After two years of sweat equity, 30 meetings and countless iterations, the Climate and Energy Action Plan (CEAP) is ready for the Ashland City Council to review at its regular business meeting on Tuesday.
The work began in September of 2015 as the city’s answer to climate change, which the council and community identified as a key issue for the city to grapple with and create significant answers to by 2030.
The report to be presented lists four major goals as listed in the report:
• Reduce Ashland’s contribution to global carbon pollution by reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with city, residential, commercial and industrial activities.
• Reduce total community greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent on average annually through 2050.
• Attain carbon neutrality in city operations by 2030, and reduce fossil fuel consumption by 50 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
• Prepare the city’s communities, systems and resources to be more resilient to climate change impacts.
In order to accomplish the goals, the CEAP report suggests the city transition to clean energy, maximize conservation, support climate energy friendly land use planning and reduce consumption of carbon-intensive products.
The report states that the city needs to budget some $100,000 to hire a full-time, permanent staff position to oversee the implementation of the goals. It also recommends a permanent Climate and Energy Action Plan commission, an internal city action team and sources of funding for these initiatives.
The wording around a passage of the plan suggests it is essential if the city is to meet current science recommendations about response to global warming, saying “Targets prescribed in this ordinance are designed to be consistent with science-based goals, primarily the goal of returning global atmospheric CO2 concentrations to below 350 ppm by the year 2100.”
The report says failure to take action would essentially compromise the safety of Ashland residents. “Failure to complete the Climate and Energy Action Plan and take meaningful action could permanently affect the safety, health, welfare, and economic future of the City and its residents. Delayed action could also result in increased City costs and community impacts.”
The council will hear the full report at its business meeting.
Councilors will also consider creating a committee to consider possible solutions to warnings about the safety of City Hall downtown. The current building will not survive an earthquake given its age and construction materials, according to engineering reports. The city has considered moving City Hall operations, perhaps to city-owned land where the parking lot at Lithia Way and Pioneer Street is now, or retrofitting the building to survive a quake. The committee, if appointed, would additionally consider the impact on downtown parking spaces should that be an option.
The committee would report its findings back to the City Council for further consideration.
The Ashland City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m. at 1175 East Main St.
— Email Ashland freelance writer Julie Akins at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/@julieakins.