Local Climate Action Energy Efficiency to Reduce Pollution Is Good Policy

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), May 25, 2018 | Go to article overview

Local Climate Action Energy Efficiency to Reduce Pollution Is Good Policy


Stripped of jargon, the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan approved Tuesday week by city council should come down to: Let's use less stuff. We'll save some money and help clean up the air and water, too.

The plan, the third version since 2008, was formed with the input of more than 90 businesses and other organizations in the city. It stakes out laudable goals, even if not all the targets may be reached by 2030. Why not shoot high and expect that citywide, Pittsburgh will use half as much energy and water, cut transportation emissions in half and get to "zero waste"? The goals of city government seem more controllable - 100 percent use of renewable energy and a government transportation fleet that runs without fossil fuels.

Some of the jargon works against comprehension (bullet point No. 2 of the Vision is "Prioritize actions that build a foundation for future success, are scalable, educational and achievable"). And a city transportation fleet that is "100 percent fossil-fuel free" will bear close inspection if electric power is part of the mix. It's highly unlikely that coal and natural gas will disappear from electricity generation within the next 12 years.

But a large-scale effort to improve energy efficiency, reduce consumption and make use of the latest technology is not a pie-in-the-sky idea. It's common sense and basic thrift.

It's also good capitalism, if PNC Financial Services is any example. One of the nation's largest banks, it got the green message years ago, and not just as a PR stunt. …

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