SBC Workshop Emboldens Town of Truckee For Action on Climate Change

Do you think it is important to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Address climate change head-on, locally, and on your own terms? The Town of Truckee does. Last month the Town hosted a joint workshop between the Town Council and Planning Commission, which was open to the public, to discuss options for the Town to reduce its GHG emissions. There was much discussion among elected officials and citizens that led to an outcome of overwhelming support for the Town to take action in reducing its GHG’s, and to explore further what steps need to be taken in order to do that.

COMM Blog NM ToTcropped 2015 08Until recently, there has been skepticism among Sierra Nevada local governments about the benefits developing such a comprehensive climate planning document can bring about. Addressing this skepticism head-on and laying out the financial opportunities, alongside the many environmental and community benefits, that should result from the development of a climate action plan was a major focus of this workshop. The plan is needed, not just for the environment, but for the local economy to take advantage of the large amount of state funding that is now a reality.

The workshop format was designed in two parts. The first was labeled “Climate Policy 101” and covered the background of GHGs, the California carbon market, benefits of GHG reduction, and examples of local governments’ efforts across the state. This section was presented by SBC President, Steve Frisch; SBC Vice President, Greg Jones; and Local Government Commission Executive Director, Kate Meis. The floor was then open to the Councilmembers, Planning Commissioners, and the public to have a discussion on the topics previously presented. There were many uncertainties about Cap and Trade, state funding for GHG reductions, and other items that were cleared up during this discussion.

The second part of the workshop covered the opportunities for Truckee to reduce its GHG emissions. The presentation walked the audience through the climate planning process, including the development of a baseline GHG inventory of emissions and then a Climate Action Plan. The discussion that followed showed a uniform agreement that the Town wants to do something to reduce its GHG emissions and will likely start by developing a baseline GHG inventory to set a benchmark.

There was a uniform understanding that developing a plan to reduce the Town’s emissions will be an opportunity to qualify for state funding through the Cap and Trade program, helping to support future investments in the community like the Truckee Railyard Project. A Climate Action Plan could be used as a roadmap for how funds will be used within the Town for GHG reduction projects and would also be in line with the Town’s general plan for future development and a healthy local economy.

The level of support from the community and elected officials was extremely encouraging, and the fact that this initial discussion was held as a workshop for the public to participate ensures that community members will be involved throughout the entire process. We have come a long way in understanding the benefits of climate planning, and are heartened by the intention of the Town to follow through with this work. If you would like to voice your support for the Town of Truckee developing a Climate Action Plan, please contact Truckee Town Manager, Tony Lashbrook.