Albany Climate Committee Chooses 2022 Focus

The Albany City Council Climate Action Committee met on January 19th 2022 to review their work plan and agree on priorities for 2022. 

The Climate Action Committee is a technical advisory committee that advises the Albany City Council on matters related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change. 

They considered these items: 

-Providing financial incentives for building electrification with a focus on multi-family and rental properties.

-Establishing a policy for the elimination of natural gas in all new construction and major remodels.

-Providing financial incentives that facilitate the number of zero emission transportation modes and decrease the number of internal combustion engines.

-Increasing access to electric vehicle charging stations in order to begin implementing a Zero Emission Transportation Action Plan.

-Developing an urban forestry program. 

-Developing a Community Climate Disaster Resilience Plan. 

-Engaging Albany schools in sustainable energy and climate change mitigation actions. 

-Facilitating outreach on priority issues to the Albany community.

-Promoting community engagement with the Carbon-Free Albany Challenge with the goal to have 1000 households enrolled by the end of 2023.

Many of these initiatives rely on funds from Measure DD passed in November 2020, which imposes a 2.5% increase in utility taxes and a 7.5% tax on water services for the residents of Albany. Committee members estimated that they had about 250-300 thousand dollars from this measure to spend on climate action. 

The committee members discussed which initiatives they should prioritize. 

Committee members generally agreed that despite their efforts, the Carbon-Free Albany Challenge, which encourages residents to take personal action to mitigate their carbon footprint, was not particularly successful. Though they are committed to continuing targeted outreach, they agreed to focus their energies towards other initiatives like providing financial incentives for home electrification and zero emission transportation modes (including adding more electric vehicle chargers), developing a Community Climate Disaster Resilience Plan and an urban forestry program. 

They agreed to create a subcommittee for zero emission transportation proposed by Committee member Eric Larson. 

Finally they discussed a pilot program which would provide financial incentives to encourage home electrification at the point of sale, for instance replacing gas with electric stoves. One idea was to reduce the transfer tax as an incentive for electrification. 

The next Climate Action Committee meeting is on February 16th from 7-10PM  

–Sonja Wooley & Jaden Shochet

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