Monday, February 05, 2007

Climate change and how we live

If we want to reduce greenhouse gases there are lots of things we can do. We can bury carbon. We can make sure the 1,400 coal plants xoming on line in China and India have the right technology. We can put a price on carbon, and hold countries and regions to reduction standards through cap-and-trade regimes under Kyoto or RGGI, the emissions-reduction pact among nine Northeast states, which Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently joined (his predecessor, Mitt Romney, a Republican presidential candidate, had a big role in negotiating the agreement but backed away from signing it last year, before the politics of global warming shifted). But the great unsung action to reduce emissions is in land use: supporting development patterns so US citizens don't have to drive as much. There are lots of other reasons to plan for more concentrated, mixed-use, transit-oriented growth -- chief among them the looming scarcity and expense of fossil fuels. There is also a growing consumer demand for urban living. But global warming is the ultimate rationale for smart growth. Fostering growth other than separated-use conventional suburban development -- revitalizing cities and older suburbs through investment and zoning reform -- has never been a more important goal, yet climate change activists don't talk about it much. Writing from California, where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's emissions reduction plan is leading the nation, Bill Fulton makes the land-use connection,1,4840839.story?ctrack=1&cset=true (registration required). Look for this ultimate light bulb to contine to go off.


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