Community Climate Partnership gaining momentum

City supports 'one of the investments with the highest reward'

Funding to support a staff position for Ann Arbor’s “Community-Facing Climate Action Program” is a major step forward in helping residents and businesses adapt to climate change and reduce their impact on it, according to Monica Patel, policy specialist at the Ecology Center.

At its meeting last week, the Ann Arbor City Council approved $125,000 to staff the program in the next budget year.

“Other communities with climate-action plans rely on this type of city staffing to monitor progress and train citizens in energy efficiency, which is one of the investments with the highest rewards,” Patel said. “It's one of the few investments that can actually put money in people's pockets within a month."

The council’s vote followed recommendations from city staff “detailing the resources necessary to make significant progress on creating and implementing additional community energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy programs that further the Climate Action Plan's adopted targets, reduce our community GHG emissions, provide economic benefit to our community and help to preserve our quality of life,” according to the budget amendment. “The City of Ann Arbor will not achieve the goals articulated the Climate Action Plan if we do not invest in Community-Facing Climate Action Programs.”

Patel and the Ecology Center have taken leadership roles in coordinating a “Community Climate Partnership,” a coalition of individuals and organizations including the city and the Huron River Watershed Council, to support the plan. The partnership is working to prioritize the more than 80 community-based actions identified in the plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the changing climate, which were adopted in the City’s climate-action plan in 2012.

"Given the lack of momentum at the state and federal levels, cities can't wait to take action,” Patel said. “That's why we've launched the Community Climate Partnership to get started fixing the world, right here at home.”

The coalition is looking to build on two recent successes at the community level: the plan to enhance public transit in the county’s urban core approved by voters earlier this month, and the expansion of the city’s composting efforts to include a wider range of kitchen waste launched this spring.

“We don't have a lot of time to act on climate--with both mitigation and adaptation efforts. Reports indicate that climate change is happening faster than we expected and, if we don't act fast, we'll pay more in the long run," Patel said.

“That's one reason we've been pushing for local action to address climate change, because cities like Ann Arbor are at the forefront of the causes and effects of climate risks that will become more frequent and severe over time.”

To join the Community Climate Partnership or learn more about its work, contact Patel at monica@ecocenter.org.
 

 

EcoLink — May 2014
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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