- Mayors from some of the world's biggest cities are gathering here this week to forge a set of international guidelines for sustainable urban living - billed as a municipal version of the Kyoto Protocol on global warming that the United States never ratified.
The Urban Environmental Accords, to be signed at the United Nations World Environment Day Conference, is the latest example of cities seeking to tackle climate change despite reluctance from their national governments.
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The accords spell out 21 specific actions mayors can take to make their cities greener, and signers promise to annually adopt at least three new policies, many of which involve economic incentives or legislation. In the energy arena, for instance, cities can adopt policies to increase use of renewable power, boost energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions - actions that can help cities save money and clean up the environment.
"It's a real roll-up-your-sleeves approach," said Susan Ode, outreach coordinator for Local Governments for Sustainability. "They're actions that truly will help and can be implemented by local governments and communities."
From the "taking your eyes off the ball" file: