Two sets of primary and secondary actions recommended for addressing climate change in Pleasanton were presented to the Pleasanton City Council last week, giving residents an updated look at the city's proposed Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2.0.
Recommendations in CAP 2.0 include a set of 15 primary actions, and 10 secondary actions. City leaders, staff and stakeholders have suggested more than 150 actions since the draft's initial review last year, when work on the document began.
The final version of CAP 2.0 will include an itemization of the city's goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other local-level actions to combat climate change.
Staff said the most significant change based on outreach was existing building electrification, of which "concerns were raised regarding existing building electrification mandates" during that time.
"Given the concerns regarding regulatory aspects of this action that were daylighted throughout the outreach process, the action was modified to remove the regulatory components of this action," staff said. "The action now focuses on grid resilience, evaluation of existing buildings, municipal building electrification, voluntary and incentive-based community building electrification, outreach and education, and tracking progress toward electrification in Pleasanton."
Though electrification throughout the entire city was supported, Councilmember Jack Balch said he wanted to ensure "grid reliability so that we're not encouraging residents to put in gas-powered, propane-powered or natural gas-powered backup generators."
"We need to continue to educate our public that an HVAC unit that uses heat pumps is not going to provide immediate heat," Balch said.
Mayor Karla Brown agreed that it was "really important with how consistent is that grid."
"I know I'm certainly thinking as a person how much reliance do I want on electricity when I can't maybe cook food or I couldn't keep my house or have hot water if everything's electric," Brown said. "We need to have electricity or you can't power anything in your home if we're off our natural gas reliability requirements."
During the public hearing, resident Sharon Piekarski said "we have only a very short window to prevent total catastrophe." Citing transportation as the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the city, Pierkarski said "encouraging alternative means of getting around is very important to achieve reduction goals."
"That means it's vitally important to provide safe, convenient, active transportation options by implementing the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, the trans master plan and continuing to implement the city's complete streets program," Piekarski added.
Former councilmember Becky Dennis spoke about how housing, open space and transportation are just some of the local decisions that will be affected by climate change.
"All of those things are part of climate action and they can all be accounted for in the plan," Dennis said.
"Climate action and the management of emissions and the sequestration of carbon is really our growth management strategy for the future, and anything that the city of Pleasanton does to not only improve our quality of life through that process but monetize our success in that process will serve us really well. I have a feeling this issue is only going to get bigger, not smaller," she added.
Dennis also asked if the city is "planning to have any standards and requirements for people who are bringing new land-uses to our city, whatever they are, for mitigating their emissions so that we don't end up with more emissions than we have today."
"It seems to me that there's a dynamic there that we could use to also pay for some of those things that aren't on the main list right now, but actually could find us partners for even exceeding our goals in the future," Dennis added.
Jocelyn Combs, a former representative on the East Bay Regional Park District Board of Directors, said "There's nothing radical in the plan, just good commonsense proposals," and told the council that "this is your opportunity to lead us aggressively with greenhouse gas emission reductions for our city."
"In my letter to you, I suggested having staff as recommended by the committee take on more action items, front load the plan and sell carbon credits, do more research, mandate more, and suggest less," Combs said.
Combs added, "The infrastructure is done, the next frontier is our climate and environment. Be the climate action council for us, but mostly for the future."
Other proposed actions in the CAP 2.0 include developing a zero-emissions vehicle infrastructure plan, requiring bike parking and encouraging solar energy for new development, and establishing a food recycling program in order to decrease organic materials in landfills as well as reduce methane emissions.
City staff aim to bring the final CAP 2.0 document forward for final council approval early next year, according to the city website.