As part of its continuing effort to encourage local rules that respond to global issues, the New Rules Project of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance proposes "Climate Neutral Bonding." Their strategy is for tax payers to convince state and local bond issuing agencies across the United States to adopt climate neutral bonding policies to allow citizens to "live lightly on the earth."
Tax-exempt bonds -- or munis -- finance a huge number of public works projects by local governments, school boards, and public agencies. In 2004 alone, there were about $230 billion in munis for 9,000 projects (excluding refinancings) in the United States. These projects consume vast amounts of energy over their lifetime.
The proposal is that all projects funded by municipal bonds be climate neutral: i.e., any increase in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the project be offset by reductions elsewhere within the bond agency's geographic jurisdiction. Methods for achieving green house gas neutrality include: efficient design, renewable energy development, renewable energy purchasing and tree planting. Benefits include:
- Reduced operating costs;
- Job creation and new expertise of architects, engineers, and builders in efficient design and construction;
- Environmental (not just climate, but also less pollution, fewer toxics, better air and water quality); and
The memorandum also includes a "Climate Neutral Bonding Resolution" that can be enacted by local municipalities. The proposal is described in a February 2006 memorandum, "Climate Neutral Bonding: Building Global Warming Solutions at the State and Local Level." www.newrules.org/de/climateneutralbonding.pdf .