Acknowledging Hurricane Katrina's second anniversary and a local drought taxing farmers and some municipal water users, the Carroll County commissioners endorsed yesterday a national climate-protection pledge already signed by the leaders of five Maryland counties and more than 600 mayors of cities and towns nationwide.
County Commissioners Julia Walsh Gouge and Dean L. Minnich signed the pledge while Commissioner Michael D. Zimmer, who describes himself as a "global warming skeptic," refused to support the measure, called the Cool Counties Climate Stabilization Declaration.
The pledge, which grew out of the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, states a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below current levels by the year 2050, at a rate of about 2 percent a year.
"I've probably managed to tick certain people off with some of my votes," Zimmer said. "But I am as green as the next guy when it comes to practical policy initiatives. I'm all for saving money and conserving natural resources."
The climate-protection pledge promotes energy conservation to curb the carbon emissions that scientists believe are gradually raising the earth's temperature.
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold was the first Maryland county leader to sign the U.S. Mayors agreement in January, followed by Howard County Executive Ken Ulman and then the Frederick County commissioners. The leaders of Montgomery and Queen Anne's counties endorsed the Cool Counties agreement in July.
To bypass President Bush's opposition to the international Kyoto Protocol on climate change, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels launched the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2005.
In Carroll County, efforts to have the municipal councils of Westminster and Mount Airy sign the climate protection pledge have failed thus far.
Sykesville Mayor Jonathan Herman and the mayors of eight other Maryland cities and towns have signed the agreement.