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Can this community be 'cool'?

Los Altos residents are building buzz about the city's future role in the cool cities movement, in which communities strive to meet or exceed greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

More than 755 cities nationwide, including Los Altos Hills, have committed to municipal environmental action by adopting the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

As of last week, 618 Los Altos residents had signed a petition at www.coollosaltos.org and planned to discuss their cause at Tuesday's city council meeting, after press deadline.

Volunteers such as Los Altos resident Margaret Suozzo have spread the word at events such as the Community Picnic and Almond Elementary School's Green Awareness Day.

"People in the community are increasingly concerned about our impact on the environment," Suozzo said. "Given that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for 100 years or more, what we do today is very relevant to our children and our children's children."

The California Energy Commission has predicted that Californians will experience consequences from climate change including reduced water supplies, increased flooding and increased health threats as disease patterns spread and pollution aggravates illnesses.

"The good news is that there are impactful ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with existing means and technologies," said Cool Los Altos team leader Kacey Fitzpatrick. "And at an individual level, we can all have an impact just by modifying our daily choices and habits."

Her group is offering ideas for action – for instance, the city can work through Joint Venture Silicon Valley to inventory its greenhouse gas emissions at a discounted rate.

Cool Los Altos has volunteered either to support the city's environmental committee or form an additional "green ribbon" task force to prepare climate action recommendations for the city.

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