Mayor John Bell, pushing a major private wind-power proposal, has committed his island city to a climate protection agreement aimed at reducing global warming.
Bell announced the city would join 320 others across the country that have signed the agreement developed by Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels and endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Chicago last year.
“The local effects of global warming are real,” Bell said. “The threat to our shoreline from continued sea level rise and the visible increases in the number of destructive coastal storms are having huge environmental and financial impacts on our community and our fishing industries.”
The agreement urges the federal and state governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while committing communities to the adoption and enforcement of a series of land-use, transportation, energy-efficiency and recycling programs that minimize greenhouse gases.
The signers agree to meet or exceed the Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution through local action.
The United States has refrained from committing itself to the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol, which became an amendment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2005.
Among the reasons cited by President Bush in refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol is its de facto exemption of China, the fastest-growing and most-polluting industrial nation, from its requirement of a 5.2 percent decrease in greenhouse gases from 1990 to 2010.
Since it was proposed a year ago, Bell has been ardent in his support for the pending proposal of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates for permits allowing twin 360-foot wind turbines to be built at its global headquarters in Blackburn Industrial Park.
If approved, it is believed the turbines would be the largest erected in the United States by a private corporation for its own use. Varian, a world leader in the manufacture of capital machinery needed in silicon chip-making, uses immense amounts of electricity for manufacturing.
The machines also use huge quantities of electricity to manipulate ions on the silicon discs that are subdivided into chips.
Varian said the turbines would be able to produce half its electricity.
Bell has said he hopes the success of the Varian project allows the city to consider using wind turbine technology.
Max Schenk, the chairman and Gloucester representative for the Eight Towns and the Bay Committee and chairman of the Gloucester Conservation Commission, reviewed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement for Bell.
“When looking at the document, it became quickly apparent that Mayor Bell has already been taking the lead in meeting the goals of the agreement and guiding the city toward more sustainable, clean-energy alternatives,” Schenk said.
In September 2005, Bell joined leaders from other communities in asking New England governors to force a regional agreement on cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Other mayors who have signed the Mayors Climate Change Protection Agreement are Thomas Menino of Boston, Michael Sullivan of Cambridge, John Riley of Hull, Richard Howard of Malden, Michael McGlynn of Medford, Robert Dolan of Melrose, David Cohen of Newton, Scott Lang of New Bedford, James Ruberto of Pittsfield, Joseph Curatone of Somerville and Timothy Murray of Worcester.
Cooling global warming
The problem affecting Gloucester – Sea level rose 4 to 8 inches in 20th century.
What – Mayor John Bell has signed the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.
Why – Commits Gloucester to meet Kyoto Protocol targets for reducing global warming pollution through local action.
How – Land-use policies, clean, alternative energy such as wind turbines, increased recycling of trash, promote transportation options.
What else – Adds weight to the agreement signed at the 2005 U.S. Conference of Mayors, urging state and federal governments to meet Kyoto targets.
By Richard Gaines , Staff writer
Gloucester Daily Times
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