Denmark rates high on the happiness scale. The conclusion made in a new book, Geography of Bliss, surprised me. During several visits, including one in winter where I was never so cold in my life, the Danes didn\u2019t strike me as particularly joyous. I could appreciate, though, the benefits of inhabiting a little, uniform Smorgasbord-loving country, particularly during the warmer months. It is so much easier to get things done there. That includes implementing cutting edge measures, like renewable energy and climate change. Cycling on their miles of impressive bike lines, and seeing the steady flow of buses and trains and churning offshore windmills is, indeed, blissful. Meanwhile, thousands of miles southwest, the California Air Resources Board attempts to implement AB 32, the climate protection law of the state. California has a population seven times larger than the entire nation of Denmark and our carbon bliss is stuck in traffic. It serves as a reminder that smaller is better. California municipalities would agree, particularly in the area of climate change. City governments can be less unwieldy and some of the different cultures allow for experimentation. San Francisco has a bold plan to create a revenue neutral carbon tax. City voters are expected to be asked this November to approve swapping out a payroll tax on businesses with a fee on carbon emissions. The politically ambitious San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom noted that state and federal lawmakers, unlike their private counterparts, are captive of their adversity to risk and fear of making mistakes. \u201cI look forward to making many more mistakes in the cause of finding solutions,\u201d he said. He also wants the foggy city to be the leader in solar installations. Other munis also are taking innovative action on climate change. Plans include upfront loans for solar and energy efficiency installations, explicitly incorporating climate change impacts into multiyear general land use and transportation plans, and increased renewable energy and efficiency installations in city buildings and plants. Berkeley is hammering out the details of an upfront low-interest loan program to support solar power and efficiency installations in businesses and homes. The city hopes to increase installations of solar photovoltaics, solar hot water systems, and efficiency measures by spreading out the hefty upfront system costs for those who want to curb their home and business fossil fuel use. Berkeley is negotiating with a number of banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Community By The Bay, to get low interest loans. \u201cWe hope to roll out a pilot program late summer,\u201d Nils Moe, consultant to the mayor of Berkeley, told me. Loans would be paid back via 20-year property assessments for those who opt into the program. The city would create a special assessment district and property owners would decide whether to join. The assessment would stay with the property because the benefits stay with the underlying building, which is considered a key program aspect. That is because homes in California are held an average of 4-5 years while the payback for a solar system is about double that number of years. Many munis are hoping to follow suit, including the cities of Santa Cruz, Santa Monica, and San Jose. They don\u2019t just want to see how Berkeley\u2019s plans pan out, but also await passage of a bill that ensures that all cities and counties in the state have the authority to offer renewable and efficiency loans. Legislation by Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys), AB 811, is targeted at Wall Street. Financiers want the state to dedicate a revenue stream to assure muni loans will be paid. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Local Government Committee in mid-June. It was going to be heard next week but got snagged on some technical issues that are expected to be resolved. Many munis are also discussing joining forces with other local entities to further cut carbon gases. That includes Santa Monica, Culver City, and West Hollywood, which may aggregate their emission reduction measures. \u201cIt is the son of community choice aggregation,\u201d says Susan Munves, Santa Monica\u2019s energy and green buildings administrator. Santa Cruz, Monterey County, University of California, Santa Cruz, and other surrounding cities have signed a Climate Action Compact to ensure regional consistency, said Mary Arman, Santa Cruz public works operations manager. Numerous cities also are working to ensure their multi-year general land use plans explicitly state they will assess climate change impacts of proposed developments. These plans lay out munis\u2019 development future for a 20-25 year period. (Many are trying to apply AB 32\u2019s 1990 baseline as a yardstick for measuring their emissions increases or reductions. However, there are data gaps when it comes to estimating emissions 18 years ago, given the different economic conditions at the time.) Some cities, including Santa Cruz, also are launching public outreach programs to get community members to curb greenhouse gas producing activities. And the list goes on. I realize that many of our cities and counties won\u2019t attain the critical mass of cyclists and windmills like in Denmark, but munis bold climate change actions, in particular their control of land use, puts the geography of bliss within our reach.