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Emit nothing

Submitted by on 1, September 17, 2008 – 7:45 amNo Comment

Looks like the city has put together one of those famous “public-private partnerships” to address the problem of global warming. It’s called Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda, and its kickoff meeting is from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight at the O’Club on the base. You, of course, are invited to join in their efforts.

Now, you may be telling yourself that climate change is a global problem (hence, GLOBAL warming). But the answers to the problem may be very, very local. The folks who put together this local action plan for climate protection found that more than half of our Island’s emissions are transportation-related, while the rest come from energy use. And that’s not counting all the garbage we’re dumping into landfills – about three-quarters of a ton for every man, woman and child on the Island in 2005 – which releases methane into the air as it breaks down.

What happens if we don’t act? According to the task force report, we’re looking at higher sea levels (not a good thing for an island), nastier storms, less potable water and more insect-borne diseases, plus worse air and hotter weather.

Progress is being made, of course: Alameda emits fewer greenhouse gases than any other city in the county and most in the state. But there’s lots more to be done, according to the city’s climate plan.

The city is already making efforts to do its part to reach its goal of cutting emissions by 25 percent by the year 2020. Most notably, Alameda Power & Telecom is working to draw all of the power you and I use from carbon-free sources like landfill gas and hydro power; right now, they’re at about 85 percent. They’ve also got rebate programs for solar panels and refrigerators (check the right rail of their website here) and they’re pushing energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs.

The city also doing things like replacing its gas-powered vehicles with electric ones. And their climate action plan recommends a host of other development and transportation measures, including mandatory green building standard and developer fees to manage traffic. A progress review is slated for 2010.

You can act too, by ditching your car for short trips to walk or bike (check out Alameda Journal columnist Eve Pearlman’s recent bit on her efforts to do just that). You can schedule a free energy audit with AP&T (the number for that is 748-3947). You can buy, sell and donate used items on eBay, Craigslist or Alameda Freecycle. Use reusable bags at the grocery store. Get rid of junk mail through websites like http://www.greendimes.com/ and http://www.41pounds.org/.

Wanna know more? Bike Alameda has a full list of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint right here.

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