Frequently Asked Questions about Ashland’s proposed Climate Action Ordinance
Q. What is an ordinance?
A. Ordinances are enforceable city laws that provide solutions to problems at the municipal level, providing for public safety and well-being.
Q. Why is this ordinance necessary?
A. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly tangible, measurable, and dangerous, and are starting to impact our local economy and quality of life. A climate assessment completed in 2016 of potential impacts to Ashland include a possible 86% reduction in snowpack by 2080, and an increase in summer temperatures of up to 15 degrees F. At the local, regional, and national level we need to rapidly reduce climate pollution and transition to clean energy. An ordinance will ensure that Ashland does our part in reducing climate pollution, transitioning to clean energy, and preparing for the impacts of climate change.
Q. What are the goals of the proposed Climate Action ordinance?
A. The goals of the ordinance put the City of Ashland on track to be at least carbon neutral by at 2050 using an average 8% annual reduction rate. The ordinance calls for a reduction of fossil fuel use for both the City operations and the community by 50 percent by 2030 based on greenhouse gas emission levels from 2015. These goals are based off of the best available science regarding emissions reduction needs, and should be updated as new science emerges.
Q. How does the ordinance interact with the CEAP? And why should Ashland pass an ordinance before the creation of the Climate and Energy Action Plan?
A. The ordinance would set the goals into Ashland law while the Climate Energy Action Plan will figure out how to meet the goals laid out in the ordinance. The ordinance would ensure that Ashland’s action plan and our goals are based off of the targets that scientists are saying we need to reduce dangerous levels of climate pollution and protect our economy, quality of life, ecosystems, and vulnerable communities. By committing to the goals, we can ensure that the City develops an effective plan for reducing emissions based on those goals.
Q: How would the ordinance be enforced?
A: The ordinance would create a Climate Action Commission (CAC), which will be required to provide a progress report every 2 years and comprehensive report that includes emission reductions to date and the status of reaching the established targets every 5 years. If the 5 year comprehensive report indicates that the city is not reaching the goals set in the ordinance, the City Administrator will conduct an analysis of possible actions to get back on track and update the Climate and Energy Action Plan to reflect the necessary actions to achieve the next benchmark.
Q. How would the ordinance affect me and my family?
A. A building block of the type of action plan we are advocating for, is a plan that is equitable and fair and doesn’t negatively impact low income communities. Other communities across the country are showing that climate action plans can that actually creates jobs, and reduce long term energy costs. We know that Ashland can do the same. Strategies that become a part of the action plan could include things like:
Changes in planning, zoning and city code to make homes and neighborhoods more energy-efficient and increase the use of solar for electricity and hot water;
Improving the public transit system;
Weatherization of low income homes and rental facilities
Local utility scale solar projects, or community solar projects.
Such local strategies need to be partnered with statewide policies like the Healthy Climate Bill and transportation funding to ensure there is investment available to support this transition as well as policies like inclusionary zoning, that ensures communities like Ashland will have affordable housing in the long haul.
Q. Are other communities implementing ordinances?
A. The City of Eugene was the first community in the country to implement a Climate Action Ordinance, which institutionalizes the goals of their climate action plan into City law. Community groups in Corvallis and in Bend are in the process of advocating for similar local laws. Communities across the nation are alreading implementing Climate and Energy Action plans that are helping their communities reduce climate pollution and transition to clean energy.
Q. Who is proposing this Ordinance?
A. Ashland residents active with Rogue Climate and Ashland Youth Climate Action are proposing this ordinance to the City Council and to the Climate and Energy Ad Hoc Committee of the City of Ashland.