About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote's Associate Editor. Sarah will be providing information from presentations about key climate programs and scientific research at the U.S. Center at the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010.
On December 1, Shailen Bhatt of the U.S. Department of Transportation described the concept of "Livability" during a side event at the U.S. Center at COP-16. In addition, he discussed some of the efforts that the USDOT has taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the United States.
The concept of "Livability" refers to having communities with transportation options to take children to school, go to the doctor, and see a film without getting into a car. Bhatt described federal funds that are used to help build and design Complete Streets that provide more options, like promoting walking and bicycling as active modes of transportation.
To support this initiative, there is a partnership among the USDOT, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to build sustainable communities. The partnership is centered around six principles: providing more transportation choices; expanding location-and energy-efficient housing choices, improving economic competitiveness of neighborhoods by giving people reliable access to employment centers, educational opportunities, and other basic services; targeting federal funding toward existing communities, aligning federal policies and funding to remove barriers to collaborations; and enhancing the unique characteristics of all communities.
In addition to making communities more livable, he discussed other strategies that USDOT has taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including increasing fuel efficiency for automobiles, increasing the use of renewable fuels, and working to design and build more livable communities. Together, these efforts demonstrate the U.S. government's commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and increasing energy efficiency.
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