Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Group wants environmental task force

Team would help to create a plan for reducing greenhouse emissions

January 15, 2008


If the city wants to be a leader in reducing global warming, it needs a new blue-ribbon task force to help guide its environmental practices, city commissioners will be told tonight.

City commissioners will be asked at their weekly meeting this evening to create a new Mayor's Task Force on Climate Protection to help the community create a plan for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.

"We're really looking for a group that hopefully will help us create a road map," said Tammy Bennett, who is working on the project as an assistant director of the city's Public Works Department.

The group is an offshoot of a 2006 decision by the City Commission to sign the Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, which is a voluntary program under which cities commit to reduce carbon emissions by 7 percent before 2012.

Part of the agreement involves creating a specific community plan for reducing carbon emissions. Bennett said the new group, if created by the commission, could be a major asset in creating the plan.

As proposed, the group would include: one city commissioner; the CEO of the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce; a manager of Westar Energy; an executive of The World Company, which owns the Journal-World; a member of the medical field; an environmental leader; a member of the construction industry; a leader of USD 497; a Kansas University leader; a Haskell Indian Nations University leader; a representative of one of the city's larger private employers; an architect or engineer; a citizen advocate; and a member of the Sustainability Advisory Board.

Some of the members might serve dual roles because the commission would have no more than 12 members, as currently proposed.

The task force is being recommended by the city's Sustainability Advisory Board. Richard Heckler, a long-time member of the city advisory board, said he envisions the task force talking about a variety of issues including new building codes that promote better energy efficiency, landscaping guidelines that would require less energy be spent on mowing and chemicals, and ways to make the community more walkable.

City Commissioner Boog Highberger - who was mayor when the city signed the climate protection agreement - said he originally didn't think such a task force was needed, but now is supportive of the idea.

"I've been really disappointed at the rate of progress we've made on the issue, and this might help it move ahead," Highberger said.

Commissioners meet at 6:35 p.m. tonight at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.


toefungus 10 years, 4 months ago

Could this me a tax increase recommendation board? Picking the CEO of the Chamber almost guarantees it.

bd 10 years, 4 months ago


jade 10 years, 4 months ago

This task force is a political scam, stacked with representatives whose knowledge of ecology is inversely related to their interest in protecting the status quo of virtually unrestrained economic growth. Where are the energy experts? Where are the biologists and ecologists? How about someone trained in water conservation and protection? Could we get an environmental economist? Perhaps the architect will be environmentally trained in green architecture. That would be one out of twelve anyway with, if we're lucky, a couple of well-intentioned token environmentalists who will be unable to stand against the tide of so many with anti-environment agendas. What a disappointment to waste such an opportunity and fail to reduce Lawrence's contribution to global climate change! It doesn't have to be like this, does it???

Richard Heckler 10 years, 4 months ago

Jade and others,

The questions in the mind of Jade were all discussed at the time the stakeholder list was drawn up. The challenge will ultimately be this city commission.

This has nothing to do with a tax increase. This has to do with getting everyone on the same page as far as moving towards doing everything possible to reduce the carbon foot print of Lawrence.

That should include green building codes which reduce the cost of operation for the tenant. Landscaping needs to a part of this.

Making Lawrence more inviting to walk,bike and ride the T.

It should involve bringing green industry to town for the sake of economic growth,jobs and environmental impact.

The bottom line is Lawrence is not as green as some would think and those who do not live here do think. Lawrence may be the blue spot on the Kansas map until it comes time to elect local government. The voters stay home. Local government is actually more important than federal government in so many ways.

jade 10 years, 4 months ago

Merrill wrote:

This has to do with getting everyone on the same page as far as moving towards doing everything possible to reduce the carbon foot print of Lawrence. [snip] It should involve bringing green industry to town for the sake of economic growth,jobs and environmental impact.

Yep, this is the same page alright. We'll pretend that we can reconcile our current trajectory with sustainability and get lots of good PR out of it, but nothing more. We cannot hope to reduce our impact on global climate change or our ecological footprint while simultaneously pursuing economic growth. Period. Economic growth is the problem we have to solve, not the means to some utopian end. The challenge arises from our dependence on economic growth to pay for public services while politicians and their stable masters benefit from mass belief in its virtue and indispensability. No one in public office will tell the truth about economic growth because the truth foretells its end. And of course politicians at every level are supported by the beneficiaries of economic growth. And no one wants to talk about economic stability or strengthening the existing economy beyond some imagined trickle-down effect, or what businesses we'll need to "let go" if we do pursue green industries, that is, if we genuinely want to reduce our footprint. I'm sure we all want sustainability and the required reduction in our ecological footprint and heat-trapping gases, but we want these things in some safe, abstracted way. It seems we don't want them enough to make the necessary changes and sacrifices, or even to talk openly about what these might look like.

BigPrune 10 years, 4 months ago

Shouldn't the City Commission be MORE concerned about creating jobs and making this City a success, than pandering to a few religious environmentalists with tons of time on their hands?

Create some jobs. Add some desperately needed tax dollars to the coffers.

Man made global warming TODAY is the Piltdown Man fallacy of the early 20th Century.

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