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Council passes city’s climate action plan 

City required to reduce projected greenhouse gas emissions by 29-percent

The Paso Robles City Council held a public hearing on the city’s climate action plan Tuesday and voted 4-1 to approve it. Mayor Duane Picanco was the sole vote against the plan.  The climate action plan is an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city.

The primary greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Greenhouse gas emissions are measured in million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2e). If the city does nothing, the city’s estimated forecast for 2020 is 203,448 MT CO2e. The city’s required target by state law is 144,124 MT CO2e, a 29-percent reduction.

In 2006, the state of California enacted AB 32 which requires cities and counties to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Those levels are about 15-percent below the 2005 levels. In 2009, the state enacted SB 97, which determined that greenhouse gasses can result in environmental impacts and need to be addressed as part of the California Environmental Quality Act process.

Without a Climate Action Plan in place that demonstrates how emissions will be reduced, it would not be possible to adequately measure and evaluate
impacts from proposed projects, according to a city report from Ed Gallagher, Community Development Director. This could put the city and developers at risk of litigation, the report says.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce this risk it is necessary for the city to adopt a climate action plan to comply with state law, the report says.

The purpose of the climate action plan is to provide a “road map” for measuring, planning, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It identifies how much the emissions need to be reduced and includes actionable measures to reduce them. Once the plan is approved, the measures need to be implemented, monitored, and evaluated for future refinements to be sure they are effective.

Potential climate action measures

  • City government energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades
  • Energy audit and retrofit program
  • Small solar photovoltaic incentive program
  • Electric vehicle network and alternative fueling stations
  • Infill housing development
  • Improving the city’s solid waste diversion rate

 

The public hearing was held at the beginning of the regular council meeting at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 19 at city hall, 1000 Spring St., Paso Robles.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, or follow his blog.