The city of San Rafael has joined many other municipalities in Le Marin in, as the saying goes, thinking globally and acting locally.
The city council formally committed the city to do its part in the fight against climate change, committing to advance policies and regulations aimed at reducing local production of greenhouse gases.
San Rafael joins the county, Tiburon, Novato, Fairfax, San Anselmo and Corte Madera in passing the resolution to reduce local carbon production to a “neutral” level.
Acting locally will not solve a global crisis, but it is a commitment to do what we can to reduce local production of greenhouse gases by changing practices and products and encouraging local innovation.
In the case of San Rafael, the city is considerably strengthening its commitment to the fight against climate change. It reinforces its initial commitment to reduce greenhouse gases to 80% below estimated 1990 levels to become “carbon neutral” by 2045 at the latest.
“This will be a difficult target to achieve based on the current reduction in tariffs and the lack of clear, evidence-based lanes,” according to the city staff report.
This means a significant change and setting that goal as a goal when reviewing the city’s business decisions, from purchasing new vehicles and paving streets to approving new buildings and business permits.
A recent example is when Novato city council approved the installation of a gas station at its Costco store after recalling that it had just approved a similar emergency declaration. One of the main objectives of reducing climate change is to keep transport away from energy-inefficient and polluting engines.
No doubt San Rafael’s decision-makers have set themselves up for similar tests.
This is why it is so important to test the weight of a purchase, development or service in terms of achieving the city’s commitment to climate change.
It’s not just about installing electric vehicle charging stations or encouraging solar energy projects.
This statement should be more than just another piece of paper to shuffle around in city hall bureaucracy. It is a promise for the future.
How City Hall applies the litmus test of whether an improvement or purchase being considered by staff and council fulfills the statement’s promise.
It also means that the city must do more to encourage every home and business to follow suit.
Making this promise stronger than the paper it is printed on is critical to successfully implementing measures and changes aimed at repairing the environmental damage we do by acting locally.