Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Hailey starts work to curb climate change

Committee targets greenhouse gas emissions

Express Staff Writer

The city of Hailey this spring began programs to reduce its impact on global warming.

By signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in February, Mayor Susan McBryant took the first step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

The agreement commits mayors to meeting or exceeding the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, using methods such as anti-sprawl land-use policies, urban forest restoration and public-information campaigns. The Kyoto Protocol is a global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that the U.S. government has declined to ratify.

In addition, the mayors will urge their state governments, as well as the federal government, to work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent of 1990 levels by 2012 and to establish a national emissions-trading system.

To assist in the achievement of those objectives, Hailey created a Climate Protection Committee, made up of city staff and a citizen liaison.

The committee drafted a City Plan for Climate Protection, which was subsequently adopted by the City Council and includes implementing policies for immediate- to long-range action plans.

This spring, the committee undertook a number of projects, including a walk-through of city facilities with Environmental Resource Center and Idaho Power representatives to determine low-cost energy-reduction methods, and partnering with the ERC and Smart Moves to provide an electronics recycling event later this summer.

As well, the committee has implemented lighting conservation measures in city buildings and lowered the need for air conditioning by installing heat-blocking film on the windows of city offices.

Citizen liaison Elizabeth Jeffrey said the committee wants to see progress, and hopes the city can provide an example for its residents and other cities.

For more information on the committee's activities, contact Hailey City Clerk Heather Dawson at 788-4221.

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