Speaker Series: Mayor Greg Nickels
Greg Nickels was sworn in as the 51st Mayor of the City of Seattle on Jan. 7, 2002. Since then he has earned a national reputation for innovative leadership in transportation, public safety, jobs, climate disruption and other challenges facing cities.
On Feb. 16, 2005, as 141 nations ratified the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change into law, Mayor Nickels challenged mayors across the country to join Seattle in taking local action to reduce global warming pollution by launching the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement. To date, more than 780 mayors representing 78 million Americans have accepted the challenge, pledging to meet or beat the Kyoto target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. One in four Americans now lives in a city committed to reducing their greenhouse gas pollution.
In September, the City launched Seattle Climate Action Now, a grassroots campaign to encourage residents, businesses and neighborhood groups to take steps to reduce climate pollution at home, at work and on the road. The web site, seattleCAN.org , serves as a clearinghouse of information and hosts a Seattle-specific carbon calculator and action planner. The Seattle Climate Partnership, a City-organized pact among employers to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions, continues to grow, boasting more than 50 members by the end of 2007.
Following the roadmap laid out in the 2006 Seattle Climate Action Plan, the City has invested in transportation alternatives, clean buildings, and energy conservation. In October, Mayor Nickels announced that the City was participating in a project to test the performance of 12 plug-in hybrid cars. More than 100 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) energy-efficient buildings were in the works at the end of 2007, and, in December, Seattle debuted the South Lake Union Streetcar, linking hundreds of new jobs and condominiums in the Cascade neighborhood.
Rolling Stone has called Nickels the "Pied Piper" of mayors for his work to protect our climate and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded him its 2006 Climate Protection Award.
This Speaker Series event is co-sponsored by the Atlanta Regional Commission's Fifty Forward Initiative, an effort to create an on-going discussion of the factors that will shape the Atlanta region's future over the next 50 years. The program will bring together public, private, and civic sector leaders to craft a vision of the preferred future for the region and engender commitment to creating that future.