SAN ANTONIO – Since 2016, the City of San Antonio has been working on a climate ready plan. On Thursday afternoon, city council approved the Climate Action and Adaption Plan in a 10-1 vote.
- Goals to align with Paris Climate Agreement
- Looks to address use of coal
- Make buildings more energy efficient
Mayor Ron Nirenberg released a statement explaining that since 2017, he planned to commit San Antonio to the goals outlined in the Paris Climate Agreement -- agreeing to help limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius in this century.
The approved plan sets the bold goal of making San Antonio carbon neutral by 2050.
In the statement, Nirenberg said a strategy is not included in the plan but moving forward the idea is to address the use of coal, retrofit older building to be more energy efficient, complete a plan to run all municipal facilities on 100 percent renewable energy sources, and to involve residents through CAAP Technical and Equity Advisory Committees.
Nirenberg also plans to create a council of youth ambassadors, as he recognized that the younger generation are the ones calling to their elected officials for governmental action on climate change.
In a statement from Councilman Roberto Treviño, he referenced the plan promotes initiatives like Under 1 Roof - which has installed almost 600 high-reflectance roofs for qualifying residents that reduce energy consumption while saving families money.
Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda said in her statement that programs like the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program and CPS Save for Tomorrow Energy Plan were examples of how the city has worked with partner organizations to prioritize conservation, adaptation, and risk mitigation.
However, there are still concerns about the elimination of coal. In April, CPS Energy president sent a letter to the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of San Antonio expressing cost concerns about transiting to renewable energy.
Nirenberg and other councilmembers did emphasize that the plan will be an ongoing process of work, including financial components.
Near the end of the statement, the mayor said:
“We must begin now to publicly analyze the cost of accelerating renewable energy sources into San Antonio’s portfolio while ending the use of coal. We will act in accordance with the scientific consensus, which tells us that implementing the CAAP limit the impacts of climate change, create jobs, strengthen our economy, and fortify community health and equity.”
Councilman Clayton Perry of District 10 issued this statement on why he voted against the plan:
"The Earth’s climate is changing, and I strongly believe we should all do our part to protect the environment. My opposition to the CAAP has never been about the issue of climate change; rather, it has always been about the negative economic impacts to our community of implementing a plan with no set bounds. Although I voted against adopting the CAAP today, I will continue to ask questions and respectfully push back to ensure the CAAP can be founded in data, questions can be answered on the record, costs can be flushed out and potential problems can be addressed head-on.”