Berkeley City Council Will Vote On Climate Action Plan Review

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The Berkeley City Council will decide at its meeting tonight whether to send a draft of the Climate Action Plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, for environmental review.

Mayor Tom Bates said "it is very probable" that the majority of council members will vote in favor of sending the plan to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

"There are going to be people who don't agree with everything, but I want to emphasize that this is a living document that will improve as it goes forward," Bates said.

Originally drafted in November 2006 when Berkeley voters passed Measure G, the plan aims to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050.

In addition to identifying transportation and solid waste sent to landfills as the main sources of emissions, the plan sets up priorities and time frames for reduction goals.

The council is currently considering the third draft of the plan, which was released on April 6.

The third draft further spells out steps for implementing and monitoring process, including certain goals to reduce emissions that can be met with short, medium and long-term actions, according to Councilmember Kriss Worthington.

The council is tentatively scheduled on May 19 to consider the final version of the plan following the review, according to Dan Marks, the city's planning and development director.

Steve Weissman, associate director for the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment and lecturer in residence at Boalt Hall School of Law, said the city will likely pass the plan or another one in a similar form.

"Many of the actions proposed here are free to the consumer," he said. "The investments, once made, will begin generating energy bill savings, utility rebates, tax benefits, and higher resale value."

Worthington said the plan's goal was set in 2004 and is out of date with current scientific findings. He said he would consider voting for the plan's final implementation if it is amended.

"There's different books that sort of set out different scenarios, but I think the general message is that you can't wait until 2050 to make the most of your changes," Worthington said, "The changes need to be front-loaded in the short term."

Councilmember Gordon Wozniak said the plan is a roadmap with important goals set up to meet the 2050 goal.

"(The action plan) can be modified," he said. "We have to find out what works (and communicate) with the citizens of Berkeley and with the city to get their ideas and try something different if it doesn't work. I think we all want the same goal but we need to figure how we get there."

Jessica Kwong of The Daily

Californian contributed to this report.

Tags: CLIMATE ACTION PLAN


Contact Christina Berke at [email protected]



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