Evanston appears to be on track to join the list of over 250 cities that have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

The agreement is an effort at the municipal level to adopt provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, a decade-old United Nations agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions which has not been ratified by the U.S. Senate.

After a presentation by the Environmental Board at Monday’s City Council meeting, aldermen asked the city staff to draft a resolution adopting the agreement.

Stephen Lupton, co-chair of the Environment Board, told the aldermen Evanston should adopt the agrement “to prevent a growing environmental disaster which has direct effects on us all.”

He said that as a result of increased burning of fossil fuels that release heat-trapping carbon gases into the atmosphere, the earth’s temperature has warmed 1.4 degrees in the past century and last year was the hottest on record.

The mayors agreement calls for a variety of steps to address the problem, including:

  • Developing plans to reduce carbon emissions from city operations.
  • Enforcing land-use policies that create compact, walkable urban communities.
  • Promoting bicycle trails and mass-transit use.
  • Encouraging use of energy-efficient lighting through building code improvements.
  • Reducing the number of municipal vehicles and increase their average fuel efficiency.
  • Promoting tree planting to increase shade and absorb carbon dioxide.
  • Adopting public education programs on global warming.

The program has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2012.

Several Chicago-area communities, including the City of Chicago, Highland Park, Schaumburg and Waukegan, have already signed onto the climate protection program.

Mr. Lupton said several provisions of the climate protection program are similar to provisions already adopted in Evanston’s strategic plan.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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