RESOLUTION NO. ______________ RESOLUTION OF THE ASHEVILLE CITY COUNCIL SUPPORTING A STATE GOAL OF 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY BY 2050, INCREASED PROTECTION FOR STANDING FORESTS, AND THE CREATION OF GREEN JOBS

 

Whereas, climate change has increased the global average surface temperature by 1.00 degrees Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1880;

Whereas, climate change is expected to increasingly impact North Carolina’s temperatures, precipitation and sea level with harmful consequences in coming years;

Whereas, climate change and global average temperature increases are primarily due to human‐ caused fossil fuels emissions, including coal, oil and natural gas, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Academy of Sciences, American Meteorological Society, United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States Department of Defense, and numerous other leading scientific, academic and governmental authorities both in the United States and internationally;

Whereas, a final agreement of the United Nations Conference of Parties, which included the United States and 195 other nations, was reached in Paris, France on December 12, 2015, and states the aim of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels” and entered into force on November 4, 2016;

Whereas, scientists have concluded the concentration of carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas, in the Earth’s atmosphere is currently and consistently over 400 parts per million (ppm) and will likely stay above this level for the indefinite future for the first time in millions of years;   Whereas, sixteen of the seventeen hottest years on record have occurred in the twenty‐first century and 2016 is the hottest year on record;

Whereas, an increase in the global average temperature is having and will continue to increasingly have major adverse impacts, if not stopped by eliminating the use of fossil fuels, on both the natural and human‐made environments due to longer, more intense heat waves, prolonged droughts, spread of infectious diseases, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, wildfires, and more intense and frequent extreme weather events;

Whereas, these physical effects are expected to lead to water scarcity, food insecurity, increasing numbers of refugees, increased poverty, and the mass extinction of species;   Whereas, studies completed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Risky Business Project, Duke University, and others point to the severe economic costs of climate change and continuing use of fossil fuel, estimating billions of dollars a year in costs nationally and trillions globally;

Whereas, leading economists, policy experts, and business leaders conclude that transitioning to a clean energy economy available for all would create millions of green jobs nationally, improve health and living standards, and boost economic growth in coming years;   Whereas, low‐income communities and communities of color are inordinately exposed to pollution from fossil fuels, which causes serious health problems such as cancer and asthma, and need to be empowered and have access to educational tools and an awareness of climate issues;

Whereas, a Stanford University and University of California‐Berkeley study concludes the United States energy supply could be based entirely on renewable energy by the year 2050 using current technologies and 80% renewable energy by 2030 while creating numerous green jobs;   Whereas, municipalities, organizations, businesses, and academic institutions throughout the world have set a goal to achieve carbon or climate neutrality by 2050 or earlier;

Whereas, over 1,000 mayors have joined the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Protection Agreement since 2005 to commit to significantly reduce carbon emissions in their cities to combat climate change;  Whereas, over 600 American colleges and universities have made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, including many in North Carolina;

Whereas, addressing the impacts of a changing climate will require major forest protection and restoration efforts focused on leaving significantly more forests across the planet standing, including in the Southeast US, which has some of the highest logging rates in the world and; Whereas, North Carolina ranks second nationally for installing 3,015 MW total of solar capacity (about half of which being installed in the past 2 years:  1,140 in 2015 and an additional 943 in 2016); nearly $1.7 billion was invested on solar installations in North Carolina in 2015 and a similar amount in 2016, which represents a 159% increase over 2014; there are currently more than 200 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in North Carolina, the state companies employing some 6,000 people; North Carolina ranks third in the nation in installed solar capacity, enough to power 260,000 homes; and solar photovoltaic system prices in the U.S. have dropped by 66% since 2010

the industrial scale use of forests for fuel is not a carbon neutral form of energy, and will contribute to the rate of climate change and severity of its impacts, and;

Whereas, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Assessment Report recommended a global goal of achieving near zero greenhouse gas emissions or below, which is necessary to stabilize the global average temperature to avoid climate catastrophe;

Whereas, the City of Asheville has a long‐established carbon reduction goal of 80% by 2050 and is ahead of schedule in meeting that goal;

Whereas, the City of Asheville is working closely with Buncombe County and Duke Energy to reduce the region’s reliance on fossil fuel generation and avoid or delay construction of a new 190‐MW gas‐fired generating unit through the Energy Innovation Task Force;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Asheville City Council that it endorses the following:

SECTION 1.  The State of North Carolina and the United States shall establish a transition from a fossil fuel‐based economy and infrastructure to a 100% renewable energy for an all energy sectors‐ based economy, while increasing protections that keep forests standing, by January 1, 2050 or sooner to avoid climate catastrophe, to promote job creation and economic growth, and to protect the Earth for current and future generations from climate catastrophe. SECTION 2.  This resolution is effective upon adoption. Read, approved and adopted this 13th day of June, 2017. ___________________________________    _________________________________ City Clerk           Mayor   Approved as to form: ___________________________________ City Attorney