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Ryann Price, EQC Chair, Remarks from the 1/30/20 Meeting

From: domainremoved <Ryann>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2020 15:06:15 -0800

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Dear City Council Members,

We appreciate that the city has a diverse set of needs. At the same time, the urgency of the climate emergency calls us to act. Shortly after the city declared a climate emergency in December, the EQC’s CAP Subcommittee set out to address the climate crisis and required GHG reduction here in Menlo Park.

The process they followed included collaboration with city staff, tapping into experts from around the world, and attending conferences. They covered a range of topics including sea level rise, carbon sink technologies, sea walls, electric heat pumps, and effective incentive programs. In addition, the subcommittee gathered best practices from cities around the globe who are leading the way on climate action and who, like us, are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

As the subcommittee investigated they discovered the true cost of waiting. EACH DAY an average of 14 citizens commit about $294,000 to assets that are currently allowed by federal law but environmentally obsolete. Over the course of one year that’s over $100Million. That is direct cost today. That does not include adaptation or any other additional costs to our community due to delayed action.

Yesterday I shared the EQC’s 2020 work plan which resulted from this effort. This proposal points the way toward achieving the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. The proposal highlights include a recommendation that staff and the EQC be directed to draft a “lean” 3-yr climate action plan for Council review in April, and at that time climate actions for 2020 be adopted.

IPCC warned us that avoiding catastrophe from climate change would require “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.” As we have come to believe, they were right. We, as an EQC, didn’t really understand the meaning of those words until the CAP Subcommittee did the math and realized the actions and timeline required.

We won’t deny the fact that our proposal calls on you to act in ways that may be outside of your comfort zone. We wouldn’t ask you to take these actions unless it was absolutely necessary for the future of Menlo Park. “The world is counting on California and California in turn is counting its cities to lead the way.” Andrew McCallister, California Energy Commissioner, made that statement upon returning from global climate talks in Madrid.

Having said all of this, I am hopeful. Our plan demonstrates that, with courage and commitment, we can make great progress toward carbon neutrality on a timeline that helps protect Menlo Park. Brave, forward-thinking cities, like Menlo Park, can show the world what’s possible.

Special thank you to the CAP Subcommittee members Josie Gaillard, Tom Kabat, and James Payne, Sustainability Manager Rebecca Lucky for their commitment and dedication.

Ryann Price
Received on Thu Jan 30 2020 - 15:10:07 PST

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