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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 10th, 2019, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 20, Issue 41 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 20, Issue 41

County supervisors declare climate emergency

By Zac Ezzone

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution declaring an emergency following the release of new information on the extent climate change is affecting parts of the Central Coast.

The rhetoric throughout the course of the Dec. 10 meeting was milder than the language used when the board last discussed a symbolic resolution regarding climate change. Before passing a resolution supporting the Green New Deal in June, 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam kicked off the conversation with a 20-minute monologue where he responded to what he interpreted as 3rd District Supervisor Joan Hartmann comparing climate-change skeptics to Nazis.

This time around, the conversation was more civil. 

“I don’t want to be argumentative; I just want to put in … that there’s a whole bunch of people that disagree with this,” Adam said.

Although the rhetoric was milder during this meeting, the voting results were the same. Adam voted against the measure, 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino abstained from voting on it, and the remaining three supervisors voted in favor of the resolution.

First District Supervisor Das Williams acknowledged that the board has had variations of this conversation in the past, but that new information made it necessary for the board to reinforce its commitment to addressing climate change locally. 

“I just think there is really further evidence that ties our immediate self-interest as a people to making headway on this work,” Williams said.

Williams referenced a Washington Post article that states the average temperature in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties has warmed by 2.3 and 2.6 degrees Celsius, respectively, since 1895. Ventura is the fastest-warming county in the lower 48 states, the Washington Post analysis concluded.

According to the resolution detailing the climate emergency declaration, last year the county learned it would not meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent below 2007 levels by 2020. Instead, the county’s greenhouse gas emissions actually increased 14 percent above 2007 levels in 2016.

Throughout this year, the county has taken numerous steps to try to address its greenhouse gas levels. In July, supervisors opted to join Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) as the county moves to relying solely on renewable energy. Additionally, in September, supervisors voted to loosen the county’s regulations on solar panel development. 

Lavagnino—who is an outspoken supporter of oil and gas projects but also voted in favor of joining MBCP and loosening solar panel regulations—said focusing on tangible steps the county can take is more productive than declarations and symbolic resolutions. 

“I’m on the part that I like, which is the action part,” Lavagnino said. “The part that bothers me is the hyperbole part, and that I’m always going to have an issue with.”









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