Watch events live from the U.S. Center in Copenhagen. Follow the U.S. Center on YouTube and Flickr.About the Author: Billie Gross serves as Public Affairs Specialist for the Bureau of Oceans, International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She is currently on assignment at the U.S. Center in Copenhagen.
Today, despite the frenzy of activity throughout the U.S. Center at COP-15, I had the opportunity to observe a presentation by Federal Transit Administration Deputy Administrator Therese McMillian, City of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, UC-Berkeley professor Robert Cervero, Utah Transit CEO John Inglish and Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon (TriMet) General Managor Fred Hanson. The presentation provided an overview of how U.S. public transportation is reducing carbon emissions by providing a low emission alternative to driving. In the presentation, John Inglish described how, through a participatory process called “Envision Utah,” residents of Salt Lake City foresaw growth and economic development around new light rail transit lines. Their goals are now becoming realities. Professor Robert Cervero of UC-Berkeley explained that combining investment in public transportation with compact, mixed-use development around transit stations has a synergistic effect that amplifies the greenhouse gas reductions of each strategy. Through the panel, I learned that communities throughout the United States are undertaking exciting efforts to build livable and sustainable communities with high quality public transportation. The U.S. federal government’s economic recovery act, in addition to the annual federal transit program, is supporting these efforts. This presentation truly highlighted the strong actions the United States is taking at home to combat global climate change.