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[GreenYes] Rocky Sets 'Zero Waste' Goal
Wednesday, February 06, 2002


Rocky Sets 'Zero Waste' Goal

 
A hot air balloon with a message from Greenpeace, a global activist group,
floats near the Olympic ski jumping venue at Kimball Junction. At the
climate summit in Kyoto in late 1997, industrialized countries agreed -- on
paper -- to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases
pumped into the atmosphere. Greenpeace is in favor of the Kyoto Protocol.
(Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune)


BY REBECCA WALSH 
THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE

While most Utah politicians would run from an invitation to share a stage
with Greenpeace activists, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson relishes the
company. 

 In fact, bolstered by the presence of scientists and environmentalists
Tuesday, Anderson announced his plans to meet the Kyoto Protocol and reduce
Salt Lake City's greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent in four years.

 To accomplish that goal, he plans to convert most of the city's fleet to
alternative fuel vehicles, reduce the amount of garbage residents send to
the landfill, make city offices more energy efficient and protect open
spaces. He says his multipronged "Zero Waste" initiative eventually will
make Salt Lake City a "green" metropolis -- at least on paper.

 "This is completely within our community's reach," Anderson said. "It is
an investment with huge returns."

 The investment will be hefty. For example, crews will replace
traditional traffic signals with "light emitting diodes" that use less
electricity. The city's urban forest will sprout new growth, starting with
125 pine trees planted temporarily in the middle of 300 South for the 2002
Winter Games. Street workers will throw out cans of paint with volatile
organic compounds. And city employees will receive bus and light-rail
passes. 

 Anderson says benefits outweigh costs. Just modifying traffic signals
will save the city $250,000 over 10 years. Eventually, the mayor hopes to
persuade businesses to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions.

 No matter skeptics who question proof of global climate change; Anderson
is determined. 

 "We may not understand all the details of how human-caused emissions are
affecting global warming," he said. "But we cannot wait to take action until
our ice caps have melted, our oceans have covered millions of square miles
of land and huge segments of the Earth's population have perished as a
result of droughts and heat waves."

 To measure Salt Lake City's success, Environmental Affairs Coordinator
Lisa Romney will track emissions of city vehicles, landfills and buildings.

 Scientists and environmental activists lauded the mayor's decision to
join other municipal governments, including Seattle and Portland, that will
attempt to meet Kyoto's 2012 deadline.

 University of Utah research biologist Diane Pataki said global warming
threatens Utah's claim to fame -- powdery winter snow. "Climate change is a
global issue, but its worst effect will be felt locally," she said.

 And Greenpeace climate campaigner James Moore says Anderson's Olympic
timing could not be better. Organizers tout the environment, sport and
culture as the foundations of the 2002 Winter Games.

 "Global warming threatens to destroy our environment, end winter sports
as we know them and change cultures," Moore said. "Action must be taken
now."

 
 walsh@sltrib.com
 

 Copyright 2002, The Salt Lake Tribune


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