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July 4, 2017 > Supervisors affirm environmental commitment

Supervisors affirm environmental commitment

Submitted By Guy Ashley

On June 27th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors pledged its support for the Paris Climate Agreement in the face of the federal governmentÕs decision to withdraw from that historic accord. The Board recommitted to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions, fostering climate resilience in Alameda County communities, and working with leaders at all levels of government to create an environmentally sustainable future. The Board recognizes that the effects of climate change are already directly impacting County residents, including those most vulnerable, and sees climate action as imperative to support safe and healthy communities.

On June 1, the Trump administration began proceedings to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Through the Paris Agreement, countries agreed to adopted voluntary targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and committed to holding global warming to under two degrees Celsius. The United States now joins Syria and Nicaragua as the only countries in the world not part of that Agreement.

Alameda County joins the State of California and many concerned cities and counties that have issued statements in support of the Paris Agreement. Alameda County recognizes that it is important for local governments to take action because climate change will have dramatic impacts on communities, residents, and government services. As temperatures increase, so will extreme weather events that fuel the floods, droughts, and wildfires we have witnessed over the last few years. These extreme weather events not only damage property, crops, and infrastructure but also increase the demand for medical and emergency response services.

Warmer temperatures lead to the spread of diseases, can trigger symptoms in residents suffering from respiratory diseases like asthma, and can lead to heat stroke and other potentially fatal conditions. These impacts tend to be felt most intensely by the CountyÕs most vulnerable populations such as the elderly, children, and low-income residents.

ÒTodayÕs action builds on Alameda CountyÕs long history of leadership in sustainability and climate protection efforts starting over a decade ago with our forward-thinking Vision 2016 initiative,Ó said Supervisor Keith Carson. In 2007 the County established a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050 and called on counties across the state to join us in this effort. The County adopted climate action plans for reducing emissions from its own operations and unincorporated communities within the County. The County recently launched East Bay Community Energy to promote renewable power, received awards for having one of the greenest fleets in the nation, assisted the 552 local businesses currently California Green Business Certified, and installed 3.5 megawatts of on-site solar power systems.

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