TAKE ACTION: Climate Plan Under Attack

A year and a half after Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the San Antonio City Council committed to creating a climate action plan for the city, area developers and oil and gas interests have finally taken notice.

The natural gas lobby has pledged to fight adoption of San Antonio’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), currently out for public comment. The chambers of commerce are raising a stink. Worse, some councilmembers are already backing away from their 2017 pledge to stand up for climate justice due to speculative fears over the plan’s supposed costs (no one speaks of lives saved) or the threat it could represent to the profitability of major climate polluters like NuStar Energy.

That’s not OK.

The plan (PDF download) is now halfway through a 30-day public comment period on the way to a long-anticipated April vote. And with fossil-fueled resistance rising, it is vitally important for those who care about the future of our families, neighbors, and our planet to make it out to string of meetings this week. We must send a strong message: Our city (still) demands climate action.

The plan is not perfect. It shields our City-owned utility, responsible for nearly half of all of our city’s emissions, from blame. The sleight of hand over utility emissions is so deft that CPS Energy’s own board members didn’t even understand their coal and gas plants are significant climate polluters after being briefed on the CAAP by a staffer.

Evidence offered here with lamentable bemusement:

Deceleration has reported on the long and winding construction of the CAAP. In fact, we’ve been the only media to do so.

That’s how our readers know that nearly 40 percent of CPS Energy’s climate pollution was omitted from the city’s greenhouse gas inventory—justifications for which we dispelled in this analysis.

In our last podcast, you heard from nearly a dozen CAAP committee members on their take on the process in our recent podcast. Takeaway: It’s been bumpy. But this is the best (and only) plan we have to help guide us toward a carbon-free future.

Below is video of the soft roll out of the plan to nearly 100 community member volunteers from five CAAP technical working groups and steering committee in January 2019:

In the span of critique, however, we should not dismiss the fact that this plan is based upon the principles of climate equity, more so than almost any other city plan we’ve reviewed, with the intention of putting policy power in the hands of those most impacted by climate change and also most frequently excluded from the decision-making process. Implementation of these values will be the key moving forward.

So we are urging all to come out this week and in the weeks to come to support the CAAP. Call on your councilmember (phone numbers here) to not only get behind and promote it in their districts, but help us strengthen it with desperately needed interim carbon-reduction targets, including closing our coal plant by 2025.

Indeed, there is no other way to make sure our share of global pollution doesn’t help push the planet beyond the 1.5-degree threshold and trigger an ecological unraveling beyond anything humans have experienced before.

The promising thing is that Mayor Nirenberg is still championing the initiative, with stated conviction that the CAAP has the authority to command CPS Energy reductions (see video below) .

We are on the cusp of a huge win for vulnerable families at home and for life all around the planet.

To seal it, we must attend:

Monday, February 18
CPS Energy Public Input Session on Climate Plan
6:30pm-8:30pm
Villita Assembly Building
145 Navarro St.
Registration to speak is between 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Free parking at Navarro Street Garage, 146 Navarro St.

Tuesday, February 19
Office of Sustainability CAAP Public Input Session
5pm-7pm
Central Library
600 Soledad St.

Wednesday, February 20
City Council Citizens to be Heard
(Theme: Youth & Climate Justice)
5:30pm-8:00pm
City Council Chambers
114 W Commerce St.
Register to speak by 6pm
www.sanantonio.gov/clerk/citizenstobeheard

Send written comments about the plan to sustainability@sanantonio.gov.

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While we have your attention: We are also encouraging our friends to stand against the border wall by participating in a Presidents Day Protest on Monday and supporting the work of the Esto’k Gna (Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas), who have been building resistance camps at the river. For information on joining them or to donate, see their GoFundMe page.