Bradley Urges Fund to Battle Pollution in L.A., Third World

TIMES ENVIRONMENTAL WRITER

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley said Friday that he will urge the City Council to create a new fund to underwrite the costs of environmental protection programs in the city and subsidize similar programs in Third World communities.

The mayor's announcement came at the conclusion of a two-day "International Local Governments Summit on the Environment" in Los Angeles, which attracted municipal officials from 28 nations.

Bradley said budget savings resulting from energy conservation measures could be earmarked for the fund. He did not give further details.

A spokesman for Bradley said later that it was too early to say how large the fund would be or what environmental programs would be financed. But the plan generally would follow a 12-point resolution adopted Friday by delegates at the conclusion of the conference at the Biltmore Hotel.

The resolution calls on cities to take immediate steps to curb global warming and other environmental problems.

It asks cities to establish environmental protection funds and recommends that "industrialized cities" in developed countries, such as the United States, "devote resources to cooperative environmental and conservation programs involving cities in developing countries throughout the world."

Asked when Los Angeles would implement the program, Bradley said, "I will submit this to the Los Angeles City Council within the week."

Organizers of the municipal summit said it marked the first time cities had joined in a formal declaration addressing global environmental problems. They said the recommended steps go beyond actions that national governments and international bodies have been willing to take.

"We're taking this from the bottom up," said Bradley, referring to the reluctance of national governments to take firm action.

Another recommendation calls for discussions at the national level of new environmental taxes, including a so-called carbon tax, and sales taxes on the import of oil and other non-renewable natural resources.

Under a carbon tax, a surcharge would be added to any product, such as gasoline, if its production or use pumps carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a major contributor to global warming.

Other recommendations include calls for detailed energy-use audits in each city, local ordinances to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by 50% or more, local limits on ozone-destroying chemicals, stepped-up waste reduction and recycling, tree planting, environmental impact reports on all municipal projects, environmental education efforts and an exchange of technological information.

Asked whether the non-binding recommendations would be carried out, Mayor Jerzy Rosciszewski of Krakow, Poland, said at a news conference: "Implementation of a program of this kind is really a matter of life and death.

"Unless something is done and done quickly, there will be total disaster."

In an interview later, Rosciszewski said: "Governments spend time thinking about how they're going to survive. My problem is to make sure my citizens survive."

Mayor Jim Belich of Wellington, New Zealand, added: "We, the local governments, are closer to where the action really is; therefore, it is incumbent upon us to add to the pressure that is there" for action by international bodies.

Jeremy Rifkin, president of the Greenhouse Crisis Foundation based in Washington, cautioned that the city initiatives will not be implemented overnight.

"But we have a good basis here for cities to begin the process. . . . It's quite an interesting political development," Rifkin said.

The summit was jointly sponsored by the city of Los Angeles and the Greenhouse Crisis Foundation.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
56°