The Washington Post has a story on several communities in the U.S. that are including climate impact in their decision making. This is welcome news indeed. The story looks at King county in Washington applying emissions tests to public works projects, Massachusetts developer disclosure laws, and California’s attorney general suing companies for increasing emissions. The article goes on to point the finger at sprawl as something that must be reigned in, saying:
Several environmental and planning experts warned that unless cities and counties take active steps to limit sprawl now, the United States will find it nearly impossible to make deep cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions in the decades to come…. Because people are commuting greater distances each year, the increase in carbon-dioxide emissions from transportation by 2030 will far outpace any gains the country makes in fuel efficiency.
Compact development, by contrast, could reduce metropolitan carbon-dioxide emissions by roughly 20 percent, …
The willingness of local communities to incorporate greenhouse gas emissions in their planning indicates that the nation is ready, and perhaps even hungry, for national leadership on this issue. It is unfortunate that such leadership will be AWOL for another 261 days at least.
– Earl Killian