A new committee will advise the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on climate change and what it will take for the county to address it.
The committee takes on after similar efforts that have pushed Mendocino County forward in combating carbon emissions and human-caused damage to the environment.
“We want to prioritize climate change issues and incorporate it into the broader picture,” said Walter Smith, a Mendocino County citizen whose own committee idea inspired Humboldt County’s concept.
While Humboldt County’s committee does not yet have any members, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for it as they hoped aloud it would be a step toward meaningful progress.
“The younger generations realize we can’t really just play around with this,” said 5th District Supervisor Steve Madrone. “We need to take action — probably a long time ago, but today, tomorrow, is better than not doing it at all.”
The committee is formed with specific tasks, including tracking the county’s total greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage. It could also make recommendations to the supervisors about creating future carbon sequestration farms.
This isn’t the first time the county has attempted progress in addressing climate change. Last September, the board voted unanimously to reach 100% clean energy by 2025.
The new committee will advise the board on tangible policy changes to get there. Madrone emphasized repeatedly that an incentive-based approach will win out over blanket threats or sanctions.
First District Supervisor Rex Bohn introduced the new committee, admitting multiple times during Tuesday’s meeting that he wouldn’t have been anyone’s first guess as a climate activist. But it’s time to get serious, he said.
“We’re not going to get anywhere unless we have a seat at the table,” Bohn said about the county’s participation in climate-based efforts.
Third District Supervisor Mike Wilson noted that the county hasn’t always been on top of the ball in climate progress. He said the supervisors have appointed “climate deniers” to the county Planning Commission, a suggestion other supervisors, including Bohn and 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass promptly scolded him for making.
“What I’m expressing is some anxiety about the speed at which some of these things are moving forward,” Wilson clarified later in the meeting, adding that climate change’s destruction of the environment is getting out of hand.
Shomik Mukherjee can be reached at 707-441-0504.
Humboldt County addressing our climate future with new committee, by Shomik Mukherjee, Eureka Times-Standard, August 28, 2019.