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Mayor: Green effort needs to narrow focus

Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl chided environmental activists Thursday night about the 200 recommendations they’ve come up with for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl chided environmental activists Thursday night about the 200 recommendations they’ve come up with for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Nobody can enact 200 recommendations,” Tisdahl said, “I need it broken down into five minute pitches for different groups.”

Tisdahl told the 50 or so activists at the Citizens for a Greener Evanston meeting in the Parasol Room at the Civic Center that she has the opportunity to meet with a lot of groups in the city to promote environmental causes, but “I’m already starting to get angry letters from people saying that wind turbines in the lake ‘will ruin my view.'”

She said she was pleased to see some Northwestern University students in the audience and suggested they could be a major influence in getting the university’s support for the wind turbine plan — which as now envisioned calls for a cluster of 10 turbines to be built four miles off shore from the school’s Evanston campus.

Architect Nathan Kipnis, a leader of the environmental group, said the wind farm could generate enough power to meet the needs of nearly half the 32,000 homes in Evanston.

He also suggested that the town’s six biggest power consumers — municipal government, the two school districts, the two hospitals and the university — can play a major role in reaching the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 13 percent below current levels by the year 2012.

That, experts estimate, would return emissions to a level 7 percent below they were at in 1990 — which is seen as a key step in reducing global warming and is a target set by the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement which the city endorsed in 2006.

In response to the mayor’s suggestion to narrow the focus, group organizer Brian Becharas pointed to a new bookmark-size card produced to promote the effort that focuses on 13 steps individuals can take to reduce their carbon footprint.

Meeting participants then split into five “task force” groups ranging from transportation to recycling to develop strategies for encouraging energy saving.

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