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Los Angeles spares no efforts to become "green"
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10:06, February 20, 2008

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California Attorney General Jerry Brown Tuesday invited hundreds of city and county officials statewide to attend workshops focused on combating global warming as part of the city's bid to change its reputation for choking smog and fuel-burning gridlock.

It is a priority for the city to combat global warming by reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, city officials said.

More than 500 letters went out to mayors, planning directors and county supervisors in all 58 California counties and nearly 200 cities, inviting them to take part in discussions sponsored by the Attorney General's Office on climate change and the California Environmental Quality Act.

The act requires local agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from projects with significant impact, including those dealing with regional transportation and development.

"These workshops launch the first statewide movement to reduce the negative impact of local planning decisions on global climate," Brown said.

The workshops, scheduled for March to May in Oakland, Sacramento, Visalia, Los Angeles and Monterey, will address such issues as how local authorities should analyze the global warming-related impacts of development, what mitigation strategies local governments should employ to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions, and how cities and counties can undertake the required analysis efficiently and on limited budgets.

"California must adopt the necessary changes that will encourage economic growth while reducing greenhouse gases," Brown said.

"This difficult transition from our current escalating dependence on fossil fuels demands that cities and counties encourage maximum building efficiency and innovative land-use," he said.

As part of the efforts, city officials have proposed to enact tighter green building standards which would require the use of environmentally sound practices in large, privately-built commercial and residential projects.

Under the ordinance proposed by two city council committees last week, all major commercial and residential developments should slash projected energy and water use and to reduce the overall environmental footprint, placing the city on the cutting edge of an international movement to address the global warming effects of buildings, city officials said.

The ordinance also required privately-built projects of over 50,000 square feet to meet a "standard of sustainability" by incorporating a checklist of green practices into their building plans.

The checklist includes a choice of such items as low-flow toilets, paints with low emissions, use of recycled materials, efficient irrigation systems, solar panels and the use of natural light.

The average green building will save 36 percent in energy, 40 percent in water, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and solid waste by 70 percent, according to experts.

Nationwide, buildings account for 71 percent of electricity consumption, 12 percent of potable water used and 40 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that threaten to heat the planet to dangerous temperatures.

The council's proposed green checklist -- known as the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design, or LEED, was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington-based nonprofit group.

More than 120 localities in the nation have adopted green building rules for public construction, while 12 cities, including Boston, Washington and San Francisco, have extended the rules to the private sector, but Los Angeles would be the largest city in the nation to do so.

Source: Xinhua

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