The following is my public comment to Eugene City Council on July 25, 2016.
Good evening, Mayor and Council. Joshua Skov, Ward 1. As always, thank you for your service.
I’m here to speak about the Climate Recovery Ordinance. I won’t address the refinements proposed, but I hope you will listen to the recommendations. Thank you to everyone else speaking in support of making the most and best of the CRO.
Three points — in brief:
- Stick with the target of 7.6% annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Expand your work in support of a price on carbon at the state level.
- Press on with implementation of the CEAP, even as you await the update.
So, a little more detail.
1. Stick with the target of 7.6% annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
This target may sound ambitious, and it is. But it is not against current trend, and not remotely out of reach. We are already seeing a steady decline, around 3% annually, in fossil-fuel-related emissions here — and that’s without sweeping state or federal policy, or even much implementation of our own CEAP.
2. Expand your work in support of a price on carbon at the state level.
In the past, you have sent statements to the legislature in support of proposed legislation that would price carbon pollution. I thank you for that engagement — it’s crucial for our legislators to hear that support from every angle. But there’s more to do: I suggest reaching out to the Oregon League of Cities to ask for their help — after all, we have peer communities hard at work on climate action: Bend, Ashland, and Corvallis are all working on climate action plans right now. Let’s reach out and figure out how to speak with one voice.
3. Press on with implementation of the CEAP, even as you await the update.
There are many actions we can take this year or right now while updating is in progress. Our CEAP, begun in 2008 and finalized in 2010, has been on the shelf for a while, but some items have a long shelf life: continued investment in transit and in alternative modes; energy efficiency in buildings, including City facilities; recycling and waste reduction. You probably noticed that I just selected three categories — transportation, energy, and waste — where we are taking some action, but could be doing much, much more, including items that are on the table or facing decisions in the near future: we will consider new investments in transit later this year, we have many energy efficiency measures still to pursue, our transportation safety commitments are only plodding along.
Please give clear direction to the City Manager to prioritize these and other climate action efforts NOW, and to identify where these action areas advance other community objectives, such as public health, neighborhood quality of life, and jobs. There’s urgency to this issue, many win-win options, and no reason to wait.