Updated Alert: 76 people took action for a stronger plan.
The Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-1 to pass the Climate Action Plan with the direction for a 25% reduction in community wide emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Councilmember Grant House voted no as a protest vote, wanting to set the goal higher at 50%, and Councilmember Cathy Murillo also strongly advocated for higher goals.
Overall, the Council felt that the 25% target was ambitious, and directed staff to exceed the target if possible. Several Councilmembers mentioned CEC’s analysis and support numerous times, and there was no discussion about weakening the plan or voting against it. While CEC would have liked to have seen a stronger target and implementation plan, the 68 emission reduction measures include many worthwhile projects, and we look forward to working with the City in implementation efforts.
On Tuesday, September 18, the Santa Barbara City Council will consider adopting a draft Climate Action Plan (Read the plan). The proposed plan identifies local strategies to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global climate change, such as energy use, travel and land use, vegetation, waste reduction, and water conservation measures. The plan also outlines strategies for adapting to climate change effects (e.g., sea level rise).
While CEC supports the City’s efforts, we do not feel the plan goes far enough. (Read our letter to the City Council.) The City is depending on low population growth and state actions to reach important emission reduction goals. And while the Climate Action Plan does put forth some visionary, far reaching policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it does not lay out how these policies will be accomplished.
The letter sent to City Council:
Dear Mayor Schneider and Council Members,
Re: City Climate Action Plan
This letter is in support of the Community Environmental Council’s recommendations regarding the City Climate Action Plan. I encourage the City to undertake the following:
1. Set a more ambitious greenhouse gas reduction target of 50% below 1990 levels by 2020, an achievable target that reflects our status as a green minded community and the birthplace of the environmental movement.
2. Prioritize, focus and strengthen the key policies that help the City reach its reduction goals: Alternative/Advanced Fuels, Community Choice Aggregation, and Parking Policies. These three large, community wide measures account for 72% of the calculated 138,561 metric tons reductions by 2020 and deserve actionable strategies to back up the plan.
3. Adopt a Climate Action Strategy. We can build an economically strong community that helps combat climate change. A strong strategy can bring jobs to Santa Barbara, encourage civic engagement, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Without a plan, these opportunities will be lost to us.
Thank you for your time and consideration.