Jul 17 2022

OPINION: Piedmont Council Direction Needed on Climate Action

Hello City Council:

While the staff report acknowledges that any reduction is good, the trivial reductions in Piedmont’s Metric Tons of CO2 over the past 3 years (2018 – 2020, figure 1) indicate that Piedmont is not making progress in reducing its GHG emissions. And while this year’s 2.3% reduction is not nothing, that number is questionable – data throughout the report (figure 4 shows very slight INCREASES in residential transportation and residential emissions, a new source of fugitive emissions adding 2% to emissions is discussed and exhibit’s A conclusion that total 2020 transportation and residential emissions ROSE 1.2 and 0.6% in 2020, respectively, pages 26-27) – run counter to the conclusion that total emissions declined in 2020.  I suggest you ask staff about this – what is the source of the 2.3% reduction for 2020?  It may just be an anomaly.

But beyond that one number, I recommend you spend your time on this agenda item discussing the next steps recommended in the staff report (page 17), in particular the development of an existing building electrification strategy.    This strategy is where Council can implement the most effective policies and interventions to affect real GHG reduction in Piedmont.  It is not clear to me from the staff report that this strategy applies to residential and municipal buildings so I hope you will clarify that with staff and direct that the strategy include both. I also recommend that you discuss the establishment of an advisory body as recommended by staff. Most East Bay cities established sustainability commissions some time ago and are now establishing Climate Action committees as the seriousness of climate change is being realized.  Piedmont CONNECT has met with staff and provided background information on how these committees are appointed and function so information could be provided to this Council quite quickly.

Finally re-adopt the REACH codes later this year.  At the April 2022 REACH code workshop, staff indicated that the average home energy score for Piedmont homes was, on a scale if 1 to 10 (10 being best), 3.  The City needs to do more to address the energy inefficiencies of Piedmont exiting buildings and staff is developing new solution for that. Don’t take a step backward by not re-approving the existing REACH codes.

As I’ve said before, Piedmont will support you if you lead on this matter of reducing GHG emission. Recall the electrification surveys – 66% of the community support it. If you won’t give direction to staff tonight, state your positions on “replacement at renewal”, the utility tax, adoption of new science-based targets and incentives for all-electrified remodels.  Your public support for these initiatives will show the community that Council is committed to finding real solutions to climate change.

Garrett Keating, Former Piedmont City Council Member

Staff report for July 18, 2022 Council Meeting: https://piedmont.ca.gov/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=18746216
Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

One Response to “OPINION: Piedmont Council Direction Needed on Climate Action”

  1. I agree with and support all of Garrett Keating’s recommendations.

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