Escondido councilmember says climate change is not city’s top priority

The range of opinions on climate change among Escondido residents was revealed in sharp relief last week during a progress report on Escondido’s climate action plan submitted to the City Council.

On one side of the issue were those who see climate change as a terrible threat to the health and well-being of humanity, while on the other side were those who claim the city has more urgent issues to deal with.

“I have read many books on the climate crisis and climate change and everyone says the same thing. “We have to stop emissions and we’re running out of time,” said Laura Hunter, as she and other speakers urged the council to move forward with the adoption of the city ‘s climate action plan. ” “Death. It is now or never.”

But council member Mike Morasco said many in the city do not see climate change as the city’s top priority.

“I salute the passionate minority… who feel so passionate about it. “I applaud you for your efforts, but there are many others who do not set this as their top priority, for what we need to do with the city dollars we have,” Morasco said.

“I feel sorry for the young people who have been indoctrinated to feel that their lives are in danger. “I do not see it as the sky is falling,” said Morasco. “I have lived here for a long time. We are a green and beautiful city. “

Morasco said the city is bound to meet its state-mandated targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but he has no money to go beyond those requirements.

“We will do everything we can, but we will not break the bank on this particular issue because we have more important things to address first,” Morasco said.

During a presentation to the council, senior planner Veronica Morones said the city implemented some key provisions of its climate plan over the past year, including joining the Clean Energy Alliance, a partnership of several northern county cities that aims to provide cheaper and cleaner electricity to its members.

Joining the CEA, a community-selected energy program, offers potentially the largest reduction in greenhouse gas emissions among measures in the Escondido climate action plan, which was adopted in 2013 and updated last year, he said. Morones.

Other achievements, she said, include launching an organic waste recycling program and replacing more than 1,000 street lights with energy-saving LED lights. Taken together, the city’s actions will reduce Escondido’s carbon emissions by 6 metric tons between 2020 and 2021, Morones said.

Residents urged the council to take additional steps in the coming years, such as creating an urban forest plan and planting more trees, reducing the availability of disposable plastic, and setting up a climate change commission to help the city achieve his goals.

Anna Marie Velasco told the council that planting more trees could help the city achieve its greenhouse gas reduction targets because the trees remove and naturally store carbon from the air.

“It would be a huge impact on our environment,” Velasco said. “Trees are really our best partner in fighting the climate crisis.”

Morasco said he is fine with the city using the grant money to supply trees to residents who love them, but he will refuse to use city staff to plant trees or install irrigation systems. He also said the purpose of planting many new trees is contrary to state and local efforts to conserve water.

“We have this dichotomy where we are asked to reduce water use and consumption, at the same time we are saying we will reforest all of Escondido,” he said.

Members of the public also urged the council to reduce the proliferation of disposable plastics, such as utensils and containers used by restaurants, pointing to similar ordinances adopted by other Northern county towns.

Last week, Carlsbad city council passed a law requiring restaurants to offer plastic cutlery and spice packages only on request, and that food must be packaged in reusable or compostable containers. Vista, San Marcos and Solana Beach have passed similar ordinances in recent years. Oceanside, Encinitas, Del Mar and San Diego have banned the distribution of disposable plastic bags in grocery stores and at most retail outlets.

Mayor Paul McNamara said such measures have passed unanimously, with bipartisan support in other cities. The masses “are not so draconian, they are not trying to change everything overnight, but they are a starting point.” McNamara asked city staff to report on measures other local cities have taken to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastics.

As for the goal of planting more trees, council member Consuelo Martinez said the city will celebrate Arber Day on April 30 by planting 100 trees along Mission Avenue between Rose Street and Midway. Volunteers are needed to help with the planting. For more information, visit volunteer.escondido.org.

Escondido councilmember says climate change is not city’s top priority Source link Escondido councilmember says climate change is not city’s top priority

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