New City Council Doubles Down on Commitment to Fight Climate Change

The new San Antonio City Council hadn't even got their big seats warm yet when they decided to double down on the previous council's commitment to fight climate change, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Council, on a 9-1 vote, agreed to accept an invitation to join the American Cities Climate Challenge,' which is an initiative of former New York City Mayor and major climate advocate Michael Bloomberg.

Mayor Nirenberg, which has made fighting global warming a centerpiece of his first term in office, says the membership will bring the city assistance and consultants which will help make sure San Antnoio's Climate Action Plan, which is set to be voted on later this year, is in line with the best practices laid out in the Paris Climate Accord.

"When the American Cities Climate Challenge award was announced, we knew we were getting an infusion of expertise locally and nationally to help us create clarity around those decisions," he said.

The lone 'no' vote was cast by northeast side Councilman Clayton Perry, who said he just finished a long re-election campaign where he talked with thosuands of voters, and not one of them even asked about the city's position on climate change.

"This isn't on the radar for people's concern in my district," he said. "They're concerned about taxes, safety and security, infrastructure."

Perry said City Council should focus on what the people who elected them think is important, not those things they don't even bother to mention.

According to city documents, the goals of the American Cities Climate Challenge include reducing vehicle travel, encouraging the use of mass transit, moving toward electrified vehicles, and reducing the energy use of homes and businesses, on the way toward meeting the goals set out in the Paris Climate Accords.

Among the City's goals is to go to 100% renewable energy for all of the city's facilities by the end of next year, which would require the installation of solar panels at the Alamodome and the Convention Center. The City also plans to expand its deployment of electric vehicle chargers to encourage the transition to electric vehicles, and to convert its own vehicle fleet to electric as much as possible.

Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, who is an environmental engineer, told Council this isn't simply an attempt to meet some vague target. She says more and more people in San Antonio are in physical danger from the city's substandard air quality, and aren't able to engage in outdoor activities. She says the city has an obligation to clean up its air to avoid damaging the health of vulnerable individuals.

City Sustainability Director Doug Melnick said the American Cities Climate program will make available to the city experts in needed technologies like solar power storage and deployment, which will enable the City to meet those goals.


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