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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Libertarian Councilmen Split on Greenhouse Gas Goals

The Mountain View City Council includes Libertarian Party member John Inks and economist Tom Means, a fellow at the libertarian Independent Institute. From a Nov. 5 article by Daniel DeBolt in the Mountain View Voice:

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.

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.

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.

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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