HUMBOLDT – Humboldt’s county government is joining all seven cities in devising a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is also becoming a member of an international group that promotes global sustainability policies.
The county’s Board of Supervisors took several actions to advance the drafting of a Climate Action Plan at its June 11 meeting.
The collaboration between the county and the cities includes the shared funding of an $88,500 contract with the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA), a joint powers authority which will be the consultant for the action plan.
The county’s General Plan calls for implementation of the action plan and Senior Planner Michael Richardson told supervisors that the county, the cities and RCEA have already established working relationships.
“(RCEA) is really taking a lead role in climate action plans countywide,” he said, adding that agency has received grant funding to contribute to the effort. “We’ve already got a great start in developing this climate action plan, we’ve been working with the cities for several months now, getting the groundwork together for a successful public engagement process.”
The public outreach has begun, with a workshop held in McKinleyville on June 12. Richardson said a regional-scale public meeting will be held on July 24.
Supervisors approved the county’s $50,000 share of the RCEA contract. The agreement with the cities sets the contract’s costs shares and defines the goals of the action plan.
The county’s existing inventory of greenhouse gas emission volume will be included in the plan and each city will include theirs. Emissions to the year 2040 will be forecasted and an emissions reduction goal for 2030 will be set.
At a minimum, each jurisdiction will meet the state’s reduction goals. California has already met its 2020 goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels and its 2030 goal is to reduce emissions by 40 percent below that.
The local action plan will outline specific implementation measures and describe the greenhouse gas emission reduction potential of each one.
Supervisors also approved membership to the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Richardson said the group is “internationally recognized and “provides consulting for its member organizations.”
The board endorsed joining the group last March and followed up on it by appointing Supervisor Mike Wilson as the county’s representative.
The effort is likely to draw a high degree of community involvement.
“Not only do governmental entities think this is an important move forward, I think the community at large is very engaged in this issue,” said Supervisor Estelle Fennell.
Supervisors approved the actions with minimal discussion. “This all sounds like progress to me,” Wilson said.
The plan will be shaped by a Stakeholder Advisory Group and an environmental impact review. Local Climate Action Plan adoptions are scheduled for the spring of 2020.
Humboldt County, cities join climate pact, by Daniel Mintz, Mad River Union, June 25, 2019.