Planning for Climate Change
THE CITY COUNCIL for the sister cities of Tampico and Ciudad Madero, Mexico, had been in special session for two days. Most of the continuing business items had been dealt with, and now the planning director, Adolfo Gutierrez, a tall, dignified man near retirement age, was on his feet to address the members of council and their staffs: “We all know of the various economic problems that face us. The world has entered a period of global recession. Our already high unemployment rate has doubled in just the last quarter, and we can expect that to rise over the next year before it gets better. As the recession deepens into depression in Europe and the United States, our tourist business steadily drops. Even before this we faced a series of challenges, beginning with global climate change and the high levels of air pollution in our city. We have talked about both of these issues in the past, and, contrary to what you might expect, I propose that now is the time to put a plan in place to address both these issues.
“We all know that the principal cause of global climate change is increased levels of carbon dioxide [CO 2] production. In our city, we have four main sources of carbon dioxide: (1) the fleets of older cars and twostroke motorbikes that clog our streets; (2) the city's dilapidated and polluting diesel buses, not to mention the many private buses that transport our population; (3) the utility plant, also outdated and unnecessarily polluting; and (4) the factories, especially Pemex, the national oil company. We have felt helpless to do much about any of these, as both the city and the majority of its citizens are without capital.
“We have all seen what the industrialized nations are doing to combat the economic recession: putting money they don't have into infrastructure