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Joint initiative aims to make counties cooler places

Clackamas and Multnomah counties sign on to Sierra Club project
by: submitted photo, Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, left, and Clackamas County Commission Chair Lynn Peterson celebrate their signing of the “Cool Counties” initiative earlier this month.

Clackamas and Multnomah counties pledged this month to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050, becoming the latest counties to join the Sierra Club's 'Cool Counties' initiative.

The county-level initiative aims to combat global warming and create new jobs in the green economy. Clackamas and Multnomah Counties are the first counties in the state of Oregon to become Cool Counties, and the first time nationally that two adjoining counties have signed on to the declaration in tandem. The counties planned their declarations for the same day to highlight the importance of regional coordination in creating climate action plans. Twenty-nine percent of Oregonians live in the two counties and their residents join over 36 million Americans who live in the nation's 28 other Cool Counties.

'Clackamas County is proud to join with Multnomah County in being one of the first two Oregon jurisdictions to commit to reducing global warming regionally by becoming a Cool County,' Clackamas County Chair Lynn Peterson said in a statement. 'We are already taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint, by building LEEDTM certified buildings, by promoting green development and in numerous other ways. By signing this declaration, we are demonstrating our continued commitment to ensuring healthy, livable, workable and sustainable communities now and in the future.'

In addition to committing to cut emissions, the program requires counties to work closely with local, regional and state governments to develop regional climate inventory and action plans and urge Congress and the president to enact a national greenhouse gas reduction plan.

The Cool Counties Stabilization Declaration was initiated in July, 2007 by the Sierra Club, King County Wash., Fairfax County, Va., and Nassau County, N.Y., to activate county-level governments to work with local, regional, and state governments to combat America's dependence on foreign oil, help foster the growth of our nation's burgeoning green economy, save consumers and taxpayers money, and to help fight global warming. Much as the Sierra Club's Cool Cities program has encouraged over 690 cities to sign and implement the U.S. Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, the Cool Counties program offers a road map for how counties can reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.