Clearing the air | AspenTimes.com

Clearing the air

Dear Editor:First, I would like to thank Brent Gardner-Smith for calling attention to the enormous role that transportation plays in our contribution to global warming (Aspen Times, June 30). It’s no secret that the “global warming parade” decreases our quality of life while adding tons of global warming pollutants into the air (especially if they are idling for a significant amount of time). RFTA has been removing hundreds of vehicles a day from the “parade” for decades now, but transit will never live up to its potential until it has a dedicated path. Second, I would like to correct and clarify Brent’s comments about his reference to the city’s studies we are undertaking. The $120,000 study is actually a climate impact assessment, which will identify what types of changes to our environment (and therefore our economy) we will see because of global warming. Recently, the Aspen Global Change Institute, contracted to oversee the assessment, invited business owners and other community members to a meeting where they were able to share their thoughts on what they would like to see included in the assessment. All community members are welcome to continue to provide feedback to me via http://www.aspenglobalwarming.com. The second study, approved by the City Council on June 27, is a global warming pollutant inventory, which will identify quantities and sources of Aspen’s emissions. Both studies will provide very valuable information to help us gauge both our risk and our progress. However valuable these studies are, there is a great deal we already know. We know there is still plenty of low-hanging fruit in the efficiency tree. A dedicated transit path out of Aspen still hangs, but will require the city, county, CDOT, RFTA, the business community, and citizens to engage in this project. Lastly, Brent, if you’re tired of hitting your head on the low-hanging fruit, quit driving and try the bus!Dan RichardsonGlobal Warming Project ManagerCity of Aspen