Mayors agree on ‘green cities’ environmental pact
June 6, 2005
Mayors from around the world signed an international treaty to make their cities more environmentally conscious. The pact calls for boosting use of public transportation, drastic cuts to the volume of trash sent to landfills and ensured access to potable water.
The signing of the “Urban Environmental Accords” capped the United Nations World Environment Day Conference in San Francisco, the first North American city to host the annual event. The nonbinding accords list 21 specific actions that can make cities greener.
These are the urban environmental accords that mayors from around the world signed Sunday in San Francisco:
Action 1: Adopt and implement a policy to increase the use of renewable energy to meet ten percent of the city’s peak electric load within seven years.
Action 2: Adopt and implement a policy to reduce the city’s peak electric load by ten percent within seven years through energy efficiency, shifting the timing of energy demands, and conservation measures.
Action 3: Adopt a citywide greenhouse gas reduction plan that reduces the jurisdictions emissions by twenty-five percent by 2030, and which includes a system for accounting and auditing greenhouse gas emissions.
Action 4: Establish a policy to achieve zero waste to landfills and incinerators by 2040.
Action 5: Adopt a citywide law that reduces the use of a disposable, toxic, or nonrenewable product category by at least fifty percent in seven years.
Action 6: Implement “user-friendly” recycling and composting programs, with the goal of reducing by twenty percent per capita solid waste disposal to landfill and incineration in seven years.
Action 7: Adopt a policy that mandates a green building rating system standard that applies to all new municipal buildings.
Action 8: Adopt urban planning principles and practices that advance higher density, mixed use, walkable, bikeable and disabled-accessible neighborhoods which coordinate land use and transportation with open space systems for recreation and ecological reconstruction.
Action 9: Adopt a policy or implement a program that creates environmentally beneficial jobs in slums and/or low-income neighborhoods.
Action 10: Ensure that there is an accessible public park or recreational open space within half-a-kilometer of every city resident by 2015.
Action 11: Conduct an inventory of existing canopy coverage in your city; and, then establish a goal based on ecological and community considerations to plant and maintain canopy coverage in not less than fifty percent of all available sidewalk planting sites.
Action 12: Pass legislation that protects critical habitat corridors and other key habitat characteristics (e.g. water features, food-bearing plants, shelter for wildlife, use of native species, etc.) from unsustainable development.
Action 13: Develop and implement a policy which expands affordable public transportation coverage to within half-a-kilometer of all city residents in ten years.
Action 14: Pass a law or implement a program that eliminates leaded gasoline (where it is still used); phases down sulfur levels in diesel and gasoline fuels, concurrent with using advanced emission controls on all buses, taxis, and public fleets to reduce particulate matter and smog-forming emissions from those fleets by fifty percent in seven years.
Action 15: Implement a policy to reduce the percentage of commute trips by single occupancy vehicles by ten percent in seven years.
Action 16: Every year, identify one product, chemical, or compound that is used within the city that represents the greatest risk to human health and adopt a law and provide incentives to reduce or eliminate its use by the municipal government.
Action 17: Promote the public health and environmental benefits of supporting locally grown organic foods. Ensure that twenty percent of all city facilities (including schools) serve locally grown and organic food within seven years.
Action 18: Establish an Air Quality Index (AQI) to measure the level of air pollution and set the goal of reducing by ten percent in seven years the number of days categorized in the AQI range as “unhealthy” or “hazardous.”
Action 19: Develop policies to increase adequate access to safe drinking water, aiming at access for all by 2015. For cities with potable water consumption greater than 100 liters per capita per day, adopt and implement policies to reduce consumption by ten percent by 2015.
Action 20: Protect the ecological integrity of the city’s primary drinking water sources (i.e., aquifers, rivers, lakes, wetlands and associated ecosystems).
Action 21: Adopt municipal wastewater management guidelines and reduce the volume of untreated wastewater discharges by 10 percent in seven years through the expanded use of recycled water and the implementation of a sustainable urban watershed planning process that includes participants of all affected communities and is based on sound economic, social, and environmental principles.
This article used information from the Associated Press