American Canyon has declared a climate change emergency and set the goal of net-zero climate pollution by 2030.
“Our work has just begun,” Mayor Leon Garcia said after the City Council took action on Feb. 1.
Net-zero means reaching a balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gases removed from the atmosphere. President Joe Biden wants the United States economy to reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.
City Councilmembers Mark Joseph and Pierre Washington helped lay the groundwork for the city’s action. They are on an ad-hoc committee that has worked with local climate change activists such as Jim Wilson and students Emily Bit and Alisa Karesh of Napa Schools for Climate Action.
The council resolution calls for the ad-hoc committee to develop net-zero recommendations in such areas as transportation, building, renewable energy, carbon sequestration, and public awareness. It is to present findings within six months.
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Joseph said the city needs to look at its actions through the lens of climate change. He also said residents need to be involved.
“If we’re really going to make a difference, we have to convince everyone they have to make certain changes in their lives and move forward in this direction,” Joseph said.
Wilson has urged the county and its cities for years to take steps to combat climate change. He praised the City Council during public comments.
“There’s nothing comfortable about it, but it’s thrilling to be able to confront this challenge together with you all,” Wilson said. “It takes your kind of courageous action to reverse course.”
He noted the City Council had moved to ban new fossil fuel stations from being built.
“These are the simple steps,” Wilson said. “They’re a struggle, but they’re simple first steps.”
He suggested the City Council consider a carbon budget aspect to what’s done in the city.
Linda Brown of Napa Climate NOW! described what she sees as the effects of climate change. Summer and fall have become smoke season with raging wildfires, plants are blossoming earlier, and there’s drought.
“I just hope other cities in California, particularly cities in Napa County and surrounding counties, will follow suit,” she told the council.
What specific steps the city will take and ask the community to take remains to be seen.
“There is no immediate fiscal impact from the recommended action,” a city report said. “However, the resolution does call upon the city to actions in the future and the cost of those actions is not immediately known.”
Calistoga in August 2021 declared a climate emergency and set a goal of net-zero emissions by 2030.
The group Napa Schools for Climate Action has made presentations to various communities. Karesh, a senior at Napa High School, on Jan. 25 asked the Board of Supervisors to hear a presentation from the group. Supervisors on Tuesday will discuss whether to grant the request.
On another front, Napa County’s Climate Action Committee is having a greenhouse gas inventory done for the county and its five cities and town. The work is to be completed this summer.
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You can reach Barry Eberling at 256-2253 or email@example.com.