A new report questions whether the 358 US cities that pledged to meet Kyoto’s targets will be successful. That’s a fine question, but it’s perhaps easy to misconstrue as an implicit criticism that the promises were meaningless.

There is every reason to think that the cities can meet the targets. (And, heck, the pledge is only 18 months old!) Portland, in fact, is already well on its way.

What the report should serve to highlight is that:

  1. Reducing emissions requires a real plan with real teeth. (Seattle—the pledge’s founding city—has a good start on this.)
  2. Cities are working against tough odds. Most cities have very little control over their major sources of emissions—they’re laced with state and federal roads, they have limited authority to tax or regulate consumer carbon, and they mostly don’t have control over utilities, just to name a very few obstacles. City climate pledges are great, but they really need to be supported at the state and federal level to work properly.

Story in the Seattle P-I.

Below the jump, all the climate news you ever wanted. And then some…

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    Thanks to Mary Black for supporting a sustainable Cascadia.

  • ** The Christian Science-Monitor has an astonishingly thorough article on the promises and perils of carbon offset programs. Definitely worth a read.

    ** Behind the NYT‘s paywall, Thomas Friedman drinks the coal-aid (like koolaid, get it?) and says that clean-burning coal, carbon sequestration, and a few other goodies will solve our environmental problems.

    ** And this just in: 2006 was the hottest year on record for the contiguous 48 states. No word yet (that I know of) about how 2006 stacked up globally. But scientists are already predicting that 2007 will top 1998 as the world’s hottest ever. If so, this entire year will be just one more elaborate ploy in the awesomest hoax ever.

    Update 1/11/07: I tweaked some of the language to make this post more readable—and accurate.