Over at Worldchanging, Alex Steffen has a smart post that takes issue with my recent foray—“Carbon Neutral Caution”—into a subject that is near to his heart. An excerpt:

I see carbon neutrality as a necessary goal in and of itself. Many people, including Bill Gates, think we need the entire developed world to be carbon neutral by 2050 in order to reach a worldwide reduction in emissions of 80% by that time. I think that 80% reduction is an insufficient goal, but leaving that argument aside, if we want carbon neutrality in the developed world by 2050, then we need leading cities to hit that goal decades earlier to create the innovation paths others can follow.

Just as importantly, however, I see carbon neutrality as a huge opportunity. Urban climate action offers us a fabulous tool chest, presenting solutions to all sorts of other problems we want to solve as well, from a flagging economy to energy vulnerability to mounting health care costs. Overall, I think Eric’s missed a few key points…

Go the read whole thing here.

As usual, Alex makes a number of thoughtful and detailed points. (Which is not to say that I entirely agree with each and every one of them.) Anyhow, I may write a longer response at some point, but first I’ve got one defensive-sounding nitpick: I did not say that Seattle cutting it’s emissions by 50 percent is the best we can do.

Far from it! For many of the reasons Alex’s mentions, it’s conceivable that Seattle (or any city, really) could do much better.

What I said was that if the city could do that in the next 20 years, then it would be worth “shouting from the green rooftops.” And I stand by that. With an electricity supply that is already essentially carbon free, cutting emissions by a further 50 percent in Seattle by 2030 would be a feat worthy of celebration.