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December 6, 2000

Reader's Page
Syracuse Post Standard

The Post Standard, noting "the uncontrolled emission of greenhouse gases and the resulting risk of catastrophic climate change," has rightly taken our government editorially to task for its intransigence at the recent Hague conference on global warming. The US has thus caused the collapse of international negotiations aimed at agreement on specific measures to reach greenhouse gas reduction goals embodied in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. Its editorial further noted that U.S. greenhouse gas emission levels have actually increased by 10 percent over the 1990 benchmark year for emissions - whereas, to meet its Kyoto commitment, America would have to reduce its emissions by 35 percent by 2012.

Not waiting for the federal government to act, many American cities are participating in an international "Cities for Climate Protection Campaign." Such cities as Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Berkeley, Oakland, Huntsville (Alabama) Portland (Oregon), and the state of Washington are shifting towards "green power," greater energy efficiency, and/or significantly reducing their dependence on automobiles.

And what is the Post Standard urging our own city to do about "the uncontrolled emission of greenhouse gases and the resulting risk of catastrophic climate change?" It is urging the city to "stop nit picking" and move ahead with a mega-mall project expected to attract what Onondaga County Legislature chairman Bill Sanford says is an estimated 40 million visitors annually (110,000 daily) - "many of whom will be coming from well outside the county to spend money here."

Plugging the mega-mall, the Post Standard urges our city officials to "summon the courage and wit" to embrace a project which would encourage tens of millions of people annually to drive or fly far greater distances than before to shop. This would likely add hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 to the greenhouse gas levels which threaten to inflict a climate catastrophe.

How does the Post Standard reconcile its stated concerns about the dangers of global warming with its heavy promotion of the mega-mall project? Would our children and grandchildren forgive us for what we ourselves did, for the sake of money, to help precipitate a climate catastrophe? Would they forgive us for what we failed to do to help head such a catastrophe off?

Oliver Clubb
504 Allen Street, Syracuse, NY 13210
(315) 479-5983

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