emissions to 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, in line with Kyoto treaty targets. While the Bush team says Kyoto would devastate the economy, many mayors are signing on precisely for economic reasons. Nickels was jarred by a series of dry winters, threatening Seattle’s drinking water and hydropower sources. The mayor of Bellevue, Neb., is worried about the effects of droughts on farms. The mayor of New Orleans is concerned about the effects of rising sea levels on, uh, “the very existence of New Orleans” (economic enough for ya?). And so on. Says Republican Alan Arakawa, mayor of Maui County, Hawaii, “I’m hoping it sends a message [Bush administration officials] really need to start looking at what’s really happening in the real world.”