Climate Change will move back into the Yakima City Council conversation at the upcoming meeting Tuesday evening.

Back on October 19, 2021, the Yakima City Council passed a motion to

direct staff to plan a new City board to provide recommendations to Council and administration on ways to improve the City’s sustainability and the adverse effects of climate change.

Is Yakima All-In On Climate Change

Yakima's City Council jumped in Climate Change with both feet when on May 18. 2021 the Yakima City Council adopted Resolution No. R-2021-067 endorsing the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.  That measure sets a federal policy that will ostensibly help reduce the country’s carbon pollution by 50% by 2030, putting the United States on track to reach net-zero by 2050.

Remembering we are an agriculture-driven economy (or did they?) does that decision make sense for Yakima?  (hey, If you are gonna dream, dream BIG, right?)

Taking A SAFE Cities Stand

But wait there's more.  On June 1, the Yakima City Council adopted Resolution No. R-2021-080 supporting the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and committing the City to take a SAFE Cities climate change stand.

SAFE Cities is a movement of neighbors, local groups, and elected officials working to keep their communities SAFE from fossil fuels.  Here is the premise:

That’s why the SAFE Cities campaign is connecting local efforts to limit fossil fuels into a global call for action and supporting community leaders to adopt SAFE policies that phase out fossil fuels and fast-track clean, more efficient energy solutions for all.

Putting SAFE Policies Into Practice

So what does that look like off the page and in the regular day-to-day operations of our city government? There's opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure to phase out fossil fuel production and accelerate a just energy transition, committing to energy efficiency, committing to a future of electrification and renewable energy, and/or developing financial strategies to ensure that no one’s left behind. (Thanks for that!)SAFE policies:

  • Local government resolutions – one example of this is a Climate Emergency declaration that explicitly mentions the need to end fossil fuel expansion
  • Temporary blocks on new fossil fuel infrastructure – for example, what's already been passed in Whatcom County
  • Permanent restrictions on new fossil fuel infrastructure – these policies reduce the risks of spills, explosions, and other environmental hazards
  • Electrification policies – some examples include rules mandating that all new buildings be 100% electric or plans to electrify public transportation fleet

Next Step

Council and staff are expected to set a date to hold a study session to discuss the scope and membership of a Sustainability Committee as well as to define the mission.

Seems to me you might just want to have the scope and mission figured out before committing the City to an outcome...but that's just me. You?

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