07/20/2007 02:28 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Is There Something In the Water of Puget Sound?

Seattle, WA -- For the past two years, the big change on global warming has been the speed with which cities, and more recently states, have taken leadership roles in committing themselves to deal with global warming by forging a new energy future. Now the counties are stepping up to the plate. In partnership with the Sierra Club, many major counties across the country announced the creation of the Cool Counties Climate Stabilization Declaration. As the Washington Post reported, "Participating counties pledge to reduce emissions in their areas by 80 percent by 2050. [The declaration], announced at the National Association of Counties convention in Richmond, also urges the federal government to adopt legislation requiring an 80 percent emissions reduction by 2050 and calls for fuel economy standards to be raised to 35 mpg within a decade."

Once again, leadership has come from the Puget Sound area; just as Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels two years ago launched the Mayor's Climate Declaration, (Cool Cities), it was King County Executive Ron Sims who led the way with Cool Counties, by signing up not only his own county, but also 12 other heavily populated counties across the country. In addition to King, the founding counties are Alameda (CA), Arlington (VA), Cook (IL), Dane (WI), Fairfax (VA), Hennepin (MN), Miami-Dade (FL), Montgomery (MD), Nassau (NY), Queen Anne's (MD), and Shelby (TN). Together these counties represent over 17 million citizens.

The American public is clamoring for action to tackle global warming and fix our badly broken energy policy. It's encouraging that county leaders understand the seriousness of the problems we face and are taking the kind of bold, visionary action that will protect both our climate and their own citizens.

As Ron Sims observed at the news conference announcing the declaration, "We no longer have time to waste. We know what it takes to reduce CO2 emissions in our regions and we owe it to our children and grandchildren to make the tough decisions and right investments now."