10 WAYS TO MAKE ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS A “COOL TOWN”?
The US has less than 5 per cent of world population but generates 25 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. But now, 400 mayors representing 66 million people in every state have pledged to reduce local emissions by signing a Climate Protection Agreement. In New Jersey, 46 towns and cities have joined, including Brick, Belmar and Highland Park. These towns are taking immediate action to adopt profitable solutions to global warming, without waiting for more comprehensive national and global plans of action. These measures focus on cleaner electricity production, reduced energy consumption by governments, households and businesses, and cleaner vehicles. This saves utility and fuel costs and makes towns more livable, while at the same time reducing the release of harmful global warming pollutants into the air
Local communities are “the frontlines of the war on climate change, where the risks are
most keenly felt and where the opportunities springing from the clean energy revolution will be seized,” according to the Mayor of Seattle who initiated this movement. Population centers along coasts or rivers where the largest share of Americans live (like Atlantic Highlands) will bear the brunt of increasingly severe weather, flooding and rising sea levels related to climate disruption.
The prerequisite for local climate protection programs is to inventory global warming emissions in municipal operations and in the community, set reduction targets, and create an action plan. Following are 10 of the specific actions proposed in the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement (slightly edited to reduce urban emphases not suited to Atlantic Highlands):
Two additional steps that seem relevant to Atlantic Highlands come from the action plans of (a) Seattle: Require ferries and other large ships to plug into shore power rather than run their massive engines when in port; and (b) Princeton: Research and implement municipal purchasing programs that, wherever possible, are environmentally minded and emphasize buying locally – working with other towns to seek necessary changes in state contract regulations to permit this.
Possible first steps in Atlantic Highlands are for the Mayor and Council to consider signing the Mayors’ Climate Protection Agreement (go to www.coolmayors.com and click on “Get cool” in lower right) and decide how to study the feasibility of the suggested actions.