While the federal government resists taking action on climate change, municipalities are implementing their own plans and guidelines to reduce energy consumption and the production of greenhouse gases.
"New York is among a faction of U.S. cities from Boston to Portland, Ore., that are racing ahead of the federal government in setting carbon emission targets and developing concrete strategies to deal with climate change. Their solutions are already beginning to alter the fabric of life for millions of urban dwellers.
It is a direct consequence, municipal officials and analysts say, of the growing perception inside city halls that the Bush administration has largely ignored an issue that has reached a tipping point in American culture.
A nationwide poll released in April showed a third of Americans now call global warming the world's single largest environmental problem -- double the number a year ago, according a Washington Post-ABC News-Stanford University survey. Though the administration agreed this week to "seriously consider" a European proposal to slash emissions 50 percent by 2050, the United States rebuffed efforts to make the cuts mandatory.
"Because of what many see as a policy failure on this issue in Washington, you see state and city governments stepping up and taking the lead on global warming," said Daniel C. Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy. "You've got people in Europe saying that America is doing nothing on global warming, but that's not true. You are seeing real action. But it's happening in a local way."
What started in 2005 with the frustrations of one mayor -- Seattle's Greg Nickels -- over the Bush administration's resistance to the Kyoto Protocol has since grown to become a major nationwide movement. Nickel's "U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement" now includes 522 mayors representing 65 million Americans who have pledged to meet the Kyoto Protocol's standard of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012."