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Zero Waste Advisory Commission recommends city adopt Climate Equity Plan, create climate committee

Monday, October 19, 2020 by Savana Dunning

The Zero Waste Advisory Commission has unanimously recommended that City Council adopt the new Climate Equity Plan.

At the Oct. 14 meeting of the Zero Waste Commission, Commissioner Kaiba White presented a resolution from the Joint Sustainability Committee, the group of commissioners who wrote the Climate Equity Plan, and urged the commission to adopt it.

The Climate Equity Plan is an update to the Austin Community Climate Plan adopted in 2014, which outlined the city’s effort to combat climate change. The original plan set an ambitious goal for Austin to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, a goal that the new plan pushed forward to 2040. The new Climate Equity Plan also has a focus on racial equity to ensure plans for climate change mitigation do not disproportionately impact communities of color.

The recommendation includes three additional requests, which White said were meant to help implement the equity plan. The recommendation asks the city manager to implement the plan as a part of the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget and asks City Council to create an Environmental Justice Committee.

White said that since the Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee was dissolved in 2017 in an effort by the city to reduce the number of advisory committees, there is no dedicated City Council committee on environmental issues.

“It left climate change, which is kind of a big issue, without a home,” White said. “When JSC makes recommendations, there’s not an obvious committee for them to go to for consideration.”

The resolution also asks for an ordinance to update the Joint Sustainability Committee’s bylaws and add five additional members with no other commission commitments to help implement the plan.

The motion passed unanimously after it was seconded by Commissioner Jonathan Barona.

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