Monday, May 14, 2007

Commentary ­ Dannel Malloy ­ Report on threats of warming provides further evidence that action needed

The recently released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] report underscores the serious nature of the threat of global warming, as well as the imperative for immediate action. The report provides some of the most powerful scientific evidence to date of the extent of human caused global warming. As the science behind global warming becomes clearer, the need for practical solutions is more important than ever. No matter how dire the predictions, we know how to solve the problem and Stamford is leading the way in implementing solutions.

Stamford and other cities across the country have pioneered sensible climate protection solutions in the U.S. with remarkable results. More than 350 of my fellow mayors and I have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. By doing so, we have committed our cities to meet the Kyoto Protocol target of a 7-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels by 2012. In fact, Stamford has already reduced emissions that contribute to global warming by 20 percent and taken action that saves the city more than $1.1 million in energy costs.

The City of Stamford began working on energy efficiency measures in 1998 through a Rebuild America grant for an Energy Engineer. The following is a list of actions the city has taken to address energy efficiency:

* Stamford is one of few cities across the country with a dedicated position within the Engineering Bureau that is responsible for energy, fuel efficiency, and emissions reductions.

* In August of 2002, the Stamford Public Schools worked with the Engineering Bureau to implement energy conservation measures in our public schools. The most significant measures were the installation of a centralized energy management system and lighting improvements with occupancy sensor control.

* To date, the city has reduced emissions by over 5,000 tons of equivalent carbon dioxide, and received $1,908,867 in incentives and grants through Connecticut Light & Power.

* The city made a natural progression towards clean energy with the installation of 48 solar-powered path lights in Kosciusko Park in 2002, and 66 solar panels on the roof of the Katrina Mygatt Recycling Center in 2004.

* During 2003 and 2004, the city completed a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Local Action Plan.

* In March of 2005, the board of representatives approved a resolution to join the 20 percent by 2010 Campaign. This resolution commits the city to have 20 percent of its energy supply come from clean, renewable energy sources by 2010, and to create a clean energy task force to define a strategy to meet the goal.

* In June of 2005, Clean Air-Cool Planet recognized the comprehensiveness of our Local Action Plan by presenting us with a 2005 Climate Champion Award at its Global Warming Solutions 2005 conference.

* In October 2005, Clean Air-Cool Planet worked with the City on a High Performance Development conference, which gathered key developers, property managers, architects, planners, municipal decision makers, and investors to build awareness and interest in "green" development.

* Construction for a new 105,850-square-foot environmental inter-district magnet school, which will serve 660 students from pre-k through eighth grade, will begin in the fall of 2007. The school has been designed to meet LEED [Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design] silver certification. The design includes a green roof, solar photovoltaic panels, a wind turbine and weather station, air conditioning with ice storage, and interior day-lighting controls.

* The recent approval of $2 million Clean Renewable Energy Bonds will provide the financial support to install two major solar systems – one on the roof of Rippowam Middle School, and the other on the roof of the highway department. Both installations are planned for the spring of 2008.

* Future actions outlined by the local action plan include adding hybrid vehicles to the city fleet, developing a green buildings policy, completing a major wastewater residuals to energy power plant, alleviating traffic congestion through the Urban Transitway project, encouraging smart growth, a residential challenge outreach program, and more.

The City of Stamford has worked hard to do our part to establish a healthier community. We have positioned ourselves as an environmental leader and we continue to strive to meet all the goals outlined in our Local Action Plan. Since we all breathe the same air, and since we bear the responsibility for preserving our precious resources, it is our hope that by sharing tried and true techniques we can help bolster the efforts of other communities throughout the country in their environmental initiatives.

Dannel Malloy is mayor f Stamford.

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