City pursues aggressive cap on emissions


In what environmentalists called a historic move Tuesday, Mountain View became one of the first cities in the country to approve goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Using 2005 levels as the yardstick, the city wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent by 2012, with gradual reductions until emissions are reduced by 80 percent by 2050.

Staffers said the city emitted 752,755 metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2005. (A metric ton of such gases could fill a cube 27 feet wide, or 19,683 cubic feet.)

The council voted 6-1 to approve the emission reduction goals, with member John Inks opposed. Inks said it was important to have some goals for emission reduction, but felt that the city should study what could be realistically expected from environmental measures first instead of copying the goals of other cities. He pointed out that the city's biggest polluters, gas and diesel-powered vehicles, were largely out of the city's control.

The approved goals follow recommendations set forth by the Environmental Sustainability Task Force last year and by state law under AB32.

Former task force member Jeff Segall supported the action, saying it was a "great and historic evening" for the council.

Council member Laura Macias said the city was probably one of the first 100 cities to set such goals, and a city staff report said that about 50 other cities in the state were doing the same.

Council member Tom Means said he would support the goals because they were "voluntary and unenforceable," though some council members said the state could impose penalties in the future.

"There is a cost" to not meeting the goals, pointed out council member Ronit Bryant. "There is an environmental cost, and we will pay it through a higher sea level and rising temperatures."

According a city staff report, 56 percent of the city's 2005 emissions came from gas and diesel emissions, 25 percent from electricity, 16 percent from natural gas and 3 percent from waste and landfill emissions. Another chart showed that 13 percent of emissions came from residences, 21 percent from commercial uses and 6 percent from industrial uses.

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3 people like this
Posted by Drew Seutter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 5, 2009 at 11:39 am

It seems like John Inks is the only councilmember living in the real world, but I already knew that. Thanks for standing up to this nonsense.

3 people like this
Posted by Chrisgen
a resident of another community
on Nov 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Laudable goal, on the face of it. In my book, just another ploy by the politicos to (i) follow fashion, (ii) raise money which they will squander.

BTW, how much CO2 is emitted by EMPTY VTA busses going through MV day and night? Food for thought!

3 people like this
Posted by Kanank
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 5, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Its all fine. What are the real actions that is going to achieve these goals? Let us not pat ourselves on the back before something is accomplished. Words and legislations alone don't solve anything. "We are one of first in the country" is lot of hot air.

3 people like this
Posted by jane
a resident of North Whisman
on Nov 5, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Thank you City Council. We have to start somewhere in the recognition that we need to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Approving emmision reductions goals is at least a start.

3 people like this
Posted by biged
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 5, 2009 at 6:59 pm

An interesting book published recently highlights that New York City
residents have much lower CO2 footprint (7 tons/yr vs. ~24 tons
U.S. average)

Reason is not that they are greener just that owning a car is painful
in NYC, and homes are close to shops and most people take public
transit to work.
Greenhouse reductions goals are not the relevant factor. It's
lifestyle and population density

3 people like this
Posted by Dave
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 5, 2009 at 11:13 pm

Thank you City Council for setting targets! For city government to work on even a plan for how they can help reduce Mountain View's emissions, they need city council's approval. This step is a way of saying we as a city are ready to do our part to help solve the problem (and from what I read, the risk of severe climate change looks more serious every day).

I hope that efforts taking place at the world, national and state level will kick into high gear, but I can't just rely on hope. If many cities and citizens like us are the workhorses reducing our emissions, we might make the biggest difference.

3 people like this
Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 6, 2009 at 10:30 am

Another reason why NYC is ahead of the curve on auto exhaust is that their traffic lights are timed to expedite the flow of traffic. Here in MV, it seems that the opposite is true.

3 people like this
Posted by cc
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 10, 2009 at 9:24 am

The city can help MV residence to get solar power.
The city can use LED street light.

3 people like this
Posted by out of towner
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Triumph of silliness over substance. These kool-aid drinkers actually believe that MV will solve global warming by lowering their own GHG emissions. Science does not support this.

3 people like this
Posted by Monta Loma
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm

The Council is absolutely ridiculous!

Kudos to John Inks for having the courage, intelligence, and leadership to stand-up and be counted!!

The more I read of Inks the more I like the guy…we need more John Inks on the Council, Board of Supervisors, State Assembly, etc., etc.!!

3 people like this
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 12, 2009 at 5:21 pm

I'm surprised that John Inks' most vehement supporters seem to think he opposes action to reduce green house gasses. The way I read the article, he just wants to be sure our goal is real. That makes sense to me, but I'd rather have a goal that's too high now than a realistic one later.

3 people like this
Posted by Jon Wiener
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Is 5 percent really aggressive?

3 people like this
Posted by Drew Seutter
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 18, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I don't consider myself vehement, but I did vote for John Inks. I skipped the other councilmembers on the ballot who I considered bozos. They really do seem like sheep to me, not the leaders that they aspire towards.

I do think it is getting warmer. I do not think that man has caused it or that man can change it. If you have ever studied paleoclimatology, and I have, you quickly learn that climate has changed - a lot - in the past. It will continue to change, now and in the future. Enjoy the sunshine and warmth while it is here, and don't be afraid to drive your family to the beach once in awhile.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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