December 17, 2020 Update: we are happy to report that the County of Sacramento has passed the declaration!
December 15, 2020
ECOS has submitted a letter asking the Sacramento Board of Supervisors to vote in support of declaring a Climate Emergency. The item is on the agenda for their December 16, 2020 meeting.
From our letter:
The Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) supports the County’s proposed Climate Emergency Declaration. As Greta Thunberg has told us, “Humans are very adaptable: we can still fix this. But the opportunity to do so will not last for long. We must start today. We have no more excuses. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, then maybe we should change the system itself.” Please demonstrate that our County’s system is up to the task!
On December 15th and 16th, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will be making some important decisions about local actions to save the planet.
The following agenda items are on the consent calendar:
Approve Authority To Apply For Grant Funding From The Sacramento Area Council Of Governments 2021 Funding Round And The Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant Program
Zoning Ordinance Amendments Related To Accessory Dwelling Unit Standards. Request To Amend Chapter 1, Chapter 3, Chapter 5, Chapter 6, And Chapter 7 Of The Zoning Code Related To Accessory Dwelling Units
General Plan Amendment to Adopt SMAQMD Thresholds of Significance for CEQA Analyses of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Our partners at 350 Sacramento have created a handy letter-writing tool for anyone to use to send a message to the Board of Supervisors expressing your support for the declaration of a Climate Emergency. Please use to button below to help Sacramento county make the right choice.
Todd Smith, Principal Planner, Sacramento County, discussed the status of the County’s Community-wide Climate Action Plan. This month, the County’s Stakeholder Committee heard a presentation on an early draft.
Presentations were followed by a Questions and Answer session.
Join us at our next board meeting!
Board Meetings of the Environmental Council of Sacramento (ECOS) happen at 6:00 pm on the 4th Tuesday of odd-numbered months. Zoom Meeting ID: 818 6537 7865 Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81865377865 Call-in: 1-669-900-6833 | Same Zoom info every board meeting
On September 25, 2020, the Environmental Council of Sacramento submitted comments to Sacramento County in response to their request for community input for forming our County’s long-awaited Climate Action Plan.
The County has broad authority and influence over GHG-emitting activities, including land use patterns and building practices, and has crucial public health responsibilities. I understand that the CAP is a legally-framed document, responding to State GHG-reduction targets. The County needs to more than the legally-required minimum.
– Ralph Propper, ECOS President
We expect to see a draft Sacramento County Climate Action Plan in 2-3 months that the public can review.
Sacramento County has begun work on its long-promised Climate Action Plan (CAP). Please tell them you want a robust CAP. The comment period closes September 25. Email your comments to: climateactionplan[at]saccounty[dot]net.
Climate change will worsen unless we step in and demand that our leaders make the right choices. County staff face pressure to finish the CAP quickly. This is inappropriate given the gravity of the situation. We need to show them how deeply we care about climate change.
Consider telling your personal story and describe why you care. Mention how climate change affects you, such as ongoing drought, persistent wildfires and smoke pollution, worsening heat waves, flood threats.
Discuss your concerns for future generations, such as younger relatives or friends.
Include solutions to climate change that you care about, such as bicycle lanes, public transportation, electric cars, infill development, tree planting and other measures.
With your help, we can get a robust climate action plan.
From the County’s website: “Please submit written suggestions on topics to be covered in the CAP, new ideas in greenhouse gas mitigation, or other thoughts to climateactionplan[at]saccounty[dot]net by September 25, 2020. Presentations from past public workshops and Board of Supervisors meetings that give examples of some of the concepts under consideration are available at this link.”
Why Do We Need a Strong Climate Action Plan?
1. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be reduced quickly.
The world’s scientists (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) say we have little more than a decade to stop run-away climate change. This requires unprecedented changes to all aspects of how our society currently operates. Without major GHG reductions, starting now, we’ll trigger irreversible tipping points and catastrophes beyond our ability to solve.
The earlier we take action, the less costly and easier it will be to reduce our emissions and transition to a renewable, sustainable society. Prevention is key. Mitigation delayed is forever denied.
2. Our County should accelerate existing emission reduction targets for a clear trajectory to achieve California’s carbon neutrality 2045 goal.
• Our County must do the most possible. We need to exceed mandated 2030 GHG reductions with actions that are effective, enforceable, timely, and funded.
• Our County can achieve the State’s 2030 target with little effort, due to the State’s regulation of industry and utilities. But our biggest emission sources are traffic and building energy, which are subject to County control. Sacramento County must make meaningful changes.
• To achieve the State 2045 zero-carbon goal, the CAP must show progress beyond 2030.
3. Climate Change requires a long-term planning effort now.
• The CAP needs to consider all feasible alternatives.
• Our County must switch to climate-friendly land uses.
• Traffic is our County’s biggest source of GHG emissions, but our County is on course to approve triple the development needed for projected growth. This means not more GHG emissions, long commutes, more traffic, and more cost for County services. Growth must emphasize infill rather than the current suburban sprawl.
4. The CAP must incorporate social justice.
• The CAP is an opportunity to uplift marginalized and under-invested communities. We can improve both quality of life and our environment by investing in climate change solutions.
• Covid-19 and climate change do not create social inequities, but they expose its effects. Our society can only enjoy peace when climate and social injustice are addressed.
5. The CAP needs to be a clear process for meaningful accountability and timely action.
Regular public reporting of implementation and GHG Inventory and CAP updates are essential. Reports on CAP implementation status should be presented annually. GHG inventories and the CAP should be updated at least every four years.
6. The CAP must be developed with opportunities for public education and participation.
The CAP is our County’s most consequential effort for our future health and prosperity.
Averting climate catastrophe will require changes to the unsustainable practices in transportation, land use, energy conservation, and building design. These difficult changes demand full public knowledge and involvement
Sample Letter to Sacramento County
Todd Smith, Senior Planner Sacramento County Planning and Environmental Review
Dear Mr. Smith,
I’m glad the County is working on its long-delayed CAP. Since the County promised a CAP in 2011, the world has experienced the hottest nine years on record, with 2019 the second-hottest year ever and 2020 on course to be hotter.
Globally, the results have been unprecedented damage, death, and loss of livelihoods from extreme heat, storms, fires, floods, and drought. In California, we are in what the Governor calls a climate emergency, with record-breaking heat and rolling blackouts, the earth’s record high temperature (Death Valley, 130°F), and wildfires destroying millions of acres. The air in Sacramento has been “unhealthy” for weeks.
These escalating disasters are due to a global temperature rise since 1850 of 2°F. We are on course for heating of two or three times that much within our children’s lifetimes, and we must dramatically reduce GHG emissions to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change. The time for delay is past.
With this in mind, I want our county to move forward, and give us the aggressive climate plan that matches the threat we face.
The County has broad authority and influence over greenhouse gas-emitting activities, including land use patterns and building practices, and has crucial public health responsibilities. I understand that the CAP is a legally-framed document, responding to State GHG-reduction targets. I want the County to do more than the legally-required minimum. I want it to exceed the minimums and do as much as it possibly can.
Thank you very much for your diligent efforts to protect the citizens of Sacramento County and the world. I await the draft CAP with interest.
[Your Name Here]
Thank you for your help to get a robust Climate Action Plan in Sacramento County.
Sacramento County Communitywide Climate Action Plan Update Work is resuming on the Communitywide Climate Action Plan (CAP) in earnest! County staff has developed an ambitious schedule to bring the CAP to the Board of Supervisors by July 2021. Following the extensive public outreach conducted from 2016-2018, a focused stakeholder group has been formed to work with the County and our consultant Ascent Environmental on drafting GHG reduction and carbon sequestration measures based on all the feedback received.
Staff’s goal is the successful and timely adoption of an implementable CAP that provides meaningful and equitable climate action, enhances resiliency and provides a transparent and public pathway for future plan performance and adaptive management.
Although County staff previously conducted extensive outreach from 2016-2018, we want to provide another opportunity for additional public input since two years have passed and new ideas may be out there. Please submit written suggestions on topics to be covered in the CAP, new ideas in greenhouse gas mitigation, or other thoughts to climateactionplan[at]saccounty[dot]net by September 25, 2020. Presentations from past public workshops and Board of Supervisors meetings that give examples of some of the concepts under consideration are available at https://planning.saccounty.net/PlansandProjectsIn-Progress/Pages/CAP.aspx.
The County and Ascent will prepare revised GHG reduction measures and develop a draft CAP document over the next two to three months.
When the draft CAP document is complete, it will be published for a 30-day public review period during which the County plans to host a virtual public meeting. Information regarding the date and time will be provided as that time draws closer.
We encourage interested parties to subscribe to the CAP topic to stay informed and receive future status updates.