July 10, 2006

NJ’s swamplands pledge to meet Kyoto CO2 targets

By Timothy Gardner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey's Meadowlands has become
the latest U.S. region to buck the Bush administration by
agreeing to greenhouse gas emissions goals outlined by an
international pact on global warming.

The Meadowlands, a region of swamps near New York City
studded by landfills and crisscrossed by superhighways, adopted
on Monday the greenhouse gas emission reduction goals outlined
by the Kyoto Protocol, which went into force in 2005.

President George W. Bush withdrew from the international
pact early in his first term, saying it would hurt the economy
and unfairly left rapidly developing countries without
emissions limits in its first round.

The decision by the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission came
as growing numbers of U.S. cities are pledging to adopt Kyoto
emissions goals. Almost since the agreement went into force,
Seattle's Mayor Greg Nickels has been urging U.S. cities to
adopt the emissions targets.

The Meadowlands Commission has environmental protection and
economic development powers over 14 townships recovering from
decades of heavy industry, like chemical and paint plants. It
is battling fumes from vehicles on its many freeways.

"Mobil pollution is one of the key areas we have to deal
with," said Robert Ceberio, executive director of the New
Jersey Meadowlands Commission. The commission agreed to cut
emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and
methane, by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012, the level that
Kyoto had set for the United States, the world's leading
emitter of greenhouse gases.

As of last Friday, 262 mayors of U.S. cities representing
47 million people had pledged to meet the goals, according to
the Seattle mayor's Web site.

Unlike the developed nations that are charged to make
emissions reduction by Kyoto, the U.S. regions agreeing to
similar targets will not suffer a penalty if they fail to clean

But supporters say joining such an agreement helps cities
to follow the lead of Portland, Oregon, which has voluntarily
cut greenhouse emissions by much more than the Kyoto targets.

Ceberio said the Meadowlands hopes to meet the emissions
goals by increasing public transportation, cutting down on
parking lot space, and expanding renewable energy, including
the possible conversion of gas from rotting garbage at
landfills into truck fuel.