Lake Superior City Cuts Greenhouse Gases
City Twinning for Climate Protection
A new program by the International Council for Local
Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) helps cities from different
countries share expertise and resources to advance local
government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On December 11, 2001, after a three-day conference in
Heidelberg, Germany, the International Council for Local
Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) established a new program,
City to City Twinning for Climate Protection. The twinning
initiative, a new element of ICLEI's Cities for Climate
Protection (CCP) campaign, invites local governments to
establish relationships with other cities to share problem-solving
strategies and transfer technologies to reduce greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions. The program also encourages multicultural
exchange and provides an opportunity for public recognition
for assisting other local governments.
To facilitate effective twinning, ICLEI works with interested
cities through a five-step process, including: (1) assessing
the sectors and measures that are in need of assistance;
(2) identifying potential twinning partners; (3) choosing
the partner that best satisfies the identified needs;
(4) preparing and signing a formal agreement of objectives,
roles, and responsibilities; and (5) developing a workplan
and timeline to meet goals.
for Climate Protection Campaign
Established by ICLEI in 1993, the U.S. Cities for
Climate Protection Campaign helps local governments
play key roles in directly influencing activities
that affect local air quality, living standards, and
the global climate. The campaign is an opportunity
for cities to receive guidance and resources to support
programs and policies that improve energy efficiency,
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and generate multiple
benefits for their citizens.
Currently, some 120 U.S. cities and counties with
a combined population of 44.3 million have made
a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
through the CCP Campaign. In 2000, ICLEI estimated
that the 68 cities and counties participating in
the campaign at that time were eliminating 7.5 million
tons of greenhouse gas emissions, saving $70 million
in reduced fuel and energy costs, and preventing
emissions of more than 28,000 tons of criteria air
pollutants per year.
Växjö Blaze the Trail
first cities to participate in the new twinning program
are Duluth, Minnesota and Växjö, Sweden. Duluth
passed a climate change resolution and joined the CCP
campaign in May 2001, while Växjö has been participating
in the campaign since the mid-1990s and won an award from
ICLEI for its Fossil Fuel Free Växjö project.
Duluth and Växjö have been involved in a Sister
Cities program since 1987, which has focused on promoting
cultural, educational, and economic exchanges between
the two cities' citizens. Using the partnership structure
already in place, Duluth and Växjö have enlisted
municipal environmental officials and members of the larger
community to exchange GHG emissions reductions strategies
between the two cities. The cooperation does not necessarily
require a great deal of funding, according to Carin Skoog,
Duluth's facilitator of the program. "The most important
part is learning from each other and challenging each
other with new problems and information," she says.
the twinning program, two schools dedicated to environmental
educationDuluth's Stowe Elementary School, and Hovs
skola in Växjöhave begun working together
to establish pen pals, produce a video of students sharing
information about environmental issues, and print T-shirts
portraying a number of conservation efforts. "Motivating
children to take an active interest in protecting their
environment is the best way to ensure that habits and
ideals form early and continue into the future,"
says Mark Winson, chief administrative officer for the
City of Duluth. The cities hope that the awareness and
understanding gained by the children in these two schools
will spread through the community, bringing other schools
into the effort.
twinning program also has fostered an information exchange
between the two cities on climate-friendly technologies.
Duluth's Western Lake Superior Sanitary District will
work with the Sanitary Division of Växjö's Technical
Department to develop better, environmentally safe solutions
for wastewater treatment. Both waste treatment facilities
are developing biogas projects and will share expertise
and encouragement through site visits and other information
exchanges to strengthen their plans. Additional participants
in the Twinning for Climate Protection initiative could
include organizations involved in public health, waste
reduction, and sustainable economic development.
For more information on ICLEI programs, see www.iclei.org
call Victoria Ludwig at 510-540-8843. To learn more about
the exchange between Duluth and Växjö, contact
Carin Skoog at email@example.com
or call 218-723-3344.