Mayors sidestep Kyoto row to set sights on Green Cities
Civic leaders from around the world are meeting in San Francisco this week to thrash out international guidelines for sustainable urban living.More than 70 mayors from major American cities and global population hot spots like London, Rio, Cape Town, Sydney, Tehran and Shanghai are taking the first steps towards transforming the world metropolitan centers into eco-friendly utopias by signing up to an agreement that is being dubbed the municipal Kyoto protocol.
The Urban Environmental Accords will be signed by the mayors on June 5 at the UN World Environment Day Conference at the culmination of the five-day Green Cities gathering.
The accords stemmed from the reluctance of the US Government to commit to targets combating climate control.
Led by Seattle several separate cities decided to go it alone (see related story) and the accords were drawn up.
The mayors are pledging to meet the challenges of sustainable urban development and looking at seven diverse areas including public transport, renewable energy, recycling, city parks, planning, environmental health and clean air and water.
The accord spells out 21 specific actions that can make a city greener and signatories will be expected to adopt at least three per year.
Many cities, particularly in the developed world, will already meet at least some of the standards such as providing adequate public transport and clean drinking water but will be expected to make progress in the other areas to show things are moving forward.
By Sam Bond