Walnut Creek City Council declines to sign US Mayors Climate Action Agreement
In a 3-2 vote, the Walnut Creek City Council decided not to formally support the US Mayors Climate Action Agreement during their meeting last night. Despite public comment urging the Council to join with the 1,060 Mayors across the country who have signed the agreement, Councilmember Cindy Silva stated, “The problem is that this is framed as a political issue. And regardless of council member’s personal opinions on climate change, it is not the duty or authority of the Walnut Creek City Council to weigh in on national or international issues. This is a long-standing policy.”
While Walnut Creek is taking the lead locally on greenhouse gas reduction and other conservation efforts, Mayor Pro-Tem Justin Wedel agreed, “We do not take up actions, such as these, this is not the appropriate place for this action.” Councilmember Loella Haskew said, “The best action is to not weigh in, but rather throw one more starfish back into the ocean and encourage others to protect and enhance the world that we have. This is the way that we can affect real change.”
Expressing their support for signing the agreement were Councilmember Kevin Wilk and Mayor Rich Carlston, “410 parts per million is the rate carbon monoxide hit in April, which is the reason why this is such an important thing, greenhouse gas has trapped extra heat in our atmosphere and will ultimately lead to the rise of the oceans.” The mayor continued, “This issue is not a political consideration. We will not take action on affairs that do not directly affect the City of Walnut Creek. But if the water levels rise in California, this will directly impact Walnut Creek. And we have discretion over it. I do not look at it as political, I look at it as critical. Now we need to look at and update our policies. How do the citizens weigh in?”
In 2012, the City Council approved Walnut Creek’s first Climate Action Plan (CAP), which outlines the City’s overall strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Using the year 2005 as a baseline, the CAP sets a goal of reducing the City’s greenhouse gas emissions 15% by the year 2020, in line with the state’s goal for 2020. For details on the plan, go to http://www.walnut-creek.org/department-services/going-green-together/climate-change. For more information on the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, go to https://www.usmayors.org/mayors-climate-protection-center/.