An Inconvenient Treaty

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“Erosion of cities by automobiles entails so familiar a series of events that these hardly need describing. The erosion proceeds as a kind of nibbling … —Jane Jacobs

In the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, former Vice President Al Gore mentions that nearly 300 mayors of American cities have pledged to abide by the Kyoto Treaty . It was a proud moment to see that Minneapolis was one of the cities that signed the Climate Protection Agreement pledging to “reduce global warming pollution by 7 percent below 1990 levels and meet the Kyoto Protocol”.

On the City’s web site, Mayor Rybak is quoted saying:

“As the U.S. government fails to take action on global warming, cities across the country are taking the lead to reduce global warming pollution,” Rybak said about the meeting. “Global warming poses a real, urgent threat to our way of life. Solutions to global warming not only improve our environment and health, but also create jobs, spur innovation, and allow government to run more efficiently… We need to act on the local level AND in Washington if we are really going to halt the adverse affects of global warming,”

I was saddened to learn last week that the City Council of Minneapolis in a 11 to 1 decision approved more “nibbling”… allowing sidewalks to be trimmed to construct two turn lanes at the intersection of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street.

Pedestrians, transit riders and bicyclists must again be inconvenienced for the convenience of motorists.

With this decision to hand over public space to private automobiles, which are an increasing source of greenhouse gases and other dangerous pollutants, the City Council, with the exception of Robert Lilligren, has sent a clear signal that it has every intention of honoring the Climate Protection Agreement… except when it inconveniences motorists.

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