A measure on the November ballot in the city of Berkeley aims to slash the area’s greenhouse gases by 80 percent over 30 years. Measure G directs the city’s mayor to work with the community to develop a plan for council adoption in 2007 to reach the 80 percent goal. The city has retrofitted old buildings, built new buildings to green standards, and invested in alternative-fuel vehicles for the city fleet. It documented a 14 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions in 2005. Berkeley’s neighbor, the city of Oakland, passed legislation last week that seeks to achieve energy independence by 2020. The measure is modeled after a national plan launched in Sweden that seeks to slash oil consumption by up to 50 percent. “Oakland can be at the cutting edge of sustainable thinking if we create a plan that not only improves the environment but also spurs new green jobs and business opportunities,” stated Oakland council member Nancy Nadel. The legislation calls for formation of a task force to develop over a six-month period an oil independence strategy, including greenhouse gas reduction measures. “Policy makers note that cities are not only becoming the dominant global institutions of our society but increasingly the models and laboratories for change in the U.S., driving policy in the other municipalities as well as at the state level,” according to a city statement issued last week. – E. McC.