RACINE — Mayor Cory Mason wants the City of Racine to pledge that it will try to reduce its carbon footprint.
He has asked the City Council to adopt a resolution that commits Racine to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, an agreement from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Through the agreement, world nations have committed to try to mitigate climate change and keep any increase in global temperature this century to fewer than 2 degrees Celcius higher than preindustrial levels.
President Donald Trump announced last August that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 pact. Since then, the leaders of municipalities across the country have made local commitments to the agreement’s goals. The mayors of Kenosha, La Crosse, Madison and Milwaukee, among others in the state, have committed to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement, according to the Climate Mayors network.
Mason is asking Racine to do the same. He said he thinks it is important for the city to do its “fair share” to reduce climate change.
“Everybody has a part to play on making sure the next generation, whether it’s in Racine or anywhere else in the world, has a sustainable planet to live in,” Mason said. “There’s real opportunities for the City of Racine to lead here.”
Benefits to city
The proposed resolution identifies different ways urban municipal governments like Racine’s can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as through planning, transportation systems, construction practices and energy and water use. Those efforts could prove beneficial to the city, according to the resolution.
“Improving energy efficiency and resilience in the face of potential disruptions in energy production can attract jobs and economic development opportunities to the City of Racine, and enhance the city’s long-term economic competitiveness and wealth,” the resolution states.
Mason said that if the City Council agrees to make the commitment, staff would incorporate efforts to reduce Racine’s carbon footprint through its next proposed budget and capital improvements plan, which would be presented in October. He said the city could incorporate the goals into any plans it makes for its fleet of vehicles or potential new construction, as examples.
“By adopting this as the city’s policy, it then creates a mandate to embed these goals into all those conversations on how we operate the city in and of itself,” Mason said.
He said he wants to develop strategies for the city to encourage the wider community, including businesses and other municipalities, to also embrace the goals.
The city’s Public Works and Services Committee recommended at its Tuesday meeting that the city adopt the mayor’s proposal, with some modifications. The amended resolution is now in the hands of the City Council, which is scheduled to take up the committee’s recommendation at its 7 p.m. meeting Monday at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave.