World's Mayors Meeting To 'Green' Thier Cities

Scores of mayors from some of the world’s biggest cities were meeting in San Francisco during the first week of June to trade ideas on making urban living sustainable.

The session was a kickoff to the United Nations World Environment Day on June 5, the first time the global event begun in 1987 was held in the U.S.

Mayors have forged ahead on dealing with such ideas as climate change because national governments have not—especially the U.S., the world’s biggest polluter, which refused to join the 140 countries that ratified the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, commenting on the conference, said: "Increasingly, the world will look at mayors to become the stewards of the environment since the vast majority of the pollution comes from cities."

More than 130 U.S. mayors last month signed an agreement to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to Kyoto Protocol targets or better.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used the conference setting to announce a state plan to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses--reduction to 2000 levels by 2010, 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Referring to the phony claims that global warming remains unproven, he said: "I say the debate is over. We know the science, we see the threat and we know the time for action is now."

The conference was expected to culminate in the signing of the Urban Environmental Accords, described as a municipal version of the Kyoto pact.

The non-binding document would commit the mayors to eco-friendly actions in such areas as energy, transportation, waste reduction, water and urban design.

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