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Climate Change: Responding to Climate Change - Action Steps for Cities

Climate change is receiving unprecedented attention at local, state, national and worldwide levels, and the State of California is at the forefront of innovative action to slow the emissions of greenhouse gases. In response to the intense interest in these and related environmental topics, Western City is devoting a section of its July and August issues to climate change. These articles examine how cities can help reduce carbon emissions and slow the impact of global warming by taking action, such as investing in energy efficiency, engaging in sustainable planning, and adopting green purchasing programs and deconstruction ordinances.

This month, the section provides suggestions on what cities can do to be proactive and reduce their carbon footprint, tips on green purchasing and an overview of the California Solar Initiative.

The July issue included an article on California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, tips for improving energy efficiency in new or existing city facilities, the basics of deconstruction ordinances and programs, and more. To read these articles, visit www.westerncity.com/green.

In February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded in its fourth assessment report, Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis -- Summary for Policymakers, that "Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [defined as greater than 90 percent] due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." In other words, humans are primarily responsible for global warming. A subsequent IPCC report, released in April, outlined the impacts on the planet and human society (online at www.ipcc.ch).

As League Executive Director Chris McKenzie observed in his May Western City column, "While mistakes will no doubt be made by federal, state and local policy-makers in addressing global warming in the years to come, there now seems to be near-universal acceptance of the fact that if we fail to act, it will be at our and other species’ peril."