When the dust settled on February 16, 2005, 141 countries had ratified the Kyoto Protocol and put it into effect. The United States was not one of those countries who saw fit to join together to stop global warming. Many citizens were disappointed, but one US Mayor decided to do something about it.
Mayor Greg Nickels was serving his second term in Seattle when the Kyoto Protocol went into effect. He was concerned that the US should do something, and, failing that, that he should do what he could. He devised a plan to enlist other US Mayors to make the changes that were needed to reduce global warming.
Mayor Nickels sent out a challenge to mayors across the country urging them to start implementing the changes that the Kyoto Protocol demanded of its member nations. The idea was that if a grassroots network could be built to prevent global warming, it would essentially do the same job that the government was shirking by not ratifying the Kyoto agreement.
A letter and an endorsement agreement were sent out. Mayors across the country had the chance to accept entrance into this group. The letter was sent out on March 30, 2005, and the acceptances soon started pouring in. Mayors, it seemed, did want to do something about global warming.
By June 13th of that year, the US Conference of Mayors met to discuss the agreement. It was passed as the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement on that date. However, the group did not close then. More mayors around the country continued, and still continue, to sign this agreement. Mayor Nickels has made a huge impact on the global warming prevention efforts of cities.
Mayor Nickels first thought of the agreement because of the United States’ contributions to the problem of global warming. The US greenhouse gas emissions make up 25% of those in the entire world. Yet, the population is nowhere near 25% of the world’s population. Mayor Nickels was outraged because he thought that the US could be such a large part of the problem and not want to be a part of the solution to global warming.
The goals of the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement were based on the Kyoto Protocol. They planned to meet the Kyoto goal of 7% less greenhouse gas emissions than 1990 by 2012. Just as the Kyoto Treaty was ratified with 141 member nations, the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement had a goal of signing up 141 mayors in their first year. The number was more like 500 cities by mid-2007.
A part of the agreement is that each mayor should speak on behalf of global warming prevention to members of the government, including local, state, and federal government leaders. Another part of the plan is to make sure people have up-to-date information on global warming.
Sometimes, it is amazing what one person can do. What is even more amazing is how people from all over a large nation such as the US can come together for a single purpose. With cooperation like this, there will be great strides in preventing global warming.