updated 5/16/2007 5:28:47 PM ET 2007-05-16T21:28:47

The nation's smog capital is joining the broad fight against climate change.

Los Angeles — a city devoted to cars and polluted by the exhaust that comes with them — announced Tuesday an array of steps to sharply reduce greenhouse gases by 2030.

Some ideas appear easy, like planting trees and giving each household a couple of energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs. Others are speculative at best, like expanding the city's mostly ignored subway and hoping to slow water use at a time when the city's population is growing.

"We're setting the green standard," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who called the plan the most ambitious of any major American city.

The city's goal is to reduce its carbon footprint in 2030 to levels 35 percent below those in 1990 — a target that goes beyond the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the international pact to reduce greenhouse gases that was later spurned by the Bush White House.

The goal would be achieved in part by moving away from coal-fired energy and increasing the city's use of power from wind, solar and other environmentally friendly sources.

Villaraigosa described the plan Wednesday in New York at an international climate summit, where mayors from Seoul to Sao Paulo are sharing ideas on how to reduce gases linked to global warming.

The city has an advantage in attempting to scale back emissions because it owns some of their sources — several airports, the massive Port of Los Angeles and its own utility, and the Department of Water and Power, which gets about half its energy from coal-burning plants.

But about half the carbon dioxide in the city comes from its notorious traffic. To get commuters out of their cars, the city proposes building more high-density housing near transit lines.

The American Lung Association this month placed Los Angeles at the top of its list of cities with the most polluted air. The association found that the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which includes Long Beach and Riverside counties, had the worst air based on 2003 through 2005 figures.

Joel Reynolds, a senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, credited the mayor with taking "a big step forward" but noted the plan leaves open the question of how rail and other transit development would be funded.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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