American Canyon is stressing the “action” component of its climate action plan efforts, though the bottom line result after six years is a question mark.
In 2013, the city passed an Energy Efficiency Climate Action Plan (EECAP) funded by PG&E. The plan called for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.
“This was groundbreaking at the time,” Community Development Director Brent Cooper said. “There were no climate action plans approved in Napa County.”
It remains to be seen whether the city will achieve that 15 percent reduction, with no recent figure available on overall community greenhouse gas emissions. Still, the City Council last week took stock of what’s been accomplished and what might happen next.
Cooper called the session the “EECAP recap.”
The greenhouse gas-cutting goal is to be met with a three-pronged effort: 29 percent of the needed reductions are to come from steps outlined in the EECAP, 29 percent from state measures and 42 percent from further steps to come in a comprehensive city climate action plan.
EECAP and state reduction measures have largely been achieved, Cooper said in an email. As for the third prong, American Canyon has not adopted a comprehensive climate action plan.
“Instead, the city has focused its attention on achieving implementation measures,” he said.
Accomplishments listed by Cooper included reducing potable water use with recycled water, mandating stringent energy efficiency standards in new buildings, using “smart growth” planning that reduces vehicle miles traveled and approving an extensive pedestrian and bicycle trail network.
“While we haven’t expended resources to measure results, we have focused our attention on longer-term, more durable solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that conserve energy and lower vehicle miles traveled,” Cooper said in his email.
City Councilmember Kenneth Leary at Tuesday’s meeting described a vision of a city that is more inviting to pedestrians and cyclists. He wants to see planned trails become a reality.
“When people get home, they don’t just hop in the car and drive to Safeway and Walgreens, places that are a couple of blocks away,” he said. “Make it so people can walk to these places and walk around town.”
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Mayor Leon Garcia mentioned using the former American Canyon landfill as a site for a solar energy installation. He also focused on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.
“An important part for me is the 50,000 cars a day coming through,” Garcia said. “One would surmise it’s telling us where the affordable housing is. It’s not here.”
He’d like to see more done with mass transit. That would include talking to employers and employees to find ways to make mass transit more convenient, Garcia said.
City Councilmember Mark Joseph made several suggestions.
“The more we can provide housing to people who work here and jobs to people who live here, the better,” he said.
Public education could play a role in further greenhouse gas reductions, Joseph said. He mentioned promoting a plant-based diet that he said is both better for health and the environment.
“Those are other things we should be looking at as well, not to take your hamburger away, but just make you aware that eating a little less meat is a good thing,” he said.
The council’s discussion was in part a preparation for the county’s climate change roundtable to be held on Sept. 19. Representatives from Napa County and its cities will meet to discuss coordinating greenhouse gas reduction efforts.
Joseph and Leary will represent American Canyon at the roundtable. Tuesday’s session was in part for the City Council to provide them with direction.
“By all means share our accomplishments,” Garcia said. “And bring back anything of interest that other jurisdictions have done.”
In 2016, American Canyon won a Beacon Award from the Institute for Local Government and League of California Cities for its climate change prevention efforts.