(SAVANNAH) – Think you and your town can’t make a difference with global warming? Savannahian Tommy Linstroth knows local action can have a significant effect.
Linstroth’s book “Local Action: The New Paradigm in Climate Change Policy” is an upbeat and accessible guide for citizens, communities, and local governments interested in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Linstroth examined efforts by local governments that are having a significant effect. A handful of jurisdictions in the United States are preventing over 20 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually and have saved over $400,000,000 in the process.
“Climate change is not just an international concern, it is also an important local issue,” Linstroth said. “For the first time in history, more people in America live in cities than in rural areas – thus the impact you can have by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the local level is significant.”
Published by the University Press of New England, “Local Action” will be available in November. Co-author Ryan Bell is an Environmental Planner with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and was formerly the U. S. Program Manager with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)—Local Governments for Sustainability.
The City of Savannah is participating in ICLEI’s Cities for Climate Protection campaign, joining over 160 other U.S. cities in the program. This program is a feature in “Local Action: A New Paradigm in Climate Change Policy.” The City of Savannah is currently analyzing its greenhouse gas emissions and creating an implementation plan.
Linstroth said the city will implement recommendations from his book and see benefits from joining Cities for Climate Protection. Measures that reduce greenhouse gases also tend to save money through efficiencies (participants in the CCP program save a total $400 million annually), reduce harmful air pollutants such as particulates (leading cause of asthma), nitrous oxides (smog) and sulfur dioxides (acid rain), and increase the quality of life for citizens.
“Local Action” is required reading for those citizens and public servants impatient with waiting for federal action on climate change for the last two decades. Providing a framework for both community and government initiatives, the book includes sections on the action plan, the motivation, the process and the plan for making changes.
The authors also show a strong connection between these climate action strategies and addressing quality of life issues. This well-reasoned and nicely documented guide for local action contains many resources for individuals and communities looking to take the next step in participating in global solutions for a beleaguered planet.
After providing a primer on global warming and reviewing the short history of U.S. climate change policy, the authors make a strong case for taking action at the local level. “Local Action” also provides many examples of municipalities that have already instituted climate action strategies that have yielded measurable reductions in carbon emissions.
While traditionally framed as a national and international problem, climate change is also an important local issue. For the past 15 years, while nations have fought over the terms of emissions reductions and the Kyoto Protocol, local governments and communities have been enacting innovative measures that not only prevent emissions of significant quantities of greenhouse gases but also reduce air pollution, save money, and improve the overall quality of life.
In the absence of a serious national policy that addresses global warming, these grassroots efforts can and have made a difference. Since 1993, when 14 pioneering local governments first began to develop programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a national and international movement has formed to fight global climate change through concerted local action.
These community initiatives include greening the local building codes, creating commercial waste reduction programs, encouraging water conservation, promoting bicycling and fuel-efficient vehicles, upgrading city buildings, advocating for the use of biodiesel for municipal transportation, and designing innovative systems and policies for reduced paper use. Two in-depth case studies – Fort Collins, Colorado, and Portland, Oregon – demonstrate how two cities have created and implemented climate-friendly and environmentally sound habitats.
While most books on global warming focus on national and international implications and policy approaches or serve as guides to help individuals live in an ecologically sound manner, Tommy Linstroth and Ryan Bell provide a blueprint for local governments to follow. Combining an analysis of existing federal policy with examples of successful local policy, they provide practical examples of measures that can be implemented by communities and local governments across the United States.
Tommy Linstroth is the Head of Sustainable Initiatives for Melaver, Inc., a vertically integrated, sustainable real estate firm based in Savannah, Georgia. Ryan Bell is an Environmental Planner with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and was formerly the U. S. Program Manager with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) — Local Governments for Sustainability.
“Local Action: The New Paradigm in Climate Change Policy” will be available in November for $19.95. Published by the University Press of New England, “Local Action” may be ordered at 800-421-1561 or online at http://www.upne.com/1-58465-672-7.html
Top Ten Community Measures to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
1. Greening Local Buildings and Improving Efficiency
2. Utilizing Landfill and Sewer Gas as a Source of Green Power
3. Encourage Residential Recycling
4. Commercial Waste Reduction Programs
5. Promoting Reuse as a Waste Reduction Alternative
6. Water Conservation
7. Fuel Efficient Vehicles
8. Parking Cash Out
9. Promoting Bicycling
10. Building Materials and Vegetation to Curb the Urban Heat Island Effect
Top Ten Government Measures to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions
1. Green Building Policies for Municipal Buildings
2. Comprehensive Upgrade of City Buildings
3. Purchase Green Power for Municipal Operations
4. Biodiesel for Municipal Fleets
5. Green the Municipal Fleet
6. Innovative Paper Reduction Strategies
7. Environmentally Preferable Procurement Programs
8. Concrete with Recycled Content
9. Light Emitting Diode Traffic Signals and Exit Signs
10. Promoting Public Transportation